View Full Version : '88 XR7 8.8 axle swap into '83 LS

10-03-2005, 04:50 PM
Hey all,
I am hoping to acquire an '88 XR7 8.8 rear axle setup in the near future to go in my project '83 LS, which has a busted axle. They just happen to be geared the same, so that's a plus (3.08, which is fine with me since I'm going more for MPG than HP). The '88 axle has limited slip that my original 7.5" doesn't have, so that's a plus if I get the car into any slippery stuff in the winter. And it's got the 10" drums, compared to my original 8"(?) drums. My question is, will this be a fairly simple plug-and-play swap? This isn't a TC rear with discs, remember. Even the added weight of the 8.8 seems more of a plus to me, given the light rear-endedness of these cars. Again, this is no HP machine (still a stock carbed 3.8). I just like the thought of having a beefier and more modern rear for the reasons above, plus maybe someday it will have a few horses under the hood. Thanks for any replies.


10-05-2005, 05:51 PM

10-05-2005, 06:44 PM
Heres a couple no warranty implied comments from me, I put an 87 TurboCoupe 8.8" rear into an 88 LS Cougar in place of its 7.5", so don't have experience you are looking for to comment, But:

1) I do like the traction lok compared to not having it, although I probably won't give it the real test to compare on snowy roads ;) . It does seem to keep the tires from spinning compared to my old non translok rear.

2) I didn't find the labor of doing the swap too hard, I did it alone, but did borrow a nice large floor jack to support the center pumpkins. I used a good breaker bar and had little problem getting the bolts free.

By the way, I did it at the time I had removed the gas tank for leak trouble, so it was out of the way. I had a little problem getting the bolts to line up when putting the 8.8 into the car, since its a heavy piece to expect to jack right up and line up. A little selective jacking in the right locations pivoted things into place.

3) I used a cheap hand truck to move the beasts around, and an engine lift to hold it up during painting. Due to humidity I ended up having to move it from the outside engine jack to inside the air conditioned house because the paint wasn't curing :hick: . That was a pain but doable with the handtruck horizontal. The assembly is definitely quite heavy and awkward.

Be sure to use the different lubricant required for the trans lok...

Since you are going from a drum-brake-rear to a drum-brake-rear you probably won't have the issue I had with axle lengths I faced from not going with the donors disk brake set-up.

But there definitely is an issue going from a pre 85 rear to an 88 rear, as they are stated to have different lengths. I don't have the experience with that issue and what consequence it will cause. Probably will change the tire in wheel well location?

But some useful info/threads are at:



I've also concluded that nothing this large is completely ever plug and play, rather it works as well as Windows is Plug and Play which is really more like Plug and Pray.. So do it on a schedule that will allow for troubles, not when you need the car to go to work the next day :rolleyes: .

10-11-2005, 08:12 PM
Hey anyone,
I have read and heard that the '88 XR7 8.8 has a different length than the '83 7.5, but I haven't seen the actual difference and which one is longer than the other. If I get the whole 8.8 axle housing, axles and all, the width difference really doesn't matter, unless it's like 6" or something crazy like that, right? I'm not trying to intermix axles from one style and make them work in another axle housing. Somebody tell me if I'm on the right track. Thanks.