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KyleWHunter 02-26-2013 11:08 AM

Out with the old, In with the new
Hey everybody, This is my first post here on the forums! I have a 1996 GC Laredo, Bought it used 105k miles with a 3" lift for $1,200 4x4 works great minor electrical problem w/ interior lighting and a broken sway bar or two, plus the rear is bad. I plan on fixing it up and putting a 4.5" lift in, but I've ran into a snag with the rear...
So I've read among the Forums and other places and have come the the conclusion that I really don't want to put another Dana 35 in, so I don't run into this problem with the rear again(at least for a couple years). From what I've read putting a Ford 8.8 in is the way to go. Problem is I'm an amateur at this and I don't know what would have to be altered inorder for the rear to be bolted in and function properly(things like the drive shaft, Gear ratio's for the lift I plan on putting in, suspension, and the front axle). I would like to know what I need to replace inorder for this rear to fit/function right.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
P.s. Also if you know any Jeep specialist in my area that would be great!

Scopez 02-26-2013 12:09 PM

You could swap a d44a from a 96-98 V8 ZJ Its alot stronger, but limited to aftermarket support.

Texas ZJ1 02-26-2013 12:13 PM

Unless you plan on heavy wheeling with 33s or 35s, the 35c is fine. Unless you plan on locking it, the 35 c is fine. I ran 32s and 33s with open diffs on a 35c without issues.

KyBoy1991 02-26-2013 12:48 PM

What they said is 100% accurate...I ran the D35 Locked and 4.56s and broke 2 shafts on pavement with 33s. It can be locked but you gotta be's not advisable.

I also just swapped the 8.8 in mine. was a rather lengthy process as I took time because i couldn't do everything myself and needed the help of others. you gotta cut the factory brackets off, weld new ones on, regear to match your front, shorten your drive shaft most likely(i had to), then uninstall the D35 and bolt in the new one and get all your angles proper. Many have done it over a weekend, but it all depends on ones level of wrenching ability. also, with the 8.8 you'll most likely tie up $800-1000 where you can bolt in the 44a for maybe the cost of gears, seals, and less than $300

You gotta know what you're going to do with it or what you want to do with it to make this kind of investment/decision.

There's also the option of a selectable locker and chromo shafts for the 35 and it's going to be alot stronger than stock. And you're keeping your stuff bolted in, so that eases that work load. Again, can't stress enough that you MUST KNOW WHAT YOUR NEEDS ARE before going down this road.

KyleWHunter 02-26-2013 06:39 PM

I plan on mudding/minor crawling. Someone in my area is selling a 8.8 w/ 3:55 posi out of a 91 bronco for $400, I could grab that and slap it in there w/o having to touch the front at all right?

ratmonkey 02-26-2013 07:08 PM

nope. the bronco will be the less desirable 28 spline version, drum brakes, and probably wider than the zj.

the 96+ exploder is the one you want. disc brakes, proper width, and 31 spline shafts.
you do have to weld the correct suspension brackets on the axle before it'll "bolt in".

KyleWHunter 02-26-2013 10:09 PM

Dang. Ok I found an 8.8 off a 1997 Explorer w/ disc brakes and 373 gears for $250. I guess I'm going to have to touch the front. :mad:

KyleWHunter 02-27-2013 10:49 PM

getting iron rock off road brackets for the 8.8 mount

jnicewan 02-27-2013 11:34 PM

I just did the 8.8 in mine. I decided to get the IRO 8.8 swap kit to make things a little easier and make the swap fast. I used the 8.8 brakes and ZJ brake lines. The brake lines fit fine just needed to tweak them a little bit. The ZJ park brake cables will hook up too. The driveshaft comes up about an inch short so either come up with a way to locate axle back 1" or shorten drive shaft. I got a pinion flange from a Ford car, that way you can keep the factory size u-joint, just need 2 more external clips for the caps. You will lose your ABS if that bothers you, Im not worried about that, I just need to turn the light off now.

Also you might try to find an open diff 8.8 if you want to consider a lunchbox locker like the lock-right or aussie locker they dont fit in the LSD carriers. The ford limited slip is not real aggressive anyway, but they can be rebuilt with better clutches and preload spring though. The popular ratios for the explorers were 3.55 and 3.73 just like the ZJ's so if you keep looking you can find the a match. One more thing, I have aftermarket wheels with less backspacing than OEM jeep wheels, but also have the OEM wheels for spares, I put the jeep wheels on the other day and the explorer calipers rubbed the inside of the wheel, only slightly and very minor trimming to the caliper would fix that issue, just keep that in mind.

Maine1994ZJ 02-28-2013 12:19 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I am getting ready to do the 8.8 swap in my ZJ. For locating a JY that has an axle near you, go to: I found 12 axles in my area for about $350.
I am also going to use one of these to strengthen it and put it in place:

Just my $0.02.....

1stblack97ZJ 02-28-2013 12:37 PM

I agree with ^ go with the Artec kit.

KyBoy1991 03-01-2013 11:47 AM

2 Attachment(s)
here's my finished's now installed and driving everyday

OH, and I kept the can, just a tad more work. The method of grinding every other tooth off the abs tone ring inside the differential does work. I did that, wired up the ABS system with my ZJ wires and everything was just fine. No light on in the dash and it does function as designed.

1stblack97ZJ 03-01-2013 11:50 AM

very nice!!

Maine1994ZJ 03-01-2013 06:08 PM

That's SWEEEET!!!

KyBoy1991 03-01-2013 06:40 PM

Thanks....about 8 months of work waiting and lots of help from more skilled friends than me. I was able to trade other parts for help and parts and tool my time finding parts as needed. All in all I might have 7 tied up on it. Most say you will tie up about a grand if you redo everything on the axle. If you can stay with the factory gearing and no need for new bearings you'll save 300 easy.

I had to do the whole thing to match my front, so there's that. Anyway, I highly recommend the swap if you got the skills. Just getting a driveshaft built that will not shake now.... But that is another thread.

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