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2012 Impreza CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy all. Just a quick question...we just bought Julie a nearly perfect 79k mile 2003 Forester XS with a five speed trans. It's been a while since I've driven a five speed Subie (my Impreza is a sportshift auto) and I can't get a feel for what condition the clutch is in. Probably fine, but it got me thinking about how long a clutch would typically last in one of these cars? Any indication would be helpful, thanks!

:Banane35:
 

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Super Moderator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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The clutch on my 2003 went out a year ago this week, at around 135k miles. Flywheel was showing hairline cracks so they replaced that at the same time.

Slippage was the symptom. Once that starts you know you're living on borrowed time. Next comes smell.
 

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2015 VW Golf R (AWD!) DSG (Automated Manual)
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I purchased my first Foz with 78k miles on it; a 99 model. The clutch lasted to 135k as well. Finally killed it with doing clutch dumps at the landfill with a 750lb trailer attached...and one tire smoking launch in between!
 

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2012 Impreza CVT
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys, I think we're going to be safe for a while. This car is way too clean to have been abused, and we certainly won't abuse it.

Cheers!
 

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2008 2008 2.5i-2018 XT
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I have never worn out a clutch on all of my manuals. They were all (except) one sold at 100K miles + I doubt the Subaru is any different. On the other hand you can smoke a clutch in 10,000 miles or less.
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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My '05 Legacy 2.5GT, a 5MT, came to me as a dealer demo, with 6K-odd miles on the ODO.

I took her to "Stage II" pretty much as soon as the ODO crested 10K miles.

The factory clutch lasted for nearly 36K miles before finally slipping away. Yes, I beat on the car - I slip-launch her from about 3.5 to 4.5K pretty much twice a week, and have launched her, also slip-style, from around 5.5K a few times, too. [ My dealership's Service Manager actually asked, when I went in to replace the clutch, with my aftermarket parts in-hand, whether if I wanted to claim warranty - I looked at him and laughed, and said: "are you kidding? with my mods?" As I paid for the work later that very afternoon, my 3-year-old daughter asked: "when's Winky's clutch going to break again?" I looked at her, and said: "that depends on how much daddy decides to abuse it' - at which point, the entire service bay broke out in laughter. ] Contributing to this clutch's early demise is also the fact that I "re-taught" a relative of mine how to drive stick, and, undoubtedly, also the fact that just about every one of its 36K miles have been stop-and-go, in-city commuting.

Like the others said, you can toast a clutch very quickly, or you can have it last upwards of 100K miles. Neither is out of the realm of possibility.

The good bbottomley again offers great advice - if it slips (get on the highway, and on a deserted strip, where it's safe, put her in 5th, and cruise down to about 35 or 40 MPH, then punch-it, WOT - if it slips, it's gonna show, right then and there), you're on borrowed time.
 

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That is a good way to test. I would suggest with it cold too. Mine started slipping in the morning when it was cold, in 3rd or 4th gear. After a few minutes and the car was warmed up, it wouldn't slip. I drove it a couple thousand miles like that (about a month and a half).

Like I said, I bought my first Foz at about the same mileage as you, and it looked VERY clean and well taken care of like you describe. I had it to 150k miles (I took good care of it too) and sold it for a good price. I hope you've got a good one too!
 

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2012 Impreza CVT
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Discussion Starter #9
Interesting you mention that...the cold first gear start is what has us a little concerned. It stutters a little in first when she's taking off. But all other gears are smooth. Once it warms up (and if the day is warm) there doesn't seem to be any notice. We can give it a few more revs and that helps as well.

Is our clutch going? I'd just as soon pay for a new one now than later in winter or something.

How much is a new clutch on a Forester anyway?
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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... the cold first gear start is what has us a little concerned. It stutters a little in first when she's taking off. But all other gears are smooth. Once it warms up (and if the day is warm) there doesn't seem to be any notice... Is our clutch going?...
No, here is the test for a clutch that is going:
... if it slips (get on the highway, and on a deserted strip, where it's safe, put her in 5th, and cruise down to about 35 or 40 MPH, then punch-it, WOT - if it slips, it's gonna show, right then and there), you're on borrowed time.
The stuttering when cold, particularly on humid mornings, was explained in another post as being caused by hygroscopic wear particles on the friction plate. It appears after 30K miles or so, after the plate has a little wear and dust on it. My Mazda truck did it and my Scion xB does it, and their clutches were / are fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The stuttering when cold, particularly on humid mornings, was explained in another post as being caused by hygroscopic wear particles on the friction plate. It appears after 30K miles or so, after the plate has a little wear and dust on it. My Mazda truck did it and my Scion xB does it, and their clutches were / are fine.
Interesting. So does this just mean we have to live with it or does this "wear off" with use?
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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^ Given vintage42's post (cool! :smile: I'd like to read more about that! I'm gonna search that one up, if I can), I'd think that once you've slipped the clutch for that very first time, it should, in-effect, like your brake discs, "self-clean," and thus is why you only see it on that initial, cold-start....kinda like the brakes binding a little or squeaking a bit, after the car's sat for, say, a rainy/moist weekend.

I imagine it to almost be akin to Ferrari's advice, to do a slow start prior to engaging the track/strip-oriented launch-control, so as to clean off the clutch components, to optimize power transfer.

But I could just be making that one up, though. :smile:
 

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^ The quote's wrong - I made it up, not vintage42 ! :smile:

No one evar makes anything up, on the Intr4w3b! :biggrin:
 

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Interesting. So does this just mean we have to live with it or does this "wear off" with use?
Wear is what produces it, and so it will not wear off with use. It will probably always be there.

But you have to realize that it is caused by the tiny amount of dust that flies around the clutch housing, lights on the friction plate when stopped, absorbs a little moisture from the air (hygroscopic) overnight, and causes the stuttering in the morning.

You can get rid of the stuttering by starting over with a new clutch. But it will do the same thing after 30,000 miles. Or you can keep your old clutch, and tolerate the stutter every cold morning, or prevent it by slipping the clutch a little bit the first couple of engagements.

The stuttering never happened for me in the heat of the summer. It only appeared each fall, on cool damp mornings, and then stayed through the winters until the next warm weather. My Mazda clutch did this for 150,000 miles and was not slipping when I sold it. My Scion clutch has just started the stutter at 30,000 miles.
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
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My 98 Impreza is with a new owner, just broke 190k, and is on it's original clutch. My XT is at 45k with the original clutch, and I'll be suprised if it last past 60k. ]

It all depends on how you drive, and how much power your asking it to hold. Since you have an XS, I doubt your talking it to the track, so I bet 130k+ would be about right.
 
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