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Unread 04-16-2014, 06:23 PM   #1
TJ_guy90
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Alignment help!

Hey everyone,

So the other day I completely replaced the front end, as well as the springs and shocks in my 04 TJ. We replaced all ball joints, u-joints in the front hubs, tie rod and drag-link with Currie, track-bar (or center-link as Moog called it), we replaced the springs with 2" BDS lift springs and shocks with BDS shocks. It was all very worn and neglected.

When we were done and i test drove it everything seemed good other than the alignment felling like it was way off and the thing was jumping all over the road. This wasn't a huge surprise considering the work that had just been done, and assumed a proper alignment would solve this.The local shop I took it to told me that the caster was way off and that they couldn't do a proper alignment without caster adjusters or adjustable control arms (which is one of the reasons I did a 2" lift is because I was under the impression that I wouldn't need new control arms, or a TC lowering kit.) I told them to set the toe and not worry about the caster, but when I got it back it felt pretty much the same. Here is the final specs the gave me:

Front Caster: L= 4.2, R= 4.6
Front Toe: L= 0.2, R= 0.2
Front Camber: L= -0.3, R= -0.8

Rear Camber: L= -0.4, R= -0.2
Rear Toe: L= 0.1, R= 0.2
Trust angle= 0.1

All in spec other than the front caster, which correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't effect steering, but steering wheel return around corners (and of course the adverse effects on drive-shaft angles and what not). I should also mention I bought the rear track bar relocation bracket but didn't install it because I didn't have that big torx bit.

I realize this has become quite a lengthy post but I am trying to include as much info as I think may be helpful, and I will get to the question(s). what are the recommended alignment specs for a jeep with 2" lift and 31" tires if I wanted to try and set toe myself? Does anyone think it could be something more than just the alignment or something I neglected to do? Any advice from some of you more experienced jeeper's is very much appreciated.

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Unread 04-16-2014, 07:43 PM   #2
wwch99tj
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Do your own alignment... I have 1.75" lift, did my own alignment and have put 30k on with no problems
http://www.4x4xplor.com/alignment.html

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Unread 04-16-2014, 08:25 PM   #3
robncar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwch99tj View Post
Do your own alignment... I have 1.75" lift, did my own alignment and have put 30k on with no problems
http://www.4x4xplor.com/alignment.html

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Yeah, but even better...

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/di...-pics-2264465/
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Unread 04-16-2014, 08:36 PM   #4
Unlimited04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ_guy90 View Post
All in spec other than the front caster, which correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't effect steering, but steering wheel return around corners (and of course the adverse effects on drive-shaft angles and what not).
caster has a lot to do with steering. return to center is one way to think about it, but in addition to that, too little caster will make the vehicle feel darty and squirrely. It will feel like it wants to follow every defect in the road.

I run 6.5° caster on 33s. Since you now have a print out, you can find your own calibration. measure the pinion angle and call that linearly related to your caster from the spec sheet. when you change caster now with adjustable control arms, the pinion angle will change the same amount.

remember when you change caster you need to reset toe-in. caster changes will slightly move toe.
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Unread 04-16-2014, 08:43 PM   #5
robncar
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Originally Posted by Unlimited04 View Post
caster has a lot to do with steering. return to center is one way to think about it, but in addition to that, too little caster will make the vehicle feel darty and squirrely. It will feel like it wants to follow every defect in the road.

I run 6.5° caster on 33s. Since you now have a print out, you can find your own calibration. measure the pinion angle and call that linearly related to your caster from the spec sheet. when you change caster now with adjustable control arms, the pinion angle will change the same amount.

remember when you change caster you need to reset toe-in. caster changes will slightly move toe.
Any idea how much front cam bolts will change caster? ~4.4° to 6.5°? I don't think the OP has adjustable arms but don't know how much range the bolts have as I have not used them.
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Unread 04-16-2014, 08:49 PM   #6
Unlimited04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robncar View Post
Any idea how much front cam bolts will change caster? ~4.4° to 6.5°? I don't think the OP has adjustable arms but don't know how much range the bolts have as I have not used them.
Front cam bolts are worth 1.5°, tops, in my experience.
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Unread 04-16-2014, 08:53 PM   #7
robncar
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Originally Posted by Unlimited04 View Post
Front cam bolts are worth 1.5°, tops, in my experience.
So he may get close. At least enough to make a difference. OP, based on this, you may want to try the cam bolts first as a much cheaper alternative to adjustable upper control arms.

Just keep in mind, pinion angle takes precedence over caster, so don't go too far.
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Unread 04-16-2014, 08:55 PM   #8
Unlimited04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robncar View Post
So he may get close. At least enough to make a difference. OP, based on this, you may want to try the cam bolts first as a much cheaper alternative to adjustable upper control arms.

Just keep in mind, pinion angle takes precedence over caster, so don't go too far.
I usually recommend adjustable lowers to correct caster the first time around, especially smaller lifts. If you have adjustable uppers you can really fine tune the axle position, especially with taller lifts however.
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Unread 04-16-2014, 10:31 PM   #9
TJ_guy90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited04 View Post
caster has a lot to do with steering. return to center is one way to think about it, but in addition to that, too little caster will make the vehicle feel darty and squirrely. It will feel like it wants to follow every defect in the road.

I run 6.5° caster on 33s. Since you now have a print out, you can find your own calibration. measure the pinion angle and call that linearly related to your caster from the spec sheet. when you change caster now with adjustable control arms, the pinion angle will change the same amount.

remember when you change caster you need to reset toe-in. caster changes will slightly move toe.
This seems exactly like what I am experiencing, I will probably be working on the funds for adjustable arms ASAP, since as robncar said I do not have them. I assume that the pinion angle is desired as close to stock as possible regardless of lift correct? Also cheers for the awesome tech links in your sig.
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Unread 04-16-2014, 10:33 PM   #10
TJ_guy90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robncar View Post
Great write-up thanks!
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Unread 04-17-2014, 07:18 AM   #11
Unlimited04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ_guy90 View Post
This seems exactly like what I am experiencing, I will probably be working on the funds for adjustable arms ASAP, since as robncar said I do not have them. I assume that the pinion angle is desired as close to stock as possible regardless of lift correct? Also cheers for the awesome tech links in your sig.
no, you won't get stock pinion angle with a lift. you'll need to strike a reasonable compromise between pinion angle and caster. luckily the front driveshaft is a very long DC and can tolerate quite a bit.

on only 2" of lift, just get to 6°-6.5° caster and call it good.
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