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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; So I spoke with Rick (Pozniak I presume) - He wasn't willing to work with me that much. He told ...

  1. #211
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    So I spoke with Rick (Pozniak I presume) - He wasn't willing to work with me that much. He told me that he trusted his field tech's and would't cover the damage. Since he knew we were going to buy a forester he told me he would be sure to comp the difference of the clutch when we were ready to buy. Here is the best part. They told me that it would still cost me to put my car back together ($525 - or something close to that) they said I signed the work order form and they dont have to notify me when they do things out of warranty. Anyhow, I threatened lawyer and they didn't care. I get a call back from Rick 5 minutes later saying they will put the car back together for no charge... Now wait, the cost to repair the car would be around $547 but they just comped $525 worth of work? lol I guess they don't teach good business practice at Subaru as I would have been purchasing a new Forester next month and would probably have been a repeat buyer.... so much for that. I also think I talked a few people out of buying Subaru. Do they know that equals some thousands of dollars in their pockets? Oh well... time to go put my Spec clutch in....

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    Another forum user, with another clutch issue- please read completely before flaming me for my driving habits. I'm posting to look for ideas, not to be told what a horrible driver I am (Subaru has done quite a good job of that already)

    Got the 2009 WRX Certified Pre-Owned with 24k miles on it. All oil changes (with the exception of 2 oil changes that I did myself) and regular service checks have been done by the dealership where I bought the car, GO Subaru Arapahoe in Aurora, CO.

    I drove the car for about year with no issues at all. Drove it fast, but not hard. I prefer to take off easy, then let the turbo do its job (I'll admit, it did its job a lot), but I know from research that dumping the clutch is a very bad idea on an AWD vehicle, as the tires don't spin and the clutch/tranny absorb the excess torque instead. At about 36k, the clutch started slipping. I brought it in, clutch was just barely over the 3/36k warranty, and they covered it under warranty. While in there, they found noise coming from the rear differential, and replaced that as well (also under warranty).

    About 8 months later, clutch starts to slip again. I bring it in, and I'm told that while it is slipping slightly (in their words 'under extreme stress with turbo fully engage'), it wasn't enough to warrant a replacement yet. They told me to bring it back when it got worse, and it would be covered under warranty. Keep in mind that the car was also in to get new tires, which took 2 days to get in. During their 'test runs' it was on it's spare, and I doubt that they took it on the highway at all. I go and pick it up, drove about 7 miles and 15minutes up the highway, clutch slipping at the high end of each gear, and the clutch went out completely- left me on the side of the highway waiting for a tow truck. It was so gone that I had to coast off the side of the highway, and could not even move it for the tow driver to hook it up easier. Get it towed, and I call the service manager the next day. He tells me that there was no way that they were going to cover it under warranty because he had never seen a clutch go out so quickly- it was obviously driver abuse. He basically accused me of driving all the way up the highway with the E-Brake on and dumping the clutch every quater mile. After a very heated argument, in which the service manager completely lost his temper and any sense of professional composure, he finally tells me that he is actually waiting to hear back from SOA regarding warranty, and the decision really wasn't up to him after all.

    I contact SOA via email, and I get a call back telling me it will be covered under 'good will' 2 hours later. That was on 8/1/11, @ 48k miles. 28 days and about 2k miles later, the engine starts knocking. Bring it in on 8/29/11, and I'm told the entire engine will probably have to be replaced. A full month of waiting to hear from SOA regarding the warranty passed, and they call me to tell me they have to do a full break-down on the engine to find the problem. BUT if the warranty is denied after the break-down, I will be responsible for $1,300 in labor charges! Despite the potential risk, I know that I have done nothing to the car to void the warranty, and I tell them to go ahead and do it. 2 days later, I get a call saying that during the break-down, they looked at the clutch, and it's gone again, and has to be replaced- they will put it in for warranty coveragin, but it iwll probably be denied. Still no word on the warranty claim for the engine though.

    The next day, they call to tell me that the ECU is not OEM, and the warranty is denied. I flipped out on the tech. I have not messed with the ECU- EVER. I'll admit I looked into it, but I found in my research that a) it would void the factory, as well as my extended warranty; b) increase the stress on the engine, potentially leading to expensive issues later; c) It would require significant investments into other parts to properly tune the car to match the modded ECU; and e) I am not as knowledgeable as I need to be to start trying to mod and tune the car . I accused the dealer of selling me a car with a modified ECU without telling me, then voiding the warranty because of this. They tell me I need to call SOA- I'm at work at the time, and I did not get to right away. 2 hours later, dealership calls me back and tells me that there was a mistake, that it was not MY claim that was being denied, and no official determination has been made. At this point I suspect that that was actually a test of my reaction to see if I had installed access port, then re-flashed. I DID NOT. Two more days pass with no call.

    Yesterday, SOA finally makes a decision. They approve the claim on the engine (good news), but not the clutch (bad news). Now, please remember this clutch they are denying - only has 28 days and 2,000 miles on it! And I know, it's a 'wear and tear' item, subject to quick destruction by an abusive driver, and I've already had 2 replaced, so it MUST BE DRIVER ERROR. I understand where they are coming from- it looks bad regardless of what I have actually done or say.

    Now comes the part where I sound like just about all the other people on this thread with problems- flamers get your flame throwers ready:

    I have been driving nothing but MT since I was 15, and I'm 29 now, so were talking 14 years experience. (thanks for forcing me into MT Mom & Dad) 6 cars total, last one was an 09 MT Impreza. NEVER had a clutch issue, even on my 2 old Honda's which each had 175k+ on them.

    The almost-denial of coverage on the last clutch scared the living hell out of me. I have my first child coming in January- I am tight on cash in a bad way. I knew that I could not afford to replace another clutch anytime soon, and I knew my warranty would be denied if it went out. I drove the first 1k on the clutch without ever going above 5k RMP. Very minimal turbo engagement, only when by accident. Even after 1k, I still continued to drive like a little old lady. So paranoid, it has no longer become fun to drive my car. I really used to enjoy driving, now it's just a stressful experience that I avoid as much as possible. Actually passed on a camping trip with my family because I did not want to drive the new clutch in the mountains. It is my family's only car, used as a DD drivng just to and from work. So if it goes out, I am really screwed

    I even spent a full day doing nothing but researching how to drive an AWD MT on the internet, watching videos, just trying to find if I am doing something wrong. I'm willing to swallow my pride adjust the way I drive. But I found NOTHING different from what I have been doing. Let the clutch out easy, don't over rev the engine on take-off, rev-match as much as possible when down-shifting. If anyone can point me someplace to learn more- please do! But at this point, I'm 99.99% confident that the issue is not me- something else has to be going on here.

    How does a clutch go out after only 28 days of extra-easy driving on 2k miles? The shop is willing to replace the clutch for just the cost of the parts ($750), since it's already pulled out. Their even willing to install an after-market clutch for free if I bring one in. While this is going to be a dent in my wallet, I can afford the replacement clutch. My reason for posting is it not to whine and moan about the warranty being denied- at this point I look at it from there perspective and just accept the cost. But, I am sure that something is going on here that is causing the issues, and as I said before, I'm very confident that it is not sitting in the driver seat. I can afford to fix it now, but I cannot afford to keep replacing the clutch every 2-10k miles. I also cannot afford to sell the car as I am upside-down on the loan. And the Subaru tech, while being very friendly and polite (nothing like the service manager I dealt with before), does not seem to believe me when I say that something else is going on.

    I looked into aftermarket clutches, but I'm sure that is a bad idea. Whatever is killing the clutch, might end up killing the transmission instead if I put something stronger in- then I'm really screwed- I'm sure the aftermarket clutch would void the transmission warranty. I'm also not thinking it's poor-quality clutch's that they are putting in. There would be so many more people with problems out there if it was a manufacturing issue with the clutch itself. So- that leaves me with what else? I'm not an expert on cars- knowledgeable and willing to Google, but not a tuner/modder/gearhead. I'd like some ideas as to what else could be causing a clutch issue. I'm need to put together a list of items to ask the shop to look at. I saw mentioned earlier to look at the clutch release bearings. Any other ideas?

  4. #213
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    Wow man... I finally went out and purchased an aftermarket clutch and flywheel. I wound up getting an exedy Stage 2 clutch and a SPEC Aluminum flywheel and had my friends trans shop put it in. I don't know if it is because it's a stage 2 or not, but the clutch is definitely tighter and I had to re-learn how to drive lol.

    I had 'clutch shudder' if that's what you call it for the first 50 miles or so, but that went away and the car seems to be working a whole lot better. I do get a rattle every now and then when downshifting but am told that happens sometimes with the aluminum flywheel and that it should go away after it heats up, which it does.

    The entire job with $500 of labor cost was around $1300, but I have put on a 1000 or so miles and would rather do that and have a working clutch then to have the same non-warrantied crap that Subaru wanted me to have put in.

    I haven't gone through the higher level complaint process with Subaru yet because I have been busy, but I have spoken with a few lawyers about getting a lawsuit together. It was funny actually, because one of my friends represents Subaru in some of these cases and said they fight hard and bring in a bunch of Subject matter experts. I'm a little reluctant to start spending money on something they will probably win because they have better lawyers and have been down this road before. I am going to write to the BBB at least about my experience with the rude and ignorant people there though. I mean, in their possession they wound up denting my car, when I showed them the dent they said it was there when they got it. It sucks that there are so many jerks in the world today, and an honest guy like myself will just get walked over because I don't have money to fight them.

    On a final note, I did speak with SOA and informed them that my wife's lease was up on her car and she wanted a forester (the salesman and managers knew this before my clutch problem). He said, well... pay for the clutch replacement and I 'promise' to comp you the difference on a forester. I asked him if he could guarantee that if the forester had clutch problems that they would 'Comp' that, I'm sure you can guess his answer lol. We wound up getting a volkswagen touareg and couldn't be happier. I will wind up losing on the WRX on a trade-in, but as soon as I have a down payment I'm getting rid of it. I know there are a lot of people out there that don't have these issues and are Subaru enthusiasts, but I'm just not one of them anymore. Maybe I'll go back to my 350z - loved that car...

  5. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loopey View Post
    I looked into aftermarket clutches, but I'm sure that is a bad idea. Whatever is killing the clutch, might end up killing the transmission instead if I put something stronger in- then I'm really screwed- I'm sure the aftermarket clutch would void the transmission warranty. I'm also not thinking it's poor-quality clutch's that they are putting in. There would be so many more people with problems out there if it was a manufacturing issue with the clutch itself. So- that leaves me with what else? I'm not an expert on cars- knowledgeable and willing to Google, but not a tuner/modder/gearhead. I'd like some ideas as to what else could be causing a clutch issue. I'm need to put together a list of items to ask the shop to look at. I saw mentioned earlier to look at the clutch release bearings. Any other ideas?
    I'm more inclined to think that its an adjustment problem that's smoking the clutches. If you look under the dash where your clutch pedal is, you'll see that it actuates the master cyl just over the top of the accelerator pedal. There is a shaft there that has a jamb nut on it and its adjustable. When you let the clutch all the way up there should be a touch of play there before it engages the piston in the master cyl (it should also return all the way out to the stop) .. if its not doing either of those things it needs to be adjusted. I'm wondering if even though you've been driving the car normally something is not letting the clutch fully engage and allowing it to slip.

    Dont be afraid of a stgI aftermarket clutch.. you'll still have the driveability you need for a street car and enough more durability to handle awd and any abuse you feel like tossing at it. Esp if you're still factory tuned. But first and foremost.. check that adjustment.
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    I started the car at work today and I hear this engine "whine" sound I never heard/noticed before. It's not ridiculously loud, but it was loud enough that I noticed something new there. I push the clutch in and the sound goes away. I've heard a touch of really low volume ticking of the bearing now and again, but this whine was new. After driving to my next destination I listened in the parking lot again and it was back to that barely audible tick tick sound that sometimes you can hear slightly and sometimes you can't. Personally, I don't think a car with 4k on it should be making any throw-out bearing noise what-so-ever.

    I took the car in and told them I don't see any free play on the pedal what-so-ever at the top of the travel and they drive around in it and the mechanic tells me it's perfectly fine. They're "ALL" like that and it's just a stiff spring. I say BS. I think SOME of these cars are coming from the factory with the free play set wrong and they're slowly burning themselves up in normal use since the clutch isn't 100% engaged (probably all the more so if you're blasting the turbo all the time). I'm having a hell of a time seeing under the dash to adjust it (a mirror might help I suppose) as it's very awkward for me to get under there. Since Subaru won't try adjusting it, I'm afraid I'll have no choice but to attempt it myself. Between the odd "rattle" sound I get every time I take off in 1st gear (no it's NOT the ABS self-test as it does it every single time I take off and sometimes a bit between 1st and 2nd or when letting off the gas suddenly at high RPMs) and the throw-out bearing noise, I'm absolutely paranoid about this clutch issue. Throw in the '09 complaints and I agree 100% that it's hard to really enjoy the car when you're afraid you're going to get stuck with the bill for something they call a 'wear' item when something is set wrong from the factory. I see no signs of slipping and it still engages pretty low, but then I'm only at 4k miles. I have yet to hear of one person that gets this "rattle/clunk" sound every time they take off in 1st gear (again, apparently not the ABS thing since that supposedly only does it once and no the hill-assist isn't engaged when I hear it). They largely fixed the door rattles, but the rear deck needs adjusted (again) as it buzzes worse than ever when the temperature outside drops below 60 degrees.

    Compare this to my '04 WRX wagon that was dead quiet, didn't rattle, didn't make odd noises taking off in 1st, didn't want to stall when creeping forward and had over 80k on it when I traded it in with the clutch still feeling like new (and I DID launch that car at ~4k all the time so this idea that a single launch or two will burn up a clutch is 100% PURE BULLCRAP. Because of the threads on here, I haven't launched my '11 ONCE even and let me tell you that sort of thing does ruin your enjoyment. I never worried about a clutch one way or the other before this (well maybe the first car I ever owned) because I've never burned one up EVER and I've had 140k+ on previous cars on the original clutch). Am I sure there's something wrong? No. Should it be making throw-out bearing noises and pop can crunching sounds in 1st? I don't think so. If the clutch burns up in the next 3 years, I'll get it replaced (one way or another) and sell the car. Undiagnosed pre-existing problems that the dealer/Subaru blames on you for wear is not something anyone wants to see on cars. I had almost zero problems (just a couple of really minor things) with my last WRX for 80k miles and it's why I bought another one.
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  7. #216
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    If you want man I can get pics of that push rod for the clutch master. From what I saw when I stuck my face under there (actually I had my entire upper body under the dash..( dont ask how long it took me to get there or get out though ) It'll be really easy to adjust. I know my pedal has about an inch of play before any resistance other than the helper spring. I can feel it with my foot as well as with my hand if I get down there and mess with it. You're right there def should be "some" play at the very top of the pedal travel. Adjusting though, that should be a snap with a couple of box end wrenches.. likely between 10 and 12mm.
    Last edited by mangostick; 10-07-2011 at 08:51 AM.
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    I wouldn't mind seeing a picture of it. I still think I might need a mirror to adjust it or maybe I could get my short friend at work to get under there (we're both industrial machine mechanics/electronic technicians, but he's worked on his own cars a lot more than me having kept his Eclipse for 220k miles). He just finally bought a 3-year old BMW 328i, but only drives it to work when it's perfectly sunny out and is apparently going to drive the Eclipse in the winter instead.
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    And the Academy Award this year for "Thread with the longest posts ever that you can't read because you get so sick of them goes to..........."

    09 wrx clutch problems!

    <polite clapping>
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    Quote Originally Posted by teflon_jones View Post
    And the Academy Award this year for "Thread with the longest posts ever that you can't read because you get so sick of them goes to..........."

    09 wrx clutch problems!

    <polite clapping>
    I have decided to take the day off tomorrow just to read all this.
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    Ooh,hang on. That is the throb of a turbocharged flat four engine. A sound which,all over the world,heralds the imminent arrival of a moron - JC.

  11. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnumXL View Post
    I wouldn't mind seeing a picture of it. I still think I might need a mirror to adjust it or maybe I could get my short friend at work to get under there (we're both industrial machine mechanics/electronic technicians, but he's worked on his own cars a lot more than me having kept his Eclipse for 220k miles). He just finally bought a 3-year old BMW 328i, but only drives it to work when it's perfectly sunny out and is apparently going to drive the Eclipse in the winter instead.
    could always pull the drivers seat (takes an all of 5 min) and lay down a shop blanket for some cushion.. I imagine would be pretty comfy. lol I just shoved the seat all the way back and squashed myself in there. Not great for the neck/back but hey.. I might be over 30 but I'm not old.. yet...
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    Quote Originally Posted by mangostick View Post
    could always pull the drivers seat (takes an all of 5 min) and lay down a shop blanket for some cushion.. I imagine would be pretty comfy. lol I just shoved the seat all the way back and squashed myself in there. Not great for the neck/back but hey.. I might be over 30 but I'm not old.. yet...
    The question is whether adjusting something on the master cylinder is going to have any effect if the slave cylinder isn't releasing all the way. A friend at work tells me he had to adjust the default position of his slave cylinder (on an Acura I think) to get the clutch to fully engage. He seems to think I'd just be wasting my time adjusting how much play there is in the master side of things. I'm not sure if there is an adjustment by the slave cylinder, though. I thought I read somewhere it was fully self-adjusting.

    Quote Originally Posted by teflon_jones View Post
    And the Academy Award this year for "Thread with the longest posts ever that you can't read because you get so sick of them goes to..........."

    09 wrx clutch problems!

    <polite clapping>
    I've never understood why people just don't unsubscribe from threads if they don't like them rather than make sarcastic comments about them. Or perhaps you could just try skipping posts that make your brain have to work too hard to read.
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    you can start at the master end.. if that gives the feel and freeplay that you need there's no sense in going into the engine bay. Regardless, the slave cyl is located directly behind the intercooler and is very easy to get at if you need to. I didn't look very closely at it while I was in there earlier this week but I dont think there's any adjustment to be had at that end. Your subaru is not a honda product so his experience does not really apply. The system is "self adjusting" because its a hydraulic system (like your brakes.. no adjustment for pad wear). If the slave cyl is not releasing fully then it is defective.. but if that was the case you'd have a clutch master that would not fully return and you'd have MORE play at the pedal end.
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    Well, this thread just gets more and more discomforting. When they replaced my clutch for free at 24K (but very reluctantly and only after insulting me thoroughly--and they stated that the new one was the same, exact clutch as before--oops!), they assured me that they would NOT replace another clutch under warranty. So of course I'm paranoid as hell. I broke the new clutch in sooooo slowly after researching how I could drive it better, differently (nothing, that I could figure out) and now I have 6K on the new clutch and the other day I smelled that rank odor again when trying to start on a steep hill--must have beat out the stupid "hill assist" again. The thing takes about two seconds to release some times--way too long for practical driving.

    After more than 50 years of driving a stick, I am suddenly a lousy driver. Right. I got over 200K on my previous clutch (Honda Accord) and have NEVER burned out a clutch, EVER. I guess WRXs aren't made for snow or hills or normal (not commuter) stop and go like we have here in New England.

    I don't do my own auto work and have no desire to do so--that's Subaru's job. Should I have to break my extended warranty to get a clutch that works? Some choice! If it goes again, I'll guess I'll just take the loss and dump my WRX, my dream car. What a sorry state of affairs. It's sad because we were a "Subaru family" and now our confidence and loyalty have been broken. To make matters worse, the local dealership has such lousy service that we have to take our cars an hour away to get decent maintenance. SOA is crazy to ruin such customer loyalty as we once had. Pathetic.

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    Heard back from SOA. Clutch is not actually shot after all. Turns out they just noticed a couple burn marks, but it doesn't really need to be replaced. Since it was already torn out they thought it was a good idea to go ahead and do it, and save me some labor costs later on, but it's actually ok to drive now. That's just not how it was explained to me when they called me.

    Guess I just need to continue working on my shifting- burn marks this early are not a good thing (although I haven't smelled anything)

  16. #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by barefootdesigns View Post
    So of course I'm paranoid as hell.
    You're not the only one. I'm paranoid and mine is still fine (of course I'm only at 4200 miles). It just kind of takes some of the enjoyment out of it. You can't put it out of the back of your mind. These things aren't getting any cheaper for the dealer to install either. Better off at a 3rd party garage if you have to get it done and probably better off going to a racing clutch or something if the OEM model appears to have an issue (i.e. why risk it when the cost difference is negligible at a 3rd party garage relative to the dealer install prices).

    I broke the new clutch in sooooo slowly after researching how I could drive it better, differently (nothing, that I could figure out) and now I have 6K on the new clutch and the other day I smelled that rank odor again when trying to start on a steep hill--must have beat out the stupid "hill assist" again. The thing takes about two seconds to release some times--way too long for practical driving.
    I've only ever smelled anything when backing up a fairly small grade and the first two times it smelled more like Cosmoline than a clutch disc and was very close to brand new at the time so I'm not ruling out a coating of some kind given I was slipping/feathering it whereas with a normal start, I don't slip it much at all and so very little rotational wear would occur.

    If anything, I've been more concerned with how I've managed to stall this thing a half dozen times since I got it (almost never stalled the last two cars I owned for any reason), but I'm starting to think the throttle response is why I've been stalling it at very slow creeping speeds (It seems like there's sometimes a slight hesitation in the throttle when just lightly touching it and that's just enough time for the engine to stall out if you were expecting it to time out exactly at very slow speeds).

    It does seem like the clutch is noticeably stiffer than when I first got the car, though, but that could be my imagination since I have no frame for comparison except memory at this point. I still need to try adjusting the play, though. Maybe on my next day off.

    After more than 50 years of driving a stick, I am suddenly a lousy driver. Right. I got over 200K on my previous clutch (Honda Accord) and have NEVER burned out a clutch, EVER. I guess WRXs aren't made for snow or hills or normal (not commuter) stop and go like we have here in New England.
    My 2004 WRX had over 80k on it when I traded it in and I launched the thing at 4500 RPM a LOT (like once a day on average for 5 years) and the clutch still felt absolutely fine when I traded it (had 140k on the original clutch on my ProbeGT before that when I sold it and it was still going strong). So if there's a problem, it's apparently only with the newer '08+ style/design.

    In any case, I haven't launched this '11 above 3k RPM since the test drive just to be on the safe side and usually more like 2k. It kind of sucks since you definitely lose a second or two compared to launching (bringing the 0-60 time from ~5 seconds to more like 6-6.5, which isn't much different than just going to 60 from a rolling start). I've got a lot of practice from the '04 so it shouldn't wear much if you do it right, but I'm not taking any chances with the warranty unless I almost have to take off fast for some reason (emergency get out of the way thing or whatever). I just never used to really think about it since I've never burned one out, I stopped worrying about it by my 2nd car (this is my 4th).
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