8.8 swap with disk brakes- The easy way

UC645

G-Body Guru
Apr 20, 2020
709
93
Kittanning, Pa
If you’ve decided to do an 8.8 swap and want disk brakes, you’ve got few options unless you’re willing to spend a good chunk of change going aftermarket.
It is possible to do this with stock parts, provided you’re willing to spend the time to hack and modify.

For starters, hunt for an 8.8 out of an SN95 (1995-2004) Mustang. These come stock with the disk brakes you’ll be going to use, usually have favorable gear ratios, but will have the most important part to this swap- the disk brake mounting brackets. It’s possible to use these with a bit of cutting, however, if you’re a bit skittish of what you’re about to see, this company makes custom offset mounting brackets that will allow the use of these disk brakes with Fox Body length axles.


Now, this setup can be run as is, up to 1998 due to the lack of ABS, but if you’ve got your hands on a 99 and up rear be cautious as using that rear requires running wheels with upwards of 6 inches of backspacing, whereas the Fox axles only need an additional 3/8 of backspacing, give or take. This is because of the ABS tone ring that the SN95s use.

If you don’t or can’t find an SN95 8.8, don’t worry, as the 7.5 SN95s use the same brake brackets. They look like this:
View attachment 168178
In order to use these, they need to fit on the inside of the axle flange as opposed to being on the outside like stock, which means these need a chunk taken out of them. Here’s a diagram:
F2CADEE6-C546-4BD3-9795-FC2C3ACA3B1F.jpeg

The finished product should look like this:
6CDF4603-2FC7-46F2-8636-35F809FF7A2F.jpeg

You can do this from above if you wish but as long as the brackets fit over the axle tubes, it’ll work.

Once that’s out of the way, there’s supplying the brakes with fluid.

I’ll be honest, just go aftermarket here. I’ve read on Mustang forums to use 94-96 rear caliper brake hoses with brackets, but these stick up so far and line up perfectly with the G body frame rails, that on the first hard launch that you do, you’ll obliterate these. Go aftermarket, it’s far easier.

Now for the real sticking point - Parking Brake Cables. This was a bit of a doozy to get working properly but you’ll need the following:

1x Driver’s side parking brake cable for a Ford Crown Victoria with disk brakes (these use a clevis on one end)

1x G body passenger side parking brake cable (necessary for means of adjustment)

1x 95-97 SN95 passenger side parking brake cable (you’ll need this for the sheath and for the end that plugs into the SN95 calipers)

1x G body intermediate parking brake cable

2x E clips to fit the SN95 and CV cable ends

4x Shaft collars with an ID large enough to slip over the cables, these need to be a set screw style

With the extra distance the cables need to cover due to the pickup points on the calipers being further back, it’s impossible to use stock G body cables as is.
Starting from the intermediate cable back, the Crown Vic cable will slot into the metal connector that’s sold with replacement G body cables, it may work with the original style, but I didn’t have one to test. The CV connector may exchange with the G body one as well.
The CV cable’s sheath is the perfect length to use with this swap, as it’s around 4 inches longer than the G body one, and has the correct end to slot into the caliper. It may require some grinding to get its diameter down due to discrepancies in the calipers.

With the passenger side cable, this is where a little hackery comes into play. To use the stock G body equalizer style parking brake setup, you need a threaded shaft on one cable, the SN95s use a splitter style so the cable will not have this.
To start, take the G body passenger side cable and install it on the car, then measure the distance the cable’s sheath comes up short and add around 2 inches. Then you’ll need to cut off the drum side end of the cable by cutting the block on the end vertically in order to split it down the middle, be careful to not nick the cable. It doesn’t need cut all the way through, just enough on opposite sides that you can take a flat blade screwdriver and turn it to break the block apart. Once this is done, take both cables and match up the snap in end on the SN95 cable to one of the G body ends and mark the SN95 cable with the distance you measured that the G body cable came up short, plus 2 inches or more if you feel like you need them.
With that done, you’ll need to cut the SN95 cable apart, no need to care about how you get the cable out, it will not be used. Now that you have the SN95 sheath sans cable, put it in a vise with the caliper end in the vise, but don’t stick the actual end in the jaws, just the sheath (if any of that makes sense). Now take a wrench that fits the crimping on the end and turn it to the left while providing pressure to pull it off the sheath.


1ED6483D-C90B-45CB-9E96-90BD75D58150.jpeg

Now cut the sheath where you marked it, DONT FORGET TO DEBURR THE INSIDE OF THE SHEATH, if you don’t you’ll scrape off the coating of the G body backs the first time you apply the brake. Then trim the edge of the sheath’s coating with a utility knife.

Now take the end you twisted off and try to put it back on, if it doesn’t go on as easy as you’d like, take it and drill it out to a size that you’re comfortable with.
Then take it and install it on the car (you need the caliper installed) and make sure you’ve got enough slack to your liking, then put the SN95 end into a vise, and using a punch, stake the crimped end to lock it onto the newly resized sheath. It’s also possible to heat the end separately with a torch, then stick the sheath into it, melting the rubber into the end.

After you’ve done all that, put the G body cable into the SN95 sheath, and make sure to put a couple of shaft collars on the end without a block.

With the Crown Vic cable, you only need to do one thing, and that’s cut the clevis off and replace it with a couple of shaft collars.

(Quick side note, if you don’t wish to use the metal connector on the other end, Lokar sells a parking brake cable connector that you can use in place, and then you can use the pre crimped clevis end on the caliper side)

With that all done, install the cables as they would be on the stock setup and begin to adjust them.
With the passenger side, you’ll need to balance out how much of the adjuster you’re using by pulling the cable further out on the caliper side. On the driver’s side, do the same, there’s going to be a lot of cable left hanging out on the driver’s side, but you can cut that off once you’re done adjusting the system.

CE7ABACA-99DC-4B45-B205-9F046EBA2AEB.jpeg


If you feel like you’ve got everything setup properly, go and depress the parking brake pedal and check the travel on both of the parking brake levers, they should be close to even if everything is done correctly. The SN95 calipers are self adjusting, so don’t go crazy with the pedal.


After all of that mess, there’s the issue of brake bias, but I believe this to be a non issue if you’ve got a Disk/Disk proportioning valve or an adjustable one, as when compared to the ever popular 4th Gen F body brake swap, the SN95 calipers are 2mm smaller on piston size compared to the F body calipers.
(F body= 40mm - SN95= 38mm)

(Will update with pictures of the cables in the near future)
 
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