This is a manual transmission car, correct?
So the shifter in the car you can literally pull up on it with your hand and the whole thing picks up 2-3"? Is that right?
This is probably due to a combination of things, you'll want to crawl under the car and inspect.
Lift the front and support it on jack stands. If you don't have stands it would be smart to invest in a set. They're fairly cheap at parts stores and are a necessity if you plan to do any kind of work which requires jacking up the car to get under it.
Crawl under behind the front wheels and you'll see the back end of the transmission. On the left side (drivers) you'll see the shift linkage and a rod just below it that attaches to the back of the trans with a large round bushing.
This is the "Stay" rod and its what holds the shift lever in position relative to the transmission. At the back of the stay rod is another bushing that holds the shifter lever up and centered in position relative to the opening in the floor for the shifter to pass through.
To see the rear bushing you'll have to remove the large heat shield that attaches to the floor pan. There are either 6 or 8 (cant recall exactly) 12mm bolts that hold it on, you'll want to use PB blaster or some other penetrating oil to help crack them loose. Remove the bolts and you can slide the heat shield off to the side.
I suspect the front (round) stay bushing has deteriorated and allowed the stay rod to fall out of the rear stay bushing.
Those are fairly easy to replace and don't cost too much for dealer replacements. There are aftermarket polyurethane replacements available which cost a bit more but may improve the feel of the shifter. New bushings alone will be an improvement over worn out ones though.
Parts you can get from a local dealer or order through one of the online dealers and save some $$.
For Aftermarket stay bushings check out Kartboy.com.
Also for pics of all this stuff check out Scoobymods.com and search for shifter bushing replacement, or Kartboy. There are lots of threads there wih pics of the linkage and the bushings in question. They usually deal with Imprezas but the linkages are nearly the same and use the same bushings.
Edited by Fairtax4me, 28 June 2013 - 01:57 PM.