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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Gang,

So after a day and a half I can say that my 4x4 swap is complete. I scored a np233-c from the local junkyard for $75 bucks along with the Journeys 4x4 conversion kit. I tested the t-case, cleaned and painted it.
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Anyway, the install was straight forward, but not without issue. The rear differential u joint bolts were stripped. Luckily, the harbor freight bolt extractor got them out with minimal effort. Finding the replacement bolts were not as easy as the dorman gm u- joint strap kit are too wide. They use a 11mm socket where the stock uses a 8mm. I ordered a new set from amazon so we will see if they will fit.

Otherwise everything else installed fine. The AWD case was much heavier and a bit larger than the np 233c.

Once I fired up the van, I cycled through the the gears to make sure everything was functioning properly. First off, it was very tough if not impossible to shift into 4x4 low with my foot on the brake(Yes, tranny was in neutral). So, keep your foot off the brake if you do it.

4x4 Low is definitely a turtle with the power of a bear. Once I make the shift into low, the van lunges a little bit and the toque comes on. The shift points are extremely low. I think it shifted into 2nd gear at 6 mph.

All in all, 4x4 high seems fine and I hope 2wd can save me a few bucks in gas. 87 costs around $3.50 a gallon so every MPG helps.

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2003 Safari AWD
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I am really interested in the 4x4 swap but I use my van for lumber/material hauling and I want to keep the space between the front seats clear. Do I just need to figure out how to keep the electric shift to 4x4 or do you have any other ideas?

edit: did you pull the transfer case in the yard or did they do it? My yards are pull yourself but climbing under those things in the mud here is not appealing at all.
-Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am really interested in the 4x4 swap but I use my van for lumber/material hauling and I want to keep the space between the front seats clear. Do I just need to figure out how to keep the electric shift to 4x4 or do you have any other ideas?

edit: did you pull the transfer case in the yard or did they do it? My yards are pull yourself but climbing under those things in the mud here is not appealing at all.
-Jim
No idea on an electric shift mod, but I will say that the manual shift lever is very close to the drivers seat. It really doesnt take too much space from the center.

To answer the second question, The wrecking yard pulled the t case. I went to Chuck and Eddies here in CT. They also warrantied it for 6 months.
 

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Common Sense + Critical Thinking
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First off, it was very tough if not impossible to shift into 4x4 low with my foot on the brake(Yes, tranny was in neutral). So, keep your foot off the brake if you do it.
That is probably one of the reasons they used the front axleshaft disconnect.

I am really interested in the 4x4 swap but I use my van for lumber/material hauling and I want to keep the space between the front seats clear. Do I just need to figure out how to keep the electric shift to 4x4 or do you have any other ideas?
Check out Gavio's or Mmusicman's shifters, or keep with electric shift and put it where you want.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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I am really interested in the 4x4 swap but I use my van for lumber/material hauling and I want to keep the space between the front seats clear...
I have the 233C 4x4 swap.. and the space between my seat is completely free and clear. I actually have a box that sits between my seats. My makeshift cable shifter is mounted to the side of my seat, and the shift lever pulls upward along the seat.

Here's a picture of it pulled up to the 4-LO position..
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It is simply mounted to the side of my seat base.
I designed this shifter lever with simple parts (from hardware store)
It does however incorporate a shifter cable (pulls though floor) attached to transfer case.
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And finally, here's an overhead view photo (with my center box box between seats).
Shifter essentially uses no floor space...
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It is completely out of the way and forgotten, but is VERY accessible and easy to use..
Just reach down and pull up! Couldn't be any easier and I couldn't be any more please with the results!
Shifter arm cost me about $10 worth of parts.
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NOTE: If you have swivel seat (with no base), then this shifter arm could simply be floor mounted to a vertical mounting tab mounted by the seat. Also note I have trimmed this arm length down a few inches since first installation.

Here is shift cable mounted outside under the floor-board:
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.. and finally the shift cable mounted to my 233C transfer-case
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My entire swap is documented here:

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Regarding 4x4 operation... YES getting in/out of 4x4 LO can sometimes be a bit tricky. It's a matter of "meshing" the low-range gear. You essentially want to be free-wheeling in neutral (sometimes coasting helps). If I have any extra difficulty, I simply shut the motor off temporarily which works like a charm. Same for shifting back out of 4-LOW. This apparently is a "common issue" with most 4x4 vehicles. I suspect even the electronic shifting setups still suffer from the 4-LOW meshing issue.. eventually locking-in while continually applying force.

Shifting in/out of 4-HI on the otherhand, is completely effortless, and can even be done while you are driving.

For bonus points.. here a video of my 4x4 shift lever...
(doesn't shift as hard as it may appear)
 

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I am really interested in the 4x4 swap but I use my van for lumber/material hauling and I want to keep the space between the front seats clear. Do I just need to figure out how to keep the electric shift to 4x4 or do you have any other ideas?


-Jim
I kept mine 233 electric not all that hard to wire up. I did not want that goofy shifter right in my way. Also Im not sure if it would work with a 3+ body lift. Lifting the body now changes the angles of the linkage. Likely making it even harder to engage. I like Musicmans But wont work with power seat base.
I find it funny how you hear "the electric shift fails", but yet think nothing of fixing other things that are prone or known to fail as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The linkage is adjustable so I'd did not run into issues. After a day of messing around, I found that the transfer case shifts the best in neutral on a flat surface
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with your foot off the brake
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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I like Musicmans But wont work with power seat base.
Thanks.. but not exact true. While mine is bolted to the side of my seat base, it would be nothing to install a small vertical bracket to the floor as your shifter pivot point. Lever would still pull up next to the seat, leaving floor space between seats open.

The electronic option is a nice solution, although more involved to install.
It's clean and professional.
But many opt for manual operation because NO parts to fail.
That's the beauty of manual.. you pull a lever and it ALWAYS works.
 

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01 Astro RWD Cargo, 97 AWD Mark III
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But many opt for manual operation because NO parts to fail.
That's the beauty of manual.. you pull a lever and it ALWAYS works.
That is precisely my thought behind swapping out the BW4472 for the NP231. Eliminate potential failure points while maintaining ease of service 40 miles from nowhere. No viscous clutch failure, No electronic burnouts.
 

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I was doing research for this swap I read that some guys had trouble with front end wobble or the front end acting bad on the highway at certain speeds. Have any of you guys had such issues? I plan on doing the np233C swap in the future but not if it comes with issues. Thanks, Mark
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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I was doing research for this swap I read that some guys had trouble with front end wobble or the front end acting bad on the highway at certain speeds.
The transfer case swap has ZERO affect on steering or suspension... none whatsoever.
 

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The linkage is adjustable so I'd did not run into issues. After a day of messing around, I found that the transfer case shifts the best in neutral on a flat surface View attachment 280988
with your foot off the brake
Would you post pic of the linkage? That is the distance of the throw at the top of the shifter, 4low to 2 high? That is something I haven't seen or read about.
 

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OK let me rephrase that, they had trouble with the front diff acting bad at highway speeds due to the swap. I will see if I can find the info and repost it here to make it more understandable.
 
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