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Old 03-13-2010, 10:15 AM
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To align or not?

So I have recently done a bb on my Jeep of 2.25". Nothing else has changed. I noticed that several people swear that you must align after the fact. I do not buy it because the only thing that happens when you lift the Jeep is the axle shifts right or left depending on where the track bar mounts, which would not make your steering wheel exactly straight anymore. The caster would also change, but an alignment will not help this unless you have adjustable control arms. Camber and toe in will not change. What are your thoughts and not just what you have always been told? Here is a quick guide if you are new to some of these terms.

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Old 03-13-2010, 10:29 AM   #2
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The friend who installed my BB did a toe in adj after. Took him 10 minutes maybe, and so far so good. Beats paying a tire place 60 bucks to do probably nothing.... Idk, I just gathered from what I've read that that is really about all that can and needs to be done. Maybe I misinterpreted, but she tracks truer than most other vehicles I've driven...

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Old 03-13-2010, 10:30 AM   #3
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Stupid question: When was the last time you had an alignment done? I do mine annually with the crappy roads out here. My point: it's cheap insurance and it's cheaper than roasting (2) perfectly good tires. For $60, why worry about it?
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:34 PM   #4
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do it your self for next to nothing on a Jeep . It will be a good experience for you as yours is off even with the lift you have . Do some searches here and a few other TJ forums to get the idea. If you play with Jeeps much it is something you are going to want to be able to do on your own.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:43 PM
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I have never heard of someone doing it themselves. That is interesting. I will have to do a search. I usually get an alignment a couple times a year usually after my Moab trips.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:45 PM   #6
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I have heard it DOES change the toe-in...I don't know how or why, just what I've read on here.

But just like the above, I agree...why take the risk and possibly eat up your tires sooner, especially when your average Joe can do a toe-in adjustment right out in the driveway for the cost of half an hour or so of their time and a couple of beers (or cokes for those under 21).

Here's some info for ya:
http://www.4x4xplor.com/alignment.html

http://www.stu-offroad.com/steering/align/align-1.htm
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:54 PM   #7
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Even with just 2" of lift, you should adjust the toe in as it will change. I'm not 100% sure, if this is correct, but as I look at the steering step up, as you raise the ride hieght, you are creating a greater distance between the pitman arm and the passenger knuckle where the draglink connects . . . I'd imagine that this will pull the toe in or out a bit and you'll need to adjust the tie rod to make up for that.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:44 PM   #8
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Center the steering wheel and set toe. A tape measure, a couple of straight edges, wrenches and some chalk should be all you need. I check and do alignment routinely after 'wheeling trips.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:16 PM   #9
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I have never heard of someone doing it themselves. That is interesting. I will have to do a search. I usually get an alignment a couple times a year usually after my Moab trips.
There is at least one or two threads on here about it. Jerry B did a great write up with pics.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:49 PM   #10
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any lift can change the toe, since the tie rods are linked together, as the frame height goes up the toe goes in. however, i did a 2" bb on my xj that i had aligned a few months prior, put it on the rack after the lift, and dead nuts on still.

but, i always say just go do it, shop around for a cheap price. i do alignments all day long, our alignment machine just cost about 25,000 bux, and it measures to the .01 of one degree. one onehundreth of a degree. and we run coupons on alignments in an expensive area for 60 bux.

you can do it yourself, but if you aren't all that apt you may end up with less desirable results after spending an hour or so on it by the time you get the wheel straight also.
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:54 PM   #11
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I need to get my alignment done. shoot I need to rotate them tomorrow too
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by doclouie View Post
So I have recently done a bb on my Jeep of 2.25". Nothing else has changed. I noticed that several people swear that you must align after the fact. I do not buy it because the only thing that happens when you lift the Jeep is the axle shifts right or left depending on where the track bar mounts, which would not make your steering wheel exactly straight anymore. The caster would also change, but an alignment will not help this unless you have adjustable control arms. Camber and toe in will not change. What are your thoughts and not just what you have always been told?
You may not buy that the toe-in changes with a TJ after installing a suspension lift but it's true. On a TJ, a suspension lift increases the amount of toe-in and decreases the amount of caster angle. It increases the toe-in because of how the axle rotates via the control arms attached at one end to the frame, which pulls the drag link-to-Pinion-arm attach point higher which pulls the front of the tires closer together, as jpdocdave explained above. Same reason for the decrease in caster angle, the control arms rotate the axle in that direction.

You must do a toe-in after installing a suspension lift for that reason. The caster angle's decrease should not be adjusted out, the slight amount of normal Caster angle decrease is actually desireable because the larger diameter the tire, the less caster angle you want.

The only thing a suspension lift doesn't change is the camber angle.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:48 PM   #13
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Front end alignment

After putting on 31 inch tires the alignment was off a little. I made up a way to measure which keeps the measurement height of each wheel point of reference the same.
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:14 AM   #14
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I just measure from the tire lugs normally. It won't be as close as the expensive machines i'm sure, but I've always done it that way and never had any tire wear issues. Actually did it like that on a truck of mine once before I even knew that's how you did it and then took it for an alignment, they said it was barely off!
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:47 AM   #15
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Here's a great method a friend (mrblaine) of mine showed me years ago. Its benefit over just measuring from the tire tread is that it is more accurate and repeatable.

The square tubing is nothing more than aluminum or steel tubing any hardware store carries. Simply mark it equal to your tire's diameter and measure from the marks. 1/16" closer in front works well for most Jeep tire sizes.
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Old 03-23-2010, 12:39 PM   #16
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Jerry is 100% correct, if you like your tires you will set the toe. (whether you DIY, or have it done doesn't matter...it just needs to be done).
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Old 03-23-2010, 03:28 PM   #17
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I paid Firestone 150 bucks for lifetime alignment. I will never have to pay again for my Jeep till I own it.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:27 PM   #18
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I paid Firestone 150 bucks for lifetime alignment. I will never have to pay again for my Jeep till I own it.
Since the only part of the alignment process that can even be adjusted on most TJs is the toe-in, and that is a very easy adjustment that takes really not much more than a tape measure and wrench, I'd say Firestone is smiling all the way to the bank. A toe-in adjustment can be made before you're even half-way to the Firestone store.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:39 PM   #19
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wow, 150.00

we only charged 36.00 for setting the toe. 50 for a "full 2 wheel alignment". granted I worked at a small shop...and we weren't crooks.

Anywho. I love seeing the numbers on a printout. and for me taking it to my old shop makes me feel all warm inside so I pay up (even though I'm more than qualified to do it myself). But if it were 150.00 I wouldn't pay up.

Not to mention it gives me a chance to reminisce of the old/simple days.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:42 PM   #20
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150 is for lifetime of the vehicle (one time charge) and now I can take my jeep for alignment as many times I want and it will be done all FREE!
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:48 PM   #21
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150 is for lifetime of the vehicle (one time charge) and now I can take my jeep for alignment as many times I want and it will be done all FREE!
but it'll be done by morons...just remember that.


(this is true in the two cities I've dealt with Firestone...maybe you'll have better luck.)
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:49 PM   #22
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150 is for lifetime of the vehicle (one time charge) and now I can take my jeep for alignment as many times I want and it will be done all FREE!
We understood that $150 was a lifetime charge from the beginning. It's just that not many of us see that minor of an adjustment, the toe-in, being worth spending $150 for even if it is "lifetime". I can set my toe-in on the trail in 5 minutes with a tape measure, let alone how simple it is to do in my garage. A toe-in, which is all Firestone can do on a TJ, is a very minor adjustment. Firestone cannot do a full-blown alignment on a TJ like can be done on many other vehicles. That is why they are smiling all the way to the bank, they can't do a full-blown toe-in/caster angle/camber angle alignment on a TJ.

Don't confuse what can be done on your TJ with a full-blown alignment which includes toe-in, camber angle, and caster angle. The only thing that is adjustable on a TJ as the factory deliver is it, front-end alignment-wise, is the toe-in. As it comes from the factory, you can't even adjust a TJ's caster or camber angles.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:55 PM   #23
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We understood that $150 was a lifetime charge from the beginning. It's just that not many of us see that minor of an adjustment, the toe-in, being worth spending $150 for. I can set my toe-in on the trail in 5 minutes with a tape measure, let alone how simple it is in my garage. A toe-in, which is all Firestone will be doing, is a very minor adjustment.

Don't confuse what can be done on your TJ with a full-blown alignment which includes toe-in, camber angle, and caster angle. The only thing that is adjustable on a TJ as the factory deliver is it, front-end alignment-wise, is the toe-in.
150.00 for aligning my Lotus for ever, now that'd be a deal....but I won't let morons touch my lotus.

front (height, camber, caster, toe)
Rear adjust-ability (height, camber, toe)

(posting this merely to agree with Jerry, and hopefully drive the point home...TJ alignment is simple, should be cheap, and is very DIY-able.)
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:56 PM   #24
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Here's a great method a friend (mrblaine) of mine showed me years ago. Its benefit over just measuring from the tire tread is that it is more accurate and repeatable.

The square tubing is nothing more than aluminum or steel tubing any hardware store carries. Simply mark it equal to your tire's diameter and measure from the marks. 1/16" closer in front works well for most Jeep tire sizes.
Thats a good one Jerry, I have always done the old jackleg alignment with a piece of string stretched from front to back.

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