|Author: Jay Kopycinski August 2001||
The Toyota transfer case is a sturdy and reliable unit and with the addition
of lower aftermarket gears can become a true hard core crawler. The transfer
case uses a single shift lever to allow shifting into 2WD high range, 4WD high
range, or 4WD low range. However, there is greater versatility to be gained from
the gears churning inside.
With a front locker installed, especially one that cannot be fully unlocked like an ARB or electric locker, it is sometimes hard to steer when the locker is bound. In such a case, it can be helpful to unlock the front end to negotiate a turn. One way is to unlock one of the front hubs. This is a rather inconvenient method.
Another is to use a twin stick shifter such as the one available from Front Range Offroad Fabrication. It allows you to shift into 2WD low range and thus free the movement in the front axle to allow you to turn easier when running a racheting style front locker such as a Lock-Right or Detroit. The FRORF shifter kit (shown here at left) comes loosely preassembled so it is easy to see how everything fits together.
|Transfer Case Modifications|
To begin the install, we removed the transfer case. This involved removal of both driveshafts, transfer case crossmember, and speedo cable. Also, the shifter mechanism was removed by accessing the shifter under the rubber shift boot in the cab and removing the four bolts holding the shifter assembly to the top of the transfer case. Once the case was unbolted at the transmission, it slid right out.
|Removing housing plug||Plug, spring and ball|
The bench work is a fairly simple task. The goal is to remove the small steel interlock pin that keeps the two shift fork shafts captive to each other.
We started by removing the plug on the left hand side of the transfer case using a metric hex key. Once the plug was removed, we pulled out the spring and ball.
|Here is the roll pin|
To free the interlock pin it is necessary to slide the high-low shift fork shaft forward in the case. To do so requires the removal of one of the roll pins that holds one of the shift forks to the shaft.
Using a small punch, we drove the roll pin out of the shift fork and shaft. You'll need to catch it underneath the rail using a magnet or fingers. Ours got away from us and fell into the case. Luckily, it fell out once we flipped the transfer case upside down.
With the roll pin removed, we slid the high-low shift fork shaft forward. Next, we tipped the transfer case on its side and the steel interlock pin fell out of the hole where the plug was removed.
Then we slid the high-low shift fork shaft back into the case and reinstalled the roll pin into the shift fork and shaft. Finally, we reinstalled the ball, spring, and plug.
|Removing interlock pin||Reinstalling shift rod pin|
This completed the internal transfer case mods. Pretty simple!
|Twin Stick Installation|
|Installing new top plate|
To begin the kit install, we bolted the supplied aluminum shifter base block onto the top of the transfer case using the supplied bolts. We added a little silicone sealer to form a gasket.
With the transfer case bench work complete, we reinstalled the transfer case in the truck.
The top portion of the kit contains the two new shifter rods with knobs. The rods have hardened ends on the bottom where they mate to the shift forks inside the transfer case. These two rods are bolted into the aluminum shifter plate that bolts to the base plate using four supplied socket head cap screws. Along with this, the top sheetmetal plate and dual rubber boot are bolted down together. The shift plate also has a small vent fitting installed to replace the original method of venting through the stock shift rod.
With the shifter kit fully installed we added the optional dual shifter floor boot that Front Range Off-Road sells. In our case, we had a custom console and had previously used a small Hurst single shifter boot. When installing the optional dual boot in a stock console it would most likely require fabrication of a small plate to hold the boot in place on the console.
With the console reinstalled, we were done and ready for a test.
|A view from the cab|
The shifters work great. The left side shifter allows us to pick high range, low range, or neutral. The right side shifter allows for the choice of 2WD or 4WD. (Note: If needed the shift rods can be bent in a vise to change their shape as needed.) We now get fully independent operation of the two shift fork shafts in the transfer case.
Thanks for reading!