Welcome to, The home of the PCCA => Pinto FAQ => Topic started by: don33 on June 11, 2011, 05:36:56 PM

Title: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: don33 on June 11, 2011, 05:36:56 PM
this is the best method of narrowing a explorer rear that I have found so far (IMHO). It only requires one cut.,11946.0.html 

I have heard of another method that does not require any cuts, but have not found documentation yet.   It involves removing the long side housing and axle and replacing it with a short side housing and axle that leaves you with a rear with two short side housings and axles. either way you end up with a 8.8 rear that  has "an overall width of 56.125" wide, or 0.875 inches narrower then the stock Pinto axle". with 5 lug disc and a trac-lock diff and 373/410 gears. Can I get an Amen from the congregation ?
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 exploer rear
Post by: RSM on June 11, 2011, 06:29:07 PM
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 exploer rear
Post by: ponyrancher on June 11, 2011, 10:27:37 PM
granada 8 inch 57.25 will handle most stockers or 275 horses
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: don33 on June 12, 2011, 12:01:31 AM
Thats a fact.  but,  if your going to kick it up a notch, (V8 or turbo 4), you might be interested in an 8.8  .  besides, add up all the cost for parts and labor to convert that 8"  to  the 8.8 specs listed above.  I am quite certain it will be quite expensive... much more than an 8.8 out of the wrecking yard.  let me give you an example,  I recently bought an 8" out of a 68 ford falcon. I think I paid $150.00 or $200.00 for it, sounded like a great deal.  I was going to put it in the pinto. but first I wanted to rebuild it to 8.8 specs.  a local shop wanted in excess of $500.00 to do the work, parts plus labor.  when all was said and done I would have over $750.00 in a 8" and still not have the rear disc brakes, and are the grenadas 5 lug ? so the bottom line was, I could buy two 8.8's for what one 8" would cost.... no thanks, I'll go 8.8....
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 exploer rear
Post by: Bigtimmay on June 12, 2011, 03:39:25 AM
granada 8 inch 57.25 will handle most stockers or 275 horses

Uhh granadas rears that most people use are 5 lug and are 9 inch rears not 8. Its the same rear a lincoln versailles uses with the exception that the lincoln has disc brakes both of which will bolt straight under a pinto.
But yah the 8.8 explorer is a way cheaper alternative only bad thing about any 8.8 is the C-clips that hold the axles in if they break the axle can slide out. But C-clip eliminators fix that problem.
But them sliding out would prolly only happen with the older drum brake 8.8 rears i dont think there would be enough force to rip the caliper/caliper mount off on a disc brake setup to allow the axle to come out.
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: arkyt on August 05, 2011, 08:14:44 PM
How about a 8.8 from a turbo coupe?  i have a chance to get one cheap.  Should I?
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: Mike Modified on September 29, 2013, 01:30:05 PM
FWIW, the broken link in the first message is available thru The WayBack Machine:,11946.0.html (,11946.0.html)

Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: JohnW on October 09, 2013, 05:49:44 PM
I've read the same thing and done a lot of research on it. Every axle shop I've talked to wants nothing to do with the job, however. One local hot rod guy said he swapped axle tubes in a rear end once and will never do it again for a customer. I'm just putting the wider rear end in my car. The offset diff in the Explorer 8.8 may present a small clearance issue but I took some measurements and it will be minimal. I might have to hammer the floor in a little under the back right seat. I also might go with the smaller yoke from a Mustang and T-Bird style 8.8 instead of Ford's larger truck yoke since it'll be close to hitting the floor there. The smaller one seems to hold up fine in modded Mustangs.

Most modern wheels are a lot higher offset. With the stock Pinto rear end the most backspacing you can fit is around 4.25" I believe. Most modern wheels have 5-6"+.  I'm planning to use some newer 17x9 wheels with around a +32 offset in the rear down the road. I believe the stock Pinto rear end is 57 and the Explorer 8.8 is around 59.5. So even with a ~1.5" wider rear axle I'll still need bolt on spacers.

With the stock axle in my car and 15x7 +12 Enkeis (which is a very low offset compared to what you can get for wheels now, around 4.25" of backspacing) I still have tons of space between the tire and fender lip. So there's plenty of wiggle room in there, the fenders are huge.
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: OhSix9 on October 10, 2013, 06:40:12 PM
The stock explorer diff width and factory sn95 wheel backspacing fits perfectly. I am running 98 cobra 17x8's on all 4 corners using said diff.  No point in narrowing it you just end up using spacers.   running 275 45's on the rims they just tuck under the fender lips and there is less than an inch from the sidewall to the spring.   yes you will have to adjust the floor with a chev wrench and also modify the ebrake cable brackets as the driveshaft will rub it on hard launches.  I made my own ebrake cable using two passenger side explorer ones and just joined them together with a couple cable clevises.  since I assume you are going the t5 route go find an aluminum driveshaft out of a 4liter awd aerostar. it bolts right in the hole and doesn't need cutting.   at 31 spline these things are essentially enbreakable in a street car and a turbo 4 would never make enough power to snap one. the 8 and 9 inch is a good option 20 years ago but the posi's are all worn out and they are hard to come by, you cant spit and not hit a 3L73 8.8 in a boneyard. plus even if it is cooked you can do clutches cheap and easy just popping off the back cover.  when you really start makin power put a girdle on it and it will be good for 750+ horses. there is also a c clip eliminator kit available if that is a concern.  but yes using discs solves the issue without any add'l expense. 

Quite frankly if the local shop want nothing to do with swapping out an axle tube just keep walking and find someone skilled. it's not rocket science and in fact the proper way to actually do this.  cutting and rewelding the axle tubes is a chachi way of doin things. , drill the plugs out, push out the old one. push in the new one and align it with a straight shaft through the housing. weld the damn plugs back in.  easy peasy. If they balk at this they are either incompetent or just looking to upsell you on a "better" solution.

arkyt, the tbird and mustang use the same housing only differing in the axle length. you can 5 lug it with 2 passenger side axles from any ranger with either the 7.5 or 8.8 as they are all 28 spline
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: JohnW on October 11, 2013, 10:17:59 PM
You have the Explorer 8.8 with a T5 and the Aerostar driveshaft fit perfectly? That's really good to know, I was planning to get one of the 92-95 crimped ones and shorten it then have it welded. If I don't have to do that, even better!

The guy I spoke to on the phone with the shop is pretty well known in the area, and he said it was just such a pain when he did it that he doesn't want to again. And he suggests doing a 9" and he only has collars for 9s and other old style rears for his truing setup. I'm going with the 8.8 for the reasons you posted. I do want to go with the 9" ends on the 8.8 someday though. How difficult is it actually to press the tubes out and back in?

Edit: You did that to a wagon didn't you? Wagons and hatches are the same wheelbase right?

And I believe the C-clip eliminator kits are only for the Mustang/Ranger/T-Bird 8.8s with the smaller wheel bearings and thinner tubes. Tried doing some searching for one for the Explorer 8.8 and everyone on off road forums was saying there was nothing available. I might be remembering incorrectly though. At least they're disc brake so if an axle did somehow snap, the caliper would hold it in. And, despite the 4 probably not being able to break them, the 31 spline axle shafts themselves are a dime a dozen. Can rip them out of any of the 8.8 Explorers as I believe even the non LS ones were 31 spline and junkyards don't want much for em.

Still debating on using the smaller yoke from a Mustang/T-Bird, how close is yours sitting to the floor? What part of the rear end was hitting out of curiosity?

And I did realize the e-brake brackets would be an issue and planned on moving them. Good to know it's easy enough to set up the cables. I hadn't even looked into the lengths of the Explorer ones so that'll save me a little hassle.
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: thmpsn70 on December 01, 2013, 10:51:30 AM
on anyones 8.8 disc brake install no one ever seems to tell what master cylinder you use after the swap is done. is there a stock replacement master that is in all the parts stores?
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: sursmiliepin on October 27, 2016, 03:53:32 PM
I did the explorer rear in a 56 fairlane. Cut the long side and put short axle in and welded tube on( it has to be perfectly straight !) I think I removed 3 inches from long side(ds).Measure axle lengths and cut the difference out. I used a early fox mustang master cylinder , they came with manual front disc brakes.
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: dick1172762 on October 27, 2016, 05:14:19 PM
Reasons why not to use an 8.8 rear end over an 8 inch. Heavy, non removeable center section to change axle ratios, over kill on all but the most HP Pintos out there, easy to misalign when welding without a jig fixture, and axle ratios for the freeway hard to come by. And posi's for an 8 inch are on the e-gay ever day from $300 on up. Think about it! Lots of work when you compare the two rear ends for little to no gain. I've had an 8 inch in all my race car and have yet to hurt one.
Title: Re: narrowing a 8.8 explorer rear
Post by: russosborne on October 29, 2016, 11:43:58 PM
For anyone in the Phoenix area, I have an 8.8 from a 2002 Crown Vic PI that you can have for free if you come and drag it out of my back yard if you want to practice narrowing one on. No brakes, that was why I bought it, the disk brakes from them are a good conversion for a 8 or 9 inch to disk. It would need new spider gears if you wanted to use it. Think it has 3.23 or about ratio.
I agree with Dick, I would never ever use an 8.8 over an 8 or 9 inch rear. I just don't understand the love for those pieces of zoop.