Re: weld or locker in front
Buy a locker, but make sure the rear is locked first.
Welding a differential is a cheap way to get traction. I have seen many break, and also collateral damage from welded difs. (twisted axles)
To keep a welded dif from breaking you essentially have to fill the carrier with weld. Welding the side gears to the case and “fozzy lockers” always seem to fail within a few months.
I wheel with a bunch of poor boys, myself included. They weld the rears, and put a locker up front. Only a few have tried welding the front, and it was a big joke the time or two that they used it and couldn’t turn around in a 10-acre field.
Most that welded the rears say “the next time this breaks – I’m going to get a locker.”
The only one’s that don’t complain about their spools and welded rears are the one’s that see very little or no street use.
The tracker front dif is not know for strength due to the aluminum case, however it is essentially the same as a samurai differential with different side gears. I would be very reluctant to do anything that would result in more stress on the differential and housing.
Welded rear end – not good, but acceptable in some cases.
Welded front end – bad, anyway you look at it.