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Rebuilding a 2004 Sport Trac 8.8 axle

Discussion in '2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac' started by SN95GT50, November 1, 2017.

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    1. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      New project, retrofitting an Ford 8.8 into a Jeep TJ. Hoping to get help from the Ford people along the way.
      .
      Let me introduce you to my Jeep:
      • 2005 Jeep TJ Wrangler X
      • Inline 4.0L 6 cylinder
      • 3.08 gears with Dana 30 front and Dana 35 rear, both open differentials
      • I have a 3" lift with 31" tires
      • A few other little things
      The Jeep is my daily driver and doubles as my weekend four-wheeler. Tired of being left behind by others with bigger wheels, better gears and better differentials. In the spring I will be regearing or replacing the front axle and adding an autolocker to the front and upgrading to 33" tires.

      Instead throwing money at the weak Dana 35 I decide to replace it with a Ford 8.8 that I found out of 2004 SportTrac. The axle has 4.10:1 gear ratio and TracLok, I believe this axle will have 31 splines as well, can someone confirm the 31 spline? Hven't pulled the axles yet.

      Started tearing the axle down over the weekend, pulled the brake calipers and rotors and opened up the differential. I tried turning one of the axles with an 18" breaker bar and the other one turned the other direction, that's not a good sign, pinion did not turn at all. Finally put a couple bolts in the pinion flange and put the breaker bar in there and the pinion broke free and then turned pretty easy, that's better.

      So, my first question, how difficult should it be make the LSD slip? Sounds like I should be replacing the clutches, but, not sure. I believe the axle had between 120 and 140k miles on it. Anyway to test the LSD to confirm it needs a rebuild?

      Assuming I need a rebuild, can you guys recommend which kit to get? I look forward to any advice you guys can throw my way! Thanks in advance.

      John
       
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    3. fastpakr

      fastpakr Elite Explorer

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      Ford motorsports sells a carbon fiber clutch kit. As I recall it was about $100-110. The part number M4700C comes to mind but I may have made that up. Lots of rebuild walk through pages online and YouTube videos.
       
    4. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      What material is the factory clutches? I've seen ceramic and now carbon fiber. What are the advantages/trade-offs of each.

      Thanks,
      John
       
    5. fastpakr

      fastpakr Elite Explorer

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      I haven't seen a definite answer to that, but it's the setup they use from the factory on the more powerful/heavier Mustangs (GT, GT500, Cobra). My suspicion is that it lasts longer under hard usage. There are some other discussions at this site and others that you can find with a search. No real complaints that I've found, just consistent solid engagement.

      By the way, to answer your question about 28/31 splines, it should definitely be 31. I've got one out of an '02 that I'm working towards installing in a '99 Ranger.
       
    6. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      Made some progress the last couple of days. pulled the cover and everything looks good, no spare metal floating around. Diff fluid was pretty dark. Confirmed the gears are 4.10s [​IMG]. Cut off the two passenger side brackets, need a grinding disk to remove the remainder. Did a little sanding to make it shiny and removed the parking brake cables. I bought a 10 pack of cut-off disks, four are gone, should have enough to finish the job. Fun little project for after work.

      2 brackets gone.jpg
       
    7. fastpakr

      fastpakr Elite Explorer

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      20171027_084007.jpg I'm surprised you're going through so many cutoff discs. The first one I broke out is still going after removing both spring perches and the shock mounts.

      Do you have a plan for cleaning the housing? I haven't hit on a good way to do that yet.
       
      Last edited: November 2, 2017
    8. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      My cut off discs are from Harbor Freight, need I saw more :).

      Not sure on prepping the diff, as porous as it is, I don't think it will take much. I plan to put a base down of POR-15 with a rattle can top coat.

      Plan to finish the bracket removal this weekend and get the axles pulled and everything off the end for pulling seals and bearings.

      Haven't purchased new brackets yet, may wait for black Friday.
       
    9. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      Are you planning to weld the axle tubes to the diff?
       
    10. fastpakr

      fastpakr Elite Explorer

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    11. fastpakr

      fastpakr Elite Explorer

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      No. Probably a good idea that I'll regret later.
       
    12. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      What are you installing yours on?
       
    13. fastpakr

      fastpakr Elite Explorer

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      99 Ranger.
       
    14. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      Here is the kit I'm probably going with, probably without the Truss. I do like how the truss lines everything up. Got a litle more work done last night, ground what was left of the brackets down to even with tubes.
       
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    15. crankyjew

      crankyjew Active Member

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      Nice project! good find on the 8.8, they're not as easy to find these days as some would lead you to believe.

      I've swapped a 01 Explorer 8.8 into my 1992 Ranger SAS. I'm running 35's with zero issues.

      Explorer axles are frequently fairly beat up- many explorer owners weren't exactly passionate about maintenance, or caring about their vehicle. They're called exploders for a few reasons.

      All explorer axles are 31-spline. Make sure yours is straight (sight down through the tube, through the pumpkin) and hasn't twisted one of the tubes (check the plug welds).

      Ruffstuff is a phenomenal company, I used all Ruffstuff brackets/u-bolts/mounts on my build. Highly recommend.

      I used a Harbor freight pneumatic needle scaler to knock the big crusties off of my housing, followed by a couple of different wire wheels on a grinder. Wear a GD faceshield, respirator, and ear plugs...

      Concerning your diff carrier:
      First, are you positive it's a LSD? I've seen axles labelled wrong before. If not, consider an aussie locker.
      If it is a LSD, and worn out, have you considered a Powertrac No-Slip? Similar skill and time required, so much more capable off road.
      If you're into the LSD however, I'll second the Ford carbon-fiber kit. The stock clutches are organic and are set up from the factory to engage very mild. You can set up a new set of clutches to engage (almost) as positively as a real locker.
       
    16. 01STrunner

      01STrunner Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Ha I did the opposite. I put a Jeep axle in my Sport Trac. It was a HD Dana 44 for the front though. I didn't see anyone confirm it for you, but yes the Tracs (and explorers) have 31 spline axles. Most rangers have 28 spline but there are exceptions. You'll be happy with the 8.8 in your TJ.
       
    17. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      I would love to stumble upon a Dana 44 front I can afford, bonus would be the 4.10s.
       
    18. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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    19. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      See anything I should be concerned about?

      Got the brackets removed and ground down level with the tubes.


      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG] [​IMG]
       
    20. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      Took a little break, got back to it tonight. Pulled axles out, seen videos of people doing it, but surely mine won't be that easy, pleasantly surprised took just a few minutes. Put everything in the diff back together and removed everything bolted on the ends of the axles. Will need to do a little more sanding so the welds and paint has something to stick to. Next week is black friday, hoping to score a deal on the mounting brackets and TracLok rebuild kit.
       
    21. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      Who is your go to for Ford supplies. Looking for a good price on the M-4700-C Carbon Fiber TracLok rebuild kit. I have dealt with Summit Racing before, looks like they want $112 for the kit with free shipping. Anyplace else I should look?

      Thanks, John
       
    22. fastpakr

      fastpakr Elite Explorer

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      Best I found was $100 on ebay from a dealer. $112 isn't bad.
       
    23. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      Will be replacing the axle bearings and seals, what brand do you Ford guys recommend for the 8.8? Should I go with Ford parts? Model numbers would also help.

      Thanks, John
       
    24. AppleTech

      AppleTech New Member

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      If you are going to be wheeling it while you're rebuilding put in a true locker like an ARB or electric Eaton or Auburn. You won't be happy with an LSD off-road, it is designed for a different use case.
       
    25. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      AppleTech, can't argue with you on that one, but, need to consider my budget. With a kid in college and another to start soon gotta watch the bottom line. My plan is to run it with the LSD while possibly adding a lunchbox locker to the front. At a later date, I will probably open the rear again and go with a locker of some sort. I wish I could do everything I want to at one time.
       
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    26. SN95GT50

      SN95GT50 Member

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      Time for an update and a question...

      First the question, looked at a shop manual for a Ford F150 and noticed that the bolts holding the cailper bracket to the axle have the nuts on the brake side of the bracket. Looked back at pictures of my axle from before I took the bracket off and the nuts with the tabs are on the differential side of the bracket. How do you guys have them? does it matter?

      Attached below is my progress, a little more done since this picture. All of my TJ brackets are welded into place, everything is painted (chasis saver follow by a top coat). New bearings and seals. All hard and soft brake lines are plumbed (removed for painting). Reassembling now, that is when I got the bolt question. All new rotors, pads and shoes showed up over the weekend, new wheel studs should be here tomorrow. The next thing on my to do list is replace the clutches, due to the stink, that will have to be done in the garage, when the temps go up a bit.

      Thanks,
      John

      painted.jpg
       

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