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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I picked up a completely stock 2009 WRX over the summer. I've been absolutely loving it so far, but as many of you know the stock shifter leaves much to be desired. It has long throws, feels mushy, and vague. After a bit of research and forum lurking I noticed lot of hype for the Kartboy shifter and bushings. Given it's very reasonable price point I thought what the hell and ordered myself the combo. Here's my experience with the Kartboy shifter combo:

Kartboy's Service:
I emailed Kartboy Sales with regards to obtaining a tracking number, and Tom Deadrick was immediate and gracious in his response. It arrived on time, in a small box. Included with the shift kit there was some a fireball candy (Hey, weird, but Thanks!).

Shift Lever Install:
The install of the shift lever went smoothly. The most difficult part was getting the snap ring out. The grease on it makes it difficult to get a good drip on it. I read some people had trouble getting the new shift lever ball into the socket, and had to use a rubber hammer to seat it. I didn't have any trouble at all with it, it took just a little downward pressure and it popped right in. The install was a cinch, took me about 30 minutes.
Install Tips: When removing the snap ring it helps if you can snap out one side of the ring and then twist and spiral the ring up. Make sure you orient the new shifter correctly, it should tilt toward you. Be sure to spray down the internal rubber shift boot with some lubricant to avoid squeaking.

Front/Rear Bushings Install:
I first tried to get at them by putting my car up on ramps and jackstands. The bushing locations are deep under the mid section of the car. I've got a bit of a belly and while I could squeeze deep under there, it was an extremely tight, and required a good wiggling to get in there. I decided it would be much easier and safer to wait to get my car up on a lift. A buddy of mine let me use his lift for this, it proved to be extremely helpful. The bushing locations are in pretty tight spaces. It definitely helps to have a telescoping socket wrench. The front stock bushing was a bit difficult to get out. It requires a lot of force to pop it out, and there's not much room to get leverage on it. Overall, with the lift, it was a very easy install, and took about 30 minutes for both bushings.
Install Tips: Use a lift. Use a long, telescoping wrench. Grease up the sockets of the new bushings before installing. Make sure you orientate the rear bushing correctly.

It took about a week of waiting until I could use my friend's lift so that I could install the bushings. This gave me a good amount of time to experience the short shifter without the bushings.

Experience of the Kartboy Short Shifter without the bushings:
The shift throws were shorter, but not nearly as short as I was expecting them to be. Shifting forward, into 1st, 3rd, and 5th were most notably shorter. The terrible mushiness was still very apparent, and in fact I think the shorter throws actually exaggerated the mushiness. It feels like you're shifting through molasses and gunk. There was also a very loud squeaking sound coming the internal rubber boot whenever I moved the shifter side to side in neutral, and also a bit when I shifted forward.

Experience of the Kartboy Short Shifter with the bushings:
Woah, what a HUGE difference. I knew the bushings would help, but they make a startling improvement. The mushiness was completely gone. Shifts have a very pleasant clank sound to them. Shifts seem to snap into place now, and feel much more secure. None of the gears are difficult to shift into, gone is the gunky feel. I've also noticed the transmission sounds different now, in a good way. You can hear a more mechanical sound to the transmission vibrations. I actually really enjoy it. I spayed some WD40 down onto the internal rubber shift boot and that has cut down on the squeaking a bit. It's still there, so maybe I just need to spray a bit more in there.

In summary: :thumbup: :thumbup: Very Happy.
 

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Good review - about what I would say as well. Did you not do the pivot/linkage bushings? I can't speak for how each one of them helped. As per the whole set + TiC crossmember bushings + GrpN Transmission mount... wow. Completely new feel. Driveline mods like that are awesome - notice them every time you drive.
 

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Nice write-up! I've had the chance to install shifter bushings with both a lift and ramps. The lift definitely makes things easier, but not everyone has that luxury :sadwave:

As for the squeaking, it may be the pivot bolt; that needs to be just more than hand-tight (8 or 12 ft/lbs, something like that). Often times, it's been over tightened, and will cause a squeak.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Good review - about what I would say as well. Did you not do the pivot/linkage bushings? I can't speak for how each one of them helped. As per the whole set + TiC crossmember bushings + GrpN Transmission mount... wow. Completely new feel. Driveline mods like that are awesome - notice them every time you drive.
No, I got the kit directly from Kartboy's site. In retrospect I probably should have gone with TiC, with the additional bushings. The shifter already feels much improved, it's hard to imagine how much better it could get with the pivot and linkage bushings. Does anyone know if they make a big difference as well? I know the pivot bushing can be installed from inside the car, but what about the linkage bushings, where do they go?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
As for the squeaking, it may be the pivot bolt; that needs to be just more than hand-tight (8 or 12 ft/lbs, something like that). Often times, it's been over tightened, and will cause a squeak.
Hmm, that's definitely a possibility too. There is still some squeaking even after lubricating the boot. I wonder if TiC's pivot bolt might help the squeak.
 

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chiron said:
Hmm, that's definitely a possibility too. There is still some squeaking even after lubricating the boot. I wonder if TiC's pivot bolt might help the squeak.
TiC sells bushings. I'm talking about the OE bolt.

chiron said:
No, I got the kit directly from Kartboy's site. In retrospect I probably should have gone with TiC, with the additional bushings. The shifter already feels much improved, it's hard to imagine how much better it could get with the pivot and linkage bushings. Does anyone know if they make a big difference as well? I know the pivot bushing can be installed from inside the car, but what about the linkage bushings, where do they go?
Linkage bushings do more than the pivot bushings, in my experience. I threw a set of linkage bushings on an '08 WRX not too long ago, and it was much easier than with my '05 STI, even with my car being on an lift (the '08 was on ramps).

http://www.clubwrx.net/forums/transmission-awd/134325326-driveline-mounts-bushings-faq.html

The installation instructions there are for the STI, but it should be close enough that you can figure it out.
 

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what about the linkage bushings, where do they go?
Depths of ****. Just kidding. They are tough to get to. I did a write up of the whole kit in my build log if you want. Look for "rawr 2011". If you don't mind the noise, do the tranny mount and cross member bushings while you are under there :)
 

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Heide264 said:
Depths of ****. Just kidding. They are tough to get to.
With access to a lift, there should be no second thought of installing these.

It's a bit tougher on ramps/stands if you're a bigger guy, but still worth the effort.

Heide264 said:
If you don't mind the noise, do the tranny mount and cross member bushings while you are under there
Agreed.
 

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I just purchased my Kartbou shifter with bushing for my 2011 WRX. Is there an How To somewhere for installing the shifter and bushings?
 

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WRXpower17 said:
I just purchased my Kartbou shifter with bushing for my 2011 WRX. Is there an How To somewhere for installing the shifter and bushings?
See post #7
 

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I just purchased my Kartbou shifter with bushing for my 2011 WRX. Is there an How To somewhere for installing the shifter and bushings?
When installing the shift lever and bushings on my 2011 WRX I found that it was much easier to use the following sequence:
1. Remove the OE shift lever. 2. Raise the car and replace the shifter mount bushings. With the shift lever out you can move the shifter base a lot more which really helps with the rear mount bushing. 3. Install the new shift lever. 4. Enjoy the shorter throws and new gearbox symphony.
Remember: The shiny side goes UP. Especially on the scooter.
Butler
 

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See post #7
When installing the shift lever and bushings on my 2011 WRX I found that it was much easier to use the following sequence:
1. Remove the OE shift lever. 2. Raise the car and replace the shifter mount bushings. With the shift lever out you can move the shifter base a lot more which really helps with the rear mount bushing. 3. Install the new shift lever. 4. Enjoy the shorter throws and new gearbox symphony.
Remember: The shiny side goes UP. Especially on the scooter.
Butler
Thanks! Appreciate the help
 
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