How to Replace a Jeep Grand Cherokee Front Axle

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The front axle on a Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers power to the front wheels from the transmission. The axle has two joints, called CV joints, that flex and allow the axle mobility when turning and going over bumps in the road. When the axle fails, it is usually because of CV joint failure. This often presents itself as a clicking or grinding noise when you make turns. When this happens, you must replace your Grand Cherokee's front axle.

Things You'll Need

  • Tire wrench
  • Jack
  • 2 jack stands
  • Spindle nut socket
  • Socket wrench with socket set
  • Zip ties
  • Pliers
  • Impact wrench with air compressor
  • Tie rod end puller
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Hard grease
  • New cotter pin
  • Break the front lug nuts loose with a tire wrench. Turn the lug nuts counterclockwise approximately 45 degrees.

  • Engage the emergency brake.

  • Raise the Jeep onto jack stands, using the floor jack. Lift up on the front cross member behind the radiator, and place jack stands under the front cross member or the side pinch welds underneath the front doors.

  • Finish removing the lug nuts, and lift the wheels off and away from the vehicle.

  • Remove the center spindle nut with a socket wrench.

  • Remove the brake caliper mounting bolts, and secure the caliper to the upper control arm or to the coil springs on the suspension using zip ties. Make sure that the caliper isn't hanging by the rubber brake hose and that the hose is not being kinked or bent in an awkward position.

  • Pull the brake rotor off the hub assembly.

  • Pull the cotter pin from the drive shaft bolt with a pair of pliers.

  • Remove the drive shaft nut using an impact wrench.

  • Loosen the tie rod end bolt with a socket wrench.

  • Lift up on the hub and steering knuckle assembly while swinging it out and away from the vehicle. Then pull the axle out of the wheel hub assembly.

  • Pull the axle out of the transmission of the Grand Cherokee. You may need to pry the axle out of the transmission with a small, flat-head screwdriver if it does not come out easily.

  • Install the new front axle. Installation is the reverse of removal. Apply a small amount of hard grease to the snap ring on the axle to make installation of the snap ring into the transmission much easier. Also, when bolting the drive axle nut back on, discard the old cotter pin and insert a new cotter pin through the center of the nut, and bend it over across the face of the nut with a pair of pliers.

References

  • Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Limited, Comanche, Wagoneer Repair Manual 1984-2001"; Matthew E. Frederick, A.S.E., S.A.E., Bob Henderson; 2008
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