Jeep Wagoneer/Commando/Cherokee 1984-1998

Shock Absorbers

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Removal & Installation



Cherokee/Wagoneer and Comanche

See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

  1. Remove the locknuts and washers from the upper stud.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the shock absorber mounting



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Fig. Fig. 2: Remove the locknut from the upper stud



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Fig. Fig. 3: Keep all parts in the order removed

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  2.  
  3. If necessary for access, remove the wheels.
  4.  
  5. Remove the lower attaching nuts and bolts.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 4: Remove the lower nuts and bolts

  1. Pull the shock absorber eyes and rubber bushings from the mounting pins.
  2.  

To install:

Before installing new shocks, they should be purged of air. To do this, hold the shock upright and fully extend it, then invert and compress it. Do this several times.

  1. Position the shock on the vehicle and install the mounting hardware.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the upper end nut to 8 ft. lbs. (11 Nm) and the lower end bolts to 14 ft. lbs. (19 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the wheels and lower the vehicle.
  6.  

Grand Cherokee/Grand Wagoneer

See Figure 5

  1. Remove the upper nut, retainer and grommet from the engine compartment,
  2.  
  3. Remove the lower bolt and nut from the mounting bracket.
  4.  
  5. Remove the shock absorber.
  6.  

To install:

Before installing new shocks, they should be purged of air. To do this, hold the shock upright and fully extend it, then invert and compress it. Do this several times.

  1. Position the shock on the vehicle and install the mounting hardware.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the upper retaining nut to 14 ft. lbs. (19 Nm) and lower bolt and nut to 17 ft. lbs. (23 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the wheels and lower the vehicle.
  6.  

TESTING



See Figure 5

The purpose of the shock absorber is simply to limit the motion of the spring during compression and rebound cycles. If the vehicle is not equipped with these motion dampers, the up and down motion would multiply until the vehicle was alternately trying to leap off the ground and to pound itself into the pavement.

Contrary to popular rumor, the shocks do not affect the ride height of the vehicle. This is controlled by other suspension components such as springs and tires. Worn shock absorbers can affect handling; if the front of the vehicle is rising or falling excessively, the "footprint" of the tires changes on the pavement and steering is affected.

The simplest test of the shock absorber is simply push down on one corner of the unladen vehicle and release it. Observe the motion of the body as it is released. In most cases, it will come up beyond it original rest position, dip back below it and settle quickly to rest. This shows that the damper is controlling the spring action. Any tendency to excessive pitch (up-and-down) motion or failure to return to rest within 2-3 cycles is a sign of poor function within the shock absorber. Oil-filled shocks may have a light film of oil around the seal, resulting from normal breathing and air exchange. This should NOT be taken as a sign of failure, but any sign of thick or running oil definitely indicates failure. Gas filled shocks may also show some film at the shaft; if the gas has leaked out, the shock will have almost no resistance to motion.



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Fig. Fig. 5: When fluid is seeping out of the shock absorber, it's time to replace it

While each shock absorber can be replaced individually, it is recommended that they be changed as a pair (both front or both rear) to maintain equal response on both sides of the vehicle. Chances are quite good that if one has failed, its mate is weak also.

 
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