DISCLAMER: Some assembly required. No warranty expressed or implied. No fur-bearing animals were harmed during the conversion of this transmission. Beware of dog. Use only in well-ventilated area. Keep away from fire or flame. Do not combine with alcohol. Should not be attempted by untrained personnel. This write-up does not reflect the thoughts or opinions of my cat. Action figures sold separately. Slippery when wet. Safety goggles may be required. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. Disclaimer does not cover misuse, accident, lightning, flood, tornado, tsunami, volcanic eruption, earthquake, hurricanes and other Acts of God, neglect, damage from improper reading, incorrect line voltage, improper or unauthorized reading, broken antenna, electromagnetic radiation from nuclear blasts, sonic boom vibrations, ship sinking or taking on water, motor vehicle crashing, falling rocks, leaky roof, broken glass, mud slides, forest fire, or projectile (which can include, but not be limited to, arrows, bullets, BB's, shrapnel, lasers, napalm, torpedoes, monkeys, etc.); other restrictions may apply. LOL!
4 WHEEL DRIVE CONVERSION THE EASY WAY!!!
This write up will cover the conversion of my 93 ZJ with a 4.0L and a 42re transmission to 4 wheel drive! I know you’re probably saying just sell it and buy one that is already 4wd, but where is the fun in that? Jeeps are built, not bought right? I have far too much already in my ZJ to just sell it and start over, so with a ton of research, a few ATSG 42re rebuild books, and a few conversations with some KNOWLEDGABLE (some actually exist) transmission techs, and I went for it!
My parts list that I used for this swap:
95 42re with matching 249 54k miles
2000 XJ 231 with 66k miles
Shift lever assembly
Shift linkage brackets
Shift linkage arms
Correct length rear driveshaft:
96-98 4.0L 42re 242 is 31.5"
(FYI= 93.3-95 4.0L 42re 242 is 33.25")
(FYI= my stock 93 4.0L 42re 2wd was 38.5”)
The electrical connections for the transfer case were already there BEGGING to be used!
New U-joints for the new rear driveshaft.
Old shock boot for a dust cover for the rear driveshaft splined section if you are using a 96+ 242 or 231
The lighting pigtail for the transmission and transfer case shift indicator bezel lights (interior lights)
And some zip ties (zap straps for the Canucks) to make the install clean and to hold on the shock boot on the rear driveshaft.
BLUE Loctite for the bolts
Here is the info I got from the conversations with a transmission builder after I figured out that this method of transmission conversion is possible.
1. Conversion is straight swap of the overdrive section (tail cone)
2. If transmission has not been rebuilt before, it has a stock 1 piece gasket between the transmission and the overdrive section. This stock one piece gasket is no longer available and has been replaced with a 2 piece seal. (But you can still get one from a dealer)
You must use the gasket and not just a bead of RTV, because the gasket has SPECIFIC thickness that is crucial between the transmission and the overdrive section for proper engagement of the overdrive piston.
Be careful when removing the overdrive section because if your careful and do not damage the gasket it can be reused!
If your transmission has already been rebuilt you probably have the 2 piece gasket and if you do mess up the gasket between the transmission and overdrive section it is easy to replace.
3. When swapping to a 4wd overdrive it is best to have a transmission shop check the “overdrive piston spacer” thickness on the 4wd overdrive section as it may need to be replaced. It’s just a spacer and is EASY to replace and you do NOT have to take the transmission or the overdrive section further apart once they are separated to change the spacer. This should be done before you pull your 2wd overdrive section for the swap. Do this before hand so the 4wd overdrive section will be ready to rock! I suppose if you were lazy you could use the one from the 4wd overdrive section…. I reused mine since it was of the correct thickness anyway, I measured mine and it was correct.
4. When swapping the overdrive sections pay extra attention to getting the parking pawl in the right place when reinstalling, pay attention. This can be a real pain to line up when sliding the 4wd overdrive section onto your transmission! I’ll give some tips further down.
Ok on to the tech:
First thing first, there are a few things that you can get setup ahead of time and have no long vehicle down time.
Installation of the shifter and brackets
This is the spot that will soon have the hole for the shifter. You can see there is no easy cover plate to just remove so you will have to cut a nice hole in your floor for the shifter. In this picture you can also see the wiring harness that just hooks into the stock 2wd light harness to also power the little light for the transfer case shift bezel.
Pull off the whole consol and I recommend putting down the blue painters tape to start marking the location for you cuts. Once the tape is covering this spot next to the shifter, put the consol back on and make sure it is bolted down in its normal position. Take a pen and hold it straight up and down and run the perimeter of the hole to get a general idea where the hole will be.
Take the transfer case shifter that you probably got from the junkyard and make a template around it that fits it nice and tight, and trace all around it and mark the mounting holes. And FYI in this picture is the 249 shift gate.
Here is the 242 AND 231 shift gate. I know they have different part numbers but I had a 242 gate and ordered a 231 gate and they are the SAME design…
It should look about like this after you pull the shifter off of the template:
You should then pull the consol back off and mark the location of the cutout for the shift gate. This is more or less of a very close guessing procedure to get the location of the template. I made sure to get the straight part of the template opening parallel with the transmission shifter and the front and rear about close to the first trace locations.
Measure a few times to make sure that is where you want the cut lines BEFORE you start cutting the hole. This is what it should look like after a short session with the saws-all. MAKE SURE not to have a real long blade as it might cut the wires below and really put a damper on your day… Then drill the holes for the bolts to hold it all down. Then test fit the shifter and it will probably take a few fine tuning cuts to get it to sit flat in the hole.
Here is the final look with it installed and an old 249 shift bezel (because I don’t have a 231 bezel yet) that is missing one of its cover furs. But this shows that the alignment is perfect and straight. Also when you bolt the shift gate down make sure to put some silicon sealant on the mounting area and around the bolts from below to make sure water will not seep in through this new hole.
Here is the look of it from below and also the bracket on the left is for the transfer case shift linkage bracket also. This bracket is accessible if you pull up the carpet a little under the drivers side feet and by feel put your arms under the carpet and there will be 4 rubber plugs where the mounting holes for this bracket are.
This picture shows the layout of all the linkage brackets and their connections
On to the 4wd transmission part of the swap:
SET THE PARKING BRAKE!
Here is my 2wd setup:
First thing drain the transmission fluid or you are going to make a real mess when you pull the over drive section. This is also a good time to change your fluids and filters, and you should always use Amsoil fluids, right Cue-Ball=) (shameless plug)
This is my donor transmission that a scored from a buddy who had a rolled ZJ who only bought it for the engine and he let me have the transmission and 249 transfer case. I pulled off the transfer case to inspect what input shaft it had. Which was the 95 249 with .840” exposed input shaft with the internal collar.
There are SEVERAL write-ups on transfer case input shaft swaps, it all depends on what you currently have to determine what you need to swap in the transfer cases, but since I didn’t have one in the first place I had no vehicle down time to get the 231 transfer case I got ready for my conversion. In short I took the input shaft and planetary gears out of the 95 249 and put them into my 231 that I got from a 2000 XJ with only 66k miles. I did this to make the 231 compatible with my output shaft on the 4wd transmission. The 93.3 – 95 4wd 42re had an input shaft internal collar on the inside of the transfer case input shaft that matched up with the transmission output shaft. The 2000 231 input shaft was the same length as the 95 but I swapped the inputs to keep that 95 shaft collar to ride on the output shaft of the 4wd 93.3 – 95 42re transmission.
The install portion:
I have pulled off the transmission cross member and the transmission mount off of the transmission.
There are I believe 7 bolts that hold on this overdrive section that are 11mm if I remember correctly. Unplug the sensor wire off of the over drive section and unbolt your speedometer gear and pull it out of your overdrive as this is easier than pulling the connector off the gear setup which you will reuse this in the transfer case later anyway, its a straight swap.
It will be easier if you lower the jack a little now to reach the bolts on top of the overdrive, but not too much since the engine is attached also and you could push your fan or fan clutch into the radiator if you drop it too much!
Once the bolts are out that hold the overdrive section on, grab the overdrive and it’s easiest if you position your body parallel with the transmission and with your hands on each side of the overdrive rock it side to side while pulling and it will come off. Don’t just yank it off! You don’t want to be surprised if you pull too fast and it ends up coming off too fast and lands in your lap, as it is pretty heavy and not easy to maneuver under the Jeep. Once you have it off it will look like this.
The closest rod is the parking pawl and you will learn to hate this rod later on…
Here you can see the gasket pretty well and if you are careful you won’t mess up your stock one and you can reuse it! This picture also shows the 2 piece gasket, since my transmission has been rebuilt before.
Now to the donor transmission and over drive section that you will use. DRAIN it first or you will make a mess on the floor! It is easiest to pull off the overdrive if you set the whole transmission upright.
If you want before you try the full swap you can practice pulling off the overdrive and putting it back on to your donor transmission if you get the whole thing to be ready for the big day! You DO NOT NEED to buy the entire transmission for this swap, just the overdrive section, shift linkage bracket, and the 4wd transmission bracket for mounting the transmission to the cross member mount (there is a difference in mounts for 93-95 and 96-98), that is attached to the 4wd transmission.
Unbolt the overdrive and pull it off with the same rocking technique seems pretty effective to slowly separate the sections.
Here you can see the stock one piece gasket that if you messed it up the transmission would need to be partially taken apart to fix this…. But don’t worry too much; it is not hard to keep it in perfect condition to reuse it if your transmission has the stock one piece gasket still.
Here is another view of my donor transmission with the one piece gasket.
Here are the two overdrive sections side by side to show the similarities. The 4wd on is on the left and the 2wd on the right.
I put a little blue arrow on this picture to show where the parking pawl is supposed to line up and go into when putting the overdrive back onto the transmission. Easier said than done, but with patience and a few tries you will get the parking pawl in this area while sliding the 4wd overdrive section onto your transmission. This part of the install is where it comes in handy if you were able to practice on your donor transmission the part of pulling the overdrive off and putting it back on for practice.
This is a scan from one of the ASTG books on the 42re for sliding the overdrive section back onto the transmission.
Ok now for a trick to get that troublesome parking pawl into the right spot, because if you don’t the overdrive will not slide all the way on!
Unhook the shift cable off of the transmission and put it in 1st gear. The parking rod will push toward the rear of the vehicle making it longer and when sliding on the overdrive section it will touch before you get the overdrive about ~2inches from all the way on.
Put your hand between the overdrive and transmission and feel the parking rod. You can wiggle it around, and have to by feel, find the little hole I marked with a blue arrow in a picture above.
Kind of move it around as you carefully push the overdrive to the transmission. If it is not in the right spot the rod will move (shifting gears) as you push the overdrive to the transmission. If it is in the correct spot it will slide in and kind of click as it moves into its hole as you push the overdrive on and stay in 1st gear.
Once you think you have the parking rod lined up and the overdrive close to the transmission reach in and see if the parking rod can still move up and down to rattle around freely, if so then it is in the right spot and push the overdrive closer to the transmission. If you get it close you can use the bolts to pull it on the rest of the way, but do not force it.
Once the overdrive is up against or pretty close to the transmission but NOT bolted down, grab the transmission gear shifter again and see if you can change gears freely, if so then the parking rod is in the parking pawl correctly and your set! If not then you may have to pull the overdrive back off and try again, this is where the patience kicks in…. and you will probably run out of arm blood a few times from working on your back and reaching up to the areas you will be working on, believe me I know all about it, I had to try it about 5 times before I got that stupid rod lined up correctly, and that’s with practice on my donor transmission!
Once the overdrive is installed, install the transfer case, which is a simple 6 bolt slide on and tighten down. Reinstall the 4wd transmission bracket onto the transmission and reinstall the cross member. It will end up looking like this:
Your stock speedometer sensor and gear will work in the transfer case so just plug them in and index the sensor so that the gears mesh into the drive gear. There is a little dot on the transfer case that corresponds to the gear teeth numbers on the sensor.
You will then need to install the shift linkage bracket onto the overdrive section. Once the bracket is on you will then need to install the shift linkage pivot point (torque shaft) and the arm from the shifter to the pivot and the arm from the pivot to the transfer case. As seen in the picture near the top of this write-up.
If you have a 96+ 231 or 242 with the external shaft splines, put some bearing grease on the splines of the transfer case output shaft and slide on the 4wd rear driveshaft and bolt it up to the rear axle yoke.
Jeep has a boot and clamp setup that is stock on 96+ 242’s and 231’s but I am not paying around $45 for a rubber boot and 2 clamps, so I used an old Rancho shock boot and zip ties to secure it, this is to keep the dirt out of the spines.
You should also check to see that your driveshaft angles are in spec and parallel by adjusting the rear axle pinion angle, so that you do not produce any extra vibrations while driving it, this is where having adjustable rear control arms helps out, but is probably not an issue at stock height.
After all that work now its time to change the fluid in the transmission and its filter and get that all squared away. Now take the time to recheck everything again to make sure everything is set and you didn’t end up with tooooo many extra parts. Then it is time for the fun part, the test drive!
Thanks list in no particular order:
And anyone else I accidentally left out that helped along the way!
ok I finally found and installed a front axle WAHOO!
I'm not gonna goo into much detail since this is a direct bolt in so heres some pics:
here is the HPD30 and you can also see the 2wd transmission and my spare d35 axle brackets that will soon be on a 8.8
finishing up the install
Last edited by DJJordache; 09-29-2006 at 02:36 PM.
GREAT writeup! I didn't know that I didn't have to replace the enitire tranny! This is going to save a lot of work on my part!
Looks excellent, and I'll review it when I'm sober, but I doubt I had half the knowledge/experience you went into this with.. Glad you got it knocked out and have fun beating up on it on the trails!
I would like to add one thing though. There is a pan on the floor that you can replace that has the hole and threaded inserts for the 4wd shift lever. You can see it in your pictures as you are looking at the area from below. The reason why I know this is because I just did this conversion as well.
I do have to ask, why did you just replaced the OD section of the trans if you have the whole 4wd trans that could be installed? I can understand if you just had the main part just rebuilt.
yeah I didn't find out about that pan until after I did it, and I forgot to talk about it in the writeup...
and the reason I didn't use the 4wd transmission was that mine had been rebuilt with better clutches and a shift kit about 20k before I did this and I could keep those goodies by doing it this way
To change out that pan I took out both front seats so I could pull the carpet back. Took me about three hours to complete the install. But that included installing the 4wd shift lever a couple times and then taking back apart to install the lever and shaft correctly.Originally Posted by DJJordache
And yeah that is a good reason to keep the front portion of the tranny!
looks like a pita. should have just bought a 4wd one
nice writeup tho
Nice writeup. Thanks for putting me on the "thanks list". I don't think I contributed that much, but I appreciate it anyway.
I sent you a PM not long ago. Do you have the part #s for that shift gate and 231 bezel? The 231 bezel part number I had (55217369) the dealer said was super-ceded by another-- a $600 whole center console. He might have been wrong....
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Last edited by rccolacc; 06-25-2006 at 07:25 PM.
pmd u back, and for anyone else wondering the same info here ya go:
231 bezel 55027662 which has been superceded by the number 55115769 which is around $33.48 according to http://www.newmoparparts.com/mopar-parts.htm
the 231 shift gate is part number 52078496 ~$12.56
the 231 shift gate plastic insert is 52078506 ~$7.80
If you're looking to do this, check out eastcoastparts0 over on Ebay. They've got the OD sections in stock, cleaned, and only charge 150 per.
So I take it you ordered one from them? did you recieve it yet? thats a great price vs having to pay for a entire transmission. you did get one from a 96 42re (A500) right? did they say for sure if the 96-98's are all the same, I think they are but don't know for sure...
WAHOO!! I finally got the front axle installed! BUT I can't really use it yet... It has 4.10 gears and my turdy5 has 3.73's.
but as you saw in a pic above I have a spare set of D35 axle brackets that will soon be installed on a 8.8 with 4.10's. I'm also going to do a in-depth writeup on my 8.8 install with LOTS of pics and tons of measurements, so potential 8.8 swapee's can see what they are getting into with more details
Now I just need to find a good 8.8 with open 4.10's and disks in my local cheap yards!
Hi new to the forum , Sorry if i missed it but did see a "new to the forum" section. Nice write up, I am thinking of doing this conversion on my 95 GC, i just picked up. Long story on why i bought a 2wd, but its rust free with low miles and clean, which is near impossable to find here in Ontario Canada. Nice to see someone already did this, takes alot of guess work and worry from a project. My last build was a 86 Samurai, now it time to try something dif. Got to start looking for a donor GC. Again great write up and pics.
Last edited by Mudhog; 02-28-2007 at 06:51 PM.
Does anyone know if a tranny ant t-case will fit from an xj or any other model, or at least the Overdrive section are interchangeable.
you have a lot of research to do most of your info needed is on this site for the tcase info and AW4 info....but the AW4 does not have a OD section. if you were planning on doing it this (od section swap) way on your 95 then you would need a od section from
93.3-95 42RE if you have the I6
93-95 46RH if you have the V8
the tcase "bolt on" compatibility also depends on if you have a I6 or V8.....
Thanks for the info. Its an I6. i will start my research, now i have a place to start.
Thanks for the the help
Sorry another question is the shifting linkage in the same plase on a AW4 as on the ZJ stock tranny. And without Overdrive whats it like on the highway. Considering the Zj is heavier will the RPMS be high?
the shifting linkage is done by cable on both and the AW4 does have overdrive but not a separate overdrive section that can be removed from the transmission part the AW4 is all in one unit
i have a XJ w/ AW4 and 35's with 4.56. shifts fine on the highway with good power
the AW4 is definately different feeling than the 42RE, etc. On mine the AW4 likes to really rev up high while driving, but the 42 RE seemed to lock up the tc sooner and operated at lower RPM's all the time
It seems the AW4 is the way to go from what you tell me and what i have read which is good (i can pick one up for cheap ) Thanks alot for the information. BUT another jeep noob question does the calipers ans rotars from a 2wd fit a 4wd front end or was that to much to ask from jeep .
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