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1998 subaru forester manual transmission

First & main issue: I throttle on, the RPMs jump, speed drops. I think I dealt w/ this before in my old Toyota pickup by replacing the clutch master cylinder. Is that right?

Secondly, I don’t know if the engine of this lil car has been rebuilt, but the smoke from under the hood has been alarming. It smells of oil, and I’ve seen some spots that appear to have leaking oil dropping onto exhaust, but the smoke keeps coming from various spots.

I really enjoy driving this lil car, it’s my first Subaru and my first wagon, but if the trouble is just now starting for me, at over 210,000 miles… I’ve replaced a few things, but I’ve never owned a newer(ish) vehicle (except a Harley), and come to expect to do work every once in awhile. I’m fairly regular w/ preventative maintenance, but not strict about when to change fluids or flush things (i.e. transmission or radiator)… Maybe I should just sell this one and move on.

I also hit a deer the other day going pretty fast and fortunately only busted out the passenger side head light, fog light, and blinker. The other day being over a month ago. I just don’t drive at night and try to avoid right turns. Any thoughts on where to get cheap replacement parts? I can’t seem to find anywhere that’ll sell me those plastic bits for under a few hundred dollars… strange considering a necessary part like a master cylinder is only $40…

Thanks to yall! I’m a new member of this site. I listen to Car Talk regularly and love the show! I’m at once excited to be a part of this and kickin myself in the rear for not doing this sooner!! Had to make many hard mistakes to learn how to work on vehicles… hopefully I can start learning from other’s mistakes instead of still makin my own!!

It sounds like you need a new clutch and maybe much more. This car may be done for.

“This car may be done for.”

That’s exactly what I was thinking.

Given the body damage on top of probably needing a new clutch, I agree with the previous replies: time to look for another vehicle.

Agreed; sounds like the clutch is going.

As for the oil leak you might take a look at the oil pressure sending unit to see if it’s dripping. That’s not a rare problem and it’s also easy and cheap.

As for body parts check eBay or do a net search for some Subaru salvage yards in Colorado. Subarus are huge there so that means a lot of used parts are available. This should not be expensive no matter which route you take.

First step is to decide whether you’re going to fix the clutch or not as that is what gets you from A to B.

ok4450 Thanks! I ordered a new clutch (couldn’t really sell it if I didn’t do that at least). I’ll check the oil pressure sending unit!

so, it isn’t just the master cylinder i’m thinking… i’m kinda surprised no one caught that and suggested I change out the whole clutch. but hey, thanks for all the just get a new car advice…

Three people suggested that you need a new clutch and one offered no opinion.

Anything’s possible I guess, but the clutch MC is an unlikely cause. A bad clutch MC usually results in the transmission being difficult to shift, especially into first and reverse. I think you are on the right track to just get a new clutch. The problem may turn out to be some kind of contamination on the clutch surface though, given the leaks you’re reporting. An oil contaminated clutch is slippery and acts similar to a worn clutch. So check for that during the clutch replacement job. Be sure to replace the rear main engine oil seal and the transmission input shaft seal, those are usually simple jobs when the transmission is out for the clutch job. There’s often a bearing/bushing in the center of the flywheel that’s routinely replaced as a part of a clutch job. At least make sure that remains in good shape. It’s also a good time to check what else is leaking in the engine compartment too, more room to see what’s going on with the transmission removed.