Even though the stock transfer case linkage seemed to work fine after clocking the t-case and raising it a few inches, the design was still overly complicated, and, more importantly… it was in my way, so it was time to redesign it.
I hit the junkyard to find a t-case shift lever that pointed up, instead of down, like on the Cherokee. I knew S10’s came with np231’s, so that was the first place I looked. I found one on a mid-90’s S10 blazer that looked like it would be perfect…
[S10 on top, XJ on bottom]
Next I needed to modify the shift arm that connects to the actual t-case shifter so that I would have full range of motion through the gears. I tried figuring this out mathematically, but I think it really ended up as a “guess and check” method. I did finally discover that my shift arm needed to be longer than the stock one.
I could have lengthened my original one, but I had heard that TJs used a longer shift arm than XJs and I thought it would be cool to be able to complete this mod without using a welder. No such luck though, as the TJ’s shift arm was a little too long.
The holes for the original linkage are about 7/16″ (after you remove the bushings), but 3/8″ seems plenty big enough and I couldn’t find any 7/16″ rod ends, so I welded a washer to both sides of the S10 t-case shift lever, reducing the size of the hole.
A Sawzall can help you remove the stock bracket that supported the bell crank without pulling the carpet. (The cut down the center wasn’t necessary… but it did help me realize that it would slide out of place.)
It works great; the shifts feel nice and solid and it retained the stock shift pattern.