Thanks Faz, she's coming along finally.
Just so you know, if you do decide to go with two short axles, I am pretty sure it's 57" from surface to surface. I had one I bought that was already cut down and was going to install, but then then the 9" came along and I used that instead.
The explorer is a great swap. Just make sure to get the right year for the freebies. 3.73 gears, disc brakes, locker, 31 spline. And pretty reasonable.
1968 Fastback: 331 stroker, FTI cam, N351 Heads with a few upgrades, 4r70w w/3600 stall, 9" locker w/3.70 gears