No Hills?

We were in San Francisco this weekend in our 2007 outback. The hills are incredible steep. When we were stopped facing uphill on the steep ones, my subary would not accelerate up. It is a manual transmission, and while disengaging the clutch and accelerating, I had to pump the gas pedal. It was going all the way to the floor and not pushing gas to accelerate. We were rolling backwards and the clutch was really smelly. It felt unsafe. It did it on every hill. I even had someone else drive to see if it was just me. We had to change routes to avoid hills. Any reason why my subaru doesn’t have power?

The burning smell was the clutch slipping. The clutch in your Outback is badly worn and should be replaced.

The question is; Why is the clutch worn out at only 18K miles?

San Francisco is the most difficult place in the country (world?) to drive a stick. Does it drive normally on flat ground?

But why wasn’t the car accelerating? Pedal to the floor and nothing was happening.

It drives great on flat roads, with no acceleration or clutch problems. Only facing uphill. It literally would not go.

The clutch isn’t worn because it drives beautifully on flat roads and mountains and everywhere except san fran.

Well, if the engine was revving up but the car wasn’t moving, then the clutch wasn’t grabbing. Flat roads are much less of a stress. That said, you can wait and see if you start having issues on flat roads, but SF is out.

It wasn’t revving. The gas pedal was to the floor and not really doing anything, which is why we were pumping it, to try to get the gas going and keep it from stalling.

Ok…how much of a load was in your Outback? How many people?

2 smallish women, 2 children.

Sounds like you were not in 1st gear…

You’re right. It does. But I was in first gear. This happened repeatedly to two very experienced drivers who drive sticks full time. So, does anyone have any ideas about what could be going on mechanically with the car other than operator error? This car operates great in any other driving condition and the drivers have no other issues with the car’s performance.

I can’t determine from the OPs question if the engine was reving or not. If it was reving, then it’s a bad clutch. If the engine wasn’t reving but was dying/stalling/lugging, then it’s something else.

OP: When this happens, is your engine reving (ie are the RPMs shooting up)?

It was not reving. The gas pedal was to the floor and the car acted as if it was not getting any fuel and lugging.

After having my rental car with an AT struggle with the steepest hills last summer, I think it just may be your car can’t handle it. Were you doing the tourist route, going to the most scenic and steepest areas? That’s what caused my rental car to struggle.

Fuel pump.

I can’t get away from the “really smelly clutch” part. Start the engine,put on hand brake and hold normal brake. Put car in 4th gear ,let out clutch,car should die,does it?

Wild guess. Your hill holder is not releasing your brakes after you clutch out.

The OP said the car was “rolling backward,” which makes me think there is no hill holder on this vehicle.

If the clutch was slipping, why was the engine not revving? That’s what I’d like to know.

I agree. The clutch was obviously slipping, but the OP said the engine wasn’t revving.

Something doesn’t add up.