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Old 02-07-2020, 11:39 AM #1
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Buying Used E-Locker - Advice

Hey guys, just looks like Im able to score a locker for pretty cheap out of a wrecked 96 4runner. The current plan is to buy full rear axle, wiring, and front diff (all 4.30) to swap into my 02(4.10). Anything I should know to look for when I head down? Should I just buy the 3rd member for the front diff? Thanks for any help.

Edit: Also, anything to know about pulling diff/axle? Special tools to bring? Going to have to drive 2ish hours to get it so I might see if he will pull it for me. Unsure about pulling these myself.

Last edited by SeaDug; 02-07-2020 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:47 AM #2
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If it's off a wrecked 4Runner - look for a bent axle housing. And bent axles - although you'd be able to easily swap your axles in. Spin the pinion and see how it feels, should be smooth, no 'bearing' noises. Look for oil leaks around the diff. Look for rust on the housing - if it perforates it's not easy to fix. Wait, Phoenix? lolcry, that's a sad rustbelt fact of life.

It would be nice to test the actuator - since those can fail, but that's not really easy to do unless the truck it's on is powered up. And usually, worst case is you'd just need to take it apart, clean it up well, and reassemble.

The front diff doesn't really have a 3rd member - it's a 'clamshell' case - two-piece case bolted around the differential/ring/pinion. And it's a real PITA to remove and replace. There's just very little room between it, the crossmember it's draped over, and the engine. It's heavy, awkward, and it's a real puzzle to wiggle it *just* right to get it out. Unbolting the driver side motor mount and tilting the motor over to the passenger side would help. And you have to take both sides of the front suspension apart to remove the CV shafts as well. It's easily 3 times the job swapping the rear axle is.
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:49 AM #3
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And here's a Timmy video on the front diff. Note that it's 59 minutes long.

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Old 02-07-2020, 12:02 PM #4
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I swapped mine and it wasn't too bad. Timmy's trick about raising the trans is an absolute must - I don't see how you could get it out without doing so.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:09 PM #5
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@JohnMc already linked our Front Differential Replacement video but make sure to read the comment I pinned. There is a much easier way to get the front differential out and that involves releasing the driver side motor mount, releasing the metal breather and vacuum lines on top of the differential, jacking up the motor and placing a wedge under between the frame and motor mount to maintain the height gained. With the engine higher and the metal lines not able to hook the power steering lines on the way out, the differential comes out without a fight.


To learn how to release the motor mount, you can use this video:




Here's our E-Locker Swap Video. When you grab the e-locker off the donor rig, make sure you grab all the wiring, or at the very least the plugs. Grab the e-locker switch and also grab the e-locker ECU. Near the rear end, there's a bracket that bolt to driver side spring tower so make sure you get that and also make sure you get the little breather that clips onto the underside of the cargo area.



While you have everything torn apart, this might be the time to just go ahead and do the rear axle seal job. Every one of these rigs is going to have the rear axle seals fail so it's not a bad idea. This video gives you a good overview of what the job entails. When it comes time to do the press work, we highly recommend watching Part 2 and use the new tool we endorse made by our buddy Duane.





PART 2

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Old 02-07-2020, 12:17 PM #6
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Locker

Being a wrecked vehicle did it get hit from the rear or roll over? It could potentially damage the axle tubes and axle but the good thing is you can salvage the rear locker unit as long the motor is working I am not too worried about the harness you can buy a plug and play harness from Low Range Offroad or 12 Volt guy. It should be an easy unit to drop with basic tool just cut the brake lines and disconnect the harness.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:27 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnMc View Post
If it's off a wrecked 4Runner - look for a bent axle housing. And bent axles - although you'd be able to easily swap your axles in. Spin the pinion and see how it feels, should be smooth, no 'bearing' noises. Look for oil leaks around the diff. Look for rust on the housing - if it perforates it's not easy to fix. Wait, Phoenix? lolcry, that's a sad rustbelt fact of life.

It would be nice to test the actuator - since those can fail, but that's not really easy to do unless the truck it's on is powered up. And usually, worst case is you'd just need to take it apart, clean it up well, and reassemble.

The front diff doesn't really have a 3rd member - it's a 'clamshell' case - two-piece case bolted around the differential/ring/pinion. And it's a real PITA to remove and replace. There's just very little room between it, the crossmember it's draped over, and the engine. It's heavy, awkward, and it's a real puzzle to wiggle it *just* right to get it out. Unbolting the driver side motor mount and tilting the motor over to the passenger side would help. And you have to take both sides of the front suspension apart to remove the CV shafts as well. It's easily 3 times the job swapping the rear axle is.
Well shit, this is gonna be a long weekend. Going to ask if he will pull it for since I live so far away.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:30 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vipergrhd View Post
Being a wrecked vehicle did it get hit from the rear or roll over? It could potentially damage the axle tubes and axle but the good thing is you can salvage the rear locker unit as long the motor is working I am not too worried about the harness you can buy a plug and play harness from Low Range Offroad or 12 Volt guy. It should be an easy unit to drop with basic tool just cut the brake lines and disconnect the harness.
Looks like it got hit in the rear, Im planning on calling again to clarify theres no axle damage. If so ill just pull the 3rd and have to modify the stock axle carrier. This will be interesting no doubt.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:35 PM #9
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If only the rear mount on the front diff used a bolt through the crossmember, it would by FAR FAR FAR easier to replace. But it has a stud that reaches down through the crossmember, with a big goofy nut holding it in place underneath. That stud is what makes 90% of the hassle.

It is possible to remove and replace with the motor in place (I've done it), but the 'extra' work involved in raising the motor up is WELL WORTH IT.

I tried unbolting the mount bracket from the diff and installing the mount, then the diff, but that was just about as hard to get those bolts back in place and tightened. Not a good approach. Jack that motor up and retain some amount of your sanity.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:43 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDug View Post
Looks like it got hit in the rear, Im planning on calling again to clarify theres no axle damage. If so ill just pull the 3rd and have to modify the stock axle carrier. This will be interesting no doubt.
If he is not going to charge extra for the entire diff. case just take the whole thing it will be easier to drop and you have extra spare parts.
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:16 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDug View Post
Well shit, this is gonna be a long weekend. Going to ask if he will pull it for since I live so far away.
I bought an e-locker axle from a junkyard and swapped ECGS 4.56 diffs in over a weekend. It took aaaaaall weekend to do working by myself. Like, two full ten hour days, and that doesn't even include finishing up little things like bleeding brakes or wiring the actuator (12voltguy harness for me). It's not ridiculously complex, but it's physically demanding and really time consuming.

TOTALLY worth it the first time that diff lock indicator light starts glowing.

Good luck. If you're trying to do this over a weekend, I would highly recommend doing whatever it takes to get that guy to pull the axle for you and have it ready to load up when you get there. Get the whole axle, not just the diff.
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Old 02-08-2020, 01:29 AM #12
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If youíve got 4.10ís and arenít apposed to keeping them you might want to find a 4.10 taco locker 3rd and swap it in rather than convert both diffs over to 4.30.
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Old 02-08-2020, 01:40 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thezentree View Post
I bought an e-locker axle from a junkyard and swapped ECGS 4.56 diffs in over a weekend. It took aaaaaall weekend to do working by myself. Like, two full ten hour days, and that doesn't even include finishing up little things like bleeding brakes or wiring the actuator (12voltguy harness for me). It's not ridiculously complex, but it's physically demanding and really time consuming.

TOTALLY worth it the first time that diff lock indicator light starts glowing.

Good luck. If you're trying to do this over a weekend, I would highly recommend doing whatever it takes to get that guy to pull the axle for you and have it ready to load up when you get there. Get the whole axle, not just the diff.

Well I endured driving about 5 hours to get the diff and all last night after he said they would pull it for me. Of course they decided that when I asked for the full axle I CLEARLY meant the housing and 3rd member completely separated from everything else. Jackasses. Is swapping my current axles/drums into the new housing as easy as switching them over or am I looking at specialized work for this? Really donít feel like ****ing around with machine shops and dealerships.
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Old 02-08-2020, 01:58 PM #14
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Seems likely you are trying to save money on the front end and then spending it and lots of time on the back end.

Yes the axles and hubs will swap. But..... since they are out you should do bearings and seals, ect....
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Old 02-08-2020, 02:30 PM #15
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yes the axels and drums will switch from your non locker system into the locker one.
I have found in the past, if I needed a complete system I had to specify to the junk yard or person that I was looking for drum to drum.

I know it all seems like a headache now, but after all done you will like it. I used my locker last night in the fresh snow going home.
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