I need Powertrain Help! Unfamiliar with my 02 WRX
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This is a discussion on I need Powertrain Help! Unfamiliar with my 02 WRX within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hi fellas. I have a 2002 Wrx with 220K on the clock. I have over the past few weeks noticed ...

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    I need Powertrain Help! Unfamiliar with my 02 WRX

    Hi fellas. I have a 2002 Wrx with 220K on the clock. I have over the past few weeks noticed that the powertrain is beginning to fail. What an where~ I do not know. That's why I am asking for someone to help me out here. Here are my symptoms:

    -The common shift into 1st gear grind is ever present(but I avoid it as much as possible)
    -The car seems to have a lot of slack or backlash in the drive train. (more than any other manual I have ever driven)
    -At take off, around 7mph-15mph, IF I even hardly give it throttle, the car makes a very loud and fast thud-thud-thud-thud-thud---
    -At Speed, in any gear around 1900 rpms and Higher, the car Vibrates like a MOTHER. slower at a lower rpm's, and faster at higher rpm's
    -If I let off the throttle while cruising and allow the car to stay in gear and let the engine slow me down, ITS straight SCARY. The car starts making a noise similar to a midget with a hammer in a metal drum..
    -After 15 mins or 5 miles of city driving, my WRX magically sounds like an empty soda can with a rock or two inside bouncing around when at really low speed, say 1st and reverse gears. (at least that's the only time I can hear it..)
    -Lastly, there is a noise that gets louder and louder as my speed increases, not necessarily my rpm. It makes my car sound like a fighter jet!

    I am mechanically sound and can make my way through anything with a wrench given enough time. I am just VERY unfamiliar with the WRX. What I am asking from the community is some straight up, RAW info pertaining to the 02 WRX tranny, center diff, and rear diff. I have ideas of what my issues are, but I need some more confirmation or re-direction. Here's my list of thoughts to compare:

    -I am pretty sure my Rear Differential gears are beginning to exceed the tolerance specs and is binding up on take off, and that's the loud and very fast thuds. The diff could also be the culprit of the vibration as torque is applied when gaining speed.
    -I believe that the bearings in my transmission are toast, and cause the whine/jet sound at high speed.
    -I believe the sound of something bouncing around may be a bearing that has fallen out of the race and is catching a tooth every so often and being flung around inside.

    Some golden info or help would include- Where can I get the parts to rebuild some of the above mentioned possibilites. If there are any forms of upgrade that will keep me from these very same issues down the road. What is the Type of Tranny, and diff that is in my stock 02 wrx? For example: a 99 ford f450Diesel that has an Automatic transmission is known as the 4R100 transmission. I think the tranny in my WRX is an RA? is that correct? What about the Diff? Like I said, any info helps. thanks ahead!

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Your guesses, particularly about the bearings in the gearbox, are not unreasonable. Before suspecting the diff internals I'd take a close look at the mounts and yoke first. In any case I don't think any of this is worth upgrading or replacing with new parts if you have any other choice whatsoever.

    If your car is not modified you do not have RA gears. There is a plackard on the side of the engine bay near the LH McPherson tower that lists the gearbox code. That is the gearbox you have. There were two boxes offered in 2002. I think the ratios are identical but the width of the gears differs; Subaru intended for the later boxes to be more robust I suppose and they are said to have RA width gears. They are not, however, RA boxes.

    Have a look, make a shopping list, and go to a wrecker's. Highly skilled, elite tuning enthusiasts crash these cars daily and don't fix them (the cars are totaled or their moms forbid them from driving etc.) so spares should be plentiful. I'd find as many used parts as possible at this stage.
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    Would it be easier to replace parts as a whole unit, or just swap out internals? Particularly in the rear diff, because it is a just a few gears as opposed to the Tranny. Furthermore, are you suggesting just buy a used tranny to replace my wore out one in the car now- instead of rebuilding my current one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cactus_Magnet View Post
    Would it be easier to replace parts as a whole unit, or just swap out internals? Particularly in the rear diff, because it is a just a few gears as opposed to the Tranny. Furthermore, are you suggesting just buy a used tranny to replace my wore out one in the car now- instead of rebuilding my current one?
    If and only if you need a new gearbox I'd get a used one rather than rebuild the existing one. If you rebuild it you'll be using OEM or better parts, at OEM or higher cost, to generate a perfect gearbox for a 12 year old car that's already traveled the distance from Earth to the Moon and you run the relatively realistic risk of generating a gearbox that cost more than the car is worth entirely.

    If and only if you need a new diff I'd do the math and see what's cheapest, but my guess is a used diff would be.

    Just be mindful of output ratios, these varied between years and there are charts around somewhere or other that'll tell you what box can go with what diff. Also, later boxes switched gender on the front axle splines at one point. A wrecker should be able to get you the right box.

    When you do the math add your time into the equation and see what comes out.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    ALSO- UGH!!! Im slapping myself in the face for not having mentioned this from the very first thing... MY WRX HAS A POLY KIT from energy suspension.. Yes, the Diff, TRANNY, and most suspension parts are upgraded to Polyurethane kit- in cherry red. I did that because AZ has just ravaged the rubber components and they were all so dry and brittle it was ridiculous. So all of my mounts in the drivetrain have been recently refreshed and upgraded. the diff lockdown and Group N tranny were applied.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cactus_Magnet View Post
    ALSO- UGH!!! Im slapping myself in the face for not having mentioned this from the very first thing... MY WRX HAS A POLY KIT from energy suspension.. Yes, the Diff, TRANNY, and most suspension parts are upgraded to Polyurethane kit- in cherry red. I did that because AZ has just ravaged the rubber components and they were all so dry and brittle it was ridiculous. So all of my mounts in the drivetrain have been recently refreshed and upgraded. the diff lockdown and Group N tranny were applied.
    This complicates things a bit for two opposed reasons: I'd expect more NVH from the bushings and mounts, which could explain the gearbox whine you hear (to some extent; I don't know if it's entirely "normal" and it may not be) on the one hand; on the other hand the diff is now more suspect in my view.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    This complicates things a bit for two opposed reasons: I'd expect more NVH from the bushings and mounts, which could explain the gearbox whine you hear (to some extent; I don't know if it's entirely "normal" and it may not be) on the one hand; on the other hand the diff is now more suspect in my view.
    Yeah, the diff Is tight on the outside, but the inside seem sloppy and loose. The gears are so worn that I can make them slap against each other just by turning the wheel of the car by hand while up in the air on a lift. to me this is saying that they are way too worn and beginning to slip out of sync under torque.

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