Jeep Cherokee (XJ): Cleaning and inspection



Clean the caliper components with clean brake fluid or brake clean only. Wipe the caliper and piston dry with lint free towels or use low pressure compressed air.

CAUTION: Do not use gasoline, kerosene, thinner, or similar solvents. These products may leave a residue that could damage the piston and seal.


The piston is made from a phenolic resin (plastic material) and should be smooth and clean.

The piston must be replaced if cracked or scored.

Do not attempt to restore a scored piston surface by sanding or polishing.

CAUTION: If the caliper piston is replaced, install the same type of piston in the caliper. Never interchange phenolic resin and steel caliper pistons.

The pistons, seals, seal grooves, caliper bore and piston tolerances are different.

The bore can be lightly polished with a brake hone to remove very minor surface imperfections (Fig. 56). The caliper should be replaced if the bore is severely corroded, rusted, scored, or if polishing would increase bore diameter more than 0.025 mm (0.001 inch).

Fig. 56 Polishing Piston Bore
Fig. 56 Polishing Piston Bore


Rear drum brake


Clean the individual brake components, including the support plate and wheel cylinder exterior, with a water dampened cloth or with brake cleaner. Do not use any other cleaning agents. Remove light rust and scale from the brake shoe contact pads on the support plate with fine sandpaper.


As a general rule, riveted brake shoes should be replaced when worn to within 0.78 mm (1/32 in.) of the rivet heads. Bonded lining should be replaced when worn to a thickness of 1.6 mm (1/16 in.).

Examine the lining contact pattern to determine if the shoes are bent or the drum is tapered. The lining should exhibit contact across its entire width. Shoes exhibiting contact only on one side should be replaced and the drum checked for runout or taper.

Inspect the adjuster screw assembly. Replace the assembly if the star wheel or threads are damaged, or the components are severely rusted or corroded.

Discard the brake springs and retainer components if worn, distorted or collapsed. Also replace the springs if a brake drag condition had occurred. Overheating will distort and weaken the springs.

Inspect the brake shoe contact pads on the support plate, replace the support plate if any of the pads are worn or rusted through. Also replace the plate if it is bent or distorted (Fig. 57).

Fig. 57 Shoe Contact Surfaces
Fig. 57 Shoe Contact Surfaces


Wheel cylinder


Clean the cylinder and pistons with clean brake fluid or brake cleaner only. Do not use any other cleaning agents.

Dry the cylinder and pistons with compressed air.

Do not use rags or shop towels to dry the cylinder components. Lint from cloth material will adhere to the cylinder bores and pistons.


Inspect the cylinder bore. Light discoloration and dark stains in the bore are normal and will not impair cylinder operation.

The cylinder bore can be lightly polished but only with crocus cloth. Replace the cylinder if the bore is scored, pitted or heavily corroded. Honing the bore to restore the surface is not recommended.

Inspect the cylinder pistons. The piston surfaces should be smooth and free of scratches, scoring and corrosion. Replace the pistons if worn, scored, or corroded.

Do attempt to restore the surface by sanding or polishing.

Discard the old piston cups and the spring and expander. These parts are not reusable. The original dust boots may be reused but only if they are in good condition.

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