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2000 Honda CR-v 5-speed AWD
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Discussion Starter #1
I tried looking around for information on this so ill just wrap this up in one article. I have a 2000 Honda CR-v AWD 5-speed and wanted to improve its off-road capabilities without going full on insane. First logical step would be getting an autolocker for the rear diff right? Here is what I wanted to share to anyone else that was on the same thought process. I hit up TORQ-Masters because they sold auto-lockers for honda pioneers (Link Below). My logic was maybe the diff size was similar and I could machine the differences/make it work. So I reached out to them via phone and they were very friendly and accepting. The tech I spoke to was very informative and explained she gets several calls like this for CR-v owners a month! Turns out the auto locker puts out quite a bit of excessive force on the differential case and in the case of RD1 differentials being aluminum, would explode the casing. So she gave me a few options that I found pretty interesting.

Option 1: Source my own selective locking diff ($10,000+) That was a hard nope since I got the vehicle for only $1k in the first place.
Option 2: Convert the CR-v's independent rear suspension to a solid axle dana 30 out of a volvo, which they sell alot of locking diffs for.

So now the hunt begins for any information I can find. Has anyone heard of someone converting their CR-v to a solid rear axle? And if so, any idea of the parts list required to do so? This would be something I am most interested in doing.

TORQ-Masters auto locker forHonda Pioneer's


TL;DR Honda diffs are weak and will explode with an autolocker. hence why they dont exist. Was recommended to swap the cr-v rear suspension to a solid axle dana 30 and get a locker for that. Looking to share my experience and also ask for info on the swap.
 

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1998 CR-V EX 4spd auto "Big Green" completely stock with roof rack and front mud flaps
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the whole rear end of the drivetrain is built to be as lightweight as possible, so it's not just the differential that can't take full engine's torque, it's the rear CV shafts and the propeller shaft as well.

I've seen references to replacing the drive shaft with a viscous coupling drive shaft from a four-wheel drive Civic, and then putting in a plate that permanently locks the RT4WD clutch closed. I can't recommend that because I haven't seen it in person, but I have read people having good results.

If I was going to modify things to improve those capabilities, I would probably try to put either a locking differential in the front, OR limited slip in the front, because that's the primary drive axle. I have even seen a tutorial from someone who did it, but I don't remember where that was. the biggest downside to that is you have to disassemble the transmission in order to access the front differential.
 

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1998 CR-V EX 4spd auto "Big Green" completely stock with roof rack and front mud flaps
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If you want to check this one out, he makes references to all of the parts he put in.

 

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The first gen engines are anemic, and there is no two-speed transfer case--I wouldn't even bother. It wasn't made to off-road, and parts will constantly be breaking as they were not made to travel over rocks and boulders or dig their way out of sand. Put on too high of a lift kit and the axles will wear out quickly, for instance. If you like the lifted look, sure, go for it. But the added abuse is something the CR-V was never designed for. It's a passenger car. I'd rather put my off-road money into a Toyota that has the transfer case and ground clearance already. The CR-V is great for what it is, but it is not an off-road machine by any means. (My '09 with a more powerful engine struggles on the dirt roads in Utah, and those aren't even really that extreme.)
 
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1998 CR-V EX 4spd auto "Big Green" completely stock with roof rack and front mud flaps
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645 Posts
It wasn't made to off-road,
That really depends on what sort of off road you're talking about. I've had no trouble taking BG off road, and there are lots of people who do take RD1s off road, and who enjoy it, and who don't find the original engine insufficient for that purpose.

Obviously, you want to pick to trails you drive with your vehicle's capabilities in mind, and when purchasing a new vehicle, you want to pick one suited to the sort of trails you want to drive on.

It's not black and white though. The CR-V was designed to do some off road driving from the start. That's why 2wd CR-Vs weren't offered until 1998. It's just not made for the same territory as a 4runner or a Wrangler.
 

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2000 Honda CR-v 5-speed AWD
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Discussion Starter #6
Super late response but I thank you all for your input. Solid axle plans have all but been put to rest in favor of other options being developed. i.e. Auto K&D designing axle adapters to let you run porsche axles on a stock diff (thicker and more deflection), as well as working on an in-house locker and torsion LSD for the rear. Just easier and more cost effective in the end. As for what kind of offroading im planning on doing?
How about this? https://youtu.be/5ozW3SMKzKQ
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Didnt do that bad either. Obviously needs a snorkel, axle and trans breather tubes, a skid plate and some more power (great on flat ground, not so much when climbing a 20 degree grade with rock steps.) but for what it was? I was overall impressed. (little more lift never hurt either)

Thanks again for all your input and opinions! I value them all!
 

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'98 EX AWD
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313 Posts
The stuff I've done in my CRV, you shouldn't be able to do in it. (including above pic) I even impressed my 4Runner friend's. Any info you're willing to put in this thread, I'm down!
 

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2000 Honda CR-v 5-speed AWD
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Discussion Starter #8
The stuff I've done in my CRV, you shouldn't be able to do in it. (including above pic) I even impressed my 4Runner friend's. Any info you're willing to put in this thread, I'm down!
I'm actually following the build Here if your interested in following its progress. Just took it to flagpole knob with a bunch of jeeps and had a blast XD
 

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2001 Crv SE
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I have heard that the 2nd generation rear ends bolt in and they are beefier. I also know you can get an upgraded rear clutch pack for better engagement for first or 2nd gen. I don't think there is a cheap option for upgrading rear end. Like you mentioned about the front baby transfer case being a weak link, I think when I upgrade I am just going with a little better clutch pack and try to make it limited slip. I'm curious to see what you decide.
 

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2000 Honda CR-v 5-speed AWD
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Discussion Starter #10
I have heard that the 2nd generation rear ends bolt in and they are beefier. I also know you can get an upgraded rear clutch pack for better engagement for first or 2nd gen. I don't think there is a cheap option for upgrading rear end. Like you mentioned about the front baby transfer case being a weak link, I think when I upgrade I am just going with a little better clutch pack and try to make it limited slip. I'm curious to see what you decide.
That is true to my knowledge. The 2nd gen or even an Element diff bolt in and are beefier. However I just got the DPQS (Makes rear diff engage harder, faster and stronger) kit and the upgraded clutch pack kit from Auto K&D (got the DPQS kit, waiting on clutches) because my stock ones, SQUALL LIKE HELL when I really throw the beans at em. the M/T tires I run are really grippy offroad and the 300k miles old clutch packs dont like it much. Once its all here and I install it (Might make a video showing the process) I will be sure to do some before and after tests or something of that sort and give my two cents.

Also you mentioned an LSD, Auto K&D is working on designing some in house affordably so here in the near future you can get some from them. Beefier axles too. REALLY curious how those turn out. Also here theyre working on a locker as well.
 

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2000 Honda CR-v 5-speed AWD
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Discussion Starter #12
Do you have a link to any of these kits??
I'll see what I can find in the morning. They're website took a dump right after I ordered my stuff so idk if it's back up yet. Worst case you can always reach him on Instagram C: they're still working on the designing part of alot of the stuff (Porsche axle adapters, torsion lsd, etc)
 

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'98 EX AWD
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I'll see what I can find in the morning. They're website took a dump right after I ordered my stuff so idk if it's back up yet. Worst case you can always reach him on Instagram C: they're still working on the designing part of alot of the stuff (Porsche axle adapters, torsion lsd, etc)
No worries, I tried to find the website but nothing came up. I also don't have an IG account, so that won't work either.
 

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2000 Honda CR-v 5-speed AWD
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Discussion Starter #15
Theyre website is down because theyre building a new one on a different domain all on their own. I went ahead and reached out to them for you since you said you didnt have an IG. Here are some snapshots of the things theyre working on.

142354
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142356


So long story short, theyre working on customizable ring and pinion gear sets, 3 different types of diffs, Torsion LSD, Locker and Air-Locker. They are working on adapters that plug into the diff that let you run porsche axles shown above with the diffs and pinion set, AND theyre working on a ruggedized transmission casing for offroad use like their H and F series case.

All this being R&D'd with only 3 people as a crew? While making a new website AND keeping up with social media? It might take some time before this is all done, but man its gonna be cool as hell when it is done C:
 

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'98 EX AWD
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Thanks for the info! I love how people are still creating parts for these now considered "old" vehicles. My CRV isn't going anywhere, so I don't mind waiting. Thanks again!
 

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1999 CR-V M/T
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That is true to my knowledge. The 2nd gen or even an Element diff bolt in and are beefier. However I just got the DPQS (Makes rear diff engage harder, faster and stronger) kit and the upgraded clutch pack kit from Auto K&D (got the DPQS kit, waiting on clutches) because my stock ones, SQUALL LIKE HELL when I really throw the beans at em. the M/T tires I run are really grippy offroad and the 300k miles old clutch packs dont like it much. Once its all here and I install it (Might make a video showing the process) I will be sure to do some before and after tests or something of that sort and give my two cents.

Also you mentioned an LSD, Auto K&D is working on designing some in house affordably so here in the near future you can get some from them. Beefier axles too. REALLY curious how those turn out. Also here theyre working on a locker as well.
Did you ever get a chance on installing the spool kit and new clutch pack? I just got mine. I'm curious if you notice any difference
 

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1998 CR-V EX 4spd auto "Big Green" completely stock with roof rack and front mud flaps
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Are they working on an lsd for the front? I'd be more interested in that since the front is the primary drive axle.
 

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2000 Honda CR-v 5-speed AWD
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Discussion Starter #19
Honestly I got the DPQS kit in and have been waiting on the clutch packs ever since. Still no word on when they will get here. I will update you when I get them in and installed.
 

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1999 CR-V M/T
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I would follow up with Automotiveknd again. I ordered both kit and clutches on 10/25. Got the kit on 11/2 and the clutches yesterday. Since the clutches were sent from Serbia directly, they had some delay due to Covid.

The kit doesn't really come with any 'instructions' but the owner said he's going to walk me through it. I took apart my spare diff last night, looking at the kit, it doesn't look like we'll be installing everything that comes in the kit. I'll attempt installing them tonight, hopefully all goes well.
 
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