Working on my 1998 Jeep Cherokee: Dismantling the front axle shafts

I wrapped cardboard around the splines on the end of the shaft because these splines should never be damaged.

BHPian Jeroen I recently shared this with another enthusiast.

So far I’ve been making good progress with the Jeep. The right side is completely disassembled. Done in about 2 hours. Practice makes perfect. This time the cotter pin was also processed fairly quickly. I cut them off as close to the castle nut as possible. I put down my socket wrench and started wrenching. These cotter pins are fairly soft, so just cut off the rest of the nut sticking out.

We tied up the track bar and various other bits of the steering linkage so they don’t get in the way.

Here are the two complete axle shafts on my workbench.

I checked how this felt and it was pretty bad too. So I replaced both bearings. These are supplied as complete bearings.

Removing them is pretty easy, at least in theory. First remove the split pin.

Remove the small jig plate and spring.

The next thing we need to do is put this nut back on. I decided to remove the U-joints so that the assembly could be handled a little better.

Removing U-joints is always a bit of a hassle. First, you’ll need to pry off these four snap rings inside the yoke.

I wrapped cardboard around the spline at the end of the shaft. This is because these splines must not be damaged.

I then used my trusty old C-clamp to push out the bearing caps one by one. It worked really well. You can also knock it out, but this is a bit more controlled.

One front axle completed, one front axle left.

All done!

With the entire hub and bearing assembly removed from the axle, I tried to loosen the very large nut. This is the M36. It has an M36 socket but no breaker bar. All my tools are really too small. I knocked it off with a pneumatic tool and it wouldn’t move.

So I took the two assemblies to Martin, a friendly local jeep specialist at Brinkman Autobedrijf in Vuren. Over the last year Martin has helped me with a few jobs on the Jeep that I couldn’t do on my own. He also gave me a thorough inspection of the Jeep after I purchased it so he could determine what kind of work needed to be done etc.

Martin used a giant pneumatic torque wrench to loosen the nuts on each assembly for about three to four minutes. He was amazed at how stuck they were!No wonder he couldn’t put it back together with just himself and my little his DIY tools. I am so lucky to have such a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable person nearby. I also made an appointment with him on his next MOT for the Jeep in a few months. Martin’s garage is always jam-packed with at least his 5-6 weeks old work. Therefore, you should plan to work with him about two months in advance.

Then I drove to Tiel to pick up all the new parts.

  • 2 Hub and bearing assembly
  • Upper and lower ball stud assembly 2 sets
  • 2 sets of U joints
  • 2 bolts
  • 20 lug nuts

I’m a little confused by this part, a kind of threaded bushing. It has a ball stud. I remember seeing it in a YT video. However, my old one did not come with it, nor is it mentioned in the workshop manual.

So far there has been only one victim. I broke my radio pliers. Very sad, I had it for a very long time. The other side may also be shaved, so it can still be used to some extent.

I always pride myself on doing a pretty clean job, but with a job like this, everything quickly becomes very cumbersome. You spend a lot of time cleaning and painting all your bits.

See BHPian’s comment for more insight and information.

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