09 wrx clutch problems! - Page 16
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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; Got a brief whiff of clutch burn today just slowly backing out of a parking space. Apparently, all it takes ...

  1. #226
    Registered User MagnumXL's Avatar
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    Got a brief whiff of clutch burn today just slowly backing out of a parking space. Apparently, all it takes is feathering twice with the throttle jumping up for very brief moment to 3k (don't wear new shoes in this thing, you might burn your clutch up as you readjust! )

    That never happened on any of my previous cars including an '04 WRX. I'm thinking that new organic clutch material burns at a MUCH lower temperature than the old asbestos lined clutches, although frankly I'm not sure what material my '04 had on it. I just know I never smelled it the entire 4.5 years I had the car (although I did get it at 36k so it was already broken in, but I probably launched that '04 at around 4k about once a day on average and had zero issues) and I don't recall smelling anything on any of the prior 4 cars I had. I've been assuming that it's the organic material that is different on this car.

    A little searching turned up this:

    http://www.ramclutches.com/Clutch%20.../chapter_3.htm

    "ORGANIC - Organic material is common to all stock clutch discs, and offers the best drivability but has limitations as operating temperatures rise. Under high loads accompanied by slippage, they fade because their coefficient of friction drops off. In addition, at high RPM and high temperature they tend to fail structurally."
    Notice the bit about structural failure at high RPM/temp. That kind of sounds like some of the stories I've read on here about sudden catastrophic clutch failure while driving (i.e. usually you expect it to start slipping and just get worse, not suddenly fail and have to pull off the road). If the clutch were even slightly engaged at high speeds over a long period of time, it could heat up fast and flat out fail. I can't help but wonder about the design being used, if there's some kind of weak point beyond just the material.
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  3. #227
    Registered User Undead's Avatar
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    Sorry for the noob ? but how does one burn their clutch? All it takes is reving the engine with the clutch pedal depressed down?

  4. #228
    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Undead View Post
    Sorry for the noob ? but how does one burn their clutch? All it takes is reving the engine with the clutch pedal depressed down?
    Too much slippage will burn a clutch. Riding the clutch pedal, too much throttle on start off.. there are literally hundreds of ways to ace a clutch but the bottom line is too much slip/heat will kill a clutch. More you slip the more heat is generated..

    too much slip is bad mmmkaaay
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  5. #229
    Registered User Undead's Avatar
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    Wow, okay, thank you so much, I know it's a noob question, I've just never owned a manual car before, only driven other people's. Makes me want to go SUPER easy on the clutch, my '05 Suby has 87,XXX Miles, I don't know if the clutch has ever been replaced... is it safe to say it probably has after that many miles?

  6. #230
    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    practice= less slip.. the more you drive the better you'll be about controlling throttle application and working the clutch. These cars have a odd bite point anyway and tend to be a bit tougher to learn. Even for experienced manual drivers these can be tricky. The goal is to be as smooth as possible with as little slip as possible. It just takes practice.

    That said.. I'm thinking what we've found in this thread is that there might be a possible adjustment issue on the new cars that no one seems to be talking about. Allowing the clutch to slip while the pedal is all the way up. Thus causing premature failures. That and the factory clutch material on the new cars being of lesser quality than really should be there for the application.

    Either way personally I've not had any clutch issues and just clicked over 64K mi on my 2010.
    OBP 2010 5dr *traded*
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  7. #231
    Registered User Undead's Avatar
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    Okay okay, so another noob question, when your shifting and you get some slight jerking, is that bad for the clutch? bad for anything? It seems pretty damn hard to NEVER get any jerking while shifting...

  8. #232
    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    might be bad for your neck...lol.. but no shouldn't be bad for the clutch specifically. A jerk means your not slipping.. however that shock IS transmitted through the driveline. Probably not great for trans/axles/diffs long term but as long as its not a violent snap your head off jerk it should be fine. I still get a slight bump now and then on 1-2 shifts..

    again.. practice will make perfect. The more you drive the car you'll get a feel for the gap in rpm needed between gears to make shifting smooth.
    OBP 2010 5dr *traded*
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  9. #233
    Registered User Undead's Avatar
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    Thank you so so much! I love this forum, and I love my Suby, so I want to make sure I do everything I can to make it last forever!

  10. #234
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    Between gears, if you can rev-match (i.e. match the engine speed to the gear you're shifting into), you shouldn't get any "jerk" what-so-ever. This takes some practice getting used to, but I can drive mine now so if you're a passenger you wouldn't even know I changed gears (much smoother than even a modern automatic). There's almost no wear on those types of shifts either. To do it smoothly without rev-matching, you need to slip the clutch to keep the transmission from jerking. This puts wear on the clutch. However, it's just a tiny bit (think of the clutch as similar to a brake pad; breaking a little bit doesn't wear it much at all; it's the cumulative breaking over long periods of time that wears them down).

    This is why if you're good at driving a stick, you can get a lot of miles out of a clutch. I sold my ProbeGT with 140k miles on the original clutch and it was still grabbing just fine. I've heard of people getting over 200k on a clutch before so you can't make assumptions based on the mileage. It's very driver dependent. An 'average' driver might get 60-80k out of a clutch. A poor driver might get 30-60k out of a clutch and a bad driver could burn one up in 20k or less if they're trying to drive 'hard/fast' without knowing how to work the thing properly. Some of the Subarus in this and other threads have burned up a clutch in 2k-12k mile range and that's not normal even for a poor driver (although a guy at work told me about someone he knew that raced and burned rubber all the time going through about one clutch a month on average, which is ridiculous, IMO).

    I'm wondering with this 'smell' I'm getting if there could be something else going on. I only ever smell it in reverse and I read in at least one thread something about a loose dipstick and reverse and a tad of oil burning instead making an odd smell. It sounded crazy to me, but it does make me wonder if it's more than just clutch burn. I've gotten the smell on three out of four occasions where I absolutely should not have been able to burn the clutch even a little I was going so slow and the smell didn't linger at all, it disappeared within 3 seconds (most clutch burn stories I've read about talk about the smell hanging around for at least several minutes to hours in some cases). OTOH, organic clutches apparently "stink" easier/faster when they heat up than other materials, so it may not indicate all that much for a brief whiff. When I test drove it, I took off like a bat out of hell (like I did all the time on my '04) and even then I got not smell what-so-ever in forward (i.e. probably the only time I've "launched" this car at over 3k RPM). I sure as heck never got any smells in my '04 and I feathered the clutch backing up all the time and launched at 4500 RPM probably at least once a day for 5 years with zero clutch issues when I traded it at just over 80k miles. So I don't want to draw too many conclusions.

    I figure if the clutch fails, I'm going to get either a Kevlar or Carbon-Carbon replacement and then I shouldn't have to worry about it ever again with those materials. Organic compounds just don't seem that great, but might vary by 'recipe' and manufacturer as well. They don't take high heat very well from what I read and can outright 'fail' with too much heat and stink early so I don't know that they belong on a high performance vehicle. Subaru probably should have went with Kevlar or Carbon-Carbon, especially on the STI. Those can take abuse (Kevlar can chatter a bit at low speeds, though, which some people don't like).
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  11. #235
    Registered User Undead's Avatar
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    ANOTHER question, my friend goes from being in gear to neutral WITHOUT pressing in the clutch, does everyone do that? Is it bad for the transmission?

  12. #236
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    If the rpm is matched and there isn't any load on the gears then yes you can slide them out.. however if there is any load on the gears either going or slowing you should use the clutch. Again comes down to rev-matching. No load, no risk of damage.. but to be safe you should use the clutch.

    I've had vehicles that I could literally go up and down through the gears without using the clutch. Just by rev matching .. however the subaru trans is NOT suited well to do that. The ratio gaps are too far apart and they're kinda notchy to begin with.
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  13. #237
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    Hey, thanks! I'm learning so much about my Subaru.

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    It's fairly straightforward to shift without a clutch, you have to time the shift with the lift off, then match revs and shift into gear. No real point to it though unless you have a sequential box.

    Speaking of horrible stock clutches, I just replaced mine. It was an '08 with 60k miles. I bought the car used and I guessed that it had been abused. It had a really odd pedal feel, which was really heavy and didn't have any definitive engagement. The Exedy stage 1 that's in it now has a lighter pedal. Which seems odd.

  15. #239
    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    that and these cars really dont like to cooperate. Sure you can do it, but damn its a pain. Hopefully I never loose my clutch and have to get it home clutchless. (which I have had to do in the past with an old Jeep )
    OBP 2010 5dr *traded*
    SWP 2013 FRS
    My name is Shawn, I'm a Devout Practicalist and I'm addicted to flat4's
    This page has had 1,666 visits
    SUCH IS MANGO!

  16. #240
    Registered User MagnumXL's Avatar
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    I'm starting to think my clutch is feeling better as time goes on, if anything. I think it's simply too grabby when it's new. I haven't had any stalling issues for a few weeks now and no smells either. Hopefully, that's all it was.
    2011 WRX Limited DGM Sedan - SPT Catback - SPT STS + Kartboy Bushings - 3M Clear Bra

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