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06 FXT-6MT happening
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am anal, probably way more anal than i need to be, and I have also been referred to as OCD when it comes to my cars or bike projects.

That being said, some of you may know I am in the middle of a 6 speed swap into my (automatic) 06 FXT. Actually I am still gathering parts and prepping things, and the actual swap will happen in the next couple of weeks.

Along the way, I have run into a few red flag moments.
One of those moments happened when I read something here about another member having problems with drive shaft angle when he did his swap.
Ultimately, it seems he had to fabricate a couple of spacers to gain more clearance and get the drive shaft at the proper angle to keep it from rubbing.

That thread is here: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f89/6-speed-transmission-swap-woes-62125/

When I started buying the parts I needed for my swap, I got an STi trans crossmember with the trans, and since my FXT is an automatic, I decided to play it safe, and buy a FXT (manual trans) crossmember. I work from the principle that says "it is better to be looking at it, than to be looking for it"

That being said, once I got the crossmembers powder coated and reassembled, I decided to take some measurements and try and spot the differences between the 2. Below are my findings:

First of all, the STi trans crossmember is much beefier, 2 of the 3 pieces are fully boxed sections, whereas the FXT crossmember is much less boxed out.



The next 2 pictures show that the FXT crossmember is much "deeper" at the point where the main transmission mount bolts to the crossmember.
It is approximately 1 inch deeper in this critical area which will actually allow the transmission to sit LOWER once everything is all bolted up. This probably explains why the other board member had to make a spacer to allow proper drive shaft clearance and angle when using the STi crossmember.



If you compare the image above to the image below, you can also see that the front part of the STi crossmember has a much more pronounced curve to it out towards the end that bolts up to the chassis. This will also place the transmission higher up into the tunnel than the FXT crossmember will, so if you combine the differences between the 2 portions of the crossmember, the total difference in mounting height is much more than 2 inches from what I can tell.



And below are separate pictures of each mount so you can see just how much more robust the STi crossmember is than the FXT crossmember.
Personally, I would much rather use the STi crossmember since I plan on eventually joining the 500 WHP FXT "club".







At the end of the day, once I get the transmission installed I will re-evaluate which mount is a better fit, and if need be, I will fabricate some spacers myself, or perhaps mix and match between the 2 crossmembers to come up with the strongest option, while still retaining proper drive shaft angle and clearance.

I will be using every Group-N bushing and mount available which will also help.
Particularly, the Group-N motor mounts will keep the twisting down to a minimum, BUT the Group-N tranny mount will transmit more energy to the crossmember, so that non boxed center section may flex a little bit which could be good, or bad.

Anyway, hope someone gets something out of this.
I sure did.

Edit to this post:

I am adding a picture to show the differences between the stock Forester XT (manual) transmission mount as compared to a new (6MT) Group-N transmission mount.
As you can see, there is an additional 1/2" difference in height between the 2. The FXT mount will place the tranny higher up in the tunnel without a doubt.



BIG UPDATE-5/12/2010

Ok so I got a call from GarageXTI and he needed some measurements to work out some drive shaft angle questions he had.
So, I bolted up the STi trans cradle with the requisite Group-N rear transmount and did the same with the FXT cradle and stock (rear) trans mount.

Then I set up some blocks on my damn near perfectly level garage floor which doubles as my surface plate-lol.

Using the same spacers (wood) and blocks for each cradle, I took a measurement to compare the height difference between the two trans mounts.

I made sure that the center section of the cradles were level, but more importantly I made sure that the contact points were sitting FLAT on the blocks and spacers the way they would when bolted up to the bottom of the chassis.

There is EXACTLY ONE INCH difference between the two.

The idea here is that if future swappers want to keep the Forester (front) crossmember in place ALONG WITH the spacers that go between the crossmember and chassis, then it may be possible to space the transmission cradle by an inch and end up with proper drive shaft angles and NO clearance issues.

This will be confirmed by GarageXTi.

For now, here are the pictures.

FXT cradle set up:



FXT cradle measurement:



STI cradle set up:



STI cradle measurement:



So now we wait for GarageXTi to take his measurements and let us know if a spacer will do the trick for those that want to do the 6 speed swap, but NOT remove the subframe spacers.

***EDIT***

This video explains why it is so important to get driveline angle set properly. Without the proper angle you WILL get NVH issues and premature u-joint failure without a doubt.

 

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04's 2 FXT's.
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Thank you & one more reason I am happy I bought a complete STi to rip apart & do my swap with.


joe r
 

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2004 Forester XT '06 STi 6MT
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my flywheel finally arrived today so i'm hoping i'll be fitting the 6 speed this weekend!

you also have to understand the 6 speed is a considerably larger transmission compared to the forester 5 speed. it's not surprising me to in any way that the cross members are different as you show in the pics. however, your side by side pic seems like the actual frame bolt points are identical. the 5 speed transmission mount is also taller, so that easily makes up the difference there.

either way i'm going at my swap with an open mind, so i'm sure i'll find out here shortly if it actually all fits together like it's supposed to or not lol.

edit: i'm also swapping an 05 sti front subframe/rack, 06 sti rear diff carrier, and 06 sti rear subframe...just fyi. from the research i have done and my impressions on everything...it should bolt together and fit ok. just small clarification on what i'm working with here. but like i said i won't really know how it all goes until i'm at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Yeah I have all of the same stuff for my swap as well, however mine is all from a 2007 STi.
I am swapping the engine crossmember with STi steering rack, rear subframe stuff (outrigger and main crossmember) and all of that stuff.

I learned the hard way that the engine crossmembers are different when I tried to mount my steering rack after I had already powder coated one crossmember and discovered it was the wrong one.
I have all that sorted out now and am pretty much ready to go.

The only things I am waiting on are my axles to get back from being completely rebuilt, new rotors which I am dimple drilling on my buddies CNC machine, and a clutch.

I still have not decided what tires I am going to run although I am leaning towards Bridgestone RE0-11R's or Toyo Proxes R888's as long as I can get them in 245/55/17.

I am replacing every bearing, bushing, seal, boot you can think of.
Basically I want the thing to be brand new when I am done as far as the swap parts are concerned.

Yeah it costs a little more to do it this way, but I have done a swap before and it really is nice when everything is new and fresh and you do not have to worry about a thing from that point forward, plus the car feels tight and *****en when you are done.

Nothing worse than having to tear things apart after all of the work putting it together, because a rear wheel bearing in the used hub is bad and you find out after it's all back together.

Fraktal,
Take lots of pics bro, that way maybe we can combine our data and help future swap candidates out with some good info.
There is far too little info here on this site with regards to 6MT swaps.

Thank you & one more reason I am happy I bought a complete STi to rip apart & do my swap with.

joe r
Joe, you keep saying that as if it is going to make a huge difference.
I can tell you from personal experience it really wont.
Aside from the extra nuts and bolts you have at your disposal, there is still some major debate about whether or not the STi crossmember and drive shaft are plug and play.

There is enough evidence here to suggest that they are NOT.
Plus, when you are done, you have a stripped heap sitting in your driveway you then have to deal with, and the neighbors have to look at.
I have done it both ways now which is why I elected to buy parts this time.

Not every part from a wrecked car is worth using.
That is why I sourced parts individually this time as well. Last time I bought the whole wrecked STi and ended up buying a couple new axles, a new hub to replace the cracked one I discovered from the wrecked car, both rear struts were blown, and the drive shaft was bent. On top of that, one of the nice aluminum control arms was bent and I had to source another one of those.
Totaled cars, are totaled for a reason.....they are not worth putting back together, things are bent, broken or beyond repair.

This was all on a car that had 17,000 miles on it when it was wrecked and I bought it !!!

Now I look over every part I buy with a fine tooth comb before I commit to keeping it, that way when swap day comes, everything I use is pristine and swap worthy.
 

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2004 Forester XT '06 STi 6MT
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Fraktal,
Take lots of pics bro, that way maybe we can combine our data and help future swap candidates out with some good info.
There is far too little info here on this site with regards to 6MT swaps.
i wholeheartedly agree with you!

my plan is to take pics of the pieces as they actually get swapped in, to compare stock vs. what is swapped. right now i'm still in the disassembly phase. i just finished getting all the peripheral items removed and am starting with the front cross member, sti rack, and front suspension stuff tomorrow.

seems there are at least 3 people doing this swap now/soon? whoever finishes first should start a "HOW TO:" and we can work on compiling all the info after the first?
 

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Good info!
I'm now thinking that my driveshaft angle issues are due to having an sti rear x member, combined w. A stock foz front one (spacers intact). Yes the trans mount/bushing matters but so does where the engine mount points sit relative to the rear diff.

I'm *fairly* certain that if someone uses matching x members...and the right trans mount....that either driveshaft will bolt up fine (w. Or w/o spacers)
 

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Agree w/ garage. I think a lot of the issues people have been fighting is because of the engine cradle / front subframe drop on the FXT's. It would match your noticing the transmission cross member is about an inch low.

There's some documentation of the front subframe spacers in the suspension area of the board.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Agree w/ garage. I think a lot of the issues people have been fighting is because of the engine cradle / front subframe drop on the FXT's. It would match your noticing the transmission cross member is about an inch low.

There's some documentation of the front subframe spacers in the suspension area of the board.

You know that makes sense actually.
I have read the thread(s) regarding the spacers in the engine crossmember and it would stand to reason that the engine sits about an inch lower as a result right?
So if you are swapping, you should also swap the engine (steering rack) crossmember as part of it, or remove those spacers from your FXT (engine) crossmember it seems.

EDITED FIRST POST WITH A GROUP-N MOUNT COMPARISON AND ADDED A PICTURE
 

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Excellent thread ! Would be nice if you can document each part # since you're buying them new so we can have a clean list of "what to buy" . I love the attention to detail. Doing it right the first time is the way to go.

I may just go this route down the road , would probably use a Spec B piece to get the lower 6th gear for highway cruising.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Excellent thread ! Would be nice if you can document each part # since you're buying them new so we can have a clean list of "what to buy" . I love the attention to detail. Doing it right the first time is the way to go.

I may just go this route down the road , would probably use a Spec B piece to get the lower 6th gear for highway cruising.
Thanks Legacy !
I seriously considered the Spec-B 6MT as an option for just that reason, but ended up with the 07 USDM STi.
The gear ratios are similar enough to make it interesting for me, yet way better than the 05 STi trans I swapped into my WRX, and although it was hard to find just the right 07 STi tranny, it was much harder to find a Leggy Spec-B, so in the end, I decided to take whichever one came up first and that ended up being the 07 STi.

I have been trying to keep track of everything I have purchased, I am also doing a LOT of aftermarket stuff at the same time but I will try and document as much as I can.
 

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charging my camera up right now, before i can upload a couple of what i took earlier today. got some shots comparing the forester front cross member and the 05 sti one. however as best as i can describe in words...besides the steering rack mounting differences and the forester spacers, the front cross members are identical. this is leading me to also believe the common theory here that by using ALL STI cross members front/rear everything should bolt up just fine for the swap.

caution on removing the spacers when you swap to the sti front cross member though...the forester cross member studs will now be too long for the sti cross member. you will have to mount the sti cross member flush to the frame rails then put the same thickness of spacers on the stud before threading the nuts back on!

i foresee 3 solutions to this little hiccup:
1) stack a bunch of washers as spacers (super ghetto)
2) get a thick single solid spacer from mcmaster or something (less ghetto & more practical)
3) buy sti cross member studs (best method IMO)

i'm going to attempt method 3 and order the parts tomorrow so hopefully they will be in by monday. if my assumptions are right the sti studs should swap right in. from my online parts investigating total cost might be around $22-ish. i'll get some new nuts as well while i'm at it.

since i'll be waiting for some parts here soon i'm going to start on the rear end tomorrow. i just got bigsky's rear hub tool earlier today so i need to use it asap so i can return it to him and keep the tool wait short!
 

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My hope is to ditch the spacers and still use the FXT front cross member. I'll be doing mine in the next 2 weeks as well.

But yes, the FXT front cross member drops the engine down. So conversely the tranny on a STi crossmember would be pushed up and cause an incorrect angle leading to the tailstock being pushed up into the tunnel.
 

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06 FXT-6MT happening
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Discussion Starter #13
charging my camera up right now, before i can upload a couple of what i took earlier today. got some shots comparing the forester front cross member and the 05 sti one. however as best as i can describe in words...besides the steering rack mounting differences and the forester spacers, the front cross members are identical. this is leading me to also believe the common theory here that by using ALL STI cross members front/rear everything should bolt up just fine for the swap.

caution on removing the spacers when you swap to the sti front cross member though...the forester cross member studs will now be too long for the sti cross member. you will have to mount the sti cross member flush to the frame rails then put the same thickness of spacers on the stud before threading the nuts back on!

i foresee 3 solutions to this little hiccup:
1) stack a bunch of washers as spacers (super ghetto)
2) get a thick single solid spacer from mcmaster or something (less ghetto & more practical)
3) buy sti cross member studs (best method IMO)

i'm going to attempt method 3 and order the parts tomorrow so hopefully they will be in by monday. if my assumptions are right the sti studs should swap right in. from my online parts investigating total cost might be around $22-ish. i'll get some new nuts as well while i'm at it.

since i'll be waiting for some parts here soon i'm going to start on the rear end tomorrow. i just got bigsky's rear hub tool earlier today so i need to use it asap so i can return it to him and keep the tool wait short!
Yeah I have been waiting on that tool for a while too.
I decided to try and make my own tool on Thursday and was 100% successful.

As a result, I got the Group-N trailing arm bushings installed in my rear knuckles on Thursday as well, which completed my Group-N install.

My buddy has every imaginable cone for making motorcycle exhausts sitting in a huge bin.

I dug though that bin and found a cone that was small enough on the end that it would just about fit into the hole on the knuckle, and yet was big enough to fit the Group-N bushing in on the larger end.
It took a little bit of "massaging" the small end of the cone once I cut it to length to make it fit (and stay) in the hole on the knuckle, but once i worked that out I took everything to the press and greased up the bushing and pressed them both right in !!! It was a huge success and I was really stoked about that.

As a safeguard I also purchased the Whiteline rear trailing arm bushings in case I could not figure out a way to install the Group-N pieces, but now I can sell or return them since I wont be needing them. They are nice though and I would not hesitate to use them in the future, they also have a metal sleeve which will make pressing them in a lot easier, particularly if you do not want to wait for BigSky's tool.

What I discovered in this process is that BigSky's tool is really nice for sure, but it is absolutely not necessary if you have access to a good press and some decent tubing to make supports for the lateral links and trailing links, and a cone to make the rear trailing link bushing install a snap.

Thanks for the heads up on the STi cross member studs, are you ordering brand new parts for that? If so, do you have a part number? I will order those up as well since I am still about 2 weeks away from starting my swap.
 

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My hope is to ditch the spacers and still use the FXT front cross member. I'll be doing mine in the next 2 weeks as well.
browse through my pics i posted here and you should see that you will have no problem removing the forester spacers and reusing the forester cross member. as long as you use the sti 6 speed transmission cross member everything should line up correctly.


Yeah I have been waiting on that tool for a while too.
I decided to try and make my own tool on Thursday and was 100% successful.

Thanks for the heads up on the STi cross member studs, are you ordering brand new parts for that? If so, do you have a part number? I will order those up as well since I am still about 2 weeks away from starting my swap.
lucky you were able to make something yourself that worked. i only have so much to work with here for my press and really did not want to cook something up, or buy more drifts/spacers to make it work. i had no problem renting the tool for $35. now that i'm mid swap the timing worked out perfect too! all i have to say though...bigsky's tool is a godsend lol! thing worked perfectly and i'm actually glad i waited to use it and paid to support it.

i ordered the sti cross member studs this morning. they won't be in until wednesday. total cost was $28 for both. i will post the part # once i get my hands on them and actually see if they will work correctly. don't want you or anyone else buying them if they won't work how i'm assuming they will. so just a few more days on that one!

and as i promised earlier here's some pics and measurements comparing the '04 FXT front engine cross member and the '05 STI one i'm swapping in. the dirty one is the forester one obviously :p i also removed the spacers and placed them on top of the FXT cross member for the pics.




ok i really suck at holding the camera and holding a tape measure apparently. both cross members are placed on my flat garage floor surface like pictured above. i know they look a bit off but the measurements comparing the two cross members in the next few pics are the same.

'05 STI engine mount


'04 FXT engine mount


'05 STI


'04 FXT


so as you can see from the top/sides, the two cross members are basically identical. one difference is the steering rack mounts underneath, being an '05 STI cross member. the other difference is obviously the forester cross member spacers. as you can see from the pics the added height of the forester spacers easily accounts for the added height/depth of the forester transmission cross member as measured and pictured above by Team.

SO, judging by the pics and measurements here now in this thread...as long as you remove the forester spacers and use a 6 speed transmission mount/cross member, everything after the transmission should line up correctly.
 

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Don't forget the effect removing the crossmember spacers has on the steering U joint.
yes, very good point. i do not have very good pics of this since i have not fitted up my '05 sti steering rack and u-joint yet. like i said i'm still waiting on the sti cross member studs.

i also do not have a pic comparing the forester and sti steering column u-joints. i will take some when i get there. but i know i have seen some pics on here before so others can search if they want.

here's 2 pics of my FXT cross member and steering rack/u-joint before i removed them.




the STI steering u-joint is shorter than the forester one (AND solid). as you can imagine from the 2 pics, if you remove the forester cross member spacers the steering rack to u-joint connection will also be up higher. this will make the forester steering u-joint too long and require the shorter sti piece.
 

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06 FXT-6MT happening
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Awesome pics Fraktal !!!
Have you tried to fit the STi u-joint onto your Forester steering column yet?
I am concerned the splined portion is different?
Can you confirm that?

P.S. don't get me wrong bro, I have rented BigSky's tool before too, and it is worth every penny for what it does without question.
My problem was the tool was on like a 6 week wait time, and that just was not going to work for me this time around.
I got lucky that my buddy had some cones that were thick enough material to squeeze down the bushing as you pressed it through which worked perfectly.
BigSky's tool is really designed for those that want to replace the rear trailing arm bushings without removing the rear knuckle from the car which is AWESOME. It does a great job if the knuckles are already off the car too....It is an engineering marvel no doubt.
 

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Awesome pics Fraktal !!!
Have you tried to fit the STi u-joint onto your Forester steering column yet?
I am concerned the splined portion is different?
Can you confirm that?
yes, the sti u-joint is a direct fit. just be careful, it can only go on 1 way. the connection itself between the u-joint and steering column is a bit smaller than the joint connection to the steering rack. so that's how you'll know if you have it going on the right way. also, if you carefully look at the u-joint splines that mate to the steering column and you can see that the splines are keyed to match one spot on the column. make sure your steering wheel is centered when you make this connection! don't worry i will take pics of this come wednesday when the sti cross member studs arrive. hoping those work i will have the rack installed and all this bolted together.

but yeah bigsky's tool is definitely a machinist's beer-infused weekend project lol. i threw my complete rear/hub spindle assemblies into a vise and used the tool on the bushing with zero hassle. for anyone who is willing to wait in line, definitely pm bigsky on nasioc and use the tool if you want to replace your rear hub bushing with a group-n piece. IMO it's well worth the money and helps support the overall community in a way.

edit: i also apologize because this thread has gotten semi off-track, but not LOL! i don't want to stop posting as i know it will help you guys soon going through the swap. i'm just not sure how long it will take me to finish everything with the amount of time i can put into working on my car everyday. i will definitely make a new thread containing all my info for future reference though.
 

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i agree with fraktal!

what i first thought was a difference in x-members front-to-rear, is actually a spacer (or lack thereof) issue. meaning, it doesn't matter if you use sti or fozzy x-members, or a combination of either/or front/rear....but you need to remove the stock front spacers if you want everything to bolt in as normal (with a 6mt trans mount).

here is a q though - can a 5 speed wrx mount be utilized with a 6 speed? if so, then those keeping the front spacers could, in theory, use the shorter mount and be good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I don't know the answer to that question yet Garage, but I can find out today.
I will take my FXT tranny mount over my buddies shop (where my tranny is) and see if it bolts up to the tranny.
I kind of doubt it will because why would they then produce 2 different mounts for 5MT or 6MT if they are interchangeable ?

Anyway, here is a couple of group shots of most the goodies going on my swap.
Everything is powder coated or freshly painted.

I like this silver and black "hammer tone" look on suspension components, it is durable and clean, and because my car is silver (CGM) it is a nice contrast to the topside of the car.





I am also a big fan of extended wheel studs on any vehicle that will be used for ANY kind of track day activities.
 
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