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Wolfgank 02-08-2013 09:15 AM

Clutch chatter when warm
Hello all.
My recently acquired 03 legacy wagon has a strange issue. When I first start out on a trip, the clutch lets out normally and the car goes from dead stop to first smoothly. After she warms up, however, coming to a stop light the car wants to stall when I let out the clutch. So I give it more gas than usual and she chatters into a roll. At first I thought it was just me needing to get used to this particular vehicle, but now I'm certain that's not the problem. I've driven subies for over 12 years now, so I'm pretty comfortable with them.
When I first got the vehicle, it did this even on first start, but replacing a clogged air filter fixed that. However, now it seems to happen only after she has been running a while.
The engine does make a slight breathy diesel-like noise when accelerating under load, but I am leaning towards that being a small exhaust leak.
I checked the most accessible plug last night and it was pretty clean. I plan to change all the plugs/wires to new NGK's next week (iridiums).
Any other ideas or things I should look for?
Thanks in advance.

Giffle 02-08-2013 06:19 PM

First, I would check all the spark plugs. The ones closer to the firewall (no 3 and 4) usually tend to wear faster.

It is also possible that the engine need a cleaning treatment. The Terraclean performed by the dealers here in Canada works pretty well to remove carbon deposit.

Wolfgank 02-09-2013 08:00 AM

Thanksfor your reply. Yes, I have new plugs and wires (NGK's) and will probably be installing those Monday. I only removed the one closest to the big square plastic intake contraption because it was easy. I don't look forward to pulling everything out on both sides of the engine, but so be it. That's why I got the best replacements- so I won't have to deal with it again for a while.
What is this "terraclean" thing? Some kind of engine interior varnish remover?

Giffle 02-09-2013 09:19 AM

To change the plugs, you'll have to make some space. Remove the windshield washer tank (preferably empty ;) ) and all the intake plastic pipes. Of course, no need to remove the air filter box.

Once done, changing spark plugs is easy.

Here is the website for terraclean products

Wolfgank 02-12-2013 08:21 AM

new plugs
Well, as a friend of mine always says- Nothing's Easy.
To remove the washer tank and the air intake I had to remove 5 bolts and one nut. One bolt and the nut were easy. The other four bolts were fused into the chassis.:spin:
The shaft of one bolt had just enough sticking out that I could get a vise-grip on it and let liquid wrench work it's magic. The other 3 had to be ground down, then drilled out. Ever try drilling out hardened bolts? You go 1/16", resharpen the bit, go another 1/16th, resharpen the bit, etc etc. Needless to say all were replaced with stainless.
You were correct- the plugs were easy to access once that stuff was out of there. Two of 4 plugs showed noticeable wear. One was still pretty good, one looked almost new (?) My feeling is that they were the original plugs/wires. Nobody had undone those washer and air intake bolts since the car was delivered to the original owner, of that I am pretty certain.
The vehicle runs noticeably quieter now, and has a bit more power (don't think it is just imagined). :)
But after running for about 2o minutes, starting from a dead stop, especially when facing uphill, she still has some minor chatter getting rolling. Not as much as before, but it is still apparent.
Is there a sensor or valve that kicks in when the engine is good and hot which somehow affects the air/fuel mixture, perhaps making one or the other too lean? Otherwise, once moving, the vehicle seems genuinely happy with the new parts and has plenty of power (...not that it was bad before). But the strange starts are still a puzzle - especially since it only happens when the engine is well warmed up!:icon_frow

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