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Old 07-29-2019, 12:12 AM   #1
bradsubaru
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Default WRX 2016 clutch failed after only 14,572 miles. Is this normal?

Hi - we recently started having clutch problems with our 2016 WRX. In all gears, the clutch would occasionally slip and the engine would rev high. The Subaru forums appear to indicate this problem is not unusual for the WRX and other models.

The Subaru dealer indicated that to correct the problem, we required a total clutch replacement. The dealer also indicated that replacement is not covered by warranty since the clutch is a wear item. We asked to dealer to confirm with Subaru Canada, which they claimed they did, but still no possibility of coverage. The total cost was $2,882 to get our WRX back on the road.

If we had known the Subaru WRX clutch was only good for 14,572 miles (23,452 km), I'm certain we would not have chosen Subaru. My wife is the primary driver and has driven a manual transmission her entire life. She is anything but an aggressive driver, so the 14,572 miles have been very easy on the clutch.

After the repair, we were surprised to find the clutch operation was completely different. The clutch requires much less effort and engages at a completely different point than it did when the car was new. It seems strange that with the clutch being replaced due to wear, that the Subaru replacement parts would result in such a dramatic change to the way the WRX clutch operates. When the WRX was new, the clutch seemed very heavy to us, but the Subaru service department assured us that this was normal WRX clutch behavior, so we got used to it.

Even though we're happy with the significantly lighter clutch effort following the repair, it seems odd that we would be noticing this type of clutch feel change which should have been to only correct a wear item.

Has anyone had a similar experience and possibly a better understanding of what Subaru did to correct our clutch failure? I requested parts be retained and have included images of the clutch, flywheel, tob, and pedal assembly.

https://i.imgur.com/KvIyGXV.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/kLHJc6G.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/tnvQzU6.jpg

Thanks for your help in advance.
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Old 07-29-2019, 05:27 PM   #2
RexyGirl
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In the US, wear and tear items, including clutch, brakes, wipers, etc are covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles. If deemed to be abused, they will only do it one time. After that, you are on your own.

I advise you check your "Warranty and Maintenance Guide", a separate book with your owners manual and see what it says for wear and tear items.

14,000 is very low mileage for a clutch needing to be replaced. I do see "hot spots", indicating a mechanical issue or someone is learning to drive standard transmission
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:26 PM   #3
BlueRibbonRyan
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They replaced the pedal assembly too? I have replaced a lot of clutches in my time, although not on a WRX that new, but never had to do a pedal assembly as part of the procedure. From the looks of the old clutch, plate, and flywheel my thoughts would be it looks like someone took a long drive down the highway with their foot resting on the pedal making enough contact to create those hot spots and wear. I am not saying you or your wife personally did that, however the pedal being faulty could have created a similar situation. Maybe I am not up to date on my knowledge with these newer WRXs but based on my experience in over 16 years in a shop I never replaced a pedal assembly as part of clutch replacement. Feel free to tell me I am an idiot who just doesn't know better in this case if I am wrong as I would appreciate the new knowledge.
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Old 07-30-2019, 03:55 PM   #4
Supraru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRibbonRyan View Post
They replaced the pedal assembly too? I have replaced a lot of clutches in my time, although not on a WRX that new, but never had to do a pedal assembly as part of the procedure. From the looks of the old clutch, plate, and flywheel my thoughts would be it looks like someone took a long drive down the highway with their foot resting on the pedal making enough contact to create those hot spots and wear. I am not saying you or your wife personally did that, however the pedal being faulty could have created a similar situation. Maybe I am not up to date on my knowledge with these newer WRXs but based on my experience in over 16 years in a shop I never replaced a pedal assembly as part of clutch replacement. Feel free to tell me I am an idiot who just doesn't know better in this case if I am wrong as I would appreciate the new knowledge.
Won't call you an idiot but in this case you don't know better. It's a TSB for people who beat the crap out of their wrx's. It involves all new clutch parts that are a little bigger then the factory clutch and related parts. That also includes a new clutch pedal assembly.
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:32 PM   #5
BlueRibbonRyan
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Thanks for the insight, never know when it could come up at my shop so I appreciate learning about it beforehand, now I will have to read more about it tomorrow
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:08 AM   #6
bradsubaru
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Hi - thanks for the responses. With only 14,000 miles on our WRX, I had asked my Subaru dealer what the likelihood of having to pay another $2,800 to have this done again in the next 14,000 miles. The response was a bit surprising...

I was told by the dealer that I could have the same clutch assembly installed for $2,200 and likely see another failure or pay $2,800 and have an improved Subaru clutch assembly installed.

The dealer told us that Subaru has made a correction to the clutch assembly to correct early clutch failure which includes: replacement pedal assembly as well as an increase to the clutch and flywheel facing by 10mm. See TSB 03-79-18R which covers the 2015 - 2018 WRX).

I realize that popular opinion is that we've somehow abused the clutch which led to clutch failure after 14,000 miles. However, with over 30 years driving a stick on 4 different vehicles (non-Subaru) without an issue, we find it hard to believe that the WRX experienced this problem so early.

The fact that a TSB was issued to prevent early failure of the original clutch/flywheel as well as replacing what must have been a faulty pedal assembly, makes me feel that Subaru is sticking it to the customer to pick up the bill for a faulty system design.

Of course, we opted to pay the extra $500 for the beefed up clutch assembly hoping to get a few more miles out of our WRX before the next clutch failure. Or sell before it fails again.

Being Canadian we have no warranty coverage at all for clutch problems. After about the first month, Subaru Canada considers it a wear issue. However, in the U.S., I would take advantage of the TSB 03-79-18R to have this fragile Subaru clutch system replaced if at all possible.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:05 AM   #7
bradsubaru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supraru View Post
Won't call you an idiot but in this case you don't know better. It's a TSB for people who beat the crap out of their wrx's. It involves all new clutch parts that are a little bigger then the factory clutch and related parts. That also includes a new clutch pedal assembly.
So, I'm curious, why would it be necessary for Subaru to replace the pedal assembly.

As mentioned, from new, the original pedal was extremely stiff with engagement right at the bottom of pedal travel. The new assembly is light (i.e. normal) with engagement mid-way thru pedal travel (i.e. normal?).

If there wasn't an issue with the pedal assembly, why replace it?
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:03 AM   #8
jasonwrx86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsubaru View Post
So, I'm curious, why would it be necessary for Subaru to replace the pedal assembly.

As mentioned, from new, the original pedal was extremely stiff with engagement right at the bottom of pedal travel. The new assembly is light (i.e. normal) with engagement mid-way thru pedal travel (i.e. normal?).

If there wasn't an issue with the pedal assembly, why replace it?
I there was an issue you would be seeing tons of failures.
I just found this TSB and Subaru only started following it till mid 2017 after my 2018 was produced. I have done 24000 miles on mine so there is no issue with the old unit.
https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/20...50946-9999.pdf
I would imagine being a bigger clutch, the force required would be less thus you feeling difference in the clutch pedal resistance.
So yea no your original clutch failed is not because of some kind of defect. Judging by the hot spots on the fly wheel, I can tell she likes to slip the clutch at lot or even riding it. Just because someone been driving manual their whole life doesn't mean if they are doing it correctly. You can ride with her and see what she is doing with the pedal to tell if she was riding it or not. It's hard to say. Another thread someone always held down the clutch at stop light while in gear also reported premature clutch wear.

Last edited by jasonwrx86; 08-06-2019 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:18 PM   #9
su_ba_roooo
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The factory installed clutch in 15-17 Wrx's was less than adequate. They didn't pay engineers to develop and entire new flywheel/clutch disc/pressure plate /throw out bearing and pedal assembly because the original parts were "just fine". My 17 was over 3 years from original purchase but garage kept, unabused, unmodded and with 22k miles on the clock developed the squeaky throw out bearing. It also had the 4th Gear vibration issue (TSB 03-83-20R). In that case they also realized after a few years that the original 3rd/4th gear shift fork was in need of being strengthened. So since the 4th gear issue was internal to the transmission and covered by the 5yr/60k mile powertrain warranty, and the labor to do the clutch is nearly the same job, I managed to get SOA to cover replacing the entire clutch/pedal assembly under TSB 03-79-18R. Thats over $1k in parts alone they just "ate" on an out of warranty car. They don't do things like that unless they know the original parts were sub-par.

Last edited by su_ba_roooo; 07-30-2020 at 09:20 PM. Reason: added relevant TSB number
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Old 08-17-2020, 04:31 PM   #10
sycus8
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Default

Had the same thing happen to me on the previous gen wrx just a few months outside of the 36 month period. Car had 20k miles and best SOA would do was a 500$ voucher towards the tear down/parts or labor
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:41 PM   #11
joshcastorillo
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Default Clutch issues

In my 16 WRX I had issues with my clutch squeaking and having different points of engagement when I first got the car. Subaru replaced the throw out bearing and I had to pay for the clutch itself but they payed for everything else.
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