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Old 07-23-2012, 01:57 PM   #1
blehhh
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Cool Just Installed 7 Parts/Kits: Whiteline, Kartboy, Group N, RalliTEK, etc

So I just finished up installing a ton of stuff on my 2012 WRX and figured I would give a little writeup of my thoughts/impressions/etc. Pretty basic info, but some good pointers and impressions I think for anyone considering any of the following.

Here's the rap sheet:
  1. RalliTEK Front & Rear Solid Sway Bars & End Links
  2. Kartboy STS w/ Bushings Combo
  3. Kartboy Pitch Stop Mount
  4. Whiteline Steering Rack Bushings
  5. Whiteline Gearbox Mount Bushings
  6. Group N Transmission Mount
  7. Whiteline Rear differential Bushing Inserts
  8. Whiteline Rear Subframe Bushings Inserts
The damage: $1022 worth of parts, 14 hours of wrench time (slash looking-for-wrench* time) and a whole lot of f-bombs from this fairly-noobish but farm-raised & mechanically-inclined individual.

Random list of installation impressions:

-The studs on the RalliTEK end links have a tendency to spin at a fairly low torque, sending you reaching for the vise-grips, (and possibly ruining the threads). I was not terribly impressed, but I understand the need for the studs to rotate at one end and still be fully torqued at the other.

- Kartboy STS install was marred by that relentless heatshield that I eventually had my way with via some tin snips so it could slip past the O2 sensor. Also stripped one of the bolt holes for the rear shifter bushing, but was able to use a slightly smaller bolt and simply torque the daylights out of the other bolt, (causing the stand-in to actually engage the metal well enough to stay put.)

- Pitch Stop Mount required the removal of the TMIC, which was easy enough, but the housing was pretty stubborn going back on, and you could easily "think" it's on all the way without having the bottom fully in. Caught myself there...

- Steer rack bushings were difficult due the limited range of movement that the assembly can undergo. (It has tons of metal, pneumatic tubing attached to it that you realllly don't want to kink/bend/etc). I was able to get just enough room though to squeeze the top bushings into the gap and use a screw driver to push/pull/pop them into line with the hole. Despite my best efforts, I definitely did throw off my steering wheel alignment by about 4-5 degrees, which I'll have to correct sometime.

- Gearbox bushings and transmission mount was a bit of a puzzle, in need of assembly while upside down, with bolts going every-which way. I started to have a little bit of a panic attack trying to get it back together because it just didn't look promising. Finally everything lined up, slid into place, and I threw some nuts on it as fast I possibly could.

- Rear differential bushing inserts were tricky because of how you have to support the diff; if you don't have just the right upward pressure on the diff, the voids in the bushings are compressed and you're gonna have a bad time. The actual rubber was verrry dry too, and I had to actually put grease IN the voids before the insert would go in. Stubborn little buggers...

- Rear subframe bushings inserts were drama free, but it took a while to figure out how to get things apart, safely.

Driving impressions:

From the moment I simply rolled out of the garage, I could feel the difference. After some retightening/rechecking/fingercrossing, I pulled out onto the main road and opened her up... holy. hell. Worth every penny, every hour and every f-bomb.

Everything is just sooo stiff and drama-free. It feels like the car is just one giant chunk of engine with wheels. The clutch engagement is immediate, predictable and firm. Shifts are crisper, more planted, smoother than ever. Virtually no perceived weight-shifting or mushiness. It no longer feels like the engine, transmission, frame and body are all connected via a series of ham sandwhiches. The steering is tighter/heavier, less dead zone, etc. Highway driving is a little less forgiving though, so you have to be paying attention here. The sway bars eliminated about 2/3 to 3/4 of the body roll, which is perfect. Turn-in is immediate and predictable. No real increase in vibration, except for a bit when the A/C is on, thanks to the pitch stop mount. Noise is definitely up, as the gear whine is more pronounced, but there's now an incredible engine/gearbox rumble that is simply intoxicating, thanks to the pitch stop, trans mount and gearbox bushings. Car sounds like a beast when you get on it. It's actually enough to hold me over until I do an exhaust, it's that good.

The only downside looking forward is the relentless "awd, slow-rolling, engine braking, on/off throttle, loose gear clunking" is still present, albeit reduced. It's simply internal, and can only be reduced so much, but it is now the only thing that provides such an sensation, as opposed to the whole car sort of... slopping about. I'm aware that this means more drivetrain shock, but I never launch my car.

So yeah, overall, I'm completely happy. It's a totally different car. Feels solid. I'm finally ready for my Fall power upgrade -> Cobb AP/CAI/Catted DP/N1 CBE/EBCS/TP Tune...
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:33 PM   #2
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Default looking to do similar

I have an 11 Limited 5door. I had the SPT CBE (which is for sale) it is great and makes the car sound every bit it should. But alas I had to go back to stock. I live in a condo and my GF tired of the drone on the highway.
So when I had the Stock CBE put on I had the STi 19mm rear sway. I also had the Perrin shift bushing and the Group-N rear shifter bushing. To do the shifter bushings we dropped the rear cat completely and then the heat shield. Wish I had gotten the tic Trunnion (Ujoint) bushings too.

I also installed the Perrin Master Cylinder Brake Stiffi. It made a noticable difference with the pedal halfway down. It was a pain to install but look like it could be a stock part. I'll do SS lines and upgraded pads when the stocks need to be replaced.

I have always believed the car feels faster when the sloppiness is taken out.

What parts would you say you can skip and still come off with improved performance? But limit any increased NVH.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:00 AM   #3
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I think it's unfortunately a straight trade-off between engine/trans/diff/etc movement and NVH. The biggest culprit here is definitely the stiffer transmission mount; I think that's what brought on the rumble, instead of just the whine, though I do think the added NVH was worth it. Noise isn't a bad thing if it sounds at home.

It was a sublime moment, pulling onto the freshly paved 55mph road outside my house late that night that I installed everything. The whole car just felt rock solid and ready to rumble. It felt and sounded like I was pulling out the pits in my very own racecar, that I had just built...

My morning commute today, on the other hand, I had to just roll my eyes at the transmission. The noise is sometimes just obnoxious, to the tune of "will I still enjoy this car in 6 years?", but I know I'm just cranky in the morning.

The process I've undergone is somewhat like leveling a 4-legged stool; you're eliminating movement of one thing, while essentially forcing the movement to occur somewhere else, and until you've done it all, there's always movement somewhere. And even then, you will never get rid of the raw, sloppiness of what's happening inside the AWD system. In fact, do these upgrades almost amplifies that because it's the only place the movement occurs. There's also still the loud, non-typical gear whine that you get when engine braking in 2nd, which sounds like a hollow scratching noise.

All in all, if I'm honest, I don't really know how much difference the crossmember bushings from the Whiteline Gearbox Positive Shift Kit made. I think everything else is essential though, because each item limits a very distinct movement that will become your bottleneck/loose end if not upgraded.

The steer rack bushings definitely tightened up the steering and made it heavier/more resistant, but it livens up the car for a DD, and you all of those little deviations that you normally let your hands do on the highway now translates into valid steering input that changes the car's direction; i.e. you have to pay attention...

I need to get back under the car to re-align my wheel anyway, in which case I will retighten everything I did just to make sure it's still doing what it's supposed to. I might opt for some DD-friendly motor mounts at that time as well.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:07 AM   #4
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lol I'm the same way. 1hr install = all afternoon for me. I'm picky about a clean install thats done right the first time.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:22 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by PleiadesSTi View Post
lol I'm the same way. 1hr install = all afternoon for me. I'm picky about a clean install thats done right the first time.
Yeah, I made my fair amount of mistakes that ate up my time. I was also up at my parents' house and trying to get everything done, in a single day, by myself, and actually make it back down to Portland that night. It was 10pm and I had the entire transmission craddle in pieces on the floor and I began to accept that that was not happening. At that point, I was pretty debilitated, but I was determined to get it back together and test drive it that night. Did the rear end the next morning.
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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Just out the Whiteline Steering Rack bushings in my '08...by far the most PITA thing I've done to my car on my own BUT pretty satisfied having figured it out. Those "instructions" they include are a joke. Can't wait to get out there and feel the difference.

Just a helpful tip for anyone considering doing this, tape your steering wheel to the top of the dash and to the steering column in addition to marking the location of the steering shaft.

Next up for me, sway bars/endlinks, transmission mount and pitch stop mount!
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:28 PM   #7
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Just put the Whiteline Steering Rack bushings in my '08...by far the most PITA thing I've done to my car on my own BUT pretty satisfied having figured it out. Those "instructions" they include are a joke. Can't wait to get out there and feel the difference.

Just a helpful tip for anyone considering doing this, tape your steering wheel to the top of the dash and to the steering column in addition to marking the location of the steering shaft.

Next up for me, sway bars/endlinks, transmission mount and pitch stop mount!

Last edited by legacyvt286; 07-27-2012 at 06:28 PM. Reason: posted under my friends' account above haha
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:11 PM   #8
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Your setup sounds amazing! A great write up on everything. Just a quick question though, what were the torque specs for the two bolts on the pitch stop mount and the tmic? Looking to add a pitch stop/tranny&engine mounts all at the same time.

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Old 08-08-2012, 12:22 AM   #9
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Get ride of the engine mount slop and you will help get ride of some of the slop in the drivetrain that happens on deceleration. You can also adjust the lash to help but that's a time consuming process
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:56 AM   #10
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I didn't have any torque specs for the pitch stop, I just tightened as tight as psychically possible lol.

Group N engine mounts and Grimmspeed Lightweight Crank Pulley are going in next. The stock mounts are taking ALL of the drivetrain shock/slack and it's getting pretty herky jerky on decel and clutch release. When you're wailing on it, it drives incredibly well, (and sounds ridiculous too). When you're putting around town though, it's actually pretty hard to drive.

I think the mounts, the pulley and a stage I tune will really smooth things out and increase the driveability. (Next Spring I'll be going for a Torqued Performance Stage III tune.)

I wish I could stood there while they assembled my car and just been like "no.. no... put that stock OEM hunk-o-junk back in your bin and put this shiny, awesome thing in instead..." for every single part.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by blehhh View Post

Group N engine mounts and Grimmspeed Lightweight Crank Pulley are going in next. The stock mounts are taking ALL of the drivetrain shock/slack and it's getting pretty herky jerky on decel and clutch release. When you're wailing on it, it drives incredibly well, (and sounds ridiculous too). When you're putting around town though, it's actually pretty hard to drive.
This is the first i've read another description of this phenomenon and i think it's dead on. Granted our cars are considerably different, but i have replaced every single driveline mount and bushing with the exception of the motor mounts and pitch stop, and i completely empathize with the low-speed shifting/jerkyness you're experiencing. Sometimes i get the sensation that the groupN trans mount is almost suspending the motor over the motor mounts, the movement only limited by the rigidity of the trans mount and the pitch stop. Your account of the 2nd gear decel noise is reassuring as well, as it sounds exactly as you describe it...the noise is a little disconcerting at times. I'll finally get around to installing motor mounts in the next couple weeks, and i'm extremely keen to see how this behavior changes as the last variable is removed from the driveline mounts.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:58 PM   #12
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This is the first i've read another description of this phenomenon and i think it's dead on. Granted our cars are considerably different, but i have replaced every single driveline mount and bushing with the exception of the motor mounts and pitch stop, and i completely empathize with the low-speed shifting/jerkyness you're experiencing. Sometimes i get the sensation that the groupN trans mount is almost suspending the motor over the motor mounts, the movement only limited by the rigidity of the trans mount and the pitch stop. Your account of the 2nd gear decel noise is reassuring as well, as it sounds exactly as you describe it...the noise is a little disconcerting at times. I'll finally get around to installing motor mounts in the next couple weeks, and i'm extremely keen to see how this behavior changes as the last variable is removed from the driveline mounts.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one! The pitch stop made things feel stiff as a board at first, but the upgrades have definitely accelerated the wear/softening of the OEM motor mounts, so it's a bit clunky now. Curious to see what the sensation is like with the new mounts.

While it's easy enough to characterize, the driver feedback in these cars is actually an orchestra of dozens of different sensations, with half a dozen different kinds of slack, jerking, vibration, etc. With each new mod, you realize one sensation was actually a mix of two... or three... or six.

Last edited by blehhh; 10-02-2012 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:38 PM   #13
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The studs on the RalliTEK end links have a tendency to spin at a fairly low torque, sending you reaching for the vise-grips, (and possibly ruining the threads). I was not terribly impressed, but I understand the need for the studs to rotate at one end and still be fully torqued at the other.
that's why you hold the stud in place with a 5mm allen key in the end, while tightening or loosening it. just like the factory ones.

i have front and rear rallitek endlinks and am quite impressed with them.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:56 AM   #14
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I'm very pleased with the drivability and low drive train noise level of my STI, especially in bumper to bumper traffic, using the following but keeping my stock motor mounts:

Group 'N' transmission mount

Group 'N' rear shifter bushing

TiC transmission bushings

Kartboy front shifter bushings

Kartboy rear subframe inserts

Torque Solutions pitch mount
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:56 PM   #15
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I did the N-tranny mount/Tic cross member bushings along with the SPT SS install and Tic/Kartboy SS bushings. The tranny now produces alot more noise, maybe a bit more NVH, but mostly just noise. Very livable for a performance minded person though. A few months later I had the N-motor mounts and the WL steering bushings put in, with the Torq Sol pitch stop. No noticable increase in noise, just really tight steering and alot less slop in the throttle response. IMO the N-tranny and motor mounts should be done together. Also added the Cusco front H-brace and Cusco rear cross-bar/brace. Steering improved 100%, but no real measurements or data to pass along.

This was with WL swaybars and BC BR coilovers within the first 2k miles. Stage 1 was later since handling as always been my pet peeve.

Cliff note: The N-tranny mount seems to be the noise/and any NVH culprit, from my experience. The oem bushing materail is soft like jello and the N is like a WWII loaf of fruit cake.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:54 PM   #16
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Also added the Cusco front H-brace.
So did I, great mod.




Quote:
Cliff note: The N-tranny mount seems to be the noise/and any NVH culprit, from my experience. The oem bushing materail is soft like jello and the N is like a WWII loaf of fruit cake.
Are we talking purely gear whine? If so, I disagree. My stock STI transmission mount wasn't much softer than the Group 'N'.

I didn't notice gear whine (especially in 1st & 2nd) until I finally added the Kartboy front shifter bushings and the Torque Solution rear shifter bushing...it got better once I swapped out the Torque Solution rear shifter bushing with the Group 'N' bushing.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:03 PM   #17
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OK, I can see my idea/error that the GroupN tranny mount was the whine culprit since I added the Tranny mount, cross member bushings, STi SS, and the same shifter bushings as you, all the same day. I put the GroupN rear shifter bushing in initially and never swapped to it (as you swapped in the N to lower the whine). I recall the biggest difference in any of the bushing materials was definitely the cross member bushings. I dunno if thats any evidence for the increased gear whine or not. Its just not that bothersome for me to swap them out and see.

Yes, gear whine is my only complaint. In 1st and 2d gears primarily, but its livable in an STi imo. I still need to install rear diff and subframe bushings, but I'd like to avoid any NVH.

Congrats on the underside of your car, seriously, not everyone puts a priority on it.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:10 AM   #18
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Congrats on the underside of your car, seriously, not everyone puts a priority on it.
Thank you sir.

One other thing I forgot to mention is I also installed a Cusco steering rack replacement brace which helped tighten up/dampen the steering a little bit. No added NVH.

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Old 10-27-2012, 12:29 PM   #19
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Figured I would give a little update, as I've just installed my Group N motor mounts this morning.

My family's go-to mechanic and I were able to do them in about an hour with a lift and a floor jack. We popped off the box end of the air intake hose, pulled the bolt on the firewall end of the pitch stop, (leaving the intercooler in place), pulled the splashgaurd, cross brace, my front sway bar and the steering rack assembly. Gave us much better access to the rear, driver side bolt, which is a pain. Definitely need an open-face, preferably bent-head wrench. Once the bolts were loose, we used a 2x4 and the floor jack to lift up each side of the engine, about 2 inches, and slide the old mounts out and the new ones in without issue.

As for driving impressions, I think the pitch stop and trans mount made a bigger difference, but the mounts did help. The clutch engagement point seems a bit crisper and more predictable. That "bounce" you feel when downshifting or upshifting, even with the trans and pitch mounts, is cut in half I'd say. If you're coasting in 2nd or 3rd between lights or in a 25mph zone, you still feel that internal mechanical slack, which sucks but... meh...

Getting on it though, ripping through the gears, it is perfect. More-so than before. Shifts are crisp, immediate and yet smooth, (no severe weight transfer).

Every aspect of the engine seems smoother as well, from startup, to idle, to high revs, to shutdown. No movement, no vibration, just smooooth.

Not sure if a crank pulley is worth it, but I imagine that would be end-all be-all for final smoothness.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:39 PM   #20
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The pulley is great until you use the AC lol
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:09 PM   #21
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The pulley is great until you use the AC lol
Just vibration, or actually detrimental?

The pitch stop alone added tons of vibration with the AC so yeah.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:36 PM   #22
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Just vibration, or actually detrimental?

The pitch stop alone added tons of vibration with the AC so yeah.
No it brings down the revs faster lol if its a crank pulley we are talking about
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