I need help. My mechanic installed AEV's 2.5" dual sport lift on my 2014 unlimited. He's having problems aligning it and getting the steering wheel straight. He had his alignment rep. Come in for assistance. After multiple attempts the rep couldn't get it aligned either. After taking measurements the rep. Said my rear axle is shifted 1/2" forward and this is causing the problem. The mechanic loosened the axle but was unable to get any movement out of it. I called Northridge and they said they've never seen this before. Can someone please give me some advice? Mt jeep is in limbo right now. By the way it only has 400 miles on it and it tracked straight when I bought it.
Few things here. First to adjust the steering wheel the rear track.
As you lift the jeep a few things are going on that is going to happen. As it goes up, both axles shift the left. The more you lift it the more it will shift. This is why you need ether relocation track bar brackets or adjustable track bars and or both. Also as you lift the jeep the track(length of wheel base) of jeep is shortened. To set this correctly you need all adjustable control arms, Now in the AEV kit they use the GEO front brackets. But the rear they do not make anything for it and most people just run it that way. If it had arms that adjusted you could set the lowers 1/2 inch longer and then tune the pinion as need by the uppers. But not really needed at 2.5. If you do not have a rear adjustable track bar the rear will shift to the left, is that what they mean by 1/2 off, to left?
To set the steering wheel is very easy and has nothing to do with the track but the front wheels direction. best way i have found is drive the jeep down a flat straight road, somewhere you can stop. If the steering wheel is off. stop, loosen the drag link adjuster clamp and turn it until the steering wheel is straight. Tighten bolts. Done. It may take two people to do fast. I do it alone and takes no more than 5 minutes.
i can not believe they thought if they loosened the stock rear control arms they could adjust that. You can not do that with fixed length arms. To me that is a red flag that these guys do not know doodly squat about a Jeep and how to align it.
Getting an alignment:
When you lift a jeep you loose caster up front, but you have Geo brackets that corrects that and should be fine/ very close with AEV. This set the track and the caster. SO the ONLY thing they could adjust is toe and that wont change from the lift no matter how high on a JK as it has a solid tie rod bar separate from the drag link. most people run the stock 1/16 toe in. You can do this with a tape measure. I do it that way and everyone i know does, and that is many jeepers, in real life not the web.
By the way the axle is shifted forward 1/2" on one side
That is what i thought you meant. The only way to fix that is with a adjustable rear track bar. set it 1/4 longer. You do not get this with that kit and they do not make one.
But again that is not why they can not set the steering wheel. Their trouble is they are doing a 4 wheel alignment. I could not live with the axle being of to the left, i am a bit OCD on these things. Its right or its not. But you can run it like that, AEV thinks its good enough. But that is what happens with incomplete kits. You can still adjust the steering wheel if its off center. You must or the TC light will go off all the time and then the brakes start to do there thing thinking the jeep is in a slide. have then do it like i said. Drive it straight and stop, set the drag link, done ezy pezy.
Not a AEV fan myself and went through this with there 3.5 kit being short on needs for a 2d. Since buying that lift it has cost mt 2x that to make it what i wanted and would have been better off going with a kit that cost 2x more in the first place. For what i needed. AEV has some issues if you get wheeling it to hard with Geo brackets that can bend and few other short falls it has. The springs are top shelf.
Thanks for the quick responses. It came with the track bar but it doesn't say whether its adjustable. I didn't open the kit before I took it to the shop. The mechanic is saying one side of the axle shifted forward not to the side. Is that something that could happen without and UTB? I'm also OCD and that will bother the hell out of me id not corrected. Northridge said they've installed over 3000 lifts and never heard of this. There the ones that recommended this kit to me. Northridge also said that they would love to sell me rear adjustable control arms but that this wouldn't fix the problem. If I have to purchase additional parts to fix this I will although I really feel I shouldn't have to. I just don't want to start replacing things that don't help. That could get expensive real quick.
The same shop that did the lift is doing the alignment. His alignment machine is brand new. He even had the Rep. from where he purchased the machine come in and do it twice and he couldn't get it aligned. The Rep. is also a trainer for the machine.
The axle alignment was probably off before the lift. A simple 2.5" lift wont cause the axle to shift forward on one side. If you want it exactly perfect you'll need adjustable control arms and track bars. These Heeps don't leave the factory with tight tolerances on anything.