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Easiest possible axle swap?


jcsonderegger

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Hey all,

I'm interested in an axle swap, like many, for better gears and a limited-slip. I have a 96 2wd ranger with the 2.3. My stock 7.5 axle has the 3.73 gears. I've been looking into the common Explorer swaps. However, I am not a welder at all. I don't even know a good welder. Nor am I much of an engineer. From the tech articles I understand there is a way to swap the Explorer 8.8 without welding, but in reading that article, it mentions that the back end will drop between 4-6 inches, and my little 2WD needs all the help it can get.

So, as to my question. Which vehicle/axle will be the easiest, most bolt on and idiot-proof combination for a swap? Every junkyard in the area has probably 15 explorers for every ranger in stock so those would be preferred.

- Am I better off to look for an Explorer 7.5 with the limited-slip and higher gears, or will that still require technical modification?
- Do the Ranger 8.8s need to be welded/modified?
- Or do I just forgo my DIY-centric nature and just pay someone to do this crap for me?

Also, I spent a little time wading through forum posts, but if you can link me to someone else's thread I won't be offended at all.
 


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ford4thot

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BLOODBANE

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Explorers never came with 7.5's. They only came with the 31 spline, 8.8(because of the extra weight) The Ranger came with the 28 spline 8.8, and will already have the spring perchs in the correct places (bolt in)(some fx4Rangers came with a 31 spline axle, but they are rare). The Explorer is SPUA (spring under axle), and requires the perchs to be moved to the top of the axle housing (any decent welding shop should be able to do this, including new shock mounts). its not that difficult, but proper pinion angle should be set. The swap itself is pretty straight forward.

How deep of gears are you wanting? Originally in my 84, I had a 4:56 gear in the 7.5, but thats the deepest that would fit. You can only go up to 5:13's in the 8.8's. Unless your running big tires or hauling lots of weight (ir just generally abusing), your 7.5 should hold up. Im running 36's on my 347 stroker 84, with a D35 and Ex 8.8 and lockers, and thats about the limit (pushing it at times).

Hope this helps you a little more....
 

jcsonderegger

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You're right, I have been looking at so many axle pages I was slightly confused there about the Explorer not having a 7.5. My bad.

So the Ranger axles, both 7.5 and 8.8 have the springs on top of the axle, and this is what makes them bolt-in? Alright. That makes sense. Now with a Ranger axle, would that mean that the pinion angle is already in the right place? or would I need to have that checked anyways?

Bloodbane, that's a pretty killer setup. I'm looking for something a little milder as this is my daily driver and commuter. I have 31x10.5x15 s right now, but I will be moving up to a 255/75r17 (~32") soon with some Wrangler rims. I think these will actually be lighter and help with the power/mpg loss I faced when I went from the awful stock 28" tires (actually the guy I bought it from had just put brand new 27" tires on.....). However, it would be nice to have just a little more getup.

So I was thinking 4.10s. Plus, the big thing I would like is the LSD. I have a hard time in looser terrains when I do get it out wheeling. The size of the axle and number of splines isn't as big of an issue for me at this point, but might be nice in the future.

So right now I'm thinking I need to just get out to some of these junkyards and see what is actually available. I think I will just hold out for a good Ranger axle with the 4.10s and a LDS, and get this ball rolling.
 

BLOODBANE

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Yes the Ranger axle should be set up and ready to go (bolt in, there may be some difference in E-Brake set up though). Wanting a deeper gear because of tire size increase is understandable as well as wanting LSD.
 

4x4junkie

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AllanD

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This is a descent thread to review on basically same subject:

http://www.therangerstation.com/forums/showthread.php?t=166387

Remember '98+ Ranger axles are 2" wider than your '96, Explorers 2.5".
Actually all 1993-up Ranger axles are the same width, which is 2" wider than an '83-92 axle assembly...

All use the same mount spacing...

Pinion angles will be more or less correct for any factory installed spring mounts, but remember the spring mount does not entirely determine pinion angle as curvature of the leaf spring must also be correct... which with used springs is a less than certain thing....

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