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Maybe you could elaborate your thoughts on going narrower then what he has come up with per his dimensions.. I’m looking a doing an 8.5 in the future and will have to make a similar decision at some point.. I have worked out my wheel and tire sizes based off of the standard 8.2 axle with 57.75” and know what works with that setup.. Having wheels made to my spec is not a huge deal but most aftermarket wheels don’t offer adequate backspacing for 1st gen cars..
It's like in carpentry only in the opposite direction. Once you've made a cut there's no adding to the wood, only taking off more. Once you cut your axle there's no making it any shorter. Now having the option of adding a .25" spacer to precisely center the wheel gives it the perfect fit. Do keep us posted.....
 

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Just a thought a 8.8" explorer rear end narrowed is 56 5/8" using two stock short side axles and is as strong as 12 bolt plus you get the disc brakes
 

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Just a thought a 8.8" explorer rear end narrowed is 56 5/8" using two stock short side axles and is as strong as 12 bolt plus you get the disc brakes
I’m aware of the 8.8 Ford axles but I don’t understand the point of it.. If I’m going to swap a non GM axle, it would be a 9” for a number of reasons. Strength, ease of gear swaps, serviceability, and parts galore are but a few.
 
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