Ford 8.8 lug nut failure
So, I don't post a lot on here, but I figured I would share a little bit of insight that I learned the hard way.
First, a little background: I bought an 8.8 out of a 97 explorer with 247k miles on it for $100 from a yard. I installed it and got my Jeep back on the road this past weekend and drove around all weekend around town to make sure everything was alright. I got about 100 miles before one of my 35" tires decided it wanted to go faster and pass me. Luckily, I was going about 20mph and slowing down on a dirt backroad, so no one was around and no one/nothing got hurt (except my TJ flare). I found all the lugnuts had backed off. I grabbed the tire and my jack, put it back on with the one lugnut I found and one from each of the other wheels and tightened the crap out of it. When I checked the rest of the lugnuts on the other wheels, a couple on the other side rear wheel were starting to back off too. I tightened all of them and couldn't figure out why this happened, the same tires stayed on my dana 35 just fine.
I was talking to a buddy about it and the only thing we could think of is that most, if not all, Explorers came with aluminum wheels which have a thicker mounting surface than steel wheels like I have. The thicker wheel, coupled with dissimilar metals, created corrosion on the closest threads over the course of 247k miles and I was able to torque the lug nuts without them actually seating.
Just some food for thought for anyone doing an 8.8 swap. Could be a freak occurance, or it may be common. Learn from my mistakes, and make sure the studs are clean all the way to the base.