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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys,

The blue Stude currently has a small block Chevy, TH700 and an open ford 8".

Since the engine has been rebuilt with ali heads the car is gagging for an LSD, while we're at it rear discs would be nice.

I started looking around at options and to rebuild the 8" to what we want is going to cost a fair bit. So I started looking into the Ford 8.8 live axle, 24 different Fords came with this axle apparently, in open or LSD form, in varying widths and ratios, with different offset diffs and 28 or 31 spline.

After some research I settled on the Ford Explorer rear end, 31 spline, 3.73 locker with discs, the quirk of it is it's too wide for the Stude (59 1/2"), but it has an offset diff due to it being from a 4WD vehicle, which means it has a long and short axle, the longer axle being approx 2 1/2" longer than the other. The trick is to narrow the axle casing on one side by the difference and locate another short axle, i'll then have a 31 spline, 3.73 LSD disc braked rear end for a lot less than a 9" or a 12 bolt, or my modded 8". The 8.8 is basically a 12 bolt clone. It'll end up around 57"- 57 1/2" which is perfect for most old cars.
But, to get another short axle you've basically got to buy another rear end as it's grief getting the axle out for what it's worth and I may need other parts of the rear end anyway due to damaged/unusable parts.

Anyhow I took a drive down to Maidstone on Saturday and molested the rear end of an R reg Explorer for £175.



It wasn't too hard to get out but that mofo is heavy! Don't try this on your own, it was hard work with two of us. I got the prop, sway bar and mounts, handbrake cable, shock mounts etc and took lots of pics of the Explorer.

I then got the axle home and started to strip it down to assess the condition of the parts. The intention is to replace all consumables and rebuilt the rest.


The pads are shot, one disc is shot, the hand bake shoes are cracked and there's too much end play in the axles, all will be renewed anyway.

The callipers seem fine but will be rebuilt too


The gears are ok, not bad but not great, the ABS sensor is redundant and will be plugged, the sway bar will probably be left off as they're not much use on front engine/rear drive cars if your suspension is good. I'll decide later. A new brake line will be made and new rubber hoses.


I've got two more axles lined up and another drum brake axle which could be used to get the shorter shaft.

If anyone's interested in this setup for themselves then give me a shout as i'm making a collection of these rear ends to get as many usable parts as possible. It would be handy if someone is after an axle shorter than 57" as this would free up another short axle. To go shorter than 57" it'll require aftermarket axles.

The plan is to get three or four rear ends, strip them, assess, get the difference cut out of the long tube, check the tubes for straightness, weld the tubes (interference fit from the factory) to the pumpkin, cut off the sway bar and leaf spring perches (if they're no use) and weld on new perches, fit new bearings and seals, new LSD plates, new pads, rotors and rebuilt callipers, new brake lines and proportioning valve, new handbrake cable and away.

Let me know if you have any short axles, or complete rear ends (drum or disc brake models), and get in touch if you want to go about this with me.

Cheers, Aaron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Yeah they are cheap and tough. I can see these being put under lots of cars.

I may trim the backing plates down so the discs can be seen from underneath, the wheels the Stude has pretty much obscures the view of the disc and the backing plates hide them from the underneath view, any views on that? Just a thought.

That Pop sounds nasty. Do you have the old short axle by any chance?
 

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No mate.as they are c clip type axles i shortened the originals first so we could roll the car round and make sure they were the right lenght befor we ordered

the aftermarket shafts.

Ebay is always worth checking for shafts.they do nice ally diff covers for them if you want a bit of bling
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No mate.as they are c clip type axles i shortened the originals first so we could roll the car round and make sure they were the right lenght befor we ordered

the aftermarket shafts.

Ebay is always worth checking for shafts.they do nice ally diff covers for them if you want a bit of bling
Sure thing, yeah I will get a bling cover! Let me know if you come across any short shafts
 

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Got an narrowed one under my truck. It cost me an arm and a leg to get it done (by a well known company in Irthlingborough). Hopefully it'll work out ok on my setup. 400bhp+ with 31" tyres
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm sure it'll be just fine mate. They're reasonable compared to a 9" but still ££. Looking to get mine sorted for under a grand. Hopefully around £800.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Got another rear end, same as the first, 3.73 locker with discs. Picking it up next Saturday from Southend.

Will strip that and use the pair of shorter shafts for the new narrowed axle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Picking up two rear ends today now, one in Colchester and one on Southend for a total of 3. All 31 spline 3.73 lockers.

I've swapped one diff already for another short axle + cash, I will cut up one axle for the perches and sway bar mounts.

So i'll be left with two complete rear ends ( I need one), and a spare disc brake conversion kit for anyone with a drum brake 8.8.

I'll also be left with 3 no 31 spline long axles (approx 30").

Pics to follow today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
That's handy to know, thanks. I'm stuck in Plumstead as I left my van keys in my mates car that got towed away last night! (My axles are in the van).Will strip axles today when I get home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
After finally getting a spare key for my van I made it home.

The short shaft turned up yesterday from UK Blowers, thanks for that.


Dad and I set about stripping the two new rear ends today, it's pretty hard work to be honest, it would have been a lot easier with my Dewalt impact driver, but that was stolen from my van last week along with 5 other power tools:rox:

Anyhow the plan was to make two complete rear ends from 3 rear ends and one short shaft, the worst condition rear end would get cut up for the perches.
After having all 3 apart they all seem in pretty good nick, very similar play and tooth wear on all three.

Number 2 -



Number 3 -


The brakes are worse on number two, number 3 has very good brakes and have been renewed recently, still yellow paint on the shoe springs.

Studebaker wheels makes moving them around easy


A mechanic friend is coming over tomorrow to decide which one will get sacrificed...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I got number one case totally stripped tonight, got the pinion out with a gentle tap from a sledge hammer.

I'm now going to cut up the case to salvage the sway bar mounts and the spring perches.



Next job is to get the shafts out of the other two axles and send them to Large Engineering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just taken a few measurements with a helper, the Stude is LOW and on a slope so couldn't jack it up, anyhow the leaf spring perch centres are 39" which doesn't tally with the Explorer perches, doesn't matter at least I know the perches have to come off the 8.8 along with the sway bar mounts.

The casing on the 8.8 isn't that thick so we'll gingerly cut the perches off, we have another casing to cut up for the perches.

The Explorer shock mounts should work although the homemade current ones will work with elongating the U bolt holes.
New Ubolts are required as stock Explorer are too short. 3 1/4" to match the 8.8 (bigger than 8")

It'll be nice getting old axle out and having a clean up under there.



Oh woodie, I measured the drum to drum on the 8" and it's coming out at 57 1/4", not sure they made an 8" that narrow? It was hard to measure accurately. I'll do some googling
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·


Cutting up the last Explorer case for the perches and sway bar mounts which will go on the other 8.8 for the Stude. The standard Explorer positions are no good for anything really
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·


I now have 3 long shafts (31 spline), left over for anyone who may need them? They measure 30 1/8" long from the diff end of the shaft to the back of the hub.
£40 each. Will post (approx £10)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Been a bit of a gap but i'm back on it now.

I got the rear end back and started cleaning it up. The welding by Steve at Large Engineering is awesome, he cut down the long axle tube, straightened them and welded the ends.



Getting there. We'll get her under the car shortly.
 
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