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Old 06-15-2001, 03:20 PM   #1
AWDriver
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Exclamation WRX trannies a bit fragile? Seems so...

Watching the Canadian Rally Championship last night, there were 3 brand-new WRX's entered for the first time. Two had stock drivetrains (one was even a wagon, unusual to see in a rally) and the other was fully built with mega horsepower and an upgraded tranny. Well, both stock cars broke their transmissions early on. One lost 2nd gear, the other got stuck in 3rd. This was very aggressive driving, of course, but the trannies only lasted a matter of hours... makes me wonder how long before I-Clubbers start reporting tranny failures on their boost-enhanced WRX's.

Of course, the overall winner was the fully race-prepped (and suitably strengthened) WRX, with a very sturdy EVO, having rolled a couple of times and looking quite sorry by the end, coming in 2nd without need of repair.
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Old 06-15-2001, 03:52 PM   #2
GDA
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Ive noticed that after doing some 1/4 mile launches on my tranny 1st gear is getting real whinny when i depress the clutch and about to go into second, no other gear makes that loud whine, well at least not before.

I have 8k miles on my WRX

Mods:ITG panel filter
MBC set at 14psi
BPM turbo back exhaust system.

If it breaks then it breaks. i got 36k miles for any failures to occur.

The WRX trannies were noted as the weak link the car, but i didnt think they are/were that weak.

EJ20WRX
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Old 06-15-2001, 04:56 PM   #3
Dave99
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I'm not particularly happy with the WRX 5-speed tranny - it's always making strange rasping noises when decelerating.

Also, I sometimes feel the onset of a grind while shifting from 2nd to 3rd. It's as if the synchromesh is ready to wear out. It's that same familiar feeling I was getting from my '93 Toyota Paseo with 130,000 miles. I've got 2000 miles on my WRX right now.

Dave.

p.s. no burn-outs or drop-clutch starts either
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Old 06-15-2001, 09:21 PM   #4
jmott
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most trannies make funny noises when decelerating.

sometimes you guys are way too paranoid.


anyway, I just got done drag racing my wrx on the stickiest drag strip ever and no ill effects after 6 passes.

shifted pretty hard, no clutch dumps though.

hope it stays that way.

the really sorry thing here is that there isnt any aftermarket replacement thats any good.

the only option is to go with 'dog' trannies. Screw that. Would someone please step up and offer a bulletproof tranmission?

I will buy one!

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Old 06-15-2001, 09:30 PM   #5
GDA
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I wish i was just paranoid. i did quite a bit of slipdumps (9 passes 5k rpm). That first gear is much noiser than before.

oh well guess i have to wait til it goes out or gives.

dog box huh? mmm no thanks.

EJ20WRX
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Old 06-15-2001, 11:18 PM   #6
davidm_sh
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Well I went to the track tonight in hopes of getting a "base/stock" timeslip but I didn't get to run becuase they were understaffed and wouldn't let anyone else "tech prep" their car.

So I came back home and raced my friend in his 2000 Prelude. I beat him by 3-4 car lengths but the thing that worried me was the tranny. The car only has about 1k miles on it now and when I went from 1st to 2nd I noticed to be, what sounded like a very small muffled grind. Like the syncrho crunching just a little. Or could it have been the recirc valve engaging hard (I don't powershift so I left my foot completely off the gas)? There was a jewel case in the door side that might have been getting jarred and making the sound but I don't really want to try and replicate the incident. Hopefully it was just the cd case but if not I don't think I will be going to the track anytime soon. I will just have to get enough power so I can shift slow and STILL be faster than most [heh].
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Old 06-15-2001, 11:51 PM   #7
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Well, please note that the WRX wagon driven by John Paynter still finished third overall at the Bighorn rally despite not using 1st or 2nd gear for the last half of the event. It wasn't stuck in third. Turns out only the 1st/2nd gear slider was damaged in that tranny. And both cars had a full rally's worth of testing prior to the event. At the next event, Rocky Mountain Rally, both the production cars finished with no transmission troubles at all. Pat Richard finished 2nd overall and John Paynter finished 4th overall.
At last weekend's SCCA ClubRallies in Washington Nat T-Stow won both days in his new WRX with no transmission problems. He was warned to take it easy when shifting.

What I'm saying is, although it's well known that the transmission is the Achilles heel of the Subaru, it's not a hopeless situation if care is taken.
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Old 06-19-2001, 03:52 AM   #8
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I think that rattling noise on deceleration from 2nd, 3rd, etc. is normal. I have read many posts about this and that's why I think it's just a normal occurence. The 6spd Getrag tranny for the MKIV supras (93-98) has a rattling noise as well, which is normal. MKIV Supras use a sprung flywheel and solid clutch (most cars it is the other way around), and the rattling you hear is the sprung flywheel.
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Old 06-19-2001, 01:07 PM   #9
AlexM_UK
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Hi,

As a long time lurker, and occasional poster I am always suprised that this topic comes up again and again..

Gearbox problems aren't that common in the UK - is everyone dragging to blow the box that often?.

I wouldn't be that paranoid about whining on the overrun (trailing throttle). I insisted that my original gearbox was replaced due to this characteristic, and the replacement is exactly the same from zero miles.

If you are sensitive to the noise (like me), you can convince yourself that there is a problem where there isn't. A good example is how much better my car always runs when I've leaned all of the trash out of the inside . Just learn to ignore it and you'll enjoy the car more.

How many WRX gearboxes (not turbo RS) have actually stripped gears or broken? - in the UK problems other than 5th gear syncro failures are quite rare, and even the UK boxes with the taller final drive are ok to 300bhp or more if you're relatively sympathetic.

Just trying to understand whats happening there....

Cheers,

Alex
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Old 06-19-2001, 05:01 PM   #10
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I also think that drag racing is the root of the evil here. Subarus all wheel drive system is just not made for high rpm launches. If you want to drag race sell your car and buy a Camaro, you will be much more happy with it. Also If you try to drive your car like it was a front or rear wheel drive car than not even a full dog box can save you. People need to learn to drive thies cars the right way. IMO
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Old 06-20-2001, 02:56 AM   #11
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this goes back to my question in the Wrx tech fourm. auto or stick? Im sure that with the right clutch engaugement "slipping the clutch" it would hold up to more abuse. High RPM dumps are bad!! I guess its all how you drive....
-nick
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Old 06-20-2001, 11:38 AM   #12
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Angry Grinding gears

I keep having a p[roblem grinding first gear and reverse. This happens when I'm starting out in the morning or after work in the evning. I'm at a complete stop, I clutch all the way down, and every once in a while it will grind going into first. Makes this crunch sound. It happens alot more in reverse. I never go into reverse unless im at a complete stop and it still crunches even if I double-clutch. Any ideas? I havent had any other problems...
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Old 06-20-2001, 06:23 PM   #13
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I never have had a problem with grinding gears while shifting in the WRX, but then I always heel-toe and match the revs while down shifting. I always wait a few seconds before ever putting it in reverse and never a grind. I usually never put it in first gear unless I am stopped. If I have to I of course heel-toe rev the rpms high before going into first and never a grind. Also, I never rest at stop lights with the clutch in, not good practice. I always leave in neutral, clutch out and brake on at stop lights. I have practiced these techniques on all my cars and have never had gearbox or clutch problems. I hope it continues that way with the WRX. I feel double clutch down shifting is not necessary, although I do it some times for fun.
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Old 06-20-2001, 07:24 PM   #14
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Interesting that someone mentioned fifth gear synchro problems, I noticed something similar on my WRX, but I've only noticed it when shifting into fifth at about 6K rpm in fourth, otherwise its fine. The sound (whine) the car makes when decelerating I believe is just the various gears in the diff plus the transmission. My jeep made a very similar winding noise when in 4wd moving slowly.
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Old 06-21-2001, 01:14 PM   #15
natasha talarico
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Default GRINDING SOUND

This is my first car with a manual transmission and today I guess I was going too fast getting ready to stop I put my car into first and I heard that grinding sound my foot was still on the clutch well I swear that somthing plastic like a shard fell from up underneath my car because I heard it bounce and sall it in my rear view mirror. What could this be.
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Old 06-21-2001, 01:35 PM   #16
briank
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Default Re: Grinding gears

Quote:
Originally posted by Samirr76
I keep having a p[roblem grinding first gear and reverse. This happens when I'm starting out in the morning or after work in the evning. I'm at a complete stop, I clutch all the way down, and every once in a while it will grind going into first. Makes this crunch sound. It happens alot more in reverse. I never go into reverse unless im at a complete stop and it still crunches even if I double-clutch. Any ideas? I havent had any other problems...
Sounds like common behavior for many trannies.
Lots of cars are picky about letting you into first gear. Just NEVER shift into first on less you're going <5mph. Its rare that you'd want to anyway.

It is weird that you still grind going into reverse even after double-clutching though.

-BrianK
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Old 06-21-2001, 01:38 PM   #17
SubyPrez20
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Warning:

I had a 2000 RS 2.5 with 24000 miles on it. I did what you guys did. 1/4 runs, slips of the clutch, dumps of the clutch, racing etc.

At 24000 miles, 1st and 2nd gear were toast. Tranny was all but ruined. Subaru trannys ARE hard to come by in the US. SOA said I would have to wait 5 weeks for a new tranny that I had to pay for. Warrenty will not cover what is CLEAR abuse, no matter who you -bitch- to. If you dump em, they will know. Did I mention the cost of a new tranny is 3400 not including labor? Can you be without your car for most likely a month or so? Do you really want to spend all that money?

When they tore my car down, my clutch at 24000 miles had very minimal ware and tear. But those gears were toast. To make things worse, I didnt have a spare 4000 sitting around, and decided to get a used tranny (still a 1000 bucks). About a month later, the bearings were going out on it. You cant tell what your buying when you go used tranny. When they sit around for a while, they can basicly go "unlubed", get condensation, rust on the inside etc.

If your going to race - do a 30mph dropdown on a backroad or deserted highway. its not bad on your tranny and its actually giving you an advantage (your in 2nd gear at approx 3100rpms which means your turbo is ready to go when your at 30mph)

just my .02
suby (trying to save at least 1 person from going through the hell i went through)

I ultimately decided to sell the car as is (traded it in on a WRX because I could not sell that car to an unknowing or unsuspecting person and feel good about it) Its pics are in the member cars forum.
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Old 06-21-2001, 02:23 PM   #18
Conduit
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Default I hate to be an ass here, but...

Subaru better not tell me that a tranny failure is my fault. I am NOT dumping the clutch, I am NOT thumping between shifts. If a manufacturer sells a product, nay, a PERFORMANCE car, that can't handle PERFORMANCE shifts (I am talking about occasional powershifting), then it's a POS. Period. I would sooner sell my WRX than deal with that kind of attitude. There are people on the board who have broken the tranny at less than 5000 miles. One member took it back to the dealer and got the run around for weeks, being told it was due to abuse. BS. They built the car, they show the driver powershifting and drifting in the commercials, and if it can't stand up to that kind of driving, then they should be responsible for misrepresenting it. If gears are breaking, shattering, stripping, etc. beyond the threshold of what's reasonable (and this is not relative to Subaru, frankly), then it SHOULD be Subaru's responsibility to at least repair it while the vehicle is under warranty.
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Old 06-21-2001, 02:59 PM   #19
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If you dont abuse it, they will be able to tell.

If you do abuse it, they will be able to tell.

Just ask ANY service man on this board, they know.

This was before the rally commericals and whatnot. I do see a valid lawsuit coming there way someday in the future because of there adds. Thats false advertising....right?

suby
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Old 06-21-2001, 04:07 PM   #20
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I was at the Prosolo in Oscoda MI and Kim and Larry Fine were there with their silver WRX sedan.

They each got 12 runs total over 2 days, and their co-drivers got 12 runs each over 2 days. so that's 48 high RPM "drag-style" launches because Prosolo uses a Christmas tree launch and symmetrically opposite courses. Some folks asked them if the tranny was wonky at all, and Larry says "No, it's been just fine all year."

I'm sensitive to every little noise the car makes....i'm slowly learning that if it's gonna break, it's not gonna let me know.

I don't worry about the little noises, especially if they come and go...

sjd
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Old 06-21-2001, 08:25 PM   #21
russthelm
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Default Outside Opinion (DSM)

I have been following this topic a bit as a potential buyer of a new WRX. I currently own a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 (the closest match to the WRX in the US).
I find that people are having transmission problems with less than 10K miles absurd. I really have a hard time believing that the stock clutch is holding so much power that the tranny is taking the abust. On anything less than a 2500 lb pressure plate, I would expect the clutch to give out from the abuse (which would save much of the transmission). I highly doubt the stock clutch is anywhere near that.
For the person that has the clutch with no wear and has to buy the $3400 transmission, you really need to do some more research into this subject and challenge Subaru.
On our DSM's (which certainly are not the greatest tranny's), I have not heard of quick failure execpt in very rare cases. My co-worker has over 200K miles on his stock transmission. He is still running high 12's and has been racing the car over 100K miles now. He even has a clutch that holds a lot of power.
You guys might want to point out to Subaru that DSM owners do not report this kind of problem, and certainly put their cars through just as much abuse.
I think I will be holding off on my purchase until I see some improvement from Subaru in this area.

Regards,
Russ Warren
1992 Galant VR-4
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Old 06-22-2001, 02:45 AM   #22
Conduit
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In all fairness, just a few things:
1. That seriously depends on the serviceman, and that is my point. Furthermore, it's in Subaru's interest to charge me for the service, so I would believe that an independent opinion is in order. I have spent more than my fair share of time dealing with transmissions (at least one that saw LOTS of abuse), and I can say that often, a shattered gear is a shattered gear. I installed a stage five clutch, and blew apart first. I bought another tranny, and the gear failed with a stock clutch after 5 k miles. The gearsets look virtually identical, with the later having more synchro wear (neighbor owned, boob driver).
2. I still believe that gearbox issues are something we are going to deal with at some point. I have alot of faith in the solidity of mine, and so far, it's withstood the three rapidly feathered hard launches I have made. It didn't even blink. I'm just planning early here, so please don't let it discourage your purchase. I also used to own a VR-4, and trust me, it's worth your time and money for the WRX As long as the WRX doesn't blow its rear diff out on the highway at 80, I will be _very_ happy
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Old 06-22-2001, 07:44 AM   #23
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Russ, taking your car to redline and letting the clutch fly will not ruin your clutch, nor burn it. It will however ruin gears.

No, this isnt a smart thing to do (l realize)


But guess how many people on here do that? (tons)

Suby
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Old 06-22-2001, 05:26 PM   #24
Conduit
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You know, correct me if I'm wrong here, but that may be better since you would actually get a bit of wheel spin As I said, where are those Q-rated spares...hmm *giggle*
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Old 06-22-2001, 06:53 PM   #25
gearguy
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A tad of wheelspin, even if only a half revolution, can most definitely give more life to your launching gear. Gear breakage normally occurs after a certain number of abuse cycles. Once that number of cycles is known, you can expect another gear from the same inventory batch to fail at almost exactly the same number of abuse cycles (launches).

I don't know what the approximate magic number is for Subaru 1st gears, but the number will differ slightly from car to car, and will depend more on factors that enhance traction, than on actual horsepower. If you experience wheel hop, count that as multiple abuse cycles --

Paul
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