Front end rebuild - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 30 Old 06-16-2021, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Front end rebuild

2000 XJ with 180k on the clock. Everything is original. My driver side U-joint has a lot of play and makes the steering wheel wobble when turning. Of course that little $13 part is buried behind the wheel hub. The hubs and ball joints have a tiny bit of play too. Since so much has to come apart to get at them, and the mileage, I decided to do ALL the front end steering and drive parts including ball joints. That way I know everything is new and tight. Today I oiled up everything and started removing calipers, rotors, all cotter pins, wheel hub nuts, steering linkage, and promptly got stuck at the hubs. NOTHING will budge them. I stumbled upon CJ7-Tim's advice to use a socket or bolt between the axle end and U-joint and use the steering to push it out. I gave up as it got dark so tomorrow I will give that a go. I will need to put the steering linkage back on but if this works that is a small inconvenience.

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post #2 of 30 Old 06-17-2021, 07:55 AM
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You can also just loosen the bolt a 1/2" and whack the bolts with a hammer and a block of wood. That worked for me. Its worth a try before you try putting the steering back together. One of my unit bearings was so stuck that i ripped it apart getting it out. Now they slide right out, since i have taken them apart so many times.

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post #3 of 30 Old 06-17-2021, 08:48 AM
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When you do ball joints, you need some sort of spacer to seat them properly since they are at an angle. I used my old top plate but any old piece of steel could work.

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post #4 of 30 Old 06-17-2021, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for those tips. This is an adventure for me. Today I got the axles out. I tried two ways- the socket-behind-the-U-joint way, and the bolt-through-the-stud hole -way. Both worked. But the socket behind the U-joint is the ONLY WAY to do this. The other way worked and I just wanted to know for my own information what was easiest. By cutting off a wheel stud and inserting a long 4.0 head bolt and nut, I was able with great difficulty to push the hub away from the knuckle. It looks easy on YouTube videos. The problem is that there is no handy flat surface for the bolt to push off of. It gets angled and is not very effective. I got it loose a fraction, oiled it, and whacked it the rest of the way with a crowbar and sledge. The hub bearing was destroyed in the process but I am replacing them anyway. Now, the socket way is the SHIZNIT!!! I re-installed the steering linkage. Then I placed an old broken Harbor Fright 23mm impact socket between the U-joint and the axle. As you turn the steering wheel it pushes the hub right out. It took only two steering wheel turns at opposite ends and it was off. And it does not ruin the hub. Five minutes VS an hour of swearing. LESSON LEARNED!!! Kudos to CJ7-Tim. Now I start on the U-joints and ball joints.
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post #5 of 30 Old 06-17-2021, 01:27 PM
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I feel for you, I just did all that on mine.

Take your time and check everything and make sure it is all straight and tight and you should be fine.

Do yourself a favor and check where the brake pads ride on the knuckle if there are gouges you are going to want to weld those up and grind down flat, best to do before putting it back together because it sucks having to take it apart again.
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post #6 of 30 Old 06-17-2021, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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OK will do. That's another thing I would have overlooked. The cotter pins in the ball joints refused to come quietly too. So I clipped them off as close as I could and let my 3/4" drive breaker bar persuade them. The nuts came off as if there were no cotters at all. And of course I was thinking that the ball joints tested OK but now that they are exposed- WOWSERS. The lowers are gonzo but the uppers are fairly tight. Next step is pressing them out with my big "C" clamp tool.
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post #7 of 30 Old 06-17-2021, 03:48 PM
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Mine came out pretty stubbornly. I had to bust out my jack handle as a breaker bar. They went in fairly easy though once i figured out how to set it up. Make sure to install the lowers first or else you won't be able to get to them with the uppers in the way.

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post #8 of 30 Old 06-17-2021, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourspeedman View Post
OK will do. That's another thing I would have overlooked. The cotter pins in the ball joints refused to come quietly too. So I clipped them off as close as I could and let my 3/4" drive breaker bar persuade them. The nuts came off as if there were no cotters at all. And of course I was thinking that the ball joints tested OK but now that they are exposed- WOWSERS. The lowers are gonzo but the uppers are fairly tight. Next step is pressing them out with my big "C" clamp tool.
Mine were the same lowers were loose and sloppy the uppers were pretty tight and as Pinoy said they were a bear to get out until I got the right combination of this and that just right then the other side was easier.
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post #9 of 30 Old 06-17-2021, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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This should be interesting. I am used to removing the entire control arm and clamping it into my bigazz bench vise. Then I use the "C" clamp tool or my 12 ton Harbor Fright press to remove/replace them. I have never had to do them in place on the vehicle. I see where the stealership tool had the wedge shaped cups to match the offset surface. That steel plate Pinoy59 used makes a lot of sense. Or maybe I can cut a section of gas pipe to mimic the tool?

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post #10 of 30 Old 06-17-2021, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourspeedman View Post
This should be interesting. I am used to removing the entire control arm and clamping it into my bigazz bench vise. Then I use the "C" clamp tool or my 12 ton Harbor Fright press to remove/replace them. I have never had to do them in place on the vehicle. I see where the stealership tool had the wedge shaped cups to match the offset surface. That steel plate Pinoy59 used makes a lot of sense. Or maybe I can cut a section of gas pipe to mimic the tool?
Yes, that works great. I just didn't have any pipe laying around.

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post #11 of 30 Old 06-18-2021, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Well this is a surprise. Many moons go I bought a Harbor Fright ball joint adapter kit to complement the HF ball joint press tool. It looks like the Jeep offset adapters are in this kit. The instructions only cover up to 1998 so that is how old this is. Whoda thunk it?
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post #12 of 30 Old 06-18-2021, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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This kit is so old it doesn't even have MADE IN CHINA emblazoned anywhere, unlike today. So it had every adapter and sleeve I needed to remove the ball joints. I still needed some heat, oil, and a BFH due to the rust. The bottoms were pretty difficult to budge. How nice of the enginerds to cut a rust-raising groove in the ball joint so water collects and rusts. The BFH was needed on those. The top one I tried pushing the shaft up and it went right through the roof. I've never seen that before. Then I added a sleeve and that pushed the rest of the body out. Learning, always learning.
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post #13 of 30 Old 06-19-2021, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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No time today with other things going on. I did manage to change the oil on my DD so I saved it for this. The FSM says to use PLENTY of oil on the U-joints to get them loose. So I am soaking them in the used motor oil until I get around to pressing them apart. That should do the trick.
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post #14 of 30 Old 06-22-2021, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Well, even that oil dunking did not help. These suckers were so solidly rusted together that I smashed them apart more than pressed them. Even the ones that did press sounded like a cherry bomb when they came apart. Look at the pic. Those needle bearings are welded solid to the cap. I can't even pry them out. That cap had to be beaten off the cross with a BFH and a chisel. Others came out in chunks. But it is done, everything is taken apart.. What a job this becoming.
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post #15 of 30 Old 06-22-2021, 07:35 PM
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Glad you finally got it apart could not have been fun.

I have to say, I sure don't miss the rust belt in anyway since I moved back west.

Just dodging the chucks of cars falling off while driving down the road was interesting, mostly mufflers and tail pipes but I almost got hit by a bumper off a 70's Buick at 55MPH once that could have been painful.
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