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Old 11-05-2010, 09:35 PM   #1
wrxkyle
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Default welding cast aluminum sti bellhousing

can this be reliably done by a pro to fix this: (if you have the broken off peices?) (mine isn't as bad as the one below, my passenger side mount is intact and still holds the bar, only the drivers side by the hole/plug broke.)

not my bellhousing^^^^^^ mine is only broken on the one side, the right side in that picture, or drivers side in car...


any other ways to reinforce it without binding the rod (it has to come out to separate the trans from the motor.) i have considered a dremel + wire brush and gobs of jb weld. $400 for a bellhousing from SOA is steep, especially for such a dumb failure.

my other idea is pulling the rod slightly out so it is 3/4 of theway into the side with the dowel pin in it, and the other side is tappedin the center to put a bolt in then pull it all out when you need to.

now that it is resting on the threads in the hole (which would be very hard to break) i would drill a hole in the plug, put the plug in as far as it needed to go, then put a bolt through the plug, and tighten it to the dowel rod. the rod won't turn because of the dowel pin, and should be securely held in place.

worst case scenario it breaks the unbroken left side(pic above is not mine, mine hasn't come off the car yet) and i have to spend $400 for a new one.

unfortunately my clutch is an 04 and pull type so push type hydraulic clutches are out of the question. and i'm not dropping 2k on a clutch right now, mine is fairly new, supposedly.

if it breaks i just won't be able to stop at a stoplight without killing the engine and starting it in gear with the starter, shifting(at least to get me home) can be done by careful rev-matching. which i've gotten decent at through heel-toing. the syncros won't super like me, but they'll survive, especially with infrequent shifts for just one trip home.


opinions, either one a feasible option?

slightly more expensive would be to go to the machine shop and have them fab up a replacement rod that's slightly longer. with the new mounting method the threads in the hole on the right side will not have much stress on them and should be fine. a bracket could be added to the starter to cap off that area as well to make sure the rod can't come out far enough even if anythign were to happen. and as the starter must be removed anyway this would be easy.
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Last edited by wrxkyle; 12-16-2010 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:50 PM   #2
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Id get a new bellhousing (or used), thats going to be so contaminated and shrink that its just going to crack again if you could get it all together.
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:01 PM   #3
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i don't see why you couldn't clean it before welding, it's just grease on one side and clutch dust on the other?

my roommate jb welded a motorcycle transfer case together and it held up for years. it was pretty destroyed too.
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:41 AM   #4
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welding that would be a HUGE mistake. Dont waste your time. Buy the $400 part.
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:21 AM   #5
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heck, you can buy a used transmission for 400 bucks OP. just shop around, check your craigslist or even here... you can always sell whatever parts you don't use from the donor transmission.
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Old 11-06-2010, 02:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RS drifter View Post
heck, you can buy a used transmission for 400 bucks OP. just shop around, check your craigslist or even here... you can always sell whatever parts you don't use from the donor transmission.
Thats a 6-speed...and no you cant get those for 400...
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:11 PM   #7
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If you have the broken pieces than I don't see why it would be a problem as long as everything was sanded down. I work at a weld shop and I've fixed many aluminum transmissions that had pieces broken off. One thing I do advise is if you plan to get it fixed, don't use jb weld. It may hold but not for long and its a pain to weld after someone globbed jb weld all over it.
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:45 PM   #8
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I believe, but could be wrong, that the bell housing is a die casting. They don't take to welding very good. A joke in the business is that a die casting is a skin of Al oxide with a core of porosity. Die casting are typically secondary metal.
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:09 PM   #9
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ah, thought it was just a wrx transmission, i didn't see anything about the type of vehicle.

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Thats a 6-speed...and no you cant get those for 400...
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:15 PM   #10
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I think you might be in the market for a new 6 speed......

Like webfoot said, you can try welding it. But you might want to start shopping around now so you can CYA (cover your a$$).


~Josh~
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:33 AM   #11
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There is too much magnesium in the casting. it would weld like **** and never be strong enough. That portion of the bell housing needs to be able to hold up to the pressure that your clutch cover creates. Trust me. Buy the $400 part and bolt it on. Its an hour long job once the tranny is out of the car.
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:16 PM   #12
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alright i got the bar back in and backed it out enough to be stable and it holds the clutchpressure, haven't assembled everything yet as i need to plug for phase 2

i figure if this holds permenantly great. if not, i'm not out anything more, i don't see anything i could eff up doing it, so it's a go

i'm going to drill a hole through the allen head plug that goes on, thread it on only partially, and then put a bolt through that hole and screw into the threaded portion of the rod. if all goes well it should hold a good long time. when next time to replace the clutch comes (or other reason to drop the tranny, that a lot of work i don't have all the tools and jacks for...) i will weigh getting a tolton hydraulic clutch set up($2-5k) or some other after-market clutch + a new bell housing and do it all at once.

on a side note, could a new plug be fabbed that's stronger and then a grade 20 or something bolt be threaded through that and the rod- and then the bolt going through the plug would actually support the load?

i'm sure i'm not the first to go through this breakage and it might help others down the road.

Last edited by wrxkyle; 11-07-2010 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:51 PM   #13
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OK? What are you doing to keep the pivot rod from popping right out of its broken journal?
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxkyle View Post
alright i got the bar back in and backed it out enough to be stable and it holds the clutchpressure, haven't assembled everything yet as i need to plug for phase 2

i figure if this holds permenantly great. if not, i'm not out anything more, i don't see anything i could eff up doing it, so it's a go

i'm going to drill a hole through the allen head plug that goes on, thread it on only partially, and then put a bolt through that hole and screw into the threaded portion of the rod. if all goes well it should hold a good long time.

on a side note, could a new plug be fabbed that's stronger and then a grade 20 or something bolt be threaded through that and the rod- and then the bolt going through the plug would actually support the load?
the rod will be held in the hole that the plug normally goes into. the plug will only be inserted partially, and a bolt will tighten the plug to the rod. so the only way it's going to break is if the mount where the forked side of the rod goes into breaks. i have considered getting a longer bar to put in and cutting the fork into the far side so it can mount up right.

or as mentioned in an above post(i think) a bracket that blocks the hole off could be fabbed and mounted to the starter, then the longer rod couldn't ever come out without the starter off.

seems like it would be short work for a machine shop to pump out a fixed diameter polished rod with a recess cut in one end. i'm willing to bet the stock rod is a generic size too.

guess i could have made that clearer



i'm going to try this option today when i can get one of the plugs from subaru and see how easy it is to drill out. might have to take the plug to the machine shop too. and again, if it doesn't work it's not like i'm out anything (well maybe anew plug but i could even just seal that with jb weld or even some rtv to keep dirt and drainage out, but then again the boot right under the scoop/tmic isn't a tight seal on the fork at all either so i'm not too worried about it.

Last edited by wrxkyle; 11-08-2010 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:44 PM   #15
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I hate to give you bad news, but there is no way that the passenger side of the pivot rod is going to stay in by using 6mm bolt that threads thru the 10mm allen head plug. I think you are going to find that you are wasting a bunch of your time messing around with that because it IS going to break again...and it will probably take your clutch out with it this time.
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:56 PM   #16
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Default How to replace

So has anyone actually replaced this housing before? Is there any special tools required or can you really just unbolt the broken, swap and re-bolt the new one?
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I hate to give you bad news, but there is no way that the passenger side of the pivot rod is going to stay in by using 6mm bolt that threads thru the 10mm allen head plug. I think you are going to find that you are wasting a bunch of your time messing around with that because it IS going to break again...and it will probably take your clutch out with it this time.
i think you missed the part of the first post that says that picture isn't my transmission and mine isn't busted on the passenger side already.

also since the passenger side hasn't broken even when the rod was backed out to it's very edge right before it came out i assume it will hold the pressure.

i only need another 1/8-1/4 inch tops, and the rod already hangs out of the passenger side by about a 1/16 from what it looks like in other transmission pictures.

i don't see how this would take out the clutch. at all. either way with the bolt there in the drivers side holding that side IN THE HOLE(the hole is supporting the rod, not the bolt) even if the passenger side broke the rod could not fall out or get close enough to damage the clutch. worst would be the throwout bearing getting warped and needing to be replaced.

any reason WHY you don't think it will work? i had to buy the plug anyway, and if this works even for a couple years till i have to pull the transmission for something else it will save me $500-600 in labor, and if it works forever then saves around $1k. it will take what, 30 mis tops to machine the hole, then another 30 to go to napa for a bolt and washer?


i'll let you know how it works out.

currently the clutch works with the rod in the hole and in the passenger side mount.


icabus- i think it's just bolts, to drop the tranny you need a prybar to pop the axles out of the tranny, this is normal on the sti from what i hear.
other than that i think it's just a bolt off affair. maybe a torx for the fluid drain if you do that, does the bell housing seperate the gears and fluid with a seal or is that a sealed box inside the tranny?

Last edited by wrxkyle; 02-17-2011 at 12:20 AM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:13 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Icabus View Post
So has anyone actually replaced this housing before? Is there any special tools required or can you really just unbolt the broken, swap and re-bolt the new one?
You just unbolt from the steel cast section. Swap front diff into it, bolt back on with fresh sealant...
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:18 PM   #19
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on my way down to the machine shop, we've run through some ideas, we might just drill out and re-tap the center rod and use grade 8 or 10.5 hardware. an8-10mm dia bolt in that strength has got to be as strong or stronger than the cast aluminum slag the bell-housing was made from.

i'll be taking pictures and everything. and when i do the clutch next time i might convert to push style, seems obvious why subaru changed once you look at the first picture, the force goes the other way. so to break it would have to split the whole housing.
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:28 PM   #20
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If you drill and tap the hole in the clutch cross shaft larger your idea might work. Maybe to 10mm. A little 6mm bolt is not going to hold up to the pressure plate load. Weld the broken part back on too.

Personally I'd just buy a bellhousing, it's not worth the frustration.
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:52 PM   #21
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^^^this is what is going down tonight, should be done tomorrow. an 8mm bolt and spud holding it in the Allen cap that will be machined to accommodate it. i might jbweld the piece inside too but to be honest most of the idea is to avoid having to pull the tranny.

there is a little of the lip left on the drivers side by the hole still since it broke like / and not like \, if you get what i mean(the back-slash being the direction the rod was pushed out by the clutch fork) it was actually enough to hold the bar in place using the clutch but i wouldn't trust it for long at all that way.
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:35 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Personally I'd just buy a bellhousing, it's not worth the frustration.
Yup!!!
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:59 PM   #23
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got it all machined, and put back together, overall i am %100 sure the frustration was less than swaping the bellhousing (for me at least with only 2 jackstands (that i don't have right now) and no jack, and limited tools and no experience with the tranny.

the fix workes beautifully, tight toleranced, i would be it is stronger than the stock set up.
i'll put up some pix i took later but for now- I'M GOING FOR A DRIVE! WOOOHOOO!!!!
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:10 PM   #24
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Good luck.
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:13 PM   #25
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I went through the same issues.. I got a jdm sti transmission for cheap becuase the owner thought that it was no good anymore. Had it welded and machined and put the stock pin in. I am running a spec stage 3 clutch and beat the crap out of this car. I have not had any issues.
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