1992 jeep cherokee lerado 4.0 ho 4x4

Want to start off by saying thanks to all the great folks here who take time out of their busy lives to help us out.

I have 2 questions but I will start off with a little back ground info on my jeep.

I got the jeep about 5 years ago for $100.00. was sitting in a co workers garage and he just wanted it gone. had 195,000 miles on it then. been sitting for a year or so, but put in a spare bat checked all fluids and it started right up. first thing I had to do was replace a bad alternator which took some troubleshooting to diagnose, but that issue is fixed, but then I had to rebuild the front axle as the u-joints at the ends that allow steering (not sure of their technical name) were very bad, one was even missing an end cap. replaced u-joints and bearings in the axle and brakes. Drove nice then. but I noticed that the 4x4 the front end would slip under even a slight load, Turned out to be a very stretched chain in the transfer case, later found that it was driven a lot in part time 4x4 even on dry pavement. Got a donor transfer case from a friends jeep he was scrapping, only the new one was a 242 full time case, old one was a 231 part time. after some reasurch was a bolt in swap, and even swapped lable plates and even got the full time light in the dash to operate normally. only way you can tell that it isn’t from factory is the drivers side visor don’t show the full time position. both full time and part time 4x4 now work well, but only problem now is that the 4x4 full time is nice to have but i’m sure that the chain in this transfer case is loose as well, not as bad as normal driving with it in 4x4 full time on light snow or ice for added traction it drives well, but if the front end comes under a heavy pull the chain will slip a bit, but only if pulling hard. (I know the risks of using a used part) The jeep now had 215,000 miles on it, it runs very well, only leaks a bit of oil thanks to walmart, but only have to add a quart every 2500 miles or so, so not worth bothering about, just keep a close eye on levels, something I have always learned to do as i’m used to driving old “beaters” that I just keep running. I do most all the work myself, so labor is not an issue, but my question I have for you experienced folks here is I want to keep this as my “winter beater” as I live in MN and in the snow it’s nice to have a good 4x4. I’m stuck in trying to decide if I should try to get another donor transfer case, will look for another 242 as I like having the full time option. or should I look at rebuilding the one I have now, (new chain, sprockets and all bearings ect) it shifts between all gears smoothly, both hi and lo range.

question #2 I have is on the belt. I noticed that there is not any type of tensioner on it. I was going to get a new belt for it as it is getting a bit cracked. but I found only way I can get belt off and on when I replaced alt was to remove the a/c compressor but it can be a pain to have the belt in place and try to get compressor lined back up in place. am I just not seeing the way to loosen the belt or is there no way to loosen it.

Many thanks in advance, this may be an older jeep with many miles but it still runs good and has many miles left in it


Re the belt, Look at the power steering pump. I believe that it is where the belt is tensioned. If you have the old transfer case laying around open it up and see if what it would take to repair it and whether you think you’re up to it. In your situation I would likely remove the front drive shaft to drive in the summer if the transfer case doesn’t have a differential in it.

don’t have the old transfer case. the one I have in it now does have a differential in it for the 4x4 full time position \ I drive it in the 2wd when not needing the 4x4 though. (optioins are 2wd, 4wd part time, 4wd full time, n, 4wd lo) I plan on either replaceing the 242 case with another used one or rebuilding the one I have in it now, just trying to decide best route to go, used to have the 231 case (options were 2wd, 4wd part time, n, 4wd lo) other than the chain slipping under heavy load, and only does it if it’s in part time (full locked) it runs/drives great. Just want to get this fixed before winter hits. guess what ii’m asking is would a used case be better than rebuilding the one I have, the labot is no issue as will be doing myself. .Also would it be better to remove the front drive shaft until I fix it even though I drive it in 2wd?

thanks for the info on the belt, i’ll have another look at the p/s pump, but I think it was hard mounted but will look again, maybe it was playing a trick on me at the time lol.

I have rebuilt New Process transfer cases and they can be expensive and somewhat difficult to deal with. And the models with full time 4x4 function have a differential and are significantly more difficult but not impossible for the patient/determined DIYer.

thanks for the advice, I can tackle most jobs, the main thing needed is a new chain and sprockets, just thought while I was inside the case i’d replace the bearings ect. I’ll have to see if I can find an used one and what the price is, just then i’m dealing with another unknown. If it’s not to expensive I may opt to replace the chain and stuff on mine that way I know I won’t be getting one that is on it’s last leg again. hate to pull the case only to put one with a stretched chain again, and would have to pull apart to inspect chain anyway,

anyone know of a easy way to check the slop in the chain with out disassembly?

Many many thanks


The New Process cases that I’ve seen fail were chattering in turns and with all four wheels off the ground the transfer case was quite noisy with the engine idling in gear.

Those models I have experience with have many dozens of loose needel bearings that can be a pain to get put in place and the coup de grace was dropping the screen door latch into the shift rod through the oil fill hole. I’m sure the engineers had a good laugh over that move.