Piston Slap: Eastern Oregonians Need LSD?
Mark writes via LinkedIn:
You may remember I asked a question about the right winter car for my wife here in southern Oregon some time ago – she is happy now with her Subaru Forester, right in line with what the B&B said she should drive.
My current question has to do with my 2000 Mazda Miata. It has a hardtop, but is otherwise stock. Due to the arrival of my 1959 Rover P5 Sedan project car, the Miata has to live outside in the winter. I’ve put winter tires on it, but should I also man up and spend the money for a LSD rear end? It is an easy swap, but since I am confused after looking online about how much I would benefit in the snow from such an upgrade, I thought I’d ask for some advice. Should I spend the money on the Miata, or put a kicking sound system in the Rover?
So you didn’t get a Pontiac Aztek like I suggested? That’s pretty tragic, for me. Sounds like you did just fine, even though my advice proves you get what you pay for. Sorry about that!
So here’s my second shot: according to this site your Miata has a Torsen limited-slip differential. Which, thanks to the Spec Miata racer scene, is a rather hot commodity. I asked my Spec Miata friend (and all around cool chick) about her experience with adding a Torsen to her car, and it sounds rather cost prohibitive: buying a used LSD (and then rebuilding it) is about $1300, from a reputable shop. Neither of us much care for this route in your situation.
Of course you don’t have to rebuild it, a used part might be adequate for non-racing purposes. And maybe finding one is easier and cheaper in Oregon. But still, a couple of sandbags in the trunk is a smarter pairing with your winter tires. The Rover will thank you for it.
Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.
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Get some good studless tires + 50 pounds of ballast in the trunk and have at it. I got around fine with 100 pounds of cement and Michelin Arctic Alpins on my 740 & 940 Volvos. Sure, they weren't as good as having AWD but they got around fine in the snow of Eastern Washington state.
Of course I didn't buy an Aztec, Sajeev - why buy a Prius look-alike if you don't get the mileage? Thanks much for the advice, everyone - especially those who own and drive Miatas. Looks like the Rover gets the project money instead. I have winter tires for the Miata on a separate set of rims - studless snows, as the studs make too much noise. We can have studs here in Oregon, but the studless ones seem to work pretty well these days. Hereabouts we don't get really deep snow most of the time, and those few days we do I can borrow the Forester if I need to.