Today I installed the sts and bushings from Cobb in my 2012 base WRX. I have to say overall I am impressed by the package, but one thing has me disappointed, the hardware and bolt holes.
The socket head cap screws that come on the dual adjustable shifter are garbage in my opinion. I managed to strip the head on the top screw while tightening it, yet the shift rod still slide around in it. I know that it was not cross threaded, as I never fully took it out, it just jammed up for whatever reason and then Torque-O-Matic (me) got impatient and made it even more FUBAR.
I picked up a few SHCSs from my local Ace (and an easy-out) and replaced the hardware with that, what a difference. My suggestion would be that anyone who is planning on doing this install immediately replace the hardware PRIOR to stripping the included SHCSs. Other than that, the install in the top side was pretty simple.
But oh the underside. I am still slightly bleeding on my keyboard thanks to the underside. Taking everything apart was rather simple. The fact that my dad has a couple of four post lifts didn't hurt, but it would have been just as simple (and easier in some cases) to do the job with a set of jack stands. The thing that really sucked was the rear shifter bushing.
The rear bushing actually came apart rather simply, but installing it was a 3 hour crusade. The issue is that the stock bushing only has a small, roughly 3/32 in thick, metal flange where it bolts up. This allows for quite a bit of play on how you install the bolts, they can come in from quite an angle, rather than perpendicular to the hole, and still go in. This is VERY important.
The Cobb bushing is all polyurethane, and about an inch thick where the bolt hole are (with metal sleeves in the holes). The holes are parallel to each other. This is a big issue as the actual bolt holes are not parallel, but rather come away from each other at about a 20 degree angle.
This causes BIG issues, as the included longer bolts do not have the same 1/4 inch unthreaded section in the beginning to locate themselves in the hole, and there is not enough play in the poly to bend the hole to the needed angle to get both bolts in.
My solution to this, after crying in the corner for a while, was to get a set of nice M8 (I believe that was the size, but don't take my word for it) studs, similar to what holds my Datsun's intake and exhaust manifolds on, and use those. The plan was to slide the bushing over the studs, and hold it all in place with nuts. This proved to be quite difficult as well. The studs were just long enough to make it impossible to slide the bushing over them, as, obviously,the distance apart is widest at the end of the studs.
What I ended up doing was pulling the metal sleeves out of the holes, which made the openings just big enough to muscle the bushing into place. From here I pulled the bushing out half way, so that the studs were not touching the end of the opening, and put the sleeves into the opening. I pounded the sleeves on with a socket that was small enough to not fit over the sleeve, but big enough to allow the stud to slide inside.
I then (or rather my friend as my arms were shot at this point) forced the shifter linkage into the bushing, and installed the front bushing.
I know that people have complained in the past about the rear bushing being a PITA, but I did not expect anything near this. I have done engine installs that went more smoothly. I honestly do not believe that I would have ever gotten the bushing installed with the supplied hardware, just not enough play to get the bolt started.
At then end of the day, I ended up making two trips to Ace, and spending ~$70 that I hadn't planned on spending, although in all honesty I bought a nice set of easy outs as I didn't have any, so part of that cost will benefit me for quite some time. The install from beginning to end took 8 hours, and about a pint of blood. That heat shield is SHARP.
So, what is the point of the post? First off to put a tidbit more Subie knowledge into the universe, and secondly to see if you guys faced the same issues. If you guys did, how did you overcome them? I found it ridiculous that bushing holes were not at the proper angle to allow insertion of the bolts, and plan on calling Cobb on Monday to let them know my dissatisfaction with that. I am a mechanical engineer, and tend to overestimate the average person's ability to grasp what I believe to be obvious mechanical concepts, but I am convinced that this is something that Cobb should have addressed in preproduction.
It may not seem like it, but I am actually quite happy with the product. I love the way the shifter feels now. And when put all together, it is a very nice setup. It just could have been SO much easier with a little more work on Cobb's end. I would recommend this upgrade to anyone that is considering it, just don't ask me to come over to help. At least not without some liquid persuasion.
I posted this on r/Subaru as well, so you guys might see it there. The videos that I used to help with the install were 2011 WRX Short throw shifter install - YouTube and 2010 Subaru STi Kartboy shifter bushings install - YouTube . They aren't perfect, but I highly recommend them. I only took a couple pics as I went along, and they aren't anything special, so I have not uploaded them.