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Used Rear End

This is a discussion on Used Rear End within the Drivetrain forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; There are many listings on my local craigslist for used Ford 9" rears, a few 12 bolt S-10 rears, and ...

  1. #1
    Give me a place to stand. levityinc3's Avatar
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    Used Rear End

    There are many listings on my local craigslist for used Ford 9" rears, a few 12 bolt S-10 rears, and some "14 bolt" rears. Most of them are rusty and unattractive, which is no big deal. My question is, how hard would it be to retrofit one to my car? I don't give a s*** about ABS or ASR. What is the stock width of our rears?

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    Former Mopar Man 2002ssslp's Avatar
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    I you are good with a cutting torch, welding, measuring and are patience of a saint then you can go ahead and give it a try. Many have done it with sucess. You just need to get everything to line up and fit. I am sure there is a sticky here for that mod. Good luck and let us know how you make out.
    My ride is a 2002 Camaro SS SLP #3296 with 30k, LTH, 3" Y, CME, Frost tune, K&N, ported TB, Blackwing lid, Bellows, MSD, Denso Iridium, and 85mm MAF, Bilsteins, Eibach springs, SLP strut brace, Adj. Panhard, TA Girdle, UMI, Pro 5.0, Nitto NT555
    My wife has a 2004 GTO with the rare SAP, 18" wheels, K&N Cold Air System, MSD, Ported TB, Frost tune, Denso Iridium, Flowmaster cat-back, 3200 Yank, 75k

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    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    Read this. My 8.8 Rear Build

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    Give me a place to stand. levityinc3's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!
    2000 Camaro SS A4- KN air intake, smooth bellows, NGK TR55, MSD 8.5 wires, Pacesetter LTs, TSP Rumbler X-Pipe, 3.73 Gear, KYB AGX shocks, Vogtland Springs, TA Rear end Cover, Vinyl Wrapped Berger Panel Flat Black.

    Dyno tuned at EFI Alchemy

    Completed mods: AIR and EGR Delete, VATS Bypass, Ominous Glow, bump stop removal, throttle body coolant bypass. PM me for questions or help.

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    '02 WS.6 / '07 Suburban

    Probably the toughest thing to do is build a decent torque arm mount. Lots of fab work to swap in a non F-body rear -- I have been following Scott's thread and know that he enjoys the challenge. For most folks, buying a rear made to fit an F-body is the wiser and cheaper (in the long run) choice, especially if you factor in the time and labor that goes into it.

  6. #6
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    I've done a few of these before the drop ins were available from the aftermarket.

    The easiest rear to fab is the 9" hands down. Currie makes the torque arm mount that bolts onto the 3rd member, and they also sell new 4th gen control arm and pan hard bar mounts. The torque arm is the biggest hurdle, and since Currie makes the adapter it's really pretty easy from there.

    There is some technical know how and a few special tools involved but pretty straight forward once you dig in.

    Once the housing is cut to length you can weld on your new housing ends (available from any number of suppliers) and use bar stock/donuts to keep it all square when you weld.

    With a tape measure and angle finder you can weld on your new control arm and pan hard bar brackets using the stock rear as a guide.

    Build the 3rd member of your choice and shove it in. If you use factory axles you can have them cut to length and resplined to save some coin, or just buy aftermarket to any length you need.

    I can tell you though you really don't save much money at all going this route. By the time you source a decent usable 9" housing, all the fab work, a 3rd member, axles, I barely come in under the price of a drop in unit ready to rock. I'm talking $2-300.

  7. #7
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Another option is to scan the ads near you, and you'll sometimes find a used 9" or 12 bolt from a 4th gen pop up forsale.

    I just recently sold a 12 bolt I had, with all brand new parts, new Eaton posi, new 33 spline axles, 4.10 gear, setup for both 3 and 4 channel etc...all there and ready to assemble for $1800.

    I've bought them as cheap as $1,000 (just last year) complete and working if you know the right people.

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    FBJ - assuming someone does not have the capability to do this in their own shop, about how much do you think they would end up spending to convert a used 9" to fit an F-body?

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Oooo boy, with some of the current labor rates I see around here I don't think you would save anything if paying someone for all the work, and that's what will make the difference in whether or not this is a feasable task.

    I haven't bought a used 9" housing in a while but it's safe to say you could spend $2-400, and it may not have a usable 3rd member. Alot of factory pieces I see have a broken pinion bearing support.

    How cheap you want to go on parts or how savy you are at price shopping may vary this a bit but here is a generalization.

    Torque arm bracket from Currie ($160)
    Other brackets ($180)
    3rd member if you need one is about $300
    Ring Gear is ~$200
    Set up kit is ~$150 with all bearings
    Just about any style posi whether it's clutch or locker is about ~$500
    You'll need new housing ends that adapt GM brakes if you want to keep your brakes $150
    New axles are about $500, or find a shop that can respline the stockers to save some here.

    So lets just say you bought your 9" for $300,,,,,you are still looking at about $2400 give or take and that's just parts.

    You can save some money here and there,,,,for instance if the 3rd member you got with the used housing is okay,,,then you can knock $300 off for a new Strange piece. Just keep in mind any housing you find with a 3rd member isn't likely it will be a desirable "N" case, those are sought after and pricey. The strange bare 3rd member is still a much better piece anyway and much stronger, yet is still cheaper than what you'll pay for a good "N" case.

    If you can find someone to respline old axles you'll save $3-400 there vs buying new axles.

    To top that all off you have to throw labor in there which vary widely depending on where you live or who you know.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 04-15-2013 at 01:18 PM.

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    So it sounds like...it's a lot cheaper and much faster to just buy a new one already assembled - plus, you get a warranty on it.

  11. #11
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    For the most part, yeah nowadays it really doesn't pay to build one. If you can do the work yourself, have the tools, and do a little price shopping, you can save about $500-$700 vs a drop in unit ready to go.

    In the late 80's and early 90's, you could do the whole thing for about $1,000. 9" housings from trucks were a dime a dozen, usually 31 spline, and usually had a posi in it. Install the gear you want, rebuild the posi (if it needed it), respline the axles, brackets, and you're done.

    Those days are long gone though. That stuff is getting 40+ years old, too hard to find good used parts now. May as well just buy all new.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 04-15-2013 at 02:48 PM.

  12. #12
    Give me a place to stand. levityinc3's Avatar
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    Good info and advice guys. Thanks. I guess I need to save for a brand new one.

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