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Fixing explorer differential swap and pinion angle problem.


CavVet2

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I have a 99 ranger supercab with a 306 and 5 speed and an explorer rear end.
I. Have been searching for leaf spring pads and shock mounts to weld onto the expo diff to correct the pinion angle problem I have with the rear end. I found some spring perches that are the correct size but I am having a problem finding some oem style shock mounts for the 3.25” axle tubes. Does anyone have a source for these?
I’m also having trouble finding the leaf spring mount plates that are for the 3.25” tubes and 2.5” leaf springs. I’ve been looking at F150 plates since they have the correct dimensions as far as I can tell.
would like to hear what everyone else is using for this.
 


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Pretty sure I bought leaf spring perches from Ballistic Fabrication but it's been many years. If you have a grinder you can just buy some generic ones that are close to the same tube size and modify as needed.

If you're careful with a cutoff wheel on a grinder, you can remove whatever is on there now and just reposition them. That's what I always do, cut most of the way through the welds and then break them off with a sledge hammer. Then clean them up and the axle tube and weld back on. Easy.

Shocks mounts are a different story, I usually just buy some shock tabs that are sort of a triangle shape... problem with those is it moves your shock mount up about 3". Lifted or close to stock height truck, that is not a big deal, but it might require shorter shocks on a lowered truck. Again, that is something you could cut off a different axle and reuse.
 

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The original Explorer shock mounts are part of the spring plates. Using the stock mounts requires either making/installing a shock mount behind the axle on the passenger side or modifying it so the shock can be mounted in front of the axle on the passenger side and use the existing mount on the frame. But that only works if you go spring under, which doesn’t seem to be what you want to do.

Otherwise, you are looking at welding shock mounts on the axle.

The only Ranger I’ve seen with an Explorer axle is using the Explorer springs. Those fit in the factory spring hangers, so the factory Explorer spring plates should work on the Ranger springs. You just wouldn’t use the shock mounts and can leave them as they are or cut them off.
 

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I have a 99 ranger supercab with a 306 and 5 speed and an explorer rear end.
I. Have been searching for leaf spring pads and shock mounts to weld onto the expo diff to correct the pinion angle problem I have with the rear end. I found some spring perches that are the correct size but I am having a problem finding some oem style shock mounts for the 3.25” axle tubes. Does anyone have a source for these?
I’m also having trouble finding the leaf spring mount plates that are for the 3.25” tubes and 2.5” leaf springs. I’ve been looking at F150 plates since they have the correct dimensions as far as I can tell.
would like to hear what everyone else is using for this.

I can;t help with the shock tabs, that'll likely need to be custom. It sounds like you already have the axle installed to be having issues with the pinion angle. Have you considered just shimming it to the correct angle? I can't imagine that it's out that much, but I could very easily be wrong about that.

If you need pearches and shock tabs they are available from many of the offroad fab shops including Ballistic mentioned by @Shran. I've linked to some pages showing 8.8 swap kits below, but the components are also available for purchase individually if you need something different.

Barnes 4wd: Ford 8.8 Axle Swap Combo

RuffStuff Specialties: FORD 8.8 REAR AXLE SIMPLE SWAP (31 SPLINE)
 

ummduh

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I just used all universal parts similar to what is above.

I picked rear shocks to fit the new dimensions I had created.

I've had pretty good luck with the Barnes 4wd parts.. Good cost to beef ratio generally, and available on Amazon.

And Rough Country u-bolts.

I re-used the Ranger u-bolt plates and just elongated the holes to fit the wider u-bolts (the plates won't work without modification because the axle tubes are a larger diameter, requiring the use of wide u-bolts.. so you either have to slot them or replace them with a proper width)
 
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Craig0320

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Break it right the first time. Fix it better the next time.
I bought the Ruff Stuff Specialties kit for my swap. Everything was thick and high quality.
 

CavVet2

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I just used all universal parts similar to what is above.

I picked rear shocks to fit the new dimensions I had created.

I've had pretty good luck with the Barnes 4wd parts.. Good cost to beef ratio generally, and available on Amazon.

And Rough Country u-bolts.

I re-used the Ranger u-bolt plates and just elongated the holes to fit the wider u-bolts (the plates won't work without modification because the axle tubes are a larger diameter, requiring the use of wide u-bolts.. so you either have to slot them or replace them with a proper width)
I ordered the ubolts, spring perches, and shock mounts from Barnes 4wd in NC. The shock mounts which look closest to stock mounts are for a Jeep using a Dana 60 or an 8.8 swapped in. The spring plates I got from a salvage yard and they are from an F150 which also has 3.25” tubes and 2.5” leaf springs.
 

CavVet2

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I just used all universal parts similar to what is above.

I picked rear shocks to fit the new dimensions I had created.

I've had pretty good luck with the Barnes 4wd parts.. Good cost to beef ratio generally, and available on Amazon.

And Rough Country u-bolts.

I re-used the Ranger u-bolt plates and just elongated the holes to fit the wider u-bolts (the plates won't work without modification because the axle tubes are a larger diameter, requiring the use of wide u-bolts.. so you either have to slot them or replace them with a proper width)
F150 spring plates are the correct size for the swap.
 

CavVet2

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I can;t help with the shock tabs, that'll likely need to be custom. It sounds like you already have the axle installed to be having issues with the pinion angle. Have you considered just shimming it to the correct angle? I can't imagine that it's out that much, but I could very easily be wrong about that.

If you need pearches and shock tabs they are available from many of the offroad fab shops including Ballistic mentioned by @Shran. I've linked to some pages showing 8.8 swap kits below, but the components are also available for purchase individually if you need something different.

Barnes 4wd: Ford 8.8 Axle Swap Combo

RuffStuff Specialties: FORD 8.8 REAR AXLE SIMPLE SWAP (31 SPLINE)
I’ve got a 6 degree shim in now and the pinion angle is still 4 degrees up. It would require too much Additional shimming to get it right.
 

CavVet2

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I can;t help with the shock tabs, that'll likely need to be custom. It sounds like you already have the axle installed to be having issues with the pinion angle. Have you considered just shimming it to the correct angle? I can't imagine that it's out that much, but I could very easily be wrong about that.

If you need pearches and shock tabs they are available from many of the offroad fab shops including Ballistic mentioned by @Shran. I've linked to some pages showing 8.8 swap kits below, but the components are also available for purchase individually if you need something different.

Barnes 4wd: Ford 8.8 Axle Swap Combo

RuffStuff Specialties: FORD 8.8 REAR AXLE SIMPLE SWAP (31 SPLINE)
I ordered it individually since I didn’t need the spring plates, and the jeep shock mounts I picked are for the expo diff swap into a CJ and they are the closest thing resembling the stock mounts.
 

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I’ve got a 6 degree shim in now and the pinion angle is still 4 degrees up. It would require too much Additional shimming to get it right.
You hadn't mentioned that, but it sounds like you probably made thhe right call. It's got me curious how you've got your rear suspension set up for the Explorer axle's pinion angle to be 10 degrees off.
 

ummduh

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You hadn't mentioned that, but it sounds like you probably made thhe right call. It's got me curious how you've got your rear suspension set up for the Explorer axle's pinion angle to be 10 degrees off.
mine was absolutely abhorrent, keeping it spring under on my Ranger.

stock suspension other than the spring under explorer swap.
 

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CavVet2

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I bought the spring perches and shock mounts from Barnes4wd. For the spring plates and I-bolts I bought a set of Cal-Tracs. I also went to a local place called General Spring KC and picked up a new set of leaf springs. Now I just have to wait on the chassis shop to get everything changed over and set the pinion angle correctly. Looking forward to driving it with the suspension setup right.
 

Tech-man

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mine was absolutely abhorrent, keeping it spring under on my Ranger.

stock suspension other than the spring under explorer swap.
Curious, what did you do to correct this? I have a similar situaution with my '96 & Expy 8.8........
 

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Tech-man, tell us you need on-site help!!!
I need an excuse to drive up for some fudge and hopefully view some auroras.
 

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