Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
January 29, 2007
Photos By: courtesy of Crazy Horse Racing, DTS Custom Service

Step By Step

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Mmfp_0504_01_z DTS_custom_service LaunchingMmfp_0504_02_z DTS_custom_service Old_rear
While the stock 28-spline axles survived a few 4,500-rpm clutch drops prior to the installation of our supercharged 331ci engine, we didn't want to drive all the way to the track with our 500-plus rear-wheel horsepower and rely on them to get us down the track and home.
Mmfp_0504_03_z DTS_custom_service Removing_the_brakes
The 2300K Cobra disc brake kit required DTS to make a few custom changes to our assembly, including new brackets and calipers for the spacers.
Mmfp_0504_04_z DTS_custom_service Removing_the_old_rear
Crazy Horse's Glenn Knell removed our 8.8 in no time flat. He installed a spare 8.8 housing that was lying around the shop so the car could be moved around and not take up much space.
Mmfp_0504_05_z DTS_custom_service Shipping
Shipping something this big using truck freight isn't easily done. We went to our local FedEx freight company and sent ours off on a skid that we got from Crazy Horse Racing. A large pallet might do, otherwise you may have to build your own skid. Your local UPS depot may offer a truck service as well.

Horsepower is a wonderful thing. It's the driving force that plants us in the seat and puts the smiles on our faces. These days, it's extremely easy to make gobs of pavement-buckling power, but the rest of the drivetrain may not be up to the task, especially with two or three times the stock power level passing through the crankshaft.

The 8.8's stock 28-spline axles are not what you want to depend on when your rig is making 400, 500, or 600 hp. With the right application of the clutch, even a stock engine can snap these axles like the toothpicks they are.

Our behind-the-scenes project car, a '90 Mustang GT that makes about 590 hp at the crank, has, until this point, gotten by with the stock rearend, even enduring aggressive drag radial and ET Street tire launches. Going down the track, we also realized the stock, 140,000-mile control arms were way overpowered and did not offer the rearend control we needed. As we fully plan to exploit the power provided by the supercharged, DSS-built 331, we called DTS Custom Service (a subsidiary of Drive Train Specialists) and asked about what we needed to put beneath our Pony.

"The majority of 8.8s, new or used, already have bent axle tubes," says Scott Marrison, general manager of DTS. "This has to do with the way the housing ends are installed at the factory, combined with the fact that the 8.8s are prone to axle twist." Thank the torque of the 5-liter for that.

We know plenty of racers, however, who for years have been using the 8.8 behind 1,200hp cars after they've been beefed up. And DTS knows a thing or two about making rearends survive at the track. It currently runs a car in the Edelbrock Pro Series Xtreme Street class (mid-eight-second e.t.'s are the norm), and has many customers who run in other equally fast and faster classes.

While our project car won't quite see that much power, its 590 ponies do require a capable rearend. One of the issues we encountered when using our own 8.8 was with the 2300K Cobra R disc brake kit that was installed on it. The kit employs SN-95-length axleshafts, which created a problem with the C-clip eliminator axles we wanted to use.

The axle-flange-to-housing-flange distance of 3.25 inches would not allow the pressed-on bearing to sit in the correct location. DTS modified a set of brake brackets from North Race Cars (Gladstone, Missouri) to work with its own billet 8.8 axle-tube ends to get that gap down to an acceptable 2.5 inches while maintaining the proper brake-caliper-bracket position. This allowed the use of a shorter/ stock-length axle.