How to Remove the Front Axle on a Jeep Cherokeeby Christian Killian
If the front axle in your Jeep Cherokee becomes damaged and requires replacement, it can be removed from the Jeep as one unit. The axle is heavy and does require more time than some basic tasks, but it can be removed with basic tools and a little patience. Replacement axles can be purchased new from a Jeep dealer, but buying a used axle from a salvage yard or auto parts recycling center can save you a large amount of money.
Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels of your Jeep with a lug wrench. Raise the Jeep with a jack and position a set of jack stands under the chassis of the Jeep to support it.
Remove the front tires and wheels from the Jeep. Locate and remove the four retaining bolts where the front drive shaft meets the axle. Use a 10 mm wrench to loosen the bolts and slide the shaft out of the axle yoke, setting it out of the way.
Locate the lower mounting bolts for the front shock absorbers on the axle near the base of the coil springs. Remove the bolts with a wrench and leave the shocks sitting in place. The upper mounts will retain them to the body when the axle is removed.
Locate and remove the banjo screw that attaches the brake calipers to the rubber brake hose. The bolt is on the back of the caliper and can be removed by turning it counterclockwise with a wrench. Tuck the line up out of the way so it does not catch the axle when removed.
Locate the large castle nut where the drag link connects to the pitman arm on the steering box. Remove the cotter pin with a pair of pliers and remove the nut with a large socket and ratchet.
Separate the drag link by driving a tie rod separator in between the pitman arm and the drag link joint. The stem on the joint is tapered so you will need to use a large hammer and strike it several times to separate the two pieces.
Locate the mounting bolt on the passenger side of the axle where the track bar attaches. Remove the nut and bolt with two wrenches or a socket and ratchet on one side and a wrench on the other. Pry the track-bar end out of the bracket.
Locate the differential vent hose. It is a small black rubber hose that runs from the differential to the chassis up under the motor. Detach it from the chassis by sliding the clip off the body and lay the hose on the ground.
Place a jack under the axle to support it. Locate the four bolts that attach the control arms to the axle housing. There are two upper and two lower arms and they each have one bolt. Remove the four bolts with a wrench or socket and ratchet. If the nuts come loose from the bolts but the bolts do not come out of the arms, drive them out with a small, steel bar and a hammer.
Lower the jack supporting the axle to the ground carefully. The coil springs will drop with the axle and can be removed after the axle is out from under the Jeep. Slide the axle out from under the Jeep.
- The axle is heavy and awkward. A second person to help balance it while lowering it out of the Jeep can be helpful.
Things You'll Need
- Lug wrench
- Jack stands
- Wrench set
- Socket set
- Tie rod separator
- Large hammer
Christian Killian has been a freelance journalist/photojournalist since 2006. After many years of working in auto parts and service positions, Killian decided to move into journalism full-time. He has been published in "1st Responder News" as well as in other trade magazines and newspapers in the last few years.