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Old 09-13-2012, 06:49 PM   #1
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Ford 8.8 swap how to

After about 5 years on my mostly stock 1992 YJ running gear and after three snapped dana 35's i decide it was time for a makeover of my worn out gear. It was a decision between a dana 44 with drum brakes or the ford 8.8 with rear disc brakes. I finally decided after some research that the ford 8.8 was the right decision. a few reasons being the availability, cost, the rear disc brakes already on it, same lug pattern as the jeep (5x4.5) and the gear ratios are compatible with jeeps (unless you have 3.07 gear ratio like me, you will have to find gears for the front). It definitely isn't just a bolt together project but its also not that difficult if you have all the pieces and a guide (which i had neither)

So the first step to this process is going down to the junkyard and choosing your victim Ford Explorer. My choice was a 1999 that was not wrecked (i'm thinking blown engine). I would be cautious of one that was wrecked because there could be damage to the axle especially if it was rear ended. After you have verified the gear ratio go ahead and pull it. i just cut the brake lines because i wanted to engineer the brakes to fit my jeep. my axle cost me about 260 dollars with good calipers, pads and rotors.

After you have it home strip the axle down to the housing and inspect all the bearings and make sure the rear end freely moves (you can do this at the junkyard if you would like but it was a torrential down pour the day i did it so i took the gamble). after its stripped you will need to remove the spring perches. if anyone says that this axle will bolt in without any cutting or welding they are lying, the stock spring perches are about 1/2 inch too wide on both sides. You will need to buy some new perches for about 30 bucks because the old ones probably wont fit right. After you have done all you alignment measurements and set the pinion angle to what you want it at go ahead and weld the perches up. Be cautious of how hot you are getting the axle because you have the possibility of warping the axle tubes. With the 8.8 the axle tubes are not welded into the pumpkin, i would suggest welding them in to prevent the possibility of the pumpkin rotating on the tubes.

The next step will be shock mounts. the ford shock mounts were part of the spring plate and will not work so you will need to buy some universal weld-on shock mounts.

(you will need to figure out the track bar on your own if you want it. i decided to leave mine off because it really seams pointless with a vehicle with leaf springs, but my jeep is primarily off-road it is definitely not a daily driver.)

after the shock mounts will be the drive line. the ford 8.8 has a flange mount for the driveline and the dana 35 has a yoke mount. luckily spicer is on our side and has a flange yoke adapter SPICER part# 2-2-1379 so we can use the stock driveline if we want. The one thing i was concerned about was that the ford 8.8 input shaft is almost 2 inches farther to the passenger side than the dana 35 so the driveline will be at not only a down angle but also a side angle. I have not had any problems so far with this but i am going to keep and eye on the yokes to make sure they don't bind up.

After you reassemble the axle it is time to tackle the brakes. this was kind of hard to figure out because all the write ups i have seen just confused me more. so i will try to make this clear. the first thing to do is get the plumbing done. i accomplished this by buying two 2003 jeep wrangler front passenger brake hoses. ( anything with a banjo fitting of 0.375 and a female fitting of 3/8-24 will work. i chose these because they were long, cheap and available at the store), you will also need some 3/16 inch brake line withe the 3/8-24 fittings on it. use the original tee block that contained the dana 35 breather line, just bend the lines to fit and they will screw right into the block. that's it for plumbing. you will just need to figure out a way to secure it, i'm just using zip ties for now.

that's the easy part to figure out. the problem i ran into was no matter how much i bled the brakes, when i started the jeep up, it was as if i had air in the lines. the pedal went to the floor. If this stuff is new to you there are some basic concepts that need to be addressed. It takes more fluid to run those big calipers for the disk brakes than it does for the small wheel cylinder for the drum brakes. that is why they put a proportioning valve inline to meter how much brake pressure is going to the rear brakes so that the rear wheels do no lock up. most right ups just said i need a different proportioning valve and that is it, some say i don't need to change anything at all which is bull. since i am on a budget. i decide i was going to use the same prop valve, but just make it so it doesn't do its job. If you remove the cap on the forward side of the prop valve there will be a spring and a metering shaft inside. pull the metering shaft out and you will see an o-ring right in the middle. remove that and your prop valve will not do its job anymore and it will allow equal pressure to all brakes. i was anxious to go try my new brakes and see the difference between the drums and the disc so i re-bled the brakes, started the jeep up and sure enough...the pedal went to the floor. so after cussing a few times i started to think. the jeep master cylinder is marginal at best to run even the stock brake system. the problem is that the stock MC does not have the capacity to run the all four disc brake meaning that it cannot provide enough fluid to run all the brakes, so i did some research. the bore size of a MC is directly proportional to its braking capacity. the jeep bore size is 1 inch even. luckily i had a spare master cylinder for my 95 f350 diesel. It has a bore size of 1.125, which doesn't seem like much but it actually is. i took the stock jeep MC off and compared it to the Ford one and sure enough it was going to fit just fine. i took both the MCs to my local hydraulic shop and got the fittings to hook the Ford MC up. i slapped it on the jeep bled the brakes again and i have better brakes than i ever had before. After doing all this i guess there is a kit that you can buy that has a new prop valve and a new MC for the Ford 8.8 conversion, but i also hear its spendy.

the only thing i have not addressed is the e-brake. the ford 8.8 has an integrated drum emergency brake but it will not hook up to the stock e brake cables on the jeep. i am using a line lock on the rear for my e brake but to my knowledge all you need is two ford explorer e brake cables to put on the jeep. there are some goo right ups about the e brake cable but i trust a line lock to hold me better than the drum because drums hold better going down hill than up hill. disk brakes hold both the same either way.

so in conclusion, this is a easy to moderate swap that takes a good one or two weekends. some things to remember are, check the gear ratios 3.55 is the most common for the ford explorer, you will need a flange yoke adapter for the driveline, you DO NOT need a new proportioning valve, you DO need and bigger mastercylinder. it is the easiest and cheapest way to do it. some people are saying you can but a 2lb residual pressure fitting inline for the rear brakes but that cost as much as the new master cylinder, so why not just make it so you have the correct capacity rather than faking it and potentially running into a disaster. and one last thing. write down all the different parts off different vehicles, it makes it a lot easier when is comes to replacing parts otherwise its a guessing game on the year and model

so here is the break down:

Axle from junkyard: 260.00
flange adapter: 30.00
spring perches: 30.00
shock mounts: 30.00
2003 jeep brake lines: 35.00
solid brake line: 12.00
1995 ford Master cylinder: 40.00
fittings for MC: 16.00

total parts cost: $453.00

cost of new dana 44 with disc brakes on it: $3000.00
I think it is a good deal. if your not convinced just type in Ford 8.8 vs. dana 44 and you will see that the 8.8 is a stronger axle, but even then the availability for parts is unlimited and cheap. dana 44 parts are not cheap especially the after market disc brakes.

I hope this right up is clear if you spot anything wrong with what i did private message me and i will explain why i'm right

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Old 09-13-2012, 07:29 PM   #2
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Doing this right now as I type. Thank you for the write up. Will be going back to this thread for answers.

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Old 09-13-2012, 07:35 PM   #3
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Doing this right now as I type. Thank you for the write up. Will be going back to this thread for answers.
If you(or anyone else doing the 8.8 swap) need the YJ to 8.8 e-brake cables I have a brand new set in the box. I ended up with 2 sets when doing my swap!

Call, text, or PM me if interested!

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Old 09-13-2012, 07:49 PM   #4
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Doing this right now as I type. Thank you for the write up. Will be going back to this thread for answers.
if you have any questions just PM me. i swear i hit every sing road block there was with it. i hope to get pictures too
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:46 PM   #5
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Rear driveshaft????
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:00 PM   #6
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You should be able to use your stock one just need the flange adapter that I talked about
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:09 PM   #7
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What did you do about the front diff? You said you had 3.07s stock. What gear ratio is the 8.8 you picked up? I'd love to do this, along with a SOA setup and a SYE but don't have the room or time to do the work and my yj is my DD for now as well.

Good write up, thanks for posting it. Did you take any pictures along the way? Those always make a good write up even better.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:48 PM   #8
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No pics wasn't plannin on a right up but I can give any details but I did have 3.07 gears. The lowest gear ratio the 8.8 comes in is 3.55 I believe. I got one with the 3.55. So I posted an add on craigslist and some guy had a ring and pinion for sale out of a Cherokee. Just make sure its high pinion reverse cut Dana 30 that you steal the gears out of.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:42 PM   #9
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here are some pic i went out and took the first one is of the ford master cylinder, second is the fittings i had to buy for the master cylinder, third is the cap you take off to disable the prop valve, fourth is the brake lines i had to buy, and fifth is the yoke flange adapter
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:17 AM   #10
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You dont need the e-brake cables if you have the ones form the stock ford axle:

8.8 E-BRAKE solution - JeepForum.com

and you dont need the flange adaptor, you can use a normal U-joint, NAPA P/N 210-0134 That u-joint has 1310 and 1330 to match your stock Jeep driveshaft, and the Stock ford flange.

I will have to look into using a different Master cylinder, like you I have heard many different stories.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:34 AM   #11
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I'm thinking about doing this, and an soa, my plan is to keep driving my jeep while I get the axle set up, thise write up is helpful, but i'm still kind of scared, im 17 but want the axles lol
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:26 AM   #12
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You dont need the e-brake cables if you have the ones form the stock ford axle:

8.8 E-BRAKE solution - JeepForum.com

and you dont need the flange adaptor, you can use a normal U-joint, NAPA P/N 210-0134 That u-joint has 1310 and 1330 to match your stock Jeep driveshaft, and the Stock ford flange.

I will have to look into using a different Master cylinder, like you I have heard many different stories.
i dont know that part number but i dont see how you dont need the flange adapter since the dana 35 has a yoke and the 8.8 has a flange. or i that part number a yoke you put in place of the flange. i just went the easiest route and got the flange adapter
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:27 AM   #13
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I'm thinking about doing this, and an soa, my plan is to keep driving my jeep while I get the axle set up, thise write up is helpful, but i'm still kind of scared, im 17 but want the axles lol
its not that hard just get everything you need before. you will need cutting tools and experience welding. if your not good at welding have someone who is weld it up because it is critical
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:36 AM   #14
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I've got the axle and the front gears, I'm just waiting on cooler weather to get in the garage.... I still have to buy the spring perches, shock mounts and adapter... I jut can't wait to get this done...
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:17 AM   #15
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its not that hard just get everything you need before. you will need cutting tools and experience welding. if your not good at welding have someone who is weld it up because it is critical
I can weld pretty good, but I don't have a mig welder, just a big arc welder, will that work
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:21 AM   #16
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Also how would I strip down an axle?
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:35 AM   #17
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4" angle grinder.
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:47 AM   #18
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4" angle grinder.
To strip it lol?
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:54 AM   #19
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To strip it lol?

To cut the old spring perches off.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:00 AM   #20
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The OP said to strip down the axle and check it, how would you do that and what would you check?
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:28 AM   #21
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You dont need the e-brake cables if you have the ones form the stock ford axle:

8.8 E-BRAKE solution - JeepForum.com

and you dont need the flange adaptor, you can use a normal U-joint, NAPA P/N 210-0134 That u-joint has 1310 and 1330 to match your stock Jeep driveshaft, and the Stock ford flange.

I will have to look into using a different Master cylinder, like you I have heard many different stories.


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i dont know that part number but i dont see how you dont need the flange adapter since the dana 35 has a yoke and the 8.8 has a flange. or i that part number a yoke you put in place of the flange. i just went the easiest route and got the flange adapter
Re-read my post, you use the STOCK FORD FLANGE, its normally bolted to the flange in the donor vehicle, just remove the u-joint from it and leave it bolted to the flange.

Ford uses a 1330 U-joint, and Jeep uses a 1310 U-joint, the NAPA P/N 210-0134 is a bastard U-joint that combines the 2
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:06 PM   #22
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^ forgot to add, this Ford flange looks almost identical to the Spicer adapter flange, but is FREE with the Ford axle (if you remember it).

The bastard U-joint is $17, compared to the Spicer $50+ adapter flange...
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:40 PM   #23
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Re-read my post, you use the STOCK FORD FLANGE, its normally bolted to the flange in the donor vehicle, just remove the u-joint from it and leave it bolted to the flange.

Ford uses a 1330 U-joint, and Jeep uses a 1310 U-joint, the NAPA P/N 210-0134 is a bastard U-joint that combines the 2
ok im following now. i though you were saying something completely different. the reason i chose the adapter was the junkyard wanted 20 dollars extra and it was gonna be a pain in the a$$ to get it off the drive line at the junkward i tried for about 20 mins and just said screw it. my local driveline shop sold one to me for 30 buck so it was more convienient for me. but yes i agree if you can get the stock ford one, it will work too
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:46 PM   #24
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I can weld pretty good, but I don't have a mig welder, just a big arc welder, will that work
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The OP said to strip down the axle and check it, how would you do that and what would you check?
yes an arc welder will work that is was i am using. i fnd that a good 220 volt arc welder is better than a mig welder but that is my opinion im sure there are people that would say the opposite. as for stripping the axle down. i mean take all the internal parts out and off: brakes, rotors, axle shafts. carrier and bearings. ( leave the pinion in because it is set from the factory and if the bearing feels smooth there is no reason to mess with resetting the pinion depth and possibly getting it wrong. just make sure the gears and bearings look good otherwise this is the time to replace them

I used a torch to cut my spring perches off and it worked good but an angle grinder would work better
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:52 PM   #25
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here a link to anther post on this forum that may help also
http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/are-...wap-92569.html
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:23 PM   #26
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Udpdate!
So with the bigger ford master cylinder I have noticed that once my brakes heat up they tend to not release all the way. To fix this you will need to shim the master cylinder out from the brake booster to allow for more free pedal travel to compensate for the expanding fluid.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:46 PM   #27
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Good write up! Been looking into this myself, but question... Im running 4-link on coils suspension, any idea what kind of mods would have to be done to the 8.8 to make it work? Other than shock flange...
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:48 PM   #28
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I'm gonna try this out last after my jeep gets repaired.
I think once I'm comfortable everything is dialed in & working
Thanks again for the write up
Mike
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:56 PM   #29
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The thing I love about the Ford 8.8 install is it can be as cheap as you want it to be (above) or you can go all out with locker, gears, upgraded shafts, trusses, etc. like I did. It can be a $453 install like above or a $2500 install (like mine is), all depending on how you want to do it and how bulletproof you want to make it.
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Denis A. Baldwin
Clearwater, FL
1991 YJ 99 Vortec 5.7L, SM465, NP205, 14 Bolt Rear, Dana 60 Front, 5.13 Gears, Detroit Lockers, 395/85R20 46" Michelin XML tires on 20" XD Wheels, Cherokee Offset Springs (10" front to back stretch total), Bilstein 5150s, 1in. BL, custom cage, Warn M8000, Double D Dash/OHC, 4Low Front Stinger Bumper, DirtWorx Rear Bumper WTC, Tube Fenders, Comp Cut, 1 Ton HD Kingpin High Steering and PAID FOR.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:59 PM   #30
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Mid Michigan
Posts: 404
Great Info! Thank's

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[B]To be continued....

You Don't Buy a Jeep, You Build One.

2009 Chevrolet 3500HD Duramax - 25 Ft gooseneck ready to haul the 1993 YJ, stuck a SBC 350 Transplant that will eventually be a 383 Stroker on 1 tons.
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