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Ford 8.8 vs 9" vs 12 bolt?

This is a discussion on Ford 8.8 vs 9" vs 12 bolt? within the Drivetrain forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I know the differences between the 9" vs 12 bolt rear ends, but a buddy of mine threw in something ...

  1. #1
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Ford 8.8 vs 9" vs 12 bolt?

    I know the differences between the 9" vs 12 bolt rear ends, but a buddy of mine threw in something different. Ford Explorer 8.8 rear end. He says there cheap and are very easy to get from the junk yards. Only cost him $250 for the whole rear end. After some upgrades and parts , he said it could handle up to 1000 HP.

    Here is some info on the 8.8 rear:

    Has 31-Spline Axle Shafts
    Beefier 3.25-Inch Axle Tubes
    10-Inch Drums From 1990-1994
    1995+ Have Disc Brakes
    Rear Ends Are 1.5-Inches Wider Than 7.5-Inch Rear Ends
    Needs Shock Mounts Welded On
    Needs Spring Perches Welded To Top Of Axle Tube
    Most Have Limited-Slip (Traction Lock)

    Negatives: Same 5x4.5 Wheel Bolt Pattern As Ranger and rather than welding the tubes into the diff housing, the tubes are just held in with pressed-in plugs. These plugs tend to stop doing their job under severe stress, so you really should weld the tubes to the housing with low-hydrogen rod. (He welds these into provide the strength)


    Besides some upgrades in gears and axles what else would there be?

    has anyone looked into this?

    Here's an article that describes what would be needed, however they are doing it for a Mustang project. But My buddy says it can be done for an F-body just the same.

    http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles...end/index.html


    BTW he has installed a LS1 into a Jeep with this rear end and it is a monster.

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    You'll lose ABS and TCS unless you can figure out how to engineer it into the Ford 8.8. Also might be tricky to get the torque arm mount figured out for an F-body, but not impossible. Good rearend though.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    The newer years of the rear end have ABS, but I don't have TCS so no loss there. I forgot about the Torque Arm. One more thing to consider. I read something about a C-clip issue to for our F-bodies, anything on that?

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    King 0f n00bz shady milkman's Avatar
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    blacker than wesleysnipes
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    c clips suck and are weak ...

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    The newer years of the rear end have ABS, but I don't have TCS so no loss there. I forgot about the Torque Arm. One more thing to consider. I read something about a C-clip issue to for our F-bodies, anything on that?
    I suspect the Ford ABS is not compatible with the GM car. The Torque arm is the biggest hurdle and the reason 99.98% of people don't use the 8.8 Ford.

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    sick & twisted SS 02_slp_ss's Avatar
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    here is a way to get away from the tq arm problem..... i been looking in to doing an 8.8. this place makes a mini latter bar, i really been wanting to do this im sure u can make it cheaper. but just thought i would show it to u guys so u can get your mind going just like mine is. an also from 79-04 a GT stang rear is almsot the same width as the f body rears so they will work to

    http://www.g-forcesuspension.com/pag...og/i.php/81/55

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Nice, but those upper control arms look like pencils. I'm trying to visualize this. Weld on the upper bracket to the rear end and bolt UCA to the rearend and the lower control arms?

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    Also curious as to how the G-Force kit installs.

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Man I haven't looked at a ladder bar setup in ages. Trying to remember, its just 2 ladder bars and a panhard bar I believe. I have a feeling this G-Force suspension kit rides or handles like crap, but I could be wrong. I almost wanna buy it and try it out. Imagine all the room you'd have for dual exhaust, if that torque arm was gone.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02_slp_ss View Post
    here is a way to get away from the tq arm problem..... i been looking in to doing an 8.8. this place makes a mini latter bar, i really been wanting to do this im sure u can make it cheaper. but just thought i would show it to u guys so u can get your mind going just like mine is. an also from 79-04 a GT stang rear is almsot the same width as the f body rears so they will work to

    http://www.g-forcesuspension.com/pag...og/i.php/81/55
    I like it. About time someone came up with a kit to rid these cars of the pain in the rump torque arm.

    I would like to see some installed pics. I would have thought G-force would have examples of installs? Or has this not been on the market long? I would have thought they had a mock up install before it hit the catalogs.

    This kit opens up an entirely new bottle of possibilities. More exhaust options, built in adjustability, and best of all, you can now stick any rearend you damn well please in there without fooling with torque arms. No more $3,000 drop in housings. Well worth the money in my opinion, I'd just like to see some instructions or some pics of the install done.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    The 8.8's are good rears. They are very much similar in design to the GM 12 bolt so they share similar strength qualities.
    C-clips aren't that big of a deal. They aren't weak per say, the biggest issue is "where" they retain the axle. Since it's on the inside of the spline, and axles tend to snap right at the outside of the spline, the axles tend to walk out of the housing.
    A C-clip eliminator kit is basically like a 9 inch ford setup and some BOP rearends. You have a bearing retainer plate that bolts onto the axle tube, the same 4 bolts that hold your back plate on. When the axle snaps it then stays in the housing. Simple kit and cheap to buy, relatively easy to install.

    If you don't want to go the C-clip eliminator route (required per NHRA rules after a certain ET)
    Most of the rearend manufactures also make larger and stronger C-clip style axles. So they slip in like stock but are beefier. I've used these for years in my chevelle with a 12 bolt, running 1.5 60 foot times pulling the wheels, with a race weight of 4,100 lbs. These axles haven't even flinched. Haven't touched the rear since about 1990.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 10-13-2010 at 07:54 PM.

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    Member Supershafts's Avatar
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    1971, 73,78, 85,92,95,

    Also disc brakes tend to hold the axle from walking out...

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supershafts View Post
    Also disc brakes tend to hold the axle from walking out...
    Ooops ya I forgot to mention that. I deal with drums most of the time.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    I'm new to this subject so please excuse some of the what appears so obvious questions/answers coming from me.


    1) C-Clips what and where on the rear end/axle?
    2) Is there some place that I could get some better understanding of the rear ends/ladder bars/torque arms/etc.. like a book or web site?
    3) I read that it is highly advisable to weld the axle tubes near the pumpkin to reinforce this one weaken area because on these axles they pressed in and have what seems to be a clip that retains it in place. Is this the C clip or something else?


    4) Not wanting to go back to rear drums, this axle won't force me to go that route will it?
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 10-14-2010 at 09:13 AM.

  15. #15
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    C-clips are inside the carrier, and hold the axle just beyond the splines on the very inside end of the axles.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    ok I now know what your talking about. Seen it on the how to shows.

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    Junior Member incbed's Avatar
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    Alot of people are cutting the 8.8 axle tube 5" from where they are pressed into the housing.
    Then they are cutting the F-body axle tubes off the housing and pressing the fbody axle housing tubes inside the 8.8 axle tubes that are left still attached to the 8.8 housing and welding them together.
    By doing this the shock mounts,,lower control arm brackets and pan hard bar bracket is still in the factory locations.
    Also you still have the Fbody factory axle tube ends for the factory brakes.
    All that has to be done is make a torgue arm bracket.
    The factory 28 spline Fbody axles will go right into the 8.8 28spline carrier you just have to use the 8.8 C-clips.

    And if you want to you can buy the ford 8.8 31spline axles with the GM lug pattern,,you would have to buy different axle end bearings and seals for the Fbody axle tubes to do this.

    This is what I am going to do ,,,I already have a 8.8 housing with 31spline full spool and 4.11 gears.

  18. #18
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    How far off are you from completing this? I would like to see an end result.

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    Junior Member incbed's Avatar
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    I havn't started yet,,,but you can see the end result on the LS1 tech forum.

    I will be starting mine after I get my car tuned with my new LS3 MAF sensor.
    Last edited by incbed; 10-14-2010 at 12:31 PM.

  20. #20
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by incbed View Post
    Alot of people are cutting the 8.8 axle tube 5" from where they are pressed into the housing.
    Then they are cutting the F-body axle tubes off the housing and pressing the fbody axle housing tubes inside the 8.8 axle tubes that are left still attached to the 8.8 housing and welding them together.
    By doing this the shock mounts,,lower control arm brackets and pan hard bar bracket is still in the factory locations.
    Also you still have the Fbody factory axle tube ends for the factory brakes.
    All that has to be done is make a torgue arm bracket.
    The factory 28 spline Fbody axles will go right into the 8.8 28spline carrier you just have to use the 8.8 C-clips.

    And if you want to you can buy the ford 8.8 31spline axles with the GM lug pattern,,you would have to buy different axle end bearings and seals for the Fbody axle tubes to do this.

    This is what I am going to do ,,,I already have a 8.8 housing with 31spline full spool and 4.11 gears.
    You are aware (I hope) that replacing tubes, whether you do it the way you describe or replace the whole tube,,,,you need a jig to set it all up on, making sure everything is square and true. This is not something for the average joe. The process can be costly if you have to sub out the work, your average shop can't do this sort of thing.

    I've been through this before, and I find it much easier and cheaper to cut off the brackets and reweld onto the axle tubes of the new rearend, all you need in that case is a simple angle finder and a tape measure. Brakes aren't a big deal to worry about, the aftermarket support out there for various rearends (including the 8.8) allows you to install any brake system you want or need.

    You mention making a torque arm bracket?? Why would you do that if you are using this ladder bar kit mentioned above that eliminates the torque arm bracket?

    If you stick with the torque arm route, welding any type of bracket to the cast iron center section of an 8.8 requires brazing rod, the cast iron has to be cherry hot for the welds to stick, and it again requires a jig because the heat tends to move things. I've seen this done and haven't seen one yet that even remotely looks decent. Not really the way to go.

    If you are dead set on a torque arm setup and want to fab your own rearend housing you are much better off at this point to start with a junkyard 9 inch rear. Easy and cheap to find. Again, use a jig to narrow to the correct width. Then I use Currie for all the axle brackets and the torque arm bracket that is all made specifically for the larger tubes of the 9 inch housing. Currie makes everything you need for the conversion to put on any 9 inch housing. Makes it a very simple conversion. Plenty of aftermarket support for the 9 inch to allow any type of brakes system you want as well. And since the entire housing is sheetmetal, very easy to weld.

    Not trying to rain on your parade, but some of us were doing this stuff long before other manufactures stepped up with a drop in torque arm housing and what I described is by far the best way, easiest, and cheapest.

    Otherwise do away with the torque arm all together.

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