802Projects

STI key

Purchase a Key CoverBackgroundMy Solution Installation InstructionsFAQ

Background

When Subaru released the 2004 STI in the US, it came with a very cool Titanium key. The Titanium portion was stamped with the STI logo and at the base of the key was a blue plastic piece. I always wanted one, but my motor swap is from a 2006 WRX. In 2005 Subaru started using their Immobilizer system. There is an Immobilizer control box under the dash, an antenna on the key ring, and a special chipped key (see boring looking key on right) that all works in conjunction with the ECU. Meaning it is not enough to have a key cut for your car, it must have the digital thumbprint inside it that matches everything. If it doesn't, the car will start and immediately shut off.

Some people would find a way to use the 2004 key. They would get it cut and then zip tie the chipped key behind the plastic steering column cover. Doing this negates the purpose of the security feature. I also wonder if it could leave the car in a "wake up state" (potentially increasing battery drain) because the key is in range of the ignition at all times. Another thing people would experiment with is cutting the chip out of the OEM key and gluing it inside the key fob. This seemed to have mixed results because depending on the ring used on the key, the fob could swing in and out of range. I wasn't happy with either of these options.

My Solution

If you are not keen on reading, I have a few videos that outline my solution. The first is a 1 minute short if you don't have a lot of time. The second is my original video which goes into it in more detail. Now that I've revised my prints to use a Resin printer instead of a ABS filament, I now have a 3rd video explaining the differences.

My original idea was to carefully remove the blue plastic on the 04 Titanium key. Once removed I could mill out some metal material behind it, slide the chip in, and add the plastic back. I soon realized that this is IMPOSSIBLE. The blue plastic cannot be removed without ruining it. After learning this the hard way, I decided my only option was to develop my own plastic piece. I opted to design one that could house the entire immobilizer chip without any milling needed. I spent a few weeks developing it and tested 25 iterations before I was happy with it.

Here you can see the chip slid inside the key. It's a 4D62 chip. The chip in this picture came from a $10 replica key I bought and cut open. I have now sourced the chips in bulk if anyone needs one.

My original covers (which I'm referring to as V1 covers) were made with my filament printer out of ABS plastic. These would each take 35 minutes to print and the finish on them was not pretty. To get rid of the print lines, I had to hand sand each one and dip it in acetone. The acetone would soften/smooth the outer layer of plastic and leave it with a glossy finish when it dried/hardened back up. It was not a perfect process. Maybe 4 out of 10 I was happy with and could sell. The other 6 would have minor fitment/gap issues and I would trash them or toss them into packages as freebies.

The latest version of covers (which I'm referring to as V2 covers) are made with a Resin printer. Resin has it's own hurdles you have to overcome, but the end product can be more reliably reproduced. These have a 99% success rate. I can also print a batch of 18 of them in a little over an hour. When these are printed, washed and cured... they start out much smoother than the raw ABS prints. Despite this, I still hand sand them for an even smoother finish. Then I wet sand them lightly with a scotch-brite pad and coat them with satin clear coat.

This is what the finished product looks like. I think the resin blue is a closer match to the OEM color than the ABS filament was. The resin color that I am using is not an "off the shelf" color. I had to add my own resin dye to get the shade as close as possible. I also made some with black resin.

How to Purchase

Edit 6/7/2024: I am only selling the Resin covers now. I had a backlog of people that I have worked through. I have about 5 finished blue ones ready to go. I've got a bunch of raw ones printed. I'll be sanding and clearing more in the near future.

Install Instructions

  1. Purchase a 2004 OEM STI key (Part# 57497FE000). They are around $30.
  2. Have the key cut for your car. Aubachon hardware did mine.
  3. Cut off the OEM blue plastic being careful not to scratch the key.
  4. Place the 4D62 immobilizer chip into the hollow part of the key. Orientation is important (see photo below). It should slide in like this. Tuck it down and to the left as far as it will go with a little screw driver. (
  5. Slowly slide the plastic onto the key and press it in place. Unlike the OEM plastic, you can slide it back off using some force without ruining it. If you'd like to make it more permanant you can add a dab of crazy glue to the round collar of the key before pressing it on.

FAQ

Can you send me the .STL file so I can print my own?

I will not be releasing the design (.STL) file. I had shared my cabin filter file to the community and now realize that was a mistake. I didn't mind if someone printed one for themselves or their friends. But other people began selling them on eBay. On top of that, I had people contacting me with questions about a bracket I never sold them.

Can you ship overseas?

I do ship overseas if you pay for it. I ship everything in a padded envelope. Just let me know where you are from and what you want, and I'll get you an exact quote. Just to give you some rough prices from past shipments... $17 to Singapore, $22 to Australia, $20 to Germany. Also I have to fill out a custom form when shipping and it will ask for quantity and value. Depending on your country, you may be subject to taxes. I have no control over this. In just about every package I ship, I also toss in a few defect ones or raw ones for fun. So if you buy 2 covers for $50 + 22 shipping to Australia and I toss in 3 extra defect covers... on your customs form I'll just say I'm shipping you 5 key covers at $10 each vs 2 at $50. If for some reason you don't want extras you can let me know.

How do you remove the OEM blue plastic from the key?

Very carefully. You will end up destroying the plastic. That is a given. But you want to take your time because you don't want to scratch the key. Its best to wrap key blade with masking tape. Then slice the plastic vertically in the cylinder area multiple times with a fresh razor blade. Do multiple cuts with minor pressure. Eventually it will get deep enough where you can pry it open with a small screwdriver. I've cut a few off myself and occasionally the key blade will be loose. You'll be able to slide it out of the titanium end. If this happens you can add a few drops of crazy glue and slide it back in.

What brand 4D62 Chip do you use?

I use the JMD KING blue chip from odbshop: MORE INFO This chip comes from overseas and from my research it is quite common. It is compatible with the Handy Baby 3 programmer, but may not be compatible with all programmers out there. If you plan on having a local locksmith copy it for you; you may want to check with them first to see if it will work. Your locksmith may want to use their own brand or refuse to use your chip. Check with them to see what it will cost. It may be more affordable to send me your key. So far I've had one instance where a person's locksmith said they could not flash the JMD King chip I supplied. The locksmith sold him a different brand chip for $40 which to me is a huge markup. I bought the chips in bulk and they cost me around $3.xx each.

Who can cut the key?

Any locksmith can cut the key. Most hardware stores can as well and will likely be cheaper. My local Aubuchon Hardware has cut two keys for me for free. I would not mention anything about a "titanium" key. The only part that is titanium is the part you grip. The actual blade part they cut is normal metal. If you throw the word "titanium" around they may thing the part you cut is made of titanium and refuse to do it.

Instead of buying and copying the chip, can I pull it from my OEM key?

You can sacrifice one of your OEM keys if you don't want to deal with copying the chip. If you look under your key you will see a little rectangular door. The chip is behind that. I'm not sure if it is possible to remove without ruining the key, or if it is something you have to cut open. If anyone does go this route and is able to get it out without destroying the key; please let me know.

Are there alternatives to shipping our key to you for a chip copy?

You could try your local locksmith or even Ace Hardware. They advertise online they sell chipped keys. Unsure if they can program them too. You could also try your Subaru Dealer. You could also buy the Handy Baby III programmer ($140), use it, and then resell it to someone else who needs it. Even if you lost $10-20 doing this, it's likely a locksmith would charge you more.

Can you print in different colors besides blue and black?

I will not be doing custom colors. However over time, I will likely buy different colors of resin for other projects. If I have a different color resin already in the VAT for something else, I may print a few key covers in that color and post them up as specials. Trying to offer every color under the sun is just not realistic. Resin is expensive and has a shelf life.

Can you do custom engraving in the part?

While it is technically possible, this is not something I will be doing. Learn to appreciate the STI logo that is stamped on the titanium portion:)

Why did you make the switch to Resin? Are there any drawbacks?

There are a few reasons. I think the finished product looks better. Another big reason is for consistency. With the filament prints, I would have to hand sand and acetone dip each one. In a batch of 10, about 4 would end up being sellable. The other 6 would have minor fitment issues. They also took 35 minutes each to print. Meaning to print 10 would take about 6 hours. Then I would spend about an hour and a half sanding them all. After dipping and test fitting, I'd end up with ~4 good covers. With the resin printer I can print 18 of them in just over an hour. I still need to sand them, but in raw form they start off much smoother than the ABS filament prints. Plus every one I finish comes out successful.

There are some drawbacks to Resin that I had to overcome...

Are there advantages to ordering the raw prints?

The raw prints are more geared towards the DIY person. Maybe you don't mind hand sanding them yourself and using your own clearcoat to save some money. Or maybe you want to paint them or use a semi-gloss/gloss clearcoat vs satin. When I hand sand them I use 400 grit. I focus on the flat surfaces first. There are 13 flat areas. Then I wet sand everything using a 3M yellow scotch brite pad. I use two finish nails driven into a piece of wood to support them while spraying the clearcoat. Technically you can use them as-is in the raw form, but I recommend clear coating them. It will help prevent scratches and provide some UV protection.