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Old 06-28-2003, 08:23 AM   #1
LisaPhish
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Default Legacy Clutches

Hi,

I just bought an '02 Legacy GT Wagon with just 17K on it. I absolutely love the car, but this is my first Subaru. My last 7 cars were Audi's... and I'm not sure if this clutch is typical for Subaru's... It seems to let out really early. I've driven only sticks, and never have any trouble adjusting, but for some reason, this clutch is not easy for me... IS IT ME?

Lisa
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Old 06-28-2003, 12:41 PM   #2
richeich
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No, I don't think it's just you. For some reason, to me anyway, Subaru 5 speeds are among the hardest to drive smoothly. I'm not sure why that is. There seems to be quite a bit of driveline slop, and it's easy to get the car lurching. Then there's the occasional clutch shudder issues. I'm not sure that I've ever had it bad, but I've seen people compaining about it before.

I let someone drive my car a month or so ago at an autocross. He also commented on how early the clutch engaged. I guess I've been driving it long enough to not notice so much anymore.

There will normally be more activity on here during the week, so hopefully someone else will jump in here with some more info or opinions.

Welcome to the Group!-
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Old 06-28-2003, 12:46 PM   #3
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Lisa,

Hi, congratulations on joining the Subaru community, and welcome to the Legacy forum.

I just had a new Subaru OEM clutch plate, pressure plate and hydraulic system installed on my 98 GT Sedan. The original was having "difficulties" and it took a ton of pressure to compress (it was a defective system). When the new "system" was installed, I noticed that the clutch take up was a lot closer to the floor than I remembered from the old one. I've driven new Subes and noticed this same anomaly so I think your's is okay. However, if it's really close to the floor, like an inch or less, then I'd take it in to a Subaru dealer and have them check/adjust/replace it for you.

Br, Dale

Last edited by Subietonic; 06-28-2003 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 06-28-2003, 02:10 PM   #4
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Mine seems to be the opposite with really late or high clutch grab. I'm at 50,000kms so hopefully in the next 10-15K I can look at getting a better clutch system. (ACT or something).
How is the actual pedal feel? Is it easy to push the clutch down to the floor? Any stickiness? Or is it only when you are engaging the clutch that you notice the oddness?
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Old 06-28-2003, 09:03 PM   #5
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Congrats on your Subie... You'll be much happier with your maintenance/repair cost than any of your Audis.

As far as the 5 speed Subarus are concerned, they are different to drive than most other manual trannies, but it just takes some getting used to. They are supposed to grab close to the floor. Try letting the clutch out slower, and that might help. If the previous owner of your car has established a bad wear pattern on the clutch/pressure plate/flywheel, than you might be getting some chatter from that. If that is the case, and nothing you do to adjust your driving style doesn't remedy it, than you might need to get a new clutch (doubt it though). As far as the adjustment of the clutch goes, there is no real clutch adjustment, only pedal adjustment, which won't help at all if there is a bad wear pattern (chattermarks, cracking, bluing) on the clutch. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-28-2003, 10:20 PM   #6
LisaPhish
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Smile

Thanks everyone for your welcome wishes!

I am noticing that my clutch pedal needs alot of pressure to push it down, and then, it lets out probably around an inch from the floor. It's definitely not easy, but I'm getting better acclimated... It's just that usually, I have no problems adjusting to new clutches. Nobody could drive my Allroad smoothly, except for me. Oh well. It's only been 150 miles so far... maybe in a week or so it will be fine.

Lurching? Could you describe what the problem some people have had with that is like?

Thanks again for all the feedback...

And yes, I do think my new Subaru will be MUCH more reliable than the Audi's. I am hoping to put well over 200K on this car.

Peace.
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Old 06-29-2003, 01:28 AM   #7
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Lisa,

Thanks for the update. Sounds link your clutch master cylinder may be binding and/or your pressure plate may be defective if it's that hard to push and it's engaging that close to the floor. I'd make an appointment to get it checked out and documented, especially since it's still under the OEM 3/36 BTB, 5/60 PW.

I know that when mine was replaced it was silky smooth again, just like the new cars. In fact, I was so used to pushing hard on the clutch that when I first tried the new one out, I hit the floor pretty hard... lol.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Br, Dale
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Old 06-29-2003, 06:42 AM   #8
richeich
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Lurching is what I call it when you're in real slow speed situations, like just at or above idling, and you really want to just leave the clutch out and let it 'coast' (sort of). It's when you're in a line of cars that's barely moving because of a wreck or something like that, just creeping along. Anyway, the car seems real sensitive to any input it gets from the gas pedal in these situations, and will beging to buck and lurch badly if you are a bit messy with the throttle. Once the whole thing gets started, you can't make it stop unless you disengage the clutch. I'm sure it's got something to do with driveline slop. Of course maybe it's just something I have trouble with!

Rich
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Old 06-29-2003, 09:07 AM   #9
LisaPhish
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Unhappy

Good god, you really think something might be wrong with my pressure plate or Clutch master cyl? Darn. Hmmm. Well, I still need to go back for my plates, and am having them re-balance my tires then, since it's pretty shaky over 60... I guess I'll have them check out the clutch when I"m there...

Thank you again, for your words of car wisdom...

Peace and smooth shifting...

Lisa
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Old 06-29-2003, 12:43 PM   #10
Subietonic
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richeich

Rich,

Emailed you regarding your lurching.

Br, Dale
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Old 06-29-2003, 01:42 PM   #11
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A better word for 'lurching' would be bucking.. like a horse. Cuz that is more effectively what the car is doing. Just imagine trying to stay on top of the roof while the car is doing this..
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Old 06-29-2003, 01:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by richeich
Once the whole thing gets started, you can't make it stop unless you disengage the clutch. I'm sure it's got something to do with driveline slop. Of course maybe it's just something I have trouble with!

Rich
Yes, the subaru seems a bit more sensitive to it, but a lot of cars do it, moreso in 1st, and not in 2nd really. And you can make it stop by giving it more gas, or just letting off the gas all together. It will smooth out, but not immediately like depressing the clutch.
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Old 06-29-2003, 02:14 PM   #13
jalpas1966
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Reading this thread and having felt the "shuttering" when releasing the clutch, is that a common thing among standard Subarus? Something we need to be concerned about?
My Legacy GT Limited has 53k miles on it, when should I be expected to replace the clutch?
I know, many questions! Love my Subaru, it's my first and for the short time I've had it, I love it! Can't wait for winter!
Thanks all!
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Old 06-29-2003, 03:22 PM   #14
Subietonic
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I've been driving manual transmissions since I was 9 years old (grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania) and there's been a lot of miles, cars/trucks/other vehicles and years in between then and now. I've drag raced, auto-x'd, tracked and driven all over the world in just about every imaginable kind of vehicle so I guess I'm sort of a "qualified" voice on clutches, clutch engagements, and durability.

I can also tell you that I typically get well over 150K miles out of every manual transmissioned car that I've ever owned, new or used, before I think about replacing just the clutch disk. I honestly believe I could get the same kind of durability and longevity out of the Subaru clutch if they could fix the flywheel, clutch disk, pressure plate issue.

We have five Subes, all 96 and newer, and I can tell you that this clutch problem has, from my own experience and what I've read on these boards, manifested itself across all of the Legacy, Impreza and especially the WRX product lines. The older Subes, from my experience, didn't have these problems and the 96 OBS doesn't exhibit any of these symptoms and it's at ~68K right now.

So, to answer jalpas1966's question, I don't know how long they last but if you've got the shuddering/juddering coming from your car, then I'd get it to a dealer. Especially since you're closing in on the end of your 60K mile PW. There's a TSB out, specifically regarding the clutch issue. I'll try to post more later.

Br, Dale
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Old 06-29-2003, 05:03 PM   #15
LisaPhish
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Dale,

I'd love to hear more about the clutch assembly TSB.

I, like you, have driven many standards, in many types of vehicles. I've got it so I can drive my Subaru smoothly now, but I definitely have had to adjust my driving style to do so. Mainly in how I start off from first... I have to give it more gas, and let the clutch out as the rpm's come down, and any slight bucking is omitted. Not how I am used to driving however, usually, I would just slowly let the clutch out and simulataneously give it a little gas until it catches. If I did this in my Subaru, it would cause a bit of the lurching/bucking mentioned in this thread. Did that make sense?

I said earlier that my clutch was difficult to press down... but I don't think it is anymore. It's just that my foot is not used to letting it out so close to the floor.

So, would you say my car has this clutch assembly problem, or is this just how Subaru's drive? I"m unclear on this...

Lisa
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Old 06-29-2003, 07:14 PM   #16
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I learned how to drive a stick on my dad's Ford Contour, and found that the clutch in that seems to be very similar to a WRX or any other subaru standard I have driven.

Recently we got an Audi, and I had an immensly hard time learning how to drive that smoothly, the main difference is that I noticed that the clutch has a lot of travel before it grabs. This could also be part of why it seems like it grabbed so quickly in your subaru.

Now since im used to the Audi I have found that whenever I drive a subaru standard I need to change the way I drive to make it smoothe again. Because there defently is a huge difference in the way the clutch in the two cars operate.

Just my $.02
~Chris
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Old 06-29-2003, 09:26 PM   #17
LisaPhish
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Thanks for your 2 cents Chris... That explains E V E R Y T H I N G !

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Old 06-29-2003, 09:32 PM   #18
Subietonic
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Lisa,

Check out this thread, it really contains everything you will need, information-wise, about the clutch TSB 03-51-02R issue. Here's the NASIOC Clutch Shudder Link for more info. Note the "02R" in the TSB indicates "revised" to include 02 model year Subaru's in addition to the previous TSB covered model years.

Br, Dale
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Old 06-29-2003, 10:13 PM   #19
jalpas1966
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Thank you all too!!

I will be having it checked out on Thursday... will post to this thread what the dealer says.

Again thanks to all, this board is great!
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Old 06-30-2003, 04:02 PM   #20
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Subietonic,

How far back does that TSB go? I've had issues with mine (97 OB) since it was new. Everything was all documented at the dealer during the warranty period and nothing was done under warranty. It started chirping like a bird at about 10k miles from the hydraulic piston not making full contact with the throwout fork (troubleshot that myself). Subaru claims that the clutch is a wear item, therefore not covered under warranty, even bumper to bumper...
That (which helped kill the t/o bearing), combined with some offroad excursions led up to my clutch going bad by 60k miles. I have seen others that are just driven on road conservatively last 60k or less, so I know it's not just my driving habits. On the other side of that, I have seen one go 175k on the original clutch, babied by a travelling salesman, but that seems to be the exception. Like you, I have had a large number of manual Subarus from 1985-2002. It seems that the hydraulic (97 newer 2.5s and 2.0 Turbos) have more trouble than the cable clutch 2.2s that have a clutch adjustment (like your OBS). Once the bad wear pattern is established on the hydraulic clutch, the chatter/shutter/bucking gets real bad and doesn't go away until the clutch/pressure plate is replaced and the flywheel gets resurfaced.

Basically, if a person wants the best clutch set up in a Subaru, thay should opt for a 2.2 with a cable clutch, or convert their hydraulic to cable (not too hard to do). It's also a good idea to go for a better clutch like an ACT or RPS while you are at it...

Hopefully, FHI is doing lots of R&D to remedy this in the next gen Legacy since this has been an ongoing issue since the 1st hydraulic trans in the Turbo Legacy in 1991, and is still happening with 03s....

FYI, many times when you get the clutch done at the dealer, they don't resurface the flywheel so it gets that same bad wear pattern as before. If there is a good independent Subaru shop in your area, they are usually less expensive, will do the job right the first time, and care about customer service.
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Old 07-03-2003, 11:41 PM   #21
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Well...

I got my Y2K GT Limited checked out at the Subaru dealer I got it from and the service manager said, "That is a common issue with these cars, yours doesn't sound as bad as some I have heard and done nothing to".

Not too confident inspiring if you ask me! Think I'll bring it to another Subaru dealer for a second opinion.

Anyone in the Cincinnati Ohio area that knows an independent garage that's knowledgable on Subarus? Any help is very thankfull!

Will keep you all posted!
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Old 07-04-2003, 01:57 AM   #22
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jalpas1966

At the point that your tech writer, or was that the service manager, made that comment, my next words would have been, set me up with an appointment with the Regional Rep so I can hear him or her say that. If you didn't see the service manager, I'd make a point of calling and registering my displeasure with how you were treated. My next step would be to place a call to 1-800-Subaru3 to open a file on my car and ask them to talk to the dealership about this "known" TSB issue, especially on a 2002 vehicle, even with 53K miles because you've just been putting up with the shudder not knowing that it was a TSB issue.

outback2.5HO IIRC this TSB starts with 1999 vehicles but, depending on your dealership and your mileage, they may fix it for you. It's worth checking on.

Good luck and keep us appraised.

Br, Dale
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Old 07-07-2003, 09:55 AM   #23
LisaPhish
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My salesman called me last Friday to remind me to call the Svc. dept today (my appt. is next Monday) and make sure they had the parts for my clutch assembly in stock when I come in next week. (I thought that was hopeful...) So... this am., I called the service dept., and they said that it was not normal procedure to order parts BEFORE diagnosing the problem, and he asked if my salesperson really asked me to make this call! Ughhh. Still hopeful, but not liking the resistance...

Lisa
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:10 PM   #24
outback2.5HO
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Stay strong, don't let them slide...

If they do replace the clutch, make sure the flywheel gets resurfaced, and a new pressure plate, that's key to smooth clutch operation.
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Old 07-07-2003, 08:50 PM   #25
LisaPhish
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Is that information in the Service Bulletin? It stinks being female in situations like these... I get that narrow attitude like, "sure ma'am, whatever you say ma'am..."

Will give it my best shot...

Lisa

Last edited by LisaPhish; 07-07-2003 at 08:58 PM.
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