Piston Slap: Eastern Oregonians Need LSD?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
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?

Sajeev answers:

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 mehta@ttac.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

Join the conversation
2 of 27 comments
  • Sam P Sam P on Apr 14, 2011

    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.

  • Mark_Miata Mark_Miata on Apr 14, 2011

    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.

  • SCE to AUX Faraday Future shouldn't even be here, and they won't make it. Other ultra-expensive EVs are fun projects for companies who can fund them from other revenue.The Lucid Air is a strange one because it starts at $87k but can run to over $250k. Most cars jump only around 50% for top trims, not 300%.As for EVs - don't give me more power (easy); give me more range (hard). And quicker filling time.
  • Dukeisduke It's funny how stuff like this crosses over between sites nowadays - there's an article about it today on MacRumors: Polestar 2 Software Update Brings Wave of New Apple CarPlay Features - MacRumors
  • Fahrvergnugen "If you’re itching for an ultra-exclusive EV – and who isn’t – "Me...
  • Dukeisduke Tim, once all this foam is everywhere, how do you get rid of it? Does it take a while to break down? I think of the scene in the 1963 James Garner / Doris Day film "The Thrill Of It All", where boxes of soap end up in the swimming pool, creating mountains of foam. The Thrill of It All (1963) - IMDb
  • MrIcky I have a foam cannon, it makes washing the car much faster which helps me do it more often. Foam cannon>pressure wash>suds bucket and mitt for tough spots but touch as little as possible>pressure wash those spots>spray on some detailer solution as I dry to keep the water beading up. 15 minutes-ish?