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1957 Bel Air sport sedan
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I found this while researching info on late model swaps for our 55-57's.

Measurement
Ford Explorer 8.8-Inch
Width between wheel mounting surfaces 59.75"
Pinion offset to right of center 2-3/16"
Pinion length, tube center to U-joint center 11-5/8"
Pinion height, U-joint center below tube center 1-7/8"
Bottom of diff housing below tube center 5-7/8"
Disc brake rotors 11.25 x 7/16" ('95 to '00 models)
Brake Drums 10" ('91 to '94 models)
Drum brake shoes 7.25 x 1.25" (e-brake)
Distance between spring perches (o/c) 39"
Tube diameter 3.25" (neck down to 2.75")
Axle shaft diameter 1.31" 31-spline


This info is courtesy of © 2000 - 2008 The Ranger Station - James Oaks Enterprises LLC - All Rights Reserved
'The Ranger Station' and it's logo are Service Marks of The Ranger Station owned by James Oaks Enterprises LLC


I know many are hesitant to put a Ford rear in their car, but you can pick these up for under $300 and they come with disc brakes (in most applications). I think all you have to do is swap out the perches. If I remember correctly, Josh did one of these swaps. PM him for details or he can chime in here.
 

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Thanks for the info.... I am looking into putting one in one of my 57s. That would be the one for my daughter. Safety first, and for me, mine is going to be 98.99% stock (or as close I can afford to get it there!)

BUDDii
 

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I know many are hesitant to put a Ford rear in their car, but you can pick these up for under $300 and they come with disc brakes (in most applications). I think all you have to do is swap out the perches. If I remember correctly, Josh did one of these swaps. PM him for details or he can chime in here.
Along with being $300ish and having disc brakes, they are alsmost always posi rear ends and have a 3.73 ratio. There's some serious bang-for-the-buck there.

I brought up the same subject in another thread here:
http://www.trifive.com/forums/showthread.php?t=403

The link in the quote below takes you to a S-10 forum, this guy did the swap and lists his costs associated with havin the axles redrilled, etc. Good info.

I don't know how you guys feel about other brand rear ends....

Have you considered a 8.8 ford out of a 95 up Explorer?

It's a very popular budget rear end for all kinds of swaps. They typically sell for $350, and have 31 spline axles and disc brakes with e-brake provisions. The best part is they are 59 3/4 inches wide, and almost always have 3.73 gearing with limited slip (traction lok). It's supposed to be a strong rear end too.

The only downside would be getting the axles and rotors re-drilled for a chevy bolt pattern.

There's all sorts of info out there for all kinds of swaps, here is one guys story that upgraded his S-10:

http://www.s10forum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=2561028#post2561028
 

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Here's some additional information pertaining to the 8.8 swap that I learned while doing the swap into my '57.

Drum brakes come on the '91-'94 models. Disks are standard on '95-2000 models (Explorers went to IRS in 2001).

The "weak link" of the 8.8 is the connection between the cast center section and the axle tubes. Subjected to enough power, the tubes will spin in the housing. The fix is simple, though. Just weld the tubes to the center section.

The pinion offset (2.25" to the right) is just enough to cause issues in a tri-five if you try to install the 8.8 as is. It will hit the driveshaft tunnel on the passenger's side way before the suspension bottoms out. Of course, you could modify the tunnel in your car to make it wider and get around the clearance problem. According to the formulas published by the u-joint companies, the offset also puts the u-joint at its limits.

The popular "budget" way to shorten the 8.8 is to cut 3 inches out of the driver's side axle tube and weld it back together. This allows you to use a second passenger side axle which can be had cheaply enough from a salvage yard. I'm pretty sure that that's what Josh did in his car. You end up with a rear that's about 56.5" wide and a pinion offset of about 0.75" to the passenger's side. There is a catch to this in a tri-five, though. The 8.8 tubes neck down just before they go through the axle flange. And when you shorten the rear, the spring pads need to be right on top of the area where the tube necks down. This is not an issue with pocketed or inboard springs, though since the spring pads will need to be monted inboard of the area where the tube diameter changes.

For my swap, I cut the driver's side axle tube 7" inboard of the flange and cut the passenger's side tube 4" inboard of the flange (the exact locations of the cuts do not matter, but the end removed from the passenger's side must be cut 3" shorter than the end cut off the driver's side). Then I swapped sides with the cut ends, sleeved and welded them back together. Now, the axles can be "flipped" to the opposite side from where they started. What you end up with is a rear that is 59.5" wide and a pinion that is offset by 0.75" to the driver's side. With this method, there are no clearance issues, the spring pads can be welded on to fit stock location springs, and most any backspacing that can be used on a stock rear can still be used. You also don't have to buy a spare passenger side axle.

All 3 methods of fitment noted above will work in a tri-five. Each method just presents its own set of problems to overcome. Depending on the other components and modifications being planned, each has its own merits as well. The 8.8 is definitely a strong rear that will stand up to a lot of abuse and is truly a "budget" upgrade. I have in the neighborhood of $500 in my swap including the original purchase price and all new brake components.
 

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I put one in my 55 also. I left the offset alone and so far I have not noticed any problems. I did have to relocate the muffler on the passenger side. Yes the u-joint has hit the bottom of the floor but not to bad. I think if it hits it a few more times it I'll never have to worry about it again..:eek:

I left the drum brakes alone as they work good enough for me.
 

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I am guilty of doing this upgrade and it is as simple as stated above. I had already moved my leaf springs under the rails so I chose to narrow the rear. One thing not mentioned is the 8.8's come with a sway bar that can be reused as well as the emergency brakes. I have not figured the emergency brakes out yet. The emergency brake is set up to run down the driver side frame rail on a 8.8 where as the 57 original emergency brake cable is centered under the drive shaft. Some on here have done this if the would post some pics and instructions I would appreciate it. Also the 8.8 uses a flange adapter instead of a u-joint to attach the driveshaft to the rear end. Depending on what tranny you are using will determine your drive shaft length but under some instances the original explorer drive shaft can be used, I think with a TKO tranny. I am running a 200-4R and have not measured mine yet. Another bit of info. the 8.8s also can be bought with a 4.10 ratio. If needed, I will try to help out.
Josh
 

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I have not figured the emergency brakes out yet. The emergency brake is set up to run down the driver side frame rail on a 8.8 where as the 57 original emergency brake cable is centered under the drive shaft. Some on here have done this if the would post some pics and instructions I would appreciate it.
Josh,

I'll take a shot at this one. I'm still got to order a new '57 e-brake cable because my old one looks so ratty, but this is what I'm going to do. It should be a pretty clean install and cost about $40 in parts

You'll need a '57 e-brake cable, an e-brake clevis kit for the ford rear, and a cable stop (button). Here's a link to the clevis kit: http://store.summitracing.com/partd...4294838972+400015+4294812372+115&autoview=sku

In the picture of the clevis, you can see the square slot for the e-brake lever that sticks out of the backing plate, but what you can't see is that there is also a hole for the e-brake cable to pass through.

Take an original '57 e-brake cable assembly (or a reproduction one) and cut the little button off one end of the cable so that you can remove the cable from the sleeve, springs, and such (make sure to keep up with the order for all the pieces) You can discard the original clevis on each end of the cable that fits the stock brake set up. Once you have the cable out, slide it through the explorer clevis, back through all the original pieces and, lastly, put the explorer clevis on the end. Then you just need to swage the new button on the end of the cable to keep it all together. Around here, both Home Depot and Lowes sell the cable buttons for about a dollar and have a swaging tool that you can use to crimp them on. I'm sure some larger cities actually have companies that deal in cable rigging that would do that type of work.

The cable should install just like the stock setup, but it will now have the correct ends for the explorer brakes. The only other mod will be to drill the hole out a little larger in the explorer backing plate, since the '57 cable sleeve is bigger in diameter.

I should be getting to mine within the next month or so. I'll take some pictures, but does the above at least give you some idea? Also, it's off topic for this post, but have you done anything with your hydroboost unit yet?
 

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Thanks dayj1. I do have one question. My rear came with the Explorer emergency brake cables all the way to about 1inch past were they come together. Has anyone used the original 57 cable and combined it with the Explorer cable?

As for the hydroboost, I have set it up against the firewall a couple of times but that is about it. The one I bought looks huge. I heard they are all basically the same but mine came from a Chevy box van (Frito Lay delivery truck). The mc looks twice the size it needs to be. I need to build the mounting plate for it to see if it will work once i get the dimensions of it. I have the hose layout diagram. Everything seems simple but I will post up when I install it.
Josh
 

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Thanks dayj1. I do have one question. My rear came with the Explorer emergency brake cables all the way to about 1inch past were they come together. Has anyone used the original 57 cable and combined it with the Explorer cable?
I saw a post where someone did that a while back. They cut the original '57 cable to get the black cable sleeves off. Then they took the explorer cables and put them through the '57 sleeves and used small u-clamps to join the 2 explorer cables together. That essentially made a single cable out of the 2 explorer cables like an original '57 setup. It still took some drilling of the backing plates for the '57 sleeves to fit. Does that make sense?
 

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I saw a post where someone did that a while back. They cut the original '57 cable to get the black cable sleeves off. Then they took the explorer cables and put them through the '57 sleeves and used small u-clamps to join the 2 explorer cables together. That essentially made a single cable out of the 2 explorer cables like an original '57 setup. It still took some drilling of the backing plates for the '57 sleeves to fit. Does that make sense?
Yes, but why cant you modify the original Explorer cables so no modifications are needed for the backing plates? The way the Explorer cables are made is they come together about 4 feet towards the front of the car. After they come together they become on cable. My thought is to combine the front half of the original 57 cable with the rear half of the Explorer cable. I need to take some pics but if I can cut and reclamp the long cable that comes from the pass. side to the driver side and shorten it to where they come together in the middle like the original cables did. Then all I would have to do is add a cable clamp to the one wire coming out of the Explorer cable and the one wire from the original cable. Whatcha think?
Josh
 

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anybody in the houston area i got a 8.8 with discs and internal parking brakes 3.73posi. i'll sell for $200. one of these days i'll put it in the classifieds. maybe today. :D
 

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So if I was able to get an 8.8 out of a wrecked '96 explorer for $125 would it be worth it? I am very much thinking of doing it this way. Could I just use any run of the mill power brake booster?

And does it matter if its a 4x4 or 4x2?
 

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So if I was able to get an 8.8 out of a wrecked '96 explorer for $125 would it be worth it? I am very much thinking of doing it this way. Could I just use any run of the mill power brake booster?

And does it matter if its a 4x4 or 4x2?
I think it would be very worth it. You can use any power brake booster. If you are using a disc/drum prop. valve, that will need changed to a disc/disc but everything else can stay the same. As far as 4x4 vs. 4x2, I think the rears are all the same. Remember that not all 8.8 are posi. The way you tell is look at the tag held on by one of the covers bolts, usually the upper right from center bolt. On the tag will tell its gear ratio and if it is a posi. If a posi and a 3.73 ratio then it will say 3L73. If a 4.10 posi then it will say 4L10. It not a posi then it will have no "L". Another little bit of info, you can swap the "z" spring inside the rear with one from a F150 8.8 rear to get a better bite on the clutches. The "z" spring is stiffer in the F150.
Josh
 

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Installed 8.8

I have installed the 8.8 rearend. I did cut the one side down three inches and put an axle from the passanger side of another rear end on the driver side to center up the pinion. I think this is important to keep the right angles on the drive shaft. This is very easy to do, any one needing help please message me. also I have a lead on a couple of 8.8's for around $250 if any one is looking for one.
 

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I have installed the 8.8 rearend. I did cut the one side down three inches and put an axle from the passanger side of another rear end on the driver side to center up the pinion. I think this is important to keep the right angles on the drive shaft. This is very easy to do, any one needing help please message me. also I have a lead on a couple of 8.8's for around $250 if any one is looking for one.
So you got it done..good job. I also gave $250 for my 8.8. Not bad for what you get. You are going to have to drive that car down to my house and help me:D:tu:D.
Josh
 

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Yes, but why cant you modify the original Explorer cables so no modifications are needed for the backing plates? The way the Explorer cables are made is they come together about 4 feet towards the front of the car. After they come together they become on cable. My thought is to combine the front half of the original 57 cable with the rear half of the Explorer cable. I need to take some pics but if I can cut and reclamp the long cable that comes from the pass. side to the driver side and shorten it to where they come together in the middle like the original cables did. Then all I would have to do is add a cable clamp to the one wire coming out of the Explorer cable and the one wire from the original cable. Whatcha think?
Josh
I think I understand what you're saying, but the original explorer setup needs the bracket where the cables come together mounted to something rigid (like the frame) in order to function. If you mounted the bracket to the driver's frame rail, you might be able to re-route the '57 front cable over to it. Of course you might be able to mount it to one of the body braces or something in the center of the car and accomplish what you're looking for.

As I mentioned earlier, I won't be working on my cable setup for about a month. So please let me know if you come up with a design that works well.
 

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I think I understand what you're saying, but the original explorer setup needs the bracket where the cables come together mounted to something rigid (like the frame) in order to function. If you mounted the bracket to the driver's frame rail, you might be able to re-route the '57 front cable over to it. Of course you might be able to mount it to one of the body braces or something in the center of the car and accomplish what you're looking for.

As I mentioned earlier, I won't be working on my cable setup for about a month. So please let me know if you come up with a design that works well.
I'll let you know if I come up with something. I may have to do as you suggest. That seems to be the way everyone is doing it.
Josh
 

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Do you have to get ford bolt pattern rear wheels for this or will a 5-lug chevy pattern squeeze on??
 

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Do you have to get ford bolt pattern rear wheels for this or will a 5-lug chevy pattern squeeze on??
If you don't have the axles drilled then you will have to run ford wheels in the back. Some don't mind doing this because they run different tire sizes in the front than in the back. I had my axles redrilled by Moser for $60 for the pair and I also had them install 1/2" studs. I redrill my own rotors with a drill press and a homemade jig.
Josh
 
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