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Old 02-26-2007, 01:10 PM   #1
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4WD Shift Motor Replacement

This is for the replacement of the vacuum controlled 4WD actuator in the front axle of my '89 YJ. It really was an extremely simple swap that took less than 1.5 hours. I purchased the motor from Advance Auto for $82 after they matched an internet price. The box contained the following:

1 shift motor
4 bolts and lock washers
1 large and small e-clip
1 o-ring
1 cover gasket

Instructions:

1. Jack and support vehicle if you feel necessary and place something to catch oil under the motor cover(I used a towel)

2. Remove 3 vacuum lines going into shift motor

3. Remove 4 bolts in each corner of the cover and pull cover off; it may take some prying and pounding
This step frightened me as 3 of the 4 heads snapped right off leaving the rest of the bolt. I sprayed the remains with an rust loosener and let them sit for 20min while I worked on replacing the shift motor in the cover. I then took vise grips, clampped them on as much of the bolt remains as possible and they came right out. I think the corrosion in the cover is what did them in, I was able to remove by hand after the first turn.

4. Once the cover is off you need first mark the fork location in reference to the housing and then remove 2 e-clips holding the motor shaft in place. One is on the shaft and the other larger one is against the cover holding the motor in there tight. This was a pain to get on and off and took the longest. I ended up just breaking it since a replacement was included.

5. Place the new o-ring the the new motor and slide it through the housing and into place. I put a drop of oil on the o-ring to slide it into place easier. The shift fork must be in place for the shaft to slide through.

6. Put the new large e-clip on first, this too was tough. I used channel locks to force it down into place. It is a very tight fit and may take some time to get in place. Next replace the e-clip on the shaft to hold the fork in place; this one was much easier.

7. Sandwich the new gasket between the axle and motor housing and tighten in place with 4 bolt and lock washers.

8. Hook it up and you're ready to go.

I do have some pictures I'll post up later, but it really was very simple and nothing was hard to find. Hope this helps someone in the future.

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Old 02-26-2007, 04:20 PM   #2
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Great write-up. I will sticky this, because I know it will be useful to someone. Please do load your pictures when you can.

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Old 02-26-2007, 05:44 PM   #3
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Sorry I dont have more or better, but once I put them on the PC some didnt come out too well. This should be enough to get it done. Let me know if you need help or have questions.

Picture 46-1 shows the location of the 4 bolts on the axle

2-1 shows in the axle with the cover removed

1-1 shows the cover removed with the new and old shift motor
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:21 PM   #4
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Thumbs up the Sticky Cookbook.

Sticky, Your recipe for the four wheel shift motor replacement was fantastic. I am having a problem with the same stuff. my delema starts with the kid that owned my 92 yj before me being a Jiffy lube mechanic thinking he new a bunch and Mickey Mouse is now a common term I use when referencing my jeep. Instead of replacing the vacuum motor with new stuff he installed a 4x4 Posi-lock. Allthough I get the convenience angle Its the cheap way out. Would you have any advice for me dealing with having to uninstall the posi-lock and wanting to install the orginal equipment? I think its really important for me to do this. The cable is not the greatest for me. Thanks. P. S. No offense to any Jiffy Lube mechanics who know what they are doing should be inferred.
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:33 PM   #5
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vacuum

another question for ya.That guy tore out the vacuum lines. Any ideas on where to get besides the dealer. The one in my area knows more about dishwashers than jeeps. Sorry about the lack of basic auto knowledge on my part. This is my new found source of unconditional love.
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:40 AM   #6
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As for the vacuum lines, you'd be surprised how many folks run a posi-lock and have the vacuum lines in a box in their garage. Try posting a "want to buy" on a couple different 4x4 forums and see if you get a hit if your not in a big hurry.

Ask your parts guy at the dealership to check Jeep PN 53002033 and see if that's the part you're missing. It should be the harness that runs from the transfer case to the shift motor.
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:53 PM   #7
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I don't know that I would call the posi lock the cheap way out. I installed it an it was one of the best upgrades Ive done. It locks in when I want it to and can be done on the move. The vac. system just has too many parts that can fail (one reason it was only used 3-4 years, Its a flawed system) but then again some guys swear that its better than the lock. To each thier own i guess. Just my 2 cents
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:32 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=porkchop71;86782] Would you have any advice for me dealing with having to uninstall the posi-lock and wanting to install the orginal equipment? QUOTE]
Yes. dont do it. I just installed the posi-lok and love it!!!! When its in you know its in!!!! My 4x4 light even works now
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:44 PM   #9
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Where is a good place to buy the actuator? I found one for $70 or so online. Im now sure a good parts place.

THanks,
Bob
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:19 PM   #10
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i used a permi-lok (like a posi-lok but no cable. it is always locked for 4x4) because who in their right mind would spend money on a D30?
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:22 PM   #11
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i agree the posi-lok was the first upgrade i made when i bought my 88 yj
that was 5 yrs ago, u dont have to worry about stuff cutting or yanking
off vac. hoses
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:35 AM   #12
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What happened to the pics for this write up?
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:10 PM   #13
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helllou?
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:37 AM   #14
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It is really great write up.
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:52 PM   #15
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lol i looked at mine today, to see if it was worn and needed replaced, come to find out the guy thats had it before me, some how used a bolt and a nail to perma lock it, but o well works good off road

^2 where the pics go?
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:13 PM   #16
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were is a good place to find a posi lock becouse i just got my first yj and the actuator is busted and i found a used one for 50 should i even bother or just go with the posi lock instead
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:30 PM   #17
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time for a new cable maybe?

I had alot of problems with my four wheel going in and out. I think the cable is messed up. Some times I could get it to catch and sometimes not. Im not worried about the whole I want original equiptment thing. I just really want to have my four wheel bulletproof. And have it want I want it. It might be time to put another cable in. The one in there is at least seven years old.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:09 PM   #18
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Im new to the WF, but i have replaced the shift motor before. You r right on with the steps. I did eventually get away from the vacuum though and went with the cable engaged system and am very happy with it so far.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:11 PM   #19
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Quadratec has some good parts. i get a lot from them
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:18 PM   #20
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how much trouble was it to swap the GM parts into your Jeep on a scale of 1 to 10 do you think?
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:33 AM   #21
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i took the cover off used a tin snips to cut the vacuum motor off then i pushed the shaft in and moved the selector over to lock the axle put alittle silicone on the inside i just used a chisel to "stake" the shaft in place then i put alittle oil in the cover and pluged all the vac lines and put it back together... so far so good
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:25 PM   #22
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i have a posi lock and ive been having problems with the the outer axles splines getting ripped off, i have a new fork and all that good stuff and even with the new axles its slipping slightly and ripping up the new axle
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:07 PM   #23
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Sliped back out of 4WD

So I replaced the 4WD actuator and it is now working great. When I shifted into 4WD their was a noise when the 4WD engaged. I then backed the rear wheels into a snow bank and tried to use the front tires to pull me out. It made another loud noise and disengaged the front tires. Now they will not re-engage. I am stumped as to what my next step should be. Please help!
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:37 PM   #24
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Just found the problem. The old front drive shaft appears to have been welded back together and once loaded heavily it just snapped. I started a new thread on my need for good directions to replace this drive shaft.
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:59 PM   #25
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ok guys...im fairly new to the jeep world however i consider myselft pretty handy when it comes to mechanical stuff. been around them enought to know how to fix a broken part. my problem is finding out what that problem is. sometimes my 4wd will engage and somtimes it wont. i live in maine and right now it has been about 0-10 degrees F for about 2 months. someone said it could just be semi frozen as i do not use the jeep at all. in fact it has been sitting still since about november. where do i start? its a 93 YJ and have been told by the guy i bought it from has new rear ends in it with matching gears. the 4wd did work when i first bought it back in april 2010 and used it frequently. tried it the other day just for kicks in the driveway and will not engage. the light comes on and the shifter will move but i get nothing from the front wheels???? any pointers to get me started are greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:33 AM   #26
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Quick and easy test:
1) Jack up the front passanger wheel so that it spins freely in 2WD.
2) Put the Jeep in Neutral and engage the emergency break.
3) Start the jeep.
4) Crawl under the Jeep and look at the front axle. There is a small disk shapped metal object with two vacuum lines and a few wires connect to it. This is the 4WD actuator.
5) Disconnect the vacuum line closest to the passenger side wheel. Check to see if there is a vacuum to it by holding your thumb over the end of the hose.
6) Reconnect the hose you just checked.
7) Disconnect the vacuum line closest to the drivers side.
8) Check it for vacuum the same way.
9) Now get back in the jeep and put the jeep in 4WD High (one shift down).
10) Perform the same vaccum check on both lines. The vacuum should have switched from one side to the other.
11) If a vacuum is detected and it chages when you shift into 4WD then this tells you that the vacuum is working and your shift problem is probably with the 4WD actuator or the fork.
12) Reconnect the vacuum lines and check to see if the front tire spins freely. If it spins and also spins the drive shaft going back to the transfer case then your 4WD is working. If it spins freely and the drive shaft does not spin then your 4WD actuator needs to be replaced.

If this is the case replace the 4WD acctuator. There are several great descriptions in this link as to how to do this. It is easy and the part only costs about $90 from Autozone.
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:23 PM   #27
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hello Jdean14 - thanks a million! it finally warmed up a little here so i went out this weekend and did just as you described. whamo - had vaccuum in 2wd on the passenger side, shifted to 2wd and had vaccuum switch to the drivers side. while in 4wd i could spin the tire freely and the driveshaft remained still. i will be replacing the actuator as soon as i can scrap up the $100. i will post details and pics if it would help someone else.
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:15 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdean14 View Post
Quick and easy test:
1) Jack up the front passanger wheel so that it spins freely in 2WD.
2) Put the Jeep in Neutral and engage the emergency break.
3) Start the jeep.
4) Crawl under the Jeep and look at the front axle. There is a small disk shapped metal object with two vacuum lines and a few wires connect to it. This is the 4WD actuator.
5) Disconnect the vacuum line closest to the passenger side wheel. Check to see if there is a vacuum to it by holding your thumb over the end of the hose.
6) Reconnect the hose you just checked.
7) Disconnect the vacuum line closest to the drivers side.
8) Check it for vacuum the same way.
9) Now get back in the jeep and put the jeep in 4WD High (one shift down).
10) Perform the same vaccum check on both lines. The vacuum should have switched from one side to the other.
11) If a vacuum is detected and it chages when you shift into 4WD then this tells you that the vacuum is working and your shift problem is probably with the 4WD actuator or the fork.
12) Reconnect the vacuum lines and check to see if the front tire spins freely. If it spins and also spins the drive shaft going back to the transfer case then your 4WD is working. If it spins freely and the drive shaft does not spin then your 4WD actuator needs to be replaced.

If this is the case replace the 4WD acctuator. There are several great descriptions in this link as to how to do this. It is easy and the part only costs about $90 from Autozone.
My Jeep's front passenger side tire does not spin in 2WD. However, I'm in 'Park'. Does that make a difference?
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:34 AM   #29
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89JEEPYJ, it sounds like you need to adjust your cable so it sits on both splines
equally. I love my Possi Lock, using 2WD low range is great on most trails.

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