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Explorer Axle (8.8) -> 01 Ranger


Rangurr

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I can't stand having an open diff in my '01 Ranger! I'm looking for the best easy/cheap way to hook up my truck. Right now it's sitting on tiny 28" tires with a stock 7.5 with 3.73s and the open diff. It gets me around but, having an underpowered 4-banger, I don't really want to push the 33"s I'm getting next month around without regearing. I've also wanted at least an LS since I got the truck. I'm considering the Explorer axles because, from what I've read, they're 31 spline as opposed to 28, they're heavier duty, and apparently they're super easy to throw in. I have found lots of people saying that I need to do it but no explanations (probably because it's idiot-proofed).

Here's what I need to know:
I've heard there are 2 generations of Explorer axles
-one with drums and rare 4:10 gears/LS
and
-one with rear disks and common 4:10s with LS
I'm wanting to do a rear disk swap while I'm playing with the axle, may as well, right?

What will I need to put this into my truck?
What year did they start using the rear disks?
Do I need to do anything special to make the rear disks work with my truck?
What do I need to make the E-Brake work properly - new cable?

I'm assuming I need to replace the spring perches and possibly the shock perches, as the Explorers are underslung. I'm also assuming that I'll need a new E-brake cable. Anything else?

Thanks guys, sorry if this is too obvious or poorly worded of a question.
 


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alwaysFlOoReD

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Surrey

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Rear disks only really matter if you haul a lot of weight, or are running big tires. 95 and newer has disks, but for many people that also involves changing the master cylinder.

4.10s are only like 11% more than 3.73s, so running 33s on them with a 4-banger will be worse than the 3.73s with 28" tires. You are going to need new gears, 4.56 is probably the ideal choice. 5.13s would give you nice low-end power, but limit you with your high-end speed probably.

As for putting an expo axle under a ranger, new shock tabs and spring perches is about it. Maybe a bit of modification on the drive shaft if the connections are different.
 

Rangurr

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Wow, I can't believe I missed that whole article. I think it's mainly because I wasn't thinking and limited my search to forum posts for the most part. Oops. That does answer a lot of the questions but I do still have a few.

I'd really like disks if I can get them. I do haul a lot more than I should with this engine and plan on upgrading to a 4bt so I will be piling on even more weight at that point. The post says that I may or may not have to do the master cylinder. Anybody have a definitive answer?

Welding perches, etc. shouldn't be any problem, I just have to figure out angles and such so that's taken care of.

I would like to know, however, if the Explorer 8.8 ever came with a 4.56. I wanted this ratio initially but I didn't think they ever came in the explorers.

Also, I need to know about the E-brake still. Anything special?
 

Surrey

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Never came with anything higher than 4.10 gears from the factory. you would have to buy those gears and have them set up (unless you can do that yourself. Not the average back yard mechanic job.)

Disks are 95+ expo axle... There is no definitive answer as to whether you need to do your master or not, some people have done the swap with no issues, others have had terrible brakes after the swap.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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alwaysFlOoReD

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Dam, Surrey beat me to it lol
 

Rangurr

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Putting new gears in shouldn't be too much of a problem. I just wanted to get some factory ones if at all possible - saves a little time.

Here's another little question though. If I have the choice to get one with L/S and install it or to buy an open diff and install an Aussie Locker in it and then install it, which do you think is best?
 

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I am actually getting ride of my LS 31-spline Explorer carrier. It's a little worn and replacing the clutches are cheap & easy. If you come across an Explorer axle with an OPEN differential, I'll swap you. I'm actually doing a locker myself.

Now, regarding the Master Cylinder Swap, I will tell you this: go ahead and do it. On my 4.0L 8.8" 28 spline Ranger axle, I used the original master cylinder. It worked, yes, not not great. Part of this reason MAY have been because I did not adjust the push rod and did not account for any changes, but I left it was is when I did the swap. I had no spectacular performance. 1.5 years later, there is still barely any wear or noticeable signs of braking on the disks. It's like they were practically brand new.

I've heard/read that the proportioning valve in the Explorer M/C is different, so I switched it out. I adjusted the push rod from the brake booster to the master cylinder, and it brakes better now than before. I am going to adjust it again though. Everything is settled in. Some people say that ABS / non-ABS matters. I would switch it out anyways, especially since you came from a 7.5" with smaller drums than even the 8.8" drums.


They look exactly the same.





 

Rangurr

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When you say that some people say that abs matters - does that mean, if I'm starting with no rear abs, that I should find an explorer without it as well to get the master cyl from? How exactly do I go about adjusting everything to work properly?
 

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If your truck has ABS (rear or 4W), the stock master should work with the discs. If your truck does NOT have ABS at all (some pre-'89 models and I think all pre-'87 models), then you would need to swap it (this is what my research told me when I swapped a disc 8.8" into my BII w/RABS. It's been working fine with the stock MC).


As for the park brake, I used the OE Explorer p-brake cables and rigged up a linkage to attach them to the cable from the pedal assy. using some of the original cable clips, some allthread, and some nuts and pieces of steel. I also had to fab up a bracket to support the cables, as the cables are shorter than the stock Ranger/BII cables (won't reach up to the original bracket on the leaf spring hanger).


 

AgPete139

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Junkie, I have to figure out a way to take out more of the Explorer cable slack. Heard of any methods? ( / short threadjack)

Rangurr, Junkie was spot on.
 

kryptonitecb

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Junkie, I have to figure out a way to take out more of the Explorer cable slack. Heard of any methods? ( / short threadjack)

Rangurr, Junkie was spot on.
I used a piece of pipe from Ace to "lengthen" the bracket when I did mine. I got it longer than necessary and cut it down through trial and error till if fit/worked correctly.

Sent from the road while ignoring traffic
 

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Thanks, Kryptonite! I'll look at it again today and rig something up.

Hopefully this is good information for future readers.
 


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