Short Throw Shifter Install

A great modification for any manual car is a short throw shifter. The shorter throw between gears helps shift quicker and requires less wrist movement to change gears. The lower profile of the shorter shaft may require you to change your driving position but for me, I felt it was improvement since the stock shifter was a little to higher than desired. Because of the console height of the 2011 WRX is rather low and slightly uncomfortable. Combine the low console with a high shift lever made a bad combo for long drives. For me, the lower shift lever height from the Kartboy helped a lot.

I’ll rate the install a 5 out of 10. Mainly because of the difficulty of the rear bushing removal and installation.
Total time was about an 1-1/2 hours from start to finish. (using floor jack & stands)

Tools needed:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 10mm socket
  • 12mm socket
  • 13mm socket
  • Snap-ring pliers

Here’s the install.

Before

Stock shifter

 

Remove the e-brake cover and reveal the Philips screw, remove

Front screw to console

Open the center console armrest cover and remove the two 10mm bolts. Then the rear console can be removed. Make sure you carefully unplug and plugs and harnesses underneath.

Two rear screws in console

To remove the front console, lightly pull from the back towards the rear of the car. It’s just held in by clips.

console removed

 

Remove the rubber boot cover then use your snap-ring pliers to remove the small metal ring holding the stock shifter ball into the stabilizer bar.

Spring-clip removal

Once you remove the snap-ring, unbolt the 12mm pivot connection and pull up on the stock lever. The ball cake may or may not come out. If it doesn’t you will need to get it out.

Stock shifter vs. Kartboy

Swap over the ball cage and bearings onto the Kartboy shifter.

Stock shifter vs. Kartbiy

Pop the new lever and cage into the stabilizer cup. Then connect the pivot arm. BE SURE TO TORQUE THIS BOLT TO 8-10 POUNDS. IF YOU OVER TIGHTEN, YOU WILL TRANSMIT TRANSMISSION NOISE AND STIFF SHIFTING!!

Center pivot bolt

Drop the console back in and install you shift knob. Your short throw install is complete.

After photograph of shifter

If you are changing the front and rear bushings. Jack up the car and remove the heat shield under the shifter. You’ll have to unplug the 02 sensor and a bunch of 13mm bolts. You may need to slightly bend the shield to get it out but once you do, you can remove the front and rear bushings that are shown below. I have removed the stabilizer bar to show the locations of the bushings. You should be able to change over the bushings without taking the stabilizer out.

Stablizer bar

The hardest part of the install is the rear bushing. Because of the curve of the frame. the two bolts that hold the rear bushing should be on a slight angle. Because the Kartboy bushing holes are straight and the frame is curved, you can see where this can be a problem. The biggest issue is that I get a ton emails about how people have stripped out the frame holes because the drove a crooked bolt into it. You must start the threads on one side (only a few threads) then add the second bolt and thread it in slightly. Once you are confident that your bolts are not cross threaded, you can tighten the bolts into the frame.

Rear stablizer bushing

The front bushing is simple to change. Take off the bolt, slide the stabilizer bar over, take out the two half bushing, grease and replace with your new bushings. Slide the stabilizer bar back on and install the bolt.

Front stablizer bushing

Install the heat shield back on, plug the o2 sensor back in and test the shifter to see if it goes into all gears before taking it for a test drive. If you feel that it is okay. Take it for a test drive and enjoy your new shift lever. You will notice a slightly noisier whine out of the transmission, especially in 2nd gear. This is normal and unless you are having problems with tight gear changes, you are all done.