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1996 Legacy Outback 2.2, 5sp
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1999 Subaru Legacy Outback, 2.5, 5 speed. 294,000 miles. Engine sounds great, it's all there, good overall condition. Car has "good bones".

Here's the thing. They said the clutch is bad and it cannot be driven.
Hydraulic clutch, pedal feels so-so. Feels like it engages toward bottom half of overall pedal travel.
I can see the clutch fork moving on top of trans when pedal is pressed.
Hydraulic fluid level is proper, but dirty.
Car has spent a LOT of time in Baja California and it's very, very sandy.

The car acts like the clutch never disengages. With engine running I can row through all the gears without touching the clutch pedal. Feels like I'm engaging all gears, I can see the shift linkage moving underneath.

It seems like the clutch is stuck ENGAGED, as in pedal pressed, trans disengaged from engine.

Typically, we see clutches fail in the opposite manner. As in, cannot put into gear with engine running, else the car would begin moving.

This is the other way, seems like the clutch is pressed all the time.

Owner stated no history of transmission issues or noises. My '96 OBW has plenty of driveline whine, she rode in it and said hers never makes anything like that sound.

Have you ever heard of a clutch being stuck ENGAGED?
With the car in gear it rolls freely. Looks like all axles are intact and rolling as well.

Did I mention it's very, very sandy? I'm wondering if sand has contaminated the clutch and it froze when depressed.

Long shot, I know.
 

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2014 OBW Premium (Ice Silver Metalic)
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309 Posts
I think your scenario is plausible, especially if the car hasn't been driven in a long time. Possibly related, but it's not unusual for tractor clutches to stick under those circumstances. (We actually block the clutch pedal down if it's going to sit over winter)

If necessary, it isn't too hard to pull the motor on that car and inspect/clean/replace the necessary bits. Good luck with your project. I have a lot of fun with mine.
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,763 Posts
some older soobs had clutch forks that would crack. not sure what that might feel like...?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
There's a TSB for slave cylinder hose and slave cylinder replacement for that year. I'm not sure of the variability in symptoms those can present but worth looking into and it's about your only repair that doesn't involve splitting the engine and trans.

Otherwise sounds like it's coming apart to check fork and replace clutch.

"clutch stuck engaged" is confusing sometimes, like it could be read multiple ways - using text, and reading, for MT symptoms can be challenging.
 

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Super Moderator
2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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8,551 Posts
"clutch stuck engaged" is confusing sometimes, like it could be read multiple ways - using text, and reading, for MT symptoms can be challenging.
Agreed. And I found the OP's description confusing to read, as the use of the terms "engaged" and "disengaged" were reversed from the way I would usually define them. Standard definitions for these terms in the literature are:

Engaged - clutch plate pressed against flywheel, engine is mechanically coupled to transmission

Disengaged - clutch plate pulled away from flywheel, engine is mechanically uncoupled from transmission

But then, it doesn't help that other related terms go both ways with regard to "in" and "out":

Press in the clutch - action of disengaging the clutch

Let out the clutch - action of engaging the clutch

Throw out fork
- causes clutch to disengage when pressed

Maybe other languages have better descriptions for these terms than English does?
 

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2014 3.6R Limited
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1,210 Posts
Back in my hotrod Pinto days I toasted quite a few pressure plates. I would be unable to disengage the clutch. I got to where I could drive the car without a clutch! If I did get stopped I would just turn the engine of and start it in 1st gear when I needed to go!
 

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1996 Legacy Outback 2.2, 5sp
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, we pulled the engine on Saturday..

Wow, the clutch was roasted. What really surprised me is I couldn't smell any odor at all when we first saw the car. And I've never dealt with a clutch this trashed.
The flywheel was toast as well. Covered in heat/stress cracks. Replacing that, too.

The valve covers are dry, zero leaks. We have new ones on hand, but I'm thinking leave them alone. Let sleeping dogs lie, right?

Manual calls for NGK BKR5E-11, but the car has NGK PFR5B-11 ( Platinum ). Saw some online comments about not using platinum. Think we'll stick with what the manual calls for.

Looks like the oil pan gasket is the only leak. We'll replace that.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,165 Posts
NGK platinums last longer.

I would use NGK plug wires too.

_______

clutch kit: the only one I would buy today is a Aisin. (just bought one for a project toyota ).
 

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1996 Legacy Outback 2.2, 5sp
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Replaced the clutch and it drives great! That was my first Subaru engine removal and I think it went very well. I can see how it could be done in one day if all parts are on hand and no gotcha's!
Fun car to work on, next up will be the '96 engine removal. I haven't decided exactly what I want to do with it. Still need to make a plan. Might go ahead and rebuild the engine while its out.

Then there's the driveline whine. Can't tell if it's transmission or rear diff. Its really pronounced on decel at lower speeds.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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Replaced the clutch and it drives great! That was my first Subaru engine removal and I think it went very well. I can see how it could be done in one day if all parts are on hand and no gotcha's!
Fun car to work on, next up will be the '96 engine removal. I haven't decided exactly what I want to do with it. Still need to make a plan. Might go ahead and rebuild the engine while its out.

Then there's the driveline whine. Can't tell if it's transmission or rear diff. Its really pronounced on decel at lower speeds.
rebuild? define that,

plenty of 2.2 waiting for you to drop in from junkyard, pick&pulls, craigslist wrecks.

vs. the time consuming and expensive act of replacing the internals of a short block.
(the only subarus that people do that to are turbo racers).
 

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1996 Legacy Outback 2.2, 5sp
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
rebuild? define that,

plenty of 2.2 waiting for you to drop in from junkyard, pick&pulls, craigslist wrecks.
You're right, that would be faster/cheaper. I just like it when a car has the engine it left the factory with.
Most likely I'll do timing belt kit w/h2o pump, valve cover gaskets and other leaks. Stick it back in and go. Bigger issue is the driveline noise. If I'm at 25mph and let off the gas it goes "wahm, waahm, waaahm" as the driveline slows down the car. Can't tell if it's trans or rear diff. Sounds like it could be a combo of both.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,165 Posts
You're right, that would be faster/cheaper. I just like it when a car has the engine it left the factory with.
Most likely I'll do timing belt kit w/h2o pump, valve cover gaskets and other leaks. Stick it back in and go. Bigger issue is the driveline noise. If I'm at 25mph and let off the gas it goes "wahm, waahm, waaahm" as the driveline slows down the car. Can't tell if it's trans or rear diff. Sounds like it could be a combo of both.
I would be interested in Aisin timing belt, and clutch kits. (still japanese made, not chinese junk in a nice box).

might be a engine or trans mount causing something to wiggle out of alignment when you let off the gas.

(on a manual there is no "front wheel drive" fuse to stick in as a test, as its all mechanically linked)
 

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1996 Legacy Outback 2.2, 5sp
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The motor mounts "look" ok, but I'll check all mounting much more closely when I pull the engine.
But to me it sounds like bearing noise. I changed the oil in the trans and diff and shifting greatly improved and the noise lessened a tiny amount. I also replaced the shifting coupler at the trans and the bushings on the shifter.
I'll stop in a local Subie shop and let them take a listen.
However, I will do all repair work.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,165 Posts
The motor mounts "look" ok, but I'll check all mounting much more closely when I pull the engine.
But to me it sounds like bearing noise. I changed the oil in the trans and diff and shifting greatly improved and the noise lessened a tiny amount. I also replaced the shifting coupler at the trans and the bushings on the shifter.
I'll stop in a local Subie shop and let them take a listen.
However, I will do all repair work.

subi worx ,...= like the only subaru shop in all of zona. in winter I wonder if they have a quebecer working there, just in case anyone wants to speak french snow bird.

you might find such noises with remote microphones / sonar receptors too. (big shops may have them,...not sure about renting / borrowing from autoparts stores, but it would be cool if they had them).
 
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