The Jeep Cherokee ball joints are responsible for a major function: they allow radial movement of the spindle. Any sort of wheel movement or wheel turning was not possible had there been no ball joints in your Jeep.
Now, these ball joints can often withstand a large amount of force. However, there is still a chance that wear will occur depending on the frequency of use of the vehicle and the time you spent on the (or off-) road.
This can create a problem when you are driving, and you may feel the steering wheel be loose and making squeaky noises. So you should periodically check the ball joints in every other oil change and look for replacement options as due.
This article will tell you all about the cost as well as the process of ball joint installation.
How Long Will Ball Joints Last On A Jeep Cherokee?
No schedule fits the lifespan of all ball joints evenly. You will find most ball joints to last for about 100,000 miles or more.
Irrespective of the average, you will need to change them when the noisy symptoms arise.
Can You Drive A Jeep Cherokee With Bad Ball Joints?
No. You should not be driving your jeep when you have a bad ball joint.
At the primary stage, this can damage other components of your vehicle. And in case of a complete failure in the joints, you could lose control of the Jeep if you drive, leading to accidents.
How Do You Know If The Jeep Cherokee Ball Joints Need Replacing?
Faulty ball joints are most likely going to clunk when you go over road bumps. These bad joints are easy to detect. All you have to do is lift a wheel and pry up on a tire using a lever.
Otherwise, you can also check by lifting the wheel and grabbing the top portion and the bottom end of the tire, and trying to force a move. Any movement will mean a bad ball joint.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace Ball Joints On A Jeep Cherokee?
You will need to pay anything between $50-$500 or more, depending on your location.
How To Replace Ball Joints On A Jeep Cherokee
In order to complete the process, you will need the following materials: Socket set, Pry bar, ratchet, Breaker, Impact and Torque wrench, Flathead screwdriver, Wire, Clamps, Pickle forks, Hammer, Pliers, Grease, Cotter pins, etc.
Next, you will need to follow the steps below:
Start by engaging the emergency brake of your vehicle. Now, place a floor jack under the point of jacking such that you can keep the jack stand next to it after lifting.
You can also place a wood block between the underbody of the car and a jack stand. This will reduce the probable chances of damage in the underbody.
Check the trim package and the year/model of your Cherokee. In this step, you might need to take out the necessary wheel covers in order to see the present lug nuts. For this, you can use the ¾ inch socket.
Remove Axle Nut
Start by installing ⅔ inch lug nuts on the studs of the wheel. They should be placed at a distance from where they can touch the surface of the rotor. Firstly, you will need to straighten the cotter pins from the shaft of the axle.
Next, you will remove the spring washer and the nut cap behind it. Now you can remove the nut of the axle by pressurizing the brakes while you complete the removal with the breaker bar and a 36mm socket.
Remove Caliper From Rotor
Remove the bolts that attach the caliper’s bracket and the hub of the wheel. Using wires, hang the brakes away, and don’t let the weight of the caliper put pressure on the hose to avoid damage.
You will find a screw on the rotor between the studs on the wheel. If you don’t find any, you can freely pull the rotor away from the hub. If your Jeep happens to have drum brakes to the front, you can pull the drum out of the wheel hub.
For a rusty hub, you might need to tap them with your hammer in order to break the rotor free. However, make sure that the shiny rotor section is always safe.
Remove Wheel Hub
Using a 12-points, 14mm socket, remove the 3 bolts. Now you can pull the hub and remove it from its spindle with a pry.
You will either find the hub, axle, and backing plate coming out as one unit or not. If neither happens, grab the axle end and pull this out from the spindle.
On the upper and the lower end of the ball joints, you will find cotter pins. You have to remove them from the castle nut. Loosen the nuts until you see the last 4/5 threads remaining.
Now, you will need a pickles fork to separate the spindle and the ball joints. Now you can remove the nut completely.
Press Ball Joints
Place the right adapters to the Clamp and make sure that the ball joint goes pressed correctly. The shaft of the ball joint needs to be able to move.
Grease New Joint
You need to start by greasing the edges of the new ball joint in the place that will touch the spindle. Next, you will be able to feel the bottom of the ball joints against your spindle when you have fully installed them. In case you find your Clamp to not fit against your spindle, you can place washers between the 2.
Now, you will slide the old spindle onto the new ball joints. Then you have to make the castle nut tight. Install the cotter pins and slide the shaft of the axle carefully back into the right differential.
Also, don’t forget to install the backplate and the wheel hub. Then you will tighten the bolts of the wheel hub at 60-70 ft./lbs, torque its nut at 150 ft./lbs, and re-install both the spring washer as well as the nut cap.
Finally, work your way with the cotter pins and tighten the bolts of the caliper bracket. Lastly, torque the lug to as much as 100 ft./lbs, and you’re done!
Like every other vehicle suspension component, ball joints will wear out at a point and become damaged or loose.
If you notice excessive play in your Jeep Cherokee ball joints, not replacing them can adversely affect the wheel alignment and cause tire wear.
So make sure that you are ready with the installation guide here!