I doubt an electric solenoid will work. A car window doesn't fall if you disconnect the battery. It has a natural resistance to movement that lets the motor turn on for movement and then off once the movement isn't needed. A door lock is similar. The motor just gives a push and a pull to mechanically mimic the motion of your hand pushing the lock. Indents in the lock mechanism are still critical to keep it engaged.
In contrast the vacuum diaphragm is designed to pull steady pressure on the linkage at all times. If the vacuum is disconnected the transfer case will pop out of gear. This is why I doubt you can use a Jeep cable shifter with our transfer cases. You would have to rely on the indent on the handle to hold enough pressure to keep in gear. Even if it would work for a little while any slack in the system that develops would leave you stranded. All the other available Jeep transfer cases, like the NP242 or NP231, stay in gear on their own and just need a push to pop to the next gear. Once it indents inside the transfer case it stays there on its own.
If you run a solenoid to electronically actuate the shifter you would need one that has an internal brake that switchs open during movement and closed when stationary. Such a beast exists, but it is much more complex and bulky than what you are imagining.
Look at the electonic solenoid on the back of an SX4 hatch. It is pretty large and bulky. If you run electricity to it for more than about 2 minutes it will melt all the insulation around the internal wires, in turn destroying it and starting a fire. A smaller solenoid will last even less time switched on. They are designed for a very tiny duty cycle.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 02:09:03 AM by captspillane »
Currently Inspected and Insured as of Jan 2013:
-1985 Eagle Station Wagon 258 T5 Stickshift
-1980 Eagle Station Wagon 258 Auto Fuel-injected with GM TBI
Minor Repairs Underway:
-1982 Eagle SX4 258 T5
-1981 Kammback 2.5L Iron Duke T5
Restoration Efforts Near Completion:
-1982 SX4- 401 NV3550
-1983 SX4- 4.5 MPI NSG370 (6 Speed)
Restoration Efforts Underway:
-1985 SW- 4.0 MPI AX15
-1982 SX4- 4.0 AW4
-1981 SX4- SD33T NV4500 (Turbodiesel 5 speed)
Future Rescue Efforts- '85 Maroon SW, '87 Limited SW, '84 Limited SW, '87 4 door Sedan, '81 2 door Sedan, '88 White SW, '77 4 door Hornet, '74 2 door Hornet, '79 Spirit AMX, '81 Kammback.
RIP- Red '81 SX4, '84 4dr Sedan, '84 SW, '81 SW, '80 Spirit, '83 SW, '83 4dr Sedan