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Thread: Diff upgrades

  1. #1
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    Default Diff upgrades



    In the next few weeks I'm going to do some work on my 2nd gen 4Runner that may take a couple of weekends. I live in a town home with a very small garage so space is at a premium. I will be swapping diffs, doing ball joints, brakes (rotors and pads), idler arm, CVs. But I will need a short term storage and work location to accomplish these tasks. Any suggestions on the following would be greatly appreciated:
    Locations
    CV brand
    How to modify housing to fit e-locker (I plan on using the diff cover gasket as a template for cutting and drilling)

    And I'm also considering pre building a rear axle assembly with the e-locker to reduce down time.

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    Default Re: Diff upgrades



    Not much help here but, I believe the notch on the housing for the E-Locker is not to hard, im sure there is a bunch of info on it on Pirate if you google it. CV's, I use pretty much dorman or detriot axle shafts. I want my CV's to be my weak link in the front because it's cheaper and better than breaking a diff, plus you can get off the trail with a busted CV. Take it from hard experience , use only OEM ball joints.
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  3. The Following Member Says Thanks to TJS86TOY For This Post:

    PaveLow (December 29th, 2017)

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    Default Re: Diff upgrades



    No idea if this is applicable to your axle, but a mechanic I know mentioned doing an install recently where they ran the wiring down the vent hose into the differential rather than drilling a hole in the case.
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    Default Re: Diff upgrades



    Since I have done all this work, here is my advice. The times are all based on having skills, but not having done the work before.

    1) E-locker mod: using the gasket as a template works pretty well. The biggest issue is getting the new holes drilled. My advice is to get the old 3rd removed, remove the un-needed studs (cut and grind them smooth), grind the housing to make clearance, and then pound the rear of the axle to clear the bolt. Once all that is done, use the studs that do match to "bolt in" the rear diff. Then use the actual diff to guide the drill bit for the new studs. The holes for the new studs have to be exactly straight and spot-on for location. There is at least 1 that will only have minimal material to drill into, so precision is key. Make sure that your drill bit is long enough to fit through the longest portions of the housing. Personally I have pulled the axle to do all this work, and with the 2nd gen it shouldn't be a big deal. It could also easily be done in the vehicle. Expect 4-8 hours for the e-locker swap.

    2) If you are going to re-gear the rear, then you will have to remove the front diff to re-gear it. That is the time to do the CV shafts. The boots on these are so reliable, and personally I have never had a CV actually "fail". Boots have torn on me over time, but adding locking hubs will minimize torn boots. You have to remove the existing drive flanges to replace the CV's, so adding hubs really isn't any more work. Expect 2-3 hours for CV swaps.

    3) Replacing brake pads is a super easy job. If you want to replace the rotors, you have to remove the "hubs" as the rotor is bolted on back. At that time you should also inspect, clean and re-pack the bearings. This requires a special tool to get the tension correct for the bearings. It is a "fish scale". Also requires a very large socket for the nut. Lastly, you should also replace the locking washers as they are not intended to be re-used. Pads replacement is 30-60 minutes. Full job is 2-4 hours. You may want to consider a brake upgrade at the same time (larger rotors, larger calipers, and larger master cylinder). The rear brakes probably do not need replaced, but an adjustment may greatly improve your braking. My truck stops MUCH better with a rear adjustment!

    4) Idler arm and other front end parts is based on wear/tear. My truck needed the idler, pitman, and the tie-rod ends. Took 4-6 hours (mostly getting parts removed). It is a fairly straight forward job. Replace 1 part at a time to make sure that everything is going in the appropriate location. I only replace what is loose.

    5) Ball joints are relatively easy to do. If you are considering a BJ spacer, that would be the time to do it. Personally I run the stock height BJ, but I installed thicker torsion bars and turned them up about 1 inch. It was amazing how much the stock torsion bars had sagged. The newer ones allow for the slight lift and carry the added weight of the winch and bumper. Expect 2-3 hours for BJ replacement.

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    Default Re: Diff upgrades



    I bought an axle housing to do the fab work in advance. It's already lifted with spacers. I have matching 4:88 gears for front and back, Detroit Tru Track IFS and a factory 80 e locker for the rear.

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    Default Re: Diff upgrades



    It is likely easier to have the extra housing, particularly if you can only have the 4Runner down for short periods of time. Is the e-locker a low pinion or high pinion? About 10 years ago I had a LockRight in the front of my 4Runner. One trip to Moab and I tore it out. The auto-locker in the front was miserable. The rear e-locker is GREAT, and personally I rarely run into a situation where I feel that I need the front end locked as well (maybe a hill covered in sand/snow/ice).

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    Default Re: Diff upgrades



    It's a low pinion and I got both lockers for $800 and the gears match. My stock gears are 4:10 so it was both or nothing. I'll learn to make it work with the front.

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    Default Re: Diff upgrades



    Sounds like it will be a great deal when it is done! 4.88 will be a good ratio. It will take some time, but it is all time well spent on mods that will greatly increase the capabilities.

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