Subaru Installed Short Shifter
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This is a discussion on Subaru Installed Short Shifter within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Okay-- I am a new WRX owner. 2014 WRX Limited, Hatch. Bought this year because I really wanted the hatch. ...

  1. #1
    Registered User skimd's Avatar
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    Subaru Installed Short Shifter

    Okay-- I am a new WRX owner. 2014 WRX Limited, Hatch. Bought this year because I really wanted the hatch.

    One of the options I had on the car was a short-shifter.

    But, having seen another 2014 with a short-shifter, I had a hard time believing mine actually was a short-shifter. The throws aren't short and the stem seems no shorter than the standard Subaru shifter. I have just seen one that was a lot shorter and the throws were much tighter.

    I brought mine back to the dealership and they told me that the short-shifter I have was installed "in port" and is indeed a Subaru short shifter. They brought the vehicle into the repair bay and put it on a lift to confirm that it was, indeed, a short-shifter from Subaru.

    The tech explained it to me this way-- the short-shifter from Subaru which is installed "in the port" is not very short or the throw particularly short and lacks a bushing that you would get with an "after-market" short-shifter.

    If you have one installed in the dealership. it is likely not a true Subaru part, but an after-market short shifter like a "kartboy."

    Please-- if anyone else has ordered a short-shifter with their car through Subaru, can you tell me if you are satisfied with it? Did I make a mistake? Is the dealership telling me the truth? Did I pay $349 for something a lot shi**tier than an after-market short-shifter?

    Thanks. Hit me with the truth, please!
    Last edited by skimd; 02-04-2014 at 06:02 PM. Reason: tried to edit short shifter

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  3. #2
    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    An aftermarket short shifter is cheaper and often more rewarding than the OE alternative.
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

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    Registered User Miggs's Avatar
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    If I am not mistaken the spt short-shifter assembly is a lot more involved than the traditional aftermarket single piece assembly. I believe the components are upgraded all the way to the gearbox (all though I could be wrong) where an aftermarket STS will just include the shifter arm itself.

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    ClubWRX.net Vendor WTF Tuning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggs
    If I am not mistaken the spt short-shifter assembly is a lot more involved than the traditional aftermarket single piece assembly. I believe the components are upgraded all the way to the gearbox (all though I could be wrong) where an aftermarket STS will just include the shifter arm itself.
    There's more to the install of the OE short-shifter, but in terms of throw-reduction and feel, aftermarket parts are superior to OE.

  6. #5
    Registered User Miggs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WTF Tuning View Post
    There's more to the install of the OE short-shifter, but in terms of throw-reduction and feel, aftermarket parts are superior to OE.
    My thoughts exactly. Was hoping to make to OP feel a little better

  7. #6
    Registered User JimboWRX's Avatar
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    The SPT short shifter lever does not sit any lower than the stock shift lever. You can't look at both shift levers installed and tell the difference based on height. The Kartboy shift lever does sit lower than the SPT short shifter.

    The SPT short shifter does reduce the throw, but not as much as the Kartboy lever.

    The urethane Kartboy front and rear shifter bushings make a world of difference on shifter feel. The stock bushings make the shifter feel vague and rubbery. The Kartboy bushings make the shifts feel more notchy and precise.

    I have the SPT short shifter and the Kartboy shifter bushings in my WRX. I prefer the taller shifter height over the lower shifter height of the Kartboy lever. It's a personal preference.

    Regardless of which shift lever you go with, the Kartboy shifter bushings are a must have.

  8. #7
    Registered User JimboWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggs View Post
    If I am not mistaken the spt short-shifter assembly is a lot more involved than the traditional aftermarket single piece assembly. I believe the components are upgraded all the way to the gearbox (all though I could be wrong) where an aftermarket STS will just include the shifter arm itself.
    Nope. Only true with the STI six speed STS. The SPT 5 speed STS gets its short throw from the lever (just like the Kartboy unit, except not as short).

    Now, in order to get a SPT 5 speed STS from Subaru, you have to buy the entire assembly (including linkages). But the linkages are identical to the stock 5 speed shifter. You can pick up a SPT 5 speed STS secondhand from someone looking to upgrade to a Kartboy STS.

  9. #8
    Registered User skimd's Avatar
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    VERY HELPFUL!

    If I understand correctly, installing Kartboy bushings will give a more precise feel to my current Subaru/Subaru installed short shifter. Not sure I need / want the shorter height to the shift lever. But a cleaner feel would be nice (e.g. BMW-style precise shifting).

    I would not feel right ditching a brand new (even if not as rewarding) short-shifter for a little bit of difference. All said, the car does drive very well with (almost) stock components.

    It was especially rewarding today in (another) East coast storm.

    Is it difficult to install after-market bushings (like the Kartboy ones)?

  10. #9
    Registered User JimboWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skimd View Post
    VERY HELPFUL!

    If I understand correctly, installing Kartboy bushings will give a more precise feel to my current Subaru/Subaru installed short shifter. Not sure I need / want the shorter height to the shift lever. But a cleaner feel would be nice (e.g. BMW-style precise shifting).

    I would not feel right ditching a brand new (even if not as rewarding) short-shifter for a little bit of difference. All said, the car does drive very well with (almost) stock components.

    It was especially rewarding today in (another) East coast storm.

    Is it difficult to install after-market bushings (like the Kartboy ones)?
    If you're satisfied with the throw and lever height, then there's no reason to change your STS. I'd keep it.

    As for the shifter feel, you may not feel it now, but you'll start to feel the rubbery and vagueness in the shifter after a couple of hundred miles (not kidding). The problem is that Subaru uses rubber (think marshmallows) for the front and rear shifter bushings. They soften and break down over time. A simple fix is to install Kartboy front and rear shifter bushings. They're urethane, so they feel stiffer. They make the shifts feel notchy and precise. You can feel the difference.

    Installing them is fairly straightforward. You do have to have the car in a pit or on a lift (to get underneath the car). If you can turn a wrench, you can install the bushings. Or have someone who's done them help you. Install took me an hour (but that also included replacing my stock shift lever to a STS).

    Hope this helps!

  11. #10
    Registered User skimd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimboWRX View Post
    If you're satisfied with the throw and lever height, then there's no reason to change your STS. I'd keep it.

    As for the shifter feel, you may not feel it now, but you'll start to feel the rubbery and vagueness in the shifter after a couple of hundred miles (not kidding). The problem is that Subaru uses rubber (think marshmallows) for the front and rear shifter bushings. They soften and break down over time. A simple fix is to install Kartboy front and rear shifter bushings. They're urethane, so they feel stiffer. They make the shifts feel notchy and precise. You can feel the difference.

    Installing them is fairly straightforward. You do have to have the car in a pit or on a lift (to get underneath the car). If you can turn a wrench, you can install the bushings. Or have someone who's done them help you. Install took me an hour (but that also included replacing my stock shift lever to a STS).

    Hope this helps!
    Very Much!

    Suggestions for the bushings? These?:
    Kartboy Shifter Bushings Subaru 5 Speed (inc. 2002-2014 WRX) KB-003 at RallySportDirect.com

    or these?:
    Subaru 5MT Shifter Bushing Pack

    or these?:
    Subaru 5MT Shifter Bushing Pack

    or something else?

    Thanks again

  12. #11
    Registered User JimboWRX's Avatar
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    If you get the Kartboy bushings, you need the front and rears:

    Kartboy Rear Shifter Bushing Subaru Models (inc. 2002-2014 WRX / STI) KB-003-REAR at RallySportDirect.com

    Kartboy Shifter Bushings Subaru 5 Speed (inc. 2002-2014 WRX) KB-003 at RallySportDirect.com

    The Cobb units are comparable, but a majority of WRX enthusiasts go with Kartboy.

  13. #12
    Registered User djclue8713's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skimd View Post
    Okay-- I am a new WRX owner. 2014 WRX Limited, Hatch. Bought this year because I really wanted the hatch.

    One of the options I had on the car was a short-shifter.

    But, having seen another 2014 with a short-shifter, I had a hard time believing mine actually was a short-shifter. The throws aren't short and the stem seems no shorter than the standard Subaru shifter. I have just seen one that was a lot shorter and the throws were much tighter.

    I brought mine back to the dealership and they told me that the short-shifter I have was installed "in port" and is indeed a Subaru short shifter. They brought the vehicle into the repair bay and put it on a lift to confirm that it was, indeed, a short-shifter from Subaru.

    The tech explained it to me this way-- the short-shifter from Subaru which is installed "in the port" is not very short or the throw particularly short and lacks a bushing that you would get with an "after-market" short-shifter.

    If you have one installed in the dealership. it is likely not a true Subaru part, but an after-market short shifter like a "kartboy."

    Please-- if anyone else has ordered a short-shifter with their car through Subaru, can you tell me if you are satisfied with it? Did I make a mistake? Is the dealership telling me the truth? Did I pay $349 for something a lot shi**tier than an after-market short-shifter?

    Thanks. Hit me with the truth, please!

    I'm a little late on this but I was in the same boat as you. Bought my 2011 with the port installed short shifter. Couldn't tell much of a difference actually. I also paid extra for this part and wasn't too satisfied with it so I sold it and then had the dealership put in a Kartboy with all the bushings. They were running a package deal at a time but this essentially what I picked up:

    Kartboy Rear Shifter Bushing Subaru Models (inc. 2002-2014 WRX / STI) KB-003-REAR at RallySportDirect.com
    Kartboy Shifter Bushings Subaru 5 Speed (inc. 2002-2014 WRX) KB-003 at RallySportDirect.com
    Kartboy Short Throw Shifter Subaru Models (inc. 2008-2014 WRX / 2006-2009 Legacy GT / 2006-2008 Forester XT) KB-001-LEG at RallySportDirect.com

    Been happy ever since

  14. #13
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    I had the STS as an option and changed it to a kartboy STS. I like it a lot.
    JOE
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsantos1082 View Post
    I had the STS as an option and changed it to a kartboy STS. I like it a lot.
    Did you "change" it to the Kartboy, or did you just "install" the Kartboy? I ask this because the factory STS option replaces the entire shifter mechanism. If you just "installed" the Kartboy lever, then you actually have BOTH shifters installed. This is fine, but I'm curious if you went through the trouble of swapping out the entire stock shifter mechanism or not.

    Some people have reported very good results using BOTH the factory STS and Kartboy lever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew_V View Post
    Did you "change" it to the Kartboy, or did you just "install" the Kartboy? I ask this because the factory STS option replaces the entire shifter mechanism. If you just "installed" the Kartboy lever, then you actually have BOTH shifters installed. This is fine, but I'm curious if you went through the trouble of swapping out the entire stock shifter mechanism or not.
    Some people have reported very good results using BOTH the factory STS and Kartboy lever.
    Actually, this isn't true. JimboWRX is correct in that the linkages are the same for the 5 speed, but you are required to purchase the whole assembly, not just the shifter:

    Quote Originally Posted by JimboWRX View Post
    Nope. Only true with the STI six speed STS. The SPT 5 speed STS gets its short throw from the lever (just like the Kartboy unit, except not as short).

    Now, in order to get a SPT 5 speed STS from Subaru, you have to buy the entire assembly (including linkages). But the linkages are identical to the stock 5 speed shifter. You can pick up a SPT 5 speed STS secondhand from someone looking to upgrade to a Kartboy STS.

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