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Castor angle different on each side of D30?

628 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  shooter2
My Jeep likes to wander when I drive so I was checking the castor angle on my 86 CJ7 from the top of the ball joint on both sides of the axle, and I'm getting different readings. The passenger side reads about 3.5* and the driver's side is reading 5*. Anyone have any ideas on why I'd have two different readings? The CJ has about 3 inches of lift with less than 100 miles on it and a decent Jeep lean towards the driver's side. Ball joints are new.

Passenger side and driver's side below it.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I found that using an angle finder on the ball joint is only accurate to +/- 2 degrees due to inconsistency in the casting.

I’d take it to an alignment shop and get it measured properly.

I found my CJ handles best at around 7 degrees.

Matt
Yeah, I think you're right, an alignment shop is probably the best place to go before I start messing with the front end again. Thanks.
 

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I would look at the tow in. We have had cj' s in the family for years and found a quick easy way to do the tow in ourselves never needed an alignment shop. Not to say a front alignment or even a thrust alignment is a bad idea especially with a new lift and bigger tires. I can give you the details if you're interested. Army 88-91
 

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Yes they can be different. I wasn't aware of it on a CJ, but the TJ, XJ, YJ and ZJ are. Not sure about WJ. The rational for this being done at the factory is supposedly so it will pull right if you fall asleep. But I wouldn't put too much stock in that. When I set ;up my D44 front, I made them the same
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What’s the ball stud preload set up properly ?
Very common cause of wandering if they are too tight.
I would not be concerned with the caster readings, not likely to be the cause.
I put the ball joints in in 2015 or 2016. Followed the FSM on the install, but can't remember what process I went through then. I do remember getting the old ball joints out was an adventure in patience and creativity. I had 235/75/15s on the Jeep when I added the 2.5 inch YJ spring conversion, a new J20 steering box, rebuilt the tilt column, and a borgensen lower shaft. I added a drop pitman arm so the tie-rods were in their mostly OEM position. The Jeep didn't wander much at all then. I recently added some BFG 31 inch tires and have really noticed that it wanders. So I've got a few variables to check. Castor angles seems like the easiest to deal with, then the steering box to see if it needs to be adjusted.
 

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I put the ball joints in in 2015 or 2016. Followed the FSM on the install, but can't remember what process I went through then. I do remember getting the old ball joints out was an adventure in patience and creativity. I had 235/75/15s on the Jeep when I added the 2.5 inch YJ spring conversion, a new J20 steering box, rebuilt the tilt column, and a borgensen lower shaft. I added a drop pitman arm so the tie-rods were in their mostly OEM position. The Jeep didn't wander much at all then. I recently added some BFG 31 inch tires and have really noticed that it wanders. So I've got a few variables to check. Castor angles seems like the easiest to deal with, then the steering box to see if it needs to be adjusted.
Long story short, the knuckles should be around 9-14 lbs to turn them with the tie rod out and using the hole. If it’s much more than that it will be all over the road. I used to use a fish scale to check them. Tight/rusty axle u-joints will do it also.
Too much toe out can also but caster will mainly cause a pull.
About all you can do to adjust caster is use an offset upper ball joint.
 

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