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*this is a follow-up to my previous thread about a non functioning rear diff*
Im RJ at Built Performance LLC in Wisconsin and I wanted to make this to be more so an informational piece if anything for those that want a bit of an upgrade or are looking for better information out there. After searching and searching i only came up with a couple threads even remotely helpful with this. After months of cross checking part numbers, opening rear ends, checking gear ratios, differences etc i decided to pull the trigger and purchase a used 2011 Honda Element Differential assembly with 30k miles from my local you pull it junkyard for $80!!

The info:
1997-2001 Differentials are all the same regardless of if there AUTO or Manual so dont let the junkyards or dealership try to fool you into paying triple the price for a "manual unit"

2002-2004 CRV diff WILL bolt up to any RD1 or RD2 (97-2001) CRV but will require dust shield/rings on your axles to be swapped from passenger side to drivers side. 02+ differentials have a new designed clutch friction surface shape in attempt to make more contact. These are also the same regardless of being from an auto or manual vehicle.

2005+ CRV diff will NOT bolt up to any gen 1 and are not compatible

2003-2011 Element diff will bolt up to your gen 1 with a few minor changes discussed in my videos below. 2008+ diffs DO have different clutch material and shape to the friction surface yet again to allow more "bite", quicker engagement and less wear with more longevity as well as redesigned ports and opening shapes for better fluid transfer characteristics. These require no axle swap or dust shield/boot swaps to be installed.

Noteworthy information: all rt4wd b series and k series transmissions use the same gear ratio for all you swap guys out there the only odd ball is the newer style ones 12+ and of course the OG civic wagon d series one. All manual and automatic rear differentials are the same no matter what anyone tells you. There seems to be a big thing with every single junkyard in a 100 mile radius trying to tell me there different as WELL as my local honda dealers. This is false even joe blow can cross reference part numbers from a 2000 cr-v to see there the same.

The Results:
The way this differential reacts in my crv is night and day. I have one 2000 with a 50 trim turbo setup on e85 and another that i installed this in that has an all motor build, full bolt ons, coilovers, wheels etc both 5 spd awd so i put these things through the rounds daily. Simply put in low traction situations i now feel like im driving more of a 4wd style system rather than a fwd assist. Lockup is MUCH faster and much harder with no noise. For those of you that have higher HP crv-s you know the sound im talking about if you've ever launched on dry pavement its more of a howling as your diff leaves you begging for more hook. Well, that issue is completely gone now. Living up north i would also highly recommend this to anyone in a snowbelt region, while you may think your fine stock this is just that much better and for the price you can find these at, you just cant go wrong.

On a side note for the civic wagon guys that are swapping b or k series and using CRV components you may also utilize this as well as this being a GREAT alternative to selling your first born child to find and afford purchasing a wagovan viscous rear diff lol.

Its late and i havent uploaded in depth pictures yet but i do plan to do that i just wanted to get this post up and make people aware we have other options out there for people that have always wondered but never dared to try. I call this the Built Performance element diff swap lol :p

On to the videos, i have some before videos i took using a slow motion camera and i will be out this weekend taking some after ones using the same camera to show the difference in lockup speed and traction on the same road in hopefully around the same weather conditions. For now though i just have 4 videos showing the process, and some of the basic info.

Video in 720p 60fps for best quality:
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmPJIUQUjP0

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INDHAstotu8

Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwWlIJuTTNs

Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S25msJ7akY





 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice!
Too bad Honda doesn't have a CRV/Element limited slip rear differential.

Sharp CRV
There is actually a solution with a bit of machining you can fit an Mfactory LSD from a b series trans into the rear housing which also in turn allows use of front axles from them which is a pretty big upgrade from the factory CRV toothpicks
 

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Machining of the housing or the differential unit?

Do you know if the K-Series differential listed on their site is in reference to the K-Series engines? I don't find the CRV listed.
 

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I realize that this thread is a few months old but maybe someone here can shine some light on my question?
Between the element diff and the 97-01 crv diff is the only difference in the clutch packs themselves? If so would just ordering the clutch packs for an element unit and putting them in a crv unit be as effective as the swap the OP did?
 

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I realize that this thread is a few months old but maybe someone here can shine some light on my question?
Between the element diff and the 97-01 crv diff is the only difference in the clutch packs themselves? If so would just ordering the clutch packs for an element unit and putting them in a crv unit be as effective as the swap the OP did?

Why would you want to do that if it's plug and play the element diff also has bigger fluid ports
 

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So to kind of revive a somewhat dead post I wanted to chime in a little. So I just Picked up a 2000 RD1 AWD and I work for Honda as a lube technician for about a year and a half now. And I saw this post a few days ago and it got me looking at the rear end on some of the newer CR-V's like 2012+ and the rear end casing is differently shaped than the 2011 Element but the way it bolts up still looks if I am not mistaken exactly the same as The RD1's and elements.

The only problem I see is that there are electronics now wired up to the newer CR-V rear diffs and I am not 100% what they are for. Like maybe they may have something to do with how it engages or if they are just sensors to talk if the rear diff/awd system is having an issue. Like maybe it can sense if the rear end isn't turning at a rate it should be under whatever conditions or something. But just thought I'd put my two cents out there and maybe give some new ideas or possibilities.

P.s. very good write-up. I definitely plan on doing this In the future.
 

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You mentioned all rear diffs are the same. Are you also referring to the final drive ratios being the same as well?

Ive searched and found that:
Manual is 4.7
Auto is 4.5
 

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Isn't the final drive ratio determined determined in the front transaxle? NOT in the rear diff.
 

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Unless it doesnt matter since the rear kicks in only when fronts are slipping anyway and its for a very temporary transient.
But in fulltime/4x4 awd world, yes, they need to match.
 

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i know this thread is old but I am looking onto doing this swap and am confused about the gear ratios and compatability.

the op states that everything is the same, but doing some reserch i found the following final drive ratios:

98-01 crv -
manual - 4.56
auto - 4.36

03 element -
manual - 4.77
auto - 4.44

11 element - (no manual avalable?)
auto - 4.50

as you can see the final drive ratios are different for mt, at, between element and crv, and sometimes vary by year. unless the transfer case has a gear before it outputs to the prop shaft to compensate for the difference in final drive of the front diff, the rear diffs would all have to have ratios matching the front diff.

the last poster here mentiond that it might not matter because its only a part time 4wd system, but this would actually matter a whole lot because of the way the 4wd is engaged is determined by the rpm of the imput shafts to the two diffs. if you had a higher gear ratio in the back (lower ratio number), the imput shaft would spin slower per tire revolution than the front, making the unit think the front was slipping constantly and thus engaging the clutch constantly. this would however wear out the clutch pack in short order. also when fully engaged the clutch would still have to slip to conpensate for the differnet ratios, or spin the rear tires. the opposite would happen if you had a lower ratio in the back, the clutch would not engage untill the wheels were slipping significantly.

the op stated that he used a 2011 element diff on a mt crv, in this case the ratios are actually so close you might not notice any mismatch issues (4.50 for the element vs 4.56 for the crv) but it still might be engaging the clutch a bit while driving, this could also explain why he feels the 4wd engages more agressively, because its already slightly engaged before slipping and would engage a bit more when slipping.

I also talked to a guy who owns an element and claims they have an electronic differential that he hacked to be able to switch between 2wd and 4wd with a button, but the research i did seemed to indicate al years of the element had the same diff housing as the crv, so it should still be a double pump clutch setup right?

anyone have any more info or experiemce with this? its a bit discouraging because i was under the impression i could pull any diff from a crv up to 05 or element of any year in the junkyard and it would work, but i have a manual 1st gen crv which is rare and i doubt ill ever find a manual crv in the junkyard.
 
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