Carriers, gears, and locker questions... | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Carriers, gears, and locker questions...

Ol Scratch

July 23, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Harpers Ferry, WV
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 XLT
I'm looking to upgrade to either 4.56 or 4.88 here very soon, I'd like to go ahead and put in a rear locker at the same time. Currently I have the stock set up of 3.73 with limited slip rear. Is it easier/cheaper to replace the stock limited slip with an open carrier, new gears and aussie, or new gears and a locker made for the limited slip carrier?

Any recommendations on where to get everything from? I've searched the forums and found so many different answers and recommendations that its become confusing.

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The 8.8 LS carrier is weak. I would do an open carrier and a lunch box locker or just do a detroit or ARB. If I had the money I would do ARB.

Also if you are having a shop do the gears then I would have them get them. That way if there is an issue it is all them. Alot of shops will only warrenty if they prvide the parts.

Check the vendersection on for some vendors. Pretty much built my whole truck from vendors on that site.

What else would I need to get besides the open carrier and new gears and locker?

^ Definitely and inquire about the make of bearings and what the kit exactly includes.

my friend is a tech so hes doing it all. i'm just gathering parts.
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Open carrier is only needed if you do a lunch box locker. A Detroit or ARB replaces the carrier.

I've already got an open carrier and aussie en route now, so just gear sets and rebuild kits?

Dont forget gear oil!

And while you have the axle shaft out, you might as well replace the axle shaft seals - at least on the rear axle. It will only take a few more minutes.

Good call on the seals....So 4.56 or 4.88? I'm running 33's now and plan on 35's in the near future.

I replaced the front output seals on mine, not cheap! $30!

Dont forget 6 cans of brake cleaner(min), rags, emery cloth, any special tools like a inch lb torq wrench & depth gauge, extra shims, extra crush sleeve, new pinion nut, new carrier bolt, and plenty of time.

If you don't want to spend the $50 on a notched cross shaft, you can always grind the teeth on the ring gear, like we did on mine.


35" tires? Go 4.88 gears than.

Go at least 4.88's. If your gonna wheel it and not DD the thing, go 5.13's. I have a set of 4.88's half-way into my ex (don't ask) but I have a had a few convos that have eneded with me wishing I went 5.13's.

Looks like I'll be ordering 4.88s with master rebuild kits and axle seals all around. Thanks for the input and I'll put up some pics once she's done!

A notched cross shaft won't work with a lunchbox.

Yep, they told me at Randy's that I'd need to notch the gear instead. Everythings here, its going in for install next week. Thanks a ton to everyone for the input.