For anyone wondering, no I haven’t sold the pig, gave up on blogging or died I’ve just had some matters that demanded attention be placed there first. Anyway, with those finally squared away to my satisfaction attention has returned once more to working on the blue pig.

I started light or at least I though I was, working on installing the sti steering linkage that I purchased from a local part out last summer. Access from beneith is good and the whole thing is only held in place with two bolts. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details. 

There it is, as seen from below, nothing but a couple U joints and a giubo on a shaft. However as you may have guessed from the title things did not go smoothly. Fortunately if you’d like to avoid the 5 hours of madness this brought me I have a few pieces of advice and if you follow them you might get to keep your sanity and gave this be the sub 45 minute job I thought it’d be.

First key piece of info: be very careful to mark both ends of the linkage and shafts for alignment. I would recommend wrapping four pieces of masking tape around the joins and using a fat felt tip marker to make CLEAR indexing lines at each end.

Second key piece of info: the shafts are keyed around their diameter, meaning the pinch bolts have to come all the way out or the linkage cannot be slid on the splined shafts at either end.

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Even with the bolts removed the linkage doesn’t exactly pop off. In order to get it free you must push the linkage up the steering shaft. In order to mechanically persuade the linkage to actually do that you’ll need a medium size pry bar. Then the linkage will come free of the rack and you can back it off the steering shaft to fully remove it from the car.

Third key piece of info: the STi joint has the pinches clocked differently, you have to be very careful transferring the clocking marks to the new linkage from the old one. I’d love to know why they did this, but it likely is due to the fact they’ve been using this part since at least 2005.

With everything carefully marked on the bench Install is the reverse of removal. That said no longer having the giubo means getting those pinch bolts back through their keyways can present some challenge. The trick was to bolt the steering side then wedge the pry bar between the joint and firewall to pry while inserting and spinning the rack side bolt. This is one of those times a third arm would have really helped though I’m not sure there was room anyway after you do it say five times it becomes really easy :

As you might have guessed by now I had some trouble... I couldn’t get it free, I didn’t do as good a job of marking as I should have, which made transferring even harder and I wasn’t as careful as I should have been. As a result it took me 5 try’s to get the steering wheel and tires lined up correctly.

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When it isn’t aligned correctly the vehicle dynamics control, abs and hill start all give warnings in complaint to tell you something is wrong in case the crooked steering wheel wasn’t enough of a hint

Enough with the gory details U of I ME, what are the results?!!?

I have had this done for about two months now. Keep in mind that I still haven’t tested it in anger on a track or AutoX course. That said, on the street the difference isn’t exactly huge. You do get a little more feel and directness. With that comes some extra vibration from the wheels and over uneven pavement (none of that in Chicago) the car does feel a little nervous. I do understand why they don’t come this way from the factory.

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I still want to do steering rack bushings at some point, judging by Subaru’s durometer choices on some of the other chassis mounts there might still be a lot of slop hiding there. Now if only someone would confirm fitment for the 15+ EPAS racks. I did have a local guy who had bought some and said they were gonna try, never did hear back from him though.