Question about 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee bottoms out on small bumps. I just had new shocks put on and it did not affect it at all. 4 brand new tires, and new muffler from engine back. Same exact problem still. What else could it be? If hit a small smooth depression, going 20 mph, like a worked over patch on a small side street, at the bottom of the little dip, it will BANG. It seems it's loudest when scooping into any kind of depression, and the suspension reaches its lowest point. In a normal car, you wouldn't even wince or think twice about these types of normal street dips and scoops, but the Jeep bottoms out. It's just in the right front and never seems like it's from the left. I'm baffled, and have asked around quite a few places with no answer yet. Thanks!

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Hi db,

Strange behavior for a Jeep.

Let's make sure we're on the same page. I'm going to ask a few questions. You answer. The more detail the better.

Define 'Bottoms Out'. Does the longitudinal frame hit the road or is it that the shocks have traveled as far as they can.

Does the vehicle sit lower in the right front?

If you push the vehicle down at each corner do they all resist about the same?

These aren't air shocks are they?

Jack the front end up. Do both front wheels hang at the same level?

Grasp the right front wheel and try to move it up down, left right. Is there play? noise?

Take off the wheel. Are the brakes shoes in good shape and secured in position?

Are the upper and lower shocks mounts secure?
If you had to guess, What do you think is BANGing.

Enough for now.

BTW, I have a GC too.


Posted on Aug 05, 2010

  • 14 more comments 
  • dbonneville Aug 05, 2010

    It sure seems like the shock is bottoming out. Imagine hitting a slight scooped area on a normal paved street. Nothing you'd evade on bike. Like a patch that is sunken maybe 3-5 inches but smoothly graded on either side, maybe 3-4 feet across, enough of a size and depth to cause a lurch not much different from where storm drains sit along the edge of the road. This lurch, when it's at the maximum, causes something up front to bang.

    - the vehicle sits straight
    - just got 4 new tires and alignment 2 weeks ago
    - drive straight as a pin at highway speeds, nice and smooth
    - new shocks and rotors in the last year. it made the noise before that
    - sway bars replaced 2 weeks ago
    - they are regular shocks - whatever the normal recommendation from a place like Firestone would bee

    I can't jack up the front end - i can only do one at a time with the standard jack

    When the tires and alignment were done, I asked a new place (not the Firestone place that did the brakes and shocks) if they could see what was wrong. They said everything checked out OK.

    Another way to trigger is to be going say 40-50 down a curvy back road. I can get it to bank by cornering tight into a smoothed divot in the road, like all country roads have, and if I get enough compression on the right front corner, bang. This is not a dramatic movement I'm talking about either. I'm talking pleasure riding with wife and kids. Just your normal suspension compression on a mundane country road you'd take any car on.

    I wouldn't know how to see if the shock mounts are secure. But again, it was just looked at. Not that they couldn't miss the obvious, but two unrelated shops haven't found it yet.

    Could it be springs? If the spring doesn't resist, does the whole thing hit it's max? I could see how a shock wouldn't help much if the spring was not holding.

    What else is there that could be doing that?

  • dbonneville Aug 05, 2010

    man, the comment box erased all my formatting! is there another place i can respond so that the formatting doesn't get lost? i just used hard returns but the paragraphs all run together...sorry...i know it's harder to read like that.

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Aug 05, 2010

    There are all sorts of bizarre things these pages do. Clarifications do the same thing.

    I was thinking springs when I asked for the 'Press on all four corners' test.

    Did the symptoms start about the same time the sway bar was worked on?

    It may be too tight. It's job is to allow vertical motion between the chassis and suspension while suppressing lateral motion.

    Do you know what the sway bar looks like? If it was installed with the wrong hardware it would 'bottom out' so to speak.

  • dbonneville Aug 05, 2010

    When I press on either front corner, they respond about the same. They go down about the same and come up about the same speed.

    I can see bars at different angles between the front wheels, but wouldn't know what the wrong hardware would be.

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Aug 05, 2010

    The sway bar pivots within the chassis mounts.

    The end mounts allow the vertical motion. They should be symmetric. Connectors too.

    Look close for signs of 'BANG'ing, scrapes etc

  • dbonneville Aug 05, 2010

    I would also add that these types of road conditions are the kind that you might not really see coming as worrisome.

    If you were sipping a coffee, you might pull it away from your lip but you certainly would not be expecting a big bang.

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Aug 05, 2010

    I see about some pix. Give me a few minutes .

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Aug 05, 2010

    What we will be looking for is if the anti-sway bar is restricting vertical motion. The fun part is proving it.

    Pix = 1,000 words

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Aug 05, 2010

    Sorry ittook so long

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Aug 05, 2010

    The images have to be below 100K. It started as 3.xxMb

    I'm working on the actual photo. In the meantime check the grommets and reaining rings for something out of place

  • dbonneville Aug 05, 2010

    I'll look for all this, but where should I look for scraped parts? Is stabilizer the anti-sway?

  • dbonneville Aug 05, 2010

    Before open the I need to look from below on my back, or can I see this from the top, or do i I have to look behind the tire in the wheel well?

  • dbonneville Aug 05, 2010

    I added two comments but they disappeared when I refreshed. Should I be clicking the "add comment" link up the original reply, or should I scroll down and click "reply" on the right?

    Q: should I look for signs of wear as you say from behind the wheel looking in, do I have to lay on my back and look up?

  • dbonneville Aug 05, 2010

    You can email higher-res images to if that makes it easier

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Aug 05, 2010

    Yes, add comment.

    The brainiacs designed this thing so I can't see your comments when responding. Makes things difficult.

    Stabilizer=Sway bar

    Access for viewing is from beneath, on your back.

    I'll send the biggies to yer e-mail


  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Aug 05, 2010

    E-M sent



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