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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All--
I have a 2005 Outback Limited 2.5L turbo with a manual transmission. I started having clutch problems and took it to my mechanic. He found what's wrong and said that with model the clutch is part of the transmission. They are searching for some "kit" that would help them fix the problem without having to replace the entire transmission. Has anybody ever heard of this?? Excuse me for not being more "technical" but I don't know anything about this stuff. Just making sure I'm not being ripped off or mislead.
thanks for any help!
--Beth
 

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Hi All--
I have a 2005 Outback Limited 2.5L turbo with a manual transmission. I started having clutch problems and took it to my mechanic. He found what's wrong and said that with model the clutch is part of the transmission. They are searching for some "kit" that would help them fix the problem without having to replace the entire transmission. Has anybody ever heard of this?? Excuse me for not being more "technical" but I don't know anything about this stuff. Just making sure I'm not being ripped off or mislead.
thanks for any help!
--Beth
Beth - with virtually zero details your not going to get much of a response regarding the things to be aware of etc.

How many miles are on the car?
And what was the car doing that caused you to think you had issues with the clutch?

I have some ideas as to what it might be but your mechanic not giving you any details tells me right away you need to get your car back and go some place else.
 

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For basics
A slipping clutch normally experienced first in 2nd and 3rd gear means your clutch needs to be replaced - with subarus this normally happens between 130,000 and 180,000 miles depending on how good you are with the clutch. A loud screeching funny sound that changes when you press the clutch in vs leaving it out - is the well known release bearing failing - which case most people simply have the full clutch job done given this part is replaced when the clutch is replaced. Not having it fixed and a failing release bearing can damage the input shaft resulting in a far far more expensive issue of possibly having to replace the transmission if the damage is bad enough.

A proper clutch job on your car involves replacing the release bearing the pressure plate and the clutch. Not replacing those three major parts will result in problems again very shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The car has about 95,000 miles on it. The clutch was making a noise when depressed (like a whirring noise) and when I released it to try to get into gear it would "chatter" and sort of drag like it was going to stall. When I dropped it off with them, they said it completely died when the mechanic took it out for a test drive. Since I don't understand any of the technical terms I will do my best to remember what he said. It's not the hydraulics. It was something in the housing or sleeve that the clutch sits in (???). He said that normally, you could just unscrew 4 bolts and replace the clutch, but with this particular model, it is part of the transmission. Does that help any?
 

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The car has about 95,000 miles on it. The clutch was making a noise when depressed (like a whirring noise) and when I released it to try to get into gear it would "chatter" and sort of drag like it was going to stall. When I dropped it off with them, they said it completely died when the mechanic took it out for a test drive. Since I don't understand any of the technical terms I will do my best to remember what he said. It's not the hydraulics. It was something in the housing or sleeve that the clutch sits in (???). He said that normally, you could just unscrew 4 bolts and replace the clutch, but with this particular model, it is part of the transmission. Does that help any?
Sounds like release bearing which would be a standard clutch job however at 95K that would be pretty early for this type of issue. The chatter guessing this is happening as your letting the clutch out - ingear to get the car moving. Any chance your in very cold temp location? The chatter rough clutch effect is caused by the cold clutch material grabbing the pressure plate. This generally gets worse when the clutch is dragged and the material gets burned off and heated up excessively. As the car gets warmed up and the clutch material gets warm the chatter effect is not as bad as say the cold morning first run of the day.

Does that sound like what your experiencing?
 

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By the way - a full clutch job with all the parts being discussed replaced at the dealer shouldn't cost you more than $1300. And its a drop off at noon pick it up the next morning type of deal. Your mechanic may make it into a much bigger deal with a larger price tag.

The only worry would be that the release bearing damaged the input shaft but at 95K I highly HIGHLY doubt that is the case. The Chatter is not something to worry about given it has to do with the clutch material - cold temps and the clutch being dragged ie slipped too much causing the pads on the clutch to get grabby with the plate. This chatter effect will go away if you avoid dragging the clutch its either on or off - no dragging it in slow traffic or on hills to hold the car or make the car roll slower than 1st gear with the clutch "ON".
 

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Discussion Starter #7
By the way - a full clutch job with all the parts being discussed replaced at the dealer shouldn't cost you more than $1300. And its a drop off at noon pick it up the next morning type of deal. Your mechanic may make it into a much bigger deal with a larger price tag.

The only worry would be that the release bearing damaged the input shaft but at 95K I highly HIGHLY doubt that is the case. The Chatter is not something to worry about given it has to do with the clutch material - cold temps and the clutch being dragged ie slipped too much causing the pads on the clutch to get grabby with the plate. This chatter effect will go away if you avoid dragging the clutch its either on or off - no dragging it in slow traffic or on hills to hold the car or make the car roll slower than 1st gear with the clutch "ON".
Warm climate (North Carolina). I have driven only manual transmissions for 36 years and I've never burned out a clutch. This is our third Subaru and we've loved them...but this one seems to be experiencing some very unique problems. The thing that's weird to me is that my mechanic said that "with this model" you can't just take out the 4 bolts and replace what's broken. He said that it's tied directly to the transmission and that's why they have to replace the transmission to fix the clutch. There is nothing wrong with the transmission. Also...the clutch was only "chattering" going into 1st gear. No problem with the higher gears.
 

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Are you sure he didn't say "Remove and replace" transmission? (R&R)
That's just mechanic speak for "I have to remove it to fix the problem and then I'll put it back. It doesn't mean he's replacing the transmission.
 

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Warm climate (North Carolina). I have driven only manual transmissions for 36 years and I've never burned out a clutch. This is our third Subaru and we've loved them...but this one seems to be experiencing some very unique problems. The thing that's weird to me is that my mechanic said that "with this model" you can't just take out the 4 bolts and replace what's broken. He said that it's tied directly to the transmission and that's why they have to replace the transmission to fix the clutch. There is nothing wrong with the transmission. Also...the clutch was only "chattering" going into 1st gear. No problem with the higher gears.
I would get a new Mechanic. LOL - the clutch in your car is no different than all the other subarus. Very possible the release bearing failed or is failing causing your squeal sound with the clutch pressed. However this is not a replace the transmission thing it actually comes in the clutch kit the dealer buys when they do a clutch job on your car.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nope. He's searching for this "kit" which would be a work-around. Otherwise "replace" the transmission ($4000). I'm assuming "remove and put back" wouldn't be $4000. Also, he said that he could look for a used transmission but with the turbo/manual it would be harder to find.
 

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Warm climate (North Carolina). I have driven only manual transmissions for 36 years and I've never burned out a clutch. This is our third Subaru and we've loved them...but this one seems to be experiencing some very unique problems. The thing that's weird to me is that my mechanic said that "with this model" you can't just take out the 4 bolts and replace what's broken. He said that it's tied directly to the transmission and that's why they have to replace the transmission to fix the clutch. There is nothing wrong with the transmission. Also...the clutch was only "chattering" going into 1st gear. No problem with the higher gears.
I would get a new Mechanic. LOL - the clutch in your car is no different than all the other subarus. Very possible the release bearing failed or is failing causing your squeal sound with the clutch pressed. However this is not a replace the transmission thing it actually comes in the clutch kit the dealer buys when they do a clutch job on your car.

The chatter is simply just the clutch material vs plate when its cold. As I said this chatter effect can get worse if you slip the clutch a bunch and burn off a bunch of material. The chatter will also go away after a while of keeping the slipping to a minimum. I put 140,000 miles on the 2001 which is the year subaru changed the compound in the clutch material and had people complaining about the chatter right and left. Some dealers replaced the clutch with updated one with reduced chances of chattering. I simply drove mine till it needed replacement at 140K which by the way the release bearing was squealing at that point the clutch had 10% left on it.

Ask them if the release bearing can be removed and what condition the input shaft is in? That might shut em up about how your transmission is some sort of special case unlike any other subaru transmission built ;-)
 

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On the flip side

"Hey Jimbo - this thing sounds bad owner is freaked out --

Jimbo -- Yes its the release bearing no big deal tell them they need a new transmission charge them $3000 and we'll just do a full clutch job on it and sell them back their own transmission for 3x the price! Heck they won't be the wiser
 

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The only reason you would even think about replacing the transmission during a clutch job would be if the input shaft is damaged due to trying to drive on a dead throwout bearing or clutch. At that point, it's generally cheaper to pay for a good used transmission than to pay for the labor for the replacement of the input shaft. The "kit" he could be referring to is an input shaft repair kit.

However, it does not sound like this is your case. It sounds like you simply need the clutch kit replaced (clutch disc, pressure plate, and throwout bearing) along with the flywheel replaced (the new flywheel will come with a new pilot bearing already pressed in).

~$170 for the clutch kit plus $225 for the new flywheel plus $800 in labor (assuming $85/hr)

If your mechanic insist that he has to "replace" the transmission for a simple clutch replacement, show him this.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I spoke to the mechanic again and here's the story. The release bearing slides on some kind of metal sleeve. Well the sleeve got chewed down about 1". Normally, you can just unbolt it and replace it, but on this car it's a permanent part of the transmission (really bad design). They were able to find this kit that has a part that slides over the sleeve so you can just replace the clutch and not the whole transmission. So $1300 for the clutch and $580 for the kit.

While I'm on this message board, here's another question for you guys: two years ago I had to replace a front right axle boot. This year, I had to replace a front left axle boot. This is our third Subaru and the only one that has ever had broken axle boots. Again...warm climate here. Why are these breaking and is there something I can do to prevent it?
 

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I spoke to the mechanic again and here's the story. The release bearing slides on some kind of metal sleeve. Well the sleeve got chewed down about 1". Normally, you can just unbolt it and replace it, but on this car it's a permanent part of the transmission (really bad design). They were able to find this kit that has a part that slides over the sleeve so you can just replace the clutch and not the whole transmission. So $1300 for the clutch and $580 for the kit.

While I'm on this message board, here's another question for you guys: two years ago I had to replace a front right axle boot. This year, I had to replace a front left axle boot. This is our third Subaru and the only one that has ever had broken axle boots. Again...warm climate here. Why are these breaking and is there something I can do to prevent it?

Makes sense. I agree it is a very bad design. On previous cars I've owned, the release sleeve is considered a wearable item replaced with the clutch. I'm still on the fence as to whether my Subaru is a good car or not. Lot's a really really good things mixed with really really stupid ones. It's a love-hate relationship. :D

As far as the boots, I don't think there is anything you can do about it. Both sides have failed on mine. Both times have been the inner. Some people blame the close proximity of the catalytic converter on the right side failing, but that doesn't explain why the left inner boot fails. The strange thing is that usually the outer boots are what fail on most cars. They are subject to the most movement and harsh environment.

The important idea: replace with Subaru parts only. A used Subaru part from the junkyard is better than the crap aftermarket ones. If you go the used route, replace the boots with new Subaru boots before it goes on the car.

BTW, I picked up used Subaru axles off eBay for $30 bucks each. Only 35,000 miles on them. That's after a turned in my Subaru axles as a core for the crap aftermarket ones from NAPA.

Live and learn.
 

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By the way the most common axle / boot scam is for shops to replace your very good Subaru axle with a cheap knock off - get a nice sum of core trade in value for the old part and you end up with an aftermarket part that is known to cause lots of issues shortly down the road. Always!!!! Replace boots before replacing axles! You want to keep the original axles on your car for as long as possible to avoid additional problems.

As for why they tear - they are simply rubber boots covering the joints in the axle - weather and driving through rough debri like chunks of ice etc can cause the boots to tear.
 
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