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Old 04-19-2003, 08:56 PM   #326
sajohnson
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Default Locking Differentials -- Not On Our WRXs

It is true that _most_ of the time we don't need locking diffs -- of course, the same can be said for Air Bags, ABS, and a host of other rarely used but very important features. But when we _do_ need them we count on them to work. Sometimes our lives depend on it.

According to the WRX FAQ's section (http://forums.nasioc.com/wrx.htm#drivetrain)
the WRX is supposed to have a LOCKING center differential. That is what Subaru advertises, and I bought the WRX primarily for its AWD system.

It may be water under the bridge now, but I would have been satisfied with _manually_ locking diffs, if that would have saved Subaru some money. That is how Toyota equips the 5MT RAV4 -- there is a button on the dash to lock the center diff if you get into a really slick area. It essentially switches from AWD to 4WD on demand.

Most of the time, the WRX AWD works well. Of course, _most_ of the time it has very little, if any, demand placed on it.

The bottom line, at least for me, is that Subaru did not supply what they promised. The diff(s) do not lock, and in fact do not transfer very much torque at all. Conveniently (for SOA), there are no published specs for the VC diffs, and no factory test procedure. How clever and corporate of them.

Had we all made our decisions to purchase a WRX fully aware of the limitations of its "AWD", that would be one thing -- but Subaru misled us by claiming that the diffs would lock (implying that the car was essentially 3WD -- 1 front, 2 rear).

It seems strange to me that if it turned out that SOA 'inflated' the HP and/or torque numbers for the WRX, people would be up in arms -- but they can make false claims about the performance of the AWD system and some people just shrug. I guess if you live in Florida it might not matter -- I take that back, they've got sand to worry about.

PS: Something else I just noticed -- if you go to the WRX FAQ secion (see the link above), the 'drivetrain' description seems to differentiate between the center VC _locking_ diff and the rear VC _limited-slip_ diff. Is there supposed to be a difference in their operation?
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Last edited by sajohnson; 04-20-2003 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 04-20-2003, 01:44 AM   #327
sajohnson
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Question AWD Info from Subaru

The following is from www.subaru.com:
The direct link is: http://www.subaru.com/allwheeldrive/...eel_middle.jsp

Note the following statements (which seem to conflict with what some have posted here on this thread):

1) "...transfers power to the wheels with the best traction, providing maximum traction on all road surfaces. that's where the power goes. End of story." (seems like there's _more_ to the story). This one really gets me -- "End of story". Right. Unless the power is used to simply spin the tire(s) that do not have traction and heat up the VC, possibly damaging it.

2) "...adjusting to changing road conditions in a split second, providing outstanding traction on virtually any wet or dry surface in any weather." (Ummm, NOT!). _Any_ surface? I don't think so.

3) "As the fluid thickens, power transfers from the slipping wheels to the wheels with the best traction." (unless you have a couple tires on ice, and a couple on dry pavement -- then the tires just spin and spin -- weeee!).

4) "If one rear wheel loses traction, the differential automatically diverts power to the other wheel. A viscous limited-slip differential not only helps traction in slippery on- or off-road conditions..." (I thought we weren't supposed to go off-road).

Anyway, for what it's worth, directly from SOA:


You want traction in any weather. You want control any situation. That's why the Subaru All-Wheel Driving System features Full-Time All-Wheel Drive.

The All-Wheel Drive system automatically transfers power to the wheels with the best traction, providing maximum traction on all road surfaces. that's where the power goes. End of story.



The Subaru All-Wheel Driving System Four Types
All models equipped with the five-speed manual transmission feature a viscous coupling center differential to split the power 50/50 between front and rear wheels. The viscous coupling responds to wheel slip and transfers power to the front or rear wheels with the best traction.
Featured on most Subaru models equipped with the 4-speed electronic automatic transmission (4EAT) is Active All-Wheel Drive. This system uses an electronically-managed continuously-variable transfer clutch. This All-Wheel Drive system can anticipate wheel slippage and transfer power to the front or rear wheels even before slippage occurs.
Impreza WRX models with the optional four-speed electronic automatic transmission (4EAT) also feature Variable Torque distribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive.
he Subaru Outback H6-3.0 VDC combines VTD with a new stability system called Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC). This is the most advanced All-Wheel Drive that Subaru has ever offered in the United States. - [link to VDC Piece]
Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive uses an electronically controlled hydraulic transfer clutch that works with a planetary gear type center differential to control power distribution between the front and rear wheels. Under normal driving conditions, the VTD system splits power 45% front and 55% rear to deliver more of a "performance"driving feel. The VTD All-Wheel Drive system responds to wheel slippage by sending the power to the wheel or wheels with the best traction.

The Subaru All-Wheel Driving System keeps you safe and sound by adjusting to changing road conditions in a split second, providing outstanding traction on virtually any wet or dry surface in any weather.

Continuous All-Wheel Drive: Simple, Effective, and Reliable
In vehicles with the 5-speed manual transmission, the All-Wheel Drive uses a viscous coupling in a center differential inside the transaxle case. The viscous coupling contains a series of opposing discs attached to the front and rear output shafts, surrounded by a silicone fluid. In normal operation, power is distributed equally between the front and rear wheels (50/50 power split). Slippage at the front or rear wheels causes a rotational difference between the front and rear discs in the viscous unit, which then shears the fluid.

The shearing action heats the fluid, causing it to thicken. As the fluid thickens, power transfers from the slipping wheels to the wheels with the best traction. When the slippage ceases, all the discs turn at the same speed, restoring the 50/50 power split. The process is quick and imperceptible to the driver and passengers.

The continuous All-Wheel Driving System is simple, compact, and virtually invisible during operation. Its traction adds a significant margin of safety on slippery or unpaved roads, and enhances dry-road handling.

Active All-Wheel Drive
Subaru models equipped with the 4-speed electronic automatic transmission (4EAT) employ Active All-Wheel Drive. Active All-Wheel Drive optimizes power distribution before slippage occurs.

Instead of a viscous coupling center differential, 4EAT-equipped Subaru vehicles feature an electronically managed variable transfer clutch in the transaxle tailshaft. Power transfer is governed by slippage in the clutch plates, which use a special friction material that easily handles the loads generated during power transfer.

The electronic Transmission Control Module (TCM) controls the All-Wheel Drive multi-plate clutch. Active AWD can adjust the power split in an instant, depending on many input factors. If the front wheels begin to slip, the TCM increases hydraulic pressure on the clutch, sending power to the rear wheels. As the front wheels regain traction, the TCM reduces pressure on the clutch, increasing slippage of the plates and transferring power to the front wheels.

Intelligent Control
With Active All-Wheel Drive, the TCM monitors input from speed sensors on the front and rear output shafts and also takes input from the throttle position and transmission. All of these factors cause the TCM to choose how aggressively it adjusts the power split.

Subaru Active All-Wheel Drive varies the power split according to how you drive the vehicle. Under acceleration, weight transfers to the rear, and the system responds by transferring more power to the rear wheels (in a front-wheel drive vehicle, this weight transfer on acceleration can cause wheel spin, compromising traction). When braking, weight transfers to the front of the vehicle, and the All-Wheel Driving system transfers power to the front wheels to help reduce stopping distance.

Compared with standard front- or rear-wheel drive, All-Wheel Drive also enhances cornering performance. When you enter a turn, lifting off the gas and applying the brake transfers power to the front wheels for greater steering control. As you exit the turn and accelerate, power transfers to the rear wheels for added traction under acceleration. Power transfer occurs quickly and imperceptibly, just as it does with the continuous AWD in a manual-transmission.

Limited-Slip Rear Differential
Many models in the Subaru lineup feature a viscous limited-slip rear differential for even greater traction capability. If one rear wheel loses traction, the differential automatically diverts power to the other wheel. A viscous limited-slip differential not only helps traction in slippery on- or off-road conditions, but also serves as a cornering aid. As you enter a curve and weight transfers to the outside wheel, the inside wheel can lose traction. The viscous limited-slip differential transfers power to the outside wheel, which has greater grip.

VTD All-Wheel Drive
Impreza WRX models with the optional four-speed electronic automatic transmission (4EAT) features Variable Torque distribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive. The new VTD system uses an electronically controlled hydraulic transfer clutch that works with a planetary gear-type center differential to control power distribution between the front and rear wheels. VTD All-Wheel Drive splits the power 45 percent front/55 percent rear, with the slight rear-wheel bias enhancing the performance driving feel. VTD All-wheel Drive constantly monitors throttle input to account for weight transfer and responds to driving conditions to continually optimize power distribution on all road surfaces.

PS: If you go to SOA's AWD page, click on "Full Time All-Wheel Drive" under "What It Is". Subaru twice refers to the LOCKING center VC differential.

Did Bill Clinton write their copy? "It depends on what the definition of LOCKING is."

Last edited by sajohnson; 04-20-2003 at 04:24 AM.
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Old 04-20-2003, 04:32 AM   #328
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Default Good Info From Another AWD Thread

I thought the following might be helpful:

hunter001
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Acura 3.2TL w/Navigation Re: Different Subaru AWD Systems--Which is Best?

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by sajohnson
Subaru has at least 3 AWD systems:

*Continuous AWD

*Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) AWD (used in WRX)

*Active AWD (auto trans only?)

Can anyone explain (or post a link to an expaination) the differences and relative advantages and disadvantages?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The VTD-AWD used exclusively in the Auto-WRX and the VDC-Outback is the very best AWD from Subaru. It also splits torque 45/55 front/rear through a Torque-sensing Planetary gear center differential and works along with a heavy duty 6-plate continuously variable electronically controlled clutch-pack. It is conceptually similar to the AWD employed in the Audi A8/S8 and other V8-equipped Audi Quattros. The Quattros employed by other Audis are not as sophisticated or effective. It is also employed in the World Rally conquering Subaru Rally cars in a much heavier duty form . This system acts with brutal directness (since it is a mechanical system) and is extremely fast in acting during slippery conditions and has a broad range of torque transferability (front/back back/front), when compared to the other 2 systems below.

Next in line in effectiveness, would be the Active AWD present in all other Auto-Subarus. They do not have the Torque sensing Planetary gear center differential of the VTD-AWD and have a lighter duty 4-plate clutch pack.

Then comes the simpler VC (Viscous Coupling) AWD of Subaru also called Continuous AWD that uses a Viscous Coupling (coupling filled with viscous fluid) as the center differential. It is a reactive system and in slippery conditions, needs slippage before it can act, hence the reaction time is slower than either of the above systems. This is used by all the manual-Subarus including the manual-WRX. Not as effective as either of the above systems but is better than the 2nd system in some respects due to the 50/50 torque split in pretty much all normal driving conditions.

Later...AH


Last edited by hunter001 on 01-28-2002 at 10:27 AM

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Old 04-20-2003, 04:43 AM   #329
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Default Another Good One

1ofeach
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2002 WRX DayGlo Blue
2001 S2000 Silver/Black limited slip rear diff my a$$
OK so there's some ice left over on the road from the last snow so I decided to test out the AWD system a little.

I put both of the passenger side (right) wheels on the ice, and the driver side wheels were on dry pavement. Then I tried a mild launch. What did I expect? I expected the right front wheel to slip, and I expected the right rear wheel slip but I also expected the left rear wheel to pick up traction (LSD?).

Is this what happened? NO. Both right side wheels just slipped and I didn't hardly move at all. What happened to that rear LSD?

Just to make sure, I got my S2000 and put it on the same patch of ice. Once I launched, the right rear wheel slipped a little, but then the left rear wheel picked up traction and I took off just fine.

What is the deal here? Am I missing something? Are the 4EATs the only one with a rear LSD?



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Old 04-20-2003, 08:11 AM   #330
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Okay I've _been_ ignoring this _thread_ for _awhile now and since I had _some_ time I decided to give it a _read_. Legacy777, a guy whom I've met in person, said two pages back that you (sajohnson) are _not_ willing to just let this go, which is pretty obviously because you're bumping it up like a madman and filling it full of your _case studies_ as it were. Thats so freaking _obvious_ and I agree with him, as would most every other _sane_ person who might have the misfortune of reading this thread. I just _wanted_ to point _out_ that using _silly_ underlining _techniques_ make for an _AMAZINGLY_ annoying read. Maybe in the _future_ if you decide to _rant_ about something else, you won't _do_the_stupid_underlining_garbage_to_try_and_prov e_your_point. Thanks and carry on with your black helicopter conspiracy that subaru might actually be lying thru marketing (oh my god, whats the world coming to?)_______
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:09 AM   #331
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I know everyone here has there cast-in-stone opinions and no one is ever going to change them. But from all the test results I've seen, it looks like the 5-speed WRX "limited slip" differentials are all but useless. If the amount of torque they're allowed to transmit had to be reduced so much to accomodate the AWD system, why didn't they just eliminate them entirely and save us all $1000 by having an AWD system with open differentials?

All of the posts I've seen calling sajohnson an idiot claim that their WRX works great in snow and ice. So does mine, but I have yet to try to start it with 2 wheels on ice and 2 on dry pavement. And I'd be pretty disappointed in the Subaru AWD as well if I just sat there spinning like a FWD or RWD car with open differentials. Almost all of the nay-sayers are posting results of situations where they weren't even working their LSD's, so the results are meaningless to the discussion.
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Old 04-20-2003, 02:01 PM   #332
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Talking

Chuck H: Thank you for backing me up. You summarized what I (and others BTW) have been saying -- the VC center diff in the 5MT WRX does not come remotely close to locking. When we really need AWD it is not there for us.

You are also correct in your observation that most of those who have posted here about how great the AWD is have yet to give it a real test. It seems to me that making statements without testing the AWD (whether 'real-world' or simulated) is simply a knee-jerk defensive reaction. [In brain-washed zombie voice]: "Subaru is God. All hail Subaru. Kill the Infidels."


mlambert: You're just a big meanie. I'm telling mom!

Seriously, ad hominem attacks add nothing to this thread. Have you tested your AWD with only one or two tires having traction?

The 'underlining' as you refer to it is used for emphasis, instead of upper case type, because we cannot always convey our intent with print and smilies alone.

I have a buddy at work who is a big conspiracy theorist. As a skeptic, I am constantly trying to bring him back to earth. What we have been discussing here is hardly a conspiracy -- fraud maybe -- but not a conspiracy.

This is about more than just some 'embellished' marketing. SOA clearly states that the VC center diff _locks_ (sorry). It clearly does not. Where I come from that is a lie.

Maybe you don't care. That's your prerogative. Needless to say, there are more important things going on in the world.

As for myself, I don't like being lied to. I intend to keep this thread going so that at least we might be able to inform others _before_ they buy. Maybe they too won't care. Some may decide to get the 4AT WRX or the STi. Others may decide to go with the EVO, or possibly a used Audi or BMW 3-series AWD. At least they will have factual information before making a decision.
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Old 04-20-2003, 03:51 PM   #333
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Quote:
Originally posted by sajohnson
mlambert: You're just a big meanie. I'm telling mom!
Actually I'm not mean at all, just making it obvious that its annoying to read by making it even more annoying to read.

Quote:
Seriously, ad hominem attacks add nothing to this thread. Have you tested your AWD with only one or two tires having traction?
Nope I havn't because honestly I know theres nothing mechanically wrong with my car and the test wouldn't help prove that.

Quote:
The 'underlining' as you refer to it is used for emphasis, instead of upper case type, because we cannot always convey our intent with print and smilies alone.
Theres many forums where highly technical information is presented in an intelligent manner where points are made and thoughts are exchanged without the use of annoying underlining.

Quote:
I have a buddy at work who is a big conspiracy theorist. As a skeptic, I am constantly trying to bring him back to earth. What we have been discussing here is hardly a conspiracy -- fraud maybe -- but not a conspiracy.

This is about more than just some 'embellished' marketing. SOA clearly states that the VC center diff _locks_ (sorry). It clearly does not. Where I come from that is a lie.
In many cases, marketing and fraud are kissing cousins.

Quote:
Maybe you don't care. That's your prerogative. Needless to say, there are more important things going on in the world.
The only reason I would say that I don't care is because this is just how it is and what you do here to prove it isn't going to change how it is. If you were to take this to subaru and cry fraud, they would be able to easily weazel out of it.

What I think is that you're just hellbent on trying to prove something and nobody is going to stop you. There are situations where that can net positive results and be a good use of your time. Its obvious that you think this is one of those situations, I'm just not sure why (and yes I did read your last paragraph).
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:31 PM   #334
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Default Still missing the point

Chuck, the problem we are having with SaJohnson and his useless, never ending thread is that his testing regime has been discredited by many people who either have a background in engineering or substantial hands-on experience with cars in general and Subarus in particular and yet he continues his baseless rant, somehow the fact that Sajohnson has uncovered an evil plot by Fuji Heavy Industries and SOA to rip off the consumer through a test on a drive system that has been around since 1993 or earlier is as laughable as his testing regime and yet he wont let it go, the Subaru system has been proven in car magazine tests by professionals and in competitive ventures for years and yet SaJ continues to go on and on and on that he has stumbled on to some great flaw in a vehicle that nearly everyone else who has any experience with the car has not seen any evidence of and yet he goes on and on, he needs to face the fact that he is wrong and sell his sube and buy an audi or something and then put an endless thread on their club page.
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Old 04-21-2003, 12:18 AM   #335
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rlly_wgn: Thanks for giving the thread a bump.

You claim that the tests myself and others have performed and reported about here have been discredited. By who? Please give names and credentials, otherwise your statement is meaningless. The only one that comes to mind that got different results is Orson.

My first 'test' was done in my driveway with the rear tires on ice, fronts on dry pavement. You can't get any more 'real' than that. How can that possibly be discredited?

I admit the other testing is designed to simulate real-world conditions and may not be 100% accurate. Still, that's all we have since the SOA FSM does not give specs or a test method.

In fact, the local Subaru Service Dept. used the same test method I did (floor jack under rear, 2x4 in front of front tires). I would think that if it were inappropriate for any reason, they would have said so. Instead, they performed the same test on a brand new '03 WRX. All the techs in the shop were laughing at how neither WRX could roll over a 2x4.

If you chose not to believe, or even investigate what I, Tshulthise, 1ofeach and others have reported, that's your right, but it would be much more helpful if you would post useful, objective info. Instead you ramble on about "rants" and "evil plots". I have never said anything about an 'evil plot' and using language like that is obviously designed to suggest that anyone who thinks the 5MT WRX VC AWD is weak is somehow on the fringe.

There are many people who are happy with the performance of their AWD. Good for them. There are also many of us who have discovered that it leaves something to be desired in situations where the tires have widely different amounts of traction.

By making statements like, "he needs to face the fact that he is wrong and sell his sube and buy an audi or something..." you sound as though you are taking my statements about the WRX AWD personally, and allowing them to get you upset. As I've said before, I have no intention of selling my car. It is a good car, but it isn't perfect. I overlooked the CELs, the loose driver's door glass, the loose driver's seat, the clutch shudder, and the ABS problem (which is a serious defect).

The AWD is another story. It involves more than just marketing hype. Subaru clearly states that the 5MT WRX has a LOCKING VC center diff. That is a fact. It is also clear that it does not come close to locking. That is not normal marketing hype, that is a lie.

Marketing hype would be the WRX commercial that showed it 'transforming' into the rally car. Most of us are smart enough to realize that just because a commercial shows the WRX turning into the rally car, we cannot expect to be able to take our cars out 'four wheeling' on jeep trails.

A statement of "fact", in a tech info section of SOA's web site (as duplicated here on the i-club) is different. I mean, would it be ok for them to claim the front diff is limited-slip when in fact it is open?
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Old 04-21-2003, 12:53 AM   #336
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mlambert: You say, "...I know theres nothing mechanically wrong with my car and the test wouldn't help prove that."

You may very well be correct that there is nothing wrong with your car, but why wouldn't a test help prove it?

I am actually afraid that you are right, in a sense, that there is nothing 'wrong' with your car in that "they all do that". Of course, just because they are all equally lame, does not mean there is nothing wrong.

I agree that, "If you were to take this to subaru and cry fraud, they would be able to easily weazel out of it." They've got the deep pockets. At this point, to be honest, I am just trying to embarrass SOA and warn as many people as possible. I wish I had known the truth about the 5MT AWD before I bought my WRX.

You say marketing and fraud are kissing cousins, as if you have resigned yourself to being lied to. As I posted above, most of us are aware of the typical marketing techniques used in car ads. Sexy women (and men for that matter), empty roads free of police, beautiful people having fun going to the beach and nightclubs, and the obligatory 4 wheel drift stop on the wet road to show how tight the suspension is. That is all marketing. They imply that you too will get the babes and have the road all to yourself. That's Madison Avenue, and most of us are aware of it.

Statements of fact about the mechanical operation of a vehicle are different.

Whether you agree with me about the AWD is one thing, but I hope you and others are not so jaded that you are ready to accept being lied to.

If you think the 5MT WRX AWD is fine, no problem. But for those who agree that it is weak when one or two tires are on ice or mud, you should be mad at Subaru for lying about its capabilities.

The reactions I get from some people about my posts on this thread remind me of trying to compliment someone who is sensitive on their appearance, or their music or artwork -- one negative comment and you're toast! The WRX is a nice car, but it is just a car -- it has some faults.

Don't shoot the messenger!
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Old 04-21-2003, 06:21 AM   #337
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Quote:
You may very well be correct that there is nothing wrong with your car, but why wouldn't a test help prove it?

Because I already know and don't need tests to prove it.
Quote:
am actually afraid that you are right, in a sense, that there is nothing 'wrong' with your car in that "they all do that". Of course, just because they are all equally lame, does not mean there is nothing wrong.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! But actually it does indeed mean there is nothing wrong. Note statement about marketing in my previous post. I accepted this way back when I choose a 5MT over the 4EAT as the benefits outweighed the disadvantages to me. I was just a very informed consumer from the beginning and I'm happy with my purchase. Just so this doesn't go too far, you did read Joel's post way back when he said they installed an open center diff and experienced excess wheel spin, right?

Quote:
Whether you agree with me about the AWD is one thing, but I hope you and others are not so jaded that you are ready to accept being lied to.

Nah man, I'm not afraid to stand up to vendors and tell them that their stuff sucks. I don't care about subaru or have any sort or subaru pride, but I would if the warranty I bought with my car actually meant something (without having to "dealer shop"). I'm on the side of the consumer on most every sane topic. Actually you could put me on the side of being against subaru for exporting the lamest version of the wrx ever made to the US. I won't get rid of my car anytime soon though, its just way too much fun.

BTW I voted yes in the poll but I'm replying to the thread the poll is about, too many easter beers I guess.
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Old 04-21-2003, 08:39 AM   #338
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2002 WRX - 5MT with all the fixings for AT to MT Lowjack Private 'For Sale' Classifieds 7 11-14-2003 12:30 PM
Who is sick of the "WRX 5MT AWD=All Wheels Disconnected?!" thread? Orson Transmission (AT/MT) & Driveline 7 04-22-2003 12:12 PM
Building a PGT or Group N rally car. Are you selling a 5MT 2.5 RS or 5MT AWD 2.2? Sean New England Impreza Club Forum -- NESIC 16 06-16-2002 06:23 PM


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