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Old 09-04-2014, 05:57 PM   #1
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Front Axle Shifted!?

Hey all,

I bought my first Jeep in March - a 2010 Unlimited Sport with 33k miles. The dealer I bought it from put a 3.5 inch lift on it and 35 inch MT's. When I got it I had a Jeep dealer inspect it and they said everything on it was good. Since I got it I've taken it off road a few times, but nothing serious. In fact, they were all trails I took my previous stock 2004 Xterra on with no problem. I took the Jeep to the Jeep dealer today for a knocking sound in the steering and when they got it on the lift they could see the whole front axle was shifted to the drivers side (they showed me and the damage was clearly visible) As a result, the front control arm bushings are ruined and the front control arms and steering stabilizer, etc all need to be replaced to the tune of $3,000. I thought Jeeps were supposed to be tough? How could the same trail that doesn't harm a stock xterra cause this much damage on a Wrangler? Has anyone heard of this happening before?

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Old 09-04-2014, 06:02 PM   #2
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Should of bought a more complete lift kit that included an adjustable track bar to center the axel.

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Old 09-04-2014, 06:02 PM   #3
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And you can buy aftermarket control arms and steering stabilizer for a fraction of that cost.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:42 PM   #4
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The lift kit was on it when I got it, otherwise I would have. For the control arms etc. what brand are you referring to? Thx
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:33 PM   #5
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Yea, I know very little about lifts but what I do know from researching them is that 3,000 to replace control arms, bushings, track bar whatever is a bunch of bull#$%&. Seriously, research this site, teraflex, Rock Krawler, metalcloak, tons of companies that will get your far better parts for a fraction of that cost. Also search Youtube for Teraflex, regardless if you buy their product or not they have tons of videos that explains what different parts do, and how to replace them. And some of them are really funny. Good luck.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:41 PM   #6
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Whoa, don't blame the Jeep. What kind of 3.5 inch lift? Did they do it right? How far was the axle shifted over? What damage is clearly visible? How are the bushings ruined? I'm willing to bet the dealer put a cheap lift on, didn't do it right and now you're paying for it (literally and figuratively).

You could put a whole new 3.5 inch lift on the Jeep and do it right for less than $3000 with arms, drive shafts, track bars, etc.
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Old 09-05-2014, 06:48 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback guys. Yeah the Teraflex vids are great lol. My challenge is I don't have the lift, tools, or knowledge to put a new lift on myself so I'm at a disadvantage. Should I have the dealer service dept hold off while I order a Teraflex system? Then who do I have install it?
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Old 09-05-2014, 06:51 AM   #8
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Oh and yeah, I bet the dealer put a cheap lift on too and I didn't know any better at the time (was excited to have my first Jeep). The passenger side front shock is all the way up against the frame and you can see the bushings are torn up. I think the track bar is also bent more than it should be as well.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:12 AM   #9
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remove jeep from the dealership.

Strip off unknown/shit parts that you had installed inplace of the quality factory parts.

Have independent mechanic install quality lift system.

Enjoy
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:26 AM   #10
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^^ X2 Get it away from the dealer!
Any work the dealer does he is going to over charge you on parts and labor. Post in the local state forum on this site. Ask for recommendation of a good 4x4 shop near your location. You want to go to place that does this stuff all day long.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:33 AM   #11
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I would NOT have the dealership install. typically their labor rates are on the high end of the spectrum, and at the end of the day, they specialize in stock.

I also wouldn't get in a huge rush ordering, at least not yet. Many shops don't like you brining in your own parts. And even those that do, often won't warranty the work. But if you buy the parts from the shop it's another story.

If I were you, I'd find my local Jeep club. Then I'd ask the club what local shops are good for jeeps. If you are anywhere near a decent city, there is often a shop near by that specializes in 4x4s. When you find a shop, give them a call, and see what they recommend. Now expect going in that you'll spend a little more on parts, but with those few extra dollars you can also expect that the job should have warranty. That way if anything regarding the lift goes wrong, you have some place to go. And of course, if the axle shifted you're going to need a good 4 wheel alignment.

After talking to the shop you can decide if you should order the parts on your own, or just go through them. Sounds like you'll need the front 4 control arms, upper and lower, track bar, and maybe a new steering stabilizer. If you were feeling crazy froggy, you could just get a new kit that includes all of the above, but it is pry unnecessary.

Main point being, reach out to jeep owners in your area, and do some calling around before you spend any cash. $3000 sounds pretty expensive for what you might actually need. And the more I think about it, you really should get a second opinion anyway. Unless the lift that was put on had a adjustable track bar, just putting on a 3" lift will offset your front axle by between 3/8' and 1/2". You never know, the stealership just may not know any better, and it may not be nearly as bad as you think...

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Old 09-05-2014, 11:00 AM   #12
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You never told us how far the axle shifted. 2Cav is right. A 3 inch lift can shift it significantly (half inch or so). It's not going to damage the Jeep. If it's shift over more than an inch or so, you've likely got bigger problems than a track bar.

The steering noises could be lots of things. Tires rubbing, play in the track bar or suspension (from a poor install or improper parts), who knows? I'd liberate the Jeep from the "dealer" and take it to a shop that specializes in off-road vehicles or Jeeps. Could be something simple but it might take a knowledgeable mechanic to track down the problem.

Honestly, I'd get all that aftermarket stuff off and install a quality 2.5 inch lift. Less problematic and cheaper. You could "fix" the Jeep for less than $2000, maybe as little as $1000. That's assuming you don't have a quality lift that was installed incorrectly. A good off road or Jeep shop would know.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:01 PM   #13
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Ok, I've found out more info. First, the axle shifted as far left as it could go with the right shock sitting against the frame. Second, I found out the 3.5 inch lift that was installed was a Zone brand lift, evidently made by BDS offroad...does that mean anything to you? Third, I've already called the stealership and told them I'm takin the Jeep elsewhere for a second opinion and I've got an appt Tuesday at the local 4wheelparts shop.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:12 PM   #14
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^not necessarily. Many kits are not complete when going above 2.5. BDS is a good brand and zone is a sub brand of BDS just like Toyo and Nitto.

a front trackbar will alleviate the problem. You'll need upper CA's to adjust, and front lower geo brackets to correct the setup for now. You can also do all 8 arms for better flex. Right now, though your whole setup is not complete due to the height and that's why your getting bad feedback from your jeeps suspension setup.

also be sure to upgrade your trackbar bolts!!!
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:20 PM   #15
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I've got a 3" zone lift. There is neither anything exceptionally great or poor about them. My 3" was shocks and springs. Track bar relocation bracket in the back, but nothing up front. A new adjustable track bar is on my short list of things to do sooner than later, but. I've not had any problems at all with mine. Done some flexing here and there, and out on some moderate trails a handful of times, all without incident. My alignment isn't even that bad, considering no control arm or track bar adjustment right now.

If your axel shifted that much, there was something wrong with your track bar, or the track bar bolt, or the track bar bracket. The track bar by design controls the location of the axle in relation to the frame. That much movement means that something in that chain failed in a big way.

You are on the track. Get a second opinion and if the failure is due to the lift install you can always bring that up to the dealer.

Please post updates as you go, would love to see how this turns out for you.

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Old 09-07-2014, 06:51 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the info! I spoke with the shop that installed the zone lift and they installed: front and rear coil springs, rear sway bar end links, track bar relocation, brake line relocation, and front and rear shocks. But they said they left the factory track bar - so I'm wondering if something was compromised in the track bar from the previous owner. I'm looking forward to what the 4wheelparts tech has to say/recommend on Tuesday. Hopefully I can end up with a stronger rig/better setup when this is all over. Will post an update on Tuesday.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:09 AM   #17
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So 4 Wheel parts looked at it and said the axle was shifted about a half inch to the left, but that's how it's supposed to be with the zone lift that's on the JK. They said the only thing that needs to be replaced is the draglink for a whopping total of only $200. Quite the difference from the dealership quote of $3,000. I definitely learned my lesson for the future. Thanks everyone for the advice!
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:26 AM   #18
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That is GREAT news, congrats on the win! Seems odd that the drag link would go bad, but that's way better than a complete front suspension...

FWIW, it would be good advice to still put an adjustable front track bar on your short list of mods. Along with a 4 wheel alignment of course.

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Old 09-10-2014, 10:10 AM   #19
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I just got off the phone with them and they are now adding an adjustable track bar (in addition to replacing the draglink) and doing an alignment
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:22 AM   #20
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How much shift are we talking about?

The installation of any 3.5" lift kit will naturally shift the axle towards the side the TB is mounted on the frame. For a 3.5" lift it will shift 1-1.5" depending on the actual amount of lift. An adjustable TB can recenter it but it is not mandatory to install one. The damage you describe probably didn't come from from this normal axle shift but from the improper installation of the kit like the torquing of the TB itself.

A third party Jeep dealer inspecting someone else's lift kit installation is a new one, since the majority of them complain of lift kits on site during any warranty service.

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