My 1998 Jeep Cherokee: Putting parts back together after repairing them

With the universal joint back in place, the next step is to install the complete hub and bearing assembly.

BHPian Jeroen I recently shared this with another enthusiast.

Can you believe it

One day there was heavy frost and about four centimeters of snow, and we were able to climb the embankment using a four-wheel drive vehicle.

But unfortunately my Jeep is still out of order! No wheels, no front axle, no front ball joints, no front!

I couldn’t get out, so at least I could work on the Jeep a little more. You’ve made some excellent progress.

In general, putting things back together tends to go faster than taking things apart. Mainly because we don’t always know how things were put together. But mainly because on older cars things tend to get very, very stuck.

The first thing I wanted to do was put the ball studs back in. By that I mean push them back!! Getting them out was pretty easy. But getting them back together requires a little more finesse. You have to make sure they go in exactly straight. Jeep has some special tools to accommodate the shape of the steering knuckle.

I just have a generic set of C-clamps, so as you can see some improvisation is required. Of course, everything should be properly washed. All rust must be removed. I use pneumatic tools with a variety of steel/brass brushes.

The procedure for pushing in the ball studs is also different from the Jeep procedure, as non-standard tools were used. i start at the bottom.

I entered very nicely. I used a nail under the clamp to compensate for the unique angle shown above.

One ball stud completed! Note that I left the protective plastic cover on to protect the sled. Also remove the rubber sleeve as it can be damaged if pushed.

Once the C-clamp is tightened, put it back on, hit the knuckle lip with a hammer a few times, and put the clamp back on. This will apply even pressure across the ball stud for proper seating. Around the rim he uses a 0.05 feeler gauge to make sure it’s fitted correctly.

Wear a rubber sleeve. 1 done, 3 more!

Upstairs went well. Note the nails!! Very low tech but perfectly adequate! And so cheap!

Once both ball studs are in place, reconnect the steering knuckle to the ball studs. Install the two castle nuts by sliding them in and tighten to the correct setting with a torque wrench.

My next step was to disassemble the wheel bearing hub assembly. As I mentioned earlier, Jeep specialist Martin managed to put the nut back on.

Next, clean and brush the various parts where the universal joint will be attached.

Installing the U-joint requires removing the four end caps and placing the spider inside the two yokes. Carefully check each end cap as you remove them. As you can see, on one of them he had two bearing needles untied, so I’m very happy. It’s just held in place with grease.

Just push the end cap by hand, so you can see that the bearing needle is locked and will not fall out.

Now all that’s left to do is use the C-clamps to push all four in. Some people use a vise, but be careful. It requires considerable force and can damage the vise. These C clamps are perfect for these jobs. The end caps should be positioned so that the small C-clip is on the inside. This may mean going back and forth a few times. When you push the yoke, it actually deforms slightly. So, when changing the position of the end he cap, you need to hit it several times with a hammer. Doing so relieves tension.

With the universal joint back in place, the next step is to install the complete hub and bearing assembly. Again, big cleaning.

There are no seals or anything between the steering knuckle and the hub and bearing assembly. That’s why Jeep relies on bearing seals to do all the sealing!

I also cleaned the splines very carefully. This is where the full force from the axle is transferred to the wheel. So it needed to be cleaned and I also added high pressure grease.

The entire hub and bearing assembly is held together by three bolts. Please clean the bolt. Apply ceramic paste on top of it.

Here we have a fully reassembled front axle, including the hub and bearing assembly, ready to be installed. Just slide. You have to be a little careful. The rear spline passes through a seal deep inside the front differential.

Once the whole thing slides back in, simply tighten the three bolts holding the brake caliper in place and reinstall the brake caliper. Also, don’t forget to install a brake dust shield. I forgot and had to take everything apart again!

But this is what it all looks like, assembled properly again! The top ball stud has a grease nipple. I also greased both a little with the grease gun. Just a little bit as it already had quite a bit of grease in it.

The left side is now complete! Except for torque on the center nut. I checked the Jeep manual and that nut should have 237Nm of torque!! That’s a lot of torque, trust me. I have 4 torque wrenches but none exceed 200Nm. So I checked with my AC specialist neighbor Jack and luckily he has one I can borrow. Since the two front axles are connected to the front differential, the wheels must be moved back in order to lock the axles or hold them in place. i will do it on monday.

Complete the right side first.

For BHPian comments, insights, and more, keep reading Jeroen’s experience.