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Unread 05-08-2008, 07:36 PM   #1
kmd1776
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242 vs 231... looking for some more info

ok guys i searched and couldn't find what i was looking for.

i know the 242 has a full time 4wd, where the 231 doesn't. i know both are just about as difficult to swap into a 249 jeep. i also know the 231 has much more after market potential then the 242 does.

but what im looking for is, how does the 242 actually work with the full time 4wd? is it expected to break like the 249? (viscous coupling being the caused of the 249) i know the 242 does not have a vc, so what does it have that makes it 4wd full time?

right now i have the option of doing 242 or a 231. im trying to figure out what i want, and what is easier to fix. i never took apart a transfer case, but im always wanting to learn, and planning on rebuilding whichever one i get, before i do the swap.

any suggestions guys?

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Unread 05-08-2008, 08:05 PM   #2
Kruzin
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Think about an axle's differential, and how it transfers power to the path of least resistance (left or right).
If that axle had limited slip, it would start to transfer power to the wheel that was not slipping.
If that axle had a locker that was locked, it would transfer power to both wheels equally at all times.

Now, apply that to the transfer case.
With a 242 in full time 4wd, it will transfer power to the path of least resitance (front or rear). It basically has an open differential gear between front and rear in full-time 4wd mode.
With a 249, the VC will start to transfer power to the axle that's not slipping. The VC is a limited slip between front and rear.
With a 231 (or a 242 in part-time 4wd mode), the tcase will split the power equally front to rear. Front and rear are locked in 4wd.

What it breaks down to in the 231 vs 242 is this....
The 242 has more options in 4wd modes...more friendly to pavement with full-time 4wd, but more parts to break/go bad. Can still be a decent off-road unit, as it locks front-rear in part-time mode.
The 231 is more hard core off-roading. Can handle more stress (is rated stronger than 242). Has more aftermarket goodies available. Not as friendly to daily drivers/pavement use (putting into 4wd on dry pavement can end up in broken axle shafts).
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Unread 05-08-2008, 08:10 PM   #3
kmd1776
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so it sounds like a 242 as a differential in it, giving it full time 4wd. where as part time 4wd and 4wd low on both t/c's are 50/50 power distribution to front and rear axles... correct?

if so, how common is it for a 242 differential to break down?
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Unread 05-08-2008, 08:19 PM   #4
SpeedyCat3
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I have always heard that the middle number was the one indicating the relative strength, thus a 231 being less strong (in stock form) than a 242J.
I wonder if anybody has a good (tech) explanation for that.
To the OP... If doing a more stock look swap is your idea, then go for the NP242J.
The swap is just as easy with either one, providing that you find the correct input shaft length and spline count.
As far as it looking better inside, you will be able to track down a NP242J bezel (indicator) which will swap right in,
and if your VIC is working, connecting the black connector and unplugging the red will let you have a completely functional VIC for the different NP242J modes.

I just did the NP242J swap, even having the option of a free NP231J still sitting in my parts XJ, and I find it looks better to have a more stock look inside with all the gadgets working.

If a more hardcore is what you are looking for, then the NP231J has far better aftermarket support, can be built with lower ratios and reinforced chains, and has more availability of slip yoke eliminators in case you ever need one.
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Unread 05-08-2008, 08:20 PM   #5
Kruzin
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Quote:
so it sounds like a 242 as a differential in it, giving it full time 4wd. where as part time 4wd and 4wd low on both t/c's are 50/50 power distribution to front and rear axles... correct?
Correct.

It is not a common thing for the diff in the 242 to break down, though the 242 chain cannot handle as much as the 231...though it's not exactly common for those to break either.

The main reason to choose 231 would be if you plan on doing a large amount of lift and a lot of off-roading, or want to do aftermarket upgrades to the tcase, which are plentiful for 231, scarse for 242.

To be honest, I think I woulda been better off if I had done a 242 in mine instead of the 231 I did, as mine is my daily driver....
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Unread 05-08-2008, 08:33 PM   #6
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yea im thinking of going with the 242, since mine is a daily driver also. now is the shifter linkage from a 249 the same as a 242?
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Unread 05-08-2008, 08:55 PM   #7
SpeedyCat3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmd1776 View Post
yea im thinking of going with the 242, since mine is a daily driver also. now is the shifter linkage from a 249 the same as a 242?
Shifter linkage is the same.
I found that with the NP242J having more detent positions, the linkage adjustment becomes more critical.
I ended up ordering the TC linkage rebuild kit
which includes a new torque shaft and all kind of bushings, and all is well now.
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Unread 05-08-2008, 09:38 PM   #8
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ok now just out curiousity, how does the 249 actually work with the viscous coupling?? i know the viscous coupling is a sealed unit with a heavy oil in it, but how does it make a transfer case all wheel drive???

im sorry, im just curious on the actual mechanics of these transfer cases on how they work, to get a better idea on what can fail on them, to help me decide which transfer case i want to go with.

i really like the 249, but this is my 2nd 249 ive been through (first was the original one i got at 145,000... bought it shot, 2nd one from a junkyard, and went after 10,000 miles) and i dont have the money to waste on a used one, just to go again

i also dont have the money to do a fresh rebuild on the 249, which ideally i would love to do, but that vc is just too expensive for me.... thats why im trying to figure out what to do here
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Unread 05-08-2008, 09:46 PM   #9
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I have had both a 231 and a 242.. My zj came stock with a 231 but wouldnt stay in 4wd, so I bought a 242 for way too much but came from the same year/engine and bolted directly up without modification..

I keep mine in 2wd.. Rarely use 4wd fulltime... I could be perfectly happy with a 231, but it depends on your location and what you would be driving in.

I think after seeing the writeup on changing the vc, if I had a 249 i would just replace the vc and be done with it..
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Unread 05-08-2008, 09:51 PM   #10
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It works similarly to a limited slip axle, on a series of clutches and viscous fluid (gear oil).
When it detects the rear end slipping (one output spinning faster than the other), the pressure in the viscous fluids (gear oil) within the viscous coupler will cause the clutches to engage, sending power to the front axle.
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Unread 05-08-2008, 10:14 PM   #11
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ok so what do you guys think?? 19 year old college student. driving from long island to rochester, back and forth about 6 times a year. its about a 7 hour car ride, so it im keeping this jeep road friendly for awhile.

however i am up in Rochester snow for the whole winter, and sometimes i feel like i would like the option of a part time 4wd high gear, just cause i do find myself off the asphalt during heavy snow storms (on purpose obviously ) and i am starting to get into the off roading scene up here, and really considering getting a 3" lift with some cragar soft 8's on 31's....figure thats the highest i can really go for now to keep this thing highway friendly.
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Unread 05-08-2008, 10:25 PM   #12
Kruzin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmd1776 View Post
ok so what do you guys think?? 19 year old college student. driving from long island to rochester, back and forth about 6 times a year. its about a 7 hour car ride, so it im keeping this jeep road friendly for awhile.
I think you can afford to do what you want, long isle/rochester child...and still send a few grand to someone who has to work to send his kids to school in the burbs. From here on out, my advice is charged at $25 per char typed
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Unread 05-08-2008, 11:51 PM   #13
kmd1776
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hahahaha well both my cars i have paid for by myself, and since i had no money to pay for repairs, i learned to do them myself. hence why im still trying to learn how to do stuff myself.

im currently in school for mechanical engineering, and really hoping to get into the automotive field one day

so the only reason i ask so much is cause i really want to learn how to do this stuff myself, and not just how to fix it, but how it works internally too.
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Unread 09-09-2009, 12:43 PM   #14
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I just got done completely 100% with my 249 to 242 swap. I debated going with a 231 but was talked out of it by the local transmission shops Jeep guru. He highly recommended the 242 over the 231 for my application. I only go wheeling every now and then and the weather is pretty calm here in Oklahoma most of the time. I went with the 242 for the full time 4wd for those random ice storms we occasionally get during the winter.

I just got done doing some 2wd burnouts! Kind of pointless I know but very fun considering I have never been able to lay 11's with the 249. I am completely satisfied with the 242 personally.
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Unread 09-09-2009, 02:38 PM   #15
Travis873o
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So how does the 249 compare to the 242 in strength
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