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Discussion Starter #1
Good day All,

This is our only real performance modification that will be made to our 5mt XV. We decided before we even purchased our XV that the previous Subaru Manual Transmission throws were excessive and a bit sloppy, so this was a matter that we wanted to resolve.

We were able to install the TWM Short Shifter on our XV and this is as much as we could document outside of the TWM provided directions. The install is almost identical to the ‘08 through present Impreza and WRX installs, with only a few differences. There are several YouTube videos if the pictures aren't working for you and I have provided the links below.

This is a modification worth the time and money, I think about $163 for the Shifter and $5 for the grease, plus freight. Google search TWM promo code to find free shipping, it is out there. The time required will be approximately 50 minutes if you don’t stop and take pictures.

We also purchased the Front Stay Bushing but have not installed the bushing yet due to time and exhaustion today. The black front stay bushing is pictured as a size reference, but it was not the bushing that I thought would replace the factory center eye bushings in the actual shifter arm. The Front Stay Bushing is not financially worth returning, so maybe someday I’ll install it or resell it.

The overall feel is much more mechanical, an improved forward shift knob/hand position, and after she breaks in we will get to enjoy her. With just over 200 miles on the shifter she is beginning to smooth out.

Here is the link for the TWM page with a downloadable .pdf for the install instructions that they provide:

http://www.twmperformance.com/shortshifters/subarushortshifters/subaruimpreza2008shortshifters.htm

These are two YouTube videos that are helpful to watch:

How To Install a Short Shifter for 09 WRX
08+ WRX/STi How to Install Short Shifter

Enjoy the readings and the images.

Just a few comparisons for the shifter locations for Neutral, First, and Second.

1. Just double check all the parts when you receive the box. I would recommend buying the grease if you don’t have any because you won’t get much off of the OEM Shift Arm.

2. Get all of your tools ready to make sure that you have everything. I decided to use my ¼ inch socket set so that I don’t over tighten bolts. No bull in a china shop syndrome. Just as a side note, if you have a pair of fine needle nose pliers with the biter grips on the inside then you can omit the snap ring pliers. My fine needle nose pliers were SMOOTH and they DID NOT WORK, I couldn’t get a solid grab on the eyelids of the snap ring. Pictured I used the following: Rubber gloves if you prefer, Short 12mm Socket, 12mm Closed Wrench, 10mm Socket with a Short Extension, the Snap Ring Pliers, Small Phillips Head, and a Medium Flat Head.

3. I would recommend starting with the removal of the E-Brake Boot, this is the most frustrating part. I tried to use interior tools to loosen the top mounts and this failed miserably. I found it easier to simply slide my hand between the seat and the lowest rear point of the e-brake boot, towards the back seat,t and Pull Out towards the Driver Seat and then UP towards the roof. There are Two (2) retainer clips on the inner driver side of the panel and Three (3) along the top visible mid-line of the E-Brake boot. I have a picture of the internal clips of this boot. Leave the Boot on the E-Brake handle, it will get in the way every so often, but it is not worth completely removing for this install.

4. Now slide the seats forward a bit so that the Rear Console Back Seat Area is exposed. Here there are two lower exterior Pop Panels visible, one on the driver side and one on the passenger side. Again, the trim tools failed and the good old hand method worked better. Pull the Rear Console panel out a bit and slide your fingers up and under the panel to simply Pop these little Quarter Sized Panels out. Behind it you will find a 10mm Bolt on each side that will have to be removed. Now that the Rear Rear Console Bolts are removed, slide the seats back again and move to the Front of the Rear Console.

5. At the Front of the Rear Console, just before the actual shift panel cover is located, you will see the Little Metal Phillips Head Screw that was previously covered by the E-Brake Shifter boot. Remove this screw and put it in a secured place on the Driver’s Side floor. With the Screw removed there is One More Push Panel Clip on the Passenger side that you need to Pop by Lifting the Entire Front of the Rear Console towards the roof. It is straight up, so grab both side of the Front Rear Console so that you don’t crack the panel. At this point the front of the Rear Console is loose, I simply flipped it back and rested it against the back seats so that it was out of the way.

6. You can now move onto the Lid of the Front Console Removal. This is where the videos are actually helpful to watch. There are Six or so Pop/Push tabs that hold this Lid Cover in Place. Start by Lifting the Lid Cover closest to the hole where the screw was. It will eventually start popping out. Once you get the Six or so push tabs out, it is best to Start loosening the Shift Knob, WITHOUT fully sliding the top lid cover off yet.

7. The Shift Knob on the XV is actually really genius. There is a Plastic Spindle Ring attaching the Vinyl Shift Boot to the actual Shift Knob. I do not know how it works because I didn’t take it apart. What I found is that you can grab that Plastic Spindle through the outside Top of the Shift Boot and spin the Shift Knob Separately. This will prevent the Shift Boot from getting All Twisted Up. Keep Spinning the Shift Knob until it comes off the threads, this seemed like it took forever because of how long the threaded shaft of the Shifter Arm is. Once the Shift Knob is loose, LET IT REST ON THE SHIFT ARM, do not let it flop around because it may tear the shift boot.

8. You can now pick-up where number Six left off. To completely remove the Top Lid Front Console cover you need to pull the Front Front Console Retainer Tab Down at a 45 Degree Angle and Back towards the Rear Console at the same time. Wiggling it a bit helps, but remember, NO BULL IN A CHINA SHOP or you will break the retainer tabs. Once it is loose you can remove the lid, remember to Hold the Shift Knob because it will fall wherever gravity takes it. Put this Top Lid Cover for the Front Console in a Place that you will not scratch it.

9. Next it is time to tackle the actual Shifter Arm. There is another Rubber boot covering the mechanical area of the shift arm. There are two White Threaded Caps that hold the boot down. You can use the Medium Flat Head or your fingers to loosen and remove the tabs. I am not sure if you can simply pop them out or if you need to untwist them, that will be your decision. Remove the white tabs and Pull the Rubber Boot Back and Up to remove it. The Front of the Rubber Boot rests UNDER the Carpet, so remember that when you reinstall it.

10. With the Rubber boot removed you can now see the Mechanicals of the OEM Shifter Arm. **MOVE the shifter around
to get a good feel for it. Feel and Watch the mechanicals for smoothness, any sticking points, etc. This will be useful for reinstallation purposes** The Bolt Head is on the Left Driver’s Side and the Nut is on the Right Passenger Side, remember this is a US XV . **COUNT THE NUMBER OF VISIBLE THREADS and Take a picture of it so that you don’t forget it.** The directions say 10-12 ft/lbs of torque, I did not waste time with the torque wrench and simply retighten the bolt to the same spot on the reinstallation. If Subaru feels that is adequate then it works for me. If you have a second vehicle and the time I would recommend going to a hardware store and purchasing a replacement Nut with a Plastic Retainer built into it, this will reduce the likelihood of it ever loosening up again.

11. You will need to remove the Bolt with your 12mm Short Socket and the 12mm Wrench. Once the nut is off slide the bolt out. Again, put this where you won’t lose it, passenger floor if you want.

12. The second most frustrating thing is to remove the Snap Ring. You will squeeze both of the Eyelids TOWARDS one another. This will take several attempts and expect the snap ring to SPIN around and move with each failed attempt. Once the snap ring has agreed to release itself, slide it up the lower shaft of the Shifter Arm, this will get it out of the way.

13. I spun the Shifter Arm around several times to loosen the grease suction that is on the White Pivot Joint Plastic Piece. I am certain that there is a technical name for this artificial joint/socket, but I don’t know it. The next part is fun, simply LIFT UP on the Shifter Arm to remove it, twist and pull. It will dislocate and pop out. Now get those rubber gloves on because it will get greasy.

14. It is time to swap the hardware from the OEM shifter to the Short Shifter. Give the Snap Ring a mild Twist to remove it from the Old Shaft. Take the Medium Flat Head and Push the Center Metal Shaft out of the Circular Center Joint of the OEM Shift Arm. Once the shaft is removed you can see a Small Gap between the Two (2) Stock Plastic Circular Joint Bushings. I would recommend using some type of Spray Lube to get these Hard Plastic Bushing Out. This will take some force to remove these because they are snug. Work the bushing out, DO NOT TRY TO PUSH in the same spot the entire time. You will have to work it from the OPPOSITE side at a 45 degree angle and in a Circular Motion. Once you get the first side out the second side is a bit easier, you’ll get a straight shot at the bushing. Last and not least you can simply twist the lower White Joint and it will pop off, this is the GREASEY Step. Once the white joint, both bushings, the shaft, and the snap ring are removed it is time to install the hardware on the Short Shifter.

15. Before I reinstalled any of the OEM parts I used a fair amount of the purchased grease on and in everything. You can use your judgment if you want to do this or not. So stop reading and get the Short Shifter Arm rebuilt with all of the factory parts. Don’t forget to install the Snap Ring, it is easier to do out of the car as versus in the car.

16. With the Short Shifter reassembled bring it back into the car and put it on a shop rag that can be thrown out. **I would recommend putting some of the Grease Lubricant on the Mechanical Shift Arm that goes through the body towards the Transmission.** Do this BEFORE you Install the new Short Shifter, it is MUCH EASIER TO ACCESS. I have provided a picture as a reference. Some people complain of the Mechanical Arm rubbing against the Gasket and creating a squeaky sound. While it is apart do it now and prevent a future nuisance.

17. If you want to put some grease in the base of the circular floor pan where the white socket was removed from do it now. To get the White Joint Socket back into the opening simply Pop it back in by putting a Downward Pressure on the arm. You can do this by hand, DO NOT USE a Rubber Hammer, it is an overkill. If you can’t do it by hand then it is not aligned properly. Once it pops in the Snap Ring is ready for reinstallation

18. The Snap Ring is anything but easy to get it to seat properly. I found that it is easier to squeeze the eyelids together and try to feed One (1) side into the groove first and press it down to seat in a Circular Motion. Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise doesn’t matter. You can press the Ring Down with the Small Phillips Head or the Medium Flat head, it is your choice and depends upon what is handy. This again may take several attempts. There will be many failed attempts or you can get lucky the first time. Once the Snap Ring is Secured and in Place give a Strong Forceful UPWARD Tug on the Short Shifter Arm, this is to double check that it doesn’t pop out again. You don’t always shift gently, so give it a solid pull before you find out the hard way that it didn’t Snap into place.

19. Again, putting grease inside of the bolt shaft is your choice, I did to reduce future wear. With the Short Shifter secure and in Place, Line Up the Mechanical Arm with the Center Bore of the Short Shifter, Place the Bolt through the Mechanical Arm into the Shaft from the Left Driver’s Side, aligning the arm with the bolt may needs some manipulating, and feed it all the way through. Reinstall the Nut on the Bolt with the 12mm Socket and Wrench, again **COUNT THE NUMBER OF VISIBLE THREADS**, did you write it down, if not look at your picture again. If you overtighten the nut the shifting will feel and sound wrong. This is how I judged how tight it is. **I also felt and watched the mechanicals, nothing seemed to be restricting or sticking compared to the OEM shift arm, so I left it and continued with the reinstallation.**

20. Reinstall the Rubber boot, remember to tuck the front of the boot under the carpet. Install the two white plugs.

21. Feed the Top Lid Cover of the Front Console into alignment, rest the Shift Knob on the Shifter Arm, Snap the Front Retainer Clips into the Front Console, and press the other Six or so Down into position. Go ahead and grab the Spindle at the Top of the Shifter Boot and Tighten the Shift Knob. Remember that it will spin forever, it will eventually tighten down. Now is a good time to angle the Shift Knob so that is comfortable. Go through the gears again to make sure that everything is good before you finish the job.

22. Lower your Rear Console back into Place. Remember to Press Down on the Front Pop Clip of the Rear Console. This is your alignment Guide. Reinstall the Small Phillips Head Screw underneath the E-Brake Cover. Move the Seats forward and Reinstall the two (2) 10mm Bolts. Push the two Black plastic cover panel over the rear of the Rear Console. Slide the seats back again.

23. The E-Brake Cover can be Tricky. I found it easier to align the Two (2) Lower Retainer Tabs and then to put Downward Force onto the E-Brake Panel to get the top three to seat properly. You’ll figure out what works for you because the hard parts are over.

24. It is time to take a test drive and enjoy your Short Shifter. Some things may feel Wrong at first, it may just take some getting used to, you be the judge.

I hope that this has helped a few of you decide if you want to do it, pay someone to do it, or simply keep running what Subaru has provided for you.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The second batch of photos.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Third batch of images.
 

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Fourth Batch of Images
 

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Fifth and Final Batch of Images...there has to be a better way...
 

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hmm. I thought about a short throw shifter but decided against it. After reading this though... it sounds like a fun project. May have to put it on the back burner
 

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I had a STS on my e36. It was nice. Shifting just felt more solid an final, if that makes any sense. It was great for hauling ass in the bimmer and quickly changing gears. It is a definite plan for my XV, when I finally can get it...
 

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Now that was a detailed and excellent report. I am very interested in putting in a short throw. I'd really like to drive one first to ensure it was for me. I really liked the shift feeling in my Honda Si especially when compared to the XV. The XV has a semi-rubbery vague feeling imo. It gets the job done but I do feel there is room for improvement. Are you happy with the new shifter? Does it give a more precise feel? Thanks for all the info and pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Both Sarah and I thoroughly enjoy the new shift pattern. There is still some very very minute play right to left in gear compared to our previous S2000, but when it is compared to our 5MT OEM Element and the Factory OEM Subaru shifter it is now synchronized. When time and money allow I will probably install the Front and Rear Stay Bushings to see if that makes any bit of improved difference on the shift to get it at the truly seamless shifter feel.

As the mileage continues to climb the initial quirks of a new car with a new shifter are smoothing out. There aren't any hang-ups or lacking confidence shifts anymore. We have figured out where the shifter belongs. Even the 2nd to 1st to Reverse trick is no longer needed for a smooth reverse entry.

Kartboy and TWM are only two of the Subaru Short Shifter Companies out there, so when you have the opportunity to test drive one make sure you ask which one it is. The TWM shifter seems to have a more forward position when compared to the Kartboy shifter.

Dan
 

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Interestingly I spoke with Kartboy (well live chat anyway) and they claim they have nothing for the Crosstrek. I asked if I could use a Impreza kit and they responded with "if you're brave enough to try it". I know that's not the case though because I saw on SubieSport TV that they put a Kartboy conversion in their Crosstrek. Maybe just that particular agent didn't know it was usable? Anyway, is there any particular reason you went TWM over the Kartboy? Other than the forward position you noted?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
RubySu, We decided on the TWM simply because it is one solid cut piece. The Kartboy short shifter relocates the Center Mount Higher but maintains the same factory angle of the shift arm. The Kartboy is also welded, vs. the TWM one solid cut piece, so in my mind it just doesn't scream superior quality, many will beg the differ of my logic. Other owners and techs will disagree and they are welcome to, we bought the brand that we preferred.

I like smooth flowing lines and the TWM shifter fit the visual quality reassurance. From a price standpoint the TWM is also TWICE the price of a Kartboy Shifter, so financially there is a Pro for the Kartboy. I have not driven a Kartboy shifter so I can not comment on their product. I didn't even drive the XV factory shifter when we picked it up, Sarah drove it home and I took it apart. I am only able to compare the TWM shifter to the previous factory Imprezas that I have driven.

If you ask Subaru to cross-reference the XV Shifter Arm part number with the 2008-13 Impreza and WRX, NOT THE STI model, you will find that it is the same. Taking a gamble I ordered the shifter prior to the XV's arrival.
 

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The owner of Racing Performance Motorsports in HB, CA has a 500hp WRX monster. He uses a TWM shifter. He says that all things tranny, he will always only trust TWM. And I trust him. Therefore, I will be going TWM. I realize the incredible lack of experience in my decision, but that same lack of Subaru experience leads me to trust the guy that builds WRX's for tracks.

PS, very nice write up. I missed that in my initial post.
 

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Mr. Hull, That all makes good, solid sense to me. Thanks for the education, much appreciated! Will definitely look into the TWM. The one piece cut is the clincher for me. Maybe I could drive my Trek down to Beaufort and you can see for yourself it's characteristics....I know I'd be willing to try yours! Will PM you if I'm heading down that way- I'm just across the Ravenel bridge coming out of downtown Charleston. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good DIY Garage move topic?

Dan
 

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Thanks Dan for all of your information on the STS install. I am also planning to do this modification on my Crosstrek, but wanted to make sure I was researching the correct parts. You said that you looked at both the TWM and Kartboy short throw shifters. The TWM one was easy enough to find on their website, and I'm assuming this is the one that you went with:

http://www.twmperformance.com/shortshifters/subarushortshifters/subaru-crosstrek-shortshifters.htm

Do you recall which Kartboy STS you found would work in the Crosstrek? Was it the one they sell for the Impreza, like this one?:

http://www.rallysportdirect.com/Kartboy-Short-Throw-Shifter-Subaru-Models-inc-2008-2011-WRX-2006-2009-Legacy-GT-2006-2008-Forester-XT

I just want to make sure I have the proper shifters to compare to each other before making a decision. Thanks for any help you can provide.
 

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brian_young1 said:
I installed a Kartboy and love it. The 2008+ Impreza shifter from them fits perfectly.
Awesome! Thanks for the info. I was pretty sure that the Impreza shifter would work fine, but it never hurts to double-check. Do you do the bushings as well?
 

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Yes. I installed the bushings and shifter together. Crisp and responsive shifts. I contacted Kartboy directly to ask if the shifter would fit the Crosstrek. Not only did they get back to me really quickly, they also passed a code to me to save $20 on the shifter.

The fit was perfect, the price was great and the customer service was top notch. I went back and forth for weeks about TWM vs Kartboy. At the end of the day, I can't imagine TWM being worth the premium. I'm very happy with my purchase.
 
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