97 Grand Cherokee Front Axle

I have a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 w/L6 eng. & selectrac x-fer case. Recently we had some snow which is somewhat rare in Danville, VA & I used the 4wd for the first time in a few years. Since then, it seems to feel as if it is still in 4wd even though it is in 2wd. When turning, the steering wheel seems to pulsate when coming out of the turn and I hear a clunking noise from the front axle, frequency of which varies with speed. Is it stuck in 4wd with a release method I’m not aware of or am I about to make my local mechanic a wealthy man.

The locking hub in one or both front wheels is stuck in the lock position. This uauualy happens if the locking hubs are rarely used.


The hubs are automatically locking type. Is there a way to unlock them?

Take them apart clean and relube them.


Any special tools needed to remove the hubs?
What type lube? Being the auto-locking type,
is the locking mechanism inside the differential?

If you were to try this sort of thing on your own I would suggest that you spring for a repair manual for the car (Haynes or Chilton’s are widely available for about $20, but a factory manual would be much better, but probably also more like $100 - or more). Auto parts stores and sometimes book stores carry Haynes or Chilton’s. Whatever you spend on the manual will quickly be saved by not screwing things up and then helping you with lots of questions/repairs/maintenance - they’re a good investment.

No locking hubs on this vehicle! The front axle and driveshaft are always engaged. 4wd vs 2wd is handled exclusively in the transfercase on this vehicle. The symptoms indicate that the transfer case never came out of 4wd.