Originally Posted by AmericaOverland
I was talking with a long-time Jeep Liberty owner yesterday. He has owned a YJ and some CJs in the past. He said that "front end alignments aren't necessary." I'm assuming staying with the same size tires.
Can you tell me more about what he meant by that?
Keep in mind Liberty's, YJ's and CJ's use a completely different steering and suspension setup from a TJ/XJ/ZJ.
He might have good intentions, but it doesn't sound like he knows enough about TJ/XJ/ZJ steering & suspension to tell you an alignment isn't necessary on your Jeep.
TJ's absolutely need alignments after a lift. Theres four main things to consider - steer ahead, toe-in, camber and caster. Steer ahead is whether the steering wheel is centered or not, and is adjusted at the draglink. Toe-in is easily set at home on the tie-rod, in your driveway with a tape measure. Caster is set by cam bolts on the lower control arms, or with adjustable lower control arms. Making the lower arms longer increases caster...stock caster spec is 6-8 deg. if caster is poor, the jeep will drive squirrely and the return to center of the wheel will suck. Camber is NOT adjustable on a solid front axle without off-set ball joints. If your camber is off significantly, it can suggest a bent or warped housing. Caster and camber are both measured best on a laser alignment rack.
If you do a lot of suspension work, and you really want to dial the alignment in so the Jeep drives the best, look into a lifetime alignment from Firestone. I've got one, and i've had the Jeep aligned nearly 10 times in the past 3 years or so. Multiple trips to Firestone after axle swap, steering upgrades, lift height changes, caster changes, etc allowed me to get the steering and suspension dialed in very well.