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Hey guys I have recently been contemplating doing the common 8.8 Explorer rear end swap into my 66 (inline six currently building a 351W). I have found countless threads on how to do it, which is great. The purpose of my thread is to get feed back from those who have actually done the swap, I am wondering if those who have done it are satisfied. If you are not satisfied could you please inform me as to why and what would you have done different, if you still recommend the swap. Thanks in advance.
 

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63 views and no feedback...

I debated with going 8.8 or a new pumpkin for my 8. i could never find a detailed "How To" and step by step write up to make me feel comfortable in doing it.

The idea of limited slip, 3.8 gears AND disk brakes is incredible when you think it can be had for $300. The feeling of blazing a trail and learn as you go was not something I felt was worth it to me.

I would have gone with an 8.8 if I had a "guide" to go by. I have read a few write ups but the are so general and I know how critical the pinion angle is.

If you decide to do an 8.8 conversion, PLEASE, for the Mustang community, document your work with pictures, links, lessons learned, references to web links you used, oarts used and the results. I know it is a pain in the a$$ (sorry) but it will benefit others for years to come.

I would also suggest it be made a Sticky here on AFM for a guide reference.

OK off my soap box...

Good Luck and BE Safe
Ron

My website documentation: Christophers 66 Mustang Restoration and Modification
 

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Im surprised nobody else has chimed in. Maybe I can help. I did the swap in my '67 and love everything about it. I had to cut off the old spring perches and weld on new ones. The only hang up, is that on most 8.8s, the diff is offset. No biggie on a 67-68 car, but on your 66 (which is a little narrower,) you may have clearence issues. The 8.8 is a little wider than the 8 inch. IMO, it just makes it look a little meaner. :winks The 3.73s and trac-loc are awesome. Mine came out of an explorer, so it has the 31 spline axle shafts. Nearly as strong as a 9"
 

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Some of the pictures are from when I was cutting off the old perches. Started with a sawzall for the big chunks, then an angle grinder for the smoother work. Cleaned it and shot it semi-gloss black. Before install, I recleaned and repainted the entire thing. I couldnt settle for a half-a$$ed paint job on it. I forgot to mention, mine is not a disc brake 8.8 rear, but it is an easy swap. Disc parts can be found readily in salvage yards and bolt right on. The benifit of using the drums of the 8.8 is that my '67 factory e-brake cables hooked right up. My wifes newer explorer with a disc brake 8.8 just toasted its motor. Looks like I found rear disc brake parts. LOL. She doesnt find it as funny as I do.
 

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I installed the 8.8 in my car without the perches welded on, only set in place. I then set my pinion angle, tacked the perches on and removed the 8.8. I then welded the perches entirely to the axle tube. Be carefull not to weld in one place too much, for fear of warping the axle tube. Lay a short bead, do one side of the other perch and alternate untill both sides of both perches are fully welded. Take breaks between bead runs to let the metal cool. I needed to have custom u-bolts made and shipped to my local Carquest. The 31 spline 8.8 axle tube is much larger in diameter than the stock 8". Seems like 4" I.D. is the magic number, but that might be inaccurate. I could measure my 8.8 if you need. If you have any questions, please ask away. I would be glad to help.
 

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I installed the 8.8 in my car without the perches welded on, only set in place. I then set my pinion angle, tacked the perches on and removed the 8.8. I then welded the perches entirely to the axle tube. Be carefull not to weld in one place too much, for fear of warping the axle tube. Lay a short bead, do one side of the other perch and alternate untill both sides of both perches are fully welded. Take breaks between bead runs to let the metal cool. I needed to have custom u-bolts made and shipped to my local Carquest. The 31 spline 8.8 axle tube is much larger in diameter than the stock 8". Seems like 4" I.D. is the magic number, but that might be inaccurate. I could measure my 8.8 if you need. If you have any questions, please ask away. I would be glad to help.
Where did you get the replacement perches you welded back on?
Was the width close to your 8inch orginal?
Did you have to change rims and offset to make them fit?
What conversion Ujoint did you use?
Did you consider removing the C clips or was it not worth converting them?
I have read a 66 can fit an 8.8 but the long tube axle side needs to be cut to match the otherside. You then use a short axle, so you run 2 short axles. I believe it will make the axle 1 inch narrower in total width over a stock 8 inch from a 66. You can run spacers or change rim offset to make up the difference.
Thanks for the info 67!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the reply. The feedback is greatly appreciated. I will have to keep you informed on how it goes.
 

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Where did you get the replacement perches you welded back on?

- I orderded them from an Ebay store. Not sure if this is the same seller or not, but the perches are identical. Antiwrap Leaf Spring Perches for Ford 8.8 Inch | eBay

Was the width close to your 8inch orginal?

- Yes, though the 8.8 is slightly wider. Maybe 2-3 inches overall. 1-1.5 inch on each side. Most people would never notice, but I think it subtly makes the car look more aggressive. Also - Correction to one of my earlier comments. I said the axle tube might have been 4". That is VERY incorrect. I measured mine and it is 3 1/4". Sorry. I dont know where 4" came from. Just a number in my head.

Did you have to change rims and offset to make them fit?

- No, I am running 1968 casted, 14" Magnum 500's without a single issue. No spacing problems at all.

What conversion Ujoint did you use?

- Went to local Carquest and found a conversion joint. Took a few trips to get it right. The winner was a 1310/1330 if I remember correctly. 1310 was the factory driveshaft side and 1330 was the 8.8 yoke.


Did you consider removing the C clips or was it not worth converting them?

- I have only ever seen a c-clip on an 8.8 fail once. It was on my '88 F150 with a swaped in, built 460, running 35"s on the side of a mountain at a rediculous angle, dumping the clutch in 4low 3rd gear to climb over a tree. Lol. It took years of that type of punishment to finally break it. After seeing first-hand, what it takes to destroy the c-clip setup, I decided that my Mustang would never see that kind of abuse, and therefore didnt need to eliminate the c-clips.
Also, I like the ease of tear-down of the 8.8. C-clips make it a quick job.

I have read a 66 can fit an 8.8 but the long tube axle side needs to be cut to match the otherside. You then use a short axle, so you run 2 short axles. I believe it will make the axle 1 inch narrower in total width over a stock 8 inch from a 66. You can run spacers or change rim offset to make up the difference.

- I have heard the very same thing. Fairly inexpensive mod to have a shop do. I absolutly think it would be worth it if I had a 65/66 chassis. Yes, you would need two passenger side axle shafts. That is the shorter of the two. Spacers may be needed. Mostly a personal preference to how the stance looks though. I am a fan of the old Pontiac advertisment. "Wider is Better."

Thanks for the info 67!

- Anytime! If you think of anything else, I will do my best to answer. You had some good questions; some of which, I wish I had the forsight to ask before I started my 8.8 swap. Hopefully others will be able to benefit as well!
 

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The c clip eliminator kit aka super 88 is about 600 bucks,The explorer 8.8 is a easy swap for a jeep cherokee with a super 88 and fully weld the tubes they can take a beating off road.
 

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Excellent info for the conversion. Thank you for taking the time and answering!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
WOW 67, you have just made my life that much easier. So just to be clear you did not cut your 8.8 down and use two passenger axle's correct? but you would suggest doing so for a 65/66 because of the clearance issues do you think this has to be done or is it possible i would could get away without doing so?
 

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On a 65-66 a stock 8.8 will be too wide. The 3rd member because it is offset will hit the tunnel if the car is lowered or if the rear is compressed hard. The explorer rear is preferred over the Mustang 8.8 because of the bigger axles.

Not all rears are set up with limited slip. Check the tag for an L in it. A 3.73 with limited slip will have a tag 3L73 = 3.73 LS
 

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WOW 67, you have just made my life that much easier. So just to be clear you did not cut your 8.8 down and use two passenger axle's correct? but you would suggest doing so for a 65/66 because of the clearance issues do you think this has to be done or is it possible i would could get away without doing so?
Exactly. Mine did not need to be cut down, but due to clearance issues, you would be best served to cut yours.
 

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On a 65-66 a stock 8.8 will be too wide. The 3rd member because it is offset will hit the tunnel if the car is lowered or if the rear is compressed hard. The explorer rear is preferred over the Mustang 8.8 because of the bigger axles.

Not all rears are set up with limited slip. Check the tag for an L in it. A 3.73 with limited slip will have a tag 3L73 = 3.73 LS
That is exactly right. The explorer 8.8s came with 31 spline axle shafts. Most other 8.8 variants only had 28 spline, which is much weaker. Restomod is also spot on in regards to the ID tag. Check the door jamb for the 3L73. The "L" is the kicker. That means it has limited slip. Also, I have a reliable friend who swears that he has seen other ratios with the "L" designation in explorers. Im sure its out there, I just havent seen it myself. Once I found mine, I quit looking.
 

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Great thread! I went to the salvage yard today. Had a 2000 and 2001 explorer sitting next to each other. Took the rear from the 2001 with 3.73 LS and discs and then pulled passenger side axle from the 2000. I'm going to have the long side cut to fit the short axle.

I saw that the the perches needed to be moved for the 67. Is this also the case for the 66?
 

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You will need to remove the Explorer perches and weld on the Mustang perches. 67Moneypit gave a good link for an ebay dealer.
Antiwrap Leaf Spring Perches for Ford 8.8 Inch | eBay


You need to be careful in setting the pinion angle so you dont have vibrations. Basically the driveshaft angle at the tansmission has to equal the driveshft angle at the 3rd member so they cancel out. Tack the perch after the angle is set with WEIGHT ON ALL 4 WHEELS
Good article explaining pinion angle : Pinion Angle Explained

When you cut the long tube it is recommended to put a section of tubing inside the cut tube to support the joint from flexing. I dont recall the od of the tube. I have also read that your cuts need to be straight and accurate and it is best to weld it back in a jig so the heat does not warp the tube.

I was really close to doing this mod but decided to keep my 8inch. My disclaimer is I never have done it but did lots of research...
Good info:
http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles/116_ford_8_8_rear_end/viewall.html
http://mmb.maverick.to/showthread.php?t=77673&highlight=jeremy
http://mustangforums.com/forum/classic-mustangs/559698-i-am-picking-up-a-8-8-exploder-rear-end.html


Good Luck and BE Safe
Ron
 

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Well, I have the Explorer rear end and will shorten it this weekend. Checked ebay only to find no more of those leaf spring perches for sale. Anyone else know another good source?
 

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Summit Racing also has a selection of them. Just go to the main page and type "antiwrap perches". Good prices to.
 

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Thanks guys. Ordered some perches off of summit, should be here by Thurs. Was supposed to have the long housing shortened today, but going to have to do it one night this week. I've stripped the rear end bear. I have two, and the one that's in better shape has a open differential, so I'll swap in the LSD from the other housing this week.

Thinking while I'm doing all of this, I might go ahead and put in new races and bearings for the pinion and carrier. Any opinions on that?
 
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