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'91 diff options?

pgrey

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Hi all,

I have a '91 Explorer that is being upgraded to become a better off road vehicle. It's not going to see anything too serious - no rock crawling, just 4x4 roads in the Sierras. It will also serve as our primary skiing transportation. It's getting 31 x 10.5s, and a 2.5" lift. It's got 3:73s. I'll make some sway bar disconnects and some skid plates.

I called Randy's Ring and Pinion and West Coast Differentials and got conflicting stories about what's available for the front of this truck.

Randy's tells me that I should put a True Trac in. WCD tells me that there's nothing that'll fit. Neither of them could tell me if I've got 28 or 31 spline axles and I couldn't tell them. Maybe that's the source of the confusion...

I was thinking about an ARB in the front and a LS of some kind in the back. That would give me good snow handing and great off road traction. But, it's expensive though. If I could find something workable without spending money for ARB, plus compressor, etc... that'd be great. Of course, according the WCD, the ARB won't fit any way...

My questions:

What diffs will fit the front of this vehicle?

Is the stock rear LS (after rebuild) as effective as aftermarket units or should I plan on upgrading that too?

Assuming that there are diffs available for the front, any recommendations as to what I should do (front and/or rear) to get good off road traction and not make the car understeer horribly in the snow?

I suppose I could weld the front and only lock one hub in the snow...

Thanks,

Peter
 



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NH25

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There are lots of options for the Dana 35 front end in the Explorer. Lock Right makes a locker for it as well as Detroit and ARB. The axle spline count is actually 27 (same as a Jeep dana 35).

The stock LS can be built to be pretty effective and with a locker in the front with 31's you wont need anything more than that.

If you are looking for better traction in the snow then its a toss up. Without a locker you will just spin one tire. With a locker or a LS you will spin both tires but will slide downhill. Personally I think it is better to have a locker in the snow. Just air down really low and try to keep on top of the snow and try not to spin your tires.

Hope that helps!
 






pgrey

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Understand that for the snow what I'm looking for is a good vehicle for driving on-road to the ski areas, not off road snow driving. I'm concerned that a locker on the front will make on-road snowy driving tough. I want to be able to toss the keys to my wife and not worry about her sliding off the road nose first.

What about using a locker and only locking one hub while on road? Would a True Trac or other LS in the front be drivable in the on a snowy road?

Peter
 






RFR2212

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Originally posted by pgrey
What about using a locker and only locking one hub while on road? Would a True Trac or other LS in the front be drivable in the on a snowy road?

That will cause the vehicle to pull to the side which ya lock... Not exactly the safest
 






pgrey

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So what would you recommend?

Peter
 






AlaskanJack

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Well for snow driving a locker in the front will push you all over the place and driving would not be fun for your wife. Turning would be scary also. I think the best thing I did for my wifes 94 Ex was getting her wider tires 31x10.5 studded for winter driving. These tires fit without rub and no additional lift. The wider stance is much better on the icy roads.

I would get my rear axle code and make sure that I had LS and not assume I did. I've got a Stock LS in my 93, an Auburn posi in my 91 and my wifes 94 has an open diff. So the best I could do for her is to add in a LS unit in the rear, cheap fix for her needs.

check your axle code and post it, but if you know you have 3.73's then I would assume you also have a LS.
 






pgrey

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As I said in my first post, I have a limited slip in back, and I have 3.73s. Of this I am certain - I didn't just assume it. I'm going to put 31x10.50s BFG AT Muds on the car.

I'm looking for recommendations for a front diff. It sounds like people are shying away from a fronter locker. This I expected. Does anyone recommend or have experience with a front LS on a snowy road? I understand that this will not be as good an off road setup as a locker, but I'm trying to strike a comprimise.

Peter
 






RangerX

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I'll throw in my two cents...:)

If WCD says there is nothing for your front, stay away from them!

Your rear axle is 31 spline. Your front is a Dana 35. Plenty of people on this board have an ARB in their front 35. Although pricey, it sounds like the best match for your requirements.

I ran two LS's in my truck for years, a TracLok in front and an Auburn in back. Although I only had it on snowy roads 2 or 3 times, I think that setup would not be any problem for you.

If you go with an LS, a True Trac is about the best, followed by Auburn, with the stock TracLok being better than nothing. ;)
 






AlaskanJack

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I know Rick ran a LS in the front for sometime in his Explorer. You might ask him what he thought.

If you have 3.73's and the factory LS in the rear then that is good for snow, but the factory LS could be freshened up since they loose some tightness over time and become like 30% effective. That is not really expensive to have done either.
 






pgrey

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Thanks guys. I really appreciate your help.

If I don't want to spend the money on an ARB unit in front, it sounds like a TrueTrac in front with either a rebuilt stock unit (the same as a TracLok, yes?) or a True Trac in back is a viable way to go. Can the stock unit be rebuilt/tightened up to be as good as the True Trac or is there a durability and strength issue as well?

Thanks again,

Peter
 






SteveVB

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Peter,

I have a new in the box ARB for the front D35 part # RD39. Opened the box to inspect it. If you are interested e-mail me.

On the LS in the front. I had a SWB Jeep with a Detroit in the rear and a Tru Trac front. It was not fun when you didnt want to have fun in the snow. Straight ahead through deep snow the thing was a monster- try to turn in smaller snow amounts, or get a bit offcamber and have the tires loose traction and it was a handful. You have to really pay attention to traction at the tires, and wheel spin.
I dont know your wife or what kind of a driver she is, but I wouldnt give my wife a vehicle with a L/S in front. Theres a reason you wont find L/S units in the front axles from the factory.
 






Brett

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Peter,

Sounds like the same questions I was asking about 5 years ago when I started building up my truck.

I do a ton of snow and ice driving. To and from ski areas. Around town. To work and back. Etc...

Anyway, here is my recomendation. Go with the ARB in the front. Rebuild your LSD in the rear (and add an extra friction plate for a little tighter lockup).

With the explorer being such a light vehicle, you for sure do not want a lsd or hard locker in the front - for snow and ice. You could always leave it open, but what fun is that. The ARB has treated me well over the years. By far one of the best upgrades my truck has.

I have 4.10 gears, ARB front, and Auburn posi rear. Honestly, the auburn was not worth the $300+ I spent for it. The stock lsd can be rebuilt for under $100.

Oh, yeah, and if you get the ARB, you can get one for a jeep dana 35 with the C-clip. The application for the explorer dana 35 is a c-clip eliminator. I've got a jeep c-clip version and I have had absolutly no problems with it. Plus, I do not have the issue of making up the c clip with a valve spring in the slip shaft.

Another great thing for the snow and ice is to get your tires siped. Makes a noticible difference in traction.
 






pgrey

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Does siping affect the mileage one will get out of the tires? I just bought a set of BFG TA Muds for the truck.

Is there an advantage to using the Jeep version of the ARB? Cheaper? Better availability?

Thanks for your input.

Peter
 






jimbo74

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siping shouldnt effect mileage at all

the jeep d35 is a rear application, i am not 100% sure, but i dont think it will work on the d35 front that we have
 






Brett

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Originally posted by jimabena74
siping shouldnt effect mileage at all

the jeep d35 is a rear application, i am not 100% sure, but i dont think it will work on the d35 front that we have


I'm 100% sure it will. I've been running this setup for over 4 years. I do have a C Clip in my front ARB The advantage is that I do not have to make up for the c clip by using a spring in the slip shaft.

Siping should actually increase the milage you get out of the tires. They will run cooler.
 






410Fortune

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the only dis-advantage to the C clip being retained with the Jeep style ARB is that you have to drop the diff to change the inner shaft, however I have never seen one fail...


My ARB eliminated the C clip, and it took much fine tuning with springs and shaft length (custom) to get it right....the spring in the slip yoke keeps + pressure on the inner shaft and keeps it in the diff, the end cap of the slip yoke must be welded up, or the cap will just pop off.
Also this can put excessive pressure on the outer shaft into the spindle and bind up the knuckle U joint, until you get the right length spring and pring rate in there it can be a PITA. Every time the slip yoke would seperate it meant removing everything down to the spindle to reset it. Most of the problems were a result of my modified beams (increased track width) so it shouldn't be a problem with a more stock beam setup.


Now it works great! hahaha but it took some doing, and much halp from Brett....
 






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