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How to remove the front drive shaft on 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x4

By Edited May 11, 2015 0 0

Recently, I discovered that my NP242 transfer case (Selec Trac) on my ' 96 Jeep ZJ was ruined. For months I had heard a clicking sound coming from underneath the vehicle but couldn't pinpoint exactly where it was coming from. I finally got underneath the Jeep and found the transfer case had a rather large crack in it, which allowed the fluid to drain. That clicking noise, which over time turned into a grinding clanking noise, was the innards of the transfer case being torn up because of a lack of lubrication. To cure the noise, I decided to remove the front drive shaft. I'll explain why I did this.

Even with the transfer case in 2 wheel drive, the front differential still turns with the front wheels, which turns the front drive shaft. The front driveshaft still turns some of the inner parts of the transfer case (especially when the transfer case is bone dry). I decided it was time to remove the drive shaft to alleviate the noise. It's a temporary fix until I can replace the transfer case itself.

Now please keep in mind that if your transfer case is in otherwise good working order, and you have a full time 4 wheel drive system (quadra trac) on your Jeep, you shouldn't drive around without that front drive shaft. I'm able to leave the front drive shaft off because I have a 2 wheel drive option. But if your Jeep does not have the 2 wheel drive option and the drive shaft has been removed, your transfer case will try to transfer a lot of power to the front wheels. This is because it is sensing that the front wheels have zero traction and it will be constantly trying to send power to your front wheels and consequently, you will burn up your transfer case. 

Now, on to the good news. It is incredibly easy to remove that drive shaft, as it is with most vehicles. There are a total of eight 8mm bolts that hold the drive shaft to the yokes. I took mine off using a regular ratchet and socket with no extensions. The bolts were not hard to remove. However, if you're having a hard time removing them, or they're rusted, you could spray some penetrating oil, like PB Blaster, and let it soak for a bit, Then, try again. That should loosen them up a bit. 

After removing the 8 bolts, it won't just fall out of place. The driveshaft has a kind of spring in the middle of it that provides tension to the two ends that help keep it in place. You'll need to grab one end of it and pull it toward the other end and slip it out of place. Once one side is out, the other side should come out with relative ease. If you're having a little trouble getting one of the ends out, put a little bit of elbow grease in to it! I had to anchor myself using my feet to get pull the front end off. It didn't take much and it came free. 

One it's free on both ends, carefull remove it and put it away. You're done! 

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