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MountaineerGreen's Selectable Front Diff Swap

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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!

I would also like to know this.

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.....

I got around to doing some measuring. I don't believe I will be able to clearance it with a ball peen hammer, it's too close to the drain plug and I don't want to warp it. I am attaching pictures of what I think needs to be cut out and removed. I'm taking it to my mechanics next week. He has modified pans before.....




Ok, well my swap is complete. I took it to my mechanic and he drained the oil, heated the corner of the pan, and peend it in. The oil pan wasn't even removed. It clears with about an 1/8th of an inch. No pan leaks and I have about 400 miles on it. No clearance or hitting issues. So I would suggest this route to anyone looking to do this to their V8 explorer with stock suspension.


Note that the manual states to add 5 OZ of gear oil to the CAD housing through the vent plug prior to installation. This is to insure it works properly and doesn't lock up on you.

After I got it back from my mechanic, I had to do the rest of the wiring / hose routing. The fist thing I did was find a good home for the solenoids. The higher up you mount them, the better shielded they are from road derbies. I chose a spot on the pass side next to the radiator. It's up fairly high and shielded on two sides. Its also at a good spot to reach the vacuum ball.


On my 2000, the vacuum ball is mounted atop of the pass side wheel liner, unlike the 95 I removed it from where it had it mounted in the engine bay. you need to remove the wheel liner to get to it. The 95 & 96 vacuum balls have an additional port to accommodate the vacuum line that feeds the solenoids. 97-01 models will not have this and cannot be used.


The next step was to find a 12V+ source that is hot only when the ignition switch is in the run position, since the solenoids require constant 12V+ power. Lucky for me, the 2000 has an auxiliary relay box less than a foot away. Looking at the wiring diagram, there was one wire that wold work. It was the front washer pump relay feed. It is a white wire with a black tracer. It is tied to a 7.5 amp fuse. Just for kicks, I measured the current draw on the solenoids, and they were about 165mA a piece, which is next to nothing. So they would work with any size fuse.


Next step is to wire the plug like the others on here have outlined: purple with orange tracer to 12V+, blue w/ yellow tracer to 4x4 activation (ground source), and pink w/ black tracer to 4x2 activation (ground source).


Lastly I installed a switch to control it manually. It's simply a ground source switch connects chassis ground to either 4x4 or 4x2 ground source.

I'm pretty sure you should not try to activate the CAD 4x4 while the vehicle is at speed. The OEM setup uses an electromagnet clutch inside the transfer case to spin up the front drive shaft, then the GEM commands the CAD system to shift, since at this point the axle and intermediate shafts inside the CAD are spinning at the same speed.


Overall I am very happy with the swap. I gained a solid 1.5MPG improvement, but more importantly the Explorer drives so much more smoothly. I would highly recommend this swap!


Thread resurection! Looking to go pull an axle for my 5.0 this week. I'm going to re-gear and want to have one of these rebuilt for an easy swap. But my question is for those that have done it, or experience with the 95/96 axles. How well have the axles held up to bigger tires and light to moderate wheeling? Does the axle disconnect need to be rebuilt or are they pretty reliable even from a high milage, junkyard donor?

pretty sure this sint working on aluminum pans that some 5.0s have. both of mine have the aluminum pan. 1 97 and 1 00

I know this is an ancient thread, but it's the only one I could find talking about swapping axles between generations, at least peripherally.

Was just wondering if anyone knew if the disconnect axle can be swapped into later model (like 2002+) explorers.

They appear to be the same size, but are the dimensions and spline counts the same? IIRC the disconnect axles would be Dana 35s and the 2002+ would be super 30s, right?

a 95-96 dana 35 SLA front diff will not fit a 2002 GEn III explorer no..... it will fit a 02-04 Sport or sport trac however

a 95-96 dana 35 SLA front diff will not fit a 2002 GEn III explorer no..... it will fit a 02-04 Sport or sport trac however

Thanks. By any chance would you know what the differences are?

I'm planning a 4x4 streetable buggy using Explorer front and rear differentials, halfshafts an knuckles. Having the axle disconnect would let me run a more aggressive LSD on the front and not have it affect 2wd.

If the 35 SLA is the same width and will accept the same halfshafts, then I can make it work. IIRC the GenII halfshafts are shorter than the GenIII but the catalogs make it look like they might fit into the differential.

I only know about the Gen III trucks from what I read here and have seen at the junk yards!
Somebody here that is more familiar with the 02+ sploders might chime in
Sounds like a nice project!

I only know about the Gen III trucks from what I read here and have seen at the junk yards!
Somebody here that is more familiar with the 02+ sploders might chime in
Sounds like a nice project!

Thanks for your help.

I'm just trying to figure out what I can ahead of time.

Ideally, if I can find a Pull-a-Part with both generations in stock, I can just swap the parts around and buy whatever ends up working. Even if I can't find a CAD at the time, I can rule in or out the Gen II axle with the Gen III halfshafts.

Or I can buy the parts on ebay and find out, but that's a little more expensive.

Worse case, the original plan was all Gen III parts anyhow (I want to use the Gen III IRS and the front aluminum uprights with larger brakes) and they worked for Ford so they'll likely work for me.

There's also the possibility that, even if the CV ends are different between the years, the actual axle itself could be swapped between the joint ends if the splines are the same.

or you can just chop cut weld the cv axles at the shaft, so Gen II outers with gen III inners..... desert dudes have been "extending" and customizing CV axles this way for just fine for most peoples use.

We have been discussing grafting in a later model F150 SLA front diff into the GEN II trucks just so we can get a selectable locker up front...those F150 use a 8.8 front diff