This page is primarily an explanation of a problem
that often plagues early model Jeep Cherokees, especially the 2-door
Note that replacing the hinge sets are NOT the only way to fix
this problem. First thing to do is check your hinge pins! If they get wallowed
or worn out the door will sag & be hard to open almost as bad as the early
stages of a failing hinge. If those are ok and it IS the hinge, then a simple
re-weld of your existing hinge can often cure the problem and buy you a lot of
additional years usage. See any competent body shop if you lack the skills and
tools for this job.
Early XJ Hinge
Starting around 1998 Jeep Cherokees came with a
redesigned door hinge to help alleviate a problem that the factory never really
admitted the XJ had with their door hinges.
Fact of the matter is that
people have had their freakin' door FALL OFF due to the crappy old
design and that the factory welded the hinge to the body sheet metal!
That alone is bad enough but the straw that breaks the camel's back for these
hinges is often "big guys"... uh, FAT DUDES (or "FAT CHICKS" if yer into
dating the bovine persuasion) . It seems the big boned folk like using the
doors to haul themselves in and out of our XJ's rather than just stepping in
Sorry guys & gals but those aren't cattle gates and no
matter what ya weigh you're gonna kill the doors if you use it as a ladder to
get in and out. (In their defense, XJ's are not designed to be easy to get in
and out of... and if you've lifted it - getting in and out is a challenge for
What to watch for: The hinge pins on all models
tend to wear out so keep an eye on those.
The hinges on the 2-door models
will tear the sheet metal if you use them to pull yourself in and out of your
Always use the body door-frame to get in &
The late model hinges are weld on
replacements so you should check to see if your old hinges can be repaired or
rewelded first. Check for looseness in the hinge which can indicate a need for
shimming, a wallowed out hinge pin or (worst case) a hinge weld that is letting
go and tearing away from the door frame below the windshield
If it starts letting go - get it taken care of quickly
before it tears the metal too far!
NOTE! Your repair could be as simple as
replacing a worn or broken hinge pin! These are called "roll-pins" but
the hinge pins are a metric size NOT commonly found at most hardware stores.
They cost a little more at the dealership but it's not worth the time to hunt
them down at a specialty hardware shop (unless you have to drive by it on the
way to the dealership...).
If you'll look in the previous picture - you can see
clearly where the fender was trimmed to clear the new hinge. Y' think the auto
body guy was having a bad day with the shears?
Good grief! - my 9 year old
coulda done a better job...
If you compare this picture of my new lower driver side
hinge to your old lower hinge you can see the difference between the
Check out GoJeep's excellent write up on repairing your busted
Many years after this started cropping up... Jeep
dealers were also given 'instructions' on how to repair this problem, even
though they never really quite admitted that there actually was a problem with
the hinges. Here's a "hint" for the idiots at Daimler-Chrysler... If the door
freakin' falls off there MIGHT BE A PROBLEM!
Photo courtesy of Scott / 86JeepXJ
The factory's solution was to reinforce the hinge with a
riveted on support plate. This will probably work if you catch your hinges
breaking loose before they get too bad, This does not appear to involve any
welding but I have NO experience with this repair or the "kit" / parts
involved. If anyone has used this kit to repair their hinges please send me any
information / pics / an article on it so we can get the info out to
Early XJ Door Hinge Repair Tech
If you have pics of your own repairs or can
suggest other methods - please contribute your ideas (and pictures) to this
January 9th, 2007