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Guest Message by DevFuse

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SOA didn't fix my clutch-shudder problem!

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164 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_st2eelpot_*

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Posted 24 January 2002 - 04:53 PM

I'm annoyed.
I have a great subaru dealer, and they were able to reproduce the clutch-shudder problem, though not very much. Ironically, I had to scrape frost off the windshield the morning I took the car to the dealer, but then the following 2 mornings were around 50 F degrees, and they weren't able to reproduce them very strongly. The colder the weather the stronger the clutch-shudder (atleast in my case it seems).

At any rate the fix SOA told them to was to "slip/burn the clutch for a few seconds," [<-paraphrased]. The idea to this was it would smooth out the clutch surface. This is not what the dealer was to tell me to do, only what the dealer was supposed to know.
The mechanic suspected this obviously wouldn't be a long-term fix by any means, and to contact them again when it occurs to see what SOA says next. They have to do the first things SOA says in attempts to fix it before they can do anything drastic I suppose, but I'm pissed. What a waste of my time.

Apologies about the rant, but I am severly disappointed with SOA.

#2 Guest_renobk_*

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Posted 24 January 2002 - 05:16 PM

I think I've posted several times (here or elsewhere?) about this same problem and I share your frustration. My dealer has never been able to replicate the problem over the past 20K miles, but must have done something similar to what you describe the last time it was in for service. The claimed to have done nothing to the clutch (adjustments, lubrication, whatever) while diagnosing the shudder, but the clutch definately behaved differently when I got the car back. It's hard to describe, but the clutch feels "softer" and seems to engage higher off the floor than before. Bizarre. Interestingly, it's been colder than ever here (single digits) and the clutch has shuddered less the past few weeks. I used to think the problem was exacerbated by colder temps, but maybe it's just coincidence. I know the clutch has never shuddered during the hot summer months. I am not leaving the car with them for a few days to tinker around on it while I ride a bike to work...

#3 Guest_zwihund_*

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Posted 26 January 2002 - 02:17 PM

please email this site asap to complain about clutch shudder problems.

I believe if we get enough of us to file a complaint that we can get SOA to make a fix for our bad clutches.
I think my dealer is going to replace my clutch and flywheel for me, but I am still bothered that this problem is so widespread. Let me know what you think?
I filed a complaint today as a safety issue. If we have clutch shudder upon acceleration couldn't that cause us to hesitate if we pull out in traffic?

#4 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 26 January 2002 - 03:58 PM

I don't have the issue (got an auto) but I'm all for reporting this stuff to the NHTSA. If there are issues they ought to be fixed.

#5 Guest_PowerSlider22_*

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Posted 26 January 2002 - 05:05 PM

How long does your clutch chatter last? My 2001 OBW chatters, but only when the car is cold, or when I attempt start up on an incline in warmer temps. However, once the care is warmed up (or I have slipped the clutch a little) it goes away. To me is is more of a minor annoyance than something I'd want the dealer tearing my car apart over.

I get the feeling that this is a design problem that SOA is not going to be able to correct without going to different clutch or flywheel materials.

#6 Guest_zwihund_*

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Posted 26 January 2002 - 05:33 PM

My chatter lasts about 5-10 minutes, but on a new car less than 15,000 miles I don't want any defects!!! I am not willing to accept this on this expensive of a car. Plus it is so widespread among us subaru owners!!!! I think they need to find another type of clutch to put in our cars or at least pay to have them replaced with better functioning clutches if this continues. My clutch will be replaced under warranty, but I am pretty sure it will resume in another 10,000 miles. I hope enough of us are so pissed or dissatisfied that we can change SOA'a attitude toward this problem, or maybe get someone to force them to make a recall. Maybe I'm dreaming, but could you imagine a subaru dealer explaining to his potential customers this is a great car, but in about 8-10,000 miles you will start to experience a clutch chatter, but don't worry this is normal and it only happens when it is cold. And when your friends ask you why your 25,000+ car vibrates and shakes upon acceleration you can just tell them its normal operation for subaru's to act like a piece of junk.

Ok thats enough of my speech, I am just really annoyed that an issue that is so well know has not been resolved or even admitted to by SOA.
Please email that earlier link and make a report.

#7 Guest_st2eelpot_*

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Posted 27 January 2002 - 02:39 PM

Well, I'm annoyed that they replaced your clutch zwihund and renobk and I got different treatment. I think it's good they're giving you a new flywheel and clutch, and I fully agree that this problem may very well come back for you in a few thousand miles (doubtfully 10k, mine started originally before it hit 8k), but I am irritated that they are treating the same problem for diffrent people diffrently.

I think the fix for Subaru will be to change clutch manufacterers, but that's a huge deal. My dealer indicated he has had consistent problems with Subaru since before 97 and he thinks it was when they changed to their current clutch manufacterer.

At any rate I am going to email SOA and tell them how dissatisfied I am with their treatment of my personal clutch problem (telling the dealer to burn my clutch for 4 seconds as a cure- and it didn't work), and I will tell them I am also emailing the NHTSA. Not to try to threaten them or anything, but I'm annoyed I sunk $23k+ into a new car, have had this problem for over 12K and they still have barely begun to address it- and not just to me but to many people.

I wonder if we could file a class-action law suit?


#8 Guest_renobk_*

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Posted 27 January 2002 - 03:08 PM

My dealer acknowedges that the clutches on some OB's were really bad, but thinks the problem was on 00 models, not the 01's. I've been bringing this up over the past year when it's in for service and (of course) the car drives like a friggin dream the whole time they have it. Until they can feel the problem, they won't touch it. I am not wild about leaving the car there for a few days while some 18 year "tech" thrashes my clutch trying to make it shudder.

Funny thing is, that even after a full year and 21000 miles, I still cannot reliably predict when the problem will occur -- it's definately a cold weather deal, but otherwise it's hard to pin down. Sometimes it's a problem on the first few miles in the morning, other times it will start doing it after the car has been driven all day. Slipping the clutch produces mixed results: sometimes a 2nd gear start will banish the problem for a few days, other times it banishes the problem for 5 minutes. The dealer thinks I'm nuts because it always feels OK when they have it, so I must be overly sensitive or something.

I've given up explaining to passengers why a new car feels like a very, very old car at times...their fears about Subaru may just be correct for all I know. A friend of mine is seriously considering a WRX wagon, but is very turned off by the shuddering I have been experiencing with my car -- enough that it may prevent him from spending $20k+ on a Subaru. I love the car -- it fits me and my lifestyle better than any of my previous 5 cars have -- but I'm not so sure I'd be willing to recommend a manual trans model to anyone that I know based on my experience. I'll click on the link above, maybe it will help in some way. Cars...gotta love 'em!

#9 Guest_zwihund_*

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Posted 27 January 2002 - 07:25 PM

I hear ya Dave!! I was hoping you were going to tell me that you had yours replaced by SOA before I went in to deal with mine. I guess it just depends on your dealer. I, anal as I am, wrote down everytime it happened in Jan. and what the temp was and what time and how bad it was and then I submitted this to the dealer along with 15 pages of this boards material on all the complaints that have sprung up about chatter/shudder. Maybe they new that I was not going to go away that easy. I believe this is a safety issue as well as an annoying defect, which could result in a class action lawsuit or large scale recall, but we need to continue to make waves like we are. right??? Thanks you guys for writing that link it's worth a try.

#10 Guest_RSGirl_*

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Posted 27 January 2002 - 07:28 PM

From what I heard that a "glaze" on your clutch is the culprit and that "burning" it off is the best way. SOA won't do much for it and the only way to make it stop is to get a different clutch assembly from someone else.

I've also heard that '01 and '02 have the same problems. Its like they stuck the smae clutch on the cars even though they know they are bad. :(


#11 Guest_meep424_*

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Posted 28 January 2002 - 04:45 PM

I think this has been around for a while...

I just replaced the clutch on our 97 legacy. It shudders tremendously-- my leg is sore from trying to get it just right...and still can't unless I rev. It's very grabby...you can't get it to just lightly rub.

Now-- it's getting better with wear... I can almost drive the car normally after 1000 miles of use, but I dislike having a clutch that makes you need to slip it more to have a smooth start.

The 97, brand new, did NOT shudder NEARLY this much. Maybe they're using a new supplier/manufacturer for their clutches?

BTW-- the local dealer said they typically see these clutches last 60,000 miles. Some folks (name your reason) only get 50k, but the wear indicates lots of burning (slipping) or scarring (abuse). We got 99,000 out of ours, and the mechanic raised his eyebrows at that. My parents have both had honda clutches that outlived the useful life of the car - 160,000 on a crx and 140,000 (Steelpot correct me if I'm wrong) on an accord. 60k compared to 160k is not good.

Sadly enough, as much as I love this car, the clutch really does annoy me like this. You just can't drive it with any confidence if it bucks and bangs going into traffic.

Time to PRINT this baby out and take it to the local dealer, and send it to SOA, explaining that THIS is the kind of press that Loyal Subie Followers are exchanging.

Very Sad, but diplomacy and rubber-meets-the-road truth might go a long way.


#12 Guest_LemonRider_*

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Posted 28 January 2002 - 08:07 PM

I'm curious ZwiHund, did SOA make you jump through hoops to replace your clutch?

My 2000 GT has the shudder. With a long service history and only 20,000 miles on the odometer, the car is wearing my patience thin.

#13 Guest_zwihund_*

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Posted 28 January 2002 - 10:57 PM

no not really, I took it in on 15,000 miles to have serviced and I mentioned it, but nothing replicated. Then 3,000 miles later I wrote a letter and documented all of January my problems and submitted this to the dealer along with print outs of this board showing other's complaints and thats it. The dealer took two days to replicate it and then viola!! they said they would replace the clutch and flywheel. Now I have my baby back and she sure feels good, but I know it will come back it just is a matter of time. Please write that link above to complain and get SOA to see the problem.

#14 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 28 January 2002 - 11:07 PM

I'm beginning to feel lucky that my 97 OB is an auto.

Speaking of clutch life...

85 Civic, 14+ years old, 712,000 km, original clutch (highway driving, my car).

88 Civic, at 9 years old, clutch changed at ~200,000 km (city driving, wife's car).

The 85 was fantastic. Smooth, progressive, light clutch. The 88 was almost as good, touch heavier feel. But then, the car had more hp to the engine as well.


#15 Guest_blutrain1974_*

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Posted 29 January 2002 - 01:25 AM

yes, i have heard from various other folks that the clutch must be "burned" in order to get the shudder too go away..apparently it does work for most (the people i spoke with anyways) but who the hell wants to "burn" a clutch on a new rig...aargghh..

#16 Guest_SubeDude_*

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Posted 29 January 2002 - 11:05 AM

Ya, I burned/slip my clutch. Shudder hasn't come back in two months or so. My 2000 RS has 40k miles now.


#17 Guest_jlawton_*

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Posted 25 February 2002 - 07:37 PM

I have this same clutch shudder that the dealer of course couldn't duplicate and porported to have never heard of. I filed a complaint today at the link zwihund gave. I agree I am always hesitant at intersections because the car will stall if I'm not careful, so I end up over-revving in first gear.

#18 Guest_wrxsubaru_*

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Posted 25 February 2002 - 07:48 PM

if you burn your cluych evrey morning wouldent it make the clutch prematurley wear, i thought the reason why the cluch shudders is because of not enough prusure, alowing it to hop kindof.

#19 Guest_pray4wind_*

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Posted 25 February 2002 - 10:01 PM

I replaced my clutch ~6000 miles ago with a SACHS type and it has shuddered since day one.
It's mostly noticeable during downshift, specially from 3 to 2nd, so I don't know if my shudder is of the same type as yours, but...
Question to those who've burned the shudder out of their clutches: How long did you have to burn it for it to vanish?

#20 Guest_st2eelpot_*

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 09:31 AM

pray4wind- How does it shudder from 3rd to 2nd/describe your shuddering if you would. Whenever I downshift I always rev match the engine, so you feel absolutly nothing (if you get it right) when you engage the clutch. I haven't perfected this well enough in this car yet to do the heel-toe shifting (left foot on brake, right toe on clutch, right heel on gas), but I'm not racing the car either so it doesn't really matter.

My shuddering (which is back again) is when the clutch slips (obviously) so it may be the same thing you have only I try to shift differently? I only get it accelerating from a stand still. Most of the clutch travel will be the same and feel ordinary (maybe slightly less "spongy," but it's hard to tell) and towards the end of the friction point the clutch just suddenly grabs up like a very aggressive style clutch causing the car to buck (since the engine doesn' t have the torque at that low rpm to break the wheels loose). It shouldn't have that super aggressive friction point being an OEM clutch, and once the car is warm it doesn't.

When the dealer burned the clutch it did seem to help, as now the shudder is back in full strength. But, if all SOA is going to do for me is burn my clutch, I can wear out my car w/o anybody else's help. I do not know how long they burned the clutch, but they said "about 4 seconds."

I'll complain again to the dealer at my 22500 maintenance when I have them rotate my wheels.

#21 Guest_LemonRider_*

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 07:31 PM

My 00 Legacy GT (21k miles) shudders when it is cold, but it also shudders when I downshift, especially from 3rd to 2nd. The dealer wasn't able to replicate the problem, but I'm not about to push the issue, I don't like the sound of 'clutch burn'.

#22 Guest_Flatfour_*

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Posted 27 February 2002 - 11:14 PM

Yea, I had the clutch, pressure plate, and flywheel on my RS replaced by the dealer about 1,000 miles ago. (cold Shudder) It worked perfectly for 500 miles and then went to **** again. Before it would shudder really bad when cold, but now it engages perfectly when the car is cold. Pulling away from a dead stop is the worst. Today it is about 10 degrees here in the mid-west and the clutch worked sooo much better. HHmmm.... Alas, when the transmission warms up it starts engaging poorly again.
It requires slipping the clutch to make a "smooth" get-away. downshifting from 4th to 3rd to 2nd produces shuddering as well. I have been driving manual transmissions for 12 years,
so yes I know how to down shift properly.
It makes me wonder what the culprit is. Poorly designed hydraulic clutch mechanism, wrong weight of hydroalic fluid, pressure plate to stiff/weak, clutch plate anti-chatter springs to soft/hard, or just the clutch plate is crap. Who knows?
All I know is that I have a beautiful NEW car that drives like crap. I dread driving it because it disappoints on every trip. I'm tired of making up excuses for it to passengers.
Subaru neeeeeds to find some new components to remedy this problem, because none of us can afford or wants to replace a clutch every 10-40K and have it drive like **** the whole time.
Sorry about my ranting.

#23 Guest_paddleboy_*

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Posted 28 February 2002 - 09:42 AM

Wow - this issue really concerns me. I have a 2001 Legacy with only 3000 miles on it and it isn't shuddering yet but I have noticed that the clutch does have a different feel than the other manuals I have owned. I wonder if this might be related to the "smelly clutch" issue that has been discussed in the past.

Has anyone tried an aftermarket clutch/pressure plate to see if this solves the problem? Only 50-80k on the clutch? That is ridiculous. Geeze, that is why I bought a subaru - so I wouldn't have to live with this kind of thing.


#24 Guest_renobk_*

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Posted 28 February 2002 - 10:55 AM

I'd be curious to know if anyone has had any experience with Cobb Tuning's clutch for this model...I'd hate like hell to put a $450 clutch in (at my own expense) on a year-old car, but if it stops the shuddering, I just might. Cobb has 2 types, one is suited for "racing" (an Outback??) and the other for more normal street driving.

FlatFour, I feel your pain...I've given up trying to explain to my passengers why a new $25,000 car shakes like a wet dog when pulling away from a stop. It's embarassing. My old 626 -v6 with 120K on it has a better clutch than this.

Incidentally, for the past 1000 miles or so I have really altered the way I drive this car (this, after 10+ years driving a standard transmission). At stoplights etc I no longer put the car in neutral and take my foot off the clutch...I keep it in 1st with my foot to floor. Also, I've been giving it way more gas than "normal" to get it moving (usually launching it anywhere from 1300-1500 rpms) rather than sub-1000 rpm launches. Since consciously altering my driving style, the car has shuddered less and less. Perhaps it's totally unrelated to what I'm doing, who knows, but I can certainly tell that the shuddering is far more tolerable. Who knows.

If this clutch makes it 50K I'll be shocked...it's so heavy right now at 22K miles that I can't imagine that it's wearing well. Compared to other subie clutches, mine feels like it takes twice the effort to push down. This is likely my last manual trans. car from Subaru...even the WRX!

#25 Guest_st2eelpot_*

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Posted 28 February 2002 - 11:08 AM

renobk- I generally do sub 1000rpm starts and in my case that too is the worst time for the car to shudder. When I slip the clutch and take off w/ the rpms between 1300 to 2000 it is better, though still catchs/shudders a bit when cold. After the dealer burned the clutch (and I don't even want to know for how long they had to do it) the car behaved for a month or so surprisingly (though it was unseasonably warm- 50 to 70 F degrees). Now it's down around 15 these past few mornings and am getting rattled to pieces.

I just might try adding a cobb clutch if this keeps going. If I do I'll let you know how it goes.
I bought the car new and it now has 22k miles, though the first time the car saw cold weather (and started shuddering at the same time mind you) was approx 8k into its life.


Time to print out the thread again and give it to my dealer and SOA I think.

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