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Old 11-12-2018, 10:47 PM   #1
GetWrxd01
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Default Occasional/random clutch slip? Plz help!

Recently Iíve been having some problems with my 03 wrx. It all started the morning after a night of beating on my car pretty well, which included drag racing my friend doing a pretty aggressive launch (Iím still learning), and doing some donuts in my friends field. I was driving my car to school and felt the car hesitate in second gear while accelerating pretty hard around 5k rpms. It would jump up to 5k rpms then hold for a few seconds then resume like normal. I did a little bit of testing and concluded it was a slipping clutch. I went pretty easy on the car after that to make whatís left of the clutch last as long as possible so I can save up for a new one, for probably 2 weeks. Now just a few days ago I was giving some friends who have never ridden in my car before a ride and I was doing some pretty strong pulls for them, and I didnít feel the clutch slip at all, the rpms didnít hesitate or anything, It felt perfectly normal! I was confused at first, then later I did some clutch slipping tests and it passed all of them, I drove for quite a bit that night and I couldnít get it to act up at all. I did some reading and then decided I probably just glazed the clutch and I somehow deglazed the clutch and now itís good as new which made me very happy. It drove fine for about 2 days, then I started getting some symptoms again that seemed like clutch slippage. The rpms shoot up while the car barely accelerates, then hesitate, then continue. It happens in 2nd around 4.5-5k, and in 3rd around 3.5-4k and this is the most noticeable, I donít have too much trouble in 4th and 5th, I think itís because usually I donít accelerate in higher rpms in those gears. I didnít know what to think at this point, and just kept driving the car, then the problems went away again!? Then I just drove somewhere tonight about 30 min away and it was doing it on the way there, but when I left about an hour later the symptoms were gone and I couldnít get it to act up at all the whole way home. Doesnít seem to matter if itís cold or not. I did some reading and didnít really see anything that describes my issues but I am thinking it could be the axles, something bad in the clutch system, the clutch itself, or maybe I have an oil leak getting on the clutch? Possibly the rear main seal? I have noticed I am using roughly a little over quart every 3,000 miles, havenít noticed any major oil leaks, and I donít think my piston rings are bad, no blue or excessive smoke coming out of the exhaust, although my friends say they can smell oil burning when Iím driving ahead of them, not sure if its someone elseís car or theyíre just giving me ****, etc. I never smell anything while idling or revving while parked, sometimes just a little smell after driving for a bit and then getting out of the car. Really donít know what to think here I guess Iíll start by checking the axles and some clutch components and make sure itís not something simple. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 11-13-2018, 01:06 PM   #2
jasonwrx86
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It's possible that the clutch materiel building up on the flywheel can change after you drive it smoothly for a while. Just like brake pads, the clutch material deposit on the fly wheel can change it's property depending on the temperature of the material.
I would get it checked out if you gonna drive it hard.
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Old 11-14-2018, 01:36 AM   #3
GetWrxd01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonwrx86 View Post
It's possible that the clutch materiel building up on the flywheel can change after you drive it smoothly for a while. Just like brake pads, the clutch material deposit on the fly wheel can change it's property depending on the temperature of the material.
I would get it checked out if you gonna drive it hard.
Hmm... so I should start saving for a new clutch and go easy on it in the meantime?
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Old 11-14-2018, 11:16 AM   #4
GetWrxd01
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Just a little update: in 4th gear around 3k when I give it full throttle it revs up to almost 5k and hangs there, meanwhile the car is still steadily accelerating, then the rpms drop back down and pulls all the way to redline seemingly normal. I have a video but I donít how to post it lol, if anyone thinks they could help if they saw the video I can post it on YouTube then post the link on here.
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Old 11-14-2018, 11:20 AM   #5
GetWrxd01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetWrxd01 View Post
Just a little update: in 4th gear around 3k when I give it full throttle it revs up to almost 5k and hangs there, meanwhile the car is still steadily accelerating, then the rpms drop back down and pulls all the way to redline seemingly normal. I have a video but I donít how to post it lol, if anyone thinks they could help if they saw the video I can post it on YouTube then post the link on here.
Iím thinking itís the axles because it still accelerates smoothly while it seems as though the clutch is slipping, also I donít smell any clutch burning at all, and this could be completely unrelated but I was previously getting a whine around 60 mph while cruising, I did some research and read that this was caused by the rear dif, but the noise recently went away.
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Old 11-14-2018, 06:22 PM   #6
thejaredhuang
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Have the same issue at the moment. I think it might be my rear diff in my case. I was experiencing it on my 5 speed, did a 6 speed swap and changed everything except the rear diff and I get a random slip but it only occurs after taking a turn which made me believe its related to the rear diff.
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Old 11-15-2018, 07:39 PM   #7
GetWrxd01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thejaredhuang View Post
Have the same issue at the moment. I think it might be my rear diff in my case. I was experiencing it on my 5 speed, did a 6 speed swap and changed everything except the rear diff and I get a random slip but it only occurs after taking a turn which made me believe its related to the rear diff.
Yeah that really does sound like a rear dif issue, I could be wrong but I believe you are supposed to swap out the rear dif when you do a 6 speed swap. I think my issue is related to the rear dif or rear axles popping out as well just because the issue was off and on and I have never smelled any burnt clutch. When I drag raced my friend I heard more wheel spin when launching than I ever have before, I wonder if itís because Iím only sending power to 2 or 3 wheels lol
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Old 11-15-2018, 08:54 PM   #8
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if your axle popped out you would have a hard time going anywhere. the limited slips are not that strong on the WRX so you would basically just spin the output shaft on the disconnected corner while overheating and smoking your diffs. your clutch is slipping between 3-5k because that is where the engine is making lots of torque. torque falls off hard on the top end so the clutch regains grip. i had the same issue when i started tuning my engine and increasing the output. if you see your rpms rising without the car moving faster, let off because you are completely smoking the **** out of the clutch when that happens. you probably cant smell it because you are moving and the dust is going out the bottom of the bellhousing.
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Old 11-16-2018, 07:07 PM   #9
GetWrxd01
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Originally Posted by CarmelValleyWRX View Post
if your axle popped out you would have a hard time going anywhere. the limited slips are not that strong on the WRX so you would basically just spin the output shaft on the disconnected corner while overheating and smoking your diffs. your clutch is slipping between 3-5k because that is where the engine is making lots of torque. torque falls off hard on the top end so the clutch regains grip. i had the same issue when i started tuning my engine and increasing the output. if you see your rpms rising without the car moving faster, let off because you are completely smoking the **** out of the clutch when that happens. you probably cant smell it because you are moving and the dust is going out the bottom of the bellhousing.
Yeah I am leaning towards it being the clutch now, I checked out all the axles today, the rears were fine, but there is a TSB on them popping out slightly, and acting like the clutch is slipping. One of the front axle stubs is loose but I think thatís a separate issue. I guess Iíll pull the trigger on the clutch and hope that that is in fact the issue. Iíd hate to spend all that time and money on a new clutch to find out itís ok and I have a different issue.
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Old 11-17-2018, 01:29 AM   #10
mrsaturn7085
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This is a common symptom of a pedal adjustment set too tight on Subaru. A little heat in the system will cause the slippage. Not a guarantee, but OP doesn't have his location listed so I don't know the temperature in the area and no one else has mentioned the pedal. Make sure your pedal has 1-2 mm of free play before engaging the clutch cylinder.
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:41 AM   #11
GetWrxd01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsaturn7085 View Post
This is a common symptom of a pedal adjustment set too tight on Subaru. A little heat in the system will cause the slippage. Not a guarantee, but OP doesn't have his location listed so I don't know the temperature in the area and no one else has mentioned the pedal. Make sure your pedal has 1-2 mm of free play before engaging the clutch cylinder.
I live in MN, and the temps have been recently dropping, would that be the cause? I did pull off the intercooler and looked at the cylinder above the the tranny, but I didnít really know what I was looking for, lol, but I do believe the clutch had a little play before it actually engaged the cylinder.
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Old 11-17-2018, 12:05 PM   #12
CarmelValleyWRX
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IMO if your doing launches/ donuts in fields you gotta expect to replace some parts every now and then. especially stock clutches... not surprising at all that the clutch is fried. yes its good to go over everything and make sure its not something simple but dont get your hopes up. if you like donuts expect to rebuild your center diff eventually. not saying dont, just FYI of things that will break.
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Old 11-17-2018, 01:52 PM   #13
GetWrxd01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarmelValleyWRX View Post
IMO if your doing launches/ donuts in fields you gotta expect to replace some parts every now and then. especially stock clutches... not surprising at all that the clutch is fried. yes its good to go over everything and make sure its not something simple but dont get your hopes up. if you like donuts expect to rebuild your center diff eventually. not saying dont, just FYI of things that will break.
Yeah I guess lol, I really donít launch often mostly just donuts especially with the snow here in mn I just think itís weird how the issue came up so fast, I never had any issues with my clutch before, and then one day itís fried. Also it hasnít seem like itís gotten any worse it just stays the same, and then I had those couple of times where it acted perfectly normal.
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Old 11-19-2018, 06:31 PM   #14
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It stopped slipping today. 4th gear at 2500 foot to the floor no slip whatsoever... could the clutch be heating up and then gripping?
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:32 PM   #15
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I have a similar issue with my 2006 WRX 5MT. After I drive on snow or ice on the way to work foe 35 miles, my return home showed the same symptoms but on clear and dry roads. I thought my clutch was slipping to start with but the RPMs and MPH were both going up with no acceleration of the car. I could let off and ease into the gas and all would be good. My guess is your back yard donuts is equal to my snow and ice driving and the center diff is slipping. After a couple days down, the slipping is gone but I now have a whining in the gearbox at around the 50-60 MPH point that wasn't there before. I replaced my center diff 35K ago with a used unit from ebay for whining after some similar conditions.
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:48 PM   #16
jtroxler
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Default Axles not fully engaged, but close enough to work kinda

Just replying again to this thread as I found my problem with what felt exactly like a slipping clutch but was the axles not fully seated past the clips in the rear diff. Going back over 15 months ago, My 2006 WRX developed a clunking noise going into 4th and 5th gears. I found some good size debris and a burned up center diff. I suspected the rear diff at first so I dropped it straight down without pulling the axles out and when I put it back up I didn't "POP" the axles all the way in and engage the 'C' clips internally in the diff. 37,000 miles passed and 15 months later on a snow and ice covered trip to work it seemed to be okay while driving somewhat carefully but doing quite a bit of slipping. That evening on the way home the roads were clear and dry in most places but as soon as I accelerated I got the feeling my clutch was slipping. It didn't make sense because both the RPM and the MPH were going up so the gearbox was turning, just not the wheels. I put this down to the center diff sending most if not all the power to the slipping rear diff because the axles were not engaged. I was skeptical of the axle stories I've read before but thought I would look at mine while I was waiting on a new center diff to arrive from EBAY. Damned if I find that both axles could be pulled out about 3/8 of an inch and I could spin the wheel without the diff turning. I whacked the axle with a big rubber mallet and it popped into the rear diff about 7/16 inch and wouldn't move at all after that! Did the same on the other side and canceled my order for the center diff. It sounds and feels ten times better now as I was getting a gear whine about 65-70 MPH after the center diff change I did originally.
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:22 PM   #17
GetWrxd01
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Nice, I had a shop put in a new clutch and no more slipping. But when I got it back the shifter is really loose.
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