The Jeep Cherokee has three bolts holding its rear shocks in place. Two small upper bolts/studs and nuts secure the top of the shock to the frame of the vehicle. One large shock bolt and nut attaches the bottom to the rear axle. Because the upper bolts/studs are small and depending on the age of the Cherokee when removing the shock, it's not at all uncommon to snap the top bolts/studs. This repair task is easier than it may seem.
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Things you need
- Wheel chock
- 2 jack stands
- Safety glasses
- Ratchet, 10- to 12-inch extension and socket set
- Hand wrench set
- Large ball peen hammer
- Punch set
- Replacement bolts
- Mechanics wire
Place a wheel chock against the outside tread of one of the front tires.
Lift the rear axle with a jack from under the rear differential high enough to place jack stands under each side of the rear axle. Make sure to place the jack stands away from the lower shock mount/bracket to allow room to work.
Lower the jack onto the jack stands, but leave the jack in place for extra safety and balance support.
Put on the safety glasses and crawl under the rear of the Cherokee with the remaining tools.
Remove the two upper nuts of one shock with the ratchet, extension and a socket. Remove and replace one shock at a time in order to avoid stress to the rear leaf springs. Do not worry if the bolt(s) breaks. Remove the other nut from the upper bolt/stud.
Hold the head of the lower shock bolt with a hand wrench, remove the nut with another hand wrench and then remove the shock.
Pound the upper (broken) bolts/studs through the frame with the hammer. If necessary, use the punch set to help punch the bolts through the frame with the hammer.
Place the nut back onto the lower bolt (if removing that bolt) until the nut is flush to the end of the bolt. Use the hammer to pound the bolt out of the axle shock shackle. The lower bolt is also a type of carriage stud bolt. However, rarely do these break and require replacement because they are much larger bolts.
Wrap a length of mechanics wire (around 15 inches or so) around the bottom threads of one of the replacement upper bolts. Replacement bolts do not have to be carriage studs type bolts. Thread the end of the wire through the frame and into one of the bolt holes and then pull the wire down through the hole until the bolt comes through. Repeat for the other bolt.
Replace the lower bolt (if applicable) through the lower axle shock shackle. Again, a standard bolt is all that is necessary; however, a replacement carriage bolt is also acceptable. The carriage bolt will be drawn into the shock shackle during the nut-tightening procedure.
Replace the shock by reversing the removal procedure. Hold the heads of the upper bolts in place with a hand wrench through the opening in the frame while tightening the nuts. Tighten the lower nut to draw the carriage bolt in place or just tighten the standard bolt and nut.