I have a '08 WRX hatch with about 10k miles on the odo.
It recently began making a quiet yet noticeable 2 to 3 second squeal at the catchpoint when shifting into first or second gears.
It only happens when the engine is cold AND the outside ambient temperature is below 55 Fahrenheit. It stops almost as soon as the temp gauge gets above the "C" mark.
It sounds a little like a nest of bird chicks on speed.
It’s clearly coming from the clutch mechanism, or possibly the transmission.
It occurs for one or two seconds right at the clutch catchpoint; it sometimes persists for another second or so after it's in gear. It only happens in first and second gears.
My dealership's service department replaced what they felt was a defective throw-out bearing. Nothing else seemed, to them, to be defective or atypically worn.
But the problem was there again for me the next morning at the first cold start. It seems to be getting progressively louder and longer in duration. Process of elimination: So we know it wasn't a throw-out bearing.
(Nothing's worn down from poor driving skill, I can assure you: I've shifted carefully with this car from day one. I've never replaced a clutch at under 100k miles on any previous car.)
Any ideas? I'd like to have some insight into what it may be before I let the dealership service department tear anything else apart. I'd primarily like to know if this is something benign I may be able live to with... or whether it indicates a broader problem with further potential complications (which I'm afraid of).