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My off-road ride is a Cherokee XJ with NP231 transfer case. Recently I had  got a 3" lift and since then I have been facing an issue that my transfer case lever within the car keeps getting loose, i.e., basically the linkage to the transfer case had come out. As a result I had to keep crawling below my car at the end of each drive to reconnect the linkage and shift from 4wd drive mode to 2wd drive.

There are 5 rubber bushes which connect the transfer lever(from within the car) to the transfer case (Below the car). Picture of the transfer case linkage is shown below. I have circled 4 out of the 5 rubber bushes. The last rubber bush is hidden at the top. 

IMG_20180301_234902_686.jpg.f8be3dc688bc676edb9af9a55a40ee12.jpg

So now, I had got the entire set of rubber bushes changed with each costing me AED 45. However, in my next drives at the slightest of jerks the transfer connection would still pop out from the rubber bushes.

To completely solve this problem I found 2 solutions
1. Change the entire transfer case linkage from the original to a simpler one available online at

http://www.boostwerksengineering.com/231-HD-Shift-Linkage-Manual-Trans-_p_29.html

This would cost approx USD 100 including delivery to UAE.

2. In the existing linkage we drilled a small 2 mm hole into the linkage connector end and put in a cotter pin. Photo is provided below. This costed me a total of AED 80.

 

IMG_20180301_234848_459.jpg.a54f5523e66f96f085d607ca851792a1.jpg

 

 I will update this post after my next drive but this seems to be a permanent solution to the linkage issue.

The above solutions would be applicable to anyone who has a Jeep XJ, TJ, YJ with the NP231 or NP242 transfer case.

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Nice work. The only change I would make would be to put a washer behind the pin, purely for the sake of spreading the load around the entire connection rather than have the pin rubbing directly. Most modern European cars use the washer and pin system since the push on ball joints are less than reliable. I have a story about a broken linkage on a company car and someone getting stuck on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere in Ireland but that’s for another day 😂

Me and @Gaurav came up against a similar problem before on Mrs Gaurav’s Trailblazer where the main gear select linkage kept coming off although we took it to a more extreme solution, removing the ball joint completely, replacing it with a bolt and nut and fabricating an appropriately sized spacer to keep the clearances right. 

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The all too haunting problems with a XJ come rushing back after reading this like a bad nightmare. I also did the mistake of lifting my XJ. Then you adjust one thing because the lift effected it, then that one thing messes with another, so that needs to be upgraded so on and so forth.

Never seen a 4x4 so sensitive to a liftjob,most you can get away with a 2" lift with any issues, but not the XJ. 

Ended up with new arms in the front from a Grand Cherokee, had to drop the transmission because of the stupid real drive shaft yoke design. Quite some stuff in the front end ( can't remember exactly what ) and even after all that the the trustline off the vehicle was off the front tyres were not in the same line with rear but a inch or so to the right or was it left. To fix that needed a longer pitman arm and steering link, to bring the front end in line with the rear but by that time I had enough of it and sold it.

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A  classic case of unintended consequences spoiling the original intent. Luckily, at my advanced age, the joys of modifying stuff is one thing I can now happily do without . :-)

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@Barry there is the original rubber bushes and then the pin. Will check if there is space to insert an additional washer to evenly distribute the load

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I've modded many a car with no issues for off road use, it's just XJ is super sensitive to any change in geometry. 

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An update on an old post. I had tried the cotter pins solution for about 9 months, but the pins used to cut the rubber bushing and I had to keep replacing the bushing from time to time. Further, the shifting was never precise. So finally I bit the bullet and bought the Boostwerks Engineering Transfer Case. This transfer case linkage works only with the XJ and not for the Wranglers. You have multiple options depending on the type of transfer case and the gear box.

 

I bought it and the landed cost was approx USD 95. It took us a couple of hours to remove the existing transfer case handle and linkage and do the new installation.

The linkage is so firm and precise that it you get a good click when it engages in 4 high or 4 low mode. Earlier, my XJ would continuously pop out when driven in the 4 low mode. The last Friday, I tried driving it on 4 low mode and it never popped out even while driving over some bumps. I have attached a picture of the linkage. So far it seems absolutely worth the purchase and I do hope that it lasts a long time. 

 

IMG_20181228_095533328.jpg

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Nice solution and not overly expensive either. Proper ball joints will always beat a few flimsy bits of nylon and rubber. 

Now that you have it, it would be pretty easy to recreate cheaply with a few locally availably parts. Could be a nice little beer money earner. 

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