Wheel alignment on lifted WJ? At a shop. - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-19-2019, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
blastic
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Wheel alignment on lifted WJ? At a shop.

I need to get a wheel alignment as my steering wheel is angled to the left when going straight but I consider myself lucky to not have death wobble or any other weird issues regarding the lift on my Jeep.

What is the possibility of a shop messing this up and causing a problem that wasn't there before? Is it worth the risk or should I keep driving slightly misaligned, it's nothing crazy but just don't like how the steering wheel sits.

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post #2 of 14 Old 04-19-2019, 10:23 AM
FanTech
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Steering wheel position doesn't indicate anything about "alignment". There is an adjusting sleeve that essentially shortens or lengthens the tie rod. It's basically connected to the pitman arm. Turn one way to shorten, the other way to lengthen.
Alignment is controlled by the long sleeve on the very bottom. Wouldn't hurt to get it checked out anyways though. I put a lift on my Jeep years ago, had it "aligned" but then had really bad wobbling. I did it myself with a tape measure and it turned out fine.
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-19-2019, 02:19 PM
Mofugly13
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Wheel alignment on lifted WJ? At a shop.

You need to shorten your drag link. Go 1/8 of a turn at a time, then test drive on a flat straightaway. Adjust as needed. Small adjustments here.

It helps to get a paint pen and draw a nice line matching your drag link sleeve and drag link end so that you can see how much you’ve adjusted, and you can always get it back to “start” position if things get screwy and you need to start over.

This assumes you’re driving a LHD Jeep.


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post #4 of 14 Old 05-09-2019, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
blastic
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Originally Posted by FanTech View Post
Steering wheel position doesn't indicate anything about "alignment". There is an adjusting sleeve that essentially shortens or lengthens the tie rod. It's basically connected to the pitman arm. Turn one way to shorten, the other way to lengthen.
Alignment is controlled by the long sleeve on the very bottom. Wouldn't hurt to get it checked out anyways though. I put a lift on my Jeep years ago, had it "aligned" but then had really bad wobbling. I did it myself with a tape measure and it turned out fine.
Sorry for the delayed response. Thank you both for your help. Does it matter if the Jeep is on or off when doing this?
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post #5 of 14 Old 05-09-2019, 10:12 AM
Mofugly13
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No, it does not matter. But make sure you take it for a short drive to check after every adjustment. When you adjust it to straight sitting in the driveway, it may not actually be centered once you’re tracking straight down the road. Take your 15mm wrench and your channelock pliers with you. And just pull over and make small adjustments, small being the key word.


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post #6 of 14 Old 05-21-2019, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
blastic
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Originally Posted by Mofugly13 View Post
No, it does not matter. But make sure you take it for a short drive to check after every adjustment. When you adjust it to straight sitting in the driveway, it may not actually be centered once you’re tracking straight down the road. Take your 15mm wrench and your channelock pliers with you. And just pull over and make small adjustments, small being the key word.


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So I got under the Jeep yesterday but I'm a little confused. I have a 3 inch lift on so I'm not sure if that changes anything but I don't see an adjusting sleeve really.
In this video around 3:43 you see him loosen 2 bolts to turn the sleeve.
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post #7 of 14 Old 05-21-2019, 06:38 AM
Mofugly13
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Originally Posted by blastic View Post
So I got under the Jeep yesterday but I'm a little confused. I have a 3 inch lift on so I'm not sure if that changes anything but I don't see an adjusting sleeve really. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7OuwYnjjIY&t=319s In this video around 3:43 you see him loosen 2 bolts to turn the sleeve.

That Jeep in the video looks like an XJ. They have a different drag link. His adjustment sleeve is about 6” long. On the WJ, like ours, the whole drag link is the sleeve. You have a bolt to loosen at either end, where the ends are. They’re about 30” apart, then rotate the whole thing.





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post #8 of 14 Old 05-21-2019, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
blastic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mofugly13 View Post
That Jeep in the video looks like an XJ. They have a different drag link. His adjustment sleeve is about 6” long. On the WJ, like ours, the whole drag link is the sleeve. You have a bolt to loosen at either end, where the ends are. They’re about 30” apart, then rotate the whole thing.





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Yea I do believe it is an XJ, I couldn't find a how-to for the WJ but you just explained it perfectly. Thank you for clarifying for me!
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post #9 of 14 Old 05-21-2019, 08:34 AM
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I just centered the steering on my 2004 WJ yesterday. This was necessary after I noticed that the adjustable track bar the previous owner installed was the wrong length. I had to lengthen it about half an inch to center the chassis over the axle.
Anyway, just thought I would give you a ballpark estimate on the number of turns. If you think of the steering wheel as a clock, the wheel moves about one "hour" for each revolution of the tie rod. My steering wheel was at about 4 o'clock when driving straight after I corrected the track bar. It took roughly 4 turns of the tie rod to bring the steering wheel to center. That should get you close, then make fine adjustments to get it just right.

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post #10 of 14 Old 05-21-2019, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Magnum View Post
I just centered the steering on my 2004 WJ yesterday. This was necessary after I noticed that the adjustable track bar the previous owner installed was the wrong length. I had to lengthen it about half an inch to center the chassis over the axle.
Anyway, just thought I would give you a ballpark estimate on the number of turns. If you think of the steering wheel as a clock, the wheel moves about one "hour" for each revolution of the tie rod. My steering wheel was at about 4 o'clock when driving straight after I corrected the track bar. It took roughly 4 turns of the tie rod to bring the steering wheel to center. That should get you close, then make fine adjustments to get it just right.
Gotcha yeah my wheel isn't too bad but it's being slightly off centered is annoying hahah, it's at about 10:30 so hopefully around one and a half rotations will do the trick. Thank you for the helpful info.
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post #11 of 14 Old 05-21-2019, 11:05 AM
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This should help.



Loosen the bolts at both ends of the drag link. Grab the drag link sleeve with pliers or a strap wrench (strap will not damage the paint which could lead to rust) and rotate. This changes the length of the drag link which moves your pitman arm relative to your wheels. Steering wheel moves with your pitman arm. This adjustment does NOT change the angle of your wheels to the road, it just repositions your steering. Tighten the bolts back up when you are done.


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ok mostly just repairs, but we are closing in on a lift
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post #12 of 14 Old 05-23-2019, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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I tried getting this taken care of today but I have 2 problems. My steering wheel doesn't move when the key is in the accessory position so I turned it on and tried turning the drag link sleeve but it would hardly move. I'm going to try some PB for that but what's up with the wheel not moving when in accessory? Would rather not work on my jeep when it's actually on lol.
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-23-2019, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blastic View Post
I tried getting this taken care of today but I have 2 problems. My steering wheel doesn't move when the key is in the accessory position so I turned it on and tried turning the drag link sleeve but it would hardly move. I'm going to try some PB for that but what's up with the wheel not moving when in accessory? Would rather not work on my jeep when it's actually on lol.
Weird. Mine has to be in the On position but don't have to start it.

A trick to turn hard-to-turn tie rods and drag links is to loosen both clamps and slide one towards the center of the rod enough that it can be tightened but it doesn't actually tighten the tie rod. Then use either an open end wrench on the clamp nut or a pry bar on the inside of the clamp to get leverage to rotate the rod.
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post #14 of 14 Old 05-23-2019, 10:37 PM
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I'm sorry but why not bite the bullet and get a lifetime alignment from Firestone for $180 on sale right now. I just got mine back, had 4 wheel balance and lifetime alignment. I recently bought it, 2008 wk, didn't pull, steering wheel was straight. Previous owner put new tires on, said he didn't align it. Had a slight balance shimmy at 70 mph. Now it's smooth as a baby's rear. I noticed a more solid feel in the steering immediately also. They give you a read out of before and after specs. Toe in and camber were out of spec (not by much). You can have it re-aligned numerous times per year if you like. Any Firestone in the country. And now I have peace of mind knowing I'm not tearing up my tires. Tell them to double check the wheel is straight when they set it up. Believe me, I didn't want to spend the money, but it's an investment in knowing what you have to start with, and protecting your $tires$. JMHO
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