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Old 12-28-2010, 11:09 AM   #1
STI 2 NV
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Default '11 WRX Burning Clutch Smell in Reverse

Hey guys, I tried a search, but did not come up with much. I have a '11 WRX and almost every morning when I back out of my driveway I get a burning clutch smell. I also get it on the occasional reverse out of a parking spot when I am out and about. If memory serves me correctly, I could have sworn I read the '09/'10's were experiencing some of this. I did get it a tad on my '10, but not as bad. This is my 5th WRX and, besides the '10, I have never experienced such. I have never had the issue on any of the other manuals I have owned. I have not changed my driving style, so it cannot be due to improper usage. I do have to feather the clutch a bit due where I am backing out from, but even that should not cause such a bad smell. Has anyone experienced this? Suggestions?
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:58 AM   #2
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Take it to the dealer. If it "cannot be due to improper usage" then they should take care of you. They will probably say your riding the clutch. Which you might be a little to much
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:04 PM   #3
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Could be the cosmoline... it kinda smells like stinky clutch.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by usfsfire42 View Post
Take it to the dealer. If it "cannot be due to improper usage" then they should take care of you. They will probably say your riding the clutch. Which you might be a little to much
I would say it is possible I ride the clutch a tad due to the circumstance of where I have to back out from. However, it's not enough to cause such a strong smell.


Jay, why would I only get the smell in reverse if it were the cosmoline? Wouldn't I have it at other times?
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:33 PM   #5
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Ya I dont think riding the clutch even for 5 secs while backing out would cause the problem. Cosmoline? huhhhh I wouldnt think the clutch would be hot enough if hes just backing out from a cold start. Unless he had been previously driving and it happens no matter what
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:58 PM   #6
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Jay, why would I only get the smell in reverse if it were the cosmoline? Wouldn't I have it at other times?
pure speculation! lol.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:02 PM   #7
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pure speculation! lol.
Well you're no help.

Anyone else experiencing this in their '09-'11 WRX?
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:50 PM   #8
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I have'nt noticed it
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:32 PM   #9
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How long is your driveway / are you backing out at 9000rpm's?

I only ask because I have witnessed a friend (who will remain nameless) in a car (to remain nameless) with relatively quiet factory exhaust rev the piss out of his car whilst slipping the clutch in reverse to back out of spaces.. He didn't even realize he was doing it.. Without eyes on the tach he had no sense of the kind of RPM's he was spinning and it was just easier for him to gas it and lightly slip the clutch..


So - lots of rpm's - almost no application of clutch, just enough friction to make the car roll = possible burned clutch smell.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:34 PM   #10
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How long is your driveway / are you backing out at 9000rpm's?

I only ask because I have witnessed a friend (who will remain nameless) in a car (to remain nameless) with relatively quiet factory exhaust rev the piss out of his car whilst slipping the clutch in reverse to back out of spaces.. He didn't even realize he was doing it.. Without eyes on the tach he had no sense of the kind of RPM's he was spinning and it was just easier for him to gas it and lightly slip the clutch..


So - lots of rpm's - almost no application of clutch, just enough friction to make the car roll = possible burned clutch smell.
Driveway is short, but I have to go slow because I am backing into a road and I have to take it easy because I am up against a fence and cars to my left. I would say my RPM's are very low, maybe 2-3k. I definitely do not rev it hard, which I would be able to tell if I did because the '11's do have a decent exhaust tone. I really have to feather the clutch because if I let it off it will stall out from not enough RPM's, but if I give it too much gas I will go shooting back into the road. For the amount of feathering and time (5 seconds) there is no reason I should be getting the burnt clutch smell. I have driven other cars, not to mention previous WRX's, in a similar manner and never had any smell.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:39 PM   #11
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since its under warranty take that beast in then. Do you really need to be at 3k to back up? Is the driveway that steep?
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:43 PM   #12
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since its under warranty take that beast in then. Do you really need to be at 3k to back up? Is the driveway that steep?
I only hit that when I am backing through snow. It's typically in the 2k range. Even if it was at 3k or higher, there is no reason for the smell other than a possible clutch issue.
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Old 12-29-2010, 03:08 PM   #13
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Depends on how long you are sitting at 2-3k feathering the clutch - that is pretty unnecessarily high.. If you are holding yourself at the end of a driveway for some length of time (backing uphill) then i can see how you might smell some clutch..

For reference - I have a little 2.0, metallic 6 puck clutck, lightweight flywheel, and i still doubt I go over 1200 rpm when getting the car into reverse.. After than the car can idle around pretty easily in reverse..

Sounds like you are using the clutch to get through / over snow instead of your engine.. That could easily make the clutch nice and toasty.. You wont go shooting out into the road if you are properly using the clutch / rpm.

Practice
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Old 12-29-2010, 03:56 PM   #14
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Depends on how long you are sitting at 2-3k feathering the clutch - that is pretty unnecessarily high.. If you are holding yourself at the end of a driveway for some length of time (backing uphill) then i can see how you might smell some clutch..

For reference - I have a little 2.0, metallic 6 puck clutck, lightweight flywheel, and i still doubt I go over 1200 rpm when getting the car into reverse.. After than the car can idle around pretty easily in reverse..

Sounds like you are using the clutch to get through / over snow instead of your engine.. That could easily make the clutch nice and toasty.. You wont go shooting out into the road if you are properly using the clutch / rpm.

Practice
It has nothing to do with practice. I've owned many manuals. Maybe I am gauging the RPM's wrong. I know there are times when I do have to rev it a bit higher, such as over the weekend with all our snow. I'll certainly pay more attention to how high I am revving. However, as I have stated, I have never had this issue before with any other WRX or vehicle, which leads me to believe it's a clutch issue. A clutch should not burn with a bit of feathering in reverse for 5 seconds.
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:24 PM   #15
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Depends on load..

5 seconds on a flat level parking lot or downhill then no..

5 seconds trying to climb through snow then possibly yes..
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:31 PM   #16
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It's on a flat driveway. In taking a closer look at my revs, on cold start-up, the car is already idling at 1500 rpms, so I will obviously rev to at least 2k. So, not sure how that could be considered too high.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:06 AM   #17
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On cold start mine idles at the same numbers. I move out of my parking spot in reverse at 1500 or 2000. Any more than that is'nt needed. Unless your going up something steep.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:20 AM   #18
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I sometimes get the same smell only on cold starts. It's hard to pin point whether its the clutch or not. I have noticed it if the a/c compressor comes on. Could I be smelling the a/c clutch?
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:37 AM   #19
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If it's idling at 1500 already I wouldn't even give it gas, just feather the clutch and that should give you plenty of momentum. 1500 rpms is enough to fully release the clutch anyway. I don't have to worry about traffic though so I can't really accurately tell. Hopefully its just your clutch breaking in.

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Old 12-30-2010, 12:40 AM   #20
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i had the same problem with the 2010 wrx when it was a few days old, it went away, i dont have that problem now!
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:52 AM   #21
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i had the same problem with the 2010 wrx when it was a few days old, it went away, i dont have that problem now!
I agree. My 1-2 week old 2.5i smells like something is burning off at times too. I'm not sure whether its clutch lining, heater, brake lining, cosmoline, etc. It is getting better at 8 days old, but still there. I wouldn't worry unless you car is months old.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:07 AM   #22
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Well you're no help.

Anyone else experiencing this in their '09-'11 WRX?


not for an 09. trust.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:07 AM   #23
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If it's idling at 1500 already I wouldn't even give it gas, just feather the clutch and that should give you plenty of momentum. 1500 rpms is enough to fully release the clutch anyway. I don't have to worry about traffic though so I can't really accurately tell. Hopefully its just your clutch breaking in.
I have to use a slight amount of gas. It's a relatively tight squeeze where I park, so I have to be careful backing up. The I have to factor in the road, which is between 15-20 feet back from where I park. I may just have to try some different techniques. However, I know some of the previous years experienced clutches burning up very quickly. I was reading over on ClubWRX and they have a thread going on such. Some people were losing 2 clutches before they even hit 30k miles. Driving spiritedly or not, that should not happen.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:19 PM   #24
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Some people were losing 2 clutches before they even hit 30k miles. Driving spiritedly or not, that should not happen.
A kid with little manual experience is naturally going to roast through clutches rather quickly on a higher horsepower AWD vehicle.. (And on Teh interweb everyone is an amazing race car driver with 1337 double clutching skills and have driven hundreds of manuals).

I smoked an oem clutch in 30k.. I definitely don't blame it.. This isn't my first turbo 4/AWD car.. I beat the holy mother-loving hell out of that thing and burned it down to the rivets. But I have enough experience to know that I did that.. Not the clutch.. - And it lasted about as long as any OE Organic would given the circumstances..

Also - So you are driving around while the car is still up at 1500 rpms? Don't believe in warmups?
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:06 PM   #25
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Also - So you are driving around while the car is still up at 1500 rpms? Don't believe in warmups?
Sorry, but I don't have an extra 5-10 minutes every morning or after work to let the car warm up. How many people do that anyway every single time?
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