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Should I weld front differential gears?
I have a 1999 f350 4x4 Crew Cab Long bed, right now it has, I'm assuming, a factory open differential in the front, I just bought it a couple weeks ago. I was originally looking for a mini-spool to put in the front but couldn't find one that I knew would fit. I heard that welding the spider gears in the differential accomplishes the same thing and is obviously much cheaper. Only time I would use the 4x4 would be if I was on the beach or pulling a trailer out of the mud, trailer sizes would very from a few thousand pound bumper pull to 20k or more gooseneck.
So my basic questions are:
What dangers or downsides are there to welding the gears?
How difficult is it? and
Would welding the gears weaken them, since they are heat treated, so much that they would break very easily and then just end up costing me more in the long run?