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Another custom fabbed Ford 8.8 swap

Old 02-23-2015, 02:28 PM
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Default Another custom fabbed Ford 8.8 swap

I upgraded to 33's over christmas, and decided that I was past the usefulness of the D35.

So in comes a ford 8.8.

I paid $69 for it at the local JY, came from a late '90s explorer (3.55gearing and disk brakes). I didn't want to find a 4.10 ratio because I will be eventually going to 4.88s and 3.55 matched my D30 already.

When I brought it home:
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Everything looked good when I drained it and pulled the axles, so I started to cut off the brackets.
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Where a mask!
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Next was to get some brackets... I was about to order stuff from ruffstuff, but I'm a student, in canada. So between not having a ton of cash, and trying to get stuff shipped here, I figured I'd make my own.

Now the issue was if I made my own perches, I still had to buy u-bolts. The cheapest I could get for a ford 8.8 around here was about $70.

The obvious solution was to get some grade 8, 5/8" fine-thread bolts for cheap from friends at Napa, and make my own u-bolt eliminators.

Without a press / press brake, it took way too long. But I have the time and tools, and I only paid total ~$20 + $25 for all the metal and bolts for this project, so whatever.
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Once the UBEs where done, I tacked them on at 15 and began to bend up some brake lines and softline mounts.
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Got a riddler diff cover
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Welded the tubes to the housing. The ford 8.8 has a cast steel housing, so it is much easier to weld to than cast iron. Pre-heat some, weld 1.5" bead, post-heat, cover with extra welding gloves to cool, rotate 180, repeat.

I got no cracks or issues with the welds. I'm pretty happy with them.
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Finally, ready for mock-up
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The most expensive part of this whole build was the brakes ($300). Other than that I have ~$50 in metal, bolts and hardlines, and the $69 for the original axle. Plus $160 for the diff cover.

Next was to pull the D35 out. Way smaller than the ford 8.8!
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Get the ford 8.8 in and measure pinion angle. I needed 15 on the mark! Pretty good guess when I tacked the perches on I guess
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I didn't get pictures of final welding... but I welded all three 'legs' of the perches inside and out, and made very basic shocks tabs by welding a bolt to a piece of metal with the sides shaped to fit the tubing.

Then paint! Got a weird flash with the camera... My bad.
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Final install!
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This is the shock mount... Kinda dark, but you can see it.


Then paint the cover: Thanks to my GF for the final painting on the logo
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Almost done
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And bang!
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I still need to get shocks installed. I measured and I need 13" collapsed and 19" extended. I was surprised how little shocks travel there actually is... My rear flexes pretty good with 3.5" lift and shackle relocation brackets. So I picked up some super cheap stock monroe shocks (12.2" collapsed and 20" extended). Eventually I will be building shocks towers and running longer shocks. But this works perfect for now.

For a driveshaft, I also did a SYE install
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Then mated that up with the stock flange from the 8.8 with a 1330/1310 u-joint installed into a stock front driveshaft from an auto XJ. I still have plenty of spline engagement, but will have to keep an eye on it if I go higher (I plan on it)

As for the drum to disk conversion, I will be swapping in the internals of a ZJ proportion-valve. Many have said to just pull the o-ring / seal. Others have said pull the spring AND o-ring. After some research, it seems that pulling the o-ring can and still using a spring from the drum-style prop-valve can result in residual fluid pressing the rear brakes (like a drum brake it supposed to). This results in excessive wear and high wheel temps.

So the easiest solution is to just go to a JY, and with a 3/4 or 19mm wrench, pull the guts out of a ZJ prop-valve and simply install the internals into the XJ valve already in the jeep.

For handbrake cables, I have yet to purchase any, but will be doing that soon. Other threads mention OEM cables from other vehicles working, so I will go that route and purchase them from Napa.

In the near future, I'll be installing a Detroit locker, but for now it stays open. It feels amazing to have a sturdy axle under the back-end though... Now I'll need to find some 35s I guess
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:19 PM
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Just my opinion but I wouldn't run my brake lines under the perches. They will get smashed.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:56 PM
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If they do, I'll move the soft lines connector up to the axle tube beside the perch. But I don't wheel rocks. Mostly snow wheeling, so I'm not worried. Plus there so tucked up, a rock would have to land directly there to hit them at all.
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Skittle View Post
Plus there so tucked up, a rock would have to land directly there to hit them at all.
It happens, been there. I thought the same thing. You have obviously never played on big rocks. I guess if you plan on staying off the rocks your chances are a lot less.
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:34 PM
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looks good! truss it and youll really be rockin i just wanna know where this glorious junkyard is at! $69... ill take 20 and build em and sell em
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Old 02-24-2015, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by rtralabama View Post
looks good! truss it and youll really be rockin i just wanna know where this glorious junkyard is at! $69... ill take 20 and build em and sell em
Thanks! I'm lucky, my local pick-n-pull has multiple full-yard half-off days for certain long weekends. Regular price would be $160 for a truck rear end (no brakes). But I told the lady is was from a car...

I was very tempted to pull a second one and build / sell it to one of my local club members. But I figured by the time I got brakes, and all that jazz, its not really worth my time. Soon as I get a press and brake press to bend the 1/4" and 3/8" plate... maybe lol.
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Skittle View Post
Soon as I get a press and brake press to bend the 1/4" and 3/8" plate... maybe lol.
If you're into making your own tools, a press brake isn't too complicated to throw together. It's actually something I've wanted to do, but don't need one often enough haha. Awesome job too, it looks great!
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