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T-Case Linkage Redesign

October 24th, 2008 Posted in Drivetrain, Tech

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]

It couldn’t have fit better. It’s right up against the t-case when in the 2HI position.

[XJ on the left, S10 on the right]

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.

So, I removed the bushing and welded up the hole.

Then I ground it down smooth…

and drilled a new (3/8″) hole.

The next step was to make a new linkage… I got some 3/8″ female rod ends, all thread, nuts and bolts for about $20 at OSH.

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.

After some adjustments, I got the linkage to the right length.

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.)

And here’s the completed unit… talk about simplified!!

It works great; the shifts feel nice and solid and it retained the stock shift pattern.

  1. 83 Responses to “T-Case Linkage Redesign”

  2. By keith on Jan 27, 2009

    Looks great, any pictures of the finished product inside the cab?

  3. By JeepFreak21 on Jan 27, 2009

    Thanks Keith. No inside pictures yet. I’m going to give the shifter a little flair. When I’m done with that I’ll post some.

  4. By dave on Feb 3, 2009

    great design. mine is bent , so wanted to change it. thanks for the info. 88 mj

  5. By steve on May 11, 2009

    i have been looking for an idea like this for a long time as i bent my cross member couple times an has worn to. great

  6. By Tom on May 19, 2009

    Very nice write up.
    Do you think this will be working for the NP242 case as well?

  7. By JeepFreak21 on May 21, 2009

    Thank you. I’m not sure if it will work as well with the NP242. I would think it would though. There is a thread on NAXJA.org with discussion about this mod on a 242.

  8. By Victoria VanOrder on Jun 21, 2009

    Your Shift Linkage is Awesome. I have a Thread on the Teraflex Shifter on NAXJA and went with the Novak Shifter (very expensive) because I had to have it installed before the weekend and the 4×4 Shop had the Novak in Stock.
    There are people who posted about your Shift Linkage with Photos. Wished I went with your System. Very simple and very effective and doesn’t cost almost $200! Great Job! Super strong. http://naxja.net/forum/showthread.php?t=993786
    The Novak is Flimsy at best. Have to be careful not to bend the bracketry when shifting the Novak. Plus with the Novak, it leaves a huge opening for the Shift Cane and Engine and Exhaust System heat just pours through the Hole. I recommend your Linkage for sure!

  9. By Neil on Nov 17, 2009

    Does this reverse the shift pattern or not?

    Good writeup, I am following your T-case clock exactly.

  10. By kinney geer on Dec 1, 2009

    hey man would you fab up one of these for me? i have a 2000 cherokee XJ and just converted it to 4×4 and having linkage problems lol please help me out email me at kinneysoboba@yahoo.com

  11. By JeepFreak21 on Dec 1, 2009

    Sorry buddy. Our workload is totally full right now. Try the Novak one if you aren’t interested in making your own. Either that, or maybe somebody will see your post and email you.

  12. By kinney on Dec 1, 2009

    hey man whats the size of the heims you used???

  13. By JeepFreak21 on Dec 2, 2009


  14. By nick on Dec 5, 2009

    is the shift pattern reversed with this mod?

  15. By nick on Dec 5, 2009

    never mind just saw that it does at the bottom.

  16. By JeepFreak21 on Dec 5, 2009

    Actually, no, it does NOT reverse the shift pattern.

  17. By nick on Dec 9, 2009

    My bad i ment to say “doesnt”.

    Are the washers welded onto the linkage that comes off the shifter handle?

  18. By Joe on Feb 8, 2010

    Would it be possible to just cut the end off the xj arm and weld it back on so the arm would resemble the s10 arm? Like spon it 90 degress?

  19. By JeepFreak21 on Feb 8, 2010


  20. By Joe on Feb 9, 2010

    Would it just be flipped or is it more complicated?

  21. By JeepFreak21 on Feb 9, 2010

    It’d be nice if it was just flipped, but life is not nice; it’s complicated.

  22. By Joe on Feb 9, 2010

    Guess ill just grab the YJ one then and try it out.

  23. By truck7575 on Aug 8, 2010

    Why did you need to find a junkyard lever you could have just flipped over the stock one and it would have done the exact same thing. If you look at your first picture, the XJ lever on the bottom with the 233 facing up, if you just flipped it toaward the top lever with the 233 facing down it would match almost exactly. I only figured this out after I reinstalled the lever flipped after installing my SYE kit only to realize that the stock links wouldn’t hook up because the lever was on top just like it shows in your picture and not on the bottom like it should be. After flipping the lever back I was able to easily hook the stock linkage back up. Let me know if my thinking is wrong since I am about to do this modification myself.

  24. By Daniel on Aug 28, 2010

    where did you buy the rod ends? i dont know what OSH stands for

  25. By JeepFreak21 on Sep 6, 2010


    OSH = Orchard Supply Hardware

    They can also be purchased from Grainger, McMaster-Carr, and Summit Racing has a few different sizes as well.


  26. By JeepFreak21 on Sep 6, 2010


    You must have missed the comments right above yours? The lever won’t work flipped over. It will fit, but it will hit the t-case before getting full range of motion. You’d lose, either 4 low or 2 hi… I can’t remember which at the moment. Sorry to burst your bubble! ;-)


  27. By polarxj on Sep 10, 2010

    Have you had any issues with it popping out of gear when the drivetrain shifts? Or something similar? As you know, both novak and teraflex have a mounting bracket that attaches it to the tranny/tcase and I was wondering that actual benefits of the mounting bracket.

  28. By Jimbo on Apr 14, 2011

    hey man what are the rod ends actually called like turn buckles or something?

  29. By JeepFreak21 on Jul 4, 2011

    Mine said “rod end” on the package. dunno.gif

  30. By JeepFreak21 on Jul 4, 2011

    Sorry I didn’t see your question earlier. It has popped out of gear before, but very rarely. It happened when I was bouncing off the rocks going from first to reverse over and over. I still don’t see any reason to go with the additional bracket. I wouldn’t change anything on the design.

  31. By montanaman on Jul 29, 2011

    Will this work on a stock, unlifted XJ with the 231J? I was thinking perhaps I could use the stock TCase lever (pointing down) and use your rod ends idea bolted directly to that. What do you think?

  32. By montanaman on Jul 30, 2011

    Ok … I see it needs to be pointed up, or the shift pattern will be reversed.

    Another question: Instead of lengthening the shift arm that connects to the inside handle, couldn’t you just shorten the shift lever that connects to the T-case? Seems it’s always easier to shorten the piece instead of lengthening it.

  33. By 92XJlaredo on Jul 31, 2011

    (@Joe on Feb 8, 2010 “Would it be possible to just cut the end off the xj arm and weld it back on so the arm would resemble the s10 arm? Like spon it 90 degress?”)

    just did this mod last night, and NO you cannot do it that way, you need a different angle on the slot where it links up to the tcase, no matter where you cut or grind the plate off, my friend and i made one with some cutting torch action and a test and check method, seeing as how i couldnt find one from an S10, they all seem to have the electronic push button if they have a 231 tcase that is. thanks much for this write up though, followed it and modified it as necessary and works beautifully!!

    thanks again solved my issues and upgraded at the same time!

  34. By JeepFreak21 on Aug 1, 2011

    Yes, you could also shorten the opposite arm, but then you’ve got less leverage to shift the t-case. It would probably still work though.
    Good luck!

  35. By 92XJlaredo on Aug 1, 2011

    (@montanaman on Jul 30, 2011 “Ok … I see it needs to be pointed up, or the shift pattern will be reversed.

    Another question: Instead of lengthening the shift arm that connects to the inside handle, couldn’t you just shorten the shift lever that connects to the T-case? Seems it’s always easier to shorten the piece instead of lengthening it.”)

    also if you ever decided to to a transfer case drop you might not be able to get proper angles or leverage on the tcase arm.

  36. By montanaman on Aug 14, 2011

    You mentioned that it pops out of gear occasionally. Did the original linkage ever pop out? I’m not trying to focus on the negative … just want to get all the info before cutting my bracket away.

  37. By JeepFreak21 on Aug 15, 2011

    I’m glad you asked! It actually popped out a lot more BEFORE this mod. Before I did this, it was once every three trips or so… now it’s quite a bit more rare than that. I think it’s due to some wear inside my t-case.

  38. By jason on Sep 8, 2011

    do both levers have to be the same length for this to work? im trying to figure it out on my xj now….i modified my stock t case bracket and made it longer dosnt seem to be right…

  39. By JeepFreak21 on Sep 8, 2011

    No, unfortunately it’s not that easy. Obviously, there IS a ratio that you are shooting for, but I don’t have any better explanation for how to reach it than I laid out in the write-up.
    Good luck,

  40. By kinney geer on Oct 9, 2011

    Hey man,i still really need one of these. now can you make me one. im sure your workload is down now that its 2 years later. im still slightly retarded and cant seem to make anything myself. although i do alot of internet research but still cant seem to wrap my head around building a dang thing. so ill just buy one. so will you build me one now.. please. im asking nicely

  41. By JeepFreak21 on Oct 29, 2011

    Sorry buddy, we’ve been busier than ever! I’ve got something like 22 write-ups to finish and post! We are way behind!

    Post in your local NAXJA Chapter forum with a link to my write-up and ask if anybody there can take care of this for you… I bet you’ll find somebody that’s happy to do it.

    Sorry bro! Good luck!

  42. By Bryan S. on Dec 17, 2011

    I was looking at putting together a kit of sorts based on your idea, and getting the linkage bits waterjet cut at a local shop. Would you be opposed to this? Im not a shop myself, just a jeeper looking to make this easy for myself and other frustrated people on a budget.

    (Azzy on jeepforum)

  43. By JeepFreak21 on Dec 19, 2011

    Go for it bro! A link to my write-up is always appreciated, but the info is free for all!

  44. By orphen on Jan 22, 2012

    JeepFreak, you wouldn’t happen to have a part number for that s-10 shift lever would you? I’m having a hard time finding one. Thanks

  45. By JeepFreak21 on Jan 23, 2012

    Sure don’t man! Sorry! I’m sure if you went into the parts department of a Chevy dealer, they could give you a part number and tell you what other vehicles you can find it at under… maybe even sell you a new one. If I get the chance, I’ll drop by a stealership and let you know what I found out. If you get info before I do, could you do me a big favor and post it here for others to see?
    Thanks a bunch!

  46. By orphen on Jan 23, 2012

    JeepFreak, can you give me any details on that s-10 you found that out of? The guys over at the dealerships aren’t very helpful…at all >_>; Its like a needle in a haystack right now :|

  47. By JeepFreak21 on Jan 23, 2012

    Well, it was an early/mid 90’s S10 Blazer… 94 if I had to guess. They only came with one motor, a 4.3L V6 and obviously it was 4 wheel drive with a 231 t-case. If they can’t find it based on that, you’re wasting your time. I’ll try to drop by a dealership for you soon.
    Good luck,

  48. By bdserv on Feb 7, 2012

    Did some looking and it looks like the GM part number is 12541210.

    Check here:


    Part number 83

  49. By JeepFreak21 on Feb 7, 2012

    That’s great man! Thanks for doing that!

  50. By jpwizard on Mar 27, 2012

    What is the eye to eye distance on the modified TJ shift arm?

  51. By JeepFreak21 on Mar 27, 2012

    Well, there is no second “eye” on the shifter arm, but the measurement from the center of the eye to the center of the post/stud is ~2 3/8″.

  52. By martin on Apr 18, 2012

    Just an added note:
    The shifter from full size chevy trucks use a very similar bracket that also mounts vertically just like the s-10’s, but you will need to drill a new hole, since it’s up too high on the bracket.
    I just picked up one of each at the junkyard and I’ll be working on this upgrade this week. I’m tired of the shifter rod popping out of the bracket TC bracket.

  53. By JeepFreak21 on Apr 18, 2012

    Thanks for the info! Keep us posted!

  54. By hack on Jun 25, 2012

    any one need one?

  55. By DesertMike on Jul 10, 2012


    So I dont have to go to the JY, how much for a bracket sent to 92284?


  56. By hack on Aug 12, 2012

    sorry for the delay. havent checked the site lately. priority mail is 5.30 and i am getting bout 25 for em. . . an even 30 would cover it. one fella has sucessfully installed one on his xj with a little grinding and what not. i am working on installation on a lj and another fella is working on his tj. not positive it will work on an tj/lj yet as the shifter is directly above the TC and there is not much room. will post pics if if figure anything out.

  57. By TN12Valve on Dec 5, 2012

    I am working on this mod right now based on this write up. i just clicked the link that you posted to the Tcase lever from the s-10 blazer and got the part number. I called my local dealership and they told me that the part has been discontinued by GM. So i just ordered it from the link that you provided above. It strange how some dealerships can get this stuff and some cant…

    Also, while reading the write up, i got confused on how you “lengthened” the piece on the handle side. i see that you welded up the hole and drilled an new one, but how much longer did you actually make it?

  58. By JeepFreak21 on Dec 9, 2012

    Thanks for the info on the S10 lever. The inconsistancies amongst dealerships is certainly frustrating.

    As far as the length of that arm, remember that I modified a TJ arm, which is longer than the XJ arm, but I modified it to be shorter than it was. Honestly, I’m not sure how the final length compares to the stock XJ arm; you’ll have to measure yours and compare it to THIS photo.


  59. By Joey Bunch on Jan 8, 2013

    I wanted to know were you got your end links from cause I’m trying to build one for my truck ASAP cause my stock one broke bogging.

  60. By JeepFreak21 on Jan 8, 2013

    I did mention it, but it’s easy to miss. I got them at OSH (Orchard Hardware). I’ve seen them at the bigger Ace Hardwares and True Values, and even at Lowes once, but if you can’t find them locally, you can order from McMaster-Carr.

    Good luck!

  61. By MxM on Jan 26, 2013

    Hey What is the dimensions on that slot? length width angle from center.

  62. By bran on Mar 8, 2013

    looking at doing this to my tj, it has A 3 inch body lift and a 4 inch suspension lift do you think it would work? my 4wd is messed bad due to the linkage issues. also can you make a youtube video of it ! thanks

  63. By JeepFreak21 on Mar 8, 2013

    Honestly, I have no friggin’ idea. I’ve never even layed under a TJ and looked at the linkage. If I had to guess, I would say that the chances are slim unless you’ve clocked the t-case like I did. Let us know how it works out!

    And, no, I definitely cannot make a YouTube video for this. I’m not sure how I would even do that when the work is already done. I am happy to answer any questions that aren’t covered though.

    Good Luck,

  64. By blackout on Apr 29, 2013

    will this work on a zj with a 242???

  65. By JeepFreak21 on May 19, 2013

    I’m sure it can be modified to work.

  66. By Mike on Jul 26, 2013


    I haven’t been here in awhile either. I made my own bracket out of a piece of flat stock. Took an afternoon, drill, file and 12 pack to finish………

  67. By mike cart on Aug 10, 2013

    Just completed this mod to my ’99 XJ with a 231 T/C non-rotated. I adjusted my new linkage to be 5″ due to the non rotated T/C.I still used your measurements for redrilling the bolt holes at the end of the levers. The end result is the linkage is not horizontal like yours but in on an angle, which did not affect shift pattern or how well it shifted. The only change or note I would mention is to lengthen the shifter lever longer than what you call out… to try and get the linkage to be more horizontal.I used a couple of aviation grade rod ends that I had laying around and with a visit to my local pic-and-save they gave me the S-10 T/C shift lever for free, so with jamb nuts and threaded coupling barrels the mod cost me 8 bucks. Thanks for the inspiration and for the free use of your fabrication experience.

  68. By jeep4me on May 1, 2014

    In searching for a part for the infamous Jeep XJ Z shift I found this site. I liked the fabrication idea so decided to go that route. I spent a lot of time trying to find the same lever as used by Jeepfreak21. If anyone is still looking I found the exact one at http://www.areds.com/wp-content/uploads/GM-Transfer-Case-CD-Web1.pdf – go to page 46 towards the bottom of the page ITEM# 203. Their website is http://www.areds.com.
    I spoke with Frank at the Wichita, Kansas store and he was very helpful. I sent him a copy of the first photo of this fabrication in the AM, this afternoon he found one and sent me a photo of the one he found, it was the exact one. He stated that he had a box full of different types of levers and more than likely had more of this one. He shipped it out today and it will be arriving tomorrow. The cost was just under $30.00

  69. By Reverend on Jun 17, 2014

    According to jeep4me on 05/01/2014, Frank at the Wichita, Kansas A&Reds Transmission Parts store may be the guy to talk to, but he was unavailable when I called today. I unfortunately got to speak with his co-worker who is not so helpful. I was unable to even discuss the specifics of the mid-90s Chevy S-10 NP231 transfer case shift lever, and within 2 minutes of the start of our conversation he said he could tell I didn’t like him and he didn’t like me (which is a completely irrelevant observation to finding the correct NP231 shift lever). I will not be calling A&Reds Transmission Parts again.

  70. By jeep4me on Jun 20, 2014

    It would be safe to say over a period of 3 – 4 weeks I spent at least 72 hours including two trips to the local junkyards trying to get the lever. I wouldn’t give up on A&Reds just because they have a guy working with them that must have a miserable life. I would call them back and ask for Frank,talk as if you have been dealing with Frank. I have my linkage hooked up and it works like a charm. Mention to him that he got the same lever for a person located in Texas, it may help him to remember the lever. Also the lever will have the same number stamped on it as in the first picture of this post.

  71. By Reverend on Jun 23, 2014

    I got lucky and found the shifter on a 1992 Chevy S-10 Blazer at the Phoenix Pick-A-Part ($18). There were other Blazers there that had the electronic T Case shifter, but I think I found the only shifter in that yard for this mod.

  72. By Jody on Jul 9, 2014

    Did you ever get pictures of the inside?

  73. By JeepFreak21 on Aug 4, 2014

    Well, I’m backlogged like 30 modifications (many of which are not quite done) and someday I will get a chance to post them all, including the interior shots. Currently, the whole interior is gutted and a custom dash and console is in the works. When that is done, I know I will be super anxious to show it off. I would suggest subscribing so you get notified with I finally get a chance to catch up with posts here.

  74. By Victor on Oct 2, 2015

    In Canada we also need your help.My son just purchased a 2003 tj.We noticed the lever laying on the t.c. guardplate the seller said it comes off it can be reconnected.A few days later went to check the lever closer all the other levers was missing.Your mod will help me to fix this problem.Thanks very much,Victor

  75. By JeepFreak21 on Oct 2, 2015

    Glad it helped Victor!

  76. By Richard on Oct 8, 2015

    My 1991 XJ has a stock lever on the transfer case that is straight up, the sifter is almost right above that lever. It looks like I may be able to lengthen the shift arm about 12″ and make that configuration work. has anyone else come on this same configuration?

  1. 8 Trackback(s)

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