2WD to 4WD - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 11 Old 08-13-2012, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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1993 ZJ 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Humboldt
Posts: 542
2WD to 4WD

I really want a mj but can only find 2WD. What is involved in converting to 4WD?
I know I need a transfer case and front drive line. I would like to put a AW4/231 combo in. I dont think I'll ever find an mj with an AW4 stock.

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post #2 of 11 Old 08-14-2012, 07:04 AM
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1990 MJ Comanche 
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Find yourself a Cherokee donor with the aw4/231/4.0 combo. Dime a dozen. Then you'll have everything you need and if you forget something, you can just pull it off the donor when you think of it...

90 MJ 4.0 4X4 5sp LB Pioneer Big Ton.
Truck contains parts from 3 MJs, 2 XJs, 1 TJ and a dishwasher.
Check out comancheclub.com...
My build thread: http://comancheclub.com/forums/viewt...hp?f=7&t=27756
Wifes: 97 TJ 2.5 4X4 5sp 31's stock. . . Slow but; reliable.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-14-2012, 10:01 AM
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The MJ and XJs are probably the easiest vehicles there are to convert. The floorpan is even stamped with the cutout for the transfer case shifter.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-14-2012, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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1993 ZJ 
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Thanks. I had to swap out my old 249 for a 231 in my ZJ and I had to swap the annuls gears in the t-cases to make it work so this shouldn't be to bad.

So as far as the front end is concerned, are all the gears there? I've never seen inside a 2WD front end before. Also, what about the yoke? What will I see on the back of the front diff?
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-15-2012, 08:18 AM
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The front axle on a 2wd is just a beam axle. You need a drive axle out of a 4WD donor.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-15-2012, 11:31 AM
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You'll need a Dana 30 (HP or LP) from an XJ, MJ, or TJ.

If the MJ has a 4.0, find a junk Cherokee with the same motor/transmission and swap everything over (transmission and all).

If it's a 2.5 5spd. You can use an AX5 and 231 from a TJ but, then you'll need to source a set of drive shafts or have a set made (good time to do an SYE I suppose).

1998 TJ 2.5 5spd
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-17-2012, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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1993 ZJ 
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Thanks sounds very do-able, pretty much what I thought. I will be looking for a 4.0 mj so I wont mess with the 2.5
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-05-2012, 06:11 PM
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1989 MJ Comanche 
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I took both rears out of my donor MJ when i converted to 4 wheel. That way you dont have to mess with the gearing. And The axle bolted right up.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-12-2012, 02:11 PM
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2000 TJ Wrangler 
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There is a bit more to it then just a straight swap.

Axles are difreant in the way they mount to the leaf springs and to the coil springs.

Also getting the transfercase mounted up is a wee bit tricky. It is not to bad if you have all the right tools and a good garage to do it in.

This is not for the regular guy. It is alot more to then just adding a lift kit to your rig.

You will need access to welders and cutting torch and air grinders for cut off.
and a way to support both rigs to get the work done right. and some help from a couple of friends will come in handy.

You will also need to strip out the interior around the front seats to cut the floor pan. and be able to tap and drill our the holes for mounting the cross-member for the transfer case.

It seems like I forgot something, but those are the highlights of the one I did.

Also while you are at it, get the lift kit to go in while you have everything off. replace all the bushing in the front end or you will do it agian in 4 months.

you will need to have it all alligned when done.

Sure a piece of cake, walk in the park, 4 months later you will ask yourself what have I got myself into. keep looking for a 4X4 commanche.


With 20 years in the US Navy, and nine+ years underwater on Nuc Subs.

And they wonder why I am the way I am!!!!!!
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-12-2012, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, seemed a little too good to be true.
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post #11 of 11 Old 09-19-2012, 12:34 PM
Pete M
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1988 MJ Comanche 
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Location: S/E Michigan
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If you buy the right parts, everything will be bolt-in.

for the simplest swap get:
2wd MJ with the engine you want and the trans type you want.
4wd XJ of same era (87-90 or 91+) with same engine and trans.

and I would add to it:
WJ lower control arms (they will be in much better shape and have a bend to clear tires)
2" spacer pucks up front and Chevy drop shackles out back, or a full lift kit (2wd are a bit lower than 4wd and if you're going to do a lift, now's a good time)

that'll allow you to keep your rear axle, avoid any wiring issues, and the only thing you'll need to farm out is a shorter rear driveshaft (I had my 2wd shaft shortened for $30 at a local shop).

One caveat, if you live in a high-rust area, it makes everything that much harder.

Now, you can increase the difficulty a bit and convert using other years of parts or other models' parts, but if you do your homework and plan ahead (get a good floor jack, stands, etc) it can be done in a driveway over a long weekend by yourself (it's been done). It's a LOT easier with 2 people though.

-88 MJ; 4.0L, ex-2wd, TJ ax15/231, 78 Ford D44 w/spool, 9" w/posi, 33" trXus MTs, custom roll-bar/bumpers/etc.
Also an 86 MJ Metric ton and 2 '90 MJs
Projects/wheelin' pics: picturetrail.com/petermontie
My email: petermontie@hotmail.com
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