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Old 07-31-2019, 01:51 AM   #1
bradsubaru
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 488157
Join Date: Jul 2018
Chapter/Region: W. Canada
Location: Regina, SK, Canada
Vehicle:
2016 WRX
World Rally Blue

Default WRX 2016 clutch failed after only 23,452 kms. 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 local 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. Apparently, any clutch failure on a Subaru more than 1 month old, will not be covered by warranty as it then becomes a wear item and a customer problem.

If we had known the Subaru WRX clutch was only good for 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 since 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 pictures here.

Thanks for your help in advance.



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Old 07-31-2019, 01:55 AM   #2
bradsubaru
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 488157
Join Date: Jul 2018
Chapter/Region: W. Canada
Location: Regina, SK, Canada
Vehicle:
2016 WRX
World Rally Blue

Default

Just to explain why the pedal assembly is also showing in the attached photos.

Since we only had 23,452 kms 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 23,000kms. The response was a bit surprising...

I was told by the dealer that I could have a clutch assembly similar to the original 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 23,452 kms. 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 an improved design 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 07-31-2019, 08:13 AM   #3
Blktrax
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 220971
Join Date: Aug 2009
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: West, NC
Vehicle:
2002 WRX 224K Mi.

Default

Looking at the pressure plate and flywheel, they are hot spotted like any clutch that was slipped a lot.

Rocking the vehicle at traffic lights rather than holding with brakes. High rpm launches or taking too long to fully engage the clutch from a stop.

Anytime the pedal isnít fully down or fully up wears and heats the clutch. Heat=Bad

Unless there was a mechanical issue, such as the throw out bearing sticking or the pedal not fully returning. There is nothing that would cause clutch pre-mature wear other than driving style.

If there was a mechanical issue the clutch would operate erratically and not have smooth engagement. (Chatter from overheating not withstanding) The problem is once the clutch is worn there is no way to prove as stated it would randomly slip. Unless it can be duplicated by a technician. Itís just another wear item , worn due to use.

If the new one does or starts to slip after break in and the vehicle isnít tuned over stock power. Take it back and have them investigate further as long as the condition is repeatable and under what conditions. Because if you take it in and just say my new clutch slips, any tech is going to drive it for exactly .04 seconds around the parking lot , call it good and give it back.

Last edited by Blktrax; 07-31-2019 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:41 AM   #4
rich3389
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Member#: 207322
Join Date: Apr 2009
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsubaru View Post
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 local 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. Apparently, any clutch failure on a Subaru more than 1 month old, will not be covered by warranty as it then becomes a wear item and a customer problem.

If we had known the Subaru WRX clutch was only good for 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 since 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 pictures here.

Thanks for your help in advance.
The photos of the worn out clutch and hotspotted flywheel tell another story.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:54 AM   #5
bradsubaru
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 488157
Join Date: Jul 2018
Chapter/Region: W. Canada
Location: Regina, SK, Canada
Vehicle:
2016 WRX
World Rally Blue

Default

Thanks for your responses.

Yes, I noticed the hotspotting as well, so it certainly appears to have been erratic clutch usage. Except it wasn't.

What I'm trying to understand is why the clutch behaviour is so much different after the installation of the improved clutch and pedal assembly vs. the behavior of the clutch when this WRX was new.

Since new, the clutch pedal was extremely stiff with the engagement point at the bottom of the pedal travel.

The new clutch is extremely light in comparison (I would say normal feel) and engages about mid-way through the pedal travel. Given such a dramatic difference in clutch feel, is it possible that this could have contributed to the clutch hotspotting and subsequent early failure.

If not, what would be the reason for the pedal assembly replacement if this doesn't somehow have an impact on clutch wear?
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:29 AM   #6
Blktrax
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 220971
Join Date: Aug 2009
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: West, NC
Vehicle:
2002 WRX 224K Mi.

Default

The clutch/disc/flywheel assembly , throw-out bearing and pedal assembly has all updated parts. Production change was implemented mid 2018.

"a change to the clutch system components optimizing their durability and resistance to certain severe driving conditions including high-temperature operation." -excessive and / or premature wear of “old-style” components, replacing all 5 of the parts listed above as a set will improve durability of the clutch system."

So there's a change in all parts and spring pressures so that's why there is a feel difference. The new clutch parts on the old pedal system would have been even heavier feeling, so the new pedal assembly was revised match the increased spring pressure of new pressure plate.

Last edited by Blktrax; 08-02-2019 at 07:36 AM.
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