'14 Rubicon 3.5 RK lift caster numbers way low - Jeep Wrangler Forum

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Old 04-22-2014, 02:25 PM
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'14 Rubicon 3.5 RK lift caster numbers way low

I just completed lifting my 500 mile 2014 Rubicon unlimited with a 3.5" X-Factor Rock Krawler lift. The caster numbers are really low. I know I can adjust them back to within specs but why were they even so low to start with? I followed the arm lengths exactly. Has anyone else had really low numbers to start with and had to correct them higher? I have mostly just heard people having high numbers and trying to bring them down. Right now the pinion, drive shaft and everything is pretty well in line as a diagonal but It is suppose to have a little angle to it I believe. How does everything else look? Thanks for your input.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:34 PM   #2
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How much actual lift did you end up with when you installed your lift? I'm guessing no winch, so maybe more than advertised? If so, that's where your caster went...

Sorry, I don't know the specifics of that lift, but I imagine someone will roll through that can offer you some specific advice...

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Old 04-22-2014, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by octagon pilot View Post
How much actual lift did you end up with when you installed your lift? I'm guessing no winch, so maybe more than advertised? If so, that's where your caster went...

Sorry, I don't know the specifics of that lift, but I imagine someone will roll through that can offer you some specific advice...
I do have a winch, the warn zeon. It was on during for the alignment.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:48 PM   #4
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Start with this Jeep Jk, Caster and lifting.

People need to understand that arm lengths listed are only a base or starting point. Different heights, heavy/light weight jeep. Factory mount locations are not always the same jeep to jeep.

When you have both sets of arms. Lowers set axle center in the wheel well. Uppers set caster pinion.

4.5 is a good stating point for caster. Here's what you do
- set lowers to 231/8
- use measuring technique discussed in my thread to set 4-4.5* caster.
Just note a alignment is the most accurate. Compare the caster number you got to the alignment machines number. Now you have a base to go by next time.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
Did you set arms or a shop ?
I did the lift and set all the arm lengths. Thanks for your post. I have read the thread before but going over it again now.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:25 PM   #7
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My post should get you very close.

The 231/8 number for lowers is common with all kits. The proper way to set them is to have the bump stop centered with the lower perch at full bump. (Like it would be stock)

Here's how It's done.

Match both lower arms at 231/8 and mount them up but don't tighten.

Next - find the best means possible to hold your pinion angle at + 2* (with that caster will be close to 4*)
Bolt in driver side upper to the frame. Then adjust out joint so the bolt slides through the hole in the axle mount,
(Snug both bolts but don't tighten)

Now bolt passenger upper up to the frame end. Then adjust joint out so the bolt slides through the axle end.
(Snug but don't tighten)

Note: The uppers may or may not be the same lengths. This will prevent any future bushing issues

Now that you have the arms all at length and pinion set. Tighten all jam nuts. Remove if you have to (remember lengths are set already)
Leave all bolts snug but not tight tightened.

Lastly, lower the jeep on its own weight. (Tires on)
And torque all to spec.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:38 PM   #8
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I used the AEV drop brackets (middle holes) with 3" Synergy coils. My caster is around 3.5/3.7 and it drives fine. I suppose using the lowest holes would get me to 4.5 but no idea what other problems that could cause. My eyes are having trouble seeing due to some eye drops but if I am reading your caster as 1.7, that is too too low.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
My post should get you very close.

The 231/8 number for lowers is common with all kits. The proper way to set them is to have the bump stop centered with the lower perch at full bump. (Like it would be stock)

Here's how It's done.

Match both lower arms at 231/8 and mount them up but don't tighten.

Next - find the best means possible to hold your pinion angle at + 2* (with that caster will be close to 4*)
Bolt in driver side upper to the frame. Then adjust out joint so the bolt slides through the hole in the axle mount,
(Snug both bolts but don't tighten)

Now bolt passenger upper up to the frame end. Then adjust joint out so the bolt slides through the axle end.
(Snug but don't tighten)

Note: The uppers may or may not be the same lengths. This will prevent any future bushing issues

Now that you have the arms all at length and pinion set. Tighten all jam nuts. Remove if you have to (remember lengths are set already)
Leave all bolts snug but not tight tightened.

Lastly, lower the jeep on its own weight. (Tires on)
And torque all to spec.
I get everything you are saying except the 231/8 part. what are you referring to? I plan on getting to it first thing in the morning.
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Darin View Post
I get everything you are saying except the 231/8 part. what are you referring to? I plan on getting to it first thing in the morning.
I figured it out looking back at RK instructions. 23" 1/8 got it! Yes measurements were dead on. Only thing I can think of is slight variations in frame mount builds. For example. My camber was 1.0 on front left side. Other side wasn't bad. Jeep only has 560 miles on it. So it wasn't damaged by me. They put one SPC 1* offset ball joint on the upper and as you can see that corrected the measurement from the original reading. It is sad that it was probably sent from factory that way or damaged during transport. My Jeep had 100% inspection during build, stuff like that I would think would have been caught. So I am not surprised the camber could be off for the same factory reason. Makes me wonder how many other Jeeps have alignments slightly off new and people have no idea. Factory tolerances must not be as strict as owner wants. If I hadn't of lifted the Jeep that would have been covered under warranty but then again if I hadn't of lifted it I wouldn't have done an alignment after 560 miles.
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
that's the same reason why the upper arms are not always set to the same lengths.
Adjusted my lower control arms out 5 complete turns. Have about a quarter of an inch of threads showing now. Originally the measurement from RK had basically no threads. Did the small circle angle measuring from the small holes on the axle with my smart phone Measured right at 2 so my caster should be about 4. I know the bottom of the C's and top of ball joints are bad measuring points but they were agreeing for the most part with the other measurement +/-.5. Tomorrows alignment will show that. I can say that after the adjustment it drifts slightly to the left. Can't wait until everything is perfect
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:46 PM   #13
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Good job man. Def post the alignment results.
It could vary a small amount. Just remember the difference for future adjustments.
Meaning, if you were shooting for 4 but got 5. Future adjustments should target 3 knowing the degree difference on a laser alignment machine.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:12 AM   #14
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Subscribed - my X factor should be here on Tuesday so I could possibly going through the same issue very soon.
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:19 PM
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Just leaving dealership. Caster is just a shy on the low side as 3.3 and 3.6 but I am going to leave it as is for now. I have the ATS fox stabilizer so it should help the track on the jeep. Camber is good and toe was off driving in to the dealership since I rotated the axle slightly for the camber. The only thing red is the cross camber and I don't see how that matters much.
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:20 PM
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I meant rotated the axle for caster
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:11 PM
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As I had posted a few weeks ago I had a second alignment done after I made some adjustments on the lower control arms and lengthened them 5 turns to increase the caster degree. Well I still didn't like the driveability with the mid 3 degree caster. I decided to made another adjustment and get a third alignment. First alignment was to see where I was. Second was to make adjustments and get it in spec. This time was purely for driving comfort. I shortened the upper control arms by 2 complete turns. I didn't want to add two more turns to the lowers since I had about a quarter inch of threads showing and the wheels look great in the center of the wheel well. Attached is my current alignment numbers. Both are in the mid to upper 4's on caster and it drives night and day better than mid 3's. Doesn't wander keeps straighter and the steering doesn't seem so figity. To anyone doing this lift set control arms to get in the 4*. I would say it drives every bit as good as stock maybe slightly better. I also have the Fox ATS so I am sure that helps too.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:15 PM
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BTW the reason for the before caster numbers being so high was because when I got it on the alignment rack I shortened the upper control arms 3 complete turns and didn't want it quite that high for my weak factory drive shaft/pinion angle. So I backed it out one turn and UCA is two turns shorter than my previous numbers.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
4.5 is about perfect. Just keep a eye on the shaft.
What shaft would you recommend when I need replacing? There are so many different brands.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:43 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darin View Post
What shaft would you recommend when I need replacing? There are so many different brands.
I know lol

I'm running a Adams shaft. It was the cheapest back when grease-able u-joints were used. with solid joints and a raise in manufacturing cost -the price went up. I haven't compared in a while but The Adams DS might still be less expensive. The front bolts up the factory flange. There's no yoke to replace, only at the TC which saves $$
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:37 AM   #22
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Very helpful information. Same issue for me on my 2014 Rubi and 3.5 xfactor RK w/37's. There is a top notch alignment guy here in Phoenix AZ called Gary's Alignment and Brake. This dude knows what he's doing and didn't even charge me to find the problem that 4Wheel Drive and Total Auto Pros could NOT find.

I'm purchasing the 1 degree Rabestos offset for upper passenger here. More Information for RAYBESTOS 6154001

Once installed I'll take back to Gary's for what I expect to be a perfect alignment.

I have sleeved axles and welded gusset supports. I haven't done anything so radical to cause any type of bending or damage. I suspect the angle of the pinion is at least one cause of the offset issue along with perhaps numerous other slight variables in lift installation and factory spec variation.
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Old 10-24-2014, 04:17 AM   #23
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Very helpful information. Same issue for me on my 2014 Rubi and 3.5 xfactor RK w/37's. There is a top notch alignment guy here in Phoenix AZ called Gary's Alignment and Brake. This dude knows what he's doing and didn't even charge me to find the problem that 4Wheel Drive and Total Auto Pros could NOT find. I'm purchasing the 1 degree Rabestos offset for upper passenger here. More Information for RAYBESTOS 6154001 Once installed I'll take back to Gary's for what I expect to be a perfect alignment. I have sleeved axles and welded gusset supports. I haven't done anything so radical to cause any type of bending or damage. I suspect the angle of the pinion is at least one cause of the offset issue along with perhaps numerous other slight variables in lift installation and factory spec variation.
What is your problem, caster or camber ?
Off set ball joints are typically used for camber issues. In one case, I know a guy who uses upper and lower off set joints to dial in caster lifted higher.
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Old 10-26-2014, 12:22 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
What is your problem, caster or camber ?
Off set ball joints are typically used for camber issues. In one case, I know a guy who uses upper and lower off set joints to dial in caster lifted higher.
Camber 1 degree passenger side. Pulls to the right.
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Old 10-28-2014, 04:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darin View Post
As I had posted a few weeks ago I had a second alignment done after I made some adjustments on the lower control arms and lengthened them 5 turns to increase the caster degree. Well I still didn't like the driveability with the mid 3 degree caster. I decided to made another adjustment and get a third alignment. First alignment was to see where I was. Second was to make adjustments and get it in spec. This time was purely for driving comfort. I shortened the upper control arms by 2 complete turns. I didn't want to add two more turns to the lowers since I had about a quarter inch of threads showing and the wheels look great in the center of the wheel well. Attached is my current alignment numbers. Both are in the mid to upper 4's on caster and it drives night and day better than mid 3's. Doesn't wander keeps straighter and the steering doesn't seem so figity. To anyone doing this lift set control arms to get in the 4*. I would say it drives every bit as good as stock maybe slightly better. I also have the Fox ATS so I am sure that helps too.
Glad to hear you got it all squared away! These are the reasons we are trying to be more active on Wrangler forum. All of our measurements are starting points so sometimes you will have to adjust from there a little bit. 4.2-4.5 degrees is the factory caster spec that we shoot for. These specs should be absolutely fine to reach with a factory shaft at this lift height.

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Old 11-02-2014, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Rock Krawler Sus. View Post
Glad to hear you got it all squared away! These are the reasons we are trying to be more active on Wrangler forum. All of our measurements are starting points so sometimes you will have to adjust from there a little bit. 4.2-4.5 degrees is the factory caster spec that we shoot for. These specs should be absolutely fine to reach with a factory shaft at this lift height.

RK
Love the lift thanks! I actually called you guys on the numbers between my alignments and got some pointers.
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Old 02-09-2016, 02:58 PM   #27
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I have the same exact issue (2014 JKUR with 3.5” X-Factor Kit). Just has an alignment and my caster is at 1.7 on both sides.I asked the shop about it and they said that they drove it and it drove great so they didn’t adjust the caster any.And the thing is, it really doesn’t drive bad – tracks straight, doesn’t seem too flighty, etc.If I keep it the way it is, is this causing any unneccassary stress on anything else?Would I see a big difference if I adjust the caster do around 4…?Thanks everyone…
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Old 02-09-2016, 03:43 PM   #28
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that's the same reason why the upper arms are not always set to the same lengths.
For some strange reason, few people seem to care about this. My thinking is that if you're going to spend the hours doing an install, it'll only eat up a few extra minutes to properly setup the control arms to both square the axle to the frame AND to not have the left and right control arms fighting eachother and constantly in a bind. Jeeps are not F1 cars and have a pretty wide margin for being within spec on frame and mounts. Adjusting and compensating for this is easy and well discussed in various threads. In short, both upper and lower control arms should NOT be equal length on the left and right! Close? Sure, but almost never equal lengths when you square the axle to the frame and set caster/pinion with one of the uppers and set the other to fit the other side without binding.
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Old 02-09-2016, 03:58 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luner99 View Post
I have the same exact issue (2014 JKUR with 3.5” X-Factor Kit). Just has an alignment and my caster is at 1.7 on both sides.I asked the shop about it and they said that they drove it and it drove great so they didn’t adjust the caster any.And the thing is, it really doesn’t drive bad – tracks straight, doesn’t seem too flighty, etc.If I keep it the way it is, is this causing any unneccassary stress on anything else?Would I see a big difference if I adjust the caster do around 4…?Thanks everyone…
They drive so much nicer at high 3 and low 4 at 3.5" lift... And it's so easy to do. Set the lowers at 23-1/8 and the uppers around 18-13/16 and see what your caster looks like using an angle app on the pinion. Why spend the money for a premium lift to not have it set up correctly?
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Old 02-09-2016, 04:18 PM   #30
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If it's that easy, why do the RK instructions specifically say to set the front uppers at 19 3/8"...? That seems like a pretty large difference of a starting point. And I understand that they are reference numbers only and not all are the same, etc...

I guess I need to adjust them and see if it increases the drive quality. I just don't have access to keep going back and checking the angles without paying each time...

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