How to install front shock adsorbers on a Jeep Cherokee XJ

I finally replaced the Bilsteins on my daily driver Jeep Cherokee XJ

I don’t remember how old my front shocks are. I got them several years ago. I was feeling some looseness in the front so I thought it might be the shocks.

I guess Bilsteins are made to order because it takes about a month or more to get them no matter where you buy them. Beware of places that claim to have them in stock because they very well may send you an email after you have paid that they will be shipped from the manufacturer who knows when. I had the same issue when I got Bilsteins for my 944. But they are worth the wait.

During the time I was waiting for mine I found the looseness in the steering. But I decided to swap the shocks anyway when they arrived. I will move the old ones to my off-road Jeep.

My lift was tied up with the 944 so I had to so this one the old fashioned way. I began by jacking up the driver’s side and removing the wheel. Be careful where you put the jack as you may block access to the bottom shock bolts if you lift by the control arms.

The bolts that hold the bottom are 13mm heads. I used a deep well on the bottom and a box end on the top. If they are very rusty or original bolts, they may break. Just replace the with some 5/16 bolts from the hardware store.

On the driver’s side, the top shock bolt is under the master cylinder. You may need to remove the airbox to get access. Hold the center of the shock and use a 17 mm to turn the nut. (The Bilstein has a hex key slot to hold the shock shaft. ) A ratcheting wrench is very helpful due to the tight access.

To install the new shock, assemble the lower bushing and washer. Compress the shock and quickly slide it into place as it expands. Make sure that the upper bushing is centered in the hole in the body. Slip on the upper bushing half and the washer. Tighten the nut. Make sure at least two full threads are showing above the nut.

Line up the holes in the bottom of the shock with eh holes in the axle. Drop the bolts through and install the nuts. Tighten to 18 ft-lbs.

Reinstall the wheel and lower the Jeep. Now jack up the other side and remove that wheel.

The passenger side top nut is much easier to access.

Install this one the same as the other side and tighten all the fasteners.

Put the wheel back on and take it for a test drive. Make sure everything is still tight and you are good to go.