Jump to content

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse

- - - - -

SOA didn't fix my clutch-shudder problem!

  • Please log in to reply
164 replies to this topic

#26 Guest_meep424_*

  • Guests

Posted 28 February 2002 - 06:50 PM

Once a week, when cold, start out in 2nd gear from a stop. Do it in normal driving once or twice. See if that helps. Someone mentioned this on the board a while back and it DID work for me. that would settle the car for a week or two, and then I'd just pull out in second once more, and ok.


#27 Guest_LemonRider_*

  • Guests

Posted 28 February 2002 - 11:09 PM

So that seems to help, does it? That's more of a patch than a fix. Like FlatFour, I am running out of excuses. Based on their reputation, I've generally recommended Subarus to friends in the past, but after owning one I can see how that would create enemies.

I've owned three (non Subaru) used cars prior to purchasing a new Subaru. Two of those cars had 115k miles at the time of purchase, the other had 73k.

I drove the first one for 60k (115k - 175k) before I traded it in. No clutch problems.

I drove the second one for 35k (73k-108k) before it was totaled. No clutch problems.

I'm still driving the third (115k - 196k and counting). No clutch problems.

My 00 GT: 35 miles - 22k & plenty of clutch problems.

Not an intelligent way to spend $23,000.

#28 Guest_st2eelpot_*

  • Guests

Posted 01 March 2002 - 10:03 AM

Ya know, you mention so many possible culprits (for example the hydraulic clutch assembly itself as opposed to the clutch plates like I've always assumed), I wonder if it would help to put a lighter weight hydraulic fluid in the line. Maybe the fluid is too thick when it's cold (in my case) thus why I have fine performance when warm and bad performance when cold? Though, I don't know why slipping the clutch would help for any more than the drive the car has the clutch burned on (why would it help for more than a day)?
Just trying to brainstorm other possibilities.

If I do start to consider an aftermarket clutch I will start doing the clutch burns and 2nd gear starts, but at this point I'm still under the frame of mind that it's a friggin $24k car that is new and should *NOT* require this. I can wear out my clutch on my own w/o a dealer doing it for me. I think the 2nd gear start/clutch burn is a temporary patch and far from fixing it. In the long run, that may even make it worse.

I got a coutesy call from my subie dealer yesterday (wasn't there to get it though) so I'll call them back and tell them how unhappy I am w/ the car/this problem at present.


#29 Guest_renobk_*

  • Guests

Posted 01 March 2002 - 11:06 AM

I've tried the 2nd gear starts (burning the clutch) for a year now...at best, it only helps temporarily for me (as in, less than a full day.) Once, I REALLY burned the clutch, slipping it through 3-4K rpms in first gear and had marginally better results, but the problem returned a few days later. My clutch felt like shyte after I did this, though, and I never did that again...it seemed to catch at the VERY last bit of travel, rather than right off the floor. Oh well.

This morning's scientific testing on the way to the office (28deg outside) led me believe that I just need to change the way I drive...I think I posted about this a few days ago. Low RPM launch this morning...tons o' shuddering. 1500-1700 RPM's, very smooth. Now, if only it were this repeatable when it's at the damn dealer! Had the car in on Wednesday for service and, again, they were "unable to duplicate the problem.

#30 Guest_Legacy777_*

  • Guests

Posted 01 March 2002 - 11:36 AM

That's when you go in there....you drive the car with the freakin service writer or service manager in the car, as well as a technician. That way they know it's happening....they are sitting right there.

If they won't give you the time of day to do that.....then take your business to another dealer.....or get on SOA about the dealer.....

I know everyone that has had this problem has complained....some have gotten reasonable response from SOA, and or the dealer. The biggest thing to do here is be a freakin TACTFULL *******....I'm not sayin go in there and rant and rave....I'm talking be tactfull with them, tell them you've talked to SOA....which you should....tell them you're goin to the NTSB, writing to the BBB, basically anything to get them to think this guy is serious, and we better treat him that way.

I have worked at a dealership....I know how they work.....It is extremely sad that if you want to get something done...you have to resort to stuff like that....but in instances like this....the people that bitch loud enough to the right people are more likely to get a response in their favor.

#31 Guest_artwrite_*

  • Guests

Posted 22 April 2002 - 07:32 PM

I've experienced the same clutch problems in a 2000 Legacy Outback. The clutch has been replaced twice under warranty in less than 30,000 miles (in other words, I'm on the 3rd clutch). From what I've read here and elsewhere, the problem is widespread. I firmly believe that Subaru should buy/build a better clutch assembly, recall and replace them all. Workarounds, such as starting in 2nd gear, aren't something that one should have to do with a new car.

#32 Guest_renobk_*

  • Guests

Posted 23 April 2002 - 09:26 AM

So after 26000 miles with my shuddering OB, I finally decided to call Subaru's 800 number (1-800-subaru-3) and open a case file on the car so that at least I might have some recourse down the road should something major happen to the clutch. The customer service gal was very helpful and scheduled a meeting with the regional service rep to look at my car next month...since the dealer's standard line is "everything's normal" just doesn't sit well with me on a new car. With spring fast approaching, though, the car will likely drive fine in 3 weeks when the appointment is so I have little hope that anything meaningful will come out of this, other than having documented complaints about the clutch every 3000 miles. If anything good turns out, I'll let you know...

#33 Guest_Bud Subaru_*

Guest_Bud Subaru_*
  • Guests

Posted 23 April 2002 - 10:44 AM

the clutch on my 97 OB was replaced about 4000 miles ago. (after the dealer distroyed the engine and had to give me a new one, but that another story) but after a thousand or so miles it started to shudder. I real all throught the post hear and discussed it with two differnt subaru techs. Subaru won't do anything untill the mechanic has tried to burn the clutch and it hasn't helped. I was worried about burning the clutch because i just had new (larger) tires on the car and i was afraid that if i burned it, i'd break something. Last week the shuddering got worse and i decided to try burning it. I was in a traffic jam so after i had the car moving about 5 mph or so i put it in second reved the engire and very slowly ket the clutch out while maintaing the revs. I thought it would be easier on the drive-line because the car was moving a bit and there would not be a big shock. Anyways, it worked. I'll post again of the shudder comes back, but so far it's a ok.

#34 Guest_quietgiroth_*

  • Guests

Posted 23 April 2002 - 11:05 AM

I hadn't read this post before today. I thought it was just something to do with the AWD, or I had forgotten how to drive a standard car. Don't know why, I've never had an auto.

From reading the post it doesn't look like there is anything SOA will do about it. Why am I not surprised? Perhapse I'll mention it next time I go to my dealer...to get my clutch replaced. They messed up the install the first time.

Everyone I talk to also seems to have a problem shifting in the cold. I normaly have to shift through the gears and pump the clutch pedal a couple of times before I can put the car into gear. However its fine once it has warmed up, could be a related problem?

#35 Guest_4wheeldrift_*

  • Guests

Posted 26 April 2002 - 03:25 PM

My 1997 OBS has exhibited the clutch shudder since new. 106K miles now and shudders occasionally.
I remember a friends subaru wagon (circa 1987 or so) that shuddered too. Seems this is a design trait of Subaru clutches. some are probably worse than others.

Mike Shields at www.spdusa.com/shifting.htm has a great section on driving tips that really helped me out with the clutch in my OBS. A must read for all gear rowers.

If you want the smoothest easiest to drive clutch you should probably buy a honda.

#36 Guest_4wheeldrift_*

  • Guests

Posted 04 May 2002 - 11:04 PM

I was going to post this:

"So my car has 105K the clutch seems to work fine, no slipping or strange pedal action or anything of that nature. I'm just in plan ahead mode and we all know the standard subaru clutch is not the smoothest out there.

Has anyone changed, upgraded, or replaced their clutch with something other than the OEM part? "

Then thought i should do a search first and came across this thread. I would like to add my story in the hopes that it might ease some concerns regarding the durability of the subaru clutch.

My 97 OBS 2.2 with 105K has shuddered on and off since new. I have been in friends' subarus that shuddered. I have driven lots of standard shift cars, trucks, motorcylces, tractors, atvs etc... for thirteen years. I let my finace drive my car (the cars a 97, i've had her, my fiance, for 11 years more on that some other time). Just so you know she's not what you call a car person . I load this car up all the time 2 people 2 130lb dogs and gear for a camping weekend.(It's tight but it can be done. :) )So the clutch has seen some wear and tear.

It seems clear that there is something in the design of the subaru clutch that inherently leads to shuddering. Agreed?

The Shudder occurs most often when engaging the clutch at low RPM, say 1000-1400. Agreed?

The Shudder can be temporarily fixed by "burning" or slipping the clutch excessively (read - extra wear and tear). Agreed?

Renobk posted:
"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) .... 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."

Mike Shields at www.spdusa.com/shifting.htm has lots of great driving tips and technical discussion about the subaru driveline. It is an excellent description of the technique for driving your subaru smoothly. It is a MUST read. The technique described for the subaru is significantly different than what works in other cars i have driven (hondas, toyotas, VWs, ford, chevy). I will try and describe the technique but you should really check out spdusa.com for a better explanation.

Starting from a stop.- blip throttle/gas to about 1500-1700... as you roll of the gas and the rpm's just start to drop begin releasing the clutch. The clutch is slipping but your are actually letting OFF the gas. Combine the right amount of throttle with the right speed of clutch release and you get get a smooth (relatively speaking no honda but no shudder) take off.

This technique does 2 things- slips the clutch enough to do something to the clutch plates which prevents the shudder. and 2 limits the slippage to a minimum for long clutch life.

all right i'm a loser it's saturday night and i'm tired and going to bed. If any one is interested i have lots more comments. I really think that we need to talkmore about the subaru clutch. Those you that have a history of replacement and dealership correspondence should really make noise and maybe subaru will come up with a solution one day.

That said anyone done the aftermarket thing... someone posted about one that was "really grabby" any more experiences?

going to sleep.

to be continued.....

#37 Guest_nim_*

  • Guests

Posted 06 May 2002 - 08:13 AM

i've noticed this on the downshift from 3rd to 2nd. i thought prior owner may have misshandled car until reading this thread. my clutch is cable operated so it's not the hydraulics. some double plate clutches tend to have "the chatter". probably a design flaw in the pressure plate. don't expect much from SOA. just try aftermarket stuff.

#38 Guest_algrande_*

  • Guests

Posted 06 May 2002 - 09:25 AM

I have the same problem. I told my dealer in canada. They said no problem. They are replacing the whole clutch. I pick it up today.
2001 OBS, 28,000 KM

#39 Guest_zwihund_*

  • Guests

Posted 06 May 2002 - 04:11 PM

I had my clutch replaced at around 17,000 miles due to clutch shudder. I knew it would come back and here it is at around 22,000. The dealer confirmed the problem and they opened a case. No fix as of yet and I am tired of always following up so I will wait until I get motivated again to start the battle with SOA. Subaru must knoiw of the problem it is so widespread, I guess it will take a class action lawsuit to get them to move on it or something really drastic. I will keep you informed of the outcome. I guess I could just have the clutch replaced again, but what a pain if it keeps reoccuring which it will unless the clutch is aftermarket. Total BS

#40 Guest_4wheeldrift_*

  • Guests

Posted 07 May 2002 - 05:17 PM

Did anyone go to SPDUSA.com and read about the subaru clutch?

those of you who experience shudder when downshifting...you are not ****ing properly.

there should be no slipping of the clutch on downshift. In fact the only time you should be slipping the clutch at all is from a dead stop. DOWN SHIFTS MUST BE PERFORMED BY REV MATCHING. If you don't know what rev matching is then got to spdusa and read up on shifting techniques.

the subaru clutch shudders yes... it is different than other cars...

however it can be driven smoothly, but you have to re-learn how to use your feet.
It takes practice but it's is worth it. You will drive smoother your clutch wil last longer and you can do cool things like heel and toe, and rev matching.

free you mind

learn something new

and practice, practice, practice

#41 Guest_st2eelpot_*

  • Guests

Posted 08 May 2002 - 09:28 AM

4wheeldrift- the only time I ever have the "clutch shudder/chatter" problem is starting from a standstill, no other shifting points. It should be noted though, that when this problem occurs from a stand still, often that is the point one is most vulnerable (i.e. starting from a stop light doing a left turn in the gap of oncoming traffic or what have you). So yeah, I still think this is a potentially serious problem.

As for rev matching and heel toes... I think the car is *perfect* for rev matching, but I still haven't gotten the pedal feel down quite well enough for the heel toes yet. I did it so much/well on an '89 honda and I still haven't quite gotten the pedal spacing feel for this one yet. '


#42 Guest_nim_*

  • Guests

Posted 08 May 2002 - 10:11 AM

i've driven zf trannies, toyota and nissan transaxles, and big suzuki street bikes and NONE of them had to "rev-matched" in order to get a smooth upshift or downshift. this is a bs part and i doubt that soccer-moms would understand the concept of rev-matching anyway. if it had to be done for mechanical safety soa would include a reference in the owner's manual. it's a bs part problem, not technique.

#43 Guest_st2eelpot_*

  • Guests

Posted 08 May 2002 - 10:34 AM

nim- I completely agree.
Since people are having issues w/ the clutch both of the hydraulic system and the cable-actuated system, I think it is maybe just the clutch compound itself or something. I suspect it's a result of Subaru trying to cut cost corners somewhere.


#44 Guest_zwihund_*

  • Guests

Posted 08 May 2002 - 04:21 PM

JESUS!! This is a manual care we are talking about. I know how to drive and I do take it personally when you tell me its my driving and not a problem with the car. That is total BS. The subaru has a faulty clutch and all of us know it. Sure I can avoid the shutter at times if I do all the stuff mentioned above, but all I want to do is drive, not concentrate on every shift and rpm in order to pull away smoothly. Subaru knows there is a problem and so do we. It almost sounds as if the person who wrote that is working for subaru, what a joke. I would like to hear a salesman give that info to a potential buyer. "Well sir, the subaru is a great car, but in order to avoid hesitation and shaking upon acceleration you must study a new shifting technique that only very few can master" This is ridiculous. I'm sorry but I just don't buy it. We need to continue to complain until SOA finally puts some effort into creating a new clutch that works.

#45 Guest_4wheeldrift_*

  • Guests

Posted 08 May 2002 - 06:40 PM

I don't work for Subaru. I just drive one

If subaru knows it's a problem why haven't they fixed it yet? Complain to subaru maybe they will change. But in the meantime....

If all you want to do is drive get an automatic! Manual shift cars inherently require more involvement and skill.

I'm just rying to help. to offer some advice about how to operate your vehicle so it will last longer and be more fun to drive.

I love my subaru. it is a great car to drive. it is a fun car to drive. it is not as "easy" to drive as some cars but it is not impossible to drive either.

Remember when you first drove a manual shift car? Did you do it without thinking? probably not. It took practice.

Well put a little practice into it you will reap the rewards.

Otherwise sell the thing and get a honda. Subaru's have pretty good resale value so you shouldn't have to take a much of a hit in the pocket book. Maybe that will get the attention of Subaru.

Complaining here will get you no where. Coming here for advice may help you but only if you are willing to listen.

#46 Guest_zwihund_*

  • Guests

Posted 22 May 2002 - 09:25 AM

You must be referring to a different problem. I had no trouble driving my car shudder free for the first 8-10,000 miles and then the clutch shudder began. How can you explain this if it's my shifting. SOA did replace my clutch and then 3-4,000 miles later the clutch shudder returned. I use this board to make others aware of the problem so we can all complain and make more of a difference. I listen to advice, but I just believe that your advice does not pertain to the problem that most of us are discussing.

#47 Guest_4wheeldrift_*

  • Guests

Posted 22 May 2002 - 12:12 PM

mine didn't shudder at first either.

have you tried the technique i described?

#48 Guest_renobk_*

  • Guests

Posted 23 May 2002 - 02:09 PM

That's a great link...I have read it, and it does contain some helpful advice. You're right; manual transmission cars DO require a higher level of involvement and skill to operate smoothly. I guess the point is that in the past 250K miles or so I've owned several manual transmission cars and I've never felt like more of a rookie driving than I do in my 01 OB. After 28,000 miles with this car, the shuddering starts continue to make me look bad. True, the problem is only occasional, and when the car is "on" it's absolutely a blast to drive. The transmission is precise, fairly short throws, great engine, etc. But I can never predict when the clutch is going to have a bad start...never. I've isolated some of the circumstances (cooler weather, for instance) but it's totally unpredictable at times. I was over in Sacramento over the weekend and the car somehow transformed into a totally different animal for about an hour or so -- it was by far the most bizarre thing that this car has done. I could not pull away from ANY stop sign without the whole car shaking, and the temp over there was in the 80's, so there goes my whole "cold temp" theory! It was incredible. I parked the car at a friend's house for a couple of days and when I got back in to drive home to Reno, the car felt like brand new again. I've never experienced this shuddering on downshifts or at any other time than pulling away from a dead stop, but I'm sure it COULD be my technique, but if I haven't mastered it after 28K miles, I'm starting to think that I may never master this car. Like I said, when the car is feeling good, it drives flawlessly...super smooth takeoffs, imperceptible upshifts, accurate downshifts. But I just can't tell when the car is mad at me and doesn't want to play anymore. Also, I wrote last month or so that I had opened a case file with Subaru and that they were flying someone in to look at the car...well, they had to cancel the appointment because he was unable to get here and I never rescheduled it...maybe later. They're just going to say more of the same when they drive it so I'm not really pushing it. Anyway, thanks for the advice, I'm going to print it and reread it. Maybe something will change!

#49 Guest_4wheeldrift_*

  • Guests

Posted 23 May 2002 - 03:39 PM

Yes i agree with everything you said too. the shudder seems unpredictable.

it seems that more revs (i.e. 1500-1750 rpm) before releasing the clutch, and rolling off the gas, helps. What kind of rpms are you initially releasing the clutch?

I wonder if this has something to do with throttle response and the whole hesitation issue? does the 2.5 hesitate? Maybe we train our feet to operate the pedals consistently but then the engine is the variable? Lets see bad gas, overactive knock sensor, carbon build-up (unlikely in your 01 OB), bad grounds etc... just a thought.

also seems that once the shudder starts it will continue until a launch with more revs scrubs the contact surfaces in the clutch??? pure speculation here. When i get shudder i usually abort the launch a re-try with some more revs and this seems to help quite a bit.

one other trick- when rolling up to a stop sign there is a speed at which the tranny readily goes into 1st gear. At this speed (about a slow walking pace) you can release the clutch without giving the car any gas and without the clutch slipping at all. essentially a rev matched downshift, where the speed is so slow the idle speed is the right revs to allow the clutch to release without slipping. The police might not like this technique but it helps get you moving again without shudder. saves the clutch too.

in any case i hope the mileage on my vehicle is of some comfort to you.

hope this helps

#50 Guest_renobk_*

  • Guests

Posted 24 May 2002 - 10:01 AM

when the car's cold, I usually have at least 1500 to 1800 rpms up before getting my foot off the clutch. If the car starts shuddering, it may be closer to 2500 rpms or so, but the whole process takes less than a second (2 for really bad starts) so I'm not on the clutch that long. When the car is behaving normally, I can easily get going from a dead stop with 1000-1200 rpms. It's encouraging to see that, in spite of the shuddering problem, others are getting high mileage out of their cars. It's an annoying trait, but I'll deal with it as long as I don't get soaked with an $800 clutch repair. My next subie will automatic, I do know that. Or maybe I'll just go back to driving Hondas...

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users