ZJ Winter Ride - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 26 Old 08-15-2017, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
Iamchris
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ZJ Winter Ride

I have recently pulled my 5.9 out from her hidey-hole cleaned her up. She is a good Jeep in good working order but needs some TLC.

A little background...
I live in New England and we get some decent winters, I also travel 50 miles to work one way (100 miles back and forth), sometimes in very dense storms. Last year I made the trip a number of times on snowed out highways in my commuter Ford Fiesta (good mpg) but I had to be very careful and a mistake would mean I was stranded in a complete white out condition. I am also a car guy, I have a Viper and a Mustang Cobra that I only drive in the summer for fun, so in the winter I am left without any hotrod fun.

I am thinking I might be able to recommission my 5.9L. It is a damn cool Jeep and if I could get her a little hopped up and snow capable, I'm thinking I would have a fun vehicle that I can drive in the snow, and also provide myself with some reliable transportation for my long highway blizzard treks.

So the idea here would be making her snow worthy, fun, a little sporty, a little bit tacticool, while keeping her reliable and stable. I will be contending with some winter debauchery like snow drifts, stuck vehicles, and downed branches while also wanting to make it a little bit of a winter hotrod to fill the void of not having a fun winter vehicle.

I am open to suggestions because I need to do some work on her, so a little build up may be on order with these goals in mind.

Thanks for your input, and maybe I'll start a build thread if I am feeling it will be interesting enough.

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post #2 of 26 Old 08-15-2017, 02:15 PM
BorderWalker
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First off, if she has any issues with her currently, fix those first. Get the basic maintenance and repairs done first.

As a Fellow New Englander [Massh*le], I know the weather you speak of. the 249 Transfer case [The one which likely came with the 5.9, it has 3 Modes: 4All Time, N, and 4Lo] is gonna be the best for handling snow and ice so long as the Viscous Coupler is still in good condition. You can check the coupler by getting the engine and transmission to temp, pulling into a parking lot, and attempting to to figure 8's. If your front wheels kinda skip around and show heavy resistance when trying to go while turning, the Coupler will need replacing.

My 95 I swapped in a 242 Case [2 Full Time, 4 Part Time, 4 Full Time, N, and 4Lo] and it works great, but it's not a true All Wheel drive case like the 249 is. That said, last year when we got a pretty nasty Snowstorm, I was able to safely drive from the i95 Belt to Logan Airport via the Pike [About a half hour/45 minute drive without traffic] safely with no issue.

Others will be able to give an idea of how to give her some sporty fun. My own 95 is pretty stock.

Welcome to the forum.

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post #3 of 26 Old 08-15-2017, 10:50 PM
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... These JEEPS that everyone says swap out the all-wheel drive transfer cases .. I'm in LOVE with this transfer case. I think it really works great on snow & Ice . This is not my 1st RODEO .. as I'm 68 & I have a 1980 4x4 bronco Np435 .. & I have a 1972 Bronco with a 4BT Cummins in it with the NP435 & Dana 20.. & 2 Jeeps. 95 ZJ 4.0L awd.
& A V8 95 AWD ...
& I live on a farm so all are used for different issues. But I really like the AWD on Snow & Ice . & mY WIFE TAKES THE 4.0 L when it icey. & Leaves her Durango in the garage.
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post #4 of 26 Old 08-15-2017, 10:51 PM
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I'm sure it's not what you want on a rock climb but my place has sand.
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post #5 of 26 Old 08-16-2017, 11:12 AM
LordHobbit
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In stock form your niner is a great vehicle for snow weather and a little fun as well. It was the fastest SUV in 1998 after all ...

Make sure you get good snow tires. Most tests show that studless snow & ice tires are the best.
Check the shocks and if they are in need, replace them.
Complete tuneup and fluid/filter drain and replace all around (including axles) would be appropriate.
Check for rust and fix as needed.
Check for and replace any worn/broken suspension and steering parts.
Make sure all the lights are in good working order.

If you want to make your niner go even faster (silly in a snowstorm) check out http://thespeedfreaks.net/forum.php

Good luck

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post #6 of 26 Old 08-16-2017, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
Iamchris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BorderWalker View Post
First off, if she has any issues with her currently, fix those first. Get the basic maintenance and repairs done first.

As a Fellow New Englander [Massh*le], I know the weather you speak of. the 249 Transfer case [The one which likely came with the 5.9, it has 3 Modes: 4All Time, N, and 4Lo] is gonna be the best for handling snow and ice so long as the Viscous Coupler is still in good condition. You can check the coupler by getting the engine and transmission to temp, pulling into a parking lot, and attempting to to figure 8's. If your front wheels kinda skip around and show heavy resistance when trying to go while turning, the Coupler will need replacing.

My 95 I swapped in a 242 Case [2 Full Time, 4 Part Time, 4 Full Time, N, and 4Lo] and it works great, but it's not a true All Wheel drive case like the 249 is. That said, last year when we got a pretty nasty Snowstorm, I was able to safely drive from the i95 Belt to Logan Airport via the Pike [About a half hour/45 minute drive without traffic] safely with no issue.

Others will be able to give an idea of how to give her some sporty fun. My own 95 is pretty stock.

Welcome to the forum.
Yeah, Border... she has a few minor problems. I need to work out a death wobble which is most likely attributed to unbalanced wheels. I took someones word that they were balanced and chased the death wobble for a while replacing the steering dampener and ball joints. I also need to repair some cosmetic stuff and the rear door linkage stopped working. The seal on the sunroof needs repair. All stuff I am going to be working on. She is structurally pretty solid, little surface rust on some components but nothing too serious. She was well treated until I parked her and she went neglected for a over a year.
She did fire right up though. I found a leak on the oil pan when I pulled her out, shut her down and got parts. I just need to tackle that now.

The VC is shot, but I pulled the 249 out years ago and put in a 242, I still have the 249 I could put back in but it would need repair.
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post #7 of 26 Old 08-16-2017, 10:09 PM
GOLDWING
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamchris View Post
Yeah, Border... she has a few minor problems. I need to work out a death wobble which is most likely attributed to unbalanced wheels. I took someones word that they were balanced and chased the death wobble for a while replacing the steering dampener and ball joints. I also need to repair some cosmetic stuff and the rear door linkage stopped working. The seal on the sunroof needs repair. All stuff I am going to be working on. She is structurally pretty solid, little surface rust on some components but nothing too serious. She was well treated until I parked her and she went neglected for a over a year.
She did fire right up though. I found a leak on the oil pan when I pulled her out, shut her down and got parts. I just need to tackle that now.

The VC is shot, but I pulled the 249 out years ago and put in a 242, I still have the 249 I could put back in but it would need repair.
IMO the money to repair the 249 and the labor to swap back from the 242 is not well spent. There are good points to either T/Cs, but I don't see many threads about getting rid of a 242 to install a 249. YMMV.

GW

2 '98 4.0 ZJs
Hers is stock, mine, OME shocks, BB, Aussie, 2x6 sliders, 31s, etc.
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post #8 of 26 Old 08-17-2017, 08:28 AM
BorderWalker
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Gonna double what GW says. If you've already swapped in a working 242, stick with that. I only assumed you had a 249 because all the v8s came with them and you being a newer member, didn't think you'd tackled it yet.

Wheel balance, I recommend looking for a place which uses a GSP Hunter 9700. I recently went to one to get mine rebalanced and it made a WORLD of difference. I was getting a DW/vibration at about 50-60MPH and it went away next day. Place I took it to did all four wheels for $60. $15 per wheel.

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post #9 of 26 Old 08-17-2017, 06:41 PM
LouC
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The ZJ with the 242 and a good set of snow tires is an excellent winter vehicle. I drove our 98 through many storms with Nokian Hakka SUV tires and later on General Altimax Arctic studded tires. Only the worst conditions required part time 4x4, usually I just left it in full time all winter. Open diffs and all. And when you have a good heater core in them with a good 195* stat the heat works great.

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post #10 of 26 Old 08-17-2017, 09:34 PM
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The 249 is the best t-case for what the OP is describing, the 249 is the best road t-case. You can spend all the time and money you want with the 242 and it still won't be as good.


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post #11 of 26 Old 08-17-2017, 11:18 PM
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...Wow I think this is about the 1st post I've read here that everyone but me, Hates the 249 , I'm usually the minatory on this one. But here in Texas we don't have much snow & I was amazed at how well my little ZJ did it's job.
... Something I told people in the past ... I owned a parts store for 30 years & I drove a very ugly, back roads, 1980 Bronco with a 205 T/C . The town folks always ask me How my 4x4 worked in different weather & terrain.
One of my response was .. It's funny I thought the 4x4 was what'd I'd use to go in the snow & Ice. But that 205 "about the same thing as the 242''. My thought was it helped me slow down & stop more than going . 4x4 control Durning the stop ... KEPT ME IN MORE CONTROL..
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post #12 of 26 Old 08-18-2017, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
Iamchris
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What confuses me is that rear wheel drive is notoriously terrible in the snow, and as I understand it the 249 sends the power to the rear until it detects slippage. This should mean that the 249 is basically just 2wd with the ability to turn on the front end. That is all well and good, but I don't want to wait till I am sliding for the front wheels to try to save me.
In my experience, front wheel drive has always been more stable than rear wheel drive in the snow, especially since your motor is directly over the front wheels.

On the 242 I was reading that is something closer to a 40/60 bias in full time 4wd and that it will divert power to the slipping wheels. It seems like you are less likely to lose traction with all 4 wheels working.

If my understanding of these transfer cases is correct though, the 249 seems to send power to the front when the rear starts to lose traction, which would mean it tries to establish control with the good tires. Why does it not make sense to me that the 242 puts more power where it is already slipping? That just seems like putting weight on your broken left foot and lifting your right while walking with crutches, it is backwards.

Maybe I dont understand the concept fully.
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post #13 of 26 Old 08-18-2017, 09:53 AM
BorderWalker
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It functions a bit differently.

So the 249, depending on years, diverts power differently. 93-95 it was an even split, 50/50 bias to front and rear as far as power sent to wheels. in 96-98, it was an 80/20 Bias, with more going to rear than to front. When one of the wheels slips, the transfer case doesn't really transfer power. Instead, the Viscous Coupler inside the 249 locks up and prevents the front and rear driveshafts from rotating at different speeds. It's a good system, and the exact same that a Subaru uses in their AWD cases IIRC.

The problem with the 249 cases and viscous couplers is what you've already experienced: When the coupler gets used or is well worn, it tends to stay locked up. The costs and labor to replace the Viscous coupler means that most go with swapping cases instead on these [Myself included] as it can be cheaper and will last longer if it's still a good case.

The 242 4PT functions similarly to the 249 when in lockup. By this I mean it prevents the axles from rotating separately, which is why it’s a mode recommended for slippery conditions and not on road. Fluffy snow, ice, and mud. When in FT, both axles are sent power but can spin independently. Good for slightly slick conditions like Rain or packed snow. IIRC the 242 splits power 40/60 with a rear bias when in FT or PT

And then you have the 231 which is like a 242 but without a 4FT mode and better interchangeability between modes.

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post #14 of 26 Old 08-18-2017, 10:18 AM
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In full time the 242 sends power to both axles equally. The transfer case does not lock the front and rear axles together. That allows the axle with the least traction to spin while the axle with traction loses torque. With a 249 when the rear axle loses traction it transfers more torque to the front axle. The problem is the 249 can react to a low or mismatched tire as if it were losing traction and try to lock the two axles together and do damage to the viscous coupler and possibly other parts of the drive line.

I run my 242 in full time quite a lot out wheeling. I have an Aussie locker in my rear differential that makes full time much more capable. In part time with both axles locked together, it is pretty impressive what it will go through.

GW

2 '98 4.0 ZJs
Hers is stock, mine, OME shocks, BB, Aussie, 2x6 sliders, 31s, etc.
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post #15 of 26 Old 08-18-2017, 10:26 AM
LouC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kg6mov View Post
The 249 is the best t-case for what the OP is describing, the 249 is the best road t-case. You can spend all the time and money you want with the 242 and it still won't be as good.
The 242 is great in the snow in part time and full time for more moderate conditions. There is no VC to fail which is a big plus. Ours has 175,000 miles on it and has had only a fluid change every 30,000 miles.
It is also more tolerant of slight differences in tire wear...

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