Are you sick of your high ground clearance Jeep Cherokee? While SUVs are high above the ground for rough terrain and tall obstacles, low ground clearance vehicles are easy to handle around sharp corners and rounded curves.
Lowering your Jeep Cherokee is possible. This is a great option if you’re looking for better maneuvering when driving. Whether your Jeep Cherokee is a brand new model or an old beater, lowering your Jeep Cherokee offers better stability to give you a taste of freedom.
In the remainder of this article, you’ll discover an easy, cost-effective way to lower a Jeep Cherokee and learn everything you need to know about lowering kits and shackles.
How to Lower a Jeep Cherokee (Step by Step)
Lowering your Jeep Cherokee can be a challenging task, but has serious benefits once accomplished. From rigid springs that give you a stiffer ride to a decreased sense of gravity that prevents rollovers, drivers will find low ground clearance vehicles too tempting to deny. If you want the car of your dreams, follow this step by step guide to lowering your Jeep Cherokee.
1. Know your Jeep Cherokee
Before you begin to lower your Jeep Cherokee, you need to know what year your Cherokee is and get accurate information about the suspension type. You should know all about your Cherokee’s suspension type and how it operates with your vehicle.
There are four different spring types that your Cherokee’s suspension could have. Here’s what you may encounter when you try to lower your Cherokee’s suspension system:
Leaf springs are primarily responsible for supporting the heavy weight of your car and maintaining tire grip on the road. Undoubtedly, leaf springs are an instrumental aspect of your Jeep Cherokee’s suspension system for safe steering and steady maneuvering.
Coil springs are responsible for keeping road vibrations to a minimum and wheels on the ground at all times. Since coil springs deal with high energy actions like accelerating and braking, they are paired with shock absorbers that absorb spring energy for better pavement traction and vehicle stability. Moreover, coil springs give drivers the most control over their car.
The torsion bar suspension uses two spring steel bars to take the place of springs. As you drive, one end linked to the control arm and car framework will twist to make your vehicle operate smoothly on the road. Despite being an outdated suspension type, torsion bar suspensions can still be found on some heavyweight vehicles as a cost-effective way to manufacture quickly.
Using air pressure, air springs expand and deflate to match the needs of coil springs. While most air spring suspensions are used in buses, you may find an air suspension system in modern cars, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Jeep’s Quadra-Lift Air Suspension is an automatic adjustment system, so you won’t have to brake the vehicle to raise or lower the suspension.
2. Raise your Jeep Cherokee to View the Suspension System
Using a jack, you’ll need to raise your Cherokee to get a look at the suspension system. Jam the jack under the car’s frame on one side.
Crank the jack until both tires on the same side are entirely off the ground. Then, insert a jack stand to keep the car upright and remove one tire. At this point, the suspension system should be completely accessible.
3. Remove the Suspension Bolts
Once your Jeep Cherokee’s suspension system has been identified as one of the four spring types, you’ll need to locate the spring bolts. Most commonly, they’re U-shaped bolts wrapped around the axle and screwed into the springs to secure them in place for safe and stable car mobility. With a ratchet and socket tool, remove the bolts one by one.
4. Adjust the Axle to Make Room for Lowering Blocks
After the bolts have been removed, you need to raise the axle to insert lowering blocks that’ll keep your suspension low to the ground. Take the same jack and ram it under the axle to make space for whatever size lowering block you choose. Lowering blocks can range from 2 to 4 inches, so be sure there’s enough space to fit your specific lowering blocks.
5. Install Bolts to Secure the Lowering Blocks
With the lowering blocks in place, take the new U-shaped bolts to secure everything in place. These new bolts will be longer to make up for the lowering block wedged underneath your axle. Ensure that everything is perfectly aligned and neatly placed before screwing in the new bolts.
6. Repeat Steps for the Three Other Suspension Springs
Now that your vehicle has been partially lowered, you’ll need to repeat these steps for the next three wheels. Insert the jack on the opposite side of the vehicle to access the remaining tire on the front side, then do the rear suspension.
If one wheel was too much for you to handle, don’t be afraid to throw in the towel and confide in a professional mechanic. There’s no shame in calling in some resources to look over what you’ve done and help you complete the job, especially if you’re inexperienced.
How Much Does it Cost to Lower a Jeep?
Using lowering blocks is one of the most cost-effective ways to lower your vehicle. The average lowering kit with lowering blocks can be purchased for just under about $250 to $300. Lowering kits with new springs and shock absorbers will be more expensive. While some may exceed $1000, cheaper brands are selling complete lowering kits for just under $700.
How much it costs to lower your Jeep Cherokee also depends on the modifications you choose to make. It’s recommended to replace the shock absorbers so your Cherokee can readily handle the transition to low ground clearance. However, this may cost an additional $250 to $850 that many aren’t willing to spend. Leaving your factory shock absorbers is simply more cost efficient.
Before you lower your Jeep Cherokee, you should think about the potential financial setbacks that you may want to consider. Car manufacturers could have designed their vehicles to operate within certain parameters. Changing the ground clearance of your Jeep Cherokee may affect the wear and tear of other vehicle parts, so keep this in mind before making alterations to your Cherokee.
How does a Jeep Cherokee Lowering Kit Work?
Lowering kits are intended to make lowering your vehicle as easy and hassle-free as possible. However, you may want to have an understanding of a car’s inner workings before using one. While the instruction manual is helpful to guide you through the process, the language and images may look like gibberish to someone without any background in auto services,
Lowering kits are often purchased by novice and professional mechanics looking to lower their Jeep Cherokee for the lowest price. While some come equipped with lowering blocks and extended bolts, many include replacement suspension springs and a complicated instruction manual. For lowering kits with replaceable coil springs, you may want to refer to a local mechanic and a trusted friend with abundant car knowledge.
What are the Required Parts for a Jeep Cherokee Lowering Kit?
A Jeep Cherokee lowering kit is an assembly of all necessary tools and parts for lowering your car. Since it comes with everything you need, you won’t have to worry about gathering all the required parts yourself. With the exception of some auto store tools, this is what comes with most standard lowering kits for Jeep Cherokees:
- Lowering Blocks
- Long/Extended U-Bolts
- Front/Rear Hardware
- Instruction Manual
Recommended Jeep Cherokee Lowering Kits
With so many options on the market, it’s hard to know which lowering kit is the best for your Jeep Cherokee. For a cheap and easy alternative to relying on a mechanic, use these lowering kits to give your Jeep Cherokee a new look:
- Rough Country GM Front 2″ / Rear 2.5″ Spindle Lowering Kit
- 3 inch Universal Steel Lowering Block Kit
How to Use Jeep XJ Lowering Shackles
Many older SUV models used shackle mounts on one end of the vehicle to allow drivers to lift or lower their ride. The shackle mount enables the coil springs in the suspension system to be compressed or extended based on driver preference. To adjust the ground clearance on your Jeep Cherokee XJ, you’ll have to purchase lowering shackles to control the suspension springs.
To lower your Jeep Cherokee XJ, you’ll need long shackles to bring the spring closer to the vehicle framework. Keep in mind that the steering may be wonky when you get behind the wheel for the first time since installing the shackles. The shackles will cause the rear end of your Cherokee to jostle back and forth, which may hinder your focus on the road.
Recommended Jeep XJ Lowering Shackles
Since the Jeep Cherokee XJ was an experimental model that was manufactured from 1984 to 2001, lowering shackles aren’t as popular among modern SUVs, including recent models of the Jeep Cherokee. However, here are the best lowering shackles you can use to give an old vehicle a contemporary look.
My Final Thoughts
While it may be challenging, it’s possible to lower your Jeep Cherokee for better stability and improved vehicle handling. If you follow this detailed guide to lowering your vehicle with a lowering block kit and purchase the right tools and materials, you won’t find lowering your Jeep Cherokee as difficult as you fear it may be.
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