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I have been having issues with my "SLIP" light engaging and staying on. I took it to my local mechanic and he went through it and said my rear differential is bad (metal shavings, mud, etc). A few months ago I submerged the X passing through a puddle and now I think I am paying the price (i did not have a breather extender). Is there any other options other than OEM for a rear differential? Or I am better off going to a junkyard and pulling a used one out? Or what else could I do?

I want to make this my general off road rig (no rock crawling) and I just wanted to see if there is anything beefier. Right now I have the factory rear diff, 2005 Off Road edition, 6MT with 150,000 miles. I am going to upgrade the front also and the lift kit at the same time. I was thinking of the Nisstech 3" lift and running 285's.

Thanks for any help.
 

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Damn, I wrote up a response yesterday... must not have submitted it or something though.

If you are gonna take it to a shop, I'm sure they can outline all the potential options you have.

If you plan to do it yourself. You have an M226, which from what I've read is the stronger of the 2 stock rear options (the other is the C200). The M226 has more gearing options I believe as well. You can replace your stock locker (which I've heard bad things about) with an ARB Locker as an upgrade. That might be about as far as you can go with stock options though. And I don't know the difficulty level of installing the locker yourself... one post I read made it sound like it there was something about the Nissan rear that made it more difficult, a crush-bearing or crush-bushing... not really sure.
 

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I believe the m226 w/locker from 2005-2007 was much weaker compared to the past few years. So, it may not have been your mishap after all.
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To op: you will want to rebuild that m226 with an ARB locker. The D44 variant axle housing is more than stout enough for you. The weak point is the e locker, and rebuilding with an ARB will eliminate that. I've been there. I blew up the spider gears in my 05 Off Road Elocked M226, and I made the smart choice and rebuilt it with an ARB.

To the other posts:

Yes the 05-07 e lockers were weaker bc they were 2 spider gears vs 4 in the 08+ Elockers.

Nearly all differentials use collapsible spacers (aka crush sleeves) in order to set pinion bearing preload FYI it has nothing to do with being a Nissan.
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Since you have the 6MT off-road version you already have the lowest possible factory gearing.

As for finding junkyard axles, the only thing that is a bolt in for your Xterra is an '05 and newer Xterra. And you will want to find one from a 6MT vehicle as well. So it is a fairly rare axle that you are looking for. And if you find an '08 and up it should be as strong as you will need as well.

What is your plan for upgrading the front axle? An ARB will take care of most of the weak link issues up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So is there is an option of rebuilding the M226 with aftermarket parts? I would do the front and rear ARB lockers if that is an option. Thanks for the help.


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Yessir. ARB is certainly an option for the m226 ... S&S tried to lay that out for you. At 150k miles, since you're going to have it all apart, I'd do a full rebuild kit on the center section (all pinion & carrier bearings and seals) as well as the outer bearings and seals as well. If your ring & pinion are still good, you should be able to get the ARB and rebuild parts installed for under $1500 (assuming shop labor) ... if you need R&P, too, expect that to add from 3-500 for the gears plus whatever additional labor the shop has to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yessir. ARB is certainly an option for the m226 ... S&S tried to lay that out for you. At 150k miles, since you're going to have it all apart, I'd do a full rebuild kit on the center section (all pinion & carrier bearings and seals) as well as the outer bearings and seals as well. If your ring & pinion are still good, you should be able to get the ARB and rebuild parts installed for under $1500 (assuming shop labor) ... if you need R&P, too, expect that to add from 3-500 for the gears plus whatever additional labor the shop has to do.
I'm assuming this is the part I need. https://ruggedrocksoffroad.com/nissan-xterra-ring-and-pinion-gears-major-install-kit-by-rugged-rocks-2005-rear-m226-d44-p-5682.html

I will look at the r and p when I get it back from shop this weekend.
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Yup; you may also be able to source OEMs from your favorite Nissan parts supplier, but I don't know individual part numbers offhand (and can't really imagine you'd be able to do any better for full retail, might be able to beat RR with OEM bits if you've got an in for deal pricing) ... there should also be lists floating around for the parts to do the outer axle bearings and seals, if you choose to.
 
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