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Q: rear differential, I think on 1997 Ford Explorer

I was driving my car tonight and the abs light came on and I heard a whirling sound, more so when I applied the gas. I thought it was related but I don't think so now. The whirling sound continued and got louder and louder and started clunking. This all happened within 10 miles from my house. I pulled over and put the car in park and it idoled perfectly. I called some people and thought it might be the transmission. I put the car in drive and with my foot on the brake, applied the gas. Wrong thing to do. It started banging and clanking. I put it back in park and it idoled perfectly. I put it back in drive and it grinded and clanked. Then I called AAA. When the tow truck driver came I showed him what was going on and he said he didn't think it was the transmission but the rear end. When I got home I looked up what it could be and I think it might be the differential gears. I looked for an estimate of costs to repair it and I couldn't find any. My SUV has 247,000 miles on it and I've had it for 5 years and it has always run great. Aside from the estimated costs, I'm wondering if I should just junk it and buy another vehicle. I don't think the car is worth much. What do you think?
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Check your U joints first at each end of your driveshaft, If thats not it call your local wrecking yard rear differentials are a common part for a body shop to change in a rear end collision. Once you locate a used rear end call a few body shops and ask how much to install a used rear differential and tell them you located one and need it installed,combine the rear end price plus the installation cost and I think thats still cheaper than a new vehicle.
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