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Old 03-26-2019, 09:20 PM   #1
Tomakze
 
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Default Rear axle options for an LS swap

So I've decided to do what everyone else seems to be doing these days, and I'm LS swapping my 2wd '90 Hardbody King cab. I have a shop in mind that is going to do it, and I've been doing my homework on what I will need... But the rear diff is driving me crazy. A long time ago I remember reading the 2wd V6 trucks came with a factory LSD axle that could put up with some punishment, but now I can't seem to find that info anymore. Does anyone have a link to a thread that might talk about gear ratios, rear brakes, what had LSD, and how much power they can handle?

I don't know yet if I want disc brakes in the back... We use the truck to tow a dirt bike trailer in the mountains every year though, so I need to upgrade the brakes. I'm leaning towards disc, and it seems the pathfinders have those, possibly. I also need LSD with the extra power. Gearing wise, I'm going with a T-56 transmission, so I have tall gears, but I want the truck to be good on the highway, so tall gears in the diff are probably better.

So if I want LSD, taller gears (or roughly the same as my 2wd 4cyl. I do not want lower gears though) and disc brakes with a diff that can withstand 400+HP, what axle do I need? Do I say forget Nissan entirely and just use a Ford 9"? I am open to any advise you guys can give, because I'm lost.
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:53 PM   #2
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I believe someone on here did a ford explorer swap. Sure the will chime in or use as a search subject.
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:56 PM   #3
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The 2wd V6 trucks came with the H233b axle which is a great axle. Now, neither my son’s nor my dad’s 95 XE-V6 trucks have lsd. Maybe that was an SE-V6 thing? You could also find them in the 4wd trucks.

A decent brake upgrade for your truck would be the front brakes from a 2wd V6 truck (not pathfinder). The rotors will bolt right up to your hub and the calipers are dual piston. The calipers from 4wd trucks and all pathfinders are the same, but those rotors won’t fit your hubs.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:06 AM   #4
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So, there are a couple of ways to do this.

Find an early Ford Bronco (66-77) rear axle, Ford 9" and correct width for our trucks, you will have to cut off the leaf perches and weld on new ones on the bottom of the axle.

Isuzu Rodeo, don't remember the years, this is a Dana 44, again you will have to install new perches.

Find a 2wd HB v6 for the H233B axle, just a strong if not stronger as the Ford 9", you can use a 4wd but you will have to do the perches.

My suggestion is the Ford 9" because parts are a 1/4 of the price of a H233B axle. Dana 44 is good but will wear out faster than the other 2.

I had a H233B in my truck but swapped to a pathy axle with rear discs.

The axle you need is right at 60" WMS to WMS (wheel mating surface), early Broncos are 59" WMS to WMS and the Rodeo is 60". Full size trucks are around 67"
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Old 03-27-2019, 02:41 AM   #5
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I have an explorer 8.8 under mine. Just relocated the spring perches and modified the hanger plates for the correct shock mount orientation. I didn't do the short axle mod on it. You could do that and have a deeper dish on the wheels. I also did the Toyota rotor conversion that is a sticky here somewhere, so I had matching 5 lug pattern, front and rear...
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Old 03-27-2019, 04:16 AM   #6
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I already have the parts needed to upgrade the front brakes to the V6 2wd version, but I failed to grab the rear axle from that truck while it was still in the junkyard. Derp. I didn't know about converting the whole setup to 5 lug though, that sounds amazing! The wheel options would open up a LOT! If someone has the links to that, I'd like to see them.

The pathy axle sounds intriguing, because I see those in the local junk yard a lot! What am I looking for?

The Izuzu Rodeo also seems like a great choice... Dana 44 means a lot of cheap, easy to acquire parts... Same with the Ford rear ends. Why are there so many options??? (I suppose this is a great problem to have...)
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Old 03-27-2019, 02:15 PM   #7
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Hi Tom,
So if I were in your spot I would really dig into the Isuzu option. This will give you two upgrades, the Dana44 and rear disc brakes. It will have the side bonus of keeping the 6lug pattern that you already have which will save you time and money on converting the front to 5lug and buying new wheels.
Now if you are really wanting to go 5 lug, I did a spindle swap on my previous truck with the spindle from a 94(ish) Toyota(the one before the Tacoma). I installed the upper and lower balljoints from the Tacoma in the Mazda control arms, the Toyota parts all use a bolt through balljoint so there was a little bit of fab work to get the holes all in their correct locations, but really it was pretty straight forward. I daily drove that truck from 02(when I did the swap) until 09(when I sold it) and never had any problems at all with the conversion, and the Mazda was bagged and dragged hard.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:10 PM   #8
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I've made some progress. I found my LS, and where I was going to go the cheap route of a truck engine, I am now going with a 39k mile 425hp GTO engine and a T-56 transmission... yee-haw! (I am not southern, but I feel that is the correct reaction, haha!) So now I have to figure out the rear end. After seeing how easy the front hub conversion is to go 5-lug, I am extremely tempted to go that route. So many wheel options! But I do have a couple questions. mytmouz, you said you did the 8.8 conversion without shorting the rear end? Does this mean the rear wheels stick out? Which vehicle should I pull an 8.8 from? It came in a whole lot, is one of them closer to the stock width? I plan to head to the junkyard in the coming weeks, but I'd like to know what to look for when I do.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:48 PM   #9
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No, the wheels don't stick out, as I ordered the correct back spacing. Shortening the rear to run a stock short axle will allow a couple more inches of offset per side for a deeper looking dish on the wheel. I am running an 8 inch wide wheel. This 8.8 axle info pertains to an 8.8 explorer rear. They are 31 spline, so they are similar to a gm 12 bolt. The explorers usually have a positive, and mostly 373 gears, some are 410, or 355. There is a tag on the cover with the ratio, if no one has messed with it. If you do the Toyota rotor conversion on the front, the bolt pattern will match, but the lug studs are a different pitch.
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