Ranger front axle into an Explorer? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Ranger front axle into an Explorer?


Elite Explorer
July 31, 2001
Reaction score
City, State
Littleton, Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 XLT
The early 90's Rangers use the Dana 35, as do the 91-94 Explorers. Anyone know if these are the same axles? I'm considering purchasing the front axle out of a '93 Ranger, but I need to know if it's going to work in my '91 Explorer. I'm talking the whole thing, not just the gears out of it.

Another option I have - in '91 & '92, Rangers came with a Dana 35 front axle complete with 4.10 gears. Anyone know if this axle is the same as the Explorer axle in '91 & '92? I've found plenty of info on this site about the differences between the 8.8 Explorer & Ranger rear end, but nothing on the Dana 35's. Since the 8.8 is 1.5" narrower on the Ranger, I'm worried that the front will be narrow as well and this axle swap won't work...


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I dont think there is a difference in width between the explorer and ranger axles. The rangers are sprung over and have the leafs mounted on the side of the frame so it sets the pads out farther on the axle. Ranger and explorer frame look identical and im 99% sure theyre the same width. As far as an axle with 4.10s youre gonna want to make sure its not a dana 28. Im not sure when ford started using them in the 2nd gen rangers. There are some tips on the board here to differentiate between a dana 28 and a dana 35.

I've checked just about every resource I could find on the Ranger site, but most simply say that the 35 is much better than the 28, or describe how to swap in a 44. I still have yet to find a difference on the front axle of Ranger versus the front axle of an Explorer. The site does have extensive details on the rear 8.8 (as the '95 & up rear Explorer axle has discs) which is where I saw the 1.5" difference in axle widths, but again not much is mentioned on the front axles between the two platforms.


One thing you really want to make sure of is that the axle is a D35. The ttb and axles look the same between the 28 and 35, but the 35 has more splines on the axles and has a beefier pig. The 4.10 gears were usually only in the rangers with the 4banger, which means they were usually D28 axles. The only rangers that came with the D35 were those with the 4.0L motor. Hope this helps you figure things out. Other than that the axles will fit in your X.

There was also the dana28/dana35 combo axle. Be aware of these. There's a writeup on the therangerstation about this.


I have one of each (Ranger and Ex D35s), so I'll try to measure the width of each tomorrow. I see no other visible difference between the two.

If I don't post the measurements in a day, feel free to PM me and remind me. :D

Fantastic RangerX, much obliged for the measuring! I'll bug you towards the weekend if I haven't heard. ;-) Thanks again!


Okay, I did a crude measurment, from dustshield to dustshield, as I didn't want to remove four tires. Both axles were the same, ~52".

I then checked the "Standard Catalog of 4x4s" for dimensions. It lists front/rear tread width for a 92 Ranger as 56.5"/55.1". A 92 Ex is listed as 58.3"/58.3".

I guess this info doesn't make anything clear for you, sorry!

Intriguing... Sounds like the axles are the same but the trucks use wheels with different offsets. Thanks much for the measuring, this definately helps!


Both can with factory 15X7 rims with 4.5" backspacing.(!)

Hrm, is it possible that rangers and explorer's have different drop brackets? thats the only thing that i could think of that would make a difference.

Rangers and early Explorers share the same front end (at least DANA 35 for sure). I know that since I was going to swap the front end from a Ranger into my former truck - a 94 4 door Limited. The only difference was that the Ranger front end did not have ABS and my truck had. We ended up transfering just the pig with better gears and a locker. Make sure there is no conflict here. If you take it to a shop to do a swap and there is difference in ABS they won't do it (liability).
good luck,