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1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ - Project Teal-J II, Part 2

Right Side View
Craig Perronne
| Brand Manager, Dirt Sports & Off Road
Posted July 16, 2004

A Bigger, Better Transfer Case - Stronger and Slower

Project Teal-J II, Intro
Project Teal-J II, Part 1
Project Teal-J II, Part 2
Project Teal-J II, Part 3
Project Teal-J II, Part 4
Project Teal-J II, Part 5
Project Teal-J II, Part 6
Project Teal-J II, Part 7
Project Teal-J II, Part 8
Project Teal-J II, Part 9
Project Teal-J II, Part 10
Project Teal-J II, Part 11
Project Teal-J II, Part 12
Project Teal-J II, Part 13
Project Teal-J II, Part 14

After reviving the thrashed interior of our TJ in our last installment, we pondered what our next move for our old friend would be. It didn't take long for an answer to arrive. To get an idea of how the Teal-J works in its current form, we took it out to a Southern California area called Truck Haven to do some 'wheeling. After playing in high range for a while, we found a nice ledge to try to climb, which definitely required low range.

A first attempt was made to crawl the obstacle but the TJ would not go. We applied a bit of throttle to bump the Jeep up and over. This maneuver was promptly met with a loud bang, followed by some unearthly grinding noises and a bit of rude language. Looking underneath the Teal-J revealed no carnage, but as soon as we tried to move, the banging and clanging noises continued. We were barely able to limp back to camp, where our NV231 T-case decided it no longer wanted to be a part of the Teal-J and quit completely. We had our answer. A new transfer case would be next.

What we needed, while we were at it, was a set of crawler gears and a tailshaft kit. However, for a bit more coin, we could upgrade from our stock transfer case to an Atlas II from Advance Adapters. Having run an Atlas II in our '69 Bronco test mule for the last three years with no problems, we knew that the Atlas had some serious advantages over the NV231. First, an Atlas is gear-driven, meaning there is no chain to stretch or break.

The T6 aluminum housing is also one-piece and extremely beefy, meaning we don't have to worry about breakage. Another advantage is that low-range ratios of 3.0:1, 3.8:1, or 4.3:1 are available, so there is no need for crawler gears in the axles. Other pluses were that it is quieter than using a gear-reduction planetary set, and it offers a twin-stick setup, which allows you to disengage an axle for easier turning. The Atlas II is also shift-on-the-fly, a feature that can come in handy.

So our decision to upgrade to an Atlas II was easy. We selected the 4.3:1 low-range ratio for maximum crawlability. Once we got our mitts on our new Atlas II, we headed over to the pros at Off Road Unlimited in Burbank, California to tackle the install. While not overly complex, the install does take 6 to 8 hours in a shop, and does require some cutting, welding and fabrication work, so be prepared for that.

The work is well worth it, however. Our Teal-J now has a super-stout transfer case that offers the ability to tackle nasty sections of the trail at a snail's pace. The peace of mind that the strength of the Atlas II offers, along with its crawling ability, is well worth the extra expense and work involved in its installation. Follow along as we show what was involved in sliding the Atlas II into our TJ.

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Sources

Advance Adapters Inc.
800-350-2223
www.advanceadapters.com
Off Road Unlimited
www.offroadunlimited.com
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