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Success: Installed an IS300 Torsen LSD in my IS250

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Old 08-20-11, 01:30 PM   #1
Jeff Lange
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Default Success: Installed an IS300 Torsen LSD in my IS250

So about a week ago I posted some preliminary information about attempting to install an IS300 LSD into my IS250. Well it is now installed in the car, so I thought I'd just post a quick information thread along with final install pics and initial thoughts.

The IS300 uses the same differential case/setup as the IS250 RWD and 09+ IS250 AWD. The 06-08 IS250 AWD uses a smaller diff and the IS350 uses a larger diff (same size as the IS F):

01-05 IS300 models have a 205mm rear differential

06-08 IS250 AWD models have a 190mm rear differential (A Torsen from an IS200/RS200 Altezza might work well in this application)
06-11 IS250 RWD & 09-11 IS250 AWD models have a 205mm rear differential (The IS300 Torsen is a bolt-in upgrade for this application)
06-11 IS350 and IS F models have a 208mm rear differential

If you want to do this, what you'll need is an 01-05 IS300 differential with LSD. They come in either 3.73:1 or 3.91:1 ratios, same as the IS250 does.

There are various ways to tell what diff the IS300 has, depending on what information you have. There is the axle code on the car's information label, the sticker on the differential, looking through the axle hole, or pulling the diff cover off. As it is a Torsen, you cannot simply just turn one side and see if the other spins the same way or something like that, as without load the diff will act like a regular open differential.

On the IS300 information label, the axle code will be listed:
B01A = 3.73:1 (MT) Open
B01B or B01C = 3.73:1 (MT) LSD
B03A = 3.91:1 (AT) Open
B03B or B03C = 3.91:1 (AT) LSD

On the IS300 differential sticker, the code will be listed: (My sticker was so old, it could no longer be read, so I had to check the actual diff inside to confirm)
M82 = 3.73:1 (MT) Open
M86 = 3.73:1 (MT) LSD
M96 = 3.91:1 (AT) Open
M98 = 3.91:1 (AT) LSD

NOTE: The above list may not be comprehensive, there may be other labels.

As my car is a M/T (thus it has 3.73:1 gearing), I decided to try to find a complete differential out of an automatic IS300 for the 3.91:1 gearing (slightly improved acceleration at the expense of top speed). After finding a used one, I decided to pull the case off and inspect the gears for wear and to double check if it was an LSD. The sticker was unreadable on the differential I got.

After pulling out the IS300 axle stubs (you won't be using these), I cleaned and painted the housing and put it all back together with new seals, drain/fill plugs and a new breather. Not wanting to touch the rear suspension on the car, the exhaust was removed and the diff lowered down enough to get the axles out (they don't bolt-off like on the IS300).

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Initial impressions are very good. The turn-in response on harder cornering is better, and 1st gear take-off is (I think) nicer with the 3.91:1 gearing. I've only driven it a few kms, nothing really spirited yet, but so far it seems like it's working very nicely. There wasn't any noticeable wear to speak of on the ring and pinion and it seems very quiet.

So chalk this one up as a great success!

Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff Lange; 04-11-12 at 08:49 AM..
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Old 08-20-11, 01:35 PM   #2
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Awesome job. How much did this porject cost you total?
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Old 08-20-11, 01:46 PM   #3
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It's going to depend on how much you spend to get the LSD. Most used ones seem to be in around the $750-800 range, but I paid less than that. It was probably around $700 I guess once all was said and done.

Jeff
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Old 08-20-11, 02:57 PM   #4
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Since I just had the IS250 diff sitting on the bench, I threw the IS300 axle stubs into it to keep it from leaking or anything getting into it. Since I had the stubs in, I tried to feel what the "Semi-LSD" feels like, and it is (as expected) quite weak. It takes very little load before it slips.

Jeff
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Old 08-20-11, 08:35 PM   #5
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good stuff. definitely something for the performance-minded 2is owners to look into.

arbitrarily, on a scale of one to ten, how difficult would this DIY be, one being "piece of cake" and ten being "please leave it to the lexus master mechanics"?
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Old 08-20-11, 09:45 PM   #6
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^ would love to know that too. Wish I was even partially mechanically inclined.
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Old 08-20-11, 10:01 PM   #7
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This is a very nice find. Too bad not a lot of people know what an LSD is, otherwise this thread would have gotten a lot more posts.

This does not apply to the 350 right? only 250?
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Old 08-20-11, 11:33 PM   #8
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Wow very cool and unique mod. You don't see much 2IS LSD swaps here. Now you can go drifting
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Old 08-21-11, 12:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by projectdna View Post
good stuff. definitely something for the performance-minded 2is owners to look into.

arbitrarily, on a scale of one to ten, how difficult would this DIY be, one being "piece of cake" and ten being "please leave it to the lexus master mechanics"?
It really depends on what exactly you do. Just swapping diffs would probably be a 5-6, while if you have to do anything related to the patterning or replacing bearings it'd be closer to 8-8.5. Take those numbers with a grain of salt, everyone's skills are different. Most people here on CL don't seem to do this type of work themselves, so it's hard to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edgeucated View Post
This is a very nice find. Too bad not a lot of people know what an LSD is, otherwise this thread would have gotten a lot more posts.

This does not apply to the 350 right? only 250?
Correct, only the IS250 RWD or 09+ AWD. The IS350 has a very different setup with a dampened 3-bolt pinion flange and wider front mounting. It also has a finned rear cover and a larger ring gear. The subframe is also different to accommodate these changes.

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Originally Posted by NoAlias View Post
Wow very cool and unique mod. You don't see much 2IS LSD swaps here. Now you can go drifting
I'm not much of a drifter, I just figure if my IS250 won't be fast, I can at least make it handle well. I haven't yet decided what springs/shocks I want to run, but I will be going to something different. Likely the F-Sport or the factory Sport Suspension with the F-Sport sway bars. I'm also going to be looking into some new summer tires. The factory tires leave something to be desired as far as traction and road-feel goes.

Jeff
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Old 08-21-11, 05:51 AM   #10
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no more 1 wheel peel plus gearing boost great research and info for the 2IS
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Old 08-21-11, 06:17 AM   #11
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Awesome work Jeff!
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Old 08-21-11, 07:17 AM   #12
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very nice. looking forward to more details as more miles are driven!
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Old 08-21-11, 11:52 AM   #13
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Very nice work! Good to see that it's working good! Glad to see some Lexus owners aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty.

Now, with absolutely zero research into IS-F diffs...do they have a true mechanically LSD, or just the same thing as us 350 owners? I'm thinking of a similar swap, if an IS-F rear end can be had for less than $1k (the price for a Quaife LSD).
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Old 08-21-11, 11:59 AM   #14
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For the IS F:

2008-09's do not have an LSD.
2010+ has a Torsen.

Jeff
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1986 AE86 Corolla GT-S Supercharged with TRD Stuff
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Old 08-21-11, 12:46 PM   #15
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This is awesome. Great job man!!
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Old 08-21-11, 12:46 PM
 
 
 
 
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axle, diff, difference, differential, feel, install, is250, is300, lsd, m98, pics, pion, rack, removal, torsen

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