How to install a Ford 8.8 into S-10
What rear-end to use?
The stock rear end is too narrow. I did like many others suggested and grabbed a 1996 Explorer rear end, it had 3.73 and limited slip. There is a tag on the rear end that said 3L73. It came with disk brakes, e brake cables and a Sway Bar for $250. The perches are a bit too narrow by about ½ an inch. I tried to widen out the hole a bit with a dremel, but gave up (That steel is very hard!). I was working alone, so I bolted in one side, then used a 1” square tube section and a vice grip to spread the springs a bit. This allowed it to line up and be bolted in. I bought a 3 ⅛ U Bolt. It worked well, I think it would be easier to line up if not using the drop leaf springs.
Hop Shock Install
I noticed that there had been a 3rd shock mounted to the rear end in the explorer. I had to google that and found out that it was for some shake issues reported in the mid-nineties models. I then read about the ZQ8 Hop Shock for and s10 and realized I needed to keep it. Since there was no upper mount I bought a Universal Weld on Shock Mount and decided to mount it to the passenger frame rail. I bought a Monroe Shock designed for horizontal mount.
Rear End Updates
I decided to replace the E Brake cables HERE and HERE with new OEM ones. The brake pads were nice, but I replaced them anyhow HERE. I was planning on running wide tires in the rear and skinnier tires in the front, so having a different lug pattern is fine. If I had decided to run the same wheels, or simply wanted the same bolt pattern, you can buy Lug Adapters. I did need to extend the axle mounting surface, to clear the wide tires on the back. I bought a Spacer and installed it on the rear-end.
Tip: The Explorer rear-end is heavy, doing it by yourself sucks. I probably should have dropped one side of the leaf springs and wheeled it in on a jack or asked for help, but I decided to just fish it through the opening and lift it in place.