floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

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floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by Lifespeed » Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:52 pm

I'm considering upgrading my Ford 8.8" axle with Winter's Performance floating axle spindles, hubs and axles. I am getting tired of the poor wear life and load carrying capacity of the factory c-clip axle design. This is in a 2004 Mercury Marauder. Yes, I know the ubiquitous Ford 9" makes a lot of sense in many applications, but this car has parallel 4-link suspension with a Watts link that mounts above the center section of the diff. Adapting the suspension to a 9" would be painful, to say the least.

So I thought I would hire a competent axle shop (suggestions are welcome) to weld on the floater spindle axle tube ends, while I fabricate an ABS tone ring to bolt to the inside of the brake rotor mounting circle, as well as caliper mounting plates to weld to the axle tubes. Obviously the factory brakes are gone, I do have the Wilwood NMDP calipers on the rear right now.

The question I have is, would it be reasonable to run 0.5 degree cambered spindles with the Winter's ball drive hub? These have a ball bearing in each large "spline" to allow for the slight misalignment between axle and hub due to the camber. I don't know if this setup is used in any kind of endurance racing, or if it would be reasonable to use in a street car application with any kind of reasonable life expectancy. The negative camber in the rear would be quite a handling improvement, but I don't want to replace the ball drive flanges every 10K miles.

Any circle track guys here familiar with the Winter's setups?

See pages 41 and 48 of their catalog . . .

http://www.wintersperformance.com/catalogs.htm
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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by Rizzle » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:32 am

Check out DeDion tubes and see if it would adapt to your suspension setup coupled with an 8.8 IRS diff?

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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by Lifespeed » Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:28 pm

An interesting idea, but is nearly a complete redesign of the existing live axle.
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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by peejay » Sun May 10, 2015 3:53 pm

Which catalog were you looking at?

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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by Lifespeed » Mon May 11, 2015 7:52 pm

peejay wrote:Which catalog were you looking at?
"closed tube components"

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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by Supershafts » Wed May 20, 2015 7:32 pm

You can just change the ends and use a different bearing....

Or change the axle to the hd limo style and it's bearing.

what exactly are you having a problem with that you feel the need for FF ends and camber.
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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by Lifespeed » Wed May 20, 2015 9:01 pm

The axles don't last, C-clip design is poor to begin with, and the car is heavy enough to reveal the design's flaws. I probably already have the "HD limo style" axle. I know cab and limo companies change axles and bearings like they change socks.

The floating axle is one possible long-term solution to the problem. If am going to do all the fabrication, cambered spindles are a possibility to improve the cars handling. It already has considerable suspension work and is quite the nice driving car.

However, I may go the more practical route and send the axle housing off to a midwest company who will cut the housing ends off and weld on piece they designed that accepts a preloaded tapered roller bearing from Dana44 for a full-size jeep. The bearing is still small enough not to require major brake re-jiggering. They have done this upgrade (mostly to police cars, apparently) and they can make an ABS ring as well. So this is certainly less expensive and fabrication-intensive.

But any type of C-clip axle replacement is out of the question. Good money after bad.
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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by Supershafts » Sun May 31, 2015 1:35 pm

I would just do the ends as i mentioned first.

What are the amount of miles you go thru axle's and bearings in such a short time?

Everything uses c-clips and they have been for many many years and they aren't failing, unless you have a case and or other issues there isn't anything wrong with the design.

Maybe you're getting bad quality axles and bearings?

Either way i'd see a driveline shop and go to the new ends over the FF, which very well may bring in other issues for fitment
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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by Lifespeed » Sun May 31, 2015 3:05 pm

Ford axles were replaced at 90K, had been rumbling for quite a while. Arguably were in bad shape a long time before 90K. Second set of axles are showing symptoms at 30K. If I jack up the rear I can move the rear wheels up and down and feel play in the bearing/axle interface.

I'm not that interested in debating the merits of C-clip axles, I have had other cars with the same design and I don't find it acceptable. I don't like the lack of smoothness and durability. I know it is cheap and everybody does it that way, but that is not an argument in favor of the design. I like a real preloaded bearing, I can feel the difference and they last much longer.

I will probably go with the housing end transplant from an axle shop that designed a custom end to fit this specific axle retaining the ABS braking amenities.

Edit: I do have some modest towing and load carrying requirements also, which is not a strong point of the factory design.
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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by peejay » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:18 pm

C-clip axles are great if you are a fan of caliper knockback, axle flex in side loads, and differential design compromised for C-clip access. Personally I hate crappy brake pedals and clutch pack diffs that rely on the thickness of the clutch packs to determine axle end play.

Just because a lot of people do something a certain way doesn't mean it's worth a damn. Once you get serious with side loading in any form of solid-axle racing you go straight to full floating. Circle track does it, road racing does in, stage rally did it from the 70s to whenever they stopped doing solid axle cars (I know for a fact that the Mazda and Nissan Group B cars were full floating and they were probably the last official solid-axle cars run internationally).

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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by Lifespeed » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:37 pm

peejay wrote:C-clip axles are great if you are a fan of caliper knockback, axle flex in side loads, and differential design compromised for C-clip access. Personally I hate crappy brake pedals and clutch pack diffs that rely on the thickness of the clutch packs to determine axle end play.

Just because a lot of people do something a certain way doesn't mean it's worth a damn. Once you get serious with side loading in any form of solid-axle racing you go straight to full floating. Circle track does it, road racing does in, stage rally did it from the 70s to whenever they stopped doing solid axle cars (I know for a fact that the Mazda and Nissan Group B cars were full floating and they were probably the last official solid-axle cars run internationally).
LOL, I can't stand them either. I upgraded my brakes to fixed-caliper Wilwoods and quickly learned about caliper knockback, despite reducing the axle end play to a "reasonable" 10 mils. I have been looking into a full-floater setup but it may be painful. If the cost is anywhere close to the semi-floating conversion I'm in. There is much pain specific to the application, however: ABS tone rings and pickup mounting, Watt's link pivot above and forward of the diff center section (not that 9" friendly). Looking at a Speedway Grand National axle, but the details may be difficult. Leaf springs are easy, but I've got parallel 4-link with Watt's.
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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by peejay » Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:00 pm

I also have a Watts, and I need to undergo a conversion to 9" Ford rear because I keep breaking things. At least my current setup has retained bearings, which works great as long as the bearing surface doesn't fret away from axle misalignment when everything twists and flexes (both the axles and the housings) and the retainer ring slips back and allows everything to move side to side. Even with all that though, when I break an axle I can still at least drive the car, try that with C clips :)

Application is an old RX-7, stock is 4 link and Watts, I've already converted to 3 link, and the 9 inch plan will involve going to a Panhard. I USED to have a Panhard, took it back off because it isn't as strong as the Watts and it kept breaking the mounting point.

I'd love to see how well a truck arm would work in my application (rough dirt) but there's just no room under the car.

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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by MadBill » Sun Jun 28, 2015 6:59 pm

Speaking just to the camber issue, negative solid axle camber is of limited value, especially without really wide tires, and is a double-edged sword, reducing acceleration traction as it helps lateral. Also, factory tolerances on semi-floating axles, e.g. some Camaros are more than 0.5°:

" Factory Alignment Specifications for Camaro & Firebird ...
http://www.ls1.com › Forum › General Help › Suspension and Handling
Jul 19, 2006 - 4 posts - ‎1 author
67 - 69 camber 0.25* +/- 0.50* caster 0.50* +/- 0.50* total toe 0.38* +/- 0.13* ... for Camaro, Firebird, and GTO within the Suspension and Handling ..... rear camber -1.05* +/- 0.63* total toe 0.40* +/- 0.34*.."
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Re: floating axles, camber for Ford 8.8" axle

Post by peejay » Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:51 pm

I used to thoroughly abuse my access to an alignment rack. Every solid axle RX-7 that I had on there would have a minimum of .5 degrees negative camber.

Stuff bends and tweaks.

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