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Unread 02-10-2009, 11:28 PM   #1
sailmike83
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Just lifted... When to get an alignment?

I just lifted my jeep (see thread here), but I'm unsure of when to do an alignment. Should I do one now, or wait until the springs have settled?

Thanks,
Mike

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Unread 02-11-2009, 05:41 AM   #2
Mean Max
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I always do my own alignments. I take a small chunk of 2"X4" & drive a long nail through it. Then I lift the wheels (lifting on the axle housing) slightly off the ground & place the nail pretty close to the center of each front tire & barely touching the tread. Spinning the tire will leave a nice thin scribe mark in the tread all the way around the tire. I use this line to measure my toe in/out at the front & rear of the tires. I measure as close as I can (1/2 way up, right at the axle height) and make the front measurement just 1/16" to 1/8" less than the rear measurement.
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Unread 02-11-2009, 06:03 AM   #3
JeeperDon
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Why do you think you need one? There is really nothing to align anyway other than 'toe', and as the first reply said, you can do that yourself. Any issues with pulling or tire wear are more due to bad parts (ball joints, rod ends) than from alignment.
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Unread 02-11-2009, 08:49 AM   #4
yjwrangler08
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i've had my 4" lift on for about 2 years and i've never had it aligned. it drives straight down the road, but if your jeep starts pulling to one side then id probably go and get an alignment.
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Unread 02-11-2009, 09:49 AM   #5
sailmike83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperDon View Post
Why do you think you need one? There is really nothing to align anyway other than 'toe', and as the first reply said, you can do that yourself. Any issues with pulling or tire wear are more due to bad parts (ball joints, rod ends) than from alignment.
It drives fine, although the steering wheel is a little off center. I've just always heard it's good to get an alignment after any suspension work.

I think I'll try Mean Max's alignment method to double check it when I get a chance.

Thanks guys,
Mike
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Unread 02-11-2009, 09:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailmike83 View Post
It drives fine, although the steering wheel is a little off center. I've just always heard it's good to get an alignment after any suspension work.

I think I'll try Mean Max's alignment method to double check it when I get a chance.

Thanks guys,
Mike
Adjust your steering wheel by adjusting the drag link. It won't affect the alignment at all. It's easiest to adjust by loosening the adjuster & driving slowly around your neighborhood, stopping to make adjustments as needed, then do a "final" tightening of the adjuster when you're satisfied with the steering wheel.

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Unread 02-11-2009, 10:50 AM   #7
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Yecchhh. What are those coily things? And why does the tie-rod look like it's busted in the middle?
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Unread 02-11-2009, 11:01 AM   #8
JeeperDon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailmike83 View Post
I've just always heard it's good to get an alignment after any suspension work.
Yes, on cars, with IFS/IRS, control arms, etc. You have a solid axle, the camber is nonadjustable/fixed, the caster is mostly unaffected by springs swaps with about the same shackle length, and toe is definitely not effected on a spring swap on a YJ. Your steering wheel off has it's own adjustment that has nothing to do with alignment. Disregard the photo on the reply above as it is no way like your truck.
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Unread 02-11-2009, 12:04 PM   #9
sailmike83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperDon View Post
Yes, on cars, with IFS/IRS, control arms, etc. You have a solid axle, the camber is nonadjustable/fixed, the caster is mostly unaffected by springs swaps with about the same shackle length, and toe is definitely not effected on a spring swap on a YJ. Your steering wheel off has it's own adjustment that has nothing to do with alignment. Disregard the photo on the reply above as it is no way like your truck.
Makes sense. I just thought it was a blanket statement. The steering wheel was like that before the lift, I just need to get around to fixing it. I'm pretty familiar with basic suspension and steering components after replacing everything on my old '71 Volvo 1800, but that's a good illustration of atleast where some of the steering components are for someone who didn't know.
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Unread 02-11-2009, 01:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperDon View Post
Yes, on cars, with IFS/IRS, control arms, etc. You have a solid axle, the camber is nonadjustable/fixed, the caster is mostly unaffected by springs swaps with about the same shackle length, and toe is definitely not effected on a spring swap on a YJ. Your steering wheel off has it's own adjustment that has nothing to do with alignment. Disregard the photo on the reply above as it is no way like your truck.
No need to totally disregard the photo Don. I know it's a TJ pic, but the steering linkage nomenclature & type are similar & relevant to the alignment question.

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Unread 02-11-2009, 02:35 PM   #11
JeeperDon
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No need to totally disregard the photo Don. I know it's a TJ pic, but the steering linkage nomenclature & type are similar & relevant to the alignment question.
Actually not. There are no control arms to adjust caster, the TJ drag link is involved in toe, where the YJ is not. Some of the words in the pic apply to the YJ, but that's about it.
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Unread 02-11-2009, 02:41 PM   #12
Mean Max
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperDon View Post
Actually not. There are no control arms to adjust caster, the TJ drag link is involved in toe, where the YJ is not. Some of the words in the pic apply to the YJ, but that's about it.
Definitely correct on the caster adjustment, but I fail to see how the drag link affects toe adjustment.

Adjusting the drag link will not affect the distance (toe) between the two wheels, it moves the tie rod end as a complete unit.

Can you show me what I'm not getting?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimatE View Post
Max has a picture of every Jeep part ever made.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benderff View Post
No one here knows what they are talking about. You should try Pirate 4x4 they will be happy to help you.

There is no situation that cannot be improved with a small but well-placed explosive.
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Unread 02-11-2009, 04:15 PM   #13
JeeperDon
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Quote:
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Definitely correct on the caster adjustment, but I fail to see how the drag link affects toe adjustment.
The original question was about needing an alignment after a YJ lift. With the TJ's 'Y shaped' linkage design, any change in the angle of the drag link (which occurs when any pitman drop with the lift is different than the lift amount), causes the distance between the wheel rod ends changes. On a YJ, changing the drag link angle has no effect on any alignment parameter.
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Unread 02-11-2009, 04:29 PM   #14
Mean Max
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperDon View Post
The original question was about needing an alignment after a YJ lift. With the TJ's 'Y shaped' linkage design, any change in the angle of the drag link (which occurs when any pitman drop with the lift is different than the lift amount), causes the distance between the wheel rod ends changes. On a YJ, changing the drag link angle has no effect on any alignment parameter.
Excellent description. I wasn't considering that effect (when we were talking about the TJ steering in the picture) mostly because my experience largely limited to the YJ, which is unaffected by the lifting, as you clearly pointed out.

Once again, I find myself learning more each day, and this isn't the first time I've benefitted from your knowledge Don. I don't know if you remember or not, but your advice helped me greatly while I was calculating pinion angle on my wife's SOA job, back in the day on the Q-tec forum.

Thanks again for your input.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimatE View Post
Max has a picture of every Jeep part ever made.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benderff View Post
No one here knows what they are talking about. You should try Pirate 4x4 they will be happy to help you.

There is no situation that cannot be improved with a small but well-placed explosive.
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