Explorer 8.8 Axle in a G Body

S

Sid R

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Mar 22, 2018
12
7
3
#1
Has someone else installed a Ford 8.8 axle out of an Explorer in their G Body, or am I the genie pig here?

The cost of 9" Fords have gone beyond reason. I bought the complete 8.8 axle out of a four wheel drive Explorer, with a 3.74:1 Trac-Loc, disc brakes and 31 spline axles for $250. I used an 8.8 in a Mustang 10.5 car with a 496 Chevy. They are every bit as strong as the 9 inch; just not as convenient to change gear ratios. I know the factory 31 spline axles are not nearly as strong as the forged racing axles, but plenty strong enough for a mild 383 in a street car.
The spring brackets and lower trailing arms are simple tasks using the Southwest Speed brackets.
The uppers are a bit different. Two trusted local chassis builders said that they could weld the steel bushing mounts to the factory cast center section; but I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to suspension parts.
I have a piece of 1/2" x 3" cold rolled bar being cold formed to build a bridge from one axle tube to the other,
just outboard of the cast center section. The upper bar bushings will sit on top of it.
I'm thinking about building a drill jig to change the bolt pattern to 5 x 4.75". Cheaper than a pair of the dual pattern ralley wheels. (The Ford axle flanges don't have the large hole to allow putting a socket on the backing plate bolts, so you can drill all five holes, centered on the 4.5" pattern locations.) I did the same thing,years ago, to put 4.5" x 5 wheels on the front of a Duster. Worked fine.
So, with the 3.74 axle and the 3.6 low gear in the 700R4, it should have a final drive low in gear of
7.37, and a forth gear (700R4 4th gear overdrive is 1:1.3) ratio of 2.87.
Please critique my plan, if you see something that looks odd to you. I'd rather change it now than after the money is spent and the welding is done.
 
Turbolq4

Turbolq4

G-Body Guru
Sep 25, 2017
916
1,463
93
Boise Idaho
#2
8.8 from a 95 Mustang GT in my car. Lower arms bolt on, spherical upper joints and double adjustable upper arms make it a bolt in. Instant center is another story though.
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,106
3,963
113
Owyhee County
#3
A couple things I'll bring up. My math shows a compound low of 11.41 which is kind of deep but doable. The other thing is redrilling axles. Those are really hard (hardened). I tried to open the holes in one for larger studs and it was a chore. You've been warned;).

Be sure to document it with lots of pictures.
 
bob64

bob64

G-Body Guru
Mar 30, 2017
626
536
63
Niagara Falls, Canada
#4
I went a little more, l narrowed the 8.8 to center the Pinion of the explorer and got Moser to build axles that are chevy bolt pattern. Idea is to put complete 4 link with panhard. But it's all sitting on floor until l get to it.
 
8

81cutlass

Royal Smart Person
Feb 16, 2009
1,399
1,691
113
Western MN
#6
I have a zr2 s10 8.6 rear I built for my GP that has worked well. Only bad part is its 4" wider than stock and F body/vette wheels do work, and there is a big selection of aftermarket 4th gen wheels available, but understandably people would rather not loose their wheels. My next one I build I am going to make a stock width one, moser sells 30 spline axles the right length that are GN upgrade parts for $260 as a pair.

https://gbodyforum.com/threads/zr2-s10-8-6-rear-in-a-g-body-build.63106/

Explorer rears are cheap and strong, but have to narrow one axle, decide what to do with the wrong wheel bolt pattern, and decide what to do for UCA brackets.

Fox/sn95 mustang rears are strong and cheap, but again the control arm points are close to bolt in with new arms but far enough away that like 50% of the people I have seen actually have success with them. Still the wheel bolt pattern being wrong too, so it's a wash with my zr2 setup, just that you can run 1 spare in the car if that is desirable.
 
Turbolq4

Turbolq4

G-Body Guru
Sep 25, 2017
916
1,463
93
Boise Idaho
#7
The 95 Mustang GT rear has the 31 spline axles. It's wider than the stock rear but has disc brakes and posi-suregrip-trackloc-govbomb device stock. I shortened the UCAs and put in a relocation bracket which fixed the instant center/wheelhop issue. SN95 wheels fit it nicely and make for running 245/45/17s on all 4 easy. Firms up the ride and handling well and gives a higher speed rating as most of this size tire are Z rated, some ZR. Very useful on my car. Not a huge fan of the looks of these wheels on my junk but it confuses people which is a good trade off.
 
Last edited:
81_El_Homewrecker

81_El_Homewrecker

Greasemonkey
Oct 26, 2015
121
15
18
#8
Since there aren’t that many people that have done the 8.8 swap (vs 8.5 or 9”) I’ll let you know what I did.

I went the Mustang route and grabbed one from a 98 with disc brakes. I rebuilt it, then bought a jig to redrill the axles to the Chevy pattern. Using a low speed drill it was super easy. I also used the truck chassis kit for instant center on top, the bottom arms lined up perfect. IIRC, you can use the mustang housing so you have the upper ears and transfer an explorer center section and axles into it. This will get you the larger axles, but the convince of not modding the housing. Obviously you’d have to shorten the axles.
 
Turbolq4

Turbolq4

G-Body Guru
Sep 25, 2017
916
1,463
93
Boise Idaho
#9
Since there aren’t that many people that have done the 8.8 swap (vs 8.5 or 9”) I’ll let you know what I did.

I went the Mustang route and grabbed one from a 98 with disc brakes. I rebuilt it, then bought a jig to redrill the axles to the Chevy pattern. Using a low speed drill it was super easy. I also used the truck chassis kit for instant center on top, the bottom arms lined up perfect. IIRC, you can use the mustang housing so you have the upper ears and transfer an explorer center section and axles into it. This will get you the larger axles, but the convince of not modding the housing. Obviously you’d have to shorten the axles.
98 axle already has 31 spline axles. I'm unaware of the exploder having bigger axles than that. Only difference would be gear ratio options. I don't want 3.73s in my car, waaaay too steep!
 
S

Sid R

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Mar 22, 2018
12
7
3
#10
Since there aren’t that many people that have done the 8.8 swap (vs 8.5 or 9”) I’ll let you know what I did.

I went the Mustang route and grabbed one from a 98 with disc brakes. I rebuilt it, then bought a jig to redrill the axles to the Chevy pattern. Using a low speed drill it was super easy. I also used the truck chassis kit for instant center on top, the bottom arms lined up perfect. IIRC, you can use the mustang housing so you have the upper ears and transfer an explorer center section and axles into it. This will get you the larger axles, but the convince of not modding the housing. Obviously you’d have to shorten the axles.

Please elaborate on the term "TRUCK CHASSIS KIT". I hadn't heard of that before you mentioned it. Thanks.
 

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