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  • 8.8 install on SOA w/ RE 1.5 SOA springs- The build

    Looks like lots of SOA and 8.8 install questions popping up again. I did a lengthy thread a year or 2 ago on the original SOA build so I will do another in the next few weeks as I get the next phase built.

    I just got in Rubicon Express 1.5" SOA springs. Trust me based on what I got these are the ones to go with. All I can say is HEAVY DUTY. I have the 8.8 in the garage as we speak with new calipers and rotors. I went with YJ stainless braided lines and am using the fronts for the lines to the 8.8 rear calipers with the rear line to the junction at the rear. That makes braided or hard line right from the pedal.

    I am waiting to get my OX locker for the D30 and gearing for the front any day now. Like always lots of pictures for the kids in the cheap seats so you can see it as it is assembled. Once set up I will be doing a Woody HD sye and CV d/s. Basically been running the SOA without a sye and always keep my ujoint press and spare joints in the Jeep at all times. Grease it often or replace just as often. Mmmm C/V.....
    I am seriously considering going with the emergency brake on the flanged output on the transfer case. Not sure if I am buying one from TW or building my own. (Made the decision and I will be going with Tom's ebrake setup -June 30.)

    So that is what I have in the works kids... Tune in often same Bat time. Same Bat channel.

    Junkyard love....

    The Stock Before shot:

    The stock springs SOA shot:

    More pics to be added as I get more done. Expect the full build and posts to occur over the next few weeks. I hope to be done in no more than 6 weeks depending on my work schedual.
    (Original SOA writeup:

    JUNE 22:
    Just finished the RE SOA spring install. Didn't have enough new bolts so had to use the torch to heat some of the old ones to get them loose. New problem may be the longer aftermarket shock I installed with the original SOA aren't going to be long enough now. Pics to follow. But I did get my newest tool for the build:
    This is used for setting up the bearing preload on the pinion when installing the new locker. Once you have the shims set on the pinion (HP D30) you rotate the pinion and read the pinion preload reading. Add or subtract shims until the reading is to spec. More to follow shortly with pics and detailed description.

    Here is the MAJOR reason I went with OEM Dana Spicer parts for my regear:
    Look at the little +3 marked on the pinion. When setting up the pinion shims you compare the stock marking on the pinion and then add or subtract based on the new pinion. Gets you close BEFORE you start swearing and having to pull it apart time and time again to set the backlash and the pattern on the gears.

    Get the RED locktite out as you don't want it all to come apart when you put the ring gear bolts on as well as buttoning up the locker.

    The completed Rubicon Express 1.5" SOA spring install:

    July 2nd:
    Machining a set of setup bearings for the locker install:
    There is almost no material to grab to keep the bearing in the lathe chuck. Taking off about 1/2 a thou per pass. Going to try a slightly different method for the second bearing. The whole reason for machining the bearing is so shims can be removed or added easily until the correct shim stack is calculated and the correct pattern achieved. Once set the set up bearings are removed and a new set of bearings are pressed on.

    Made my order to Tom Woods today for the HD flanged SYE, C/V shaft and parking brake rotor kit. Should ship Monday after your July 4th holiday. By the way anyone looking for a locker should take a SERIOUS look at the OX. Mechically simple yet seriously beefy. Pretty much nothing to blow up or break in there. When I add a locker to the 8.8 in the future it will be an OX.

    July 5th:
    Found a better way to machine the setup bearings. I bought a small drum sanding kit for the die grinder. It is very close to the ID of the bearing and is machining round without having to put in the lathe to spin while grinding. Now both bearings are machined to .002" over the locker dimentions. Slide on easy enough but don't slop around. Swapping shims will be a breaze. If the SYE and CV come in before next weekend we might have a new installment next week.

    For anyone looking to do a SOA, 8.8 install or locker themselves you definately need to find the Pirate 4x4 article by Bill Ansell (Billavista) "Gettin? the Gears Done", article on "Ford Explorer 8.8" Axle install in a '95 Jeep Wrangler", Driveline Deliverance article (Reprint from J-rations magazine) on Tom woods website - and of course to come to the 4WD.COM forum and ask those in the know. When all else fails send a case of beer to your favorite 4WD employee for them answering your questions here on the forum.
    Last edited by ex-racer#2; 07-06-2008, 05:56 PM.

  • #2
    Very nice, your jeeps looks much happier with the SOA! The 8.8 will be a great upgrade as well!


    • #3
      looks great! Sounds like a good set up


      • #4
        double post


        • #5
          I'm running a very similar setup, I love my RE springs and 5100's. For the e-bake i use the same setup as this


          • #6
            I have made some additions to my original post and will continue to make updates there as they happen. Currently the new RE SOA 1.5 springs are under the Jeep but no pics at the moment. MY shocks are a bit short with the new springs and I will be moving my shock mounts to the top of the tube when doing the 8.8 install. I will most likely make a set of mounts for the front and do the same. (Being a millwright gives you access to the coolest tools)

            Spent the day running back and forth to the bearing supplier to get the right carrier bearings. Bought an extra pair to bore out on the lathe tommorrow for setup bearings. As usual pics to follow.

            Been on the email back and forth to Tom Woods (the driveshaft GOD) and should have my SYE and CV shaft order placed later in the week. I am also getting his parking brake setup that mounts to his flange on the HD SYE setup he offers. Tom has the adapter for the 8.8 flange in stock so saves me a trip to the ford dealer or the wreckers.

            I will bump the thread from time to time as I add new stuff to the original thread and put some fluffy additions in the bump thread. The meat and potatoes of the build will continue to be the original post with all of it's edits.


            • #7
              More additions to the original msg and more to come in the next 1-2 weeks as the last of the parts arrive. Been occupied with emissions test B/S here in Ontario so I haven't had time to deal with the build as much as I have wanted. End result is a glowing pass and some choice words for the testing facility and their staff.

              All of the setup bearings are ready except for the pinion bearings which I am reusing the ones in the diff for setup purposes but I can't machine them until I disassemble. I am starting to froth at the mouth in anticipation of beating on it like a red-headed step-child again. Been far too long planning and ordering then assembling then planning again. Just the excitment of not worrying about melting down driveshaft u-joints on a regular basis is making me stir crazy. Word to the CHEAP don't attempt a SOA without being ready to do the SYE and CV right off the bat. A trailer queen might get away with it but not a DD. The cost in u-joints adds up.


              • #8
                How much did you pay for the 8.8? I thought it is like 96 and newer explorers had them?
                Thanks and keep the great info coming.


                • #9
                  Paid $350 for the 8.8. Was supposed to come with the brakes complete. I got one rotor and no calipers and the e-brakes were completely gone.

                  Rotors were under $25 each and the calipers were $80 straight from the shop that rebuilds them for the local parts dealers. I am getting Tom Woods D/S's parking brake rotor setup that mounts to the flange of the HD SYE he sells. It is $150 for the kit but you have to make your own bracket for the mechanical caliper.

                  Basically make sure you get the brake parts when you buy the axle. You can see how the little stuff can add up and you still need pads. I made new hard lines across the axle for the brakes and used a TJ braided front brake flex line for the rear calipers so add another $100. I am about at $800 with perches and shock mounts right now. It does add up in the minor parts.

                  I just checked UPS and my shipment from Tom Woods is schedualled for Monday delivery. I would start tearing into it right away but someone stole my 50cc scooter last weekend so the YJ is now 100% my only DD. Otherwise I would leave the Jeep at work and do a bit each night and drive the scoot home. Got to love the cops though. Since all they do is take reports and do no actual police work we should fire half the force and hire secretaries instead. Much cheaper. Don't know who I want to shoot first the POS who stole it or the POS cops who are too busy stuffing their face with donuts to do anything about it. Rant over... back to the build in a couple of days.

                  Made a few shock mount brackets today. 1.5" 3/16 wall square tube with a 1.25"ID. Cut 3" long drilled 1/2" holes .75 from edge and then bandsawed off the edges of 2 opposing sides of the tube leaving 1" at the bottom. Rounded off the edges and they will be ready to weld on. Might reverse radius the mounting end so it better fits the axle tube so I have fewer passes to make for gap filling. We will see.

                  Check this SYE install vid I found:
                  Last edited by ex-racer#2; 07-15-2008, 08:14 PM.


                  • #10
                    Hope you guys have better luck with your Re springs (Mine are the 1444's)Then I have had with mine they have sagged and bent after less then YEAR AND 3K MILES and RE won't warranty THEY SAID TUFF S--- Imho they were a waste of good money nice post though.


                    • #11
                      July 20:

                      Bought 2 NP 231's and a brand new chain yesterday for $150. Doing the SYE install on one of them so I can take the time to clean it do it right and then just unbolt one and bolt the other back in.

                      Prep the new SYE housing by filing or deburring the edges of the casting. The machining is not bad but a good habit to be in. Plus you'll save on band aids. Teflon tape the bolt that covers the shift rod opening.

                      The Tcase needs to be in 4 low so the shift rod is protruding the most. ( It will make sense later) Remove the front yoke before opening the case.

                      Once you remove the three bolts on the outer housing (15mm heads) you need to remove the circlip inside. Too bad they didn't use circlips with those little holes. Anyway get your retaining ring pliers, o-ring picks and screwdrivers ready and work at it till it is out. You don't re-use any of the clips so toss them out. A brass hammer or deadblow hammer comes in handy in getting the next cone out (13mm head bolts). A few LIGHT taps to break the seal and away you go. DO NOT USE PRYBARS ON THE SEALING SURFACES!! Once the housing is off note the oil pump and the oil pump pickup on the bottom edge. What comes apart must go back together. It floats around in here and is held in the pump by an o-ring so getting it back in and all the way in will be fun. Not impossible but some finesse is needed.

                      The case halves are held with 15mm head metric bolts and 1 10mm 12 point metric. On the upper left and lower right there are places to pry the cases apart. Make sure you don't pry on the sealing surfaces! Brass hammer is your friend.
                      Note the magnet on the lower left. Remove clean and re-install. The shift rail in the center of the case needs to be shortened according to my kit from Tom Woods / Advance Adapters. We will get to that later.

                      While in here check the condition of all parts. Replace anything worn. Trust me you only want to remove the circlips ONCE. Clean all gasket surfaces that have to go back together.

                      More to come in a few days. I am awaiting a new front output seal (Precaution only). My search for ring gear paint for pattern reading is getting annoyingly difficult. It was suggested by a drag race parts shop to use crayola crayon. Use your own judgement on that one. I might have to get my ubolts from Ford for the 8.8. I am loving the housing for the SYE as I am most likely going to machine an aluminum shaft collar style clamp to mount the bracket for the e-brake off of the SYE flange. It will make sense once it is made. I think I have the clearance and if so it will be clean and trick.
                      Last edited by ex-racer#2; 07-20-2008, 08:03 PM.


                      • #12
                        July 21:

                        More Tcase fun. Remove the front output shaft and wiggle the chain off. Remove the rear output and mode gears.

                        And then the infamous large circlip everyone swears at. I already removed it but this is where it is found.

                        Then the gears just slide off.

                        I have a YJ so I have to press off the needle bearings. Tj's have the new mod with no bearings. This is essentially what we are converting to.

                        I have skipped a few steps here because they are basically the reverse of taking it apart. Install the gears on the new Sye shaft. If you had a tough time getting the large circlip off get ready for more swearing when you put the new one in. Install the shaft and gears, the chain and the front output. Lube everything with ATF or assembly lube as it goes together. Pick your case goop of choice and seal it up. (I use ultra copper as I always have a tube somewhere.)

                        Add the oil pump (follow instructions with your kit on this one) and the first of the small circlips and then the speedo drive gear with the kit and then the second circlip. My kit required I shorten the mode shift shaft. So from 4low you have maximum protrusion. Measure mark and cut. Deburr and clean up the ends. Cover all openings when you cut.

                        Once again ATF and case goop bla bla bla. Make sure the oil pump lines up and install the SYE output cover.

                        I bought Tom Woods HD Flanged Sye and I am adding his parking brake rotor kit that mounts to the flange.

                        Next time we will be a bit more ambitious. The existing Tcase will come out for the new flanged SYE Tcase. At the same time the 8.8 will get ready for it's debut in the rig.

                        Hope no one is bored by these posts.


                        • #13
                          July 23:

                          Got the new U-bolts last night. Couldn't find any at the locals parts supply houses. Had a spring shop bend me a set of 9/16 dia for 3.25 tube 10" from inside to end (Outside axle tube to thread end). $50..... did I ever say it is the little things that add up? I have to check if I can re-use the stock spring plates (what else do you call them?) with a little bit of machining. I am assuming I will have to mill the holes to accept the larger bolt diameter and slot them because of the wider tube diameter. If that doesn't work I have already eyed up a couple of nice 3/8" plates in the shop to make new spring plates.

                          I am trying to design a ladder bar / anti wrap bar of some sort. I have been looking into something resembling a swaybar but mounted sideways to control front and rear twist not side to side. In the short term I will most likely build a standard ladder bar until I can do more research into the swaybar design.


                          • #14
                            July 24:

                            Was going to post a ton of pics tonight but had a massive issue that took precedence over pictures. The Tcase I picked up on the weekend and did the SYE on had the wrong input spline. My blunder as I should have checked. But when you are guaranteed by a guy that it is a 23 spline (and the other one he is selling you is also ) you check them quick as you dare while it is pissing rain and walk away. We had the existing tcase out and was making the swap when we noticed. So a frantic couple of hours and we ripped both cases apart and got things sorted. Pulled myself home from work in front wheel drive after we remembered to engage the posi lock.

                            I am swapping the 8.8 in tommorrow or Sat or Sunday. I have to work Sat for a few hours to do an install and we will see how tired I am after tonight.

                            Word to the wise be very carefull where you use your gearwrenches if they are the NON reversable ones. I almost got caught between a bracket and a hard case.

                            More to come in the the next few days......


                            • #15
                              July 25:

                              Did some prep work in advance of the 8.8 install tommorrow (fingers crossed).

                              Measured the spring width and the 8.8 so I could determine the correct location for the spring perches.

                              My jack is no longer high enough:

                              Like I expected the stock spring plates were too small for the larger u-bolts. I could slot the holes some more but the bolt ends wouldn't be square when bolted down. We sheered some 3/8 plate and milled some slots in the correct dimentions for the new bolts.


                              While we were at it I machined a new axle vent nipple to mount the brake line junction to. This started life an hour earlier as a piece of 1/2" round bar.

                              Thats all for tonight kids.... More tommorrow.