Custom ford 8.8 semi-float axles not going in 1/4”

Bobby Rice

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Hey everybody.

I’m in need of some help with a tricky situation with my custom built f150 8.8.

For starters, it has custom 33 spline billet end (c-clip eliminator) axles, explorer disc brakes, and a Detroit trutrac LSD.

I pulled the axles since the seals were leaking pretty bad after my first test trip to learn that it uses SET20 bearings from a ford 9”. For whatever reason, there was NO seal on the outside of the bearings. I had the old bearings pressed off and new USA made SET20 bearings installed to find that when I try to re-install the axle, both sides stick out about a 1/4”.

I have little knowledge about rear axles, let alone this custom ass shiii. If you have any advice or can point me in the right direction, I will be forever grateful.
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jon coleman

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pull one side out, see if other side goes in, axles have been known to bottom out inside diff splines against each other
 
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Bobby Rice

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pull one side out, see if other side goes in, axles have been known to bottom out inside diff splines against each other
Already tried. I have a feeling it’s the USA made SET20 bearings. They might be bigger than the other bearings that were on.

These were the original bearings. Was told they were SET20 by the guy who built it but as you can see they don’t have a seal on the outside. Maybe I need a different sized spacer?
 

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Bobby Rice

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No expert on semi floaters. But are your axles to long by that amount? Is it possible to the cut the ends? I Don’t know. Look at it from the diff end with the cover off. Make sure you have enough spline to slip in the diff before you make a cut.
I don’t feel comfortable trimming the axles. They fit in there perfectly before I took it apart so there’s no reason they shouldn’t go back in unless something with my bearings is holding them up.

By chance do you know if ford 8.8s have axle shaft retainer pins or something of that sort? With the setup I have, I can’t see anything with the diff cover off.

(Also I am aware that one of the carrier bolts things is missing in the pic)
 

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Josh 8

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Sounds to me like you beading is to large. Have you measured it?

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Bobby Rice

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Sounds to me like you beading is to large. Have you measured it?

I have not measured but what leads me to think otherwise is when I originally tried to re-install the axle with the original bearing set and I was having the same issue.

I’m starting to think maybe some splines have to be aligned inside the diff?
 

BRINGTHERUCKUS

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Are you sure you kept the same axle on the same side it came out of? a lot of axles are different lengths and would be side specific. We always marked out axles on our stock full 8.8 for this reason. they were only like an 1/8" off but it was enough to not properly seal.

Another reason you want to make sure the axles go in the same side is due to the axle getting preloaded in one direction. One the axle is set in that direction running it the other way it is more prone to breaking. A lot of times you can see the spline twist looking with the naked eye, or at least the where it engages the diff. It's been awhile since I've dealt with semi float axles though.
 
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Bobby Rice

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Okay so after talking to my dad’s buddy who used to work at Currie, he pointed out that it’s normal for the bearings to have 1/4-1/8” sticking out because they need to seat in the race.

It was all a little confusing as to WHY but it makes sense why it would still work.

So first off, it is not a c-clip eliminator kit. The axle ends have been cut and replaced with ford 9” axle ends to run SET20 bearings for a semi-float setup without a conversion kit.

With this being said, usually a retainer plate is put on before the bearings are pressed on. Since I have the horseshoe style retainer plate, it’s more prone to bending or “bowing” from the bearing slightly sticking out.

I have since torqued everything to spec and I have heavy duty horseshoe style retainer plates I’ll throw on in a little while.

38C96583-A392-45AE-A158-94A0D1502E5D.jpeg


Unfortunately something is wrong with my pinion gear/bearings. We don’t know exactly what it is until it’s cracked open and inspected fully and I don’t trust my skills to do this at home.

I’m taking the truck to a gear shop on the 9th to open it up and inspect the pinion setup.
For reference, after the first desert test trip the diff started making a loud whining/whirring noise and had progressively gotten louder as I’ve driven the truck more. I can’t even tolerate driving freeway for more than 5 min because it’s so loud.

But she’ll get fixed up eventually. If work wasn’t so slow right now it would already be fixed but hey that’s life.

I appreciate all the help from you guys!! Thank you!
 

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jon coleman

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yup, just like my 1700, curry axles, they are strong, but, just a smidge weaker right by the splines, so in theory,if the axle breaks ,the pressed on bearing retainer collar will hold it in and be stable enough to woo000 down with out spiting axle like C clip fails
 

Bobby Rice

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yup, just like my 1700, curry axles, they are strong, but, just a smidge weaker right by the splines, so in theory,if the axle breaks ,the pressed on bearing retainer collar will hold it in and be stable enough to woo000 down with out spiting axle like C clip fails
Exactly why I went this route. In retrospect a full floater 9” wasn’t far out of reach but for what the truck is and will be for a long time, this 8.8 will hold up amazingly until I need to switch to a race rear end years and years down the line.

I like the way the truck is headed. Everything on the truck represents a stock ranger. 5x4.5 bolt pattern, a arms, leaf springs, stock dash, 3.0 (eventually swap to a 4.0) and an 8.8. Just a cool thing I’ve noticed.

You can check out the full build on this forum I made a while back.
 

jon coleman

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ran a 8.8 on the stock full i worked on, All most finished Parker( ring& pinion, wasnt trussed correctly in time, then we broke 31 spline axles at San felipe, had it sorted out after that, if your 8.8 is trussed and set up right, you da man if you can break it in a mild ranger build
 

Bobby Rice

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That's impressive!

By chance do you have an example of a 'proper' truss? I have yet to decide on a style since I've heard those diff cover trusses from Giant and Desolate Motorsports aren't that effective while others claim it's everything you need.

Was thinking about running a few tubes above and below the pumpkin as well.
 
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jon coleman

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sleave inside stock tubes& roset weld some .250/ .180 chro mo, one 1.75 .120 over the top and a 1.5 around the back, with removable center diff section, stick weld cast center to factory pressed in tubes, , thats to race it, but a mild pre runner , off the shelf stuff is Plenty strong, if you start slamming the frame rails, with a mild build ,Thats when it'll bend, do skid plate too !, after market is fine,
 

Bobby Rice

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Great advice! Thank you!

My only concern is how long the build will be considered mild lol. But the way it’s looking, the build is gonna slow up here soon.

Community college blows and I wanna transfer to a university and my parents talk about moving an hour away and I would take over rent and stay. We will see though!

I appreciate the help
 

jon coleman

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heres how i was shown , i did my dana 35 , 4:11, detroit locker& it ran great in my 1700, 3rd at Parker, but i put in a new 9 inch Non Curry& tore it out at Barstow, the 35 was straight and fine when i sold it
 

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jon coleman

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oh one more thing is you can attatch top tube to rear tube 1.25 .120 wall.i circled it
 

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jon coleman

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one last tip, make sure " U " bolts clear, top bar lands in board( keep it Low& inside to clear frame at bump)& rear bar goes out past u bolts to end, leave 2 holes for u bolts.be care full, jig up rear and weld a little at a time, stripped down, its best to do a truss , Then have axle bearing cups welded on true to the cro mo& stock metal in a layered phat weld, Bob Meyers did mine, El Cajon
 

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jon coleman

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this is how i did my Curry rear truss , this is a top view looking down(forgot, i would use rtv in bearing cup, that skinny o ring gives up the ghost after 2 or 3 prep inspection removals
 

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