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Copyright - Things That Go - 2016

Things That Go

This details the installation of a popular 8.8 Ford Explorer rear end into my Jimmy.

Why you ask!

Several reasons; like it's famous 9" big brother, the 8.8 is very tough. Many drag racers run this rear end stock and have no breakage when running in the 9's. For the cost of just a limited slip for a Chevy 10 bolt you get the stronger rear end AND disc brakes!

I picked up a Ford Explorer rear end with limited slip & disc brakes for $250. This rear end will nearly bolt in. This is a better way to go than to put money into the Chevy 10 bolt.

8.8 rear ends came with an ID tag, the one I got is a 3.73 with a locker. The "L" stipulates the locker, if no L, then it would just say 373.

The tag below shows 3L73

Installing a Ford Explorer rear end into an S10 - 1

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Other ratios available were; 3.08, 3.27, 3.31, 3.55, 3.73 & 4.10

On the drivers door you may find a sticker with installed options, the following are what you can use to help ID what is in the vehicle.

Code Capacity Ratio

43 Open 3200 3.08

41 Open 3200 3.27

42 Open 4.10

46 Open 3.73

45 Open 3200 3.55

D4 Limited Slip 3200 3.73

D2 Limited Slip 4.10

L73 Limited Slip 3.73

L - Limited Slip Differential

C - Conventional Differential

If your truck is a 4X4 or AWD you MUST match the your front axle ratio!

S-trucks without a 4.3 are 7.5", and with a 4.3 are 7.6".

The ring gear size went up to 8.5" in 1998 I believe. This is the strongest rear end ever put in an S-truck. You can tell if you have one by the stepped axle tube. 2 limited slips were offered by GM for these trucks. The posi and a Gov-lock. The RPO for the Gov-lock is G80

The Chevy 10 bolt rear end from my 1989 S-15 4X4 Jimmy is a 7.6" with open diff.

Note that 2 wheel drive rear ends are narrower than 4X4 rear ends. If you swapped this 8.8 rear end into your 2wd the wheels would stick out further. If you installing an 8.8 in a 4X4 you do not need to narrow the rear end. Other threads here describe what is required to narrow an 8.8

Note that because the 8.8 axle tube is larger in diameter, your truck will sit 3/8" lower at the rear.

Ford Explorer Rear Diff

A few measurements;

My Chevy S10 4X4 Blazer

Distance from WMS to WMS (wheel mounting surface to wheel mounting surface), or drum to drum.


Distance between axle locating pins on the springs.

38 1/2"

173 lbs with disc brakes mounted.

2.65" axle tube diameter.

Ford 8.8

Distance from WMS to WMS, or drum to drum.

59 1/2"

Distance between axle locating pins on the springs.

39 1/2"

210 lbs with disc brakes mounted.

3.25" axle tube diameter.

10" by 2 1/2" drum/11.25" rotor

Ford used the 8.8 in other vehicles such as the Mustang and Ranger, but the Explorer had the tougher axles.

Ford 8.8 Explorer Diff

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