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Old 02-09-2014, 12:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I blew up my LT 230 at KOH and it took me out.

I am not giving up on this case. I built the car around it, but I would like to know your thoughts on what happened, how to make it better, and where to go from here. I will be extra honest on everything and hopefully some people can fill me in. Here is the backstory.

The case was unopened for 2 years. That's 5 competitions and maybe 7 full days of wheeling for fun - yeah, I know. Nothing stops wheeling like racing.

In that time I have broken one 1310 drive shaft, twisted two splines on the driveshaft. Broken 2 outers, one 100M u-joint, one inner front, one ring and pinion (I don't think you can count this, terrible setup) and a bunch of unimportant engine troubles that still sucked for me. But we have all those fixed now.

I run an LQ9 that has around 425HP in the flywheel and 250 verified to the rear tires. I have an NV4500 transmission with a 1.4in chevy output to the LT and I run a ceramic button on one side and 100 Kevlar on the other side Southbend clutch which is actually very nice to shift.

In KOH in the first 30 miles before the break my average speed was 48mph. Top speed was around 90. I got passed by 4 cars that I counted and literally lost count of how many I passed. My guess is 30 or so if you count broken down. I need to watch the go pro to see for sure, but I was fast.

Around mile whatever, I was in 3rd making a pass in mild whoops, 3rd redlines at 60 and I was on the rev limiter so right about 60. All of a sudden the car just slowed. Terrible noise, awful. Still clanking I drifted off the road and inspected. No visible damage. Yanked the car into lock and carried on. The noise was gone and I thought it was just the center diff. GREAT. Then a half mile later, horrible sound again. Then went away, then intermittently came back. I noticed when we got to the rocks and deep sand that the front was ratcheting in and out of drive. It was behaving almost like a broken r+p, but wasn't, it would start drive again.

I made it back to main pit and we jacked it up and could slam the tires by hand enough to hear the t-case rachet. We pulled the t-case cover and the gears actually looked okay. Except the fluid which is clear, was midnight and there was metal shaving everywhere. There was also a few large pieces in there. We pulled it out and we could not see a big break. But we noticed that the pin that locks it into locked had broken off. So we couldn't lock it correctly. So we locked the collar and used a longer bolt to hold it in place. Shoved the thing back in the car and I took off only to drive 30 feet before the thing went boom, crack, pop, o-shit, your race is over. Went back to my tent, DNF at KOH for the 4th straight time. I suck at KOH.

I won't have the case all the way apart for a few weeks. After KOH it's family time for me. But, I need to find a way to get the center diff strong enough for me. It's the reason I am so fast with so little power. So we can maybe start there and as I get more info we can find other ways to make the case invincible. I was running the upgraded single piece center pin that Lucky8 sold me.
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Fit an ATB centre? Ashcrofts and Quaife both manufacture them, with the Quaife being the most bullet proof.

Ashcroft LT230 ATB Diff - Ashcroft Transmissions

QDF30KR - Quaife Engineering

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Old 02-09-2014, 01:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about that Buck

The centre diff is not durable when running open on loose surfaces, which I assume you are doing for the desert sections because of the landings following jumps.

The issue is partly poor lubrication, leading to broken cross shaft seized pinions, and more importantly wear of the thrust washers, that results in failure of the pinions and side gears.

But I'm sure you knew all of that.

I'm also surprised your not renewing the thrust washers for the diff pinions after every race or so.

Do you run the aftermarket sump to increase oil capacity?
These were first made by Rocky Mountain ??? who make the parabolic springs etc for rovers.

Defenders post 2007 experience quite a few failures of the LT230, mainly due to poor lubrication. Land Rover lifted the front of the new engine and steepened the driveline angle, affecting the oil level in the LT230.

Some people like the ATB centre diff that Ashcroft have for the LT230. I don't have any experience with them, but they possibly are much stronger.

While repairing your LT230, do yourself a favour and get rid of those 'Q' gears, and put in the stronger 'T' gears.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about that Buck

The centre diff is not durable when running open on loose surfaces, which I assume you are doing for the desert sections because of the landings following jumps.

The issue is partly poor lubrication, leading to broken cross shaft seized pinions, and more importantly wear of the thrust washers, that results in failure of the pinions and side gears.

But I'm sure you knew all of that.

I'm also surprised your not renewing the thrust washers for the diff pinions after every race or so.

Do you run the aftermarket sump to increase oil capacity?
These were first made by Rocky Mountain ??? who make the parabolic springs etc for rovers.

Defenders post 2007 experience quite a few failures of the LT230, mainly due to poor lubrication. Land Rover lifted the front of the new engine and steepened the driveline angle, affecting the oil level in the LT230.

Some people like the ATB centre diff that Ashcroft have for the LT230. I don't have any experience with them, but they possibly are much stronger.

While repairing your LT230, do yourself a favour and get rid of those 'Q' gears, and put in the stronger 'T' gears.
Thanks. I already run the T gears. I ran the Q gears in my old rover for a long while.

I have a sort of non standard oil setup. My t-case and trans are tied together via the port just to the side of the PTO cover. I fill the tcase to there so it's overfilled in normal operation. I don't know if oil led to problems. I am just surprised that the broken diff led to a broken case. I didn't expect that to be the case.
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Old 02-09-2014, 04:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So your filling the LT230 up to the temperature sensor, that should be a reasonable quantity. From the fluid colour described in your OP, it does seem like the fluid was overheated. If overheating was not due to whatever was happening in the centre diff, the finned Rocky Mountain sump could still help with cooling.

Although most unlikely to be related to your main problems, there is a mod that improves lubrication to the output shaft. When you get around to stripping the case out, inspect the output shaft for signs of fretting corrosion (looks similar to red rust). Even with your overfilled case it could still be an issue, so if the signs are there it would be worth doing.

I saw this mod originally on a page in Ashcroft's web site, but it was lumped with an LT230 gearset that has been withdrawn and so the information on the mod has gone. I took pics when I modded my old LT230 and put a write-up on another forum. I don't have the pics or what I wrote any more, but could find it on the other forum if you are interested.

Another common issue with Lt230's, again not related to your failure, but worthwhile if you haven't done already is to fit steel sleeves in the case for the intermediate shaft, to avoid the elongation that occurs.

Another mod I have seen is a steel girdle across the big access opening in the bottom of the case, to alleviate some of the flex. I have no idea if flex there is an issue, it is just what I have seen done. The steel girdle had holes for fluid to flow through to the sump.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So your filling the LT230 up to the temperature sensor, that should be a reasonable quantity. From the fluid colour described in your OP, it does seem like the fluid was overheated. If overheating was not due to whatever was happening in the centre diff, the finned Rocky Mountain sump could still help with cooling.

Although most unlikely to be related to your main problems, there is a mod that improves lubrication to the output shaft. When you get around to stripping the case out, inspect the output shaft for signs of fretting corrosion (looks similar to red rust). Even with your overfilled case it could still be an issue, so if the signs are there it would be worth doing.

I saw this mod originally on a page in Ashcroft's web site, but it was lumped with an LT230 gearset that has been withdrawn and so the information on the mod has gone. I took pics when I modded my old LT230 and put a write-up on another forum. I don't have the pics or what I wrote any more, but could find it on the other forum if you are interested.

Another common issue with Lt230's, again not related to your failure, but worthwhile if you haven't done already is to fit steel sleeves in the case for the intermediate shaft, to avoid the elongation that occurs.

Another mod I have seen is a steel girdle across the big access opening in the bottom of the case, to alleviate some of the flex. I have no idea if flex there is an issue, it is just what I have seen done. The steel girdle had holes for fluid to flow through to the sump.
I'm about to spend some money I think, so I can make finned AL covers for all of possible inspection panels. Unfortunately, the bottom cover doubles as the lower mount. I may change that as I am going to make it much easier to work on. I want to be able to replace cases in 40 minutes. That's the goal anyway.

I would like to see everything you have done though. I want to build the best LT230 ever.
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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have you considered a spool in place of the center diff with an external, lockable viscous coupling?
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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have you considered a spool in place of the center diff with an external, lockable viscous coupling?
No, but you have me intrigued. Would it still be open? The open diff is why the car is so fast.
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A truck differential specialist I once worked for fitted custom Detroit lockers to the centre differential of a batch of 6x6 Perentie LandRovers for the Special forces in Afghanistan.These were LT95 t/cases but centre diff components are same size, just different splines. If unlike genuine Detroits, these were made of good quality material, these should hold up better than the stock bevel gears. Be interesting to see if the bevel pinions had friction welded themselves to the cross shaft.I wonder if that surface treatment that CTM use on their universal joints would work here to prevent that ? Not sure there is space to bore out the bevel pinions and fit proper bronze bushings or even needle roller bearings like on some heavy Clarke diffs.

A friend who still has a LandRover repair business told me once that the later 230's have insufficient thickness of metal where the front bearing of the centre diff tapered bearing cup presses in, and he has seen the cups on a couple of trucks being pushed through the shoulder of the alloy casting. don't know if that issue was rectified, but knowing LandRover it probably hasn't been.

The Spool idea mentioned by BBT above is commercially available through AVM Brazil, and basically replaces the front bevel sidegear with half a lockright diff with the output spline bored out and bushed., but it is just a 4x2 conversion with the difflock collar then becoming the 4x4 dog clutch.
Looking forward to pics of your t/case strip down.

Last edited by Agrover; 02-09-2014 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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A truck differential specialist I once worked for fitted custom Detroit lockers to the centre differential of a batch of 6x6 Perentie LandRovers for the Special forces in Afghanistan.These were LT95 t/cases but centre diff components are same size, just different splines. If unlike genuine Detroits, these were made of good quality material, these should hold up better than the stock bevel gears.
A friend who still has a LandRover repair business told me once that the later 230's have insufficient thickness of metal where the front bearing of the centre diff tapered bearing cup presses in, and he has seen the cups on a couple of trucks being pushed through the shoulder of the alloy casting. don't know if that issue was rectified, but knowing LandRover it probably hasn't been.

The Spool idea mentioned by BBT above is commercially available through AVM Brazil, and basically replaces the front bevel sidegear with half a lockright diff, but it is just a 4x2 conversion with the difflock collar becoming the 4x4 dog clutch.
Looking forward to pics of your t/case strip down.
I would love to talk to you sometime. I am going to work with Scott at Sterling Autosport to build the ultimate t-case. I would love your imput along the way.

What about the Ashcroft ATB? Is it stronger than stock? Significantly?
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I would love to talk to you sometime. I am going to work with Scott at Sterling Autosport to build the ultimate t-case. I would love your imput along the way.

What about the Ashcroft ATB? Is it stronger than stock? Significantly?
I am not familiar with the Ashcroft ATB, but will look it up and let you know my thoughts. BTW I have added a couple of edits to my last post that may be of interest.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I just looked up the Ashcroft ATB. As we know, Ashcroft make good stuff, and I would be interested in how they were able to make the ATB components strong enough and still fit within the relatively small diff carrier. I may be mistaken but am assuming it is based on the Gleason Torsen design principal, which prompted me to recall a run down on traction adding differentials from former Formula One race engineer Carol Smith's book 'Building to Win' in which he stated that the Torsen design had components with too many stress concentrators to be considered durable enough for Formula One racers. That comment goes back a couple of decades, so modern mettalurgy may have addressed those concerns.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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One more thing comes to mind from when I was working at jack McNamara differentials way back. We discovered that due to Rovers slack tolerances, the internal hemisphere surface of the centre differential were machined eccentric that the bores that the side gear shanks rode in. What that means is that although they are a 4 pinion differential, only one or two gears are taking the full load, until those gears wear out their thrust washers so the gears move further apart to the point where the other pair of gears come into play their part. By this time there is a lot of backlash in the assembly which increases shock impacts on the gears from drive to overrun. We used to dial up the carriers in a lathe and remachine the hemisphere surface properly concentric and supply extra thick thrust washers and one piece cross shafts, and these lasted so very much longer than a stock new centre diff. Aside from Jack Macs, there is another firm, Total 4Wd that also reconditions CD's in this way. the main requirement is the hemisphere machining attachment for the lathe which shouldn't be too difficult in the USA.

Edit, sorry that company is Total Traction Driveline Australia.

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Old 02-09-2014, 09:18 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I just looked up the Ashcroft ATB. As we know, Ashcroft make good stuff, and I would be interested in how they were able to make the ATB components strong enough and still fit within the relatively small diff carrier. I may be mistaken but am assuming it is based on the Gleason Torsen design principal, which prompted me to recall a run down on traction adding differentials from former Formula One race engineer Carol Smith's book 'Building to Win' in which he stated that the Torsen design had components with too many stress concentrators to be considered durable enough for Formula One racers. That comment goes back a couple of decades, so modern mettalurgy may have addressed those concerns.
Thank you. I do know Ashcroft makes good stuff. Maybe they can chime in here? Hopefully at least.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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LT230 Rear Output Mod for Better Lubrication

Here is a copy and paste of what I put in another forum about a mod for the LT230. I took the pics when I modified mine, some may be confused by the spur gear, because the stock gears are helical. It is simply a maxi-drive gear for lowering the low range gearing.

I found this modification for LT230's on the web site for Ashcroft Transmissions. It was included with the instructions for installing their crawler gears into an LT230 transfer case. The page has gone now, along with the crawler gears, which were not as popular as their underdrive add-on.

The final drive gears for high and low range, do not have rolling bearings. They employ hardened steel, plain bearings. This is possible because the driven gear (for the range selected) rotates with the centre differential shaft. The other (non-driven) gear does rotate, relative to the centre differential shaft, but the radial load is small.

Because of backlash between the teeth of the selector sleeve, small movements do occur between the driven gear and centre differential shaft. Good lubrication between the mating surfaces is necessary to avoid wear and fretting corrosion.

The modifications detailed here, improve oil flow to the high and low range, final drive gears.

The LT230 gear case, the rear output shaft and the sleeve inside the high range final drive gear must be stripped out for the modifications.

The modifications to the gear case are described first.

'Figure 1' (below) is a cross section drawing through the final drive gear and centre differential assembly.

There are two oil holes through the rear of the case where the rear output/speedo housing fits. The 6.5 mm hole at the 6 o'clock position, should be plugged by tapping the hole to M8 (see 'Figure 2' below) and fitting a grub screw. The 8.5 mm hole at the 12 o'clock position, should be drilled out to 12 mm and angled upward at approx 45 degrees (see 'Figure 3' below).

The enlarged upper hole feeds more oil into the rear housing, and by plugging the lower hole, the oil level is increased so it will return to the main case through the final drive gear and centre differential assembly.

Now that more oil can be fed to the rear housing, we need to modify the rear output shaft to create a gap for oil to flow between the output shaft and the hollow centre differential shaft (see 'Figure 4', '5' and '6' below).

'Figure 7' shows the modified rear output shaft and the new dimensions of the modified features. The outside diameter and width of the shoulder are reduced. The material is removed from the front side (right side in the figures below) of the shoulder and blended into the fillet radius.

'Figure 8' and '9' show the modifications to the sleeve that fits inside the high range final drive gear. The diameter of the shoulder is reduced and a flat machined on one side.

That completes the modifications to the components of the lT230.

The patches that look like stain marks on the centre differential shaft in 'Figure 5' and the sleeve in 'Figure 9' are light fretting corrosion.

The straight cut (spur) gear in these photographs is a low range crawler gear from Max-drive Engineering. The standard low range gear has helical teeth.

Be careful when assembling the final drive gears on the centre differential shaft. The selector hub (not shown in the photographs) for late LT230's, has a chamfer on one side of the bore, be sure to assemble the selector hub with the chamfer towards the low range gear or the high gear will bind.

















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Old 02-10-2014, 08:09 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Do you need to run with the center diff open? What are other people doing? I assume nobody else has a center diff. Are they running 2WD. I would run the Quaife center diff if money was not an object. QDF30KR - Quaife Engineering At least if it did break, the bits would stay inside. It would just lock.

If you were running the stock center diff, with the stock split cross pins and the diff unlocked, it is amazing it lasted this long.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:24 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:30 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Why not buy a Atlas t case and never worry about.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:32 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Why not buy a Atlas t case and rebuild it every year.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:41 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Why not buy a Atlas t case and never worry about.
Because the man wants a "Full Time 4 wheel drive transfer case" not another manual gearbox.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:48 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Why not buy a Atlas t case and never worry about.
That's a myth. Plenty of people break the atlas. And I like the dual outputs, and the reduced high range, and the AWD.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:50 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Do you need to run with the center diff open? What are other people doing? I assume nobody else has a center diff. Are they running 2WD. I would run the Quaife center diff if money was not an object. QDF30KR - Quaife Engineering At least if it did break, the bits would stay inside. It would just lock.

If you were running the stock center diff, with the stock split cross pins and the diff unlocked, it is amazing it lasted this long.
I have the Ashcroft upgraded cross shaft. As far as I know, I am the only person running AWD. But, that was the idea. I am faster in corners than most.

I may end up with the Quaife, but if you can answer a question, what makes it better than the Ashcroft? The price difference is significant, but I know Ashcroft makes awesome stuff.
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Last edited by Buckon37s; 02-10-2014 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:30 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Following this with much interest…Is anyone in the US even running one of the Ashcroft ATB centers?
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Last edited by mongosd2; 02-10-2014 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:30 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I may end up with the Quaife, but if you can answer a question, what makes it better than the Ashcroft? The price difference is significant, but I know Ashcroft makes awesome stuff.
I know nothing about them really but this is something that was posted by someone else about their rear ATB's when asked why he spent the extra money vs a TT or Ashcroft. It's just someone opinions so take it for what it's worth but this was their justification for the additional premium on it.

Quote:
Quaife provides a lifetime warranty, and essentially ignores what you do with the vehicle. Even if you fit their product to a racing car, it's covered for life. They just don't give a fuck. If you break it, you get a new one, and you get it fast.

You aren't going to break it, though. I am of the opinion that a Land Rover simply cannot possess any properties required to break a Quaife differential. It's not heavy enough, it's not powerful enough, it can't catch enough air, it won't go fast enough, and you can't fit big enough tires.

Now, Quaife has some funny text in the warranty about the Americas, and I'm not sure why, but I've never heard of anyone here reporting anything less than the same stellar service everyone else receives.

Quaife has a reputation for smooth, predictable performance on the road and track. This is partially because they were always one of only a few manufacturers considered for extreme performance racing vehicles, as well as high performance production vehicles; especially front wheel drive cars that produce too much power for a front wheel drive arrangement.

You'll find them routinely fitted to vehicles exceeding 1,000bhp, as well as rally vehicles that endure abusive scavenger hunt or long-distance stages, and notably in vehicles that do so with larger tires. I've used them in similar conditions, and they are absolutely the cat's ass.

If your vehicle finds itself in a situation requiring higher speeds in abusive conditions, odds are, sooner or later you'll be considering a Quaife differential.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:52 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I may end up with the Quaife, but if you can answer a question, what makes it better than the Ashcroft? The price difference is significant, but I know Ashcroft makes awesome stuff.
Maybe the Ashcrofts will pipe in. There is probably nothing better with the Quaife. The "hope" is the extra cost is a little step up in materials, but who knows. It may just be more expensive as they don't sell many. I would talk to both Ashcroft and Quaife and ask them directly if they are strong enough for your application. as Bush65 states, there is only so much space available for a differential in that location.

I guess you should get your box apart and see what you can see first.
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