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Old 07-01-2014, 05:34 AM   #1
paraklas
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Talking Review: MFactory Helical LSD Unit, Installation, Testing

I would like to start this review by declaring that I have no affiliation with any of the mentioned companies.

I have been researching for an economical solution to add an LSD (Limited Slip Differential) on my car; E46 320CI with s/s. My requirements would be a plug and play solution without case modifications (thus eliminating clutch-based units) at a reasonable price tag. Car being 13 years old, I did not want to spend a large amount of money. The popular options that I found was the Quaife (established brand, widely used) and Wavetrac (newer brand in the BMW E46 field, higher tech, unique features), with similar price tags; (750 GBP and 1200 USD respectively).

Relatively recently, I stumbled across the LSD unit from Mfactory. I went on their website and checked in their wide model based if there is a unit suitable for my application/vehicle (mine is 3.38 final drive ratio, 188K case). I was a bit skeptical at first due to the fact that the LSD is manufactured in Taiwan (vs UK / USA for the other 2), but after reading a lot of reviews from both BMW and JDM world, I decided to proceed purchasing it. The cost was lower than the competition as well which is a big plus and also the lifetime transferable warranty.

Specs - Straight from their website:
Click here

Before purchasing I communicated with the company to make sure I get the correct model and I received prompt replies via e-mail and later on through the PM system on E46Fanatics. I received the unit within 1 week of ordering via EMS Express mail.

Extremely well-packaged without any damage even on the carton.
E46 LSD options

Opening the package revealed the LS unit wrapped in nylon with oil (guess for preservation). The unit construction appears solid, without any blemishes, machining remains, or rough edges or whatever. If it was presented as a BMW part, I would not be able to tell the difference. The unit is also quite heavier than the original factory one.

Here are some pictures from the unpacking:
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As with any installation of such nature, I made sure to purchase from dealership some necessary items:
Halfshaft oil-seals, gasket maker silicone, new bolts, Motul differential oil (1200ml).
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FYI, for the E46, BMW does not list individual parts, but they rather sell you a complete differential unit. The bolt part number is from an E36 328 Coupe MY1999. No part numbers are listed as there are variations across models.

I decided not to purchase bearings or any other parts (i.e. shims) unless needed, as I didn't want to spend unnecessary money. Asking several local builders, I was told that they never had to replace bearings in the LS builds.

On the 30th I planned the installation, at a BMW specialized shop. Was happy to see a pile of reconditioned differentials there.

Some pictures from the installation:
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Badly leaking from gasket area
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Undoing all the bolts/nuts to allow the diff to drop
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Driveshaft disconnected
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Out:
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Input flange with pinion nut (left it there didn't touch it)
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Prying the 2 halfshafts out and marking each side to go back to same place
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Pop the oil seal out using a prybar (TIS instructions)
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Wiped the area around the oil seals, removed the bearing races (again marking sides), removed diff cover (8 bolts) (7 bolts for the smaller 168K)

Open differential sitting on the bench
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Output flanges with races and locking springs/shims and bearings
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Inside the 3.38 188K unit:
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Crown wheel out:
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Last edited by tim330i; 04-28-2015 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:35 AM   #2
paraklas
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The two differentials next to each other; MFactory & OEM
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Crown wheel pre-cleaning
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Measuring some diameters; NO difference between the two units

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Assembly time:
Crown wheel to LS unit, perfect match
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Loctite for the bolts!
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Starting to put things together: 110Nm, star pattern
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Pressing bearings back:
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Mfactory/bearings back in to the case, reverse install, races, shims, measured clearances, found within spec (no change from original measurement). Sorry, didn't get pictures of that process.
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Cleaned the (blocked) weep hole, applied gasket maker, joined the two parts
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After a 3h break, we refilled with oil, installed it back to the car. I spinned the wheels by hand while on lift to hear for noises or feel any play, but there was nothing.

We took the car for a (very spirited) test drive and what a difference!!! Specially in the corners, the power delivery is quite different and you can really feel the car pushing hard throughout the corner. There was no ASC intervention throughout the test drive (it was enabled) and there were no issues i.e. odd noises upon acceleration/deceleration.
Overall I am very pleased with this purchase, highly recommended to anyone considering an LSD unit. I commute around 600miles / week, so I will provide in short time a 2000 mile review.
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Last edited by tim330i; 04-28-2015 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:08 AM   #3
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Excellent review, glad you are enjoying your purchase so far
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:16 AM   #4
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I heard very positive feedbacks regarding installation of Helical LSD from my another community. Stephen should know what I mean.
I hope I'll publish more photos from installation of Helical LSD bit later.
However, I have some words regarding Metal Plate LSD which looks like Cusco RS.

1) Except some issues with fitment in diff housing - fitment is very well. I reported my comment to Stephen and he informed me, that case of latest Metal plate LSD version was bit changed.
2) Well, for Helical LSD you should use usual oil. But, please pay attention, for clutch type LSDs recomended another type of oil. It related to differences between type of functionality Helical and Metal plated LSDs in terms of MFactory. Metal plate LSD it's a true Limited Slip Diff. Oil should be more slippery than "normal" oil. Of course, you can decide to use Castrol SAF-XJ oil for LSD which uses in M-series. Unfortunately I found that it's not very good idea. In fact, in motion - absolutely perfect! But with Castrol oil this LSD unbelievable noisy on low speed corners - parking first of all, but also when I tried to start and turn on crossroad as e.g.! Lock instantaneous. But again, in motion - absolutely perfect!
Side effect - during such not completely correct operations, cluthes of LSD have higher temperature, which definetelly bad. Diff cover with additional radiator can little bit reduce temp, but it's not right way.

I asked my friend who owner of BMW M-series cars and they said, that from time to time have same situation with noise.
I investigated this situation and found couple of things.
Actualy, same situation for M-series described in SI B33 01 02.
It means, that BMW ordered another special oil for LSD with Friction Modifiers(from Castrol I suppose) instead existing, which the same to Castrol SAF-XJ, but this "right" oil available only as original oil. In fact - bit expensive for oil.
However, Redline(on other company of course) product Limited Slip Friction Modifier. Also, in other comminities I found same recomendation to use KaaZ oil and/or Friction Modifiers.
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:19 AM   #5
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Looks quality.
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:21 AM   #6
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Yes, all of the Metal Plate LSD's are now the revised fitment, so NO modifications are required to the carrier casing for the LSD to fit. The issue was due to the width of the Metal Plate LSD (due to the discs inside). This IS NOT an issue with the Helical LSD.

With regards to gear oil, no special fluid is required for the Helical LSD. For the Metal Plate LSD, due to noise during low speed corning, it is advised to add some Friction Modifier to reduce the "disc chatter". Again, no special fluid is actually required for the Metal Plate LSD either; just the Friction Modifier (around $5 per bottle).
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MFactory View Post
...due to the discs inside...
Is it mean, that you have another disk size for new Metal Plate LSD which are different with old version?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MFactory View Post
just the Friction Modifier (around $5 per bottle).
Yes, correct, with one small comment - need to add FM before operating of LSD or use oil which already have FM. In other case it can overheat and broke Metal Plate LSD
In described situation, Castrol SAF-XJ already have some modifiers but is not enough and additional modifiers is required.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:09 AM   #8
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The discs are the same, but we modified the design of it slightly to give us more room to modify the casing
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:23 AM   #9
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The discs are the same, but we modified the design of it slightly to give us more room to modify the casing
Ok, I'll rephrase. Old disks and new disks are interchangeable?
As owner of "old" version of LSD I think about spare parts in future.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:24 AM   #10
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Yes, you will still be able to use the discs in future
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:36 AM   #11
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Yes, you will still be able to use the discs in future
Perfect!
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:54 PM   #12
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So it was $1000 vs $1200 for the wavetrac?
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:55 PM   #13
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Our group buy just now is $799.96 inc shipping
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:45 PM   #14
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NIce. What ratios are sold? Can you provide like a 3.15 or something similar and pop it in a 2.93?
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:49 PM   #15
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We don't have any oem cores or final drives in stock at the moment, so for the rebuild service, the quickest option would be for you to send us your core (the final drive ratio will be the same as what you send us). Alternatively, we could source a different core for you first, but this may take some time.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:37 PM   #16
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So it was $1000 vs $1200 for the wavetrac?
Well actually the Wavetrac is on sale for $1036 shipped, there's a current thread on it.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:39 PM   #17
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Yup, so $799.96 vs $1036
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:51 PM   #18
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Yup, so $799.96 vs $1036
Absolutely agree.

Some guys might want the Asian made lsd, others will want the USA made lsd.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:15 PM   #19
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is the quality of these lsd like the obx or much better?
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:16 PM   #20
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Note: This is NOT a bash at US or UK made LSD's as they are very good quality LSD's; just expensive for what you are getting due to higher labor costs and "brand name tax"

Western Made LSD's: These are ALL machine-cut LSD's (aka Billet)

Asian Made LSD's: Can fall into two categories:

1) Cast Helical LSD's (e.g OBX, eBay etc) - The bane of Asian made products, and what gives "Asia" (or in particular, made in China/Taiwan) it's bad reputation. Mass made in zero-QC factories throughout China & Taiwan (mainly China)
2) Forged Helical LSD's (i.e MFactory) - We are the Only company to offer a Forged Helical LSD; Designed & Engineered in the USA, but manufactured in-house in Taiwan. We control 100% the design, development and manufacturing of our LSD's, and this is why we are able to offer "similar (if not better) to Western Made" at a much lower cost. In terms of manufacturing quality and strength, instead of repeating myself over and over, I will leave it for you to decide: http://www.teammfactory.com/articles_forging

To put it simply, it is impossible for a "Western" manufacture to offer something similar in terms of manufactured specification to our Helical LSD (and Gears) without it costing several times more.

As the saying goes, it is not Where a product is made, but Who is making it

Last edited by MFactory; 07-01-2014 at 11:17 PM.
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