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Judy got a new clutch

Hi y’all,

My 2001 119,000-mile manual transmission Subaru Outback, Judy, is in trouble. My complaint is that she makes a boomp sound just after being put in reverse, and the check engine light is coming on again. Here is the story: Several months ago, my dad told me I ought to have a new clutch. He said the clutch was slipping slightly and had a high release point. “You don’t want to let that go, it could really mess up your car.” Since, I drive a little less aggressively than my dad, and I could not detect any slippage whatsoever, I waited a couple of months and then decided to take action. First, I called a bunch of places to see who had worked on Subaru clutches. Then I had my timing belt changed by them. Then I let them do my clutch. When I got it back, I had to give it alot of gas to get it to go into first gear. Then the check engine light came on (intermittently, seemingly triggered by low gas in the tank). The problem was worse in the afternoon and uphill. I took Judy back in the next week. The mechanic wanted us to drive around with him as a passenger. We did, and he declared the clutch was fine, and it was just my tires. He ran the computer to see what was with the chk engine light and told us that we might have to get the sensors changed. He also said it might be the catalytic converter.

Well, the gear changing (mostly into first) got more challenging. The car started shaking rather violently when trying to get it into first gear. I would have to push in the clutch a little, let it out, and push it in again to get it into first. Again, the problem was worst in the afternoon when it was warm and uphill. Downhill, there was almost no problem.

I took it in again. They told me that it was not a problem with the clutch, but that the drivetrain was loose (as in had not been tightened down properly). The check engine lights were on because the wires had been shaken loose, too. They said they test drove it numerous times, and it was working just fine. Well, Judy did not shake so much for a day or so, but it was still hard to get into first. Unfortunately, the shaking started again after a day or so and the check engine lights came on. The idle was also a little rough. I took it back again. This time, they changed out the clutch. They asked me if I had been feathering the clutch because the flywheel was all chaddy-like. I told them I know how to drive, thank you very much: I’d never destroyed a clutch. So now, the clutch goes into first and the other gears pretty well, but whenever I put it into reverse, it makes a bumping sound right after I take my foot off the clutch. The check engine light is back on again!

Help - can someone let me know what I need to do? What have they done to Judy? I just put brand new $666 (no joke - that’s what they cost), 80,000 mile shoes on my girl. I was planning to hang out with her for at least that long.

It is really annoying to rearrange my schedule, shuffle kids, and drive once a week to have them not fix my car. It was working so beautifully before I took it to them! Our only other vehicle is a 1995 Chevy pick-up with we have no idea how many miles on it since the odometer broke about five years ago with around 180,000. We cannot fit all five of us in it, so we have to drop the kids off here and there to take in Judy the Suby.

Please help!!!

Judy The Suby
See Judy Run. See Judy’s New Shoes. See Judy Shake.
Judy’s Life Partner Needs A Vacation.

Did somebody check Judy’s motor / transmission mounts?


Will it slip into first gear normally with the engine not running?? If so, the clutch is dragging or out of adjustment. You should be having the same problems going into reverse…

I agree with CSA.
This does sound like a case of improperly tighted (or defective) motor mounts and/or transmission mounts.

As to the CEL that is lit up, only a scan of the car’s OBD2 system will reveal the nature of that problem. Take Judy to Auto Zone, Advance Auto, O’Reilly, or another auto parts retailer that does free scans upon request. Then come back to this thread to post the exact code(s). The codes will be in the format of P0123.

Yes, a lovely vacation would be nice. Can you explain, please?

When Judy Gets Back From The “Hospital”, Arrange For All Of Her Kid Kin (Children Passengers) To Be Cared For. Then You And Judy, Just The Two Of You, Go Someplace Nice Where You Can Rest.

After you’re both rested up and feeling better, look for a new Subaru mechanic in a different shop, on your trip home.


It sounds like the current mechanic is guessing . . . after installing a new clutch and timing belt then you started experiencing problems which he guessed might be new sensors . . . new CAT . . . new tires . . . gotta stop throwing money at this car and find out what is wrong. I agree with the others about the computer codes . . . but that noise upon engaging reverse and the shaking would worry me. Find a new mechanic. Rocketman