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1993 XJ Cherokee Sport 2WD to 4WD Conversion

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1993 XJ Cherokee Sport 2WD to 4WD Conversion

Old 02-21-2010, 05:34 AM
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Default 1993 XJ Cherokee Sport 2WD to 4WD Conversion

Backstory:

I purchased this Jeep about 2 1/2 years ago from a little local dealer here in GA, I was almost 18 at that time. It had 76K+ miles on it, completely stock, pretty much empty. I was surprised it had power windows and locks. Hell it didnt even have a tape player or window tint.

It was a great buy... the problem was it didnt have 4WD like I wanted. Now I am glad that I got this because it was such a great deal with the mileage and the pristine condition it was in. I mean it was spotless inside and everything was in working order despite the stock radio and speakers.

To make a long story short I have a great Jeep that I can work on and wont have to worry about it crapping out on me despite the age and basically no additions at the moment other than new sound system and tires.

The idea:
Convert my stock 93' 2WD XJ to 4WD. Gosh I love the sound of it.
I have the 4.0L I6 engine... only 119k+ miles. I am definitely keeping it.

Major parts I have to have:
4WD auto transmission and transfer case
axle assembly... definitely keep rear diff but replace front
driveshaft
4-wheel drive shifter

Now I plan on using all used parts in the above list. I recently scouted my local JY and there are definitely enough cherokee's to choose from and most having the 4WD components I need.

When I was looking at my own console in my jeep I noticed that where the 4WD shifter would be has a plastic piece that pops out. So I think all I would have to do is cut a hole in the body to accommodate the shifter and it should look pretty stock without much fab work.

The conversion itself probably wont start for another couple of months but I am working on other things at the moment, as small as they may be. I'll post the stuff I am doing now soon with pics.

Hopefully I will get some feedback on my idea and/or suggestions. I just would appreciate the support really since I love Jeep so ****ing much. XD
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:15 AM
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Good plan, and sounds as if you researched this some.

The transfer shifter hole is already there in the trans tunnel, just a block off plate installed on the assembly line.

If you could take tons of pics during your conversion we could make it a tech article here, we get lots of guys coming here asking about this topic.

Automatic trans?
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:49 AM
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Wish that somebody would "step-up" and do a write-up!

My DD just won't quit going, so i'm not hard pressed to get my conversion done... yet.

Besides, my camera sucks and i'm pretty lazy!!!
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:15 PM
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Good plan, and sounds as if you researched this some.

The transfer shifter hole is already there in the trans tunnel, just a block off plate installed on the assembly line.

If you could take tons of pics during your conversion we could make it a tech article here, we get lots of guys coming here asking about this topic.

Automatic trans?
I looked at the transfer shifter hole and see what you are talking about. I am glad you pointed that out otherwise my pondering would have continued.

I will definitely take tons of pics during the process. I am studying for my Commercial Photography degree at the moment so pics will NOT be a problem. XD

I do have an automatic transmission and want to get a 4WD automatic transmission for the convert. I wasnt sure what you were asking, hopefully that answers it.

Wish that somebody would "step-up" and do a write-up!

My DD just won't quit going, so i'm not hard pressed to get my conversion done... yet.

Besides, my camera sucks and i'm pretty lazy!!!
I definitely want to do a write-up I know it would be a big help considering I have found very few things on the topic, mainly ideas.

I really want this done even though my engine has low mileage and my tranny seems great. I have always wanted 4WD and this is my chance; plus building it myself is way cooler than buying it that way or having someone else do it for me. =)
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:39 PM
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So I feel pretty dumb... I was researching the automatic transmissions in the cherokees and it seems that they made the same tranny for the I4 and I6 for the 1987-2001 whether it be 2WD or 4WD... sooo that means I can keep mine which is awesome becuase mine seems to be in awesome condition. If anyone has any other specs about this, PLEASE let me know.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by alexanderthegreatsbweep View Post
So I feel pretty dumb... I was researching the automatic transmissions in the cherokees and it seems that they made the same tranny for the I4 and I6 for the 1987-2001 whether it be 2WD or 4WD... sooo that means I can keep mine which is awesome becuase mine seems to be in awesome condition. If anyone has any other specs about this, PLEASE let me know.
i don't think the lengths of the tranny's are the same if i remember right
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:56 PM
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Could I not just swap the tail cone from a 4WD AW4 and put it on my mine and make sure to grab the transfer case adapter with it?
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:59 PM
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Correct, same transmission in the 2wd and 4wd... the difference lies in the tailhousing. On a 2wd auto trans the rear output shaft is about 7" longer than the 4wd model trans, you cannot adapt a transfercase to this.

So, you'll need a 4wd transmission. Now, you'll have a few issues to concern yourself with. The transmissions had a few differences during the years, these being output spline count and speedometer housings.

Early AW-4's had a 21 spline output shaft (that the transfercase attaches to) till around the HO engine's intro in 91 where they became a 23 splined output. Obviously the transfercase also changed the spline count to match the changes.

Easiest way to do the conversion is to aquire a trans and transfer from the same vehicle, you wont have to worry about splines. However, it's also not difficult to locate either once you know what your looking for. Theres more to it but if you source a trans and transfer with differing spline counts you can still modify the transfer to work if your comfortable completely tearing apart and reassembling it.

Now you need to decide which transfercase you want, a 231 or a 242...
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:12 PM
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I would much rather have the 242 since its full-time and not part-time like the 231. How can you tell between the two when searching and pulling them at the JY? Also when you say get the trans and transfer case from the same vehicle you mean take both from the same donor... not like the same year as my vehicle?
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:14 PM
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i say a 242! u cant really turn good in a 231 when used on road!
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by alexanderthegreatsbweep View Post
I would much rather have the 242 since its full-time and not part-time like the 231. How can you tell between the two when searching and pulling them at the JY? Also when you say get the trans and transfer case from the same vehicle you mean take both from the same donor... not like the same year as my vehicle?


OK, your aware of the transfer differences.. your continually impressing me.

Two ways to ID the transfer.. on the backside you'll see a round tag.. at the top it will be engraved with the model. 231J or 242J. You can also cheat and look at the shifters bezel, if there is a "Fulltime" position that vehicle has the 242.

You dont need the same year, i used an 88 trans and transfer when i converted my 94 to 4wd 10 years ago. But for our vintage Jeeps we should stick to 96 and under.. there was a wiring harness plug change later..

An early transfercase will have a cable driven speedometer, where the later will be electrical. No biggie.. simply remove one bolt and you swap the whole assembly.

Theres a few more things to a swap but it's minor..
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:32 PM
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OK, your aware of the transfer differences.. your continually impressing me.

Two ways to ID the transfer.. on the backside you'll see a round tag.. at the top it will be engraved with the model. 231J or 242J. You can also cheat and look at the shifters bezel, if there is a "Fulltime" position that vehicle has the 242.

You dont need the same year, i used an 88 trans and transfer when i converted my 94 to 4wd 10 years ago. But for our vintage Jeeps we should stick to 96 and under.. there was a wiring harness plug change later..

An early transfercase will have a cable driven speedometer, where the later will be electrical. No biggie.. simply remove one bolt and you swap the whole assembly.

Theres a few more things to a swap but it's minor..
I am glad I asked the right questions and knew the right things otherwise I would be lost at the moment.

I had an inkling that I should stick to the earlier cherokees just to be safe and you confirmed my suspicions, thanks.

Also I was wondering if there was any way to tell a "good condition" tranny from a "bad condition" one while at the JY? If there is such a procedure, ha.

Also I am definitely interested in those "minor things" haha. I love having all the knowledge before hand.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:37 PM
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dont forget a 4x4 sticker
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by alexanderthegreatsbweep View Post
Also I was wondering if there was any way to tell a "good condition" tranny from a "bad condition" one while at the JY? If there is such a procedure, ha.

Well, if it was involved in a wreck... chances are it was moving when it was hit. Some guys buy a rusted out running rig for parts donors, ask the JY if it comes with a warranty, buy a used one from a Jeeper thats parting a rig..etc.

AW-4's are known as tough transmissions. Many with over 250K miles and more.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by leo3000 View Post
dont forget a 4x4 sticker
Forget the stickers I pulled the 4x4 3D emblems off an old cherokee, waaaay cooler! XD
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