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DIFFERENTIAL Options For Drift

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A common question that led to a huge answer in the tech section. Thought it would be good as an article (could do with some pix, maybe more comments?). Cheers.


What Does It Do?


The differential controls how the wheels keep spinning together when traction is broken. Open wheeling means only the inside wheel is spinning (bad). What an lsd will do is make the wheels both spin which then makes the rear kick out (good). A locked diff will have both wheels spin at all times.


Is It Dangerous?


You could say its dangerous to have an lsd that keeps both wheels spinning and lets the rear kick out, as opposed to an open wheeler not kicking the rear out. But for drift its all about car control with the rear end almost always slipping. To begin with a standard lsd in good condition is fine. It will kick out less then aftermarket diffs but still hang the rear out on acceleration pretty good.


Why is my lsd single spinning?


As you progress in drift your standard lsd wears out and single spins more and more. When it is wearing out its far from being as predictable as a 2way or locked/shimmed diff. The only way the two latter options would be less predictable is when they are similarly worn out and open wheeling or your simply not used to the differential.


Tips For Someone Starting Out With An Non Turbo Open Differential:


1. Install a 2 way diff (long term option) or locked diff (short term option), and be prepared to replace (locked diff), rebuild (2 way) and maintain it (both, and tyres too)

2. Use small tyres/wheels on the rear, smallish rims that are cheap and not low profile tyres (this will make it far more slippery on the rears which is very important with the non turbo - you don't want the car to be getting grip easily on the rear and straightening up like a wrx coming out of a corner sliding due to lack of power to keep the rear end out!)

3. Practice, have fun but keep it safe. Wet will help the underpowered car too, but the dry is more controllable and safer... Start with DONUTS etc, get to know the diff... donuts are also good for just testing the diff. if you can't do em and the cars single spinning >> the diffs a problem.


LOCKED DIFF ($100-$300*)

+ always locks

+ very predictable

+ will start whining before it breaks

+ cheapo's diff of choice

- poor turn in (understeer when entering a corner unless rear slipping)

- will break and require full replacement after 1-12 months (~4 months), depends on how its used, important to always match rear rims/tyre sizes etc.

- car not driveable when it breaks

- wears tyres most

- can be dangerous for inexperienced lsd users

- illegal on the street (but not commonly targeted)


SHIMMED DIFF ($200-$400)

+ can allow some slip

+ when its worn out you don't need to get towed

- cost more

- poor turn in (understeer when entering a corner unless rear slipping)

- will wear out and slowly start open wheeling more and more

- life span 1-12 months operating at 70% condition + (~4 months), depends on how its used.

- wears tyres as much as locked to begin with

- pretty much locked so illegal


MECH 2 WAY ($700-$1500)

+ very predictable, has some slip when needed, the preferred CHOICE for drift

+ lifespan is far longer than locked/shimmed/std lsd

+ can be rebuilt but costs $$$

+ D1 drifters diff of choice

+ will lock when accelerating and decelerating

+ good turn in

- expensive

- can be dangerous for inexperienced lsd users


MECH 1.5 WAY ($700-$1500)

+ predictable

+ lifespan is far longer than locked/shimmed/std lsd

+ can be rebuilt but costs $$$

+ will lock when accelerating and 1/2 lock decelerating

+ good turn in

+ better on the street than the 2way

- not as good for drift than the 2way

- expensive


STANDARD LSD ($300-$500)

+ good enough for starting out in drift

+ good on the street as doesn't lock on deceleration

+ good turn in

- not as predictable as other options

- will wear out easily with drift

- most older turbo s13s show some signs of lsd wear (avg condition)



+ good for street

+ safest for inexperienced lsd users

+ good turn in

- never locks hence USELESS for drift


*Prices depend on if the change is done by yourself, condition of diff, new/old and advantages/disadvantages can be different depending on personal preference.


As for fishtailing snappiness this will depend on the car, the weight distribution of 180s make them more snappier than a silvia/r32. Even more extreme than the 180 is the mr2... on the other hand the cefiro and 4 door skylines are more stable and less snappy.


Its good to know your diff well, s13s have a tendency to go out of control on public roads partly due to the combo of turbo rwd and lsd. So its best to be careful when you have a RWD with an LSD; breaking traction intentionally or unintentionally (especially in the wet) can get out of control.


Good luck with it.


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One Last thing if people want to Shim the diff themselves then the part number from nissan is 38424-40F83

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