Transfer Case Compatibility
Ok, let me just preface this thread with some history. I've been reading this forum for years now, but haven't made a username since most of the things I've been doing to my Jeep were regular maintenance and things I could figure out myself, and up until recently I haven't had many problems requiring other more intelligent attention. My VC is going out, the figure 8 test results in hopping, so about 6 months ago I bought a new VC from ebay, and tried to replace my current VC with the new VC. On four separate occasions I have tried to replace the VC. I don't have the skills, equipment, strength or patience to pull the transfer case from the Jeep, so all attempts were done with the transfer case in the Jeep, and all failed because of the stupid snap ring. Why couldn't New Process have put the snap ring access plate at the bottom of the tail cone? What could they possibly have been thinking?
Nonetheless, I am in contact with a shop who will pull the transfer case for $200 and then let me use my tools to replace the VC in the case (which I paid $330 for), and they'll put the case back in as part of the $200. I thought about this for awhile and almost pulled the trigger, but ended up coming to the realization that if they are pulling the case out of the car, I might as well have a whole separate rebuilt case for them to put in instead.
(sorry for the long windedness) I've read the entire sticky involving the 249 to 242/231 swap, but my confusion and hesitation is as follows. I have a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Inline 6 4.0L with the 42RE trans and 249 trans case, 3.55 axles and the build date on the trans case is Feb 2(I think 2) 1996. But everything about the transfer case, as well as the whole Jeep doesn't point to it following the post 96 changes, it has an internal slip yoke and a metal power steering pulley. My fear is that if I assume I have a .84" 23 spline input, and then I buy a matching transfer case, once the shop takes off the transfer case I'll suddenly learn that I have a .84" 23 spline with collar input and then I'll be screwed.
So can anyone shed some light onto my confusion? Are there any external markings that lead to an explanation as to what kind of input I have? I hate to be a burden on anyone who has to go out of their way to research this but I'd really like to have my ducks in a row, so to speak, before I commence the transfer case swappage.
Finally, I hope that ratmonkey's family as well as the entire community here who is suffering can find some happiness, I can't count the number of times I'd read one of his posts which answered my questions. It truly is a shame and I know he will be missed by hundreds, if not thousands of people here, and that is truly remarkable.