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KingKongFu 02-25-2013 05:20 PM

Backyard Built - KingKongFu's Build Thread w/ 8.8 Swap
Purchased my TJ in Oct, 2011 and performed a few mods but nothing worth putting in a thread. I decided recently that since I am working on the 8.8 swap I would keep better track in case I can help anyone on theirs and also get advice myself. I am not a mechanic to say the least so most of the mods I have done required weeks of researching, asking questions and help of my buddies. When I started building my rig out I could only understand about half of what I read on here. With that said... here we go.

Started with a 03 X auto, 3" body lift and chrome everywhere so I began by switching that out to be safer on the trails and for recovery.

Out of the box

Quick & Easy Installs
CD Radio Placement

Freshly Fabricated Bumpers

Bumpers after sanding, priming, painting and install

The night after I installed the bumpers...

3" Body Lift Reduction
Since I was at 3" and wanted to be at 1.25" I decided settle for 1.5" because there was a clear line in the middle of each of the mounts making it easy to ensure all were correct.

Reducing the body lift included: cutting all the mounts in half, cutting the bump stops by 1.5", shortening the gas fill tube, modifying the 4wd transfer bracket, modifying the radiator drop bracket and taking out the 1" steering column lift bracket.

Starting Point - 7" and want 5.5"

Yes, 3" bl looks this bad!

Headlights out to get the bump stops cut

Ricky cutting everything down

Fuel fill extension removed to cut down 1.5"

New holes 1/2 way up the 4wd bracket worked well

Radiator bracket before drilling holes and moving up

Ended at 5.5" all around - perfect

KingKongFu 02-25-2013 05:24 PM

4" Rough Country N20 Lift
With the body lift reduced I had to get some real clearance for the trails. The 4" RC N20 kit was perfect for my needs and how I ride. People can knock "budget" brands all they want but when I can ride over the same rocks, trails and mud that a $1,000+ lift can for $500... I'll take it!

Shout out to my buddy Bryan for leading the way on this one because without him who knows if I would have got this done. Again, I'm not a mechanic so having someone who understood what needed to be done was invaluable!

Front ready for install

New front springs & shocks

Added clearance! Now for the rear

Rear ready for install

Bryan doing all the work while I take these snazzy pics

Finished = Awesomeness

Rocker Guards
Didn't like all that lift with chrome nerfs so went and got some rocker guards. I had to keep some kind of steps for the fam so I got these from E-Auto. They took a month to get them to me... literally 30 days. When they arrived the hardware wasn't in the box and while E-Auto was supposed to send me a kit they never did. Worst vendor I have ever dealt with. However, the product is solid and looks great. Just went to Lowes and got what I needed for the install. No big process here... just drill holes and install.

$25 drill gave the ghost after 7 years

KingKongFu 02-25-2013 05:56 PM

Ford 8.8 Axle Swap
Time to ditch the dana 35 so I picked up a 8.8 with disc brakes. I started out by prepping the axle while I save funds to purchase the parts I need for the install. I will update as I go and on what parts I use to finish the swap.

Part List - In progress
- Ford 8.8 w/ disc brakes
- Differential cover (Under Cover Fabworks)
- 8.8 1310 Flange Adapter (Spicer 2-2-1379)
- Axle bracket kit (Mad4WD)
- USA Standard 4.88 gears for D30 (ZG D30S-488TJ)
- USA Standard 4.88 gears for 8.8 (ZG F8.8-488)
- USA Standard master install kit w/ Koyo bearings for D30 (ZK D30-TJ)
- USA Standard master install kit w/ Koyo bearings for 8.8 (ZK F8.8)
- Spartan locker for D30
- Spartan locker for 8.8
- Slip Yoke Eliminator (Rough Trail)
- Double Cardan Driveshaft (Adams Driveshaft)
- BDS Adjustable Arms (front and rear)
- Axle Vent (Currie CE-9028)
- Brake hose x2 (NAPA 380528)
- Brake fitting (NAPA 380889)
- Ebrake shoes (NAPA NB701)
- Gear Oil 85W-140 x5
- Rotors, Calipers, Brake line and pads for 8.8

Pulled Ford 8.8

Cutting and grinding brackets off

Bet you cant tell which one I cut off first

Brackets off

Primed to wait for Mad4WDs bracket to be welded on

I'll update as parts come in and progress is made.

c_goodnow 02-25-2013 06:10 PM


Logan_M 02-25-2013 06:25 PM

Looks really good man

SS Adrenaline 02-25-2013 06:32 PM

Cant wait for more. cheers.

tbensor 02-25-2013 06:37 PM

nice job so far

98 tj sport 02-25-2013 06:50 PM

Definatly subbed as I'm thinking of doing a 8.8 myself

undercoverfab 02-25-2013 07:00 PM


Originally Posted by 98 tj sport (Post 3419525)
Definatly subbed as I'm thinking of doing a 8.8 myself

Looking good! Oh, and nice choice on the diff cover.

KingKongFu 02-27-2013 11:58 AM

$30 Brake Line Extension Upgrade!
Chevy Ton Front Brake Lines
Before I begin the 8.8 swap I need to get a couple of things fixed first. One thing on my list is longer front brake lines hence the Chevy Ton lines. These will replace my 18” lines which currently are not long enough for my 4” lift when the sway is disconnected. Chevy tons run 25” so compared to my stock ones I’ll have plenty of travel.

I also have to resolve the fact that my front drive shaft hits my stock skid plate cross member when disconnected because I have a ’03 Auto TJ. So that fix will be coming soon as well. But for now, brake lines… the quick and dirty version!

Shout Out: Thanks to TJ Frank for the complete tutorial as it includes the entire process in a step by step fashion and can be seen here: Jeep Brakeline Upgrade Chevy 1/2 ton lines -

Parts List
- Ton Chevy Brake Lines X2 – (Advance Auto# H38620 - $14ea)
- DOT 3 Brake Fluid
- Drain Pan & Rags
- 9/16 socket
- 7/16 & 5/8 wrench
- T-40 torx bit
- 5/16 drill bit

The new Chevy lines needed to have the bracket moved and a hole widened before install. I used a 5/8 wrench to hold the nut on the top of the line in place while I swiveled the bracket into position and slid it up towards the top of the line by hand. I then used a 5/16 drill bit to widen the hole on the top of the bracket which allowed me to reuse the stock screw and frame hole.

Once the new brackets had been moved and drilled I removed the tires for easy access and then removed the old brake line. I placed a pan down to catch the brake fluid and removed the top of the line with a 7/16 wrench. Once the top line was free I took off the bracket with a T40 bit and then the bottom banjo bolt with a 9/16 socket. Old lines off…

To put it back together you just reverse the process so I took the new washers and put them on either side of the banjo bolt and connected the hose at the caliper. I had an aftermarket caliper on one side so I had to slightly grind down a couple of millimeters on the hose fitting to make it fit but nothing drastic. I then connected the top of the line and screwed the bracket into place.

Once the driver’s side was done I repeated on the passenger side. Same steps involved… nothing special. I had read where other people relocated their brackets but I didn't want to do that until I saw how the excess line handled at the tire. After driving it around, turning the tires both ways as far as possible, everything looks perfect. The long metal piece on the caliper side of the new lines forces the brake line in towards the tub when needed so no additional modifications where needed for mine.

Once both sides were done I grabbed a buddy and bled them. Done!

KingKongFu 02-28-2013 08:31 PM


Originally Posted by c_goodnow (Post 3419358)


Originally Posted by 98 tj sport (Post 3419525)
Definatly subbed as I'm thinking of doing a 8.8 myself

Thanks for the subs if you have any questions or advice just let me know. Im learning as I go.


Originally Posted by Logan_M (Post 3419403)
Looks really good man


Originally Posted by SS Adrenaline (Post 3419429)
Cant wait for more. cheers.


Originally Posted by tbensor (Post 3419464)
nice job so far


Originally Posted by undercoverfab (Post 3419564)
Looking good! Oh, and nice choice on the diff cover.

Thank you all! (Thought you might like that UCF diff cover Matt!)

KingKongFu 03-01-2013 06:52 AM

Ford 8.8 Axle Swap - Parts are landing!
Small update - parts for the swap started coming in this week! We are looking to get the brackets welded on the 8.8 within a couple of weeks but due to this being a daily driver and everyone's work schedules the timing of each step isn't planned out yet. Right now I am thinking mid-April will be a final swap over date but I'll post regularly on the steps we take to get everything ready for that.

Also, added to the parts list is a 41 tooth speedometer gear for my 4.88 gears and 33 tires. Ill repost a complete list once I have it swapped out.

KingKongFu 03-02-2013 01:38 PM

03-06 Automatic TJ Skid Plate Mod
Stock Skid Plate Mod for Front End Travel
In continuing to prepare for the 8.8 swap we went ahead and fixed my skid plate issue. If you happen to be lucky enough to have a 03-06 automatic TJ, like me, then you have an extra skid for your transmission. The cross member holding this skid in place runs directly below your front drive shaft, awesome right? So, when you install a suspension lift your front shaft has limited travel before it hits the cross member.

The best way to fix this is with a tummy tuck like Under Cover Fab sells but every penny I have is tied into the 8.8 swap right now. I needed a low/no cost fix to hold me over until after the swap so we decided to fab up a U bracket on top of the cross member and cut out the section below it.

Shout Out: Huge thank you to my buddy Jeff for planning this out and welding in the cold and dark to get it done.

Items Needed
- Welder
- 32 of Angle Iron
- Bandsaw or Sawzall (something to cut metal)
- Grinder

The issue - drive shaft eats the cross member during down travel. You can see the ring on the shaft here from this happening.

The fix - Take some angle iron and cut two pieces 16 long.
NOTE: This was for a 4" lift so it may need to be shorter or taller for different lifts.

Weld those 2 pieces together for added strength.

Now you have a 16 long solid piece that you will make a U bracket out of. Start by measuring 5" from each end towards middle and cutting through the lips but do not cut the spine. This will leave 6 in the middle to clear your shaft. The goal is to have a 5 tall bracket with a 6.5 gap between each side. (The .5" will be explained later)

Use the cuts you just made as your guide to cut small triangles into the lips... enough to bend into your bracket corners.

With the triangles cut out simply bend the piece into a U and weld up the newly formed corners to create the bracket.

Place the bracket on the cross member underneath the Jeep and mark where it needs to be welded ensuring everything above it and to the sides of it is also clear. Once marked take off the tranny skid, clean up all the metal where you are planning to weld, and weld the bracket into place.

Once the bracket is in place you will have a box so just cut out the section of cross member below the bracket.

At this point we installed the skid back on by disconnecting the front shaft so the bracket would be on top of it. When we bolted it back on it looked like it could use a little more room to move after flexing the tires around so we took it back off and shaved .5" of the bracket on the passenger side. You can see the difference here as the shaved portion in the front is .5" wide and the back is 1".

With the extra .5" cut out we installed the skid again and everything cleared the bracket with plenty of room even in full flex. Flexing again... Awesome!

KingKongFu 03-02-2013 08:55 PM

Skid Plate Mod: Update
Shortly after posting this it was pointed out that I could remove the spacers on that cross member since the bracket was now above the shaft. So, I pulled them out of both sides, inserted the stock bolts and it worked out even better!

Thanks Matt!

Commando Solo 03-02-2013 09:52 PM

subbed, doing my 8.8 shortly also. do you plan on outboarding?

KingKongFu 03-02-2013 10:38 PM


Originally Posted by Commando Solo (Post 3446175)
subbed, doing my 8.8 shortly also. do you plan on outboarding?

CS - I do not plan on outboarding. For what I am building, how and where I ride I don't see enough benefit for the work and cost.

If you post as you build send me a link so I can follow it.

freeskier 03-02-2013 11:35 PM

10 Attachment(s)
Nothin' better than receiving boxes of goodies.

KingKongFu 03-03-2013 09:31 PM


Originally Posted by freeskier (Post 3446715)
Nothin' better than receiving boxes of goodies.

Certainly can't complain but it hurts seeing them sit in a corner everyday...

jeepmonkey06 03-05-2013 02:12 PM

Getting ready to start my 8.8 swap as soon as I get my tax check.

KingKongFu 03-05-2013 03:43 PM


Originally Posted by jeepmonkey06 (Post 3460903)
Getting ready to start my 8.8 swap as soon as I get my tax check.

Exactly what I did!

jeepmonkey06 03-05-2013 06:34 PM

Freakin' IRS... Grrrrrrr. I have the axle just waiting to get everything else.

elclipo 03-07-2013 11:44 AM


bama6banger 03-25-2013 12:13 PM

You'll have to help me or give me some pointers with the body lift reduction and skid plate since mine is doing the same thing. When i went and rode with matt and every one at wjc my transfer case was catching hell with the 3" bl and the drive shaft had the same problem as you. I'm also going with the 4.88 but probably with a lock right. let me know how you like your spartan.

KingKongFu 03-26-2013 07:38 AM


Originally Posted by bama6banger (Post 3550185)
You'll have to help me or give me some pointers with the body lift reduction and skid plate since mine is doing the same thing. When i went and rode with matt and every one at wjc my transfer case was catching hell with the 3" bl and the drive shaft had the same problem as you. I'm also going with the 4.88 but probably with a lock right. let me know how you like your spartan.

Sounds good. It doesn't take too much know-how... you just have to reverse the install steps. At the time I had found some instructions online for putting one on and just read through them before I started. Are you cutting it in half or complete removal?

On the skid cross member. You can go the cheap route like I did and have someone weld a fix for you or you can get a tummy tuck from Matt which also fixes it. I am going to go that route in the end but just didn't have the funds to do it now because the 8.8 is pretty draining.

KingKongFu 04-09-2013 09:58 PM

Ford 8.8 Swap: Brackets
8.8 Brackets
My friend Jeff began welding the brackets tonight (having a friend that is a welder is a huge help here). After doing a lot of research we decided to set the starting pinion angle at 15 and then use Stu's measurements since so many people have used them with success. (Ford 8.8 Axle Install - 1) We are also using brackets from Mad4WD and so far they fit perfectly.

Before we welded anything we measured out all the brackets for each side. Using Stu's measurements was a huge help here. We did compare to the D35 under my TJ but every measurement provided seemed spot on so we marked the center of each bracket and then also a line where the welds would be made.

After all the measurements were made and marked we were able to grind off the primer and tack weld most of the brackets in place.

We saw that the current placement of the vent hole was an issue so we welded it and will have to move it later. We stopped the day with only the spring and shock mounts left to go.

I also ordered a SYE and CV driveshaft from Adams Driveshaft. We will install the SYE along with the 8.8 and then measure for the driveshaft to be built and shipped. Overall things are coming together and should be completed by the end of the month.

KingKongFu 04-11-2013 11:12 AM

Ford 8.8 Swap: Brackets & Paint
8.8 Brackets, Brake Hoses and Paint - DONE!
Jeff finished welding the brackets on and we went ahead and tack welded the brake hose brackets in place before painting. For the paint I used 1 can of Rust-Oleum Self Etching Primer and then 1 can of Rust-Oleum Black Primer. Once it was prepped I used 3 cans of wall-world gloss black because mud washes off easily and it is $.99 a can making any touch-ups quick and painless when needed.

The only remaining items on the axle are drilling a new vent hole and running hard brake lines. We are planning to drill the vent hole where the brake T-hose will be placed so we can use vent bolt to hold the "T" in place.

A work of art!

elclipo 04-11-2013 11:25 AM


Originally Posted by KingKongFu (Post 3623466)
A work of art!

QFT :thumb:

KingKongFu 04-24-2013 09:42 AM

Slip Yoke Eliminator: TC Removal
So a lot has been done recently but she isn’t drivable just yet. The 8.8 is actually geared, locked and under her but my track bar hits the gas tank when the pinion is angled up for the SYE and the axle is off center to the passenger side about .5 inches. To fix these I ordered an adjustable track bar and adjustable LCAs from Matt at Under Cover Fabworks, LLC - - Main Page to go with the adjustable UCAs I already have. This will ensure I have plenty of clearance for everything and that my frame is centered over the axle when I bolt her in. But since I’m not done with the axle swap at this point I figured I would save that for another post and just get up the SYE steps for today.

Transfer Case Removal
1. Put the Jeep in 4L and lift it up high enough to work with it. Since mine is already lifted I just put wheel chocks in place before getting started.

2. Support your transmission with a jack or jack stands and make sure you use some flat wood in between to not damage your pan. I also threw some jacks under my skid since I was working alone as it helped support it while I took all the bolts out.

3. Remove all the bolts on your skid(s) and take your skid(s) off so you can access the transfer case.

4. Put your drain pan under the TC and remove the drain plug (lower one) with a 10 mil Allen head on the back of the TC. I let this drain while I did the next couple of steps and then plugged it back in before removing the TC.

5. Remove the front shaft by unbolting it from the front diff and then again at the TC.

6. Remove the black bracket that was between the TC and the skid, seen in the pic below right on top of the jack, by removing the 4 bolts and sliding off. Go ahead and remove the shifter linkage, the rod coming down from inside the Jeep, by taking off the single bolt that holds the rod to the bracket as well. You can see this bracket right beside the yoke below.

7. Remove the rear shaft by unbolting it from the rear diff. Then pull it out of the TC. It will take a good tug but it just slips right out if you pull it straight back. You won't need this after the SYE is installed so store it, gift it or scrap it.

8. Unplug the speed sensor wiring in 2 places. At the Speedo by pulling the red clip out until it clicks and then push down on the harness and pull it off. Then unclick the wiring from the TC by pulling it out with some needle nose. Get these out of your way so they don’t get caught on the TC when you go to drop it.

9. Remove the vent hose from the driver’s side of the TC by loosening the clamp with pliers and sliding upwards. Now everything should be off and out of the way so put your drain plug back in unless you think ATF is a good cologne to wear.

11. Place a jack or jack stands under the TC for safety and then unbolt the 6 nuts that hold it on. A couple of these are difficult to get to on the passenger side and I found it easier to remove them by lowering the jack under the transmission some more.

12. Once the nuts are removed the TC will be free to pull off but it took a few whacks to break it lose on mine. I then laid underneath it and slid it off in a bench press type position. Certainly don’t do this by yourself if you think you may get injured or drop the TC. It isn't too heavy but if you have a 2nd person around they could help on this part.

KingKongFu 04-24-2013 10:21 AM

Slip Yoke Eliminator: SYE Install
If you are putting in a SYE chances are it came with directions but the ones I had were not real detailed. I looked around and the most detailed one I could find was here: Since the directions cover all the steps Ill just add a couple of notes and the pics of mine.

Slip Yoke Eliminator
I dont have an impact driver so I used a large socket to hold the yoke in place so I could torque it enough to remove it. My TC was also really dirty so I used a brush end on the vac to clean it off before opening anything up and then followed the directions.

Once it was ready to go in I reversed the steps in the post above. It seemed much easier to get in then out and the process went quickly. I also took it to a buddies to let him hit the yokes with an impact for me before installing since there is no way to prop the new rear yoke with a socket.

And with the SYE now installed no more TC Drop!!!

This is how close I got to having the 8.8 done setting the pinion. As I raised the angle past 15 I noticed my track bar got real close to the gas tank and at about 16 it hit. It also stretched my brake hose from the frame to the axle so I am going to have to bring my axle forward with adjustable LCAs and use an adjustable track bar to center the frame over the axle before going forward. With parts shipping today I am shooting to be driving her again by the 3rd.

KingKongFu 05-13-2013 12:16 PM

Ford 8.8 Axle Swap - FINISHED!!
So I have been running the 8.8 for a couple of weeks now but wanted to wait until everything was done and trail tested before I posted again. I am not going to cover the steps of the process since directions are already posted throughout the forums and on STUs but I will cover my parts to help anyone with the decision.

The complete list of parts I used are listed below. This covers everything I purchased for the swap and the overall cost of what I paid.

8.8 FINAL COST $1,750
- Ford 8.8 w/ disc brakes
- Diff cover (Under Cover Fabworks)
- Axle breather, hose and vent
- Axle bracket kit (Mad4WD)
- USA Standard 4.88 gears for 8.8 (ZG F8.8-488)
- USA Standard master install kit w/ Koyo bearings for 8.8 (ZK F8.8)
- Spartan locker
- Slip Yoke Eliminator (Rough Trail)
- ATF +4 X 2
- Double Cardan Driveshaft (Adams Driveshaft)
- 8.8 1310 Flange Adapter (Spicer 2-2-1379)
- Adjustable Rear UCAs (BDS)
- Adjustable Rear LCAs (Rough Country)
- Adjustabe Rear Trackbar (Rough Country)
- Brake hose x2 (NAPA 380528)
- Brake fitting (NAPA 380889)
- Ebrake shoes (NAPA NB701)
- Left and right Parking Brake Cable (Advance C660058 and C660059)
- Gear Oil 85W-140 x4
- Rotors, Calipers, pads
- 40" and 20" Brake Lines - Could have gone shorter
- 41 Tooth Speedo Gear

- USA Standard 4.88 gears for D30 (ZG D30S-488TJ)
- USA Standard master install kit w/ Koyo bearings for D30 (ZK D30-TJ)
- Spartan locker
- Gear Oil 85W-140 x2.5

The 8.8 was ready to go except for gears and the Spartan so Ben started on that first thing.

With the gears and locker being worked on we dropped the D35 out so the 8.8 would be ready to bolt in.

Once the gears and locker were installed we buttoned everything up and bolted the 8.8 in.

If you recall from a prior post this is when I angled the pinion up and realized I needed adj LCAs and a adj rear track bar. So I got those and it completed the install 8.8 install.

On the D30 I had to match the 4.88 gears and I also installed another Spartan so I would be fully locked when in 4WD and under power.

Spartan - Awesome!

A HUGE shout out to all those who helped the past few months. Ben, Jeff, Hunter, Joe, Brandon, Bryan, Matt and Jim - I truly appreciate it!!!

And that is it for the 8.8. If you do have any questions on your swap or before you make the decisions at swapping to a 8.8 just let me know. I'll help anyway I can.

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