Tech Projects

Project Firebolt: The LSX Turbo Tacoma (Part 9): Rear End, Driveline and Punch List Punch-Out

A couple of updates ago, you saw me load up our junkyard Ford 8.8 that was removed from a semi-cooperative 2001 Ford Explorer. I originally kicked around the idea to go full DIY on this diff rebuild but decided to leave it to the pros this time around. So along with the diff, I sent over the good stuff: a 3.73:1 Summit Racing ring and pinion set, ring and pinion installation kit, and differential support cover, which is strong and looks fantastic!

Driveshafts — the unsung hero of millions of vehicles roaming the Earth. Without them cars and trucks would just sit motionless, pointlessly revving their engines in a desperate attempt to move. Since we’ve changed everything when it comes to our Tacoma’s drivetrain, we need a strong, custom one built for Project Firebolt. I splurged a bit on a carbon fiber driveshaft, which offers many benefits including additional strength with less weight and better shock and harmonic absorption compared to steel or aluminum.

After tackling a variety of small “punch list” jobs, our final task in this update was to finish our turbo-back exhaust. I welded in a Summit Racing 3.5″ V-band clamp right before the muffler so I can have the option of swapping in a different muffler setup someday or maybe even bolting in a simple straight pipe, if I really want to wake up the neighborhood.

This junkyard diff has been given new life thanks to a new ring and pinion set and installation kit from Summit Racing. (Image/Tom Tharp)

To finish off our transplanted 8.8 with strength, convenience and good looks, I chose this differential support cover from Summit. (Image/Tom Tharp)  

Our revitalized Ford 8.8 compared to the stock Toyota 7.5″ rear that will be put to good use under someone else’s Tacoma. (Image/Tom Tharp)

A complete drivetrain swap requires a custom driveshaft and if carbon fiber is an option, you gotta pick carbon fiber. (Image/Tom Tharp)

To fab our turbo-back exhaust, I’m using 3.5” mandrel U-bends, straight tubing and these super nice v-band clamps. (Image/Tom Tharp)

To finish off the exhaust I picked up this beautiful 3.5″ polished stainless exhaust bend.  Cutting into it was painful but necessary. (Image/Tom Tharp)

Just a few more welds and the exhaust is done. I can’t wait to hear what this beast fire up! (Image/Tom Tharp)
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