Mounting the big finned Explorer differential cover - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 05-19-2005
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Mounting the big finned Explorer differential cover

There's a bunch of these available, both "raw" and painted. I didn't feel like digging for one at the JY so I bought one on eBay for $37 including shipping. It's just the raw aluminum cover with the ears still on it.

I just wanted to say two things about it:

1. You can't use the fill plug on the diff cover because it is too low down. The explorer independent rear suspension does not have to put oil out through axle tubes to nourish the outer axle bearings so the oil level in it can be lower. YOU MUST FILL YOUR DIFF FROM THE NORMAL PLUG ON THE FRONT OF THE DIFF, NOT THE ONE IN THE COVER.

2. The combination of the cover and my 31 spline axle sucked up over 6 pints of oil when I filled it. The bigger cover plus the bigger axle tubes means you better buy FOUR quarts of gear oil to be sure you can fill it, particularly if you've got the 31 spline. Not sure what would happen with a 28 spline with it.

I must say -- it's a REALLY heavy duty cover. I didn't cut the "ears" off like some of the covers sold on eBay and what not because I think it's stronger with them left on. I'll post a picture of it mounted at some point -- probably tomorrow. I'm not doing any fancy paint job on it because I'll just tear it up offroad ANYWAY, lol.
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Old 05-19-2005
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pics!!
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Old 05-19-2005
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Well, it's getting dark, but I went and took some. Notice the big plug at the bottom? That's a drain plug. The smaller plug above and to the right of it is the fill plug for the explorer. Not high enough for us.

The cover is like 1/4 to 3/8 inch or more thick at the edges as you can see. Even thicker in some places. One additional warning is to get the cover bolts with it. Your bolts from your stamped steel cover will be too short. Mine came with bolts.
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Old 05-19-2005
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very nice.

you gotten to try out those coopers i see in your picture? i see theyve still got the blue stuff on the lettering.
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Old 05-19-2005
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Yeah, I mounted them white letters in (I'm too lazy to maintain them, lol). I've used them down behind the plant, but it's not much of a test.

I need to replace the steering rack which is leaking before I go offroading again. I'm afraid it's go from dribble to POP! if I really load it up.

I need to photograph them in the 35" size also. I'm behind in posting soem of this stuff. I only did the cover because I wanted to share about the fill plug and all so nobody does something casually that would come back to bite them later.
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Old 05-19-2005
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so what exactly is the benifit of this cover?

anyone got side by side shots of these clovers laying next to a stock one?

whats all envolved with the swap? can the everyday man do it?

ScottG
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Old 05-19-2005
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A side by side shot would have been nice, I should have done it.

The regular cover is stamped steel and not very thick.

Anyone can change it I think. You just need a scraper to clean up the gasket surface on the diff when you done. The aluminum cover has a groove machined into the seating surface to help it retain the silicone when you mount it. It actually provides a "suction" -- very strange. When you put it on, it "sticks" there very strongly before you even bolt it up.

One benefit is strength. If you hit the back of the stock cover on something, it will dent or rip. This one should be able to take one HECK of a hit.

Benefit two is more oil capacity. Should help the oil last longer.

Benefit three is the fins and greater surface area provides cooling. This is especially important in limited slips that use friction, because they generate extra heat. The extra oil is also beneficial here as well.
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Old 05-19-2005
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so for someone thats building up a truck ment for some offroading, but mainly dailydriving, its not needed, but its extra insurance from breaking down?


might look into one for the 28spline im picking up sunday. Trying to make sure I do it right the first time so i just dont make an *** out of myself first time out
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Old 05-19-2005
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Here's mine with the ears cut off.

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Old 05-19-2005
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Nice, Gary! They look GREAT if they are polished and/or painted. I just know I'm going to trash it appearance wise so why bother?

They look more "normal" with the ears off; but I still suspect they are stronger with that "truss" structure intact across them.

And yes, Scott, I guess you about summed it up. The polished/painted ones look nice on a street truck as well -- but the main benefit is if you do something that requires hard use of your differential. Like offroading or racing.

Hey, Gary -- you did fill yours from the normal plug didn't you? Hope so.
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Old 05-19-2005
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I have one right now in my garage.. haha
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Old 05-19-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoMoCoEdge
I have one right now in my garage.. haha

whats your plans for it?
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Old 05-19-2005
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Yep for sure on the regular plug. It really sucked up the diff fluid. Added a touch more additive for the LSD too.
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Old 05-19-2005
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Yeah it did! I think I still need a tiny bit more. But my diff is tilted more because of the lifting shackles, so I'm probably actually very close. I'm using Amsoil Severe Gear which is supposed to be for limited slips as well (I just changed from the cheapy stuff I used for breaking in the new diff and gearset).

The Auburn ECTED locker I have is a clutch type limited slip when not engaged, but with more clutches than the stock diff. Not sure how it'll react to the synthetic so I may be adding some friction modifier as well. I still have about 3 ounces of it that came with the diff.
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Old 05-19-2005
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i would get one for the drain plug alone... good mod john!
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Old 05-19-2005
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Yeah, that drain plug is neat. Wonder what you use to get it out? I don't have a driver with a head that big! That thing's like an inch across or something.

Anyone done anything with those?

One other thing as an aside: I was very pleased to find no water in the diff when I drained the fluid. It was underwater a LOT in Wharton during testing so I guess the axle seals are good. It's vented all the way to the engine compartment, so the vent is never an issue -- until I foul up and go even deeper!
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Old 05-19-2005
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Did you run your vent yourself? If so, what size tubing. That sounds like a good idea.
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Old 05-19-2005
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Here's mine.. Looking all pretty...


Well worth whatever it costs.. Looks good and is very strong looking..
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Old 05-19-2005
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Check Johns cardomain page for a quick how to for the breather extensions. Doesn't look hard to do at all.
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Old 05-19-2005
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Not hard at all... I have had all the parts for ever now, just never did it yet.
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Old 05-19-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Dragon
Did you run your vent yourself? If so, what size tubing. That sounds like a good idea.
Yes, Gary, I talk about it on my Cardomain. It's just very heavy 1/4" ID rubber tubing. Routed down the frame and snapped into the channels the fuel lines and what not follow.
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Old 05-19-2005
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I plan on doing the breather extensions here sometime soon. For instances where I am backing down boat ramps and all.
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Old 05-19-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyluke
I plan on doing the breather extensions here sometime soon. For instances where I am backing down boat ramps and all.
i cant believe i never thought of that as a reason to do this mod...
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Old 05-20-2005
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ok i know this is goin to sound stupid or i just didnt read it right but what exactly is the point of this mod other than the visual upgrade
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Old 05-20-2005
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stonger than the stock cover which means more durability while OR
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