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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

This is my first post (Hello!) so I'll provide a little background: I have been working on cars for a long time but this is my first foreign purchase (performance-types anyway). I have an 87 Grand National which I have done pretty much everything on... from complete engine rebuilds (3x) to the plumbing to fabbing the FMIC to the bodywork to the tranny rebuild to tuning the Accel DFI system. My brother has helped immensely and I have learned a great deal from him as street-drag cars are his profession (fabrication and engine work)... The Buick is here, if you'd like to see: http://www.prazision.com/projects/87buick/projects_87buick.html I am not new to working on cars but, like I said, am new to the WRX and foreign performance cars in general.

I just acquired an 09 WRX hatch for a decent price but have a question - I hope I can get some advice! I purchased this car to be a daily driver first and foremost but I know I will 'tinker' with it a bit. The key point, however, is the Buick is not really a streetable car. It is horrible in rain/snow and the engine really only launches hard is if I pre-spool the turbo off the transbrake. I think another 50hp or so to the WRX would do me just fine and I can enjoy a 'mild' street car that handles nicely and is moderately reliable.

In proper forum etiquette, I've searched and read many articles regarding the clutches on the WRX and the motto 'STOCK TRANNY, STOCK CLUTCH' resonates well with me. Clutches are relatively cheap and this is a good place to protect the rest of the drivetrain. So you may ask, then, what the problem is? The previous owner had apparently had an ACT 'stage 3' clutch and lightweight FW installed on this car. The rest of the car is bone stock and in great shape. For the life of me, I cannot fathom why anyone would do this, esp on a stock WRX. I do not mind the added stiffness of the clutch but it is very difficult for me to let the clutch slip well. Granted, I've only had the car for 5 days, but I am not getting the feeling I am picking up on the 'feel' quite fast enough. The car takes decent concentration to get from a stop to moving in first. Reverse is the same. The first day I smelt the clutch a few times but have been able to mitigate this fairly well, considering. It seems like it wants me to slam into gears. The slipping range is not very wide. Like I said, it takes very much concentration to do this... which is rather annoying for a car I just want to drive around and have fun with. If it were a track car, I'd be OK with this but it is not. If I want to slam gears and have an exceedingly large amount of fun, I pull out the Buick.

I am going to check the actual clutch to see exactly what is installed - in the meantime, my questions are as follows:

1. Should I remove the performance clutch and pop in an OEM replacement?
2. Should I keep the flywheel (I do not know the differences in the OEM and aftermarket FWs at the moment - I will do some more digging when I actually see what's in there).

Thanks in advance!
Phil
 

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Wow that's about the most comprehensive and smart post I've ever read. Please give lessons to the rest of the people that post on here (including me).

I guess a lot depends on how long you want to deal with driving a car you're not happy with this issue in. Do you have any idea how many miles are on it (i.e. how long you'll have to deal with it)? I would guess the car was modified before and returned to stock. Does it have the stock heatshield on the DP still? Do those bolts show any sign of every being touched? What about the rest of the engine bay?

The LWFW generally results in decreased comfort in daily driving, and can result in CELs, so if you replace the clutch then I'd take it out too.
 

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The Fruit
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^ As Scott mentions.. going back to the factory fw and factory style (if not exactly subaru oem) clutch sounds like the way to go going by what you want from this car. If you're going to bump the hp even a little bit a stageI clutch like spec offers will give you driveability like factory but hold just a little bit better. If you're going to be in there anyway.. a stageI will cost about same as a oem from subaru.

That said though, lots of owners including myself are at stage II power levels (in our case that's around 300hp [email protected] crank) and still successfully using the factory clutch.

My personal opinion is that street cars have no need for lightened flywheels. Some will argue with me on that, but I kinda like being able to let the clutch out mindlessly and have the car just go.
 

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Very nice Buick there, thanks for posting the link to it. I enjoyed the pics thoroughly. I'd love to have one as a project car some day.

To the matter at hand, as the other's have suggested, I'd go back to an OEM clutch and flywheel as well. I'm sure the reason they were replaced to begin with was that the 09's have a history of eating through their factory clutch, so somebody didn't do their research and went with an inappropriate clutch/flywheel combination for their application.

OEM clutches and flywheels are more than adequate for the majority of the WRX's on the road, and it would be more than adequate for your needs from the sound of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. I think I will go with an OEM style clutch when I get some free time and money. It is likely this race clutch will not be as durable (from a wear standpoint) than OEM so don't really mind removing it prematurely. Why someone would put a clutch capable of handling much more power before actually adding any power whatsoever still confuses me... but no big deal :D Regarding the OEM 09 clutch, you said it has some history of wearing a bit fast? Could you provide solid recommendations (maybe those that have been in a car for some time) for aftermarket that have remedied this?

Thanks,
Phil
 

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The Fruit
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Personally I think most of the 09 clutch issues were driver habbit/error.... however.. there are many that would disagree with me on that.

either way I've got 68K miles on my 2010 (same part number as the 09 clutch) and its even one of the reported "heavy feel, problem clutches" .. I've not had any issues. That said though I dont slip the clutch much and everyone's driving style is different.

The oem part is an organic material clutch so too much heat will make it fail and fail quickly. You've been around cars long enough to know what I'm gettin at, slip it too much or launch the thing and the clutch wont hold up long. This is likely what led to the high amount of 09 failures.
That's why I recommended a spec stageI (or any similar street clutch) because they hold and feel like factory but have better materials. Esp if you're going to daily this car its likely you'll end up it city traffic here and there (lots of clutch work) so the more durable the clutch while retaining easy driver feel is def the way to go.

considering a oem will cost you about as much as a stageI clutch will... personally I'd go aftermarket just to get a better blend of disk material. Not all organic clutch disks are created equal.
 
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