Jeep Wagoneer/Commando/Cherokee 1957-1983 Repair Information

Steering Knuckle and Pivot-Pins

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



1957-64 FC Series Trucks 1966-71 Jeepster/Commando 1962-73 Wagoneers and J-Series Trucks with Solid Front Axle and 4WD
  1. Remove the eight screws that hold the oil seal retainer in place.
  2.  
  3. Remove the four screws which secure the lower pivot pin bearing cap.
  4.  
  5. Remove the four screws which hold the upper bearing cap in place.
  6.  
  7. Remove the bearing cap.
  8.  
  9. The steering knuckle can now be removed from the axle.
  10.  
  11. Wash all of the parts in cleaning solvent.
  12.  
  13. Replace any worn or damaged parts. Inspect the bearings and races for scores, cracks, or chips. Should the bearing cups be damaged, they may be removed and installed with a driver.
  14.  
  15. To install, reverse the removal procedure. When reinstalling the steering knuckle sufficient shims must be installed under the top bearing cap to obtain the correct preload on the bearing. Shims are available in 0.003, 0.005, 0.010, and 0.030 in. thicknesses. Install only one shim of the above thicknesses at the top only. Install the bearing caps, lockwashers, and screws, and tighten securely.
  16.  

You can check preload on the bearings by hooking a spring scale in the hole in the knuckle arm for the tie rod socket. Take the scale reading when the knuckle has just started its sweep.

The pivot pin bearing preload should be 12-16 lb. with the oil seal removed. Remove or add shims to obtain a preload within these limits. If all shims are removed and adequate preload is still not obtained, a washer may be used under the top bearing cap to increase preload. When a washer is used, shims may have to be reinstalled to obtain proper adjustment.

1962-66 Wagoneer and J-Series Trucks with Solid Front Axle and 2WD

  1. Raise and support the front end on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the brake drum dust cover.
  4.  
  5. Remove the front hub nut, lockwasher, adjusting nut and bearing lockwasher.
  6.  
  7. Remove the brake drum and hub.
  8.  
  9. Remove the attaching bolts and remove the brake backing plate from the knuckle.
  10.  
  11. Pry off the knuckle pivot pin plug.
  12.  
  13. Drive out the tapered pin, from the axle tube end, that retains the pivot pin.
  14.  
  15. Remove the retaining clip from the upper end of the pivot pin.
  16.  
  17. Using a brass drift and heavy hammer, drive out the pivot pin. Remove the knuckle.
  18.  
  19. If necessary, press out the bushings with an arbor press.
  20.  
  21. Installation is the reverse of removal. If new bushings are being installed, make sure that the grease holes in the bushing and knuckle are aligned. New bushings must be reamed to provide a proper fit. Make sure that the slot in the pivot pin is aligned with the hole in the axle tube end so that the tapered pin can be installed. Check the clearance between the knuckle and axle tube. If clearance exceeds 0.015 in., add shims to bring it within tolerances. Shims are available in 0.011 in., 0.033 in., and 0.035 in. thicknesses.
  22.  

1962-66 Wagoneer and J-Series Trucks with Independent Front Suspension See Figure 1

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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the steering knuckle and spindle used through 1971

On vehicles with IFS, the knuckles for both 2WD and 4WD are the same. Procedural differences will be noted following.

  1. Install tool W-281, and raise and support the front end on jackstands, placed behind the torsion bars.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheels.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the steering connecting rods at the knuckles.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the shock absorbers at the axle.
  8.  
  9. Disconnect the brake hoses and plug the ends.
  10.  
  11. On 4WD vehicles, remove the locking hubs.
  12.  
  13. Remove the axle flange bolts, lockwashers and plain washers, and remove the axle flange with a puller.
  14.  
  15. Remove the hub nut, lockwasher, adjusting nut and bearing lockwasher.
  16.  
  17. Remove the brake drum and hub.
  18.  
  19. Remove the brake backing plate and spindle.
  20.  
  21. Support each axle tube with a floor jack. Remove the cotter pins and castellated nuts which retain the ball joints to the knuckles.
  22.  
  23. Lower each jack slightly while applying downward pressure to the top of the axle tube, to free the axles. Lower each axle tube to provide clearance for removal of the knuckles.
  24.  
  25. Remove the retaining wires from the knuckle boots and pull back the boots.
  26.  
  27. Remove the capscrews, nut and bearing collar stop.
  28.  
  29. Turn the knuckle 90º and remove it from the axle. Remove the nuts, lockwashers, lower pivot pin and shims from the knuckle.
  30.  
  31. Pull out on the bottom of the bearing collar and remove it from the knuckle.
  32.  
  33. Drive out the upper pivot pin, toward the inside of the knuckle.
  34.  
  35. Clean all parts in a safe solvent, and replace any worn, damaged or scorched parts.
  36.  
  37. Installation is the reverse of removal. Torque the upper ball joint attaching bolts to 12-15 ft. lb. for 5 / 16 " bolts and 28-32 ft. lb. for 3 / 8 " bolts. Before the knuckle is connected to the ball joint, and with the boot still pulled back, check the pivot pin preload as follows:
    1. Hook a spring scale in the tie rod socket hole in the knuckle arm and position the knuckle in the straight ahead position.
    2.  
    3. Pull on the spring scale to turn the knuckle and take the initial start reading. The reading should be 3-6 lb.
    4.  
    5. If the reading is not correct, it may be adjusted by adding or removing shims from the pivot pin. Shims are available in thicknesses of 0.003 in., 0.005 in., 0.010 in. and 0.030 in.
    6.  

  38.  
  39. Complete the installation is reverse order of removal. Torque the tie rod stud nut to 55 ft. lb.
  40.  

1972-73 Jeepster/Commando and 1974-83 Wagoneer, Cherokee, and J-Series Truck See Figures 2 through 7

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Fig. Fig. 2: Access the lower stud nut through the knuckle opening



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Fig. Fig. 3: Use a puller to remove the lower ball stud



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Fig. Fig. 4: Press the upper ball stud from the knuckle as illustrated



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Fig. Fig. 5: Assemble the press as illustrated to install the lower ball stud



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Fig. Fig. 6: Upper ball stud installation



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Fig. Fig. 7: Knuckle installation

This procedure requires the use of a special tool.

  1. Remove the axle assembly from the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the tie rod end at the steering knuckle arm.
  4.  
  5. Remove and discard the lower ball stud jamnut.
  6.  
  7. Remove the cotter pin from the upper ball stud. Loosen the stud nut until the top edge of the nut is flush with the top of the stud.
  8.  
  9. Unseat the upper and lower ball studs using a hammer. Remove the upper ball stud nut and the steering knuckle.
  10.  
  11. Remove the upper ball stud split ring seat using tool J-23447 or tool J-25158.
  12.  
  13. Installation is the reverse of removal.
  14.  

 
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