Another 8.8 carrier question | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Another 8.8 carrier question


Elite Ranger
Staff member
Elite Explorer
July 14, 1999
Reaction score
City, State
Omao, Kauai
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 Ranger XLT 4X4
My Ranger has a 28 spline 8.8, not the 31 spline that Explorers have.
I currently have 4.56 gears and an Auburn limited slip. I want to put in a "lunchbox" locker. So I need an open carrier, right?
Will a carrier from a 31 spline work? Is there anything spline related on a carrier?
I've never looked that close at a diff before, and I don't want to open mine up until I gave to!

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I dunno if it will work, but I may still have my open 31 spline carrier if you want it.

Cool! We'll see what the answer is.

I have never done it, but I believe that you can use the 31 spline carrier and put a 28 spline locker in it. One way to find out is to see if the 31 and 28 carrier use the same case bearings. If they do they should be interchangable.

Torrie might know ;)

EDIT: Or maybe someone on Stangnet or similar, or Randy's, or West Coast Diffs.

I would think if the axle shafts are the same dia. it could work. I know the axle tubes are smaller on a ranger so the axle shaft bearings can't be the same.

You're going to have to pull out the auburn limited slip to get a locker in there. and if you do that go for the 31 spline carrier and might as well upgrade to 31 spline shafts. I beleive everything has to match up. you cant use a 28 spline carrier and say 31 spline shafts and locker. everything has to be for either a 31 spline or a 28 spline. and as far as i know 31 spline shafts will fit into the ranger axle housing.

Hmmm, guess you might as well upgrade to 31 spline axleshafts, you are running 36s and 37s after all!

Originally posted by RangerX

Will a carrier from a 31 spline work? Is there anything spline related on a carrier?

The carrier spline count is where the axles slide into. I'd say what everyone else said, upgrade to 31 spline while you have it out. The axles and carriers are swappable.

Re: Re: Another 8.8 carrier question

Originally posted by NOTAJP
The axles and carriers are swappable.
From what years?

I thought the Ranger axles were like 3" shorter. If you get 31 spline axles from an EX, won't they be too long?

the earlier ranger axles were offset diffs, but I don't see any difference between the newer axles. The carrier is what the aleshaft locks in to, so, the spline count has to be the same

I always thought the carrier didn't have any splines in it..

The side gears/spiders have the splines that the axle shaft slide in.

so in my book, a 31 spline carrier should work as a 28 spline carrier, as long you got the correct side gears/locker.

Found this pic: Images/8576/85767938L.gif

The side gears determine what spline the carrier is for.

Since the lunchbox locker replaces the side gears, using a 31 spline carrier should work with a 28 spline lunchbox locker.

I believe the spider gears will determine the spline count. However the 28 spline and the 31 spline carriers may have different size openings due to the 31 spline shafts being larger! That's the only difference I would see.

tom's right, i forgot its the spider gears that are splined not the carrier itself. if the carrier was splined then the spide gears would serve no purpose. :)

Oh, and since your changing carriers, you need to have the gears re-setup... So, find someone who can do that for you. Usually costs about $150 for that, and some shops will install the locker at the same time for free.

Bill, just PM me or call me if you want the carrier ;)

The axles are not interchangeable. The outer bearing size is different from Rangers to Ex's.