Rear axle: swap or fix?

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Rear axle: swap or fix?

IowaTom
Guys - My '85 F150 (4X4) has the C-clip rear axle, for lack of a more correct description.
While I was rehabbing the truck, I'd removed the axle cover for inspection and found the screw that holds everything together was (is) broken.  A frequent find, I guess.  This weighs on my mind as I drive her...  In all my years driving, I do remember seeing a few instances where the wheel & shaft of someone's car tried to leave the vehicle and it was scary looking.
I'm a gentle driver anyway but know that doesn't necessarily make any difference.
Is there a fix for this axle beyond removing & replacing the screw...or is it just a bad design totally and need to be replaced?  Makes me wonder, with all the smarts Ford had in engineering, why on earth would such a weak link get through?
I've never pulled the gears out of a rear end but would be willing to try.  I have become familiar with the older Dana 44s and 27s with the tapered shafts, over the years, having replaced or repacked bearings on their shafts, but this is a different animal.
Should I replace the axle altogether or make a change in what's there now - and in your opinion, should I worry about driving around now?  (When I found the broken screw I didn't address the issue at the time, just put the broken half back.)
Thanks!
'85 F150 XLT 4X4 with 300 c.i. six & manual four speed.
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

FuzzFace2
I remember seeing post on this, want to say it was the early year axles that had this.
I also think the Mustang guys had this issue?

I want to say there is a fix but cant remember what it was?
Different shaft that tanks a larger bolt maybe?
I also want to say the hard part is getting the bolt out so the shaft can come out as all of it is harden so drilling anit going to happen.

Have you tried Googling this?
Dave ----
bump
Dave G.
81 F100 flare side 300 six / AA OD / NP435 / 2.75 gear
http://cars.grantskingdom1.com/index.php/1980-Ford-F100?page=1
81 F100 style side 300 six/SROD parts truck -RIP
http://cars.grantskingdom1.com/index.php/1981-Ford-F100
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

IowaTom
Thanks, Dave, I'll do that!  Stay tuned...
'85 F150 XLT 4X4 with 300 c.i. six & manual four speed.
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

IowaTom
I found a video where a guy replaces the C clips:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1ahfYbD6vI

Strange Engineering A1092 kit for the 8.8 axle, but instructions say for drag racing only.  Bummer!  Must not be able to handle side loads effectively.  Still, it looks like a straightforward afternoon job and really helps to have a good press.

I wonder, have any of you guys tried this?
'85 F150 XLT 4X4 with 300 c.i. six & manual four speed.
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

ratdude747
I've heard bad things about C-clip eliminators... mainly that they're weak and prone to failure. No good for non-drag use.
1984 F150: 300 L6, AOD, RWD. EEC IV / TFI, Feedback Carter YFA Carb. Stock everything but radio (for now).
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

mat in tn
basically, you have the base pin which holds the axle shafts back into their recesses so to keep the c clips in place. the small pin/ screw holds the base pin centered and from sliding out. they do have a history of breaking due to the axle shafts wearing (due to side load thrust) trying to push the base pin one direction or the other. leaving may not be a good choice as it may now succeed at pushing the base pin out. however the base bin may already be galled and worn flat at the axle contact points enough to be "worn out". all that said it is still the biggest challenge to get the pin out as it is the first step to any repair. early diffs and trac loc carriers were "small pin" and then the later ones were larger to spread the load and reduce wear and drag. The difference was like 3/4 vs 7/8" on the base pin sizes. unfortunately that also had to be accounted for at the axle shaft so upgrading is a bigger job than just the carrier.
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

IowaTom
I emailed Strange Engineering, asking if their fix for an 8.8 Ford axle would work on the pickup and Brian responded: Sorry we do not have eliminator kits to fit the truck housings.

Looks like I'm stuck with what I've got.  I'll just have to remember not to drift around corners!
'85 F150 XLT 4X4 with 300 c.i. six & manual four speed.
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

mat in tn
I will tell a little story. not to scare you. just to inform but entertain too.
about ten years ago. I had an employee with a lifted 97 4wd. I get a call one morning saying that he needs help as his truck broke down. this truck had the 8.8 also. as he was crossing the interstate overpass about to turn onto the ramp, he felt his truck drop to the ground and then watched his 35" mickey Thompson attached to the axle shaft pass him on the driver side then spin and whack the front fender behind the front wheel then come to rest in the oncoming lane. his day changed that easily! so we ended up replacing the axle assembly shortly thereafter. not certain what broke as he just was not interested in figuring it out.
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

Jake Papageorge
In reply to this post by IowaTom
Getting the crosshaft pin out is easy!  I have had to remove multiple broken headed crosshaft pins. You just use a 90 degree drill and a left handed drill bit.  It will start to bite (the drill) and eventually, catch and walk the pin right out.  I have only had one not just walk right out!  

The one that did not walk itself out, I just too a torch and blasted it out and replaced the carrier.  open carriers are growing on trees and track-lock carriers are dirt cheap!  Chances are, you will not even have to screw around with the selective shims on each side of the carrier bearings, just keep them indexed.  

As for the axles, just go buy a set of Moser replacement axles and keep the  C clips!  They cost around 300 bucks from Jegs or Summit.  I have guys running 11 second quarter miles using those axles.  They are monumentally stronger than stock 8.8 axles.  

I have only seen two things go wrong with 8.8's.  The axles break at the fillet, and the axle tubes twist out of the center section on high torque applications.  Unless your putting over 500 lb/ft of torque into the axle, I doubt you will have an issue.  Other than that, they are great axles!  They have a far lighter rotating weight and better pinion placement than a 9" and they are cheap and plentiful!  



The alternative is to just do what I did!  Go get a 9" housing and slap it on there!  I got one at the salvage yard for 250 bucks with the sway bar and it took about an hour to install it.
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

IowaTom
Jake - I wish we lived closer!  Know exactly what you're talking about with the 90ยบ reverse type drill and it makes sense it would just unscrew the broken piece.  Guess I'm a bit intimidated with pulling the rear end apart as I've never done it...but there's a first time for everything.  If I choose to live with the way it is now, I'm afraid I'll live the nightmare Mat told, above.
Good to know it's a good rear end once rectumfied.
'85 F150 XLT 4X4 with 300 c.i. six & manual four speed.
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Re: Rear axle: swap or fix?

mat in tn
rectumfied