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Installed a 8.8 rear and more!!

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  #1  
Old 01-17-2018, 02:30 PM
93 ragtop
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Default Installed a 8.8 rear and more!!

Well after 4 months, I pretty much have finished this project.
Basically, what I have done is put a 2000? ford explorer rear end in my 87 dakota.
Other then the help of my cats, I have done it all by myself. No help.

Some of you probably wonder why I used a ford rear end in my 87 dakota. So let me share my reasons. Again, these are my reasons, and this swap is not for everyone.....
1. My orig. 8.25 had a bad posi unit, at least one bad wheel bearing, one bad wheel seal, and the backing plates were rusting out.
2. I already had the explorer rear end. I purchased it a few years back for another project that fell through.
3. I paid, I think it was $50.00 for it complete with cables, driveshaft, disc brakes, etc.
4. It has 3.54 gears, same as my 8.25, but did not have a posi. carrier.
5. I can get a new factory ford posi with carbon fiber disc, set up for 31 spline axles for $229.00 shipped
6. The bolt pattern is the same as the 87-90 dakota's 5x4.5
7. IMO the 8.8 is a much stronger rear end then the 8.25.
a. 31 spline axles vs 27?
b ring gear is 8.8 in, vs 8.25
c. axle tubes 3.25 vs 3.00
8. Now I have 4 wheel disc brakes.


I ended up, taking everything apart, including the cross rails on the frame, (from the cab back) removing spring mounts, brake lines, wiring, etc. and either replaced or cleaned up, and reused.
It's going to take me a few days to get the pictures posted and go through all of this with you, but I wanted to share this project with you who are interested!!
So, let me get started!!

Here is a picture of my pit crew setting on top of my corvette, just waiting to get started!!



I got started by taking the bumper off, and then lifting the bed off of the truck. FWIW that was not as bad as I expected. 6 bolts for the bumper braces, unplug wiring harness, 4 screws on the gas tank nozzle, and then 9 bolts holding the bed.. I then removed the tailgate and ran 2, 1in straps from corner to corner, used my engine lift to raise the bed, and drove the truck out from under it.



Here is a picture of the truck without the bed.



Here are a few more showing its 31 years of dirt and rust!!


 
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Old 01-17-2018, 02:44 PM
93 ragtop
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Moved the truck back into the garage, pulled out the 8.25 and hung the 8.8 to the springs.






If you notice in the next picture, I tried to use a set of orig. style, semi round u-bolts and the dodge bottom plates to mount the rear end. But with the difference of the axle tubes, 3in vs 3.25, it just would not work well. I ended up using a different set of plates and bolts, that I will show you latter.
Also, I had planned to try and use the explorer sway bar, but it turned out that the sway bar mounts were where the shock mounts need to be. I considered moving the shock mounts, but decided to scrap the sway bar idea, and just cut the mounts off. Besides, I was unable to find a bigger sway bar for the front, and without changing it, I felt the truck would be out of balance.

 
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:04 PM
93 ragtop
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I read up on how to set pinion angle. Ended up scrapping all of those plans and did it this way.
With the orig. 8.25 hanging, no shocks, driveshaft, attached, I use a digital level again the back side of the axle, ( where the cover mounts) wrote down that measurement,
Then I set the 8.8 under the truck with the spring perches in place, and snugged up the u-bolts.
I then took measurements from side to side to make sure it was centered.
I then took the level and placed on the back of the 8.8 rear and twisted till the angle was the same as the 8.25
Double checked my measurements and then tacked the perches in place.



I then measured and clamped my shock mounts in place.
Then I tack welded them on.
Dropped the rear end down and welded the spring perches and shock mounts.
Final cleaning of rear end and painted.










 
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:09 PM
93 ragtop
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Here are some pictures of the new u-bolts and mounts.
The u-bolts are for a f-150 truck, and the mounts were universal.






 
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:27 AM
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A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

Seriously, good work, you did it right. Congratulations.
 
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:38 AM
93 ragtop
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Originally Posted by tbugden View Post
A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

Seriously, good work, you did it right. Congratulations.


Thanks for the encourging words!! But in truth, I am a terrible welder. But I believe they will get by. The welds are not in a high stress area, other then the shock mounts, and if it broke loose, its not the end of the world.....
I will have some pictures coming up with rust removal. I owe a lot to you for sharing your ideas on that subject!!
 
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:24 AM
93 ragtop
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Here are the brakes. This part is pretty straight forward.

This picture shows the backing plate cleaned up and new emergency brake shoes.

 
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:28 AM
93 ragtop
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Here is with the rotor and axle installed.

 
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:33 AM
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And here is with the wheel spacer I had to use to get back to the correct width. I dont like spacers, but it was this, or a different axle. On a positive note, I can still use 15 in. wheels with these disc!!




Last is the emergency brake cables.
What I did, was cut the factory end off of the front of the ford cable. Pulled it out and then cut the housing to length.....
I then used a female air hose fitting, by threading the male end for a nut, to bolt to the truck frame mount.....
I went to a hardware store and found a long nut, ground it down on the sides so it would fit the cable holder and brazed it up.






 

Last edited by 93 ragtop; 01-18-2018 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:47 AM
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For brake hoses, I used two factory ford explorer "right" hoses for each caliper. I used the factory dakota, (frame to diff. hose) But I had to drill the axle tube and tap a hole for the breather, which actually holds the hose to the axle. I plugged the orig. breather hole.




I purchased a universal brake line kit. Had a role of 25 feet 3/16 line and various fittings. I cut, formed, and double flared as needed. Ran a new line to the combination valve as well. Had enough left over, so I ran a Vent line? from the fuel tank to the canaster under the cab. Installed my shocks.

 

Last edited by 93 ragtop; 01-18-2018 at 09:52 AM.
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