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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dudes mistake is my gain. He bought this Explorer 8.8 from LKQ for $400 to swap in his Mustang and thought it would be bolt in. When his mechanic told him how much modification and cost would be involved he shrunk away. Since its going in my YJ I am prepared to spend the $1K+ to mod it to fit.


I am not exactly sure what year Exploder it came from but it has disc brakes and an LS dif. Down side is its a 3.73 so I will hafta do a 4"10 swap. That doesnt bother me either as I was going to rebearing it anyway to make it as new and trouble free as possible. There are so many swap kits out there now, I dont have to do a lot of figuring and designing mounts. Conversion Ebrake cables, Spicer Ubolt to flange adapters, all the stuff I need except for the money, lol. In the long term mod of my YJ, this axle swap will be relatively inexpensive. A 4.3 Vortec, 231 C/J mod with the 4L60E auto goes in it as well. Ive already bought the S10 Blazer ($100 get it out of my yard) for the drive line ready to go thru to make it new as well. Ive cleared my CC's and my credit line as well as saved a stack of cash to forge ahead.


Now I have a few questions on the 8.8 swap. Most of the conversion threads are done on 4"+ lifted YJ's and I really dont want to go that high. 2"-2.5" lift is all I want to clear maybe some 33" tires at a later date as the 31"s I have now are relatively new. I saw where one guy with a 4" lift changed the angle of his dif to 15* to keep the drive shaft angles acceptable. If I go with the 2", what would be the correct pinion angle? If I dont buy the lift right off the bat, will I need to change the perches again after or use wedges to correct it later? Since the Exploder axle is a bit shorter, should I buy the 5/8" spacers to bring it to 60.5" width? My rims have a pretty aggressive back space already, not sure exactly but the 31X1015 tires stick out past my 6" flares now. I guess I will try it first and see if they scrub at full deflection.



I wont be doing any serious four wheeling with my YJ honestly. No rock climbing or competition mud boggin. All I want is a mildy modded Jeep to not fear any mud hole I may encounter on Management Areas or an occasional trail ride. A little extra power from the V6 and hopefully a bit better gas mileage as well. My little 4 banger is hovering around 10mpg at 65 mph and with the 15 gal stock tank, that dont get too far. I dont expect much out of a brick aerodynamically but with the increased cost of fuel (Lets Go Brandon) any improvement will be welcomed.


About the only things I will farm out on this swap are the gear change and the welding. I need to search out a good shop for the gear change who will guarantee a quiet, long lasting rear end. The welding will be done by a friend of a friend for beers and BBQ. All the rest of the brake work and installation will be done by me and the friend at his shop. He is 120 miles away so I need to get all I can done locally I can to take the axle to the country for a "quick" swap over, hopefully one weekend if all the prep is complete. The distance isnt a big deal, its where my camp is and where I hunt anyway. Even having to "work" on a weekend or two doesnt bother me because it gets me away from the city and the hassles of my job for a little while.


All that said, any input from my forum brothers will be much welcomed. Let the discussions begin!
 

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...Now I have a few questions on the 8.8 swap. Most of the conversion threads are done on 4"+ lifted YJ's and I really dont want to go that high. 2"-2.5" lift is all I want to clear maybe some 33" tires at a later date as the 31"s I have now are relatively new. I saw where one guy with a 4" lift changed the angle of his dif to 15* to keep the drive shaft angles acceptable. If I go with the 2", what would be the correct pinion angle? If I dont buy the lift right off the bat, will I need to change the perches again after or use wedges to correct it later? Since the Exploder axle is a bit shorter, should I buy the 5/8" spacers to bring it to 60.5" width? My rims have a pretty aggressive back space already, not sure exactly but the 31X1015 tires stick out past my 6" flares now. I guess I will try it first and see if they scrub at full deflection.
You got a good deal @$150. If you need the u-joint adapter, let me know, I've got a couple for sale.

Get away from the "what angle" thinking, that doesn't work and any angle anyone gives you isn't going to be a guarantee. Simply mark where your perches are going to be so they can be lined up side to side, put them in place bolt up your springs to the axle, drop the weight of the jeep on the axle and set the angle accordingly (dependent on using a stock slip yoke or a SYE). Once your angle is right tack the perches, pull the axle out and burn them in. I personally wouldn't do the work twice so I'd hold off on getting the axle in place until you get the springs you want etc. Absolutely no need for spacers, center the axle and run it.
 

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The width is not an issue. The off set diff is not an issue. But since it is narrower, you will need to cut off the OEM perch's, get new ones and move outboard 9/16" each side to fit the YJ. 8.8 tube is bigger, so a low shoulder perch is better so not to loose height going SUA. I would have the lift installed first in order to set the pinion to the lift, even if it is a mild one. May as well do it right. The pinion angle is also relevant to which D-line you're using... slip yoke or CV.
Let the fun begin...


Edit; obviously Tim types faster than I. Lol.
 

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To bounce back off what Randy was saying about the "low shoulder" perches. If you're staying spring under, just order a basic set of perches that fit the tube from Summit or the like. I believe Summit carries Mopar perches that are the right width and tube diameter for under $20 a set. If you get a heavy duty set from just about any offroad vendor (even their SUA perches) they'll be too tall to effectively run SUA.
 

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The 8.8 is a little narrower than the D35. The diff is offset to the right. It is no big deal in the end but an idea I like that @Awesome did was set his diff up to run a spacer on the right wheel only to get back to the correct width and to help move the pinion back over to the center more.
 

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$1K to install an 8.8? LOL :rofl:

You can re-use the perches that come with the axle if you're careful when you cut them off. I only had to cut one perch off at first, because the angle was correct for my Jeep when I first installed it. Later when I did the tummy tuck I had to cut both perches off to change the angle.

I think I spent $250 on my axle install, and that was after buying a spacer and fluid and cable stops for the brakes.
 

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Agreed, there's no need to spend a grand putting an 8.8 in. If you're spending that kind of money it should include a locker, SYE and new driveshaft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
$1K to install an 8.8? LOL :rofl:

You can re-use the perches that come with the axle if you're careful when you cut them off. I only had to cut one perch off at first, because the angle was correct for my Jeep when I first installed it. Later when I did the tummy tuck I had to cut both perches off to change the angle.

I think I spent $250 on my axle install, and that was after buying a spacer and fluid and cable stops for the brakes.
I am including the regear and having a shop do that part. Ive seen the set up procedure and it doesnt look all that hard, I would want a shop to give me a quiet trouble free set up rather than maybe me not getting it right. To me it looks like all parts would be about $600 and just spitballing maybe $200 to set the gears. Possible new Ebrake shoes/hdw, discs, pads/calipers and its looking pretty close to $1K but its going to be absolutely brand new. Do it once, cry once. I may get lucky with some parts if they are reusable. We shall see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The 8.8 is a little narrower than the D35. The diff is offset to the right. It is no big deal in the end but an idea I like that @Awesome did was set his diff up to run a spacer on the right wheel only to get back to the correct width and to help move the pinion back over to the center more.
This is interesting. I see now why Awesome only removed one perch.

Awesome, how thick a spacer did you use?
 

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I can see where Awesome's swap would work on a strict budget quite nicely, and will remember it.

However, another "trick" is to get two identical 8.8's, and swap the long axle and tube from one, for the short axle and tube from the other. This way, you end up with two centered rears, one longer overall than the other. It adds expense and work, but it's done right.

Just my 2-pence.....Roger
 

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Theres no issue running an offset pumpkin. I ran my 8.8 for several years like that and my 14 bolt is also offset. IMO, not that Im an expert by any means, using a spacer works but isnt really right and swapping tubes is way more work than its worth. The u joints make up for the offset and the rear being that slight bit narrower is unnoticeable. Most vehicles rear track width is narrower than the front to help with turning
 

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I can't stress enough how much I like what east coast gear sells. The 8.8 kit is priced well and the E-brake kit is factory as F-k

In my noob opinion. I hate how the rear tires look vs the front. I don't know what size wheel spacers are needed to make it even but maybe I have OCD now. LOL
If anyone knows the spacer size let me know. I'm still working on junk, but the 8.8 was not as bad as I though.
 

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It really amazes me how much people focus on centering the diff. The only real advantages to centering the diff is having a single spare shaft for both sides and less worry about driveshaft clearance if you're building a custom 4 link suspension. If the driveshaft doesn't hit anything in the suspension travel, it doesn't matter what offset you have because the lateral angle is considerably less than the downward angle and the u-joint doesn't know the difference. If the extra few degrees of compounding angle is your limiting factor, you probably need another solution/limiting strap regardless. If I had my way, I'd run the diff as far to the driver side as I could just to help me not dragging the diff. Generally speaking, I hit all of the biggest obstacles with my driver tire since I can see it and if the diff were tucked up close to the tire, it's less likely for the rear diff to drag. Look at moon buggys in the rock crawling competitions. They tuck their diffs under the tires....granted they are running steer axles in the front and rear but they are also running fully custom axles so there was a plan on where the diff was positioned.
 

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I've never seen a competition buggy that runs compound angles on the u-joints. They nearly always run a highly offset drivetrain.

We've been over this before. Dana did studies 40-50 years ago and found that compound u-joint angles were more likely to cause vibrations and failures, and makes the u-joint weaker by increasing stress. You don't want stress in multiple planes on a u-joint if you don't have to have it.

In the end, you do you. Me do me. He do he.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Or you could take a F150 8.8, cut it down and burn on some Torino bearing cups. Then you get an axle the correct width, a centered pinion, bigger brakes, no c-clips.... etc.
I was surprised at how many Ford models actually use the 8.8 including some 1/2 ton pick ups and Crown Vic's. Considering the closeness in width and the same lug pattern, an Exploder 8.8 is near perfect. Years ago, when I did a frame off on a CJ, I looked into a D44 with discs from a Rodeo but the lug pattern stopped me. I didnt know about an 8.8 at the time or it probly would have ended up under my project.

I removed the spring perches and trac bar brackets so far. Tomorrow I will pull the axles to remove the damaged backer plates and caliper brackets so I can clean and refinish the axle. I have a full and expensive cart at ECGS ready for my CC. I havent sourced the ring and pinion yet as I want to talk to the shop I am going to use and see how they feel about me supplying parts and what brands they recommend. A trip to the JY for backer plates is on the agenda as well.

I should have everything done in a few weeks. My lift kit will be here Tuesday. Soon the YJ will be riding on a new suspension and an axle that can handle my Vortec V6 build up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I am getting some serious overload on information on several forums on this swap. I am buying the axle swap kit from ECGS because Barnes 4wd is out of stock because they cant get the right size ubolts. Ive read the Exploder axle is 1-1/4" narrower and to use 5/16" spacers. All the ones I see arent a bolt on to the axle but just a metal spacer. If I use this type of spacer, should I also put in some longer wheel studs?
 

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I know it's $$$ .... but have you lent any thought to perhaps Ultimate 88 kit?

I am going to be going this route in the near future and if I didn't spend money on a re-gear kit for my 8.8 as part of its install in my jeep a few years back, I would have done it then.

It would eliminate your c-clips, provide you a stronger axle and lengthen your 8.8 to the size you required accordingly.

That said, I'm not even sure how you notice that difference in width, it might be because it's fresh to you, but I don't really notice it at all anymore on my jeep. You have to consciously think about it to even perceive its existence.
 
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