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Guest Message by DevFuse

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What's the deal with the clutch problems?

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14 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_andywatson_*

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Posted 17 June 2003 - 08:03 AM

I've been away from this board for about a year, but now that I'm in the market for a new Suby, I thought I'd check it out again. I'd like to get an 02 or 03 WRX. But I've read some posts here about all the clutch problems people are having. Would it be worth it to get an automatic to avoid these problems? What model years are affected by the clutch TSB? If I testdrive one, what symptoms should I look for?


#2 Guest_renobk_*

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Posted 17 June 2003 - 09:00 AM

Judging by my experience with my 01 Outback, the entire car would buck and shake as you let the clutch out when pulling away from a stop. The problem was especially bad in humid, damp, or cool conditions, but it was known to occur in the middle of the desert (Nevada) when it was 100 degrees outside...go figure. If the car's affected, it would likely be obvious on a test drive if the car's been sitting a while. If the car's been recently driven, you might not notice on the first drive. Some Subies I've been in exhibit a more mild chattering when pulling away -- one that doesn't sound like the entire dash is going to fall off in your lap, like mine sounded -- but was evident as a more subtle pulsing as you pulled away from a stop.

Regarding the TSB's, I'm not sure exactly which models were covered...I know my 01 Outback was. Presumably, all the models with this drivetrain would have the same clutch (?) but I'm not sure. The WRX was named in the TSB, but there may be a restriction on build date. The actual TSB was posted somewhere on here if you search around.


#3 Guest_rtp373_*

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Posted 17 June 2003 - 10:31 AM

Here's some info from a thread I started. According to a service bulletin that has been posted by numerous people, it appears the fix was introduced in the 2003 model year and it describes what to do if a customer complains about the chatter.

Just look for a posting called "What's the verdict on the new Subaru Clutches?"

Test drive a 2002 OBW, then a 2003 OBW. I noticed a huge difference in how the pedal felt and people who've had the "upgrade" done say it's MUCH better and no chatter.

In fact, getting my 2002 OBW updated in July.



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Posted 22 June 2003 - 03:44 AM

My 2003 Baja has the problem of shudder when first moving after sitting long enough to cool down such as overnight or longer than an hour on a cool day. Dealer says, "Bring in the car & leave it overnight and we will check it to verify what you say (what else can he do?). I live about 70 miles from this dealer which is the closest one. I am also reluctant to have his Buick flat-rate boys attack my car with their channel-lok and vise-grip pliers. I think I have decided just to use technique to overcome the brief period of shudder upon start-up.


#5 Guest_imjunior_*

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 09:22 AM

Has anyone had to replace their clutch in an older model and found the replacement clutch to exhibit these chattering characteristics? Almost 20,000 miles ago I had my original clutch replaced (had 250,000 miles on it) and the new clutch has been exhibiting some of the chattering symptoms. As the weather has gotten warmer the rattle is more apparent. Could it be that some material in the newer clutches in general are the problem? Or am I just nuts?

#6 Guest_Meeky Moose_*

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 10:45 AM

ya know, i had my clutch replaced in my 86' turbo wagon, with a new flywheel, clutch, pressureplate, both bearings, all from the dealer. after about 6k, i am startin to barely notice a bit of chatter when i first start from a light.

i wonder if all OEM clutches are gonna have this problem....

#7 Guest_ibis315_*

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 11:03 AM

I had mine replaced back in April, and after 3000 miles, no problems yet. I really like the way the new clutch feels.

#8 Guest_spagemurray_*

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 08:34 PM

Dealer replaced clutch in my OB yesterday for free 6mths out of warranty (3.5 yrs old) and its brilliant. Light, and absolutely zero shudder. No TSB here for this unlike in the US but they did mention one of the part no's has changed recently. Seems Sube slipped the fix in as a running change here.

#9 rtp373


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Posted 20 February 2005 - 01:42 PM

I'll have my new clutch 2 years this coming July. have put over 34,000 mi on it and it operates like a charm. The new clutch package from '03 did the trick.

#10 Scottbaru


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Posted 20 February 2005 - 03:01 PM

I had my original clutch replaced (had 250,000 miles on it) and the new clutch has been exhibiting some of the chattering symptoms.

Was the replacement OEM? I just bought my '99 with a new clutch, I expect the shop that sold it to me went with cheapest parts, not OEM. They said the old clutch chattered badly.

#11 rtp373


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Posted 20 February 2005 - 08:04 PM

Do a search on clutches on this site- the threads sometimes have over 100 responses.

It was this site that saved my sanity when I realized I wasn't dreaming there was something wrong.

Some blessed soul posted a copy of the tech bulletin subaru sent to dealers a couple years ago and once I mentioned this to my dealer, they made good. I had b**ched about from 3000 mi to 20,000 when it was replaced.

They used a replacement "kit" which used the same parts as appeared in the '03 model year clutch assemblies. It was the new '03 clutch plate and some simple adapter studs & other hardware. Nothing too complex.

Many savy Subaru owners here have replaced their clutches with after-market ones and swear by them - may not be a bad thing.

#12 Setright


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Posted 21 February 2005 - 11:27 AM

Test: Idling engine, let the clutch pedal up slowly. Don't touch the throttle. Some vibes will be normal, but any bucking means a bad clutch.

It seems to go away when the engine is warm, so make sure you get to test drive on a completely cold engine.

#13 Pascal Giasson

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 09:12 PM

I had the clutch replaced on my '92 Loyale last year with a dealer supplied clutch kit. It shutters quite badly when cold but goes away when warm. I mentioned it to my mechanic and he said there is not much he can do, some clutches do that. From this thread it looks like a common problem.

#14 rtp373


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Posted 24 February 2005 - 10:31 PM

I wouldn't put up with it... I feel your pain. I'm not familiar with the friction plate that a '92 Loyale would use, but even if it is a different size and shape than one used in the newer outback wagons, I wouldn't doubt it's made out of the same friction material components they'd be using on the current line of cars.

I've been told Subaru took care of the problem in 2003, although some owners of 2003 Subaru's even complained (perhaps some clutches were leftover and used from 2002?? dunno).

I found a tech bulletin on this site, but it was nearly 2 years ago, that some generous person posted that talked about this problem and the solution was to use 2003 model year components. The friction disc part number was different than the one used in my 2002 Outback. Others noticed the same thing.

Perhaps even if you had your clutch replaced recently, it was an older stock item made during the era when Subaru was having these problems (end of the 1990's to 2002). Unless your Loyale can accept the clutch plate mentioned in the tech bulletin, it'd be difficult to determine if what you get is like the "new" one or not.

Good luck.

#15 rtp373


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Posted 24 February 2005 - 10:36 PM

The original clutch in my 2002 outback behaved just like you mentioned.
Once you had engaged/disengaged it a few times, it'd come out of it. People on the board had a number of gimmicks to get them by like riding the clutch once a week for several extra seconds. It'd stop doing the cold "shutter" for a few days, but it'd always come back. The cold and/or humidity always made it worse.

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