How to Replace the Jeep Cherokee Front Wheel Bearing/Hub Assembly

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Replacing the hub assembly on the front of your Jeep Cherokee is the only way to service the front wheel bearings. Because the hub assembly is a sealed unit, you cannot repair it without special tools. Replacement units for the Jeep front axles are readily available through most auto parts stores and of course the Jeep dealer network, however. The job can become time consuming, but in the end doing the work yourself can save you a substantial amount of money.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Axle nut socket
  • Breaker bar
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Socket set
  • Ratchet
  • Twine
  • Hammer
  • Cold chisel
  • Torque wrench
  • Locate the hub nut and cotter pin in the center of the front wheel on the side on which you will be working. Remove the cotter pin from the shaft with a pair of needle-nose pliers, then discard it. Place a large socket (generally 36 to 45 mm) on the axle nut, and use a breaker bar to rotate the nut counterclockwise until it loosens.

  • Loosen the lug nuts with a lug wrench, then place a jack under the front of the Jeep. Raise it off the ground, and place a set of jack stands under the front axle to support the Jeep. Remove the wheels, and set them aside for now.

  • Locate the two brake caliper retaining bolts on the top of the brake caliper. Remove the two retaining pins with a socket, then ratchet the lift the caliper off the brake rotor. Support the caliper from the top of the suspension with twine to keep it from hanging on the brake hose.

  • Slide the brake rotor off the hub, and set it aside. Locate the three 12-point bolts on the backside of the steering knuckle that retain the hub to the steering knuckle. Remove all three bolts with a 12-point socket and a ratchet. Set the bolts aside.

  • Remove the axle nut from the axle shaft, and pull the hub out of the steering knuckle and off the axle. If it has rusted to the steering knuckle, use a cold chisel and hammer to work around the edge of the hub, separating it a little at a time. It will come out with enough persistence.

  • Clean the interior surface of the steering knuckle with some break clearer and a clean rag then coat it with some anti seize compound. Slide a new hub over the axle shaft and into the steering knuckle. Install the three 12-point retaining bolts from the back of the knuckle and into the hub. Tighten the bolts, drawing the hub completely into the knuckle.

  • Slide the rotor onto the new hub and wheel studs, then position the brake caliper on the rotor. Install the retaining pins into the caliper, and tighten them with a socket and ratchet.

  • Install the axle unit onto the axle shaft, and tighten it until snug. Torque the three 12-point bolts to 75 foot-lbs. with a torque wrench. Install the tire on the hub, and tighten the lug nuts until snug.

  • Raise the front of the Jeep off the jack stands, then remove the stands from under the axle. Lower the jack, setting the Jeep on the ground, and tighten the lug nuts the rest of the way with a lug wrench.

  • Tighten the axle nut to 175 foot-lbs. with a torque wrench, and install a new cotter pin in the end of the axle shaft, bending the legs over with a pair of pliers to hold it in place.

References

  • "Jeep Cherokee Factory Service Manual"; Daimler Chrysler, Corp.; 2003
  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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