What’s the Best Approach to Installing a Limited Slip Differential in a Toyota AE86 for Drifting?

April 8, 2024

As drifting enthusiasts, you undoubtedly appreciate the joy of smoothly gliding your car around corners, the tyres screeching and the engine roaring with adrenaline-fueled power. One key factor in perfecting this art is harnessing the right equipment, and the heart of your drift machine—the drivetrain—plays a pivotal role in this. A critical accessory, the limited slip differential (LSD), can significantly enhance your drifting experience, particularly in a classic drift beast like the Toyota AE86. In this article, you will delve into the recommended process of installing an LSD in your AE86, accentuating aspects like the cooling system, clutch, brake, coilover, suspension, and induction, amongst others.

Selecting the Right LSD for Your AE86

The first step in this exciting journey is selecting the right LSD for your Toyota AE86. LSDs come in various types—clutch type, viscous, and Torsen or helical. The clutch type LSD, such as those manufactured by Kaaz, is often the preferred choice for drifting due to its aggressive locking characteristics, offering better control during high-speed cornering. It’s critical to pick an LSD that complements your engine type, drivetrain configuration, and personal drifting style.

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It’s worth noting that while the clutch type LSD can offer superior performance, it requires regular maintenance and adjustments to keep it operating smoothly. It also tends to be noisier than other types of LSDs, which may not be to everyone’s liking.

Preparing Your Car for the Installation

Once you’ve selected your LSD, the next step is preparing your car for the installation. This process involves several components of your vehicle, including the cooling system, suspension, clutch, and brake. Each of these features plays a role in ensuring that the LSD functions optimally, and it’s essential to give each one the attention it deserves.

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Start by inspecting the cooling system. An efficiently functioning cooling system is critical for maintaining the differential’s ideal operating temperature, preventing overheating and damage to the LSD.

Next, focus on the suspension system. The coilover suspension in an AE86 should be adjusted to work harmoniously with the LSD. In drift cars, a stiffer suspension setting is typically preferred to ensure better control and stability during drifting.

The LSD Installation Process

With your car prepped and ready, you can now embark on the installation of the LSD. This process can be quite intricate and requires a keen attention to detail. Begin by draining the differential oil and removing the rear wheels. Then, disconnect the prop shaft, brake lines, and handbrake cable.

After removing the differential casing, carefully take out the standard differential and replace it with your chosen LSD. Ensure that the LSD is aligned correctly with the drivetrain, as an incorrect alignment can cause significant issues down the line.

Next, reattach the differential casing, and connect the brake lines, handbrake cable, and prop shaft. Remember to fill the differential with high-quality oil, typically recommended by the LSD manufacturer.

Setting Up Exhaust and Induction Systems

After installing the LSD, set up the exhaust and induction systems. The exhaust system is key in ensuring efficient performance of your AE86. A catback exhaust system, for example, can enhance power output and torque. Such systems replace every component of your exhaust from the catalytic converter back, including the muffler and tailpipe.

Meanwhile, the induction system is responsible for getting air into your engine. In drifting, a well-configured induction system can provide more power, a better throttle response, and overall improved performance. Consider using performance air filters or air intake systems to ensure the optimal flow of cool air.

Final Adjustments and Testing

The final phase involves making fine adjustments and testing the performance of your newly installed LSD. It’s recommended to adjust the clutch and brake systems to complement the LSD’s characteristics. Also, assess the wheel alignment and adjust the suspension if necessary.

After all adjustments, it’s time to test the car. Start with slow, controlled driving before progressively pushing the car more aggressively in a controlled environment. Monitor the LSD’s performance, the car’s handling, and any unusual noises.

Remember, installing an LSD is a game-changing upgrade to your AE86, enhancing your drifting experience by offering better car control and performance. Whether you’re new to the drift scene or a seasoned drifter, understanding the mechanisms behind your drift beast can only serve to enhance your performance and love of the sport.

Detailed Examination and Upgrading of the Braking, Cooling, and Fuel Systems

Before you embark on the LSD installation, a meticulous examination of your vehicle’s existing systems is indispensable to ensure the smooth functioning of the LSD. Pay special attention to the brake system, cooling system, and fuel system.

The brake system plays a key role in drift racing, enabling you to nip speed and maneuver your car around sharp turns. Upgrading to high-quality brake pads and rotors can significantly enhance your AE86’s braking performance, ensuring a reliable and controlled stop.

The cooling system, as mentioned earlier, is critical for maintaining the differential’s optimal operating temperature. Consider upgrading to a high-performance radiator and thermostat to prevent overheating, which could otherwise lead to untimely wear and damage to the LSD.

Fuel system upgrades are equally important. A high-flow fuel pump and adjustable fuel pressure regulator can help ensure the engine gets the right amount of fuel it needs while drifting. Also, inspect your intake system for possible enhancements. A performance intake system, for instance, can help increase horsepower by drawing in colder air.

Upgrading Suspension, Bushings Mounts, and Wheel Accessories

The suspension plays a pivotal role in a drift car, affecting your AE86’s handling and ride height. Upgrading to a coilover kit can provide you with a more comprehensive control over your car’s suspension, allowing you to adjust the ride height and damping to suit your drifting style.

In tandem with your suspension, bushings mounts can influence your car’s handling too. Upgraded polyurethane bushings can provide better resistance to deformation or damage, enhancing the rigidity of your AE86 without compromising on comfort.

Lastly, don’t overlook your wheel accessories. High-performance tires and lightweight wheels can enhance your car’s grip and handling, making it easier to initiate and maintain drifts.

Conclusion: Embrace the Enhancement and Revel in the Thrill

Installing a limited slip differential in your Toyota AE86 can truly transform your drifting experience. However, it’s not just about the LSD. The additional enhancements on the brake system, cooling system, fuel system, intake system, suspension, bushings mounts, and wheel accessories play integral roles in optimizing your AE86’s performance.

While the installation process may seem daunting, every step is worth the effort. From choosing the right LSD to making comprehensive upgrades and precise adjustments, each action contributes to amplifying your car’s potential. Remember, drifting isn’t just about speed and power; it’s about precision, control, and the thrill of seamlessly gliding around corners.

So, delve deep into the mechanics, make the necessary upgrades, and get ready to experience the sheer joy that comes with mastering the art of drifting in your very own enhanced AE86. Happy drifting!