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This is a discussion on 09 wrx clutch problems! within the Transmission & AWD forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Originally Posted by MagnumXL I'm on a trip in Canada right now with my new '11 WRX and passed my ...

  1. #181
    Registered User 2.0Rs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnumXL View Post
    I'm on a trip in Canada right now with my new '11 WRX and passed my 1000 break-in awhile back (now at over 1200 miles, but given the insane gas prices in Canada, I'm still going easy and getting maybe 25mpg on average at the moment). The car has been fine and felt normal...until I got back to the hotel and I backed up into a parking space that was on a slight grade. I was being careful since it was a little tight there, but even so the whole operation took maybe 20 seconds going slow. Right as I stopped I got a whiff of some acrid smell that I'm guessing was the clutch burning. It disappeared pretty fast, but I've never smelled anything like that in 18 years of owning nothing but manuals including an '04 WRX right before this car until 80k miles (absolutely no trouble with it at all). I never even had a clutch change on any of those three cars I owned and I had two to about 130k miles (on the original clutches!).

    Now I'm not saying that a slight smell is going to mean the clutch is going to suddenly start slipping or anything, but I do find it a little odd backing into a very slight grade would even cause a smell. It's not like I was gunning it or anything, just very low power backing up disengaging the clutch here and there a bit while I maneuvered so I wouldn't fly into one of the cars if the angle was off a bit. In 18 years of manual driving, it's not like I've never had to drive in heavy traffic jams where you are constantly slipping the clutch to ease forward because I have and it never burned up a clutch or even created a smell.

    This car is still brand new so I don't know if there could be a outer coating it's still heating through or not (I've never had a new car before; the last WRX was 2 years old when I got it so I've smelled a few odd smells as coatings have been burning off other parts, especailly the first couple of weeks).

    But I have to say after reading all 12 pages of this thread, I'm feeling a little uneasy. I didn't buy this car to race, but I sure as hell didn't buy it to drive like a Chevette either. After 18 years of zero clutch issues (other than a preexisting issue with the first car the first 9 months that wasn't a worn disc), I normally feel very confident driving a manual, but I'm seeing way too many people with similar experience having their '09 series clutch fry up WAY before it ever should. My uncle told me he rode his clutch on his Honda accord all the time and still wasn't having any issues at 120k miles. Burning a clutch up in 12k miles is a little like saying you burned your brake pads up in 6 months. It just shouldn't happen unless you're abusing the living hell out of it.

    Comments by RS aside (that dude has some serious arrogance issues and working at a dealer, an incredibly biased one at that; I felt like flaming the living crap out of him every time he told almost every single person on here personally they don't know how to drive. I left NASIOC because of people like that...overbearing condescending know-it-alls that insult everyone they talk to like they're talking to 2-year olds that just crapped on the rug), there are too many drivers having too many low mile problems. Even a relatively 'bad habit' driver should expect 35-40k miles out of a clutch, IMO. I rev-match all the time and I assumed that's why my clutches have lasted well over 100k. I did some good starts on the '04 WRX (~4k rpm at times, but never 5k or 6k) and putting well over 40k on a car that already had 36k when I bought it on the original clutch, it wasn't slipping in the slightest when I traded it in at 80k for this '11.

    What it comes down to is this car isn't a freaking Cavalier RS or a base model Civic. It's a performance car that is meant to be driven as one. That doesn't mean abusing the living hell out of it, but it doesn't mean babying it either. The last thing I want is to worry about my clutch every time I get into the car. That kills the enjoyment of it and I bought it to enjoy it. I can safely say that if this clutch goes before the 3/36 is up, I will sell it and never buy a WRX ever again because to me that means there's a serious defect and Subaru isn't even acknowledging it, let alone doing something to fix it in future model years. And don't tell me that doesn't happen. That's a crock of BS. It was well known the cat in front of the turbo on the '04 could break up as it got older and destroy the turbo (doesn't happen all the time, but it did happen enough to show up on forums) and when I asked my dealer about it, they never even heard of such a thing. Of course they didn't. They don't want to cover it if it breaks. It's a wear part. That means it MUST be the user's fault if something breaks except that's a crock of BS when it comes to defects or stupid designs (and putting a cat in front of a turbo IS stupid, especially when it was only for cold starts of all things. Notice how they got rid of it in future years...swept under the rug, IMO).

    The bottom line is that no one who's been driving a stick for over 10 years (e.g. 18 here including a previous WRX for 5 years) without ever burning up a clutch should be told they need to learn how to drive. That is just asinine.

    I haven't seen a bunch of '10 or '11 clutch complaints yet, but they're also newer vehicles (I would think the '10s would have started showing by now if they had the same issue as the '09), but that smell backing up doesn't give me a good feeling at all.
    Flame away. I find your comment about the wrx being meant to be driven as one but hey just don't abuse it is kinda comical. Pick one side and stick to it. You either have fun with it or you beat on it. And when I think of a real performance car that would be an sti. That would be like someone complaining that they had horrible brake fade on a road course in their wrx when it's not even the track model. Big deal you smelled some burning clutch when backing up....live with it. You obviously didn't let out the clutch in proper fashion when backing up a hill. These things happen.

    Again this always brings me back to when the evo first came out and eveyone were blasting through clutches in less then 10k. I know my buddy never launched the car and his clutch lasted close to 75k with 50 or them running 300 whp. Some people can drive some can't. Burn up your clutch replace it with a better one. It's that simple.

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  3. #182
    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barefootdesigns View Post
    Magnum, you're very right about one absolute thing--that the clutch is not burning out in any normal way, being a precipitous loss. I've been driving MT's for 50 years (GADS!) and I've never lost a clutch, ever! Got 235K on the last one, an Accord that was driven a good bit harder than my WRX since my teenage son raced it on dirt roads, etc. Whatever it is, SOA needs to address it and help us or lose our loyalty forever. This is my third Subie and my husband owns a Forrester XT. The Forrester has more "solid" steering than my WRX and I wish mine were as nice--just a bit squirrely at speed, even with great tires. They say they can't tighten the steering up any. What CAN they do?
    They? Not much, but you change your sways and end links and it takes that wandery feeling out. Granted, this does get away from the mfr taking responsibility for oddities.. but.. none of them do, some are just worse than others.
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  4. #183
    Registered User MagnumXL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2.0Rs View Post
    Flame away. I find your comment about the wrx being meant to be driven as one but hey just don't abuse it is kinda comical. Pick one side and stick to it.
    Define abuse and maybe I'd have a clue WTF you're talking about. According to you, these are tanks and everyone on here sits at a red light and just burns through the clutch like a moron and then comes on here and whines the one-armed man did it and you tell them how lousy a driver they are and how great Subaru makes clutches and YOU would know about it if there was something going on because the CEO personally would call you up and let you know. No, they'd never quietly fix something like the cat before turbo and admit it was a bad design.

    You either have fun with it or you beat on it. And when I think of a real performance car that would be an sti. That would be like someone complaining that they had horrible brake fade on a road course in their wrx when it's not even the track model. Big deal you smelled some burning clutch when backing up....live with it. You obviously didn't let out the clutch in proper fashion when backing up a hill. These things happen.
    It was hardly what I'd call a hill, more like a slight incline. Of course I didn't let it out in proper fashion. I'm a moron and don't know how to drive a manual after 18 years. I should have backed that baby up at 5mph into that tight spot like a pro and never feathered the clutch at all to either keep it from going too fast or stalling. I shouldn't be cautious around other people's vehicles in a new car or anything. Funny how backing into inclined parking spots on my '04 WRX doing the same thing never created a smell. But I guess it did and I didn't smell it since I obviously did something wrong. 1500-2000 RPM is way too much throttle for a WRX clutch to handle so it burned. I should have known better. I'll be sure and just let it out at idle next time and when it won't go backwards up the incline, I'll just get out and push instead rather than give it gas and risk having to disengage the clutch again.

    Hell, I don't even know for sure that was the clutch I was smelling. It sure as hell doesn't smell like anything I've smelled before (sure as hell didn't smell like a hot brake type smell) and it was gone in 5 seconds. I'm making an assumption based on the most logical conclusion. The car is driving fine today.

    Again this always brings me back to when the evo first came out and eveyone were blasting through clutches in less then 10k. I know my buddy never launched the car and his clutch lasted close to 75k with 50 or them running 300 whp. Some people can drive some can't. Burn up your clutch replace it with a better one. It's that simple.
    I've NEVER burned up a clutch (and neither have several of the people in this thread until their '09 died under 20k, some under 10k) and that's the whole damn point. Are they suddenly horrible drivers or is there something off here? Unlike you, I would not automatically blame the driver given the circumstances (i.e. Why only '09 models and why are so many experienced drivers having the problem?)
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    Some people can drive some can't. Burn up your clutch replace it with a better one. It's that simple.
    God has spoken! Pray tell how does one drive a MT for 50 years (including the hills of San Francisco) without EVER going through a clutch, and then suddenly become a bad driver?

    Simple? I think one could say that about your opinion, but not the problem.

  6. #185
    Registered User Willard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2.0Rs View Post
    Something with you doesn't add up. Here is from a broken trans thread.







    So the shuddering annoyed you so you took it to the dealer to have them look at it and claimed they dropped the trans to just inspect the clutch? Sorry man we don't just drop the trans to inspect the clutch. But you have them check that issue out and say nothing about your car supposedly grinding every gear? They would have rebuilt that trans if that were the case when they test drove the vehicle to verify your problem.
    Think the TOB was reseated. Double clutching, poor pedal engagment, grinding, all symptoms of a TOB. Regardless of what was done, its back to normal after a trip to the dealer. Happy enough until I turn it in after the lease.
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  7. #186
    Registered User 2.0Rs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willard View Post
    Think the TOB was reseated. Double clutching, poor pedal engagment, grinding, all symptoms of a TOB. Regardless of what was done, its back to normal after a trip to the dealer. Happy enough until I turn it in after the lease.
    Glad you got it all fixed up.

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    2010 Clutch Denial of Warranty

    Just got the call from the dealer that my warranty claim is being denied. They said that they would "Goodwill" half of the repair costs....

    My story, for whomever cares to read: This is my 4th stick shift car - I'm just not an automatic kind of guy.

    I learned on a '79 Chevy Camaro, sold it at about 190k miles.

    I had one clutch replaced in my '05 (think thats the year) Scion TC as I totally wrecked that car. that was after 60k miles. When you're learning you make some mistakes.

    Moved up from the Scion to a 350Z (Man I loved that car). Street Raced a little and learned how to "Clutchless" shift on this car. No issues until the day I sold it. Got 75k miles out of it.

    Time for the WRX... picked it up last year because I needed a backseat (just had a baby girl and needed the extra room but I dont drive minivans) I loved the car - that is, until I hit 12k miles and the clutch started slipping. I had to drive it for 4 days slipping because we all gotta get to work right? I brought it in on Monday and they called then and say they have to take it apart and that a SOA rep had to come out to look at it but my tire tread looked good so I'll probably be ok. They just called today - Wed. and said that it's denied. They also said they have never seen an '09 or '10 model come in with any clutch problems. Really??? I mean, come on man, maybe they don't sell a lot of cars lol. Anyhow, they now want $650 to put my car back together so I can have a real mechanic replace the clutch.

    I started the SOA elevation process to see what they want to say about it, but this will be the last Subaru I own.

  9. #188
    Registered User MagnumXL's Avatar
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    Well, I hate to say it, but there's your first indication on here that the 2010 clutch isn't any different from the 2009 clutch. You just don't have a ton of people that reached the 10-25k mile range where most of them seem to be failing. Given Subaru has never acknowledged the problem, that means that the 2011 WRX probably isn't any different and they will have an above average number of early clutch failures as well.

    I get the feeling just from backing out of my own driveway on a few occasions where I get a quick whiff of an odd smell (probably clutch burn) that these newer 'organic' clutches simply wear much more easily than an asbestos lined clutch and that instead of getting 120k miles, you'd be lucky to get 30k unless you never slip it even a little. Hell, I used to slip my '04 clutch all the time (to defeat that long wait between 1st and 2nd) and take off at 4500RPM (to stay out of turbo lag on the launch) probably once a day and I had over 80k on it when I traded it an it wasn't slipping one bit. This thread shows way too many people have clutch problems just driving their car relatively normally without any hard launches or intentional slipping, etc. I smell a class action lawsuit. I really do. I know I won't put up with a POS clutch on a $30k car. I mean what good does it do to have Subaru replace the clutch even under warranty? They're just putting yet another clutch that will fail within 10-30k miles on the thing and then cha-ching, it's time for another clutch. If I had to pay for the clutch myself, I'd be damn well getting a 3rd party clutch replacement. The Subaru one appears to be a total POS.
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  10. #189
    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnumXL View Post
    these newer 'organic' clutches simply wear much more easily than an asbestos lined clutch and that instead of getting 120k miles, you'd be lucky to get 30k unless you never slip it even a little.
    Thats funny, I've got 55,8XX mi on my 2010 right now.. its never been side stepped or drag strip launched but I drive quite aggressively and my clutch works exactly the same as the day I brought the car home. Perfectly. I'm quite sure it'll last for quite a while longer too. So, if the subaru is such a pos how would one describe my situation?

    I was lucky?.. I got the fluke? .. nah, I dont think so. I'll leave it at that though, dont want to insult anyone.
    Last edited by mangostick; 08-03-2011 at 11:33 AM.
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    Moderator rage-wrx's Avatar
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    When I bought the car I was assured that the clutch was covered for 3 yrs/36000 miles.And I have a warranty package that covers the clutch fior 7 years/70,000 miles.After all these posts on clutch claim denials,I'm beginning to wonder what exactly it is that they cover.

    Not that its an issue for me at the moment,but I see something like this happening to me down the road.I have plenty of experience with manual cars but I did get the occasional burnt clutch smell last winter while trying to get the car out of snow.

    I'd rather just install a new clutch myself instead of paying the dealer to tell me that he can't cover my clutch & asking me to pay to put the car back together.
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    ...until I got back to the hotel and I backed up into a parking space that was on a slight grade. I was being careful since it was a little tight there, but even so the whole operation took maybe 20 seconds going slow. Right as I stopped I got a whiff of some acrid smell that I'm guessing was the clutch burning.
    MAGNUMXL

    MAGNUMXL, that is exactly what I got early on with my car, backing up a slight incline, the awful smell (something like sulfur, but worse, far stinkier) and then I lost my tranny (suddenly) after 24K miles! Considering that I've been driving a stick for 50 years and never had a clutch problem, that is unacceptable. Being told that I don't know how to drive, here and at the dealer's, really fried my circuits. I hope your smell isn't a sign of early failure, but it doesn't sound good. So far my new clutch hasn't done that, but I spent 1K breaking it in VERY CAREFULLY and I now drive it like that Chevelle. Curses on Subaru! Where is that class-action law suit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rage-wrx View Post
    When I bought the car I was assured that the clutch was covered for 3 yrs/36000 miles.And I have a warranty package that covers the clutch fior 7 years/70,000 miles.After all these posts on clutch claim denials,I'm beginning to wonder what exactly it is that they cover.
    I know this story all too well. I had it happen with my last car (granted it was a Hyundai). I had to pay out of pocket $1,700 for a clutch/flywheel replacement. Well what do you know, 3 years later a payout from a Class Action Lawsuit stated that Hyundai used malformed clutch components and I got 100% reimbursement:

    class action lawsuit for 03 tiburon? - Page 6 - New Tiburon Forum : Hyundai Tiburon Forums

    I was happy in the end, but I don't want to go through that again. It was a lot of cash to cough up all at once. I'm glad to see that 3 year/36,000 mile warranty will cover clutch linings though (allegedly). Here's hoping I never have to file that claim!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rage-wrx View Post
    When I bought the car I was assured that the clutch was covered for 3 yrs/36000 miles.And I have a warranty package that covers the clutch fior 7 years/70,000 miles.After all these posts on clutch claim denials,I'm beginning to wonder what exactly it is that they cover.

    Not that its an issue for me at the moment,but I see something like this happening to me down the road.I have plenty of experience with manual cars but I did get the occasional burnt clutch smell last winter while trying to get the car out of snow.

    I'd rather just install a new clutch myself instead of paying the dealer to tell me that he can't cover my clutch & asking me to pay to put the car back together.
    I guess to elaborate more, and I know this is a stupid move on my part, but the salesman told me that if the clutch were to go (my fault or theirs) that it was covered in the first 3 years and I believed him. He is a salesman and I was an idiot... simply put.

    Also, I wish I could just have them put the car back together and put in my own clutch.... but they want $650 to just put it back together - Noone told me there would be a potential cost, WTF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mangostick View Post
    Thats funny, I've got 55,8XX mi on my 2010 right now.. its never been side stepped or drag strip launched but I drive quite aggressively and my clutch works exactly the same as the day I brought the car home. Perfectly. I'm quite sure it'll last for quite a while longer too. So, if the subaru is such a pos how would one describe my situation?

    I was lucky?.. I got the fluke? .. nah, I dont think so. I'll leave it at that though, dont want to insult anyone.
    Could it be a climate or regional issue? I mean, I have no idea what kind of clutch they use, organic, asbestos, whatever. Maybe the organic ones don't last too well in the subzero cold that we get here? Who knows? (I'm sure someone will tell me soon enough). I dont think that Subaru makes POS products, but their customer service doesnt need to take it out on the little guys, I mean... I love my car, with a new clutch it will last me a very long time... it just sucks.

  16. #195
    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    they should have informed you up front that there would be a cost associated with re-assembly. What I would do in your spot though is get your own clutch and have them install for $650.. since they're going to charge you that anyway to put it back together why not have em slam in the clutch of your choice while they're at it?

    My car has seen travel from central fl to Castine ME .. all types of weather. Last year I spent xmas in Upstate NY with average temps in the high teens. It has not been babied since 1001 miles .. I'm not a "slipper" though.. often I come off the line not higher than 1500rpm and rev match just about every downshift. Maybe my driving habits have helped but .. dunno.. All I can say is that they're not ALL failing early. Why or how I cant pin down.
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