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Old 08-01-2018, 05:40 AM   #1
gutsy
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Default Transmission or clutch trouble 2004 WRX

Hi NASIOC, Iím new and have an issue with my 2004 WRX 5MT. Yesterday, I was on my way home when I took a right turn from a stop. As I shifted from first to second, (a bit hard, Iíll admit. I donít spend much time on backroads so I had opened it up) I heard a bit of a crunch/grind and the revs climbed. I had assumed I misshifted, but the car was in gear, so I pulled it out and put it back in second. The car just revved with throttle input as though it were in neutral.

I pulled over to a stop and tried to get moving again, no luck. When I put the car in gear, if I hold the clutch in, drivetrain is silent. If I let the clutch out, the car will not stall, and the RPM wonít change at all despite the fact Iím at a dead stop, and I get a whining grinding noise comes back and is pretty loud. I can also move the shifter between gear positions without touching the clutch and as I move it into position the grinding whine will start after it leaves the neutral position.

The clutch doesnít feel any different as far as stiffness/spongyness. Itís still firm like it always was, but the shifter itself feels like it may be easier to put into gear with the clutch in than it used to be. Upon visual inspection everything looks like it should, but Iím honestly not too sure what to look for. The fluid is clean and the level is maybe 1mm under the max line. I replaced my front and rear shifter bushings a few weeks ago and the install went smooth. I also pulled my TMIC to look through the flywheel inspection hole in the bellhousing to see if there was maybe some clutch material visible. Negative.

Prior to this, the transmission showed no signs of damage like grinding, popping out of gear, clutch slippage, or noises. All axles are in place for what its worth, lol. I usually donít drive it too hard, but I do have my moments. No launches whatsoever in my ownership, so I could avoid busted trannys. Looks like that might have been in vain though, haha. However, for the past three months or so almost every weekday I have been spending about 30 minutes in traffic, so lots of clutch in clutch out stuff. The car also is running a VF48 on 18psi tuned for Speed Density with a relocated IAT sensor and other bolt ons (fuel upgrades, uppipe, turboback, crank pulley, bro off valve, so it is making a bit more than stock power.) The speed density tune has a 2 step mode (Iíve never used, canít speak for previous owner) and antilag which I used once for a few minutes when I lost the switch and had to drive to get a new one, lmao.

Any ideas? Did I suddenly somehow destroy my clutch? Iíve never heard a noise like this from a bad clutch though. Maybe my trans just grenaded? I apologize for the novel and for my first post being a ďhelp meĒ post but I thought Iíd get all the info I have out there so I can become a more active member here. Much appreciated and happy to be in the community, gutsy.
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:24 AM   #2
Charlie-III
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So, no matter what you do, the car no longer moves under power?
Where is it now? Same spot, home, shop?
If somewhere else, how did it get there?

Sounds like, at a minimum, the trans is coming out. Then you can see the clutch. If the clutch is fine, then the trans comes apart.
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Old 08-01-2018, 10:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gutsy View Post
The car just revved with throttle input as though it were in neutral.
Sounds like the clutch is shot.

Quote:
I can also move the shifter between gear positions without touching the clutch
Sounds like transmission is shot.
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Old 08-01-2018, 04:21 PM   #4
gutsy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
So, no matter what you do, the car no longer moves under power?
Where is it now? Same spot, home, shop?
If somewhere else, how did it get there?

Sounds like, at a minimum, the trans is coming out. Then you can see the clutch. If the clutch is fine, then the trans comes apart.
Itís home now. Looks like the best thing to do is just pull the trans and look at my clutch then?
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Old 08-01-2018, 05:32 PM   #5
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gutsy View Post
Itís home now. Looks like the best thing to do is just pull the trans and look at my clutch then?
Pretty much. Regardless of what is wrong, trans comes out to check.
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Old 08-01-2018, 05:46 PM   #6
gutsy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
Pretty much. Regardless of what is wrong, trans comes out to check.
Thanks for the advice. If I pull the trans and the clutch looks healthy, thats basically my que to drop in a new transmission right? I wouldnít think theres much I can do to check on it apart from opening it up.
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Old 08-01-2018, 05:52 PM   #7
CarmelValleyWRX
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if it wont move in any gear its most likely the clutch is broken. or the input shaft to the transmission broke. or it could have a broken axle.
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Old 08-01-2018, 07:16 PM   #8
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarmelValleyWRX View Post
if it wont move in any gear its most likely the clutch is broken. or the input shaft to the transmission broke. or it could have a broken axle.
Aaannnddddd.....nobody likely has a clue until the trans is dropped. Then you can check the clutch and if it's fine, then more likely it's the trans.
I doubt it's a halfshaft/axle, but those are easy to check. If nothing else, they tend to flail about whenever the car is moving, even if coasting down an incline engine off. The wheels will fling things around.
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:00 PM   #9
gutsy
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I got the car up in the air and took a look at the axles, the front drivers side inner boot slid down the shaft on one side. Thereís grease flung around onto the surrounding area in a circle and the axle has a bit of in and out play. Could this be the cause of the problem or maybe an effect of it?
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:40 PM   #10
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probably not. that just sounds like a torn boot which is super common and wont stop the car from moving forward. spin each wheel and make sure another wheel spins too. if you spin a front wheel it should spin the other the opposite way. the back wheels generally spin together and might even drive the front wheels because of the viscus rear and center diffs.
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:49 PM   #11
gutsy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarmelValleyWRX View Post
probably not. that just sounds like a torn boot which is super common and wont stop the car from moving forward. spin each wheel and make sure another wheel spins too. if you spin a front wheel it should spin the other the opposite way. the back wheels generally spin together and might even drive the front wheels because of the viscus rear and center diffs.
The front wheels spin in opposite directions are rear wheels spin together with all 4 in the air.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:55 PM   #12
gutsy
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Havenít had much time to look into the issue, but made some today. Iíve ruled out axles and am slowly working on dropping the transmission (downpipe bolts are very stuck). With the car up in the air, off, and in gear, if I spin one of the wheels by hand and look down through the hole for the clutch fork and in through the inspection hole for the flywheel, I can see that the flywheel and pressure plate donít spin, but what I would think is the clutch between them, (It doesnít look like a clutch to me, but what do I know. Iím new to drivetrain work) is spinning, but grinding awfully. I can also spin said wheel clockwise or counter clockwise regardless of whether the car is in a forward or reverse gear. The clutch pedal moves the pressure plate fingers. My uneducated guess is looking like a broken input shaft?
Hereís a video, I may suggest turning the volume down if you have headphones.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5QfJj72sS5c&feature=youtu.be
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:38 PM   #13
Charlie-III
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Flywheel and pressureplate are attached to the engine crank..... no spin crank, no spin clutch.
Frictionplate is attached to the trans input shaft.
Trans in neutral, input shaft won't spin if you spin any wheel.
Trans in any gear, input shaft won't spin if frictionplate is clamped and engine off.

Whatever the issue is, to fix requires dropping the trans.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:23 PM   #14
gutsy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
Flywheel and pressureplate are attached to the engine crank..... no spin crank, no spin clutch.
Frictionplate is attached to the trans input shaft.
Trans in neutral, input shaft won't spin if you spin any wheel.
Trans in any gear, input shaft won't spin if frictionplate is clamped and engine off.

Whatever the issue is, to fix requires dropping the trans.
Gotcha. Thanks. Youíve been helpful to a newbie. Iíll finish up pulling the trans and see where to go from there.
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Old 08-12-2018, 12:39 PM   #15
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gutsy View Post
Gotcha. Thanks. Youíve been helpful to a newbie. Iíll finish up pulling the trans and see where to go from there.
Well, it IS the newbie section.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:05 PM   #16
gutsy
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Finished dropping the trans yesterday and turns out the clutch disc completely broke into two pieces. The hub part split with the ring with the friction material on it. Anyone ever had this happen to them?
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:52 AM   #17
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gutsy View Post
Finished dropping the trans yesterday and turns out the clutch disc completely broke into two pieces. The hub part split with the ring with the friction material on it. Anyone ever had this happen to them?
I have seen it before, most common reasons are.....
Cheap clutch
Clutch dumps
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:21 AM   #18
gutsy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
I have seen it before, most common reasons are.....
Cheap clutch
Clutch dumps
It was an Exedy stage 1 organic. Seemed to be a good performing clutch up until that point, but I donít know much about the extent of its abuse beyond trying to teach my girlfriend how to drive it a while back. Either way thanks for the advice. Should have the car back on the road soon given the damage was contained only to the clutch and flywheel.
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Old 08-16-2018, 08:37 AM   #19
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Clutches are designed to protect other components. Not a Subaru, but in a drag race at New England Dragway some years ago, I mis-shifted going from 2nd to 5th, and re-shifted and hit 1st instead of 3rd. The clutch disintegrated, saving everything else. When I pulled it apart, it looked like someone threw a bunch of mouse fur in there. This was a Ford 302 and a T-5 transmission, so it was just my time. $32 for an OEM replacement clutch.

Your WRX is quite old and all of the bad shifts and hard clutch releases have now blown the thing apart. Fortunately, it's all going to be your own labor with very little cost to repair this.
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