great photos and information as always, sir! glad it worked out as effortlessly as planned.
one thing i did want to mention that is not correct/accurate from your post above:
Originally Posted by xluben
The r180 is stronger but requires custom axles, Spec B axles, or STI axles. If you go with STI axles, then you need to change the hubs, brakes, wheels, etc.
you can install the r180 with STI axles and you do NOT need to change the hubs, brakes, wheels, etc.
i have the r180 installed on my 08 WRX with the 05 STI 6MT using 09 STI outers and JDM v7 inners (any 05-07 STI inners will work). i believe i mentioned this to you in our discussion, but perhaps my memory fails me. i got the idea from another member who has been running the similar setup for over 30k miles without hiccup. it's a great solution.