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A couple weeks ago I managed to get my hands on a Kartboy Shifter ( for the Forester. I initially tried to install the shifer and it wouldn’t fit. After doing some research and getting in a discussion on, I found out that I had to cut part of Steph’s Forester to get the part to work. At that point this install was not a simple bolt in part but a universal part and required some “finessing” to get it to fit.

I understood that WRX guys have been cutting the shifter surround on their cars for years to get the shifters to fit on their cars but all the research I have done for the Forester never stated it. On the Kartboy site they pointed to the WRX install instructions for the five speed shifters on The problem with this is that there is a WRX install and a Forester install on that site and in my head why make two different instructions if there is no difference in installing the part.

I discussed this with Steph and she wanted to go ahead with the install anyway. Thats all I need to hear.

Right off the back make sure you understand that the way you get the shifter out is different than previous years (before 06+). Here are the directions I used to get the shifter “basket” out:

Here is the knob being removed. For a stock knob just pop the boot off the collar under the knob and unscrew it off:

Shifter Knob Removed

To remove the center console lift from the back of the shifter and pull up gently and the top will come off. Once it comes off just un-clip the cigarette lighter and auxiliary sound clips.

Lifting The Consule Part 1 Lifting The Consule Part 2 Lifting The Consule Part 3 Unclipping the Plugs

Once that is done you are looking at the underside of the shifter. You will see a rubber boot covering the shifter and 4 plastic screw clips. The screw clips are obviously screwed off. The thing is that I never really got them to screw off so I just twisted them to the top and yanked them off. Once they were off I took the rubber boot off and underneath you will see a foam piece. You won’t see that in any of my pictures as I took it off prior when I was assessing what I had to do, I just pulled it out.

The Underside The White Screws The Rubber Boot The Metal Plate

Once all that is removed you can remove the bolt from the shifter fork with two 12mm wrenches. This makes it easier to remove the four 10mm bolts that hold the shift plate down. Once those bolts are removed you can pull the shift plate out. There are two rubber nipples in the direct center of the top and bottom that you need to just push out but that is it.

Taking Bolts Out Unbolted The Rubber Nipples

The reason you need to take the shifter plate out is because of the upper left corner of it. It has that angle in it that doesn’t allow the fork to shift into 1st, 3rd, and 5th gear so it has to be cut out. I marked it in the following pictures. I went at it with dremel from the backside so I could keep the screw mount.

Topside Underside img_1542.jpg

After that was done I put it back in for a test fit and found that the screw mount was a little to close for comofort for me. I didn’t want that to be an issue so I shaved off the edges and and put it back in. The test fit picture is of the shifter in 3rd, the next is after the tab was shaved and the shifter is in 1st gear.

Test Fit Shaved

Once all that is done just put it all back together (you can mess with the foam piece if you want I chose not to).

Steph took it for a test drive and noticed the difference immediately and said that she would have to get used to the short shifts. It has increased the NVH but I have a theory about that having to do with the rear shifter bushing. The rear shifter bushing raises the back end a bit. I am going to be taking that out sometime in the next couple weeks to see if if that changes that some. Steph says she has grown used to the noise but it bothers the crap out of me.

Thats it for now.


Steph’s Forester was purchased on April 14th, 2007. The day she had been saving for had finally arrived. We traveled from our home in Chesapeake, VA to Anapolis, MD to pick this car up. She was estatic and was excited to get a new car. Before she had even signed the papers for her car, George and I had already started modding it. It hadn’t left the showroom floor and it already had some sweet SPT goodies on it.

The New Forester SPT Goodies Carbon Fiber Egg

June 2018
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