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2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I did my research before buying my 96 zj 5.2l and pretty much knew that if it had a 249 t case, that the vc would probably be bad. Well it is, so im planning on doing either the 242 or the 231 t case swap. Im leaning towards the 242 as i will be moving to colorado in the near future. Heres my issue. My jeep is 96, and according to the how to's and write ups i have read, there were different cuts of the gears for 94.5 and up t-cases vs pre 94, and that they are not compatible. I from my understanding, the 249 will have a different sized input shaft vs the 242 or 231, and as such needs to be swapped. I have looked far and wide for a 242 and even a 231 from a 96 and up but i have had no luck. I did however find a 242 from a 93 as well as a 249 from a 93. Both of these guys are selling them for a very reasonable price, but im not sure if itll work. My question is.... if i were to get a 1993 249, and 242 t-case, and swapped the input shafts, would it work for my application or are there other factors that would prevent it from working such as driveshaft differences etc? Sorry for the long post, im just trying to get this resolved before i take this thing on any sort of longer drive, and i really want to get this project going lol. Thank you for your help


6 Posts
All swaps are possible...

Hi Andy,

Welcome to the forum. I'm relatively new to the ZJ and this forum as well.

You came to the right person. I just did this EXACT swap, but there are a couple of small hoops to jump through. You're gonna owe me a glass of good Rye Whiskey after this...LOL.

To answer your questions:
-249 and 242 have differently length shafts
-1994 1/2 Jeep switched gear cuts on the input shaft and and planetary and input shaft.

Things to think about:
If you put a 242 output shaft in your transfer case, you'll need to swap drive shafts, or have your drive shaft cut and balanced. The 242 shaft is about 1 1/2 inches longer. So cut and balance yours, or take one from an XJ, same year.

The 1993 242 tcase, has what's called an "internal slip yoke". Which mean the output shaft, has a tail housing (like a transmission). This design is protected from elements. The later 242 has an external, which is basically a slip yoke that is just covered by a rubber boot. It is subject to getting dirt and drying out. The 1993 internal is way safer in my opinion.

The 1993 242 has wider gears/gear channels, so buy the right rebuild kit (see link below)

So let's get into the meat and potatoes of it...

My swap:
I have a 1997 Jeep ZJ 5.2 with an NP249 (new gear cut).
I bought a 1993 NP242 transfer case (old gear cut - better gear cut) with low miles.

Here's what you have to do.
First, go to Novak and get the rebuild kit for THE EARLY MODEL 242 and one for the 249, I know, I know, I'm confusing you, but you'll see later.

Google Novak adapters for the NP242

Second, you are going to do what is called a HYBRID transfer case swap.
Here are some links:
good pics and explanation - do not have to drill a hole though for roll pin

GREAT technical post, read the whole thing: Especially the front case swap

Ok, I know you'll skim over those links before going back to them, so I'll bottom line you here:

GO AHEAD AND BUY that 1993 242 transfer case. Better case, tougher, stronger gear cut, internal slip yoke, wider bearings, etc.

You are going to go to your Jeep guy, and tell him to do a hybrid tcase swap.

Once the 249 is out and on the bench next to the 242, you open both cases. After rebuilding the 242 internals, bearings, seals, are going to put the 242 rear half, in the 249 front half. I know, your mind is blown...but relax young Jedi.

The 242 ad 249 use the SAME front half transfer case.
Since you have a 1993 old gear cut 242, and a 1996 new gear cut 249, the hybrid is how you make that work. If you want to be very thorough, buy two rebuild kits, one for the early model 242 and one for the 249, and rebuild both halves.
So you will be using the same front half that you just took out of your jeep. The benefits of that are, correct shaft lengths, NO NEED to swap drive shafts. The input shaft is the correct cut, because it was already in your jeep.

So your original front half will be mated with the 242 rear half. You just have to read the forums to make sure you get the 242 roll pin back in. You can wiggle it in there without drilling that hole. I don't like putting holes in things that hold liquid...just sayin'.

You will use YOUR 249 shift position sensor.
You will use THE DONOR 242 shift linkage off of the donor transfer case.

And boom, you're all done.

If you want to go above and beyond (I did), you will pull out your VIC, and swap transfer case wires so the VIC will now show only two wheels light up in 2WD and will show "Part Time" when in part time mode.

You can go to youtube and at 20:00, see him swap the VIC cables.

Hope that help my friend.

Jeep on,

21 Posts
Welcome to the GC world! I have a '97 5.2L that had the same crappy NP249 as yours. I did a simpler replacement thane the one already listed. I got a Selectrac 242 from a 96 and swapped it out. That simple, bolted right up, used my original driveshaft and swapped the transfer case shifter indicator plate, pulled the VIC and changed the connectors - done! It can be that easy, but you have to track down the parts. Give "" a shot. It is web listings by Salvage yards across the country. Look forward to seeing you out playing since we are relatively close in the area!

671 Posts
I did the 249 to 242 swap and never regretted it. Mine was a 93 and I bought the 242 from a mechanic/yard owner online in 2001 I believe who claimed it would be a direct bolt in, which it was. Only thing I changed was the speedo gearing to match my tires. Took a couple of hours and I was back in business. Put my original 249 in the crate and shipped it back.
Oh, since I was at the dealer buying the speedo gear I needed, I also got the TC shift indicator panel.

There's a reason they didn't make the v8 models 2wd (it was scary in rain). I ran mine in 4 high quite often on the slick streets or in snow/ice.

Cannot believe I found the info but I did:

Transfer Cases Unlimited
George Kreppein
Phone: 631-226-1448
Cell # 516-658-1440
Long Island, New York

1 Posts
I'd like to chime in because I just finished my 1996 ZJ 5.2 NP249 to NP242 swap today.

There's a bunch of partial and some just flat out bad info on this.

My rig is a 1996 5.2 with the 249. I grabbed a 242 out of a 1997 XJ.

It bolted in 100%. The input shafts were the same length so I didn't have to swap anything in the transfer case.

Here's the catch. My rear driveline is too long. It absolutely wouldn't fit and needs to be shortened about an inch.

I took the rear driveshaft off a 1998 ZJ 4.0 that has the 242 in it.

That drive shaft is about 2" shorter than mine. It works, drives fine but I do not like how little it's engaged on the output shaft. It's only on about 2".

Before I have my driveshaft shortened I plan on lifting the ZJ anyhow and am going to research if after a 4" lift if that driveshaft will work or if I'll need to shorten it.

Again, 1997 XJ NP242, 1998 ZJ 4.0 NP242 was the SAME input shaft length as my 1996 ZJ 5.2 NP249

4 Posts
Big Kahona has it covered to perfection! I did it too, and I will point out the 249 chain is MUCH wider and when the viscous coupler works it is a great transfer case! But I wanted to have 2WD, and I do get a tiny tiny bit better mileage (nearly undetectable). You can also get the shift gate and bezel (SelecTrac) which is kinda cool.
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