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Old 01-20-2004, 01:10 AM   #1
Seeing StaRS
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Member#: 5294
Join Date: Mar 2001
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Default Clutch "sticking" in cold weather

Any body had this problem in their GC8? I own a 2k RS coupe with roughly 5k miles on the "improved" OEM clutch. As winter set in and the temperature kept dropping I noticed subtle, then far more drastic changes in the clutch operation. I first noticed that the car would not always run when I turned the key...it would run for a second and then die. Eventually I could get it running but no sooner did I let out the clutch the revs would start to drop and want to stall the engine.

Eventually I started to put two and two together and realized that something was definitely up with the clutch. One particular night it was so bad, I had thought the temp wasn't low enough to have problems and quickly let my foot off the clutch after starting the car [in neutral mind you] and I actually felt the entire car lurch forward. I quickly grabbed the stick to ensure that yes it was in neutral. Then to my disbelief I discovered I could modulate the clutch so far as I could move the car forward as if in gear.... only I wasn't at all, I was in neutral!!

So what gives? Anyone else encountered this problem? I tried leaving it at the dealership but they could not reproduce the problem. I'm open to suggestions, I hate dealing with this problem everytime the car has sat in the cold.
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Old 01-20-2004, 08:42 AM   #2
1 Lucky Texan
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Member#: 46320
Join Date: Oct 2003
Chapter/Region: TXIC
Location: Outoftheblue&intotheblack
06 WRX Sportwagon
Aspen White


I got no real idea here - just a guess. I'd say you have tranny or -hopefully- tranny FLUID issues.

How cold is cold there?
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Old 01-20-2004, 10:01 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Biking in nyc
2002 WRX
w/ 07 6mt DCCD Pro


Try switching to a thinner tranny fluid?
The clutch on my 02 WRX sticks when its real cold out and revs drop when I drop it for the first time.... I guess its "normal"
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Old 01-20-2004, 11:40 AM   #4
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Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Dillsburg, PA
2010 Legacy GT Ltd.


Yes it's normal. I'm in New Hampshire, and last week when it was -8 and -35 with the windchill, everyone had car problems.
It's totally normal and something everyone in the world just has to live with. Anything mechanical is going to have trouble in temps like that!

You can definitely swap out for thinner, "cold weather" tranny fluid. That will of course help, just as 5W-30 oil in the cold months is much better than 10W-30. (I have 5W in my car, but no different trans. fluid yet. So my car did the same "lurch" when I took it out of gear. Everything simply got stuck when it was that cold.)

The best thing is to just not put the car in gear, when it's cold out.
I usually keep the car in 1st (or reverse) when parked, and keep the e-brake on. But when it's this cold, I just use the e-brake and keep the car in neutral.

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Old 01-20-2004, 01:09 PM   #5
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Location: Nassau County, LI
MY00 2.5RS Coupe 5MT
Silverthorn Metallic


My clutch did not stick, but the movement of the clutch pedal was really really mushy when started cold in the morning (2-5 degrees?)

also when I shift from 1st to 2nd, the rev would not drop for a couple seconds (once I clutch in). But all these symptoms are cured as soon as car warmed up

like others have mentioned, everything mechanical will start to have little problems under such cold temperature
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Old 01-21-2004, 12:42 PM   #6
Seeing StaRS
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Thanks for the replies thus far, anyone else?
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Old 01-21-2004, 12:58 PM   #7
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Location: Great Falls, Montana
1998 Impreza GME/6
Brilliant Red


I've never had the car jump/lurch, but I must say that I get horrible clutch shudder when my car isnt warmed up adequately as well as the rev not dropping very quickly. But it is kinda of nice to be able to feather the clutch and idle my way along w/o giving any gas.
All of this quits when the car is warm.
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Old 01-22-2004, 03:12 PM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Philly Suburbs
'01 Silver RS Coupe


Yeah last week when it was bitter cold. I was leaving work, so I get inmy car to start it up, and after a few minutes of letting it warm up I started to get going and I noticed that the shifter was really rubbery and stiff. Not smooth and linear like I had driven it when I left the house in the morning (Car is kept in garage with heating)
So yeah it's amazing what some blistery cold weather will do.
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Old 02-09-2004, 08:17 PM   #9
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96 GC8 Panda L
00 GM6 Silver


I use lucas oil additive and a thicker than stock oil in my L and yes on really cold days I can move the car in neutral. It's the really cold, thick oil that is doing it. In fact I have to warm up the car in order to have second gear. If it's cold it won't shift 1-2, 1-3's ok but no 2nd.
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Old 02-10-2004, 06:21 PM   #10
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Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Bel Air Subaru Nissan Group
Da Ridge


Damn Joe,

Do the woes ever cease? On the subject note, I have serious clutch shudder in the cold, but no stalling. I park my car outside too, and I leave for work at the buttcrack of dawn. But, after a few minutes at regular idle (this car warms up faster than any car I've ever driven), she's fine.

Your car seems to be giving you a whole lot of problems lately. Move to Florida...warm weather.

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Old 02-10-2004, 11:27 PM   #11
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1985 Old


Wasn't there a clutch recall that dealt with these issues?
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Old 02-11-2004, 12:38 PM   #12
Seeing StaRS
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Your car seems to be giving you a whole lot of problems lately
Heh, tell me about it. I found an inch of water in the spare tire well of my trunk yesterday

I'm glad to hear its not just my car that refuses to go into second on cold mornings. God is that a pain in the butt.

Last edited by Seeing StaRS; 02-11-2004 at 01:21 PM.
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