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2wd to 4wd, and then some....

Old 12-22-2012, 05:20 PM
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Year: 1995
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Default 2wd to 4wd, and then some....

I first bought my 1995 XJ in 2010, when I was just 15. I really didn't know much of anything about cars. All I knew is I wanted a car that would be good off-road and there were quite a lot of Jeeps in my area (Mesa AZ, at the time). I found one with 106k miles for $1900 and bought it. Here's how it sat when I first bought it:
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Pretty little grocery-getter with Dodge Charger rims and 215's.

Being on such a little budget, I didn't have a ton to work with. Luckily, my dad is a great welder and does mild fabrication, so shortly thereafter we fabb'd a bolt-on fog light mount. Later then, we were able to fab up a nice roofrack using some dimensions we found on a RC rack(I think). With that came 4 KC Daylighters that do a pretty phenominal job of lighting up the night.

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So, being on my limited budget, this is how she sat for a long time. Street tires(215's), 17 inch rims, stock suspension, completely stock drivetrain. Still a 4x2. Nothing more than mild trail running, because that's all I could do.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:31 PM
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So I saved up a little money, and put about $350 for an inexpensive 3inch lift. After that was on, I drove around on a 3inch lift and 215's for a while (looked ridiculous) until I could save up enough for new tires and rims. Got stuck in some not-really-that-deep sand a few times. This is where I started thinking about doing the 2wd-4wd swap.
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Stuck in sand.
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New shoes, and no flares:
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But I kept getting stuck, and realized that there was only so much I could do with 2wd. Trying to keep up with friends with 4x4, lockers and 33's in Tacomas and Chevy 1500's was really annoying. At this time I was starting to work full time and had a little more money to mess around with. So, I started my hunt for a 4x4 donor vehicle.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:58 PM
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Right about now, I hadn't really done that much more to my Jeep than this. I had a cold air intake and some custom light switches for all my nightburners, but all in all it had stayed pretty simple. It was(and still is) my main transportation to school, work, around town, etc. But I shopped a little and found my donor vehicle: a 1991 Jeep Cherokee Limited with a blown head gasket and a few other problems, picked it up for $600

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As seen by the blue grill, he didn't take great care of it. He drilled Subwoofer boxes into the back cargo area... but he drilled so far that the screws were into the gas tank. He also JB welded metal cuppholders intothe dash... yeahhh

But anyway, it had a newly rebuilt transmission, a clean HP D30 with clean fluid, and a good looking transmission. So to try to financially recoup some of the money, I sold everything I didn't need off the Jeep. I kept some little stuff like the radiator, starter.... etc. MAde about $1000 off everything I sold, while still keeping the stuff I needed. Success!

So putting the front axle in was really very simple.The gears in the rear were 3.55, and the front new axle gears were 3.54 so we didn't need to mess with anything there. Bolt out, bolt in took a few hours, while also doing a complete bushing kit on the front end. It was actually quite easy.
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Nice 'n' shiny.
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So for the transmission, a friend of mine said his shop could do it for me, so, trusting him I gave him the keys to my Jeep and delivered the transmission and t-case with the drivelines. All fluids were drained and we gave him all the mounting hardware and linkage.... literally everything he needed.

Well after 6 weeks of hearing "Just one more week" I finally gave up and told him that we'd pick it up and finish it ourselves. Went to go pick it up and found that the only thing they had done so far was take out the old transmission and bolt in the new one. Nothing was hooked up, no tranny or Tcase linkage, kickdown cable, or anything was wired in or even hooked up correctly. Tcase linkage was misteriously missing. I was seriously disapointed. Not only did that not help, it set us back. Plus, someone filled every container except the oil under the hood with brake fluid. And you all know what that stuff does to rubber rings and hoses.... well $%#@.

He's one of my bestfriends, but it was a little disappointing.
So after messing with that, we paid a trustworthy transmission mechanic to finish installing the transmission and tcase for us. But upon getting it all installed, we found out that the NP242 tail cone and rear housing were cracked from a broken DS on the old donor vehicle. So we went to a local JY and ended up paying him to replace those for us, as well.

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Old 12-22-2012, 06:12 PM
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Cracked housing
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Cracked cone
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After driving around a little, I found that the DS had a bit of a vibration to it, which confused me since I was only at 3inches. Well come to find, the pinion on a Chry8.25 is longer than the D35... and the NP242 is also slightly longer than the NP231. So this created a slightly more sever DS angle than most users get. So We made our own Tcase drop made of 1inx1inx3.5in square casting. Pretty much a temporary fix until I pick up a Hack 'n' tap.

Looking forward to keep building this (as school and money permit) and to go bigger and better. My excuse for everything was "I would, but its only a 2wd". So now, I'm hoping to go maybe up to 4.5inches, long-arms, D30 locker (Auburn ECTED?) Ford 8.8 rear end, 4.10's or 4.56's, and 33's. Not in that order....

Oh, and what happened to the old donor vehicle, you ask? Well, you see....
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Last edited by XJ_SwaggerWagon; 12-22-2012 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 12-23-2012, 03:45 PM
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Brake fluid? Seriously? That deserves revenge.
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by fedx95 View Post
Brake fluid? Seriously? That deserves revenge.
I still had most of the resevoirs from the donor, so that helped. But every seal was corroded. Most of my lines have been replaced with fuel lines so they're non corrosive, but still. It still ended up being more than it should've been.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:58 AM
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So I got some RC Quick Disco's and installed them today. I'm sitting here wondering why my sway bar is so high up and at such a wierd angle.... so I look at the box (after its installed) and realize they sent me a kit for a 4-6inch lift. I'm at about 2 1/2 inches. Oh well. Not too worried about it.

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Well...
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Hmmm... now, you guys know what this means, right? Home fabbedbumpers coming in soon!
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:22 AM
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So, I know theres not a lot of people really reading into this and all, but if anyone has a good setup or kit for a long-arm setup that sits around 3inches, I'd be interested. I really wanna stay low. If I could stay like 3-3.5 inches but still run a long arm kit, that'd be perfect. Any idea's? I do my own custom fabricaition but I'd much rather just buy control arms...
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