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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

This is kind of lengthy so bear with me.

Just traded my 2006 4.0L 6-Speed TJ for a low milage 2012 JKU Sahara. I made this deal over the weekend at a dealer that was 2+ hours from me and not a Jeep specific. We'll when I picked up the JK it has a small spacer lift and running 315's that weren't disclosed to me by the dealer and I had no idea about until I saw the JK in person (looked almost stock height in their dealer photos). My guess is that it's the RC 2.5" suspension lift because I found the two front and two rear shock relocation brackets in the back cargo area of the Jeep that were never installed although it looks like it has the stock Sahara shocks so I have NO idea why this were left out.

Well the steering wheel is off to the left of center and the Jeep pulls to the right pretty hard. I thought no big deal I'll just get an alignment at my local Jeep dealer when I get back home. Got it in for service today and the Jeep dealer came back and told me they could not get it in alignment and they thought the axle housing might actually be bent. I don't believe this as it's relatively low miles and seems to be well taken care of

I immediately contacted the dealer I bought it from and sent them the paperwork I just received from the local Jeep dealer and they asked to me to bring it back in and their service department will take care of it. I have attached pictures from the Jeep dealer (although I did a horrible redaction of the both dealers names because I am not trying to bash anyone here) and included pictures of the Jeep suspension to get a few second opinions and see if you all notice anything I don't.

I'm well versed in TJ's, but this is my first JK and every other suspension part looks stock as far as I can tell.

Any one have any insight before I take the Jeep back to them over the weekend?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here are two pictures of the rear suspension setup just for good measure.
 

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A lift reduces your caster unless you adjust with cam bolts (not recommended), drop brackets, or adjustable control arms. It would appear that whoever did your lift did none of these things, which is why your caster is less than the 4 or so degrees that it’s supposed to be. A lift also will throw your steering wheel off center, requiring a drag link adjustment to recenter. Whoever did your lift didn’t know what they were doing, I’m afraid. I’d suggest that you have them take the spacer lift out and that probably will take care of the issues, possibly with some small adjustments to toe and the drag link. What I don’t know is if you can run 315s with no lift without rubbing. Maybe someone else can comment on that.
 

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WHat he said...
Plus, while the high camber value for the left front corner is perhaps a little worrying, that the person doing the alignment did not know that you simply adjust the drag link to center the steering wheel and you can use either adjustable lower front control arms, fixed length longer lower front control arms, or geometry brackets to adjust caster, makes me question the numbers. After correcting, have it checked again.
It seems whomever did the lift did not know what they were doing, and perhaps the person doing the alignment did not know either.
I would not let the selling dealer touch it, if they knew what they were doing it would not have been sold to you in that state. I also would probably not want any other Jeep dealer touching it. And I am not sure I would want the shop that did the alignment touching it.
Find a good 4x4 Jeep shop, preferably an independent shop. They should be able to get it aligned, and get the caster adjusted (with any of the three options listed earlier). FYI, geometry brackets are best for handling and adjustable or longer lower front control arms are better for off road usage. Brackets correct not only caster but they also flatten the angle the arms are at which improves the suspensions ability to absorb bumps. So a better ride.
As mentioned, you will need bump stop extensions to keep the bigger tires from rubbing. ANd you likely want longer / better shocks as running the stock shocks with that much lift is not going to be ideal. Besides, for $200 you can get a set of 4 Rancho 5000x shocks. For more money you can get better shocks, but that would be a start, and better than what you have. You either want a shop that knows what they are doing to make right what someone else did poorly, or better yet learn about all this and do it yourself. Geometry brackets or control arms can be installed at home. Bump stop extensions and shocks are also easy to install / swap. And the drag link is easy to adjust.
 

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Not sure what inspection requirements are for used vehicles in your state, but a vehicle with an off center steering wheel and a noticeable pull to one side would never pass a proper inspection in MD.

The first thing I would do is have the axle checked. If the axle housing is bent, you will have issues no matter what else you do.

I am a fan of doing things right or not doing them at all, so if it were my vehicle, I would do one of the following.

Remove the spacer lift, returning the suspension to stock , and go back to stock size tires. I would try to get the selling dealer to pay for new tires, but if that isn’t an option you can typically find nearly new take offs pretty reasonable.

Remove the spacer lift and have a quality and complete 2.5” lift kit installed that includes all the parts necessary to maintain proper suspension geometry.

Return the Jeep to the selling dealership and look for another Jeep.

The best of these 3 options is dependent on how willing the selling dealership is to work with you, how you intend on using the Jeep, and how deep your pockets are.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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A lift also will throw your steering wheel off center, requiring a drag link adjustment to recenter.

OP: This is correct, but you can easily correct it in your driveway. Park the Jeep with the wheels straight. Then crawl under and loosen the bolts on the adjusting sleeve on the drag link (goes from the Pitman arm to the passenger side wheel). Once the two bolts are loosened, you can turn the adjusting sleeve to straighten the steering wheel.

I had this issue on my '03 Rubicon when I first purchased it. There was no lift on the Jeep, but the steering wheel was angled about 20 degrees to the left when driving straight. As the tech said when I mentioned straightening the steering wheel, that is the last thing they do and on a Jeep it is very easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry everyone. I should have prefaced saying that I'm familiar with Jeeps and lifts in general. I've installed body lifts, suspensions lifts, spacer lifts, and long arm lift kits. The Jeep overall is in great shape and I'm still happy with the purchase.

I guess my concern is how far out of alignment this JK is with only what appears to be a 2.5" suspension (spacer) lift. I've mainly worked with TJ's before and having never touched a JK I didn't assume it would be that far out of alignment using the stock control arms and no drop brackets of any kind with what I would consider a minimal lift.

I agree with a NO to cam bolts. Never had much luck with them as they seem to move when you hit a bump hard enough, especially off-road. SO with all that being said, I'm happy with how the Jeep sits, I am a little concerned that they didn't use the shock extension brackets, and I'd like to know per the forums suggestions as to what will be more beneficial in this case: adjustable upper control arms, and/or adjustable lower control arms, and if an adjustable track bar is needed?

As far as adjusting the steering wheel to center, I've successfully completed that a few times in the past so I'm not worried about that. I just didn't want to touch anything without letting the selling dealer have their shot at looking at it in the exact same way I took it to the local Jeep dealer just in case a bracket is bent or the axle housing is twisted (which I doubt).

As I said this is my first JK and I'd love to get it driving as good as my last TJ with that minimal of a lift, but don't want to go throwing money at it without some suggestions from much more knowledgeable Jeepers than myself. Sorry for any confusion or to make it seem like I was ranting!
 

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I don't think your alignment #'s show a bent diff. Just needs some toe and caster. Perhaps some track bar adj. I would mark the suspension bolts with some paint and get it back to the dealer for him to fix. Marked bolts will take some of the BS out of the answers. I use satin spray black to prevent rust.
 
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