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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all! So this is my first post here.. And I need some advice/diagnoses of what could be causing an issue with my 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport.

A little background: About a week ago, I was T-boned by a motorcycle going ~50 mph. The bike hit my rear driver side door/tire. Everyone walked away safe, thankfully. I had it towed to a nearby yard where it sat for a day or so while I tried to assess how to get it home(I was about 200 mi from my home when it happened). I asked a local mechanic to take a look at the damage and to just assess it the best he could. He told me that the rear sway bar had been bent on the drivers side and that my leaf springs were shot. As it was, he said the car was underivable because the rear drivers side tire had been pushed towards the rear of the vehicle and upwards into the wheel well.

I got my XJ home and put it up using a jack an a few jack stands to try and remove the tire, sway bar and anything else that seemed damaged.

Once I removed the tire, I took it to Discount Tire to get the tire replaced and check the wheel to see if it had been bent and luckily it was not. I've removed the sway bar and and it was indeed really bent. After I removed the sway bar and replaced the tire, I put the tire back on the XJ to see that the tire had lowered into its normal position within the wheel well, but had not moved forward in the wheel well to its center position. I examined the placement of the other rear tire to find out that that tire is sitting further forward than it should be. So essentially my axle is sitting slightly diagonally rather than flush.

I'm not sure why this would be since I checked all of the mounts underneath my XJ. I'm fairly confident that my frame isn't bent since all my doors(except for the damaged rear one, which took a bit of damage) open and close just fine, including my hatch. Even the mounts where the sway bar attached to the body seemed undamaged. The only thing I haven't begun to replace is the leaf springs because I want to make sure my frame isn't bent before proceeding. Is there any way that the axle could have been shifted and this is why it sits diagonally? Bottom line for me, is it worth fixing? Sorry for the novel! Pictures of the damage below. Thanks guys!

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It is very possible that the accident shifted the axle, frame damage looks unlikely. Install new leaf springs with new u-bolts, and it should be fine. A junkyard door is not that expensive, and is easy to install.
 

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Yeah that doesn't look too bad to me.
I would throw the bent rear sway away and forget about it and then examine the u-bolts holding the axle to the rear leaves. XJ leaves aren't particularly long lived anyway.
The rubber piece in the 2nd pic is a bumpstop and that's what they typically do when they wear out. Replacements are cheap and only 2 bolts hold them on but getting the bolts out w/o breaking them can be a challenge.
Start checking the local boneyards for another white door.
 

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Dont throw away the rear sway until you've robbed the mounting brackets to make cheap bar-pin eliminators!
Have you measured, on both sides, the distance from center of your front wheel to center of your rear wheel? How far off is it?
Look carefully at your spring perches / plates / u-bolts -- check that the center pin of the leaf springs hasn't sheared, check that you don't see evidence of the spring plate sliding one way or the other, check the spring perches to make sure the welds to the axle tube hasn't cracked/failed and allowed rotation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the sound advice! I measured and reinspected for all the typical signs of a bent frame. I see no issues but I'll still likely take it to an auto body shop to confirm that.

As for leaf springs, I decided to go ahead and install them. Funny enough, as soon as I got the passenger side leaf spring off, the axle seemed to have adjusted itself back into the correct position.

However, removing the leaf springs has not been without its own problems lol. The driver side leaf spring seemed to remove quite well until the front mount made this terrible noise. I figured I had snapped the bolt while it was still in the body. Nope. The whole leaf spring snapped off from that front mount.

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So this is what I'm left with:

I'm not sure how to proceed because I can see the bolt spinning from the underside of the frame.. I think that perhaps the metal sleeve the bolt sits in have been fused together with crud and such.. But I'm also unsure if I broke the welded nut of or not. Any ideas how to proceed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dont throw away the rear sway until you've robbed the mounting brackets to make cheap bar-pin eliminators!
Have you measured, on both sides, the distance from center of your front wheel to center of your rear wheel? How far off is it?
Look carefully at your spring perches / plates / u-bolts -- check that the center pin of the leaf springs hasn't sheared, check that you don't see evidence of the spring plate sliding one way or the other, check the spring perches to make sure the welds to the axle tube hasn't cracked/failed and allowed rotation.
paparker21, how do you use the mounting brackets as cheap BPE's? I've seen a thread related to that, but I was unsure who that worked and what the end result is. :wave:
 

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New leaf springs and leaf spring shackles and you're good 2 go. I had a severe accident in my 2001 Jeep Cherokee and the first thing I had to change were my leaf springs and shackles, tadaaa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also, I should note that I do not have access to a welder/torch/grinder tools like that. Poor man DIYer here. I may be able to find them to rent but I have 0 experience with those tools. :brick wall:
 

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Rent or buy a 4" angle grinder, a few cutting wheels that fit it, and some safety glasses. Slit the end of the leaf spring that is around the bolt, and use a hammer and chisel to remove it. Make multiple cuts if necessary. Cut the rubber bushing and remove it. Use the hammer and chisel to remove the thin metal bushing sleeve which is rusted to the bolt. You can now apply heat and penetrating oil directly to the bolt threads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Rent or buy a 4" angle grinder, a few cutting wheels that fit it, and some safety glasses. Slit the end of the leaf spring that is around the bolt, and use a hammer and chisel to remove it. Make multiple cuts if necessary. Cut the rubber bushing and remove it. Use the hammer and chisel to remove the thin metal bushing sleeve which is rusted to the bolt. You can now apply heat and penetrating oil directly to the bolt threads.
CJ7-Tim, is there any reason why I can't drill out the spot welds on this housing to replace the broken nut? I've gotten the remaining leaf spring, metal sleeve and rubber bushing out of the way. :thumbsup: I only ask because I had a mechanic who has worked on my jeep before offer that advice. It seems like the online community has a plethora of other ways to replace that broken nut.. Any possible way that this is one of them? Thanks for your time!
 

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CJ7-Tim, is there any reason why I can't drill out the spot welds on this housing to replace the broken nut? I've gotten the remaining leaf spring, metal sleeve and rubber bushing out of the way. :thumbsup: I only ask because I had a mechanic who has worked on my jeep before offer that advice. It seems like the online community has a plethora of other ways to replace that broken nut.. Any possible way that this is one of them? Thanks for your time!
Has the weld nut broken loose?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah the weld nut broke loose. However the bolt was intact and the last sleeve from the leaf spring had seized on the bolt and prevented the nut from being able to screw off. Super frustrating. :brickwall: However, I decided to just buy a grinder and cut a little window to reach up and get a bite on the broken weld nut. It took lots of hammering, PB blaster, and a little torching to free up the sleeve to let the bolt unscrew from the nut.

Any reason I need to re-weld that little window shut? Jeeps should've been made with these to ensure silly problems like this are easily resolved. My plan was to just buy a new grade 8 bolt and a new nut that I can unscrew when it comes time to change those leaf springs again. But if I need to re-weld, I may as well weld the new nut back in the old nut's position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I spun the driver side nut off while installing some relocators , I accessed the nut threw the back where I had holes cut already to mount my bumper.(not my pics)
That's what i had considered doing as well! Was it difficult to do? I was afraid to take that route since the e-brake line is right there and I didn't trust myself enough to have a steady hand and not balls it up lol.
 

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That's what i had considered doing as well! Was it difficult to do? I was afraid to take that route since the e-brake line is right there and I didn't trust myself enough to have a steady hand and not balls it up lol.
not hard but it sucks pulling my bumper/gas tank skid . I installed hd no lift shackle relocators so I don't have to remove that bolt and nut anymore to do leaf adjustments.
 

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I'm sure an angle grinder would work fine to cut out the backside of the uniframe for access, but wouldn't a hole saw work better? It would make a cleaner circular hole accessing the same area.

Its a cheaper option to buy a 1 1/2 - 2 inch hole saw than a grinder. You would have to have the drill too of course, but its more probable you might have or could borrow a drill over a small grinder. As well a circular hole leaves the uniframe stronger than a square cut out, especially if cut centred and kept away from the edges. If you were concerned there are plugs to fit many sizes of electrical knockouts that could fill a round hole once you were done. The plug wouldn't add strength but it would keep out mud and moisture, especially with some silicone caulk.

To XJ_ATRXS's point cutting a hole with a hole saw gives considerably greater control with a properly placed pilot hole than using a 4-5 inch grinder. Way less chance of severing any nearby lines I would think.

Just a thought.
 
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