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Old 04-23-2011, 02:01 PM   #1
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Lifetime Alignment?

I just finished my lift last night and I'm getting an alignment. Thought about doing it myself, as others have, but decided to just pay someone.

Firestone service center has a one time alignment for $79, or a lifetime for $135. I've never heard of this. Anybody else purchased a lifetime alignment? What would you do?

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Old 04-23-2011, 02:05 PM   #2
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What would I do? I sure wouldn't waste $79 and no way in Hell would I waste $135 for a simple procedure that can be done in ten minutes at home. Yes, you can produce results every bit as good as the latest laser-guided whizbang alignment rack can produce. You only need to set your toe-in which is the easiest of all, the caster and camber angles are not even adjustable on your TJ.

I'll come back later and post how to do your own toe-in (accurately!) with only a tape measure if you're interested.

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Old 04-23-2011, 02:11 PM   #3
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OK, enjoying beer and wings waiting for my appointment in an hour. Should I cancel?
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:13 PM   #4
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If it's pretty easy, I'm up for it.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:15 PM   #5
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Super easy. Here are instructions I follow

Basic Jeep Front End Alignment
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:20 PM   #6
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The "lifetime alignment" is just a way Firestoned can get your vehicle back into their shop so they can sell you more stuff. It you have cam bolts in your lower arms, then caster is adjustable. Toe is easly set with a tape measure.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:26 PM   #7
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Ok, canceling appointment. At least it has been a good excuse to enjoy beer & wings at the Hurricane Grill! Lol
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjae View Post
Firestone service center has a one time alignment for $79, or a lifetime for $135. I've never heard of this. Anybody else purchased a lifetime alignment? What would you do?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
What would I do? I sure wouldn't waste $79 and no way in Hell would I waste $135 for a simple procedure that can be done in ten minutes at home. Yes, you can produce results every bit as good as the latest laser-guided whizbang alignment rack can produce. You only need to set your toe-in which is the easiest of all, the caster and camber angles are not even adjustable on your TJ.
I've got the Firestone Lifetime Alignment, and I love it. My Jeep has been in for an alignment 6 or 7 times in the past 3 years. I'd say that $135 bucks was one of the best mods I've done for my Jeep. I've dialed in caster, thrust angle, camber and more.

Everytime I change something in the front end I get an alignment. I've been able to dial in the front end very nicely as a result. New tie-rod...slap it on and had firestone set it. change a TRE because its toasted? back to firestone. I swapped in a HPD30 with Vanco brakes...drove to firestone, they set up the alignment. and i've been to 4 different firestones, no issues. the most local firestone to me now, the same mechanic has done the alignment each time i've been there and we always end up talking about Jeep's and the mods I've done.

Keep in mind its only worth it if you get more than 2 alignments...so plan accordingly. If you're going to keep the Jeep and want a service that will grow with your jeep, then its great. If you're only going to lift it once and never touch anything else in the front end, then a Stu-Offroad or Jerry driveway tape measure toe-in alignment will work just fine.
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Old 04-23-2011, 04:23 PM   #9
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Thanks Unlimited. That's kinda the mind set I was having when pondering... I could definitely gain more brownie points with the Mrs by not spending more money on the jeep right now, so right now I'm setting the tow-in.

Thanks for everyone's help and opinions!
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Old 04-23-2011, 04:26 PM   #10
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This writeup, as Minderbinder3 already posted, gives you the basics. For up to about 33" tire size, set your toe-in so the fronts of the tires are between 1/16" and 1/8" closer together than in the rear. For 35", 3/16" closer together in front than in the rear is a pretty good setting.

Basic Jeep Front End Alignment

For quick toe-in adjustments, I just use the method given in that writeup. If I have the time, I remove the wheels and use two 40" pieces of square 1" tubing marked at points equal to my tire diameter as shown below. The below method gives a slighly more repeatable measurement if you're not quite able to hold the tape measure against the tires as accurately as you'd like to. Most of the time I just use the tape between the tires and every six months or so do a sanity check with the below method.

Click on the photo in the above website and either of the two below to make them bigger.
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Old 04-23-2011, 04:48 PM   #11
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I was just doing that. Lol
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Old 04-23-2011, 04:59 PM   #12
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Nice! You have another one for the other side too right?
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:34 PM   #13
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Yeah, you just couldn't see it in the pic.

I set it at 1/16" toe in for my 31's.

33's are on the wish list. Just put on a OME lift (DPG ultimate), and kinda broke the bank, so saving me $100 is awesome. Thanks for your help.

Next problem is getting rid of the vibration.

I didn't get a transfer case drop, due to the ultimate kit. Body lift & MML on the shelf until I get 33's.

Right now I'm trying to shim with washers. I got three 1/2" flat washers installed, and still have a vib at 30-35 mph. Going to try 2 more washers. Hopefully that will work.
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:42 PM   #14
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For a 3" lift, you're going to need pretty close to 1" of transfer case drop. That means you need more than 1" of washers around the bolts because most of them sit in an indentation. And if you have a newer Jeep that uses the smaller diameter and shorter metric bolts to hold the skidplate to the frame, you will absolutely need 1" longer replacment bolts. Make sure to get hardened bolts. If they are metric, make sure they are either rated 8.8 or 10.9. If they are SAE, they must be either Grade 5 or Grade 8. The lower rating numbers, 8.8 for metric or Grade 5 for SAE, are more than strong enough.
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:02 PM   #15
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Wow, just went for a test drive and the alignment is seems to be perfect.

I'm so pleased with the ride quality of this lift! It's way better than my old stock suspension. I have a new Jeep!

The skid bolts are pretty long, but I don't think I want to go over 5 washers without replacements. I'll add the other two next.
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:34 PM   #16
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Just did the same thing to mine, followed stu-offroad.com's writeup as I was too lazy to take the tires off . I like the aluminum angle way though Jerry, real easy to dial in.

Just have to remember to have the weight on the axle! Forgot that the first time and wondered why it was so off...doh!
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Old 04-23-2011, 07:56 PM   #17
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I paid the $135 at Firestone for the simple fact I don;t have a garage or any other flat surface to do it my self
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:43 PM   #18
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Jerry,
What are the chances I bend the tie rod while turning it? I put a vice grip on it and it wouldn't budge. Going to get a pipe wrench and put a little more torque on it.
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Old 05-06-2011, 02:27 PM   #19
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I carry a pipe wrench with me even when I go offroading because tie rods are typically seized and VERY tough to turn. A pipe wrench is often the only tool that will break it free. Soak the ends with Liquid Wrench, PB Blaster, Break-Free, etc. for a while to give it time to work into the threads and try turning it with your vise grips. If that doesn't work, no worries on the pipe wrench bending your tie rod.

Once you get the tie rod freed up, I would completely unscrew it and apply a copious amount of antiseize to both the male and female threads to prevent the tie rod from ever seizing up again. Buy a jar of antiseize rather than a small tube of antiseize because you should also apply it to things like your t-case skidplate bolts, upper shock mounting bolts, and any other hardware you want to be able to disassemble again in the future.

One thing, antiseize is perhaps the messiest stuff to use you'll ever encounter. What it gets on by the time I am through using it never ceases to amaze me.
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Old 05-06-2011, 02:50 PM   #20
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Thank you Jerry. I already have it soaked with PB blaster. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:39 PM   #21
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Jerry,
What are the chances I bend the tie rod while turning it? I put a vice grip on it and it wouldn't budge. Going to get a pipe wrench and put a little more torque on it.
I just went through this the other night; channel locks, to vice grips, and then finally on to a pipe wrench. I had been soaking mine in PB Blaster for several days as well. I was able to break it loose fairly easily by sitting on the ground and pushing the pipe wrench with my foot. The only damage I'm pretty sure it caused were a few jaw marks from the wrench. FYI, looking at the end of the tie rod from the driver's side, turning it clockwise increases toe-in.

-Wes
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:46 PM   #22
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Ok thanks. I'll try again tomorrow.
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:53 PM   #23
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One thing, antiseize is perhaps the messiest stuff to use you'll ever encounter. What it gets on by the time I am through using it never ceases to amaze me.
Does it SEIZE to amaze you sorry dumb joke
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:59 PM   #24
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One thing, antiseize is perhaps the messiest stuff to use you'll ever encounter. What it gets on by the time I am through using it never ceases to amaze me.
It's funny you say that because I've discovered the exact same thing. You cannot use anti-seize without it ending up somewhere you don't intend it to be.

-Wes
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Old 05-06-2011, 06:16 PM   #25
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Does it SEIZE to amaze you sorry dumb joke
That was really bad.
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:22 PM   #26
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That was really bad.
What can I say, I am a natural born comedian
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:31 PM   #27
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Yeah, you just couldn't see it in the pic.

I set it at 1/16" toe in for my 31's.

33's are on the wish list. Just put on a OME lift (DPG ultimate), and kinda broke the bank, so saving me $100 is awesome. Thanks for your help.

Next problem is getting rid of the vibration.

I didn't get a transfer case drop, due to the ultimate kit. Body lift & MML on the shelf until I get 33's.

Right now I'm trying to shim with washers. I got three 1/2" flat washers installed, and still have a vib at 30-35 mph. Going to try 2 more washers. Hopefully that will work.
Put on the BL and MML and you may can take those washers out. The MML will help straighten out the drive line angles.
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:36 AM   #28
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Put on the BL and MML and you may can take those washers out. The MML will help straighten out the drive line angles.
Yeah, I think I will do that next weekend.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:37 AM   #29
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I just finished my lift last night and I'm getting an alignment. Thought about doing it myself, as others have, but decided to just pay someone.

Firestone service center has a one time alignment for $79, or a lifetime for $135. I've never heard of this. Anybody else purchased a lifetime alignment? What would you do?
I have a lifetime alignment, I use it ALL the time...especially after a wheeling trip. I think it is very worth the cost. Could I do it myself? Sure...but tires are EXPENSIVE and I don't want uneven wear on $1000+ in tires because I won't fork over $135 for a proper alignment.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:52 AM   #30
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What makes you think you couldn't get your toe-in just as precisely set on your own as the aligment shop could? I didn't ask for my toe-in to be checked after I bought my last set of tires but the shop did so anyway, probably thinking they could get an alignment job out of me. They came in where I was sitting to tell me my alignment was dead-nuts perfect. Takes me all of 10 minutes. But if you want to spend $135 be my guest. I have better stuff to spend my $$$ on though and better ways to spend my time than waiting for some trained monkey to do something I could do myself without having to drive somewhere and wait for it.

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