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10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

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Old 05-26-2008, 08:41 PM   #1
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Question 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

I am having a hard time trying to figure out which rear end I should go after. First off, my truck is bagged so the mounts are going to be cut off. This rear end is going to be narrowed. I have an LS1 and would like a rear end to hold up to future mods. I was looking into the 8.8 but the ends are tapered and would make it harder to narrow however I can find one easily and the build up cost would be low. I can also find a 9 inch but the build up will be much more expensive. I would like to go with all Chevy parts on my truck but its harder to find a rear. I would also like to use the stock drives shaft I have!! So any input is appreciated....
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:09 PM   #2
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Once you get into narrowing a rear end, price gets thrown out the window. How narrow do you need it to be, from WMS to WMS?
Old 05-27-2008, 12:01 AM   #3
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

I know i will need custom axles from moser. I just want to get the axle to stock width
Old 05-27-2008, 11:19 AM   #4
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Search your junkyards for the 2wd 8.5" rear end out of an S-truck, most likely the Xtreme or ZQ8. I think that will be your cheapest and easiest option once you have the axle considering it's a 2wd's width, same bolt pattern, perches fit and sway bar mounts can be re-used but you're bagging it anyway so those will be cut off, and it's rather strong for even a V8 powered S-truck. The hard part will be finding the axle, since they're very rare. Use Car-part.com and I would even drive up to 250 miles to pick up the axle. The narrow tubes of the S-truck 8.5" will help clear frame rails when you lay flat. If you have money left over, invest in a differential cover with main bearing cap supports (Trick flow and Summit brand works) along with a good limited slip.
Old 05-27-2008, 11:33 AM   #5
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

If I had to decide between the two, I would go with the 8.8 based on price. No doubt the 9" is bullet proof, just expensive. The 8.8 is plenty strong enough too, but if you could find an 8.5" out of an s10, I would go that route to save you from having to narrow.
Old 05-27-2008, 01:22 PM   #6
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Depending on the amount of HP and total goals You can use a Ranger 8.8 narrow that...Smaller tubes and narrow that. It has 28 spline axles its doubtful you will break one. Also as I stated in another thread with the new Moser c-clip axles you can order them any legnth,spline and bolt pattern you could need. As always 3:55,3:73 and 4:10's are pretty easy to find with a locker. The locker is a walk in the park to rebuild if its higher mileage.

Personally IMO the only real advantage to a 9" is ease of diff changes. The hypoid factor is a major turnoff.
Old 05-28-2008, 01:44 AM   #7
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

On this one I'd rather stick with the 2wd 8.5". The initial purchase would be expensive especially if you have to drive far to get it but I still see the labor and materials of a narrowed axle costing more than a stock 8.5" in this case. The width is the same, the bolt pattern is the same, the wheel studs are the same so you don't have to run two different sets of lug nuts (12mmx1.50 vs 1/2" Ford) and the 8.5" is plenty strong. With a good limited slip in the rear, 3.42's (most common gear ratio for 2wd Xtreme's) I'd see this rear end lasting as long as the truck does when a Trick Flow cover is bolted on. There's absolutely no way to say for sure this rear end will handle X amount of horsepower but you can take a look at what it's handled on other vehicles and your LS1 even with bolt ons and forced induction would still be good with the limited slip. With gas prices these days the 3.42's would also help quite a bit with smallish tires and a lightweight V8 S-truck. The narrowed down tubes after the pumpkin will end up being damn near the same diameter as the Ranger 8.8's small tubes, but instead you wont have to give up axle shaft strength by the smaller shaft diameter nor lower spline count. Ring gear size in a lightweight vehicle with small tires is pretty low on the importance list.

And just a foreword for Stunningman if he wants to start another debate...this is the last thing I'll say on it. I've swapped in both the 8.5" and the 8.8" and am well aware of what each axle is capable of. I see the 8.5" being more cost effective in this particular application with less down time, while being rather fuel efficient and put down more power. Basically all he'd have to do is buy the axle, replace the bearings, seals and brakes, and swap in a limited slip. Done deal. The 8.8's would require the bearings, seals and brakes, limited slip, narrowed or centered differential and if he wants to rotate his tires without dismounting the tires off the rims or carrying two spares, he'd have to get the hubs drilled for the 5x4.75" bolt pattern. Both axles would be smart to have a differential cover with main cap supports.

BTW Stunningman, I totally agree on the 9". I don't circle track race nor am involved in NASCAR anymore than just watching it on TV with a beer in my hand. Swapping ring and pinion ratios fast is nothing worth the cost on my list. The Ford 8.8 can do everything the 9" can do EXCEPT for the fast gear swaps. The 9" isn't all that cracked up as people make it.

Last edited by lilsonoma; 05-28-2008 at 01:48 AM.
Old 05-28-2008, 08:40 AM   #8
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by lilsonoma
And just a foreword for Stunningman if he wants to start another debate...this is the last thing I'll say on it. I've swapped in both the 8.5" and the 8.8" and am well aware of what each axle is capable of. I see the 8.5" being more cost effective in this particular application with less down time, while being rather fuel efficient and put down more power. Basically all he'd have to do is buy the axle, replace the bearings, seals and brakes, and swap in a limited slip. Done deal. The 8.8's would require the bearings, seals and brakes, limited slip, narrowed or centered differential and if he wants to rotate his tires without dismounting the tires off the rims or carrying two spares, he'd have to get the hubs drilled for the 5x4.75" bolt pattern. Both axles would be smart to have a differential cover with main cap supports.
Most of your response here is to a novice. Anyone that does their homework and searchs will easily bypass all obstacles you list.


I have used both also obviously. I could use any type I want. I have a method using stock ford parts from the wrecker that gets the 8.8 1/2" narrower than a s/10 2wd rear. The weight difference doesn't bother me because its right where I want it...over the rear tires.

The average novice mechanic can pull a 8.8 locker and rebuild it. If necessary. Its VERY easy to find a low mileage 8.8 so there little reason to fret that.

Centering and Narrowing is optional as always. The offset hurts nothing. For instance the explorer rea is ACTUALLY the same legnth as a stock S10 4x4 rear. Ever try finding a Non ZR2 8.5 4x4 rear. Needle in a haystack. Try finding a Explorer 3:73 posi rear. Dime a dozen. The bolt pattern change can be done & shipped for around $100. If your smart you have them put in metric studs aif thats what you want.

Honestly the biggest turnoff for the 8.5 is lack of good gears,the POS posi and for the novice the cost of setting up the gears and posi. This stuff is Way more costly than fixing any of the supposed shortcomings you list for the 8.5 and obviously with the 8.8 you would have a stronger rear.

I won't argue the 8.5 isn't lighter in weight no doubt, just to scarce and costly to be trying to plan a project around IMO. On the bright side all of the people that just swap in a 8.8 drive the 8.5 rears price down.

Last edited by The Stunningman; 05-28-2008 at 08:44 AM.
Old 05-28-2008, 05:36 PM   #9
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Problem #1 - I can't find anyone in my area that will narrow a rear end. Problem #2 - 8.5 rear, i've only found 2 one for $1200 and the other for a 4x4 $750

Does the 8.5 rear have to be from a 2wd?
Old 05-28-2008, 06:17 PM   #10
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

If the tubes on the 8.8 rear can be pressed in/out relatively easy(in my own garage) i can take them to the shop I work at and have them shortened. Then it would be a matter of how good they go back in (is there a spot in the housing where they hit so they can go in any farther?) Then i could have the tubes welded to the pumpkin
Old 05-28-2008, 08:24 PM   #11
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

does anyone ever take 8.5's from full size trucks and use them? they are wide and 6 lug, but if you are getting custom axle shafts and or narrowing anyways, could be a cost effective route. i personally have had a hard time giving them away, and most people i know end up taking them to the junk yard because no one wants to pay even $50 for them.
Old 05-28-2008, 09:56 PM   #12
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by So_Lo_Blazer
If the tubes on the 8.8 rear can be pressed in/out relatively easy(in my own garage) i can take them to the shop I work at and have them shortened. Then it would be a matter of how good they go back in (is there a spot in the housing where they hit so they can go in any farther?) Then i could have the tubes welded to the pumpkin
This IMO is the HARDEST option. As I've stated in other threads the only way I have saw people remove them on the 8.8 was to cut them flush with the housing then chisel the remainder of the tube out. It is easier to press the tubes in than get them out.

IMO cut the tubes.
Old 05-28-2008, 10:01 PM   #13
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by So_Lo_Blazer
Problem #1 - I can't find anyone in my area that will narrow a rear end.
Look for guys that do circle track racing,install cages or metal work in general.

Quote: Originally Posted by So_Lo_Blazer
Does the 8.5 rear have to be from a 2wd?
If you have a 2wd,want to retain a stock look and use the rims you have now ...YES.
Old 05-29-2008, 02:29 AM   #14
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

how hard is it to find a 2wd 8.5 s10 rear?? i dont car about the gear, or if its posi or not, i was goin to rebuild anyway.. what codes/years should i be lookin or.. itll be goin in my '84..
Old 05-29-2008, 06:53 AM   #15
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by jarrodh
how hard is it to find a 2wd 8.5 s10 rear?? i dont car about the gear, or if its posi or not, i was goin to rebuild anyway.. what codes/years should i be lookin or.. itll be goin in my '84..
How hard is it to find 98 or newer 4.3 5 speed 2WD S10 in the junk yard around you? That is your answer, because that's where they reside.
Old 05-29-2008, 07:10 AM   #16
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by lilsonoma
And just a foreword for Stunningman if he wants to start another debate...
Debate? All I saw in the other thread was Stunningman spank in you public for your low level of mentality. You try to justify your position, by bringing up things that are not relevant or easily overcome.
Old 05-29-2008, 10:19 PM   #17
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by poconojoe
How hard is it to find 98 or newer 4.3 5 speed 2WD S10 in the junk yard around you? That is your answer, because that's where they reside.
cool thanks, i will have to kep an eye out for them..
Old 06-04-2008, 05:38 PM   #18
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by The Stunningman
This IMO is the HARDEST option. As I've stated in other threads the only way I have saw people remove them on the 8.8 was to cut them flush with the housing then chisel the remainder of the tube out. It is easier to press the tubes in than get them out.

IMO cut the tubes.
Is there enough tube sticking out to match the s10 rear end length??? If I cut the one side is there enough tube to match the other side after it is pressed back in??
Old 06-04-2008, 05:48 PM   #19
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

just throwing in my .02......... i paid 1150 for an 8.5, and ive seen some bastards get them for 200 ........ seriously tho, if uve got time, one will show up for cheap
Old 06-04-2008, 06:37 PM   #20
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by lt1s10onair
just throwing in my .02......... i paid 1150 for an 8.5, and ive seen some bastards get them for 200 ........ seriously tho, if uve got time, one will show up for cheap
QTF...

find someone that is hurting for money. i just picked up a 12 bolt narrowed to S10 width with ladder bar mounts for $75.
Old 08-10-2009, 08:52 PM   #21
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

how much longer is the 8.8 explorer rear then the 2wd 7.5? do the mounts were the leafs go on the 8.8 the same as the 2wd 7.5?
Old 08-31-2009, 01:57 PM   #22
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

im looking into rearends now..what am i looking for to find a rear end to go in my 2002 chevy s10? 4.3L..i wanna go with 3:73 gearing too..
Old 09-01-2009, 11:00 PM   #23
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by s10maniac899
im looking into rearends now..what am i looking for to find a rear end to go in my 2002 chevy s10? 4.3L..i wanna go with 3:73 gearing too..
It being Ford it sits off center. I believe its been a while we removed 3inchs from one side and 5 from the other which still left it a inch longer on both sides so we could run more back space on the rims so we could pit bigger ones underneath for bigger tires. I can fit a 295/65/15 drag radial under the bed which is a tight fit because it bubbles out from the height. And not rub frame or Bed rail. As for cutting down the rear we built ours. We centered the rear in the truck. Then burnt on the perches then decided where to cut to make them equal. Bought Moser 9 inch small bearing axle ends for the 8.8. Slightly milled the Axle end down and the axle tube out and welded the ends in. When doing this Mustang hardware has to be acquired. Different backing plate bolt pattern between the 2 regardless if drum or discbetween mustang and explorer. Ordered Moser axles with Chevy bolt pattern drill the drums and bolted the axles in like a nine inch once the spool was set.
Old 09-02-2009, 02:06 PM   #24
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

is there any difference between the v6 and v8 explorer rear ends??
Old 09-02-2009, 03:44 PM   #25
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by So_Lo_Blazer
is there any difference between the v6 and v8 explorer rear ends??
Found out there is no difference that will make a difference in swapping it.
Old 02-05-2011, 11:06 AM   #26
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

is there a diffrence in width from the disc to drum versions of the exploer 8.8 if so what is it
Old 03-16-2011, 09:39 PM   #27
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

Quote: Originally Posted by matts88s10
is there a diffrence in width from the disc to drum versions of the exploer 8.8 if so what is it
Nope
Old 03-17-2011, 10:23 AM   #28
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Re: 10 bolt 8.8 or 9 Rear End options??

The explorer 8.8 is a direct bolt-in in an s10. Just different offset/bolt pattern wheels,conversion u-joint. I have one in my 6.0 powered '91 s10. Do a 9" if you want to spend money.
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