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Gear It to Go

Installing Gears and a Limited Slip in a Ford 8.8

Photography by Mark Takahashi

All those powerslides and autocrossing escapades finally took their toll on Mark Takahashi's '97 Mustang Cobra. Mark likes to drive exuberantly, and it didn't help the bone-stock 8.8-inch rear when he bolted on the entire Hotchkis chassis catalog for his SN-95 Mustang. While the Ford 8.8-inch rear axle assembly is plenty durable, Mark managed to chew enough of the spider and side gears that the chips ended up in between the ring and pinion and caused even more carnage. Ultimately, it was time for not only a new set of gears but a new limited slip as well.

He called the guys at Reider Racing in Taylor, Michigan, with a request for a set of 3.73 gears. They recommended a set of cogs from Precision Gear, along with a Zexel Torsen T-2 gear-style limited-slip unit to replace the stock unit. The advantage to the Torsen is that it not only automatically biases torque to the wheel that can apply the most power, but it does so absolutely seamlessly and is constantly adjusting this torque bias depending upon traction at each rear wheel. Plus, the gear-style unit will last virtually the life of the vehicle, something that clutch- and cone-type limited slips have difficulty achieving. Mark took his ailing Mustang to our pal Dave Blankenship who owns Pro Tech in Van Nuys, California. Dave did the swap in an afternoon. Once the conversion was complete, the hardest part for Mark was keeping his foot out of it for about 500 miles while he carefully broke in the new gears and the Torsen limited slip. He has reported that the car is much more stable in the corners now because he can plant all the power coming off the corners. We're already laying bets on how long the clutch will last now that the rearend is new! CC

Parts List
ComponentPart Number
3.73 gear setF88/373
Master Install KitF88/MOKIT
Solid pinion shimF9SSKS
Torsen T-2 limited slipF88/2T28
Torsen T-2 road race styleF88/2THB
Ford 8.8 Specs
Pinion bearing preload, new brgs.16 to 29 in-lb
Pinion bearing preload, old brgs.8 to 14 in-lb
Ring gear bolt torque80 lb-ft
Main cap bolt torque80 lb-ft
SOURCES
Reider Racing Enterprises
Taylor
MI
www.reiderracing.com
Precision Gear
Zexel Torsen Inc.
Rochester
NY
www.torsen.com
Pro Tech
Van Nuys
CA
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