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2012 STI Transmission / Clutch Weird Issue

4682 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  schranzkt

I have a 2012 STI that I purchased new last year and has about 15,000 miles on it. I have been driving it very carefully. I've only done 1 to 2 hard launches of one was this weekend.

I was at a red light with a Lexus next to me that wanted to race to I decided to launch hard in the sharp# mode. I got a really good launch and everything was fine but when I tried to switch to 2nd gear, it would not go in and my engine red lined for a second. There was a bad smell, but it wasn't coming from the engine but seemed like the transmission / clutch. I could not switch to any gear and it was stuck in neutral.

The transmission would not go into gear and I had to coast to pull over at the first right turn into a parking lot. After I came to a stop, I could smell the burning smell. I opened the hood and there was no smell but it was coming from the bottom of the car so I believe it is from the transmission / clutch.

After I came to a full stop, It would switch gears just fine and for the last 2 days it has been working just fine. This morning I drove spiritedly to work in the sports mode and everything is fine.

I called Subaru dealership to set an appointment to have things checked out.

Has anyone experienced this before or know of possible causes? It is from overheating of the clutch plates or does this mean that the clutch is wearing out?

This is my second 2012 STI. The first one got totaled in an accident. The clutch on that one went out at 13K miles and from reading the forums, it seems that WRX's and STI's have clutch issues.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!
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If you're going through a clutch in 13k miles and having issues again then maybe it's driver error. Have you ever driven a manual gearbox before? Are you sure you're driving it correctly?

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The burning smell is from the clutch. You slipped it too much at launch. Do NOT keep that up. My '08 stock clutch lasted for 96k miles with many trips to the drag strip and autocrossing, was still working for DD when I took it out. Sounds like a driver issue.

It would not go into 2nd because the transmission shifted to the right due to the torque. You need stiffer bushings/mounts. Have the dealership check and retorque all the drive train mounts (engine, transmission, crossmembers).
On the first STI it was a manufacturing defect so the dealer replaced the clutch free of charge. I've been driving manual transmission for about 10 years and I know to let the rpm drop to about 3K before switching gears.

badweatherridder, when you mention bushings / mounts, are the bushings for the shifter? I wanted to get after market bushings so I can have more precise shifts. Do you recommend?

I will give Cobb tuning a call as well and see what they recommend to get some aftermarket parts that are better than the originals.

I will have the dealer check the drive train mounts. Other than a premature worn clutch, do you thin there is any other possible damage? Thanks for your help!
When i first got my STI I roasted my clutch once due to the vagueness of the STI clutch. I had to sit through a stoplight because it wouldnt go into gear. After the stoplight turned it started engaging again and has been fine ever since...Thats been 50+K miles or so ago. I wouldnt be too worried about it.

I do agree with salvas above...if you are rolling through clutches like this you may want to evaluate your driving...Most people dont complain about the clutches on these cars going quick unless they are launching or have a huge amount of power going through them.
OP, the shifter bushings, like the ones provided by Turn In Concepts' Holy Shift Kit, will help with precise shifts in day to day driving. I've got it installed on mine with Cobb's Adjustable Short Throw.

For the problems you encountered during the hard launch, you need to upgrade the Pitch Stopper, LH/RH Engine Mounts, Transmission Mount, and transmission crossmember bushings to prevent lateral movement. The stock mounts are made of soft, pliable rubber which allows for quite a bit of movement under load. I use Group N mounts in mine. They're stiffer than OEM, but not so stiff that the car rattles itself to death.

If you have been driving manuals for 10 years, then you should know what a burnt clutch smells like. Revmatching and launch control should help your clutch last a little longer.
I had never missed 2nd gear when I first got my 2008 STI, but I kept missing 3rd which I attributed to driveline slack. After having the car for only a couple months I decided to switch to the Kartboy short throw shifter with the TiC bushings and also switched to the Group N trans mount and TiC tranny and cross member bushings. The difference in shifting was like night and day, and 3rd gear now goes in effortlessly. This made the car much better to drive but I noticed that when I tried to hit 2nd at high rpm it would almost always make a loud clunk and occasionally grind :eek:(no problems under 5500 rpm or so).

I thought it might just be driver error so I adjusted my seat, tried different shoes and probably caused more harm than good by trying to "practice" my way out of this problem finding that I would still quite consistently miss 2nd gear at high revs. To eliminate additional movement I installed the Perrin pitch stop but it didn't have any effect on the issue. I'm planning on installing the Group N engine mounts hoping that will help. It does seem to be more likely to occur if I take off hard while making a turn, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that the stiffer engine mounts reducing more lateral movement will remedy this.
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I had the shifter bushings and main crank pulley replaced with Cobb parts. It had made shifting better somewhat and I like the additional transmission noise. I will look into the engine and transmission mounts and support members to reduce movement under torque.

I still smell my clutch burning smell every now and then although I am driving the car normal without much power going through. Any thoughts?
No clutch/tranny issues in either my 09 wrx (39k miles) or 11 STI (38k miles). We've all missed a shift here or there or let the clutch slip too much on a launch, but you should not be smelling burining clutch under daily driving conditions... Not trying to be a jerk, but it sounds like a driver issue, not a car issue.

Watch how much the shifter moves during launch and power.

This is will all the Group N mounts and Holy Shift Kit from TiC. The cross member bushings need to be replaced.
badweatherridder: link not found

I know it is very easy to blame the driver, but STI's seem to have a very sensitive fragile clutch. I owned a jeep 5SPD that I learned to drive manual on and put about 40K miles. I also taught 2 other people to drive stick shift on it. I was very rough on the clutch and never had any issues, no burning smell or shifting problems.

If my clutch wears out sooner than expected, I'm going for an aftermarket clutch kit. Perhaps it is just my luck, out of the two STI's that I have owned, first clutch started to slip at 13K miles and with my current STI, every now and then I smell a burning clutch driving normally.
Perhaps it is just my luck, out of the two STI's that I have owned, first clutch started to slip at 13K miles and with my current STI, every now and then I smell a burning clutch driving normally.
That does sound like the driver, sorry. STI clutches are very robust. Mine is still going strong 41k miles in and it's been abused.
as stated. Learn to drive and stop being a ricer. STIs dont lose to Lexus's

shifter bushings would be the easier/cheaper way to resolve shifting issues. I doubt you have the power levels to require mounts. The pitch stop would prob be your best bang/buck and easiest to install if you know how to remove the TMIC
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