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MountaineerGreen's Selectable Front Diff Swap

Discussion in 'Offroad Drivelines' started by MountaineerGreen, June 5, 2007.

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    1. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      I covered this some in my front end rebuild thread, but I think its worth its own thread.

      Its a great mod, helps with fuel mileage, allows for the use of a locker or having 2wd low. I do not have a locker up front, so my front driveshaft no longer turns when I am driving down the road, much like an F150 or any older truck with hubs.

      EDIT: Please note I do not have the AWD Tcase anymore, I have a selectable "true" 4x4 BW4406

      For the V6 guys, I *suspect* this will be a bolt in deal. That is not confirmed, but the 96 v6 Explorer I pulled my front diff from had the oil pan clear of the knot on the passenger side of the differential. The v8's may run into oil pan clearance issues, but that will be covered.

      This is mostly a bolt in deal, with a little bit of wiring needed. The CV axles are the same, as is all other drivetrain parts.

      I got this from a 1996 Eddie Bauer Explorer with 4.10 Gears- Notice the vac globe in the picture. It has an extra port for the valves to pull vacuum from.

      [​IMG]

      The "knot" on the passenger side of the differential

      [​IMG]

      This is a standard front diff- the only thing different is the disconnect isn't there. All the mounting points are the same as is the driveshaft yoke.

      [​IMG]

      Its a drop out, bolt in deal- remove the half shafts, disconnect the driveshaft. Put the "new" diff in and bolt it back up.

      I got the valves from another 96 as well as the wiring harness from Karl to install on my truck.

      Mine is a V8, and I don't believe this is a bolt in deal for a stock V8 truck. I have a drop bracket lift, so my differential being lowered helps greatly.

      [​IMG]

      This picture is from the bottom, looking straight up-

      [​IMG]

      See how close it is to the oil pan?

      I got it all bolted in, of course I made sure the vac motor and shift fork were in good shape before that.

      I got the "vacuum control" valves mounted to my header panel, sorry no pictures. There are two wires and two hoses that connect to the diff, then run to the valves. The two wires are just for the indicator, a signal source down, then back up when the diff is engaged.

      A power wire goes to the valve, +12v at all times.

      Then, two wires, one for disconnected, one for engaged. All they need is a ground signal to activate the valve.

      I got all this info from this very useful thread:

      http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88718

      So, I ran 5 wires from the connector on the harness under the hood to the dash.

      I wired the switch using a relay and painstakingly drilled a hole in my radio bezel for the switch.

      Here it is off:

      [​IMG]

      On:

      [​IMG]

      The light is an indicator light for the differential position. Switch position has no effect on the light.

      Here, the light is on even though the switch is in the off position. That is because I put the Tcase in 4hi engaged the front axle and turned enough to bind the front axle. Turn the switch off, the light won't change until the differential disconnect releases.

      [​IMG]

      I am getting 1-2 MPG better fuel mileage consistently with this axle disconnected.
       
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    3. AMMO_HOOAH

      AMMO_HOOAH Active Member

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      I love this idea my only question is what years/ configuration had this axle? Also when I start calling yards what am I asking for as far as the vacuum stuff?
       
    4. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      The selectable axles came from 95's and 96's, I believe.

      I have concerns about running the selectable diff with 37's though. The disconnect may not hold up to em.

      You need the diff, the wiring/hose harness that goes to the valves, the valves themselves and the vac globe from the same truck.

      If anyone ends up needing it, I will post a wiring diagram.
       
    5. 95exploderboy

      95exploderboy Locked and Loaded

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      That is correct. I ended up locking mine in the locked position after I stopped trusting it to work when I wanted it to.
       
    6. Hokie

      Hokie Hokius Maximus

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      Pretty certain it wouldn't work for us non diff dropped V8 guys?

      Exactly why I'm considering it. That and I could lock my front end and still use 4x4 (well, technically 3x4 ;)) when driving to/from the ski resorts.
       
    7. Turdle

      Turdle I bake stuff Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    8. Hokie

      Hokie Hokius Maximus

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      Well, no one has tried on a V8 with the diff in the stock height... so we don't know if it can be done.

      Ford never put a vacuum disco front axle with a V8 as they were AWD and didn't need it.
       
    9. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      I am not really sure- it'd be tight for sure. You could possibly clearance your oil pan a bit. But the only way to tell would be to hang one under there.

      You could drop your diff about 1" and it may help. It'd help your CV angle with a TT as well.
       
    10. Hokie

      Hokie Hokius Maximus

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      I've made a promise to myself to never TT a vehicle again ~ after driving an '07 Toyota 4Runner around in the New Mexican oil/gas service roads I've come to appreciate a nice, smooth ride.

      Oh well, I'd love to do this but I don't have the time/money/shop to mess with shaping or custom oil pans
       
    11. AMMO_HOOAH

      AMMO_HOOAH Active Member

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      I know this thread is kinda old but how do has it been holding up for you mountaineergreen? I picked up (literally) a couple of selectable axles and the stuff to go with them this weekend. Not to mention a moonroof, and a new hood.

      Edit: I'd also like to know how you wired the light to the indicator leads.
       
    12. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      Check my first post, it explains the wiring thing pretty well, once you get all the factory harness in hand it will make more sense. I don't really know how to explain it better.

      I love the selectable differential. It eliminates any vibrations from my non balanced double cardan driveshaft since it doesn't spin. I occasionally click it on just to keep it all moving, I can tell a huge difference when accelerating. Since I drive mostly on road, this is perfect for me. Also, if I am in a place where I need low range but not all four wheels griping, I can put my case in 4 low but not click on the differential for what works out to be 2 low.
       
    13. ProjectAviator

      ProjectAviator Elite Explorer

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      I have the vacuum valves, and all the vacuum stuff, but the globe. if someone needs them. I went to 4:10s and a 97 front diff. ( Thanks Hokie the 4:10 rear and install help on both) I will be using the vacuum globe for a reservoir on my wifes Lincoln, though.

      Tim
       
    14. AMMO_HOOAH

      AMMO_HOOAH Active Member

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      Actually I'm just a little confused on how you used the relay in there.
       
    15. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      Honestly, its been nearly a year since I did the swap and I can't remember how I wired the relay in. I used a standard 5 prong automotive relay though :scratch: Next time I have my stuff apart, I will diagram what I did.
       
    16. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Moderator Emeritus

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      Did you ever take any pictures of the inside of the vacuum disco bubble?
      I'm wondering how much can be shaved off :)
       
    17. ProjectAviator

      ProjectAviator Elite Explorer

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      From what I have seen it is wired like a 5 wire door lock system. there is a diagram I saw once on here.

      Tim
       
    18. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      The explanation in the thread I linked in the first post is very helpful-



      I thought about this more today and here is what I got- The 12v positive went to one of the side posts on the relay, switched by the lighted switch. A ground was run to one the main "input" post on the relay, the green/pink wire connects to the post nearest the input. The blue/yellow wire goes to the furthest post on the relay. Tie the brown wire to a ground and the black wire to the ground post on the switch. Make sense?
       
    19. AMMO_HOOAH

      AMMO_HOOAH Active Member

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      Actually I ended up figuring it out today, except I had to get a different relay. I used one that had a N.O. and a N.C. circuit, so it would switch from one solenoid to the other.

      Edit: Also not every toggle switch is setup to be able to work with the light still on when the switch is off. Some the light can only be on when the switch is no matter where you have the ground and hot.

      Edit 2: So I spent like 45 minutes today trying to find another (I burnt the LED out of the first one on accident) toggle that works with the light on in either direction, alas I couldn't find another so I just wired in non-lighted switch with a indicator light. Thanks for doing the legwork on this mountainneergreen!
       
      Last edited: April 13, 2008
    20. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      I had the Mounty out for some fairly serious 4x4ing this weekend and used the heck out of this disconnect. I ran in 4x4 low most of the day, just clicked off the diff to make tight turns or faster sections of the trail. It saves wear and tear on the CV axles, helps with tight turns and makes my truck more capable than ever.
       
    21. V8BoatBuilder

      V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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      I love my selectable axle too, for the same reasons Evan posted above. I really like having 2wd Low Range.

      But I need the electrical plug that connects to the axle to monitor the lock/unlock position, anyone have an extra?
       
    22. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      I think I have an extra harness- I'll have to look tomorrow. :scratch:
       
    23. V8BoatBuilder

      V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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      Thanks Evan, let me know!
       
    24. N3BP

      N3BP New Member

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      Hey Guys,

      I know this is a really old thread, but has anybody confirmed if the 95-96 CAD axle will fit in a 5.0L V8 at factory height and clear the oil pan? I just completed a 4406 swap and am having trouble with front drive shaft vibrations. It drives so well without a front drive shaft that I want CAD axle now. Thanks!
       
    25. Willcall

      Willcall Elite Explorer

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      I would also like to know this.
       
    26. N3BP

      N3BP New Member

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      Well, unfortunately it will not clear the oil pan. I tried tweaking it every which way but it hits at the front right corner in front of the drain plug. Even with the front axle out, it looks to be a major production to remove the pan. The steering rack appears to be too close to the bottom of the pan. I guess I'll have to purchase another pan, cut it and weld a new piece back in and have my mechanic put it in.....
      Brandon
       

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