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231 question

Split the cases, or take a chance and install  

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  1. 1. Split the cases, or take a chance and install

    • Split the cases
    • Take a chance

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I bought a "spare" AX-15 last weekend for $125 bucks. The seller threw in the 231 which was still attached for nothing. The TC shifts threw all the gears, the seller said it "pops out of gear" when in low range. The XJ that this combo came out of was rolled, I think the linkage was probably knocked out of adjustment, causing it to jump out of low range. Question is, when a 231 is wore out, is it prone to "jump out of gear", or is a stretched chain the most common wear item to go bad on a 231? Or possibly the Unibody being tweaked, the cause of the problem. I've had a 231 apart before, so I'm not unfamiliar as to how the internals work on them. Maybe just change the oil and install when the time comes?

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The chain is the most common wear item for 231's. I'd take it apart quick and check the chain. Way easier to do on a bench top than under the vehicle...


You already know how to take one apart, they are EASY to work on!

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A rebuild kit is less than $200 and its a easy job! Just buy yourself a good set of split ring plyers and common mechanics tools are all thats required. The biggest issue is making sure the pickup tube for the oil pump dosen't pop off on assembly.


There are many writeups on line for tips and guidance.



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If the 231 is popping out of 4lo, it could be just the shift linkage not adjusted correctly.


I experienced that with my '89 last month plowing........just re-adjusted the linkage (again) and that solved the problem :D


If this was mounted........I'd say to check the tranny mount also.

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A worn chain gives the transfer-case a clicking, whamming, banging or popping noise when its under heavy load and engaged in 4wd - hi or lo. You can sure feel it when you drive the Jeep too!



Before you throw too much money into this one... If you are looking for a good t-case in the end, why not just go buy a good one? I've found that the best Jeeps to get a t-case out of in the junkyards are the ones with the CAD front axle because they aren't spinning the front driveshaft everywhere that the Jeep has gone.



I chose my case when I got one from the yard for parts and the internals of the CAD front axle case I got looked like new!



So why not just go get one of these? I bought mine for $150 (they had to pull it - wouldn't let me) and it was ready to run as is.

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Seems to me that just working the shaft and checking for play would tell if there is excessive wear. Worn chain wouldn't cause jumping out of gear. a worn syncro,improperly adjusted or worn shift mechanism would account for that. besides, I got half a dozen 231's I'd sell for $50 guaranteed. That's $50 EACH. Not for the lot.

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Think I'll drain the oil, look for debris. Go from there.

I am kind of leaning towards the linkage adjustment scenario though.

Pretty sure it came out of a non-cad axle. Definitely aint gonna put a $200 dollar rebuild kit in it, when used ones are plentiful for cheap (This one was-free). Either way, it has a 23 spline input shaft that I'm sure I can probably use some day.

Oh yeah, It's not like I'm needing this one, It's intended for a spare. Thanks for the advice and suggestions.


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First time I took my (98) XJ on a trail, it was just 3 years old, and (I'm guessing) had never been in 4wd low.


I lifted it, put 32's on it, but never tried driving in 4wd low.


First trail ride was a moderate trail (Florida Rd), at the first obstacle POP! it went from low to neutral.


Pretty much every time I de-accelerated, or let off the gas, POP! --> neutral. :eek:


I had no choice but to hold it in gear as I drove, (too muddy out to think about adjusting the linkage on the trail)

then towards the end of the day, it stopped popping out.


I guess it just had to wear in.


None of the other 231's I've wheeled had this problem, and it never happened to this one again. :dunno:

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