Clutch Repair Complications on a '99 Subaru Legacy


Hey everyone!

I have a 5-speed 1999 Subaru Legacy Wagon. I had the clutch replaced about a month and a half ago. When they replaced the clutch, I was told that the two plates behind the clutch had grooves dug into them and the plates had to be sanded down. I’m pretty sure the clutch that was installed was not an original factory part; the repair only set me back ~$700 and the distance that the clutch depresses is different than my last clutch (though the tach is the same).

Everything had been fine with it, but yesterday I started hearing a squeaking/whirring that sounds like a disk that is spinning freely and unevenly and hitting something metal. The sound increases with speed and it changes when I press on the clutch. There was a moment yesterday when I was driving and came to a stop. I had the clutch fully depressed and I suddenly heard a “thunk” (like the lurching sound if one picks up the clutch too quickly in 1st gear); it also seemed like whatever was loose clicked into place. The sound then disappeared for ~15 minutes, but now it’s coming back. So far it has not effected the performance of the car, as far as I can tell.

I called my mechanic, and he can take a look at it on Saturday. The reason I’m looking for help from a large forum is that I have a lot to learn about cars and this mechanic is new to me, so I have no idea if he’s taking me for a ride (despite my being referred to him by several people). Does what I’m describing sound like anything specific? If this were your car, would you feel comfortable driving it for a few days (~10 miles/day) or does this sound like something that needs to be seen ASAP? Also, can anyone tell me the proper name for the plates behind the clutch?

Thanks so much for your help!!!


The clutch disk is in between the engine flywheel and the pressure plate. The pressure plate is what gets pressed on when you push the clutch pedal and is most likely making the noise you hear. It sounds like it may be damaged and you may need to replace it. Normally, the pressure plate isn’t replaced when the clutch disk is replaced. I would get it looked at ASAP. You may get stranded somewhere if it breaks on you.


Usually when a clutch is ‘replaced’, a new clutch disc is installed; a new or rebuilt pressure plate is installed; the flywheel is surfaced – on condition; and a new throwout bearing is installed. From the price you were charged you probably had all this done.

Your present noise sounds like it might be a faulty throwout bearing. They can go bad but usually not this quickly. Hopefully, the mechanic you have diagnosis can better pinpoint the noise. If the problem is the throwout bearing, all the work of removing the transaxle is going to have to be redone. At least they will be able to look at all the clutch components to determine if something else is going wrong.

If the noise does not go away when you have pressed the clutch pedal down and put the transmission into gear at a stop, you can rule out something failing in the transmission.

Hope that helps. Good luck. When you find out what is wrong, post back to give us some feedback. TNX


you really shouldn’t be driving this around (even for a couple days) the increase in damage may turn this from a couple hundred dollar repair to a thousand dollar repair.

it sounds like this guy does have a handle on it, (and he WAS recommended by friends too!) but something else seems to have happened which now needs atention.


I just wanted to chime in to say that the sound completely stopped after those two incidents. When I took it to the mechanic he couldn’t hear a thing. I’ve been driving it for weeks now with no problems (except for a new computer problem that I’m about to post about), but I admit I’m a little nervous that something could be wrong at it’s just undetected.