This guide will walk you through the process of installing the Subaru WRX Console Switch Panel (for the 2023+ VB WRX.)
A quite note before we begin: Installation of this panel requires slightly modifying the existing console trim piece by cutting away a small section of plastic. This is done to the structure UNDER the tray, and removes plastic that is not used for anything in the vehicle... so while you can't "undo" that, it in no way prevents you from reverting to stock by simply replacing the plastic tray with no permanent visible changes.
STEP 1: Removing the Shift Knob
Technically you can skip this step if you don't want to completely remove the shifter trim, which is also not entirely required.
Firmly grasp the shift knob, and turn it counter-clockwise to unscrew it from the shift lever. Remove it completely.
STEP 2: Removing the Shifter Trim
Place your fingers inside the silver trim, and yank up to pop the shifter trim loose. You will need to work your way forwards, as the shifter trim and the large rubber tray in front of it are one piece. There are additional tabs that need to be popped free by lifting up that portion too. If you want to completely remove this panel, then pull the boot up over the reverse lockout collar and then remove the entire part. If you don't want to remove it, just turn it sideways and leave it. We are only popping it loose because it snaps into the part we actually need to remove.
STEP 3: Separating the Handbrake Boot
Similarly to how you removed the shifter trim, reach inside the edge of the handbrake boot, and pull up along the length of the handbrake boot to unsnap the boot from the center console. Then lift it up and out of the way slightly.
STEP 4: Removing the Console Trim
First unsnap the front half of the trim piece by grasping the leading edge and yanking up firmly. Then grab the back half and do the same (it's a bit difficult to find a good spot to grab. You can pull up from where the shifter trim attaches, and work your way back/around on both sides.) Note when the entire panel comes loose, don't just yank it completely out of the way. You'll need to turn it over first, and unplug the connector for the keyless entry antenna module if your vehicle is so-equipped. You can then remove the console panel from the vehicle.
STEP 5: Removing the Tray
The tray is secured by two screws on the back side. Remove those screws, and then pop the tray loose. Keep it safe in case you ever decide to revert to stock!
STEP 6: Modifying the Console Trim
We will need to trim away the section outlined in red. This is to make room for the wires coming off the back side of the switch panel. If you want to better-visualize exactly what you need to trim, you can temporarily install the switch panel and you'll see why this area needs to be trimmed back. You'll find it easiest to use a Dremel with a small sanding drum, which makes quick work of the soft plastic by pretty much melting it away. Let the globs of melted plastic cool for a minute or two and it'll snap off easily.
STEP 7: Prepare the Switch Panel
NOTE: This only applies to those of you who ordered the Switch Panel with the RBC-1 volume control knob, but opted to provide your own module. The rest of you can skip to STEP 8.
Prepare the module by pulling off the black plastic volume knob itself (this requires a bit of force!) Ensure that the unit has one silver washer and nut pre-installed. If not, install them as seen in the photo below. Note the orientation of the entire module, and how the knob is closer to the top edge of the unit. The washer should be pushed down so that it doesn't protrude above the top edge of the module. Tighten the washer all the way down, but DO NOT overtighten (hand tight is fine.)
Now insert the module into the panel from the back, noting the orientation (the top of the module should be at the top of the switch panel.) The hole for the module is intentionally oblong, as the module must be inserted at an angle to clear the support post before it can sit flush. Once installed, use one of the black nuts that came with the module to secure it from the front.
Finally, install the black knob. Per the instructions that came with the module, be sure to turn it fully counter-clockwise to the minimum position, and then install the knob with the notch at roughly the 7 o'clock position to ensure it is lined up correctly. If all is well, the knob should fit all the way on, and sit relatively flush to the faceplate, with less than 1mm of clearance.
STEP 8: Install the Switch Panel
Drop the switch panel in from the front and press it into place. Holding it in place flip the panel over, and secure it through the two smaller, pre-existing holes with the provided pair of washers and bolts. Do not overtighten these bolts. Just snug them up gently. They merely keep the panel from rattling around or popping loose. Lastly, install the wire harnesses onto the three switches.
STEP 9: Reinstall and DO WIRING STUFF!!!
Reinstall everything in reverse order: snap the console trim into place, snap the handbrake boot trim into place, snap the shifter trim into place, and screw in the shift knob. But first, maybe wire up some stuff!
How you wire your panel is up to you. Each use case is different, and so I do not provide any specific guidance for wiring any of my panels. I also assume no responsibility for you being a moron and doing something incredibly dumb with your wiring! However, I do offer some basic tips:
Relays, relays, relays. If you are going to be powering devices that draw any significant amount of current, always use relays to power those devices, not just to ensure you don't exceed the rated capacity of the switch, but also to ensure you don't exceed the capacity of the wiring you are using to power to the switches. If you don't know what a relay is, Google can explain everything, but in a nutshell: you use the switch to trigger the relay, and it is the RELAY which powers the device.
The fuse box in the cabin is often times a great power source if you are drawing minimal current, powering relays, or using these switches as signal wires, rather than load wires. Specifically the fuses for the cigarette lighter circuits, which are typically fused for 15A each. (Confirm their location and rating by consulting the diagram in your Owner's Manual, or the diagram on the fuse box cover.) They are switched power, and will turn off when the car is off. If you aren't carrying much load, you can provide power to all of those switches from one wire going to one of those fuse slots, in conjunction with an add-a-fuse adapter.
The bolt securing the fuse box to the internal structure of the car is often a great ground location, but any bolt that connects directly to the metal structure of the vehicle should be a decent ground, so you can probably find one near where the switch panel is.
These switches have more leads than a typical, "basic" switch, because they can be wired up in different ways depending on how you want the switch to function, and how you want the LED to operate. The guides below show some common wiring setups depending on what you want to achieve.