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Old 06-22-2003, 03:48 PM   #1
john_harte
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Want a 03 Baja

Question Is the manual Transmission Jacked??

I'm this -- close to buying a new 03 baja/baja, but after my test drive yesterday I'm a little concerned about the 5 speed manual transmission. I drove 3 baja's yesterday, and one was a sport. The frist was a used automatic full baja, and it drove wonderfully I wanted to buy that one, but noo... they have too much money in that one, with the incentives on the new baja's they could only beat a new price by 1k, and this used baja has 10k miles.. anyway.

I was fine with that, I wanted a 5 speed manual anyway. I had a buddy of mine with me this whole time. We drive a full blown baja with a 5 speed manual. In Atlanta the traffic is heavy in places so you are usually crusing on and off the gas slowing for a red light. Well, in the baja when you let off the gas the damn transmission tries to come out of gear and causes the car to HOP!! I'm doing 25 or so mph in third gear gently pressing the gas, then i gently let off the gas and the gear shift jerks and the car hops twice. It settles quickly, but damn! (i repeated this on tow cars and so many times the sales person was getting a little agrivated, he says it just the way its made..)

I drive in trafic, and I don't want to kick the tranmission into netural every time I "may" have to slow down. We also drove a 5 speed sport and it did the exact same thing. The manager said they've never had anyone complain about the manual before, so is there a problem with this batch @ this dealer? (Ed Voyles subaru in Atlanta, GA)

Just to clairify its not the shaking of the gear shift that I'm talking about. That little gear shift shivers the whole time while driving, but the hopping issue is a deal stopper. Is there a fix or what's going on here?? BTW what is the invoice price on the automatic option? I have a quote for 19,999 (18999 for the auto used one) for the 5speed fully blow baja, maybe I can just add the price of the automatic and get one of those... Sorry for my first post being so long!!

JH
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Old 06-22-2003, 04:43 PM   #2
dragonglen
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I've only had my Baja for about a week and a half, but noticed at lower RPMs if you let off the gas, you really feel it a lot more than any of my previous manual cars (or trucks). When it's higher, above 2k RPMs, it's not as noticable, but down below that it gets somewhat irritating. Unfortunately, I'm not sure why it does it, but it's probably a mixture of low-end torgue and the AWD system transferring power. I'll play with it some more and see if I can get a better answer.
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Old 06-22-2003, 06:08 PM   #3
john_harte
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Default It's strange ...

Alright, so I'm not completly crazy. The dealer was trying to act like this was not happening to the manuals.

Is there anything you do to minimize it, like just rev the engine or never decelarate unless you are in neutral?

Any information would be ideal, I'm still undecided about the manual vs. the automatic. If there is a fix for the manual I'll get it done and buy that one. Ahh the torment of car buying.

JH
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Old 06-23-2003, 12:08 AM   #4
spacemonkey
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I will admit i do have to bring the revs up when shifting into first from a start. I guess i'm just used to it now after 10 months of ownership. I'm finally thinking of getting a kartboy short throw shifter installed to make the throws a little more sporty. However i've been under the impression that all subaru's especially from a cold start need a little more love when entering and exiting first gear. comparison wise I drove the forester xt the other day and i must say the clutch on that thing is retarded. Even the sales men couldn't keep from shuddering the thing badly in between shifts and from a stop. .... however i do feel my car is faster
monkey-
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Old 06-23-2003, 12:15 AM   #5
c0yote
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Have had mine for a couple weeks now and it does the same - is backlash the correct term for this? Most noticeable in low gears with the AC on, but had even noticed it a few times while on the freeway going downhill.
When I go into the dealer to pick up my plates, plan on talking to them about it.
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Old 06-23-2003, 02:43 AM   #6
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Subaru 5-speeds have always been finiky. But I havent ever heard of that happening in 3rd gear... (its usually a 1rst gear issue only) What it is is the differentials bouncing off eachother. The only real way around it is using the clutch more.
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Old 06-23-2003, 06:41 AM   #7
john_harte
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Unhappy using the clutch

That's excally how I ended up driving the baja, with lots of clutch.. let off the gas push the clutch. Man, so that is normal.

I can confirm it happened in 1st through 3rd gears, but in 4th or fifth its very slight and not noticeable. That's amazing. I'm not sure a transmission like that is going to fly with myself or the fiance/wife. I didn't get to drive the new forester XT but they had about three there, two that I saw had the manual transmission. Apparently they are selling them like crazy ever since the IIHS side impact tests. Forget getting a good deal on them for a while.

If anyone puts in a short shift kit, or that Cobb stage one transmission upgrade please report if it helped the 'backlash'. I'm really disappointed, as I really really wanted a manual.

This board rocks, even better than www.brickboard.com where all us volvo owners bitch about volvo NA/ford not covering bad ABS computers, and crappy ACs. Hince why I'm getting rid of the volvo, its becomming a liability.

Thanks!

JH
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Old 06-24-2003, 02:33 AM   #8
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Well it could be that you are having clutch "shudder" which is more of just a whap-whap-whap when you get on the gas changing gears... But to me it sounds more like the differential issue the way you described it.

If it is the clutch shudder, then it will be repaired under warranty. So you might want to take it in to have the dealer drive it.

Does the problem get worse or better if you give it more gas when its happening?
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Old 06-24-2003, 08:01 AM   #9
dragonglen
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Here's the way I would describe it, perhaps I'm thinking of the wrong thing, and tried to explain incorrectly.

What I thought he was talking about is when you're in 1st gear, and you're at about 2k RPMs. So, you're just driving slowly with your foot on the gas pedal keeping your revs constant. Now, you want to slow down another mile an hour or two, so you let off the gas slightly to lower the revs. What happens to me is that the car REALLY jerks to slow, and then jerks again once it hits it's new RPMs. I know this is usual in manual cars (based on experience), but I haven't had it nearly to this degree. I don't think it has anything to do with the HP or Torque anymore, since I just drove in a new Z06 and we didn't notice anything.

I've been noticing it less in the Baja, so maybe I'm either keeping the RPMs high enough now to not notice it, or I'm getting better at managing the problem.
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Old 06-24-2003, 11:15 AM   #10
john_harte
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Default Shudder vs. Bounce/Backlast

When you talk about the shudder of the gear shifter under acceleration I know exactly what you are speaking off. That's not an issue to me. The shaking of the gear shifter isn't a big deal, and doesn't affect the driveabliltiy of the baja.

What does is when you are in 1st or 2nd and even 3rd gear crusing at very low RPMs usualy due to trafic, and you need to let off the gas to slow down. Once you release the gas all hell breaks loose and the whole baja bounches and lurches.

Now I can do the same thing in any other manual transmission but only when I let the CLUTCH out so fast that it just flys though the catch point and then the car bounces trying to engage the clutch. In the baja there is no clutch involved just letting off a little gas to no gas, and it gets the same effect.

In the next three days I'm going to three dealers as they have all come down to 20600 for a new baja/auto. I'm planning on driving a manual each time I'm there if my time permits. I'll report the results, perhaps the bajas I've driven were just off the truck and not checked out yet. Also, is 20600 before tax and fees a good price for the auto baja I've had other dealerships offer me the sport for the same price so I assume I'm doing pretty well with that figure?

Thanks Again, Cheers
JH
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Old 06-24-2003, 02:44 PM   #11
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John,
I have been a loyal subaru owner for he last 10 years and have owned 3 subarus in that time. 2 of them have been manual transmissions. I have owned a '85 RX 4WD sedan and I learned to drive a MT on that and I now own a '90 Legacy L FWD sedan. On both cars, 1st gear has always been that way on both. You let off the gas and the car learches a bit (it feels like you are going about 20mph and are slowing down to 0 in 2 feet). Since I have learned to drive on a subaru tramsmission, I have found that if you use the Clutch a little more than other cars, it stopps that, espically in a lower rpm. normally, when slowing down in 1st gear, I just push in the clutch to slow down to the speed I want, or trafic is going, and the release the clutch if nessary. I was just lucky that both cars have had the Hill holder clutch on them. I hear that the '03 forster MT has this option . I hope that SOA adds this to all MT's in the near future. Myself, I am waiting for the '04 turbo baja with direct control AT transmission, the transmission on the legacy GT and the STI.

just my 2 cents worth.

Ben
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Old 06-24-2003, 04:04 PM   #12
hatake
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BajaNut, but you know AT is 4 speed w/ OD, not 5 like it is in Japan. I thought I could live with direct control AT, but not after I figured out it is 4sp. I think that contributes to poor gas mileage on Baja T, worse than XT. I'm afraid to find out what kind of gas guzzler Baja T will be, w/ AT.

By the way, I was looking at 03 Baja brochure and noticed "5 speed MT with overdrive." Is this normal? Is 5th gear called overdrive? Or is there some secret button?
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Old 06-24-2003, 05:37 PM   #13
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From what I have knoticed, most 5 speed MT's, the 5th gear is prodominantly a Over drive gear. It is normally used for crusing at highway speeds for better gas milage. If this is incorrect, please let me know. That is what my research has showed and what I have been tought from mechanics and my pop. There are the cases in sports cars where the 5th gear is not a Overdrive gear. I have also knoticed that every automatic w/ overdrive car and truck that I have ever driven has 3 gears + the overdrive gear and all the non overdrive have been 4 gears. Some people that I have asked would argue that there is is no differance between these and it is just a marketing ploy. But that is their opinion and I do knotice that w/ a overdrive gear, I have always gotten mutch better MPG on the highway than w/out.

Ben
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Old 06-25-2003, 07:54 AM   #14
dragonglen
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Correct, you're highest gear is typically your overdrive gear. I'd even go so far as to say that any gear that's better than the 1:1 ratio would be considered an overdrive gear, but you're highest gear is typically referred to as overdrive in most common cars.
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Old 06-25-2003, 10:57 AM   #15
jimqpublic
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Default Manual Trans question

Now that I have my heart set on a Baja Turbo, I think I still need to test a current model Baja because of the incredible deals running due to the $2000 factory to dealer incentive. All this talk of transmission issues intrigues me.

Are you guys saying the car actually pops out of gear? Or are you saying that engine just produces lots of braking torque?
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Old 06-25-2003, 11:35 AM   #16
john_harte
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Default almost out of gear...

On the ones I've driven it does not pop out of gear, but that's what it feels like. Watching the shifter when this happens, that is also what it looks like as the shifter does some jolting... more than it usually does.

I'm in a quandary as the 2000 Volvo S70 is much harder to get rid of than I first suspected. Trade-in doesn't seem to be an option. All the dealers say its a great car but their buyers don't think they can sell a 5speed volvo. They wanted me to go to carmax and they are a little more reasonable. I fully expected to loose a few grand but nothing over 3k and that's what I'm looking at. It's too bad becasue I had them down to 19900 for an auto baja and 19400 on a manual (if I could fix the hopping sistuation and all). I would strongly suggest looking at a baja now, they are very cheap. The dealers are saying the rebates will run out at the end of the month but I would be confident if 03's are still around in Aug. they would be even more desperate to clear them out.

Please let us know how a manual in your area drives. Perhaps this dealer just for got to do a tweak or somthing?

Cheers,

JH
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Old 06-25-2003, 01:05 PM   #17
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Jimqpublic,

From what I have knoticed, histroically subarus have had a lot of braking torque in the lower gears, espically in 1st gear. If you are going from a normal MT to a subaru MT, it does take a period of adjustment and to get used to the individual car. I have heard this from many subie converts. Every one of them start thinking that they made a mistake just after they bought the car, but after about a month or 2 they fall back in love with it all over again, once they have changed their driving habits to suit the individual car. In my experiance, every individual car has it's own individual quarks and tweeks. So it takes a time of adjustment to get used to it. For myself, after 6 years of ownership of my MT I don't have a problem with the braking torque as when I firsed owned it.

Ben
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Old 06-25-2003, 02:01 PM   #18
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Ben,

Thanks for the info. My biggest complaint on our '96, 2.2 liter, manual transmission Outback is the overly tall first gear. Although I'm excited about the upcoming 2004 Baja Turbo with VDT Automatic, I'm going to test drive a 2003 Baja this weekend before the $2000 incentive ends (according to Edmunds.com).

I will try to find gear charts for my '96 and compare them to the '03 gear charts. If it seems like I will get a lot more rear wheel torque, confirmed by a test drive, I may go with the 2003. I'm guessing that I would pay something like $6000 less for an '03 manual than for a similarly equipped '04 turbo/automatic.

If I haven't mentioned it before, one of my major issues is being able to pull my 2200 pound camping trailer. With a manual transmission it is important to deliver good torque on a 1500-2000 rpm launch without burning up the clutch.

Jim
'96 Outback
'78 Brat (RIP)
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Old 06-25-2003, 02:08 PM   #19
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Hey Jim,

From what I remember reading the gear ratios were suposed to the the same as the 00+ outback and legacy's. I don't remember the specifics but I bet that you shouldn't have too mutch problems with your trailer. The 2300 towing compasity should do you good. (I hope my memory serves me right about that)

I took out a '03 MT baja a couple of months ago and that thing was extreamly responsive and quick. I was unable to test the auto, but that MT was nice. It has a mutch shorter through than my '90 legacy L.

Myself, I am going to wait for the '04 turbo and get that. I know that I will be able to save some $$ with getting a '03, but I gota have the bling bling . I also like the almost balack monotone and the possiblity of the mystic blue true monotone that might be coming out.

Ben
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Old 06-25-2003, 03:37 PM   #20
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I wanted to wait for the turbo, but didn't think I'd be able to convince the fiancee. She was never fond of my driving habits in my Celica, and liked how the Baja felt. Telling her that I could buy a newer model that could go a bit faster was apparently the wrong thing, plus the extra $$. Maybe it'll turn into a project car in the future, or maybe I'll end up getting something else, but for now I'm satisfied with the purchase.

Also, I'm quickly becoming adjusted to the braking torque, though it still feels funny in low 1st, the other gears don't feel nearly as bad. I just can't wait for the first 1k miles to be up so I can change the oil and really see what she has. Don't want to beat up on her until after the break-in period.
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Old 07-20-2003, 03:09 AM   #21
Ramon
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Lightbulb

I just got a mystic blue Baja Sport yesterday. i love it. i think the trans is tight and the clutch engages close to the floor. But i got used to it quickly. i've eliminated the "shutters" by driving it well. it a freekin' blast to drive.
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Old 07-21-2003, 12:41 AM   #22
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Post prob

that is weird
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Old 09-25-2003, 11:15 PM   #23
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Default Re: prob

Quote:
Originally posted by SuBaRuRuLeS
that is weird
thanks for the helpful comments

anyone have this checked out by a dealer yet?
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Old 09-26-2003, 01:52 AM   #24
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try to back off the throttle slowly rather than just jumping off the throttle when you decelerate - I bet this is why you are experiencing the lurching. I have found this technique limits the amount of "bucking" the car does when slowing down...it is just a matter of practice and experience to drive the subaru awd smoothly. Probably due to some slop in the drivetrain since there are so many driveshafts and three diffs.

BTW, it gets worse when the AC is on.

Matt
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Old 09-26-2003, 05:42 AM   #25
BajaMark
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I would agree that this is a common Subaru MT issue. I've owned 6 Subarus (a '73 Sedan, '76 4WD wagon, '77 4WD Wagon, '83 Brat, '98 Outback LTD Wagon (AT), and the Baja) and found that all of the MTs needed a bit more clutch work at slow speeds in 1st gear. I typically downshift as I decellerate so, for me, I noticed the bucking at low speeds in 1st gear at low RPMs. It just took a few times driing the Baja to adjust to the "quirk" and use the clutch/throttle a bit more to nurse the car at slow speeds. I live in the Washington, DC area and getting stuck in slow moving bumper to bumper traffic is a daily happening. I love the Baja and enjoy every minute behind the wheel. My bet is that you'll find this "issue" with every Baja - it's not just a local thing. All it takes is a bit of working with to get used to.

Mark
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