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Ford 8.8 Swap:
The Ford 8.8 is becoming a popular swap among the Jeep community. Its stronger than a Dana 44, and easier to come by. Most people hunt for an 8.8 out of Explorer. The Explorer also uses the factory Jeep 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern. The only downside is that it is roughly 1" narrower than the stock axle. All Explorer 8.8s are 31 spline. 1990-1994 have drum brakes, while the 1995 and up Explorers have disc brakes. With an Explorer 8.8 you are sure you getting a thick wall 8.8, 31 spline shafts, and the disk brake Explorers got the 7/8" cross shaft instead of the 3/4" cross shaft. The ring gear, pinion, bearings and shafts are all larger than a Dana 44. According to Warn Industries, axle strength of a stock Dana 35 shaft is 4000-4300 lb. ft. A Dana 44 shaft is 4600-5000 lb. ft., while the 8.8 is rated 6500 lb. ft.
Enough about strength, the 8.8 isn't exactly a bolt in. In a CJ/YJ spring perches and shock tabs must be welded on. For a TJ you'll need a bracket kit to weld on. The 8.8 will also require a flange adapter for the driveshaft. Also don't be surprised if you need to shorten your driveshaft a little as the 8.8 is a bit longer than a stock Dana 35. As for brakes, most people get away with running the stock master cylinder and proportioning valve even with the disc brake 8.8s, so before you swap out to a larger master cylinder, I'd at least try driving your Jeep without any brake modifications, as it may not need any. The last thing with the 8.8 is you'll have to find some way to hook your emergency brake lines to it. Several companies sell cables to do this. Many of the 8.8s you'll find from Explorers are a 4.10 ratio, so you may have to regear it, or regear the front so they match.
So when should an 8.8 be considered? I would not recommend swapping out a Dana 44 for an 8.8, while the 8.8 is stronger, its not worth the work, if you need something more than a Dana 44, you need something more than an 8.8. The 8.8 is a good candidate for Jeeps with a Dana 35 rear axle.
Related Topics: | Some basic axle information: |
Related Writeups: | Axle Identification |

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