My brother wrecked his Explorer yesterday, he clipped a trailer with his rear axle, and tore the rear end out. I have not seen it, I don't know what it looks like, or exactly what he did.
He just called me and asked what problems he would run into if he bought a 96 for the rear axle. It's the same Motor/Transmission, but a newer body style and the interior is destroyed.
He also asked about using the transmission as his four wheel drive hasn't worked since he got his, something about the transfer case. I said I didn't know, but would ask on here and relay what was said to him.
I figure the 96 will be similar, he said they look identical.
Enter the vehicle's info. It'll give you a list of available parts from all years that will work. A quick glance seems to indicate that they are only compatible up to 1994. I didn't see anything newer.
Transmission and transfer case are completely different. Your also talking obd2 to eec computers two different worlds. If he ripped the rear end out. I would also be very worried about the drive shaft. if i remember right the drive shaft is bolted on both sides with a center slip joint. Before buying another I would see if he just sheared the u bolts and twisted it. At the trans shop we had a 95 f250 city plow truck that they curbed hard and twisted the front axle almost 45 degrees. a few cuts on the mounts and some new shocks it was back on the road. The city was happy we got that old truck fixed for cheap but the employees weren't they were trying to kill it.
I would expect the rear ends to be interchangeable but the transmission/transfer case will not be a direct swap. The transmissions are similar but not the same. The transfer cases are a different model but I think it will work if you also take the front driveshaft from the 96.
"OK, What I am getting from the Forum. Before you get a replacement truck make sure you can't just fix yours. Look and see if you can just replace the Ubolts, and drive yours. Also check the drive shaft and make sure it's not damaged. Rear Axle should be close enough on the 96, the rest is different. Changing the transfer case you will likely have to change the front axle as well. Probably some wiring. Would be simpler to just put a new interior in the 96. "