BMW/Titan LSD Viability

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Geoff Brown
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BMW/Titan LSD Viability

A warning to all with the BMW/Titan diff - IMO it will fail! Not if but when. 

There have been few posts/threads here about Titan LS units showing signs of failure or abruptly failing. So few that I believe the problem is the tip of a very large iceberg. 

I have fallen in to the 'failing' category.

I became suspicious when first driving the car post lock down. Lots of chattering especially when cornering hard with a slight application of power told me all was not well. The diff wheel direction check finally answered my fears. 

I stopped driving the car some months ago & have recently dropped the diff & had the pleasure of inspecting the Titan internals. After seven years & 20000 miles all I can say is that I was lucky & wise to have grounded the car when I did. All the springs had failed at one particular point tangentially, the thrust washers are so worn down that I could probably shave with the inner edge.

And surprise, surprise the plates were carbon faced - I thought that the move from sintered to carbon may have been as late as 2015? My LSD is 2012 vintage. Obviously incorrect on that one.

Luckily the crown wheel & pinion survived this slow break down.

One could have the Titan unit refreshed with sintered plates & the remaining internals overhauled if required but I would guess that the same problem would likely be revisited. Many factors depend on how quickly another refresh would occur - 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months or if you are very lucky 3 years. Or longer. But the more the years & miles pile on driving in total innocence the closer one is to catastrophic failure.

Is the Titan LS unit fit for purpose? IMO the Titan unit is definitely not a 'fit & forget' unit, has never been so due to some design & manufacturing aspects & probably never will be. Those of you out there that have been affected would likely say the same. A certain car manufacturer would discount the claim unless the problem with the Titan unit is a BIG one & the warranty claims keep on piling in. Best to keep a lid on that one then?  The industry & those that service the Titan would dispute that there is anything amiss because owners will be spending at least £600 or more if unlucky for a refresh or purchasing new units to keep the coffers filled up. Keep on keeping on & keep quiet?

Does the Seven race series have problems? Will we ever know?

A  well known driving experience provider became so p**sed off with spending enormous amounts per year to refresh Titan LS units that the decision was made to change direction. OK the cars & the LSD get a hammering but to some extent they should be able to take it so as not to need refreshing a couple of times a year losing revenue through labour costs & being off line.

I have made the decision to go in a different direction & not have a refreshed unit of questionable long term serviceability fitted to my diff. 

Names & places have not been mentioned for protection purposes!

ScottR400D
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Geoff, this is pretty well covered in other threads. I changed my Titan for an SPC LSD back in July and I know at least one other club member has done the same and another is about to do so. 

Not only is the SPC likely to last an awful lot longer than a Titan, it, IME and the opinion of the other club member, is much quieter in operation and noticeably better in function. It's not an exaggeration to say that it's transformed my car. The sintered plate Titan doesn't seem to last much longer than the carbon plate one and is far noisier and more clunky to boot, again in my and at least one other members experience. 

I don't know which option you're taking but I have no hesitation in recommending the SPC.

I don't know which engine you have but if you managed 7 years and 20k I assume less than 200bhp? Other friends with the Titan, running sigmas at up to 150bhp haven't had issues yet but I'm aware of several R400/420R owners who haven't got the life you have managed. It seems 10000 miles is about as good as it gets with over 200bhp. My car is 220bhp, has done a handful of track days, and the diff failed at less than 8000 miles. 

It's  been said before but worth repeating that regular checks of pre load and oil changes are very worthwhile for the Titan. Even then a regular rebuild is recommended by the experts and race cars are regularly rebuilt. 

Anyway, good luck which ever direction you choose. 

 

Geoff Brown
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Scott R400 #2 - I understand that this subject has been raised before. But as stated the few posts are a tip of a large iceberg IMO. Are owners reluctant to come forward in mass?

I own a 2012 (on the road 2013) home built R400D with 220 bhp so I have indeed been lucky. Hardly tracked - well maybe two or three times but mainly for road & touring.

During the seven years the oil has been changed three times so that may be the reason for longevity.

My diff has been with SPC since yesterday (6th Oct) & I am looking forward to getting it back in about two weeks fully refreshed. The cost is well worth it. 

My post was really intended to lure out the silent majority & rip the top off the can of worms........

John Vine
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It would be interesting to know which particular LSD has been fitted to which cars over the years.

For info, my 2008 R400D (RBs and 220 horses like Geoff's) came with a Quaife ATB.  I suppose that's not a true LSD, however. 

Phil Stewart refurbed the diff in late 2014 (just new seals, basically).  It's been trouble-free from new and getting on for 50K miles.

JV

ScottR400D
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Geoff, judging from what I have experienced you did well to get that far! Of course we don't know for sure how long your LSD has possibly not been functioning; I'm pretty sure, with hindsight, that mine was not working for some time before it finally self destructed but I wasn't checking preload regularly or anything, I never thought it would be necessary at such a low mileage.

I think that you're right, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. I don't think it's down to reluctance, more likely people just don't realise there's a much better option out there. I, like many I believe, knew about Steve's Sierra LSD but didn't know he did a version for the BMW 168. It was 7 Wonders on here who pointed me towards Steve. 
 

 

ScottR400D
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John, as I understand it the Quaife is arguably a better road option but not so good for track.

aerobod
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Titan don't claim longevity for their diff plates, 10,000 road miles or one race season is the recommended rebuild interval: https://titanexpress.co.uk/collections/drivetrain/products/lsd-rebuild-kit?variant=32355122053202

My 2013 R400D has the carbon plates and 33,000km on it with 3 oil changes, it seems to have now lost preload after 2,000km on the track in 7 track days this year, time for a sintered steel plate replacement this winter I think.

James

Wrightpayne
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The ATBs have been known to snap driveshafts if you lift a wheel in race conditions. 

I have one in my sierra diff and am pleased with it for predominently road use and occasional track days.

Ian

 

David_Long
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I'm struggling a little here with the implicit suggestion that the Titan diff is disaster waiting to happen.  We're happy to change brake pads because we know we the consequences if we don't. Why not applying that logic to a diff?   The Titan diff is good - one of the best for high performance, but it is not unlike like driving with you foot lightly on the brake - not something you can do continuously, unless you regularly check the wear.  Fit an ATB diff if you want 'fit and forget' reliability.

AG2728
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My diff (420R) has got noticeably noisier already after only 2000 miles. That's 600 road miles whilst running in and the rest have all been on track doing track days and sprints.

I changed the diff oil at 600 miles and again at 1500 miles. I also bought a magnetic plug to see if I can hopefully identify any serious issues at an early stage.

Out of interest, has anyone fitted a Wavetrac in a Caterham? I ask because we fit many of them at work and get regular good feedback about them. We have only fitted them to Porsches though.

I must add I have been impressed with the performance of the Titan and it does work really well in the 420 (for now).

The Wavetrac appeal to me is they seem to be pretty much fit and forget and I don't really find the idea of spending the same amount in regular rebuilds as appealing. But will it work as well as a Titan?

Andy

Wrightpayne
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Thing is I can change brake pads in 45 mins with basic mechanic skills.

Diff plate change is a whole different matter!