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RADesigns Rail Shifter for the AW-4


If you decide you would like to go with an illuminated switch for your install, this is what you will need.  It adds about $30.00 to the project.  All in the name of Bling...  Please look at the colored pencil drawing as this is what I did and it seems to be working just fine.  (I did not notice this before but the light pencil drawing is "something else" and should be ignored as it is not even for a jeep project.)

There are many illustrations on how to wire relays on the internet if you don't know exactly what to do.

Pin-out note for 2000 XJ TCU plug:
Pin #11- dark blue/white stripe - torque converter
Pin #12 - white - "solenoid A"
Pin #13 - orange/white stripe "solenoid B"
(I use a 2000 XJ description here.)

NOTE: make sure your TCU is mounted / grounded to the tub when testing and troubleshooting.  Fuse protect all +12 volt lines.

Rail Shifter / Console Install:
Normally I don't want to be like everyone else and do the exact same thing.  Usually it would be the smart thing to do as a beaten path is certainly easy to follow.  Some of you may know me and my Jeep and how I feel about it:

1 - It must be highly functional in almost any situation on or off-road.
2 - It must be extremely reliable.
3 - It must look slick...

There is only duct tape for getting home... There shall not be duct tape for going "there" only for getting "back"...

High Zoot double sided 3M tape is another story!



I wanted to place the Rail Shifter in the console and not scabbed to the side of something with overflowing epoxy and rusty slot head bolts.  The Dremel tool came in handy here and some eyeball guess work did too.


Using 3M tape and one 1/4-20 button top stainless bolt with a spacer, the Rail Shifter was firmly secured into the console.  It took some test fitting to get it in there but it went nicely.


Top view while fitting it together.  Careful you don't take the shaft out of the unit.  I think it would be hard to get back in if the larger shaft rotated, so take the ball off instead.

The top of the shifter housing will see grey paint to match the console. (OCD... yup)


Here it is all buttoned up.....and with some conduit and wire ties, it will be done.

Ending note:
This addition was not too difficult.  If you have the cojones to swap in the AW-4 then you will have no problem figuring this out.  Hopefully you have a AW-4 swap book compiled like me (which I put together as I did the initial swap). 

The XJ reference materials were helpful to show pin-outs on the TCU plug.  My new drawings helped make it possible too.  I highly suggest putting it all down on paper first as this is a worth while step.  Plus you get to color!

For safety reasons as mentioned to me by tjeeper:  Rest the Rail Shifter in 4th (forward position) when not in use just incase someone bumps a switch at highway speeds.  Slamming into first would not be well accepted by the occupants.  And, be careful with the torque converter lock-up.

Educate yourself about what you are going to do... as any modification you make you your Jeep is YOUR decision, YOUR credit, YOUR mistake or fault... By Doing this modification only you and no one else can accept the responsibility that goes along with it.

And finally...
My 97 Jeep TJ started out in May 5 1996 as a shiny new, white pavement pounding, gravel flinging fun machine.  Aside from the first three or so months of the TJs production being "different and unique", it has seen many modifications during many different phases.  I don't even remember them all.  There may be several things that have been done to my Jeep that may make an install different on my Jeep than any other as it has: Ford, Chevy, Buick, Volvo and Jeep parts on it including every year of TJ... Cherokee parts, FSJ parts.... Just so no one compares their shiny apple to my speckled banana...

Jeep on!
Tim :o)

Update:  05/05/2011  - (from Tim)  Here is a little post Moab, UT update for the Rail Shifter.....

First of all, I want to say that this does just what it says it's going to do. Second, is a lesson in dexterity...

Okay, here is kind of how this works in my TJ:

Manual Control:
(AW-4 transmission shifter position is noted first in each line)

Personal Problems:

I find that the Rail Shifter needs to be in 4th when the transmission is in "AUTO".  Otherwise it does not shift right. It is quite possible this is my doing but I look at it as a safe guard against accidentally going "MANUAL" at speed and slamming into 1st... Park the Rail Shifter in 4th when in "AUTO".

Install Notes:

Make sure you can operate everything in each shift position.  I mean, if the transmission is in 1-2 and it's hitting the Rail Shifter... not good.

Dry graphite lube is probably needed for the rail shifter.

Mine had enough clearance and it's controls are bundled in the same area. This is convenient and difficult at the same time and is something that I have to get used to. It will work perfectly fine as soon as I become "one" with the controls.

First Wheeling Impressions:

I am Happy with the fact that I can now select 1st gear and know that it will stay put. I feel that total manual control is not needed as long as I can have 1st gear. This controller is most likely overkill for what I need but I like the idea of control if the TCU poops out.

I wheeled both with the Rail Shifter and Auto control; I prefer the Rail off road and Auto on road although the Rail Shifter was nice on road in a hilly section south of Moab when the transmission wanted to "hunt".

Options are always nice to have, especially when compression braking down something like the Dragons Tail on Hell's Revenge!




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