RWD to 4x4 Conversion in a ZJ - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 24 Old 06-25-2020, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
JeepRocket
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RWD to 4x4 Conversion in a ZJ

Hello all, I am new.

This may be a tired subject, but I can't find any answers on the following:

1. It is my understanding that if you have a 1997 ZJ w/5.2L, you DO NOT have 4WD, am I correct?

2. Can it be converted to a 4x4? Yes, I know..... you'll say "just buy one that's already a 4x4..." but that's not the point. =)

Thank you all.

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post #2 of 24 Old 06-25-2020, 08:36 PM
MaintMech
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If two you have 4 wheel drive, if one then you don't.

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post #3 of 24 Old 06-25-2020, 08:40 PM
Maverickxeo
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Anything can be done with enough money. That said, I don't know if ANY 5.2L that were not AWD.
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post #4 of 24 Old 06-25-2020, 09:54 PM
kg6mov
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2wd 5.2 are very rare. They could be had some years though, and 97 may have been one.

If you're calling the second gen 249 not 4wd you're not even half right.

They interchange with all the other t-case of this era with the normal caveats if you want to swap to a non AWD case.


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post #5 of 24 Old 06-26-2020, 10:53 AM
LittleFootZJ
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Iíve never seen a RWD 5.2 and Iíve only seen one RWD 4.0 but I guess it doesnít mean they donít exist? Perhaps you are asking if the 249 transfer case has RWD because thatís what came with the 5.2? And the answer is you need to swap to the 242/231 so you can have the RWD option.


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post #6 of 24 Old 06-26-2020, 11:49 AM
nick613
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Are you asking if all 97 5.2s are RWD? Answer is no all our nearly all are fulltime 4x4 basically AWD with a 4 low option

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post #7 of 24 Old 06-26-2020, 06:16 PM
StormChaserTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleFootZJ View Post
Iíve never seen a RWD 5.2 and Iíve only seen one RWD 4.0 but I guess it doesnít mean they donít exist? Perhaps you are asking if the 249 transfer case has RWD because thatís what came with the 5.2? And the answer is you need to swap to the 242/231 so you can have the RWD option.


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Now you've seen two RWD 4.0L's!

Interesting tidbit, I was looking at a '97 ZJ V8 RWD about 200 miles south of me. About 5 years ago, I had a 2000 WJ V8 RWD. That thing would FLY.

I guess it's funny.....I've never owned a 4x4 Jeep!

Tim
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post #8 of 24 Old 06-28-2020, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
JeepRocket
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Whaddya know. I have a rare one! =) So rare in fact that the internet couldn't tell me that there were two different types! All I could get was that in 1997 that 4.0L were mostly 4x4 and that ALL 5.2L may or may not have been RWD. It wouldn't tell me! Now I know! (as an aside, youtube also answered this yesterday). This was my question in the first place. Now, how about production numbers on these variants?

So, my other question is: can it be converted by simply stealing and bolting on all related parts from another 4x4?

Also, the 242 seems to be the running favorite, am I correct?

I guess Tim and I have things in common. haha. His is just as dirty as mine! lol. Also wonder if he lives in Wisconsin.

Thanks for any further answers.
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post #9 of 24 Old 06-28-2020, 09:29 AM
LittleFootZJ
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RWD to 4x4 Conversion in a ZJ

242 is a popular swap because it came in the ZJ and the aftermarket support is somewhat decent now. The 231 has more aftermarket support but involves more to swap it in usually from what Iíve read. Iím still rocking the 249 though so Iím not too well versed.

Had no idea the V8 could be had in RWD. Not a lot of RWD Jeeps in general in my area. Which is funny because I live near LA where 4x4 is really unnecessary haha


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post #10 of 24 Old 06-28-2020, 11:07 AM
RedRiverT
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I'm not trying to be a jerk, but you're talking about converting a 2WD to a 4WD and you don't even know how to look under the front and see if it's 4WD or not. Converting is entirely possible by swapping in parts from a 4WD, there are threads on here about it, but you might be biting off more than you can chew.

I know there's the terminology point of contention about 4WD vs. AWD, meaning the traditional 4WD where you have the choice of 2WD (High Gearing Range) for pavement, 4WD (High Gearing Range) for dirt/muddy roads and snow-covered roads, 4WD (Low Gearing Range) for off-road driving, and a Neutral, or the AWD/Full Time 4WD set up where the transfer case is designed to work on dry pavement. If that's what you were talking about on how to tell if you had 2WD or not, then I withdraw my statement.

I'm sure there is an existing thread on here about production numbers. There is one a few days ago about the '98 5.9L production numbers, and I think it has a link or at least the site name of the guy's source.
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post #11 of 24 Old 06-28-2020, 11:16 AM
RedRiverT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleFootZJ View Post
Iíve never seen a RWD 5.2 and Iíve only seen one RWD 4.0 but I guess it doesnít mean they donít exist?
I've got a RWD 4.0 and have seen quite a few around here listed for sale. I've seen I think 2 RWD 5.2's in scrap yards.

It makes me sick to see all the un-wrecked non-rusty ZJ's sent to the crusher, especially the V8's, and knowing that it could very well have been junked because of a bad PCM or shorted out O2 sensor wire.
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post #12 of 24 Old 06-28-2020, 11:30 AM
StormChaserTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepRocket View Post
Whaddya know. I have a rare one! =) So rare in fact that the internet couldn't tell me that there were two different types! All I could get was that in 1997 that 4.0L were mostly 4x4 and that ALL 5.2L may or may not have been RWD. It wouldn't tell me! Now I know! (as an aside, youtube also answered this yesterday). This was my question in the first place. Now, how about production numbers on these variants?

So, my other question is: can it be converted by simply stealing and bolting on all related parts from another 4x4?

Also, the 242 seems to be the running favorite, am I correct?

I guess Tim and I have things in common. haha. His is just as dirty as mine! lol. Also wonder if he lives in Wisconsin.

Thanks for any further answers.
Heh, mine is dirty mostly because I have been refurbishing it, and it's been parked in the shop with the window open. It's actually much cleaner now, as it has been detailed and has been being driven since that picture was taken.

And I am not from Wisconsin. I purchased this Jeep as a dealer demo in south Texas. LOTS of Grand Cherokees sold at the time with 2WD. Just no use for it there.

Now, onto to a 4wd conversion. It's straight-forward, but it's not. The front axle, shift assembly, linkages, all that bolts right in. The trouble comes in that you need a completely different transmission to do it, due to the extension housing differences. Now that my Jeep is in Kansas, I would like 4WD, but I also have a new-ish transmission. So I really don't want to change the transmission again. A fellow could have a competent transmission shop convert a 2WD trans to 4WD, but since the overdrive unit is contained within the extension housing, you can expect at the least an overdrive unit rebuild, and at that point, you just may as well have the whole thing done. One you have the 4WD transmission, then you can bolt up a transfer case, and install the proper driveshafts, and you're pretty much in business at that point.

Long story short, I know you don't want to hear it, but the best thing to do, since ZJ's are still relatively cheap is to just get another one that is already 4WD. The dollars actually work out about the same to do it correctly, unless you have a whole parts Jeep sitting at your place.

Tim

1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, 4.0L 2WD, 355,000 miles.
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post #13 of 24 Old 06-28-2020, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
JeepRocket
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Thank you Nick and Tim.
Got to admit something here Tim, what is this four-wheel drive transmission you speak of? And all my research here I have not seen any mention a difference between one with a transfer case attached to it or not except for the tail housing and possible output shaft. Is there anything else I should be looking for?
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post #14 of 24 Old 06-28-2020, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
JeepRocket
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Oh and yes like my original post said, I know it will be cheaper to buy another one than to convert it. But that's not the issue here. 🙂
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post #15 of 24 Old 06-28-2020, 06:25 PM
kg6mov
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The 4wd version of the 44re has a different overdrive housing than the 2wd version, the difference being the output style (t-case pattern vs slip yoke).

To convert to 4wd at a minimum you need to swap the overdrive and add a t-case, then drivelines and axles.

I'd tend to swap in a built 44re instead of just doing the OD housing.


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Quote:
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I heard someone yell "mall crawler" from the back porch. I'll go see who said that. Be right back.
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