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Smoother NP231 Shifting With Custom Cable System

Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on September 16, 2016
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If you are one of those Jeep YJ owners who is tired of having the transfer case shifter hang-up as you’re trying to change ranges or find it slips out of gear at the most inopportune time or it’s just plain hard to shift, there’s a quick remedy. You can install a cable shifter.

A cable shift not only does away with the NP231’s clunky mechanical-shift tendencies, it allows you to mount the shifter just about anywhere you want, from the floor to the dash, or even overhead if you are so inclined. The shifter can also be angled for a better ergonomic fit to the driver without any adverse effect on the crisp, smooth range changes.

Making the switch in the way you shift the T-case is easy, as we found when installing a JB Custom Fabrication billet-style cable shifter on the NP231 in a ’89 Jeep YJ Wrangler. “The biggest reason our customers tell us they are purchasing our T-case cable shift kits,” says Jon Barricklow, the man behind the U.S.-made units, “is for transfer case swaps/clocking, or because they're building custom consoles where routing the mechanical linkage becomes a problem.”

Jon walked us through the process of ditching the OE setup for cable. It’s a smooth move and well worth the cost ($256) for the CNC-machined billet-model shifter with a 48-inch cable. The only change we need to get used to, other than how smooth the range changes are, is remembering “2WD” is all the way back and “4L” is all the way forward with the new shifter, which is the opposite of the stock shift pattern. That’s because the OEM mechanical linkage uses a bell-crank that reverses the direction of the shift.

JB Custom Fabrication offers two types of single stick cable shifters for the NP231J transfer case: Single Buggy (left) and Single Billet. The Buggy style is made from CNC-machined 303 stainless, while the Billet model is CNC machined from anodized black aluminum billet. Both install the same way.
After all the stock linkage is removed the 304 stainless JB cable bracket is bolted to the transmission using two existing bolts.
The new shift lever bolts to the transfer case shift arm.
Shift cables are offered in various lengths from 36 to 120 inches to fit the application. We used the standard 48-inch cable, which is secured in the mounting bracket.
JB’s cable is stainless, and uses a stainless steel pivot pin and hardware to attach it to the T-case shift lever.
Proper cable adjustment is 3 inches of movement, allowing the transfer case’s shift lever to cycle through its full range of motion.
The new shift knob shows the reversed transfer case shift pattern with “4L” forward and “2H” in the rear position.
JB Custom Fabrications single-stick transfer case cable-shifter is simple, strong, and well designed, providing smooth and trouble-free T-case range changes.


JB Custom Fabrication

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