2003 Subaru Forester clutch replacement

subaru
forester

#1

My car is hesitating when I shift and accelerate, and revving up the tach after I shift into 5th but the speed doesn’t match.
Also, in order to start the car I have to press the clutch practically all the way to the floor.

It has 53,000 miles on it. I took it to the dealer, and they said I need the clutch and possibly flywheel replaced.

This seems low mileage to me. I have driven a stick for over 31 years. My previous car was a Honda CRXsi and it was over 110,000 miles before I needed a new clutch.

Is a clutch replacement this early normal for this car? Or is it me? I don’t think I ride the clutch.


#2

Seems a little low but it does sound like a bad clutch. If it was a master/slave cylinder, one would imagine you’d have a hard time getting it into gear. Having to press the pedal all the way down could have something to do with maybe air in the system. I’d get that looked at as well - maybe it just needs bleeding.
I wouldn’t get it done at a dealer, tho. A good local guy will do it for half their price.


#3

Did you buy this car new? Any other drivers? Does the clutch slip in lower gears?

I’d do as mentioned, get the system bled and make sure it’s not the master or slave cylinder.


#4

Thank you both for comments!
Yes, I bought the car new. My husband is the only other driver and drives it only once in a while when we pull a trailer.
Yes, it slips in lower gears–hesitates after I shift into 2nd, 3rd, but really noticeable in 4th and 5th on the freeway.
Dealer is quite pricey ($1600 includes clutch, flywheel and some other minor things). Warranty covers power drivetrain but for 5 years or 60,000 miles whichever comes first, and unfortunately it’s 10 years old and 53,000 miles.


#5

Yes, ten years old, and the problem could be a weak diaphragm spring, not a worn clutch disc. Still, the diagnosis and solution are the same. And, do check into some indie shops. The good ones would do as good, if not better, job of the clutch for less coin.


#6

“Pull a trailer”…

How big? How often? Hilly roads?


#7

No big boat or anything, just 5x8 ft. uncovered trailer with about 6 ft. high openwork/mesh sides. Not many hills. Hauling leaves to the compost area, helping move furniture, junk to the landfill. Maybe twice every other month. Not sure of the weight.


#8

Yes, your description of being in 5th gear and the rpm rising but car not going faster desribes a slipping clutch. I suspect its worn out.

Do you live where you did 20 years ago? Didn’t move to a hilly neighborhood or have a commute with 20 miles of stop n go traffic?

It seems to me that Subarus don’t have clutches that are as “robust” as some other makes. In an area with lots of hills and heavy stop and go traffic I see Subaru (and other makes as well) clutches gone at 60,000 miles.

A good local independent shop can handle this for you.


#9

There is no hard and fast rule for how long a clutch should last. I have seen people burn up clutches in 11,000 miles and I have seen clutches last over 130,000 miles. Besides the design of the clutch it comes down to how it is driven. Towing, short trips, aggressive starts, hilly driving and riding of the clutch all reduce the life of the clutch. You have a ten year old car with low miles so it sounds like it has had many short trips. Towing a trailer, no matter how small, will definitely put more wear on the clutch. One other thing you want to avoid (and you didn’t mention if you or your spouse do it) is to NOT use engine braking to slow the vehicle. $25 brake pads do a great job of slowing the car down and are much cheaper than $1000 (or more) clutches.


#10

I have lived in the same area for 25 years. Work out of the home, so no commute. Yes, I have short trips but also long ones, a little stop and go traffic depending on time of day but there is the occasional towing.

I sometimes downshift, but more often brake and put in neutral to come to a stop. So does my husband. I don’t think I ride the clutch, but will try to be more cognizant of that. And yes, perhaps sometimes I’m too aggressive–the car’s got a lot of punch.


#11

My brother thinks it might have something to do with the hill holder–that the clutch may not have disengaged at some point. He also says that the clutch should be adjusted by the mechanic every time when I take it in for an oil change.
Do any of you have thoughts on this?


#12

Sorry, he’s wrong. Hydraulically-actuated clutches (like your and most all clutches now) typically don’t need adjustment. As for the hill holder, that might be a small possibility, but I really doubt it.


#13

The hill holder is a function inside the transmission, I believe. No connection to the clutch.

And the clutch is hydraulic on your car. Typically it needs no adjustment. The adjuster beyween the pedal and master cylinder is used only to adjust slack in the actuator rod, not to adjust the actual clutch movement. Ditto for the slave rod. It is possible for these to come out of adjustment, but they tend to cause the clutch to not release correctly, not induce slippage.


#14

My clutch disc was thin and started to notice slippage at 100k miles. I replaced only disc and put 50k more miles on car till I sold it.


#15

“The hill holder is a function inside the transmission, I believe. No connection to the clutch.”

That is partially correct. While the Hill Holder has no connection to the clutch itself, it is actually an extra brake function that is activated and deactivated by the clutch pedal.


#16

I’m sure other drivers can out do my record, but I sold my xB at 150k miles with the original clutch, and that was with plenty of San Francisco hill starts in the mix.

If you can only get 110k on a CRX clutch, perhaps you should take a look at your driving technique.