Squeak’s Cousin?

Val and I took the week off to head out to Cheyenne, WY to help my parents with their retirement home. Since we are out here, my brother in law brought it up to my attention that their jeep needed a sway bar bushing in the rear. He said it “kept popping off, and he just kept putting it back on.” Odd, I thought, but I took a look. Well……there are a lot of things my sister and brother in law are good at, but mechanics does not appear to be one of them. Kinda of like you don’t want me to cut a piece of wood if you want it to be cut straight. My motto with wood is measure twice and cut once…..then cut again…..and then get a new piece of wood after I screwed that one up.

Mobile service 😉 1998 Jeep Cherokee. I think it’s name is “Rusteze”

And that sway bar that kept popping out? Well that was actually the driver’s rear shock, lol. The bushing had exploded and nothing was keeping the shock onto the lower shock bolt. Normally this would go on my wall of shame.

So he just kept putting it back on 🙂

Now these XJ’s are notorious for the upper shock bolts rusting and breaking during replacement, or the interior weld nut breaking off and causing an issue. My sister asked how long it would take. I said either 5 minutes, or 5 hours. Out of the 4 bolts up top, I broke all 4 clean off. DOH. 5 hours it is……

So, when that happens, you’ve got to get to the interior nut. The nut is welded to the inside of the body cavity underneath the trunk floor pan. Unfortunately, with very limited tools, I couldn’t try and snake through a small opening underneath the body, so instead I had to go the other route of drilling some holes in the trunk pan to get at the nuts in the body. Interior comes out.

Through the bottom, I was able to knock out the first nut and make a mark on the pan as where to drill. The other nut’s weld would not break off.

On the passenger side, but here is a small hole cut with a uh…1″ (IIRC) wood hole saw. Yea….limited tools was an understatement. Once I could see the welded nuts down in the body cavity, I was able to put a 15mm socket on them and break the welds loose that way….again a nice long breaker bar would have been nice, but instead we used a small 3/8″ drive ratchet, lol. Righty tighty or lefty loosey…..either way breaks nut welds 🙂

With the nuts out of the way, I dropped in bolts from the top down with washers and lock nuts securing the shocks in place.

And as you can see, the shocks were pretty well shot. Compressed they did not come back out! This was definitely a really rough repair, but with the limited tools I had at my disposal, we got it done. $50.00 in shocks would have probably run about $500 installed at a shop in this case. Some rubber plugs can be dropped into the holes to keep that water tight, though since it sits in a cavity, there shouldn’t be any water getting in there anyway.

Broken BoltJeepRear ShocksXJ

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March 29, 2011 at 6:39 AM

Nice work with the wood saw! Two or three more projects using pipe wrenches, JB Weld and a bigger hammer will qualify you for an intership on most any tobacco farm in the Carolinas. Way to go!

Still haven’t found the temp wheel stud….


March 29, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Now, I never claimed to be a quality mechanic, but over the years I have done my share of repairs on this beauty. I recall using a cotter pin to avoid having to replace the window regulator and motor when the cheap plastic parts on the regulator stripped out causing the window to stay in the down position. We had a radiator crack, and a fuel pump go out and just as I was set to replace both, my appendix did the same. However, I’m quite confident that I would have been successful. Then there was the heater core. Ok, no way I was going to be able to fix that, but it was an easy diagnosis. Oh yeah, I recall gassing the car often, adding new washer fluid a few times, changing the occasional tire, and even wiper blades. I think I’m ready for the big time.
In my defense, when I told you I just kept “putting it back on” this was before the bushing completely blew out. Call it my 3 month, then one month, then weekly, the every other day “fix.” Since we just blew everything we had on a new house, I wasn’t thrilled about buying new parts–just getting all the mileage possible. Then on one magic day, it finally disappeared, literally your first day visiting, and hence I asked you for your expert services. I do appreciate the work you did to make the ride much better for your niece. Your enginuity essentially saved the day for us. Thanks.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it up to you a little bit this fall…

David Lessmann

March 29, 2011 at 11:33 AM

You should change your name to MacGyver.


    March 29, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    I tried a mixture of bleach, baking soda, a shoe string, and some gunpowder from a .22lr, and a toothpick to blow the welds off the nuts, but it failed. I had to resort to the wood hole saw. LOL


      March 29, 2011 at 7:32 PM

      silly Karl. you needed a 1″ tie down strap – that’s the missing ingredient…

    David Lessmann

    March 30, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    Are you sure it’s not Coca Cola and ATF? 😉

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