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2WD to 4WD With Junkyard Parts

Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on September 1, 2011
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When the time came to transform our 2WD ’91 Comanche Sh!%box Derby into a full-fledged 4WD Jeep, we knew we didn’t want to spend a ton of money doing it. And since the truck was running and driving, we weren’t in a big hurry to pull it apart. So we took our time and over the course of a year we scrounged through junkyards to come up with as many used parts as we could to make it happen.

The Comanche is a relatively rare Jeep and the 4WD Comanche is even more so, but we were confident we’d be able to find most, if not all, of the parts we’d need by crawling in the dirt under pre-used Jeeps. The Comanche shares almost everything with the Cherokee from about the middle of the driver’s door forward, and knowing that fact opened up a ton of options. In the end we were able to pillage a transmission and T-case, front driveshaft, T-case shift linkage, and console insert out of donor Cherokees. Because we had time we were more selective with what we pulled and only grabbed the best parts, so we were able to do the swap without rebuilding or even resealing the tranny or T-case.

We pulled the AX-15 transmission and NP231 T-case out of a ’91 Cherokee that had very low mileage. While the T-case had the ’91-only speedometer sending unit, the input shaft of the transmission told us that the tranny was swapped into the Cherokee from a later-year Jeep.

We have no problem at all buying a 2WD XJ or MJ because we know that it is possible to convert them easily and cheaply to 4WD. It’s a complete bolt-in swap. And, in the case of MJs, we find the 2WD ones to be straighter with less Unitbody fatigue. We’ve done this quite a few times now and we’ve picked up some tricks along the way. So if you are saddled with a 2WD XJ or MJ, or you are thinking of buying one, we say go for it and then follow these tips to easily make it the Jeep it should be.

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Madison, WI 53719
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Paso Robles, CA 93446
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Ogden, UT 84404
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Sulphur, LA 70664
Crane High Clearance

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