I'm think the manual transmission and ABS are the biggest problems to date on the 2002 WRX and I think with all the forum members working collectively, we could figure out some solutions. One of the problems in this board is we don't analyze the information that we know and do anything with it. There is too much opinion, hear say, and emotional responses when we need facts.
We know that the ABS is touchy on the WRX, more so than at least any other car we have driven from what I've read. What can we do about it? Pull the fuse, Complain, or work with the service departments or tech reps to address the problem. We need more people to take their cars in and re-create the problem and report back to the I-club with factual documents, not "a service tech drove my car and said that's weird". Maybe we need better sensors or an ECU reprogramming, but nothing will be done unless the majority gets involved.
The manual transmission...this seems the main problem of the WRX for most. We have reports of syncros failing, clutches shuddering, popping out of gear, internal components breaking. We also have hearsay of secret internal memos from SOA to dealers, people claiming denial of service, and SOA repairing some problems under warranty with new revised parts. Many posts about problems contradict other posts and then we have personal opinion that starts flame wars over driving style or abusing the transmission. We really do need more facts: service records, scans of these secret internal memos, and most of all!!! The part numbers of these new "revised" parts. If they have the same part number, the "lot" number should be different. How about some digital pics of these parts showing the difference. I think if we can condense some of the problem posts and eliminate the flames and opinions and stick to facts and findings, things would improve for everyone with a Subaru.
I know I've had my share of rants and complaints. I even tried to inform I-club members about my 02 sensor problems that led to a settled Lemon Law claim to the dismay that many people months later are claiming they are on their 5th, 6th, or 7th sensor. So far, I'm very please with my WRX and I couldn't see me in another car at this point in my life. I'm sorry that some of you, especially some of you that purchase your very first car are going through these problems. Some people are jerks and make your problems seem to be less than they are. However, being without your car, getting poor service, or just having a bad auto experience when your paying far more than an entry level car can really drain you emotionally and waste a lot of time.
I hope someone with the writing skills to formulate some real data can come to our aid and get some actually useful material documented.
(Dang, I typed to much!)