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Scarlett 01-26-2013 06:26 PM

Measuring caster angle?
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Hey guys. My jeep has the infamous wandering-all-over-the-road issue. It is pretty much a stock Jeep. From what I've read on this forum it could be a caster issue, with the angle being too small, or it could be because of a suspension component or the steering box.

I'm not entirely sure how to measure this. Do I measure the angle the shock makes from the center of the wheel against an imaginary vertical line? I've attached a picture I took from the side when I took it to the mechanic. I've also taken pics from the front of the suspension incase any of your trained eyes see something unusual. My mechanics(import mechanic) jaw dropped when he saw the TJ's suspension haha.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Full Spool 01-26-2013 06:31 PM

You need to start by eliminating the worn out parts first.

Scarlett 01-26-2013 06:45 PM

I was surprised by how old the shock looked. Are you referring to any part in particular?

Full Spool 01-26-2013 06:53 PM

I wouldn't suspect the caster changing, or having been changed.
All the goods in the pictures look like original equipment. The shocks look like they were fished out of the ocean. I would suspect every joint, bushing, and rod end is worn and loose. It's not really that expensive if you do the work. $500 in parts

Scarlett 01-26-2013 07:37 PM

oh boy..Any specific order that I should start replacing them? Or just buy all the parts at once? Thanks for the help

BLK00TJ 01-26-2013 07:44 PM

Check the toe in alignment, ball joints, and steering system(drag-link/tie rod)

Then work on that frame!

Water Dog 01-26-2013 07:54 PM

Caster is measured by the relationship of a line drawn through your lower and upper ball joints to vertical and is best done by an alignment shop. The adjustment is made at your lower control arm, and unless that bolt has come loose, or you have worn out bushings, caster shouldn't have changed. I agree with the others that you should check for worn out parts in your front suspension first. BTW, how much air pressure do you run in your front tires?

Full Spool 01-26-2013 08:08 PM


Originally Posted by Scarlett (Post 3282624)
oh boy..Any specific order that I should start replacing them? Or just buy all the parts at once? Thanks for the help

Trouble shoot first.

Control arms are easiest, and you can do it yourself.
Engine off, in first gear, emergency brake off, on flat ground...
Crawl underneath, rock the jeep, front to rear with your foot or arms, watch each bushing for play. That's for the rear end control arms. If they move, it's safe to assume the fronts are in just as bad shape.

The steering takes two people...
Engine off, key to the run position, have someone turn the wheel back and forth, while you watch the play in all the joints.

Ball joints are tougher....
Gotta get the weight off the wheels. Jack stands, or jack.
It's easier to youtube the process

Scarlett 01-26-2013 08:11 PM

Thanks for the replies guys. The tires are 31 x 10.5 tires, I normally run around 35 psi. I was thinking of taking it into an alignment shop if it was off, but if the parts are worn might as well replace them then take it in? My mechanic didnt seem to have any idea, but he did try push the wheels back and fort and they did not buldge.

Scarlett 01-26-2013 08:15 PM

Full Spool, I will try what you mentioned.

Full Spool 01-26-2013 08:23 PM


Originally Posted by BLK00TJ (Post 3282648)
Then work on that frame!

That is amazing, I've never seen anything like it.
Wow, I would be selling that thing........ yesterday.

Not trying to be rude or harsh, but that jeep is gonna eat your wallet.
280,000 miles?

Scarlett 01-26-2013 08:54 PM

186k miles. haha I totally understand. I paid next to nothing for the Jeep, and I guess it obviously shows. I hoping to keep it till next summer and do some upgrades. Until then just to feel safer while driving it, thought I would fix the wandering issue

Full Spool 01-26-2013 09:30 PM


Originally Posted by Scarlett (Post 3282921)
thought I would fix the wandering issue

Definitely stick your finger in the differential oil holes. Make sure there is oil in those.

j3ph3ry_j33p 01-01-2014 03:24 PM

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ball-joints. Shim them with a 3/8" shim ( google it for your model) and/or
replace 'em. Next, your 31" tires are heavy for the worn out stabilizer and other
bushings which I'm betting are not packed with grease . I'd also take a long look at my trackbar mount hole at the axle ( heck, w/that Jeep at the frame side as well) and verify it isn't "oblonged" or ovaled out which is notoriously common in these older Jeeps. I have a '95 XJ with nearly 360,000 on the original suspension minus shocks so just tryin to 'steer' ya in the right direction ....
I have to say one last time ....ball-joints and trackbar.....
happy new year

j3ph3ry_j33p 01-01-2014 03:31 PM

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if one looks carefully at next to last image , the gap between steering knuckle mount and upper passenger side ball joint boot is apparent. Compare to right upper
in OPs last image ....

Water Dog 01-01-2014 03:43 PM

This is a year old thread...hopefully he's fixed it by now..:happyyes:

j3ph3ry_j33p 01-06-2014 07:08 AM

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yeah- ncaught that AFTER the post reply,,,lol

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