After a long successful run, the 8.8-inch rearend finally outlived its usefulness as Ford pumped more performance into its vehicles. Both the latest pickups and pony cars were equipped with a stronger rearend, dubbed the Super 8.8. Until recently there haven’t been many upgrades for this robust rear.
The B&M Hi-Tek Cast Aluminum Differential Cover for the Ford Super 8.8 (PN 41296; $299.97) fits most 2015+ half-ton trucks and SUVs. It bolsters the strength of the factory rearend while adding additional fluid capacity, which can extend differential life.
“Both have an 8.8 diameter ring gear, but aside from that they are totally different,” Matt Kehoe, Digital Media Manager at Driven Performance Brands, parent company of B&M, explained. “The easiest way to identify the Super 8.8 is by the 12 bolts on the housing cover. The old 8.8 used 10 bolts. Both the 2015-plus F-150s and S550 Mustangs use the Super 8.8, but the Mustang cover is part of the IRS mounting so our cover will not fit.”
Start by raising the truck, placing a drain pan under the rearend and removing all but the top cover bolt. Then you can pry the factory differential cover free and drain out the fluid. Once the fluid is drained, you can remove the factory cover.
The load bolts utilized in B&M Hi-Tek Differential Covers, along with the reinforced center bar, help to prevent bearing cap deflection under heavy load. — Matt Kehoe, Driven Performance Brands
It’s too bad the cover won’t fit Mustangs, but there are plenty of quick F-150s these days, and those heavy, powerful trucks could probably use a more robust rearend to survive those trips to the drag strip or climbing over challenging terrain.
“The load bolts utilized in B&M Hi-Tek Differential Covers, along with the reinforced center bar, help to prevent bearing cap deflection under heavy load. Deflection occurs when force causes the pedestals that secure the bearings inside of the carrier to move away from the diff,” Matt added. “Repetitive deflection reduces bearing life and can potentially shorten the life of your truck’s differential. These load bolts assist in protecting and reinforcing your differential in high torque or towing applications when your truck’s rearend is under the greatest amount of stress.”
Of course, you don’t have to be racing to make good use of the B&M cover, as its increased capacity can help increase diff longevity and its fill and drain plugs make servicing a snap.
Now you can clean the differential and remove the gasket material from rearend housing. Before bolting up the new cover, apply a thin bead of RTV gasket maker insider the bolt holes.
“The increased fluid capacity of B&M Hi-Tek diff covers means that more gear oil can be added to absorb and move heat away from your ring and pinion gears which, in turn, extends the life of your differential,” Matt said. “It’s the same basic principle that has made B&M transmission pans successful for decades. That said, the cooling fins and cast aluminum construction of our design also aid in the dissipation of heat. Lower heat means less stress on moving parts which leads to a longer life.”
If that sounds like the ticket for your truck, you can learn more about the covers on the B&M site right here.
Then you can bolt up the B&M cover and install the drain plugs. Then refill the fluid up to the bottom of the factory fill hole. Then you and finalize the installation by tightening the load bolts against the bearing caps to no more that 5 lb-ft and apply a bit of RTV to the external threads on the load bolts.