Alignment and Steering Questions - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-01-2021, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
sortaCDXX
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Alignment and Steering Questions

Hi all back again, after getting my CEL issue taken care of, I took my wj in for an alignment, here are the results. Have a couple questions that I forgot to ask. Before my questions I have 2" spring spacer lift front and rear, not my choice bought it this way. I just recently replaced all my drag link ends and tie rod ends everything else besides tires and wheels (265/65r18 wheels are off a 2018 GC) is stock, also have 295xxx miles.

Q1) Why was the caster and camber for the front unchanged?
Q2) It looks like my camber for the front left is the only one in spec, am I reading that correctly?
Q3) Also wondering why my thrust angle went from close to spec to farther out of spec?
It looks to me that the really only adjusted the toe. Also they couldn't finish because it appears: that my drag link end at the pitman arm has a shaft the is too small for the hole in the pitman arm, or because the pitman arm is wallowed out and needs to be replaced. Like I said before I just installed all new drag link ends and tie rod ends. So I am leaning towards the pitman arm being the issue, but just bought a new drag link end just in case, apparently NAPA can't get a pitman arm, which is frustrating.

Anyway after I figure out the issue they said to bring it back to finish the alignment, which I'm guessing is just them aligning my steering wheel. If anyone could give me some further insight that would be great, also let me know if I am missing something. I do plan on asking these questions to the shop when I go back just want to hear some unbiased opinions. Thanks

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post #2 of 10 Old 04-01-2021, 06:29 PM
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Getting a professional alignment has value to me, just so you know what these numbers are. Most of them cannot be changed easily, but it is still worth it to me to have the toe dialed in correctly by a pro.

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Originally Posted by sortaCDXX View Post
Q1) Why was the caster and camber for the front unchanged?
Because stock WJs have no available adjustments for caster or camber, the only adjustment is toe angle (using tie rod) and steering wheel (using drag link). If you get some adjustable control arms you can do something about caster angle, but if you are not having any issues like DW, then maybe do not worry about it (unless you are like me and just cannot help yourself with the need to throw money at problems that do not exist).


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Originally Posted by sortaCDXX View Post
Q2) It looks like my camber for the front left is the only one in spec, am I reading that correctly?
Yessir, you are reading correctly. Something is likely a little bent. If it really bothers you, shims or offset ball joints are available to correct this, but you probably should not worry about it much.


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Q3) Also wondering why my thrust angle went from close to spec to farther out of spec?
The spec should really say 0.25, or min=-0.25 max=+0.25. Your angle is in the window. Again, there is no adjustment to change this, so any variation is due to slop in the suspension, maybe due to worn out bushings. The shop cannot really do anything to change this number except maybe wiggle the back end around to get a slightly different number, but that does not do anything worthwhile.
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ok mostly just repairs, but we are closing in on a lift
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-01-2021, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GmanWJ View Post
Because stock WJs have no available adjustments for caster or camber, the only adjustment is toe angle (using tie rod) and steering wheel (using drag link). If you get some adjustable control arms you can do something about caster angle, but if you are not having any issues like DW, then maybe do not worry about it (unless you are like me and just cannot help yourself with the need to throw money at problems that do not exist).

Yessir, you are reading correctly. Something is likely a little bent. If it really bothers you, shims or offset ball joints are available to correct this, but you probably should not worry about it much.

The spec should really say 0.25, or min=-0.25 max=+0.25. Your angle is in the window. Again, there is no adjustment to change this, so any variation is due to slop in the suspension, maybe due to worn out bushings. The shop cannot really do anything to change this number except maybe wiggle the back end around to get a slightly different number, but that does not do anything worthwhile.
Thanks for the breakdown, GmanWJ, I kind of suspected this to be the case with the caster and camber. So the only things that will essentially change these values as it sits are wear on other suspension parts, and things bending with abuse or hard use? After I this little hump I was planning on all new trailing arm bushings next. Or possibly lift it proper.

What is the possibility that my pitman arm, with 295,xxx miles on it, is the issue and not the drag link? Already ordered both just in case.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-01-2021, 11:11 PM
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Cannot really offer an opinion on your pitman arm / drag link situation. You changed out the drag link ends so you would have a better idea if the shop's explanation makes sense. My wild guess is that the shop is correct; if you know you have the right end in there, then replacing pitman arm sounds reasonable.
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ok mostly just repairs, but we are closing in on a lift
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-05-2021, 10:18 AM
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Pittman arm is a solid chunk of steel hard attached to steering box. It'll take a lot of force to bend it. Drag link would bend first before Pittman arm. And just like gman said, don't worry too much about caster & camber on the solid axel.
Fyi, a tape measure is sufficient for toe adjustment. Toe controls how your steering wheels return to center. My buddy showed me how he's been doing it on his xj with a tape measure. Made me a believer after that.
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-06-2021, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red-97tj View Post
Pittman arm is a solid chunk of steel hard attached to steering box. It'll take a lot of force to bend it. Drag link would bend first before Pittman arm. And just like gman said, don't worry too much about caster & camber on the solid axel.
Fyi, a tape measure is sufficient for toe adjustment. Toe controls how your steering wheels return to center. My buddy showed me how he's been doing it on his xj with a tape measure. Made me a believer after that.

Unfortunatley, I have to mildly disagree. CASTER is what helps your wheels return to center. Toe simply adjusts the distance between the two tires to keep them straight to each other. If your toe angle is way out of whack it can create enough drag on the tires to make it hard for the Caster angle to overcome, and the wheel will not return to center, but it would be out so far that your tires would not last long. In this situation, adjusting the toe would give the caster angle back the ability to recenter the wheels, but TOE would only effect the re-centering indirectly...There are those guys who adjust their toe angle at home with a tape measure, but I wouldnt. After ten years of using an alignment machine, It taught me that tape measures are like shooting a cannon. It will go in the general direction you point it, but it will be a crap shoot if you are trying to hit a target. Tires are expensive, just because you dont rip the tread off them, doesnt mean you are getting max life out of them with a toe angle that is cannon shot with a tape measure....FWIW

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post #7 of 10 Old 04-08-2021, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Finally got all the parts yesterday, got the pitman arm off the shaft and the drag link off the pitman arm last night. Had to cut the drag link off the nut had back out into the codder pin, didn't feeling like messing with it since I had already bought a new one.

So I didn't have my calipers (did all this in the driveway instead of out at my shop) pxl_20210408_151749866_1617903830350.jpgto take a proper measurement, but it does look like the old pitman arm hole was wallowed out. In the pic I have the old pitman arm on top of the new oneClick image for larger version

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Got everything installed now and gonna head back to the place that did the alignment to finish. All they have to do is set my steering wheel straight, and I know how to do that myself but they offered to do once I got everything fixed.

Here's some pics of the old vs new pxl_20210408_150530303_1617904560888.jpg

pxl_20210408_151511112_1617904576193.jpg
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-08-2021, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for the double pic on that last post, did it on my phone.

Here's a short video of the problem before I started.
https://i.imgur.com/ScxXgX5.mp4
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-08-2021, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sortaCDXX View Post
Sorry for the double pic on that last post, did it on my phone.

Here's a short video of the problem before I started.
https://i.imgur.com/ScxXgX5.mp4
Yikes! Yeah the shop was right, there's too much play there by far.


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ok mostly just repairs, but we are closing in on a lift
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-09-2021, 03:52 PM
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It's a tapered hole. That means the nut was loose in ordered for drag link end to move around & wear down Pittman arm. At least you're able to remove Pittman arm without issues. Good job!
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