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The only issue with 35's will be the front wheel bearings, they will not last as long, take extra grease thru out the year, it is a small price to pay for 35's. As far as strength, the dana 35, and 8.8 are as strong as any, and the 8.8 you should have no issues with, this is the same rearend as in the mustang, but alittle stronger, a mustang has a spline count of 28, and the explorer has a spline count of 31.
35's and 4" of lift works. No body lift... Don't do a body lift unless you absolutely need it. I fit 35's no prob. Just get Perry's front fenders and they'll fit. 6 inch of lift should fit 35's. I know the front glass makes a big difference.