So I have a 2001 subaru legacy that was gifted to me with a destroyed throwout bearing. I replaced all of it except the flywheel cause it was in good condition. I had never drove a manual and learned with this car(I stalled alot getting the hang of it) and I'm pretty comfortable with it now. But the past couple days it hasn't been going into first gear or so it seems. When I put it in first at a stop the clutch doesn't have a (sweet spot) It moves but just creeps,shakes alot and is difficult to keep it running. It has been doing it intermittently sometimes going right in and other times it wont. Fluid is good, and master cylinder fluid(Dot 3) is full but brown, I need help figuring this out. I did notice that before this was happening second gear seemed like it moved alot more than usual, so much that the trim came off multiple times going into second. I've also noticed the past 2 days the shifter pretty much moves back to neutral after shifting to 2nd or 4th but stays in gear. Is that normal? Did I just happen to notice that cause I was having issues?
Is it possible I wore out the clutch or throwout bearing while learning how to drive it? Or possibly damaged the tranny? I have been riding the clutch alot in first cause it was the hardest for me. Recently I've smelt the burning clutch smell a couple of times trying to get it to engage in first, and that never happened before while I was learning.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! From your description, it sure sounds like you've toasted the clutch. The last paragraph is telling. Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 9:42
  • Okay, Thank you. Wasn't sure if a clutch could go that quick even as a new driver.
    – RichieRich
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 13:58
  • @RichieRich You shouldn't fry a clutch learning how to drive a manual correctly, otherwise driving instructors would be need a new clutch in their car every week. But "riding the clutch a lot in first" (or any other gear) is not the correct way to use a manual transmission. With hindsight, paying for a few hours tuition would have been cheaper than paying for another clutch. (Except for starting from rest, it's quite possible to change gear with most manual transmissions without touching the clutch pedal at all - but don't try that until you can change gear "perfectly" the normal way!
    – alephzero
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 2:57

1 Answer 1


It sounds as though you've "fried" your clutch. Riding the clutch (no matter the reason) introduces a LOT of heat into the clutch assembly. If enough heat is introduced into the flywheel and/or pressure plate, heat cracks can form. Heat cracks can actually raise the surface of the flywheel/pressure plate, which gives less space between them and the friction disk. This will make it harder to shift into gear while at a stop, because the clutch is not being allowed to disengage fully while the clutch pedal is depressed. In this scenario, it doesn't mean the friction disk is worn out, but rather that the flywheel/pressure plate are not performing as they are supposed to. Your saying you observed a "burning clutch smell" tells me you got it pretty hot. Considering you used your original flywheel and didn't resurface indicates the problem may be there.

Bottom line, I believe you are going to have to replace the clutch, or at a minimum, it's going to have to come out to observe what's going on with it. I don't believe you've done any damage to your transmission, though the synchros will take a bit more abuse while you are trying to shift it into gear.

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