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Old 10-13-2001, 03:39 PM   #1
Sean
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Default Major MY98 problems. Anyone else with an MY98 have clutch/tranny problems?

OK, here is a list off the top of my head the work that has been done to my MY98 Impreza 2.2 OBS...clutch problems started at 5k miles. And no, it's not my driving style, so don't even say it. No, really, I'm serious. All of the following has been replaced under warranty. I'm at 75k miles now with a 100k warranty.
  • Front Rotors
  • Clutch (3x)
  • Pressure Plate (2x)
  • Flywheel (2x)
  • Throwout Bearing (3x)
  • Clutch Cable (2x)
  • Clutch Fork (3x)
  • Transmission Case
  • 1st Gear and 1st Gear Synchro
  • 2nd Gear and 2nd Gear Synchro
  • 3rd Gear and 3rd Gear Synchro
  • 4th Gear and 4th Gear Synchro
  • 5th Gear and 5th Gear Synchro
Symptoms:
  • Clutch fork sqeaks, creaks and grinds when when pushing the clutch pedal in and out in neutral and any gear with the vehicle on or off.
  • Throwout bearing makes a "chik chik chik" sound when clutch pedal is partially depressed.
  • Grinding when downshifting to 1st or upshifting to 2nd. Solid "thunk" when shifting to 3rd, 4th or 5th. This issue was partially fixed by replacing the transmission case and all gears/synchros.
Basically, repairs are done and within 5k miles the problem always comes back. Exeter Subaru finally replaced everything and the all of the above problems still came back within 5k miles.

Anyone want to sell me a cheap dog box?

Fear the Trunkmonkey. There is no cone.
http://www.trunkmonkey.com/ | sean@trunkmonkey.com
Automotive Reviews by Sean | What is a Trunkmonkey?
Somebody set up us the WRX. All your rice are belong to us!
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Old 10-16-2001, 04:11 PM   #2
cakagan
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Default

I've got a '98 RS and the clutch fork squeaked. The service manager told me that it was a design flaw or something and that it wasn't well lubricated.

I've also had my entire clutch assembly (or whatever it's all called) replaced because in stop-and-go traffic the pedal would sink to the floor. And some parts in the tranny were replaced as well. And hey, I've got a brand new engine with about 1500mi on it. So...you're definitely not alone in your problems.

-Chris
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Old 10-16-2001, 05:27 PM   #3
ColinL
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Default

I seem to recall a discussion long ago wherein you opined that engine braking was cool, and rowing down through the gears gave you better 'control' than just using the brakes.



Not saying that's the entire problem, no way. But brakes are for braking, downshifting is for accelerating.
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Old 10-16-2001, 07:14 PM   #4
Sean
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Thumbs down Right...

The problem started at 5k miles. I babied the car until 10k miles and didn't start engine braking until 25k miles. Even after the entire transmission and every single moving part down there was replaced, I babied the car all Winter (10k miles) and the problem still came back less than 1k miles after the repair. Every time the car is repaired, I totally baby the car under 3k RPM and no engine braking specifically so the dealer can't say it's my fault. Every time the car is repaired, the problem comes back within 1k to 5k miles.

The problems get worse during rainstorms. The first time it rains after a repair, guaranteed the grunch grunch grunch sound of the clutch fork will come back.

Fear the Trunkmonkey. There is no cone.
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Old 10-16-2001, 07:20 PM   #5
Sean
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Wink w00k

Also, let the record state that rowing down through the gears is exactly what we were taught at the NHIS race/aggressive driving school a couple weeks ago. They told us never to slam on the brakes in 4th, slow down and then downshift straight to 2nd out of a corner (offramp). While engine braking, I'll always use the brakes to slow down as well, but downshifting simply catches the car and makes sure that I'm in the right gear for pulling out of a turn or feathering the throttle through a turn.

Fear the Trunkmonkey. There is no cone.
http://www.trunkmonkey.com/ | sean@trunkmonkey.com
Automotive Reviews by Sean | What is a Trunkmonkey?
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Old 10-16-2001, 08:09 PM   #6
Herbie
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Default

Before I sold my 98RS, I had the flywheel, pressure plate, and clutch replaced for the infamous "shudder" issue.

I've also had the clutch-to-the-floor issue but good fluid and a decent bleed procedure fixed it for me.

Glenn Wallace has often noted that a single warped tranny case can cause lots of issues if its not replaced. He has a personal example where he went through SEVERAL teardowns until they finally replaced a slightly warped case that fixed everything.
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Old 10-17-2001, 03:16 PM   #7
bluesubie
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Default



Hey, long time no PM.

I think we left off last November after my tranny was replaced and the squeak came back (after 25,000 miles of pedal lubing, cable replacing and dealer lying).

When they first opened it, they replaced the pressure plate, disk, clutch cable and t.o. bearing. The squeak came back within 100 miles.
When I took it back, they replaced the clutch fork as well. Service Manager was canned but I found a much better dealer anyway.

Knock on wood, it's been fine for almost a year now. I did hear a slight squeak the other day in the rain, and I'm praying that it was just the pedal.

I'm surprised you didn't just sell it with all of your bad luck.

Did you ever meet with the District Service Operations Manager for your area? After I opened my case, I only dealt with an SoA rep and the District Rep. and not the dealer.

Good luck-you need it,

Dennis

Last edited by bluesubie; 10-22-2001 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 10-17-2001, 06:56 PM   #8
Ripper
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Default

I lost my clutch at 38K. That really pissed me off. If I had known of this club before I bought my RS I would have opted for the 200 or 2001 model year.
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Old 10-18-2001, 02:49 PM   #9
bkiser
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Default

I am new to Subies, but not to cars. The explanation of the warped tranny case makes sense. The symptoms all sound like things caused by tolerance within the tranny being just slightly out of whack. Those tolerances are set by putting precisely machined internals in a case of precisely known dimensions. Sounds like the internals have been replaced without helping, so I would guess that the case is all that's left. Of course, because of the complex castings involved, actually determining that one is out of spec would be difficult, but basic troubleshooting seems to point in this direction.

Brian
1992 SE-R w/AWD envy
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Old 10-22-2001, 10:53 AM   #10
bluesubie
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Unhappy

I spoke to soon. In an odd coincidence, my squeak has come back intermittently. Last Saturday it was squeaking after driving only about a mile. It's been fine for about 11 months but the problem has reared it's ugly head again. I've got a good mind to trade my car for an automatic. My wife's auto OB has been more trouble free than my OBS.

BTW Colin, I don't row through the gears coming to a stop.

Dennis
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Old 10-22-2001, 01:02 PM   #11
vvk
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BDP

Default

All these problems come from people wanting a free repair under warranty for things that should be ignored. All my Subaru clutches have always squeaked. So what?

Dealers are all too happy to comply and to rip off Subaru. In the end, it is Subaru owners who suffer. Resale values go down due to bad reputation coming from people who want something for nothing!

If you had to pay for the original repairs, would you still have paid thousands to have a *squeak* fixed? I don't think so. It is mind boggling to see people racking up multiple clutch replacements and gearbox rebuilts to fix inexistent problems. These are precision made cars (Made in Japan!!!), which are getting "fixed" by beer sucking lasy mechanics. These people have absolutely no incentive to do competent work. Think about it, how does the dealer benefit if they tell you to ignore a squeak? No, they would never do that. They would rather make money and make you happy. For a while...

I had my rear wheel bearings replaced recently. I specifically asked the Service Manager to *please not forget to adjust parking brake* after they are done. Of course, when I got the car back, one side did not hold at all and the other held only slightly. I took a screw driver, crawled under the car and within a half hour had a perfectly adjusted parking brake. Now, why could not they do a better job at the dealership? They have the lifts, the tools, the docs and the SKILLS???!!! Because they want you to come back! They want to suck you dry and then sell you a new car. Because eventually you will get tired of the car that they made into a piece of junk AT YOUR EXPENSE!


Quote:
Originally posted by bluesubie
I spoke to soon. In an odd coincidence, my squeak has come back intermittently. Last Saturday it was squeaking after driving only about a mile. It's been fine for about 11 months but the problem has reared it's ugly head again. I've got a good mind to trade my car for an automatic. My wife's auto OB has been more trouble free than my OBS.

BTW Colin, I don't row through the gears coming to a stop.

Dennis
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Old 10-22-2001, 01:20 PM   #12
cakagan
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Black

Thumbs down

I guess that when my car was producing a funny smell I should have ignored it, instead of having the defective wheel bearings replaced. Good advice...

-Chris
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Old 10-22-2001, 01:59 PM   #13
bluesubie
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Default

Quote:
All these problems come from people wanting a free repair under warranty for things that should be ignored. All my Subaru clutches have always squeaked. So what?

Dealers are all too happy to comply and to rip off Subaru.
That shows how much you know about my case, wise-@$$!

I was being ripped-off by my dealer. They told me I would have to pay $1,200 for a new clutch and $800 if I didn't get the flywheel re-surfaced (flywheel is part of the powertrain warranty).

No, the dealer didn't just rip-off Subaru. The District Service Operations Manager of Subaru Distributors Corp. made the dealer replace it. The Service Manager also lost his job.

Did you see the inside of my tranny? Um, no. It's not "just" a squeak. Get your facts straight, buddy!

Dennis

Last edited by bluesubie; 10-22-2001 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 10-22-2001, 04:08 PM   #14
Sean
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Silverado EXT, Yaris

Talking I should ignore...

OK, from now on I'll ignore the following:
  • Grinding when going into first gear whether the car is under acceleration or sitting at idle (yes, idle).
  • Loud ga-chunk sound when shifting into second gear at any speed over 3000 RPM.
  • Fluttering clutch pedal. No other way to describe it. Anytime it is wet out, pushing the clutch pedal in and out feels like a Trunkmonkey under the hood is grabbing the clutch fork and shaking it back and forth.
  • Unlubricated chik-chik-chik sound when pushing the clutch pedal in and out. Originating from the throwout bearing again.

Thank you for your sage advice. I will now ignore all of the above.

Fear the Trunkmonkey. There is no cone.
http://www.trunkmonkey.com/ | sean@trunkmonkey.com
Automotive Reviews by Sean | What is a Trunkmonkey?
Somebody set up us the WRX. All your rice are belong to us!
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Old 10-22-2001, 09:08 PM   #15
vvk
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1998 Impreza 2.5RS
BDP

Default Exactly

You are welcome! My car has all of these "features." None of these are a problem. The car will last forever with these. As long as you don't let the dealer "work" on it.

Shift into first slower. It ain't no Honda, you know!

Ignore the sound when you shift -- it's normal.

Clutch cannot be fixed permanently. It will ALWAYS shudder. Rev up the engine a little before engaging the clutch. Not a big deal.

Clutch pedal squeak is another design "feature." I have owned four Subarus (2 currently) and they all do it! Listen to the radio instead.


Quote:
Originally posted by Sean
OK, from now on I'll ignore the following:
  • Grinding when going into first gear whether the car is under acceleration or sitting at idle (yes, idle).
  • Loud ga-chunk sound when shifting into second gear at any speed over 3000 RPM.
  • Fluttering clutch pedal. No other way to describe it. Anytime it is wet out, pushing the clutch pedal in and out feels like a Trunkmonkey under the hood is grabbing the clutch fork and shaking it back and forth.
  • Unlubricated chik-chik-chik sound when pushing the clutch pedal in and out. Originating from the throwout bearing again.

Thank you for your sage advice. I will now ignore all of the above.

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Old 10-22-2001, 09:22 PM   #16
donut
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Default clutch and head problems

i bought my 98 rs used with about 24k on it , one mounth after i bought it and 3k miles later i got the imfomous clutch sqeek right now my rs is in the shop for blown head gasket @ 70k miles . 1600 bucks later new head gaskets but the clutch is still making noise.
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Old 10-22-2001, 09:36 PM   #17
donut
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Default one more thing

i almost forgot about my wheel bearing adveture. they went so i had them replaced at about 40k no big deal **** happens. so a week later cruzin down the highway one rainy night a heard this nasty sqeel and than i was on the other side of the road facing the wrong way . got towed to the closest shop 30 miles away. they tell me sbout the recall on the axle seals. so they paid my tow nd got a sweet rental for a week. i wonder what is next
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Old 10-23-2001, 12:26 AM   #18
Sean
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Default Re: Exactly

Actually, I was being sarcastic. All gears were replaced because my 1st - 3rd gear synchros were destroyed. Gone. No more. Ceased to exist. Are you telling me that is normal? Are you also telling me that grinding while gingerly nudging the stick from second to first while sitting at idle is perfectly normal? Don't give me this "don't shift as hard" crap. When first gear grinds while the car is not in motion, something is seriously wrong.

Unfortunately, I found out after the fact that my car was a test drive beater. I've had gearbox and clutch problems since 5k miles. If all Subarus get this and it's so normal, then why are there deep grooves and scoring on the clutch fork pivot and the drive shaft where the throwout bearing slides? Why is it that during extremely hot and humid weather the clutch occasionally binds up completely and I'm unable to shift at all?

Yes. Unable to shift. As in I'm unable to push down hard enough on the clutch pedal to make it move. Then, the car stalls, I refire the engine and I can shift fine and the problem completely disappears for a couple of weeks. It's almost as if something binds up in one of the grooves and stalling out the engine gives it enough of a jolt to break it loose.

The problems I describe aren't common. You are generalizing all of our problems into your generic "squeak" and basically calling us a bunch of whining gimps who cry to the dealer every time the car makes a weird noise. I fully accept the "normal" Subaru squeaks and rattles. These issues, however, are far from "normal".

Fear the Trunkmonkey. There is no cone.
http://www.trunkmonkey.com/ | sean@trunkmonkey.com
Automotive Reviews by Sean | What is a Trunkmonkey?
Somebody set up us the WRX. All your rice are belong to us!

Quote:
Originally posted by vvk
You are welcome! My car has all of these "features." None of these are a problem. The car will last forever with these. As long as you don't let the dealer "work" on it.

Shift into first slower. It ain't no Honda, you know!

Ignore the sound when you shift -- it's normal.

Clutch cannot be fixed permanently. It will ALWAYS shudder. Rev up the engine a little before engaging the clutch. Not a big deal.

Clutch pedal squeak is another design "feature." I have owned four Subarus (2 currently) and they all do it! Listen to the radio instead.
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Old 10-23-2001, 08:08 AM   #19
vvk
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BDP

Default OK

OK, ok, I am convinced you do have a real problem. I am sorry if I pissed you off. I made a mistake once by taking my car to be "fixed" when there was nothing really wrong. The 4th gear syncro was weak. So I had to double clutch when shifting 5th-to-4th, big deal. Nooo, I had to take it to the dealer, dumb shmuck. 4 weeks later, after numerous repair attempts, my gearbox seized at 65 mph... Not a good experience. I was lucky to survive. Ever since then I only take my car in if there is a CONFIRMED and DIAGNOSED problem. And one that I cannot fix myself. I don't even want the warranty anymore, because I never use it. I am afraid to let the mechanics screw up another car that I trust and depend on.


Quote:
Originally posted by Sean
Actually, I was being sarcastic. All gears were replaced because my 1st - 3rd gear synchros were destroyed. Gone. No
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Old 11-03-2001, 02:10 PM   #20
Midwayman
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Default

VVK,
Just sounds like you need to find a better mechanic. Unfortunately most of them want a "fast" fix when you want a "good" one.
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Old 11-03-2001, 10:33 PM   #21
ANZAC_1915
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Default

Speaking of rowing through the gears, in some states it is illegal to NOT use the gears to slow down (ie to brake while in neutral). (one of those laws from 1913).

Glenn
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