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Discussion Starter #1
Saturday October 24 2020 /// I tried doing an alignment ( after getting new 35's from firestone) my self using tape measure and bars but it all seem to hard and I did not know how accurate my measurements could be so... I went with a shop hoping to build a relation ship.

Tuesday October 27 2020 /// JKU Rubicon goes in for an alignment. I say I need it bc just got new wheels. Probably picked up jeep same day. After pick up. Owner says that I should get adjustable control arm and in near future B.J. I thought I had adjustable Control Arms. but stay quite. I ask him how C.A. Adjustment works, owner says it should not affect alignment but make drive better. Owner said same of changing B.J. and says C.A adjustment is between $350 and $450

Wed January 13, 2021 /// JKU goes back for alignment check because it is pulling slightly to the right (I had called shop owner earlier for an appointment but shop was super booked). Owner says the driver side B.J. is bad needs replacement. Owner recommend MOOD BJ and that job is $450. I mention that what about the Control .Arm . and that I have adjustable why did shop not adjust with alignment and shop owner said same price $350 and that is separate from alignment. I don't know much about alignment BUT makes little sense to me. I said I will look into it.

Mon/ Sunday February 1-7 2021 ///// I manage to replace my BJ and I have to do the job twice bc RARE PARTS BJ don't fit 2012 and 2013 JK unless you grind and I finally install Tera Flex BJ by Sunday February 7. Rare Parts is accepting the BJ back.

Wednesday February 17 (today) /// I call the shop and tell them that BJ were replaced and jeep still pulls to the right. Owner and guy says " if we do the BJ our selves then alignment is covered for 1 year, other wise no". Then I speak with owner and says " new alignment is needed after a BJ replacement and also after C.A. adjustment and that $$ not covered bc this shop did not do it." I tell him how if the BJ were so bad, we never should have done the alignment and 2nd he had said such (BJ and CA) would not affect alignment. Owner then said OK , he will do alignment but we should do Control Arm adjustment first bc will need alignment after. I say, how much for the CA alignment and he says " depend if we have to move 1/4 inch the lower or if the top too and give no price. I leave it at that but I get the jibbie jibbies from lack of consistency.

Monday February 22 //// Will try and meet with him and see how much is the Control Arm adjustment. I hope when ( IF I do alignment with him) to ask for the alignment print out before and after. I have forgotten to ask the 2 previous times.

Am I am mistaken and misunderstanding something or is this shop giving me a run for my $$$
What you guys suggest?

This shop resolved my knocking issue with the rocker arm (appx $1100) and suggested he do the spark plug replacement at same time (he did and only charged me for the plugs) at some point in 2020 summer.

After my oil cooler sensor went bad, he advised me to change the whole unit (forgot what he was gonna charge me but I did the job myself)

I try and learn and know to leave some things to the experts but when I see inconsistencies in the expert shops I loose trust.
 

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Find a new shop
 
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I dunno... my reaction is obviously a bit different from the rest of the crowd....

Adjusting the CA's is part of the alignment. They adjust caster which is part of the alignment process... It's just not a normal part of a JEEP alignment process because stock jeeps don't come with adjustable ca's. Their caster is fixed and non-adjustable so I can see them wanting a bit of extra money to adjust the ca's...but not $350 to $450!

In fairness, he did tell you back in October that one of the BJ's was on its way out. That was probably a hint to replace it at that time.

I don't blame them for not wanting to warranty alignment work when they didn't do the BJ's themselves. Nothing against you but they can't be assured you didn't take a welder, a hammer, and a rocket launcher to beat the BJ's into position.

Overall, I think his prices are a bit high perhaps, but I don't see any cheating going on... maybe a misunderstanding over the Ca's, but most shops won't even touch them because they are aftermarket parts and not a standard part of a jeep alignment process. Now if you change shops you could do better. On the other hand there are a lot of total hacks out there, so you could also do worse.
 

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I'm going to second what Bob said. Do you actually know if you have adjustable CAs or not? I also would not warranty an alignment if front-end work was done somewhere else. I'm also curious if the shop was talking about using offset ball joints to help with the caster. It's not something I'd recommend but I don't feel we have all of the facts here.
 

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I feel like if you have to ask "should I change mechanics", the answer is already yes.

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how many miles do you have on your jeep. take photos of the suspension and control arms etc. too many unknowns.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Thank for replies.

I see and have heard of shops saying " you need new xyz, cant do alignment until this issue is fixed". He did mention to look into the BJ in October, but back in October vs the right pull is less than 500 miles, I had not driven that much bc it was pulling and was impossible to get appointment to the shop. I had called him soon after appointment (within a week or max 2)

As far a job warranty, I agree except that he said " CA and BJ jobs wont affect the alignment ". And he say he will warranty the alignment this time.

I appreciate the input. I have the same issue with my motorcycles so I end up doing most of the jobs my self.

When I tried doing the alignment it was just very hard for me to see 1/8 of an inch difference in measurements so I said, for $85 let them do it. So yes they are adjustable (per shop owner), they are just all the way in so it was hard to tell for him.
It is the Rock Krawler Max travel 2.5" from 2013 ish kit with Bilstein 51000 series shocks.

No off set ball joints.

I am at appx 150k miles :)

maybe, maybe I'll do the C.A. Adjustment my self if the price is more than $200 (which I know it is from his first estimate).

The shop is close by so super convenient and friendly staff and owner. As long as prices and jobs are clear I usually have no issue , either I pay they do it, or I do it lol
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I would not be surprised if I don't even need to adjust my control arm LOL, I go the jeep with 69k miles in 2016 and had not had issues though I did have 35'sA/T tyres and the new 35' MT's from firestone should not drive the same.

2.5" max travel from RK
 

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Start with simple things. Are the tire pressures the same in front? Is a brake dragging? Are the original tie rods still installed? 150K with 35" tires will take a toll on tie rods and ball joints. I had to replace the tie rods on my 2010 when it only had about 78K on it with stock tires.
 
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A Jeep pulling to the right often isn't because of alignment issues. It can be caused by the tires or by the crown in the road. It can also be caused by a dragging brake caliper, or even uneven tire pressures. Or bent axles or control arm mounts. But on a solid axle vehicle like a Jeep it isn't that common for a pull to be cause by the alignment in my experience.
As to the shop? It is hard to say. On the one hand, it does sound like you feel your are being jerked around. And if you feel that way I say see if you can find a shop that you feel better about. But a shop trying to make money doesn't surprise me. That is what they are in business to do. And a shop not wanting to stand behind someone else's work, no kidding. If you don't feel warm and fuzzy about the shop, look for another. But from what you posted I can't say I think the shop is screwing you. It just sounds like they aren't bending over backwards for you.
 

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Thank for replies.

I see and have heard of shops saying " you need new xyz, cant do alignment until this issue is fixed". He did mention to look into the BJ in October, but back in October vs the right pull is less than 500 miles, I had not driven that much bc it was pulling and was impossible to get appointment to the shop. I had called him soon after appointment (within a week or max 2)

As far a job warranty, I agree except that he said " CA and BJ jobs wont affect the alignment ". And he say he will warranty the alignment this time.

I appreciate the input. I have the same issue with my motorcycles so I end up doing most of the jobs my self.

When I tried doing the alignment it was just very hard for me to see 1/8 of an inch difference in measurements so I said, for $85 let them do it. So yes they are adjustable (per shop owner), they are just all the way in so it was hard to tell for him.
It is the Rock Krawler Max travel 2.5" from 2013 ish kit with Bilstein 51000 series shocks.

No off set ball joints.

I am at appx 150k miles :)

maybe, maybe I'll do the C.A. Adjustment my self if the price is more than $200 (which I know it is from his first estimate).

The shop is close by so super convenient and friendly staff and owner. As long as prices and jobs are clear I usually have no issue , either I pay they do it, or I do it lol
Setting the toe can be done with a tape measure and did you get a printout of the alignment? Hard to imagine it drives well at all if all the arms are set to their shortest length.

An easier way to check the toe is removing the tire and using a straight edge against the caliper (you can get ones that bolt on but for one off stuff u really dont need em).

I would find a different shop/prices are out of line IMO.

And what steering stabilizer u running if any? Some have issues with certain ones "pushing" which will mimic your issue.




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I’m not going to comment on whether the shop is playing games but to me there seems to be poor communication going on at the very least. I absolutely love my shop I go to, they are honest and explain everything extremely well. If you already don’t feel comfortable I would look for a different shop.


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If it's just a slight drift to the right, air pressure will work.

I had a 2006 Ram 2500 that pulled a bit to the right. I took it into my tire dealer (who does all my alignments and tire work). They checked it by the book and it was dead on, but still drifted to the right. Shop manager had me take it over to their main shop (satellite is now closed and that manager manages the main shop). They checked it and the foreman test drove it with me in the passenger seat. (They always test drive a vehicle when they finish). In the left lane (divided hwy) where it should drift a bit to the left, it was straight as an arrow, but in the right lane where it should have been straight it drifted a bit to the right. He told me to put 1 to 2 pounds more in the right front than in the left front. I did and it drove fine like that until I replaced the tires, then I had to take the extra air out. The drift occured when I put one size larger tires on when the truck was new. When I replaced them at 50K, I put the same brand and size on.

The foreman's comment was - it works for Nascar. (They habitually run much higher air pressure in the right front to help them turn left.

As to the adjustable control arms - adjusting the caster is part of the alignment process. If they can't adjust the caster because of non-adjustable control arms a good shop will tell you. My TJ has cam bolts and when they do an alignment, I can see the before and after on the sheet. They probably see all the upgraded suspension and think if you have the $ to put into that, you can afford more for the alignment. I would take it to a quality tire dealer. I'm surprised you didn't have the tire shop that put on the new tires do the alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Start with simple things. Are the tire pressures the same in front? Is a brake dragging? Are the original tie rods still installed? 150K with 35" tires will take a toll on tie rods and ball joints. I had to replace the tie rods on my 2010 when it only had about 78K on it with stock tires.
My tire pressures (Fire Stone MT Destination MT) were 37# all around untill I went to 35# all around (1 weeks later). Before and after alignment I checked them again and they stay on par. I am religous about tyre pressure because of going to the track on motorcycles.

The tie rods, I am not sure but they must be as the the RK kit does not include these.

I do not bleed my brakes 1z a year usually but I have in the last 2. The front brake pads are still thick (at least 3/8 of an inch if not more). The rear though, I really have not done much with them. Also when I bleed I am doing old school method and not bleeding the ABS which I should too.

A Jeep pulling to the right often isn't because of alignment issues. It can be caused by the tires or by the crown in the road. It can also be caused by a dragging brake caliper, or even uneven tire pressures. Or bent axles or control arm mounts. But on a solid axle vehicle like a Jeep it isn't that common for a pull to be cause by the alignment in my experience.
As to the shop? It is hard to say. On the one hand, it does sound like you feel your are being jerked around. And if you feel that way I say see if you can find a shop that you feel better about. But a shop trying to make money doesn't surprise me. That is what they are in business to do. And a shop not wanting to stand behind someone else's work, no kidding. If you don't feel warm and fuzzy about the shop, look for another. But from what you posted I can't say I think the shop is screwing you. It just sounds like they aren't bending over backwards for you.
Fire Stone installed the tyres and I love the service there. But they would not align my jeep :(, said bc it is not stock and they dont have the "numbers" for it.
You are right, IMO I am usually cool about spending money on car shops BUT I do have hi expectations; torquing all bolts touched to spec, any issues that are seen to be brought up to me, no ductape or super glue used ;)
Yeah, as far as not trusting some else job, that makes sense too, but BJ?? I guess there has to be a limit to what you allow and not. What I mean is, then changing a tyre, I know of shops messing this up by not torqueing right or over torqueing…
I agree, dont think they are SCREWING ME deliberately, in fact he said he would do the alignment this one time. It could be miscommunication issue and my comments so far (for dates I have used my calander) have been based on memory and not on written notes (which I have somewhere).

Setting the toe can be done with a tape measure and did you get a printout of the alignment? Hard to imagine it drives well at all if all the arms are set to their shortest length.

An easier way to check the toe is removing the tire and using a straight edge against the caliper (you can get ones that bolt on but for one off stuff u really dont need em).

I would find a different shop/prices are out of line IMO.

And what steering stabilizer u running if any? Some have issues with certain ones "pushing" which will mimic your issue.




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I'll try again setting stuff up my self, good point and I will check CA lenghts this weekend and compare with setting from RK.
Prices do seem hi for the Alignment especially if not include CA adjustment...
He installed a rought country S.S. ($80 plus $$ish ) when he did the alignment. Super easy to do but figure let them do it and pay a little for labor; my way of helping out a little.
RC N3 part # 8730630. We choose to replace it bc he had brought up before that it was the original and it was too old and time for upgrade, so I agreed.


If it's just a slight drift to the right, air pressure will work.

I had a 2006 Ram 2500 that pulled a bit to the right. I took it into my tire dealer (who does all my alignments and tire work). They checked it by the book and it was dead on, but still drifted to the right. Shop manager had me take it over to their main shop (satellite is now closed and that manager manages the main shop). They checked it and the foreman test drove it with me in the passenger seat. (They always test drive a vehicle when they finish). In the left lane (divided hwy) where it should drift a bit to the left, it was straight as an arrow, but in the right lane where it should have been straight it drifted a bit to the right. He told me to put 1 to 2 pounds more in the right front than in the left front. I did and it drove fine like that until I replaced the tires, then I had to take the extra air out. The drift occured when I put one size larger tires on when the truck was new. When I replaced them at 50K, I put the same brand and size on.

The foreman's comment was - it works for Nascar. (They habitually run much higher air pressure in the right front to help them turn left.

As to the adjustable control arms - adjusting the caster is part of the alignment process. If they can't adjust the caster because of non-adjustable control arms a good shop will tell you. My TJ has cam bolts and when they do an alignment, I can see the before and after on the sheet. They probably see all the upgraded suspension and think if you have the $ to put into that, you can afford more for the alignment. I would take it to a quality tire dealer. I'm surprised you didn't have the tire shop that put on the new tires do the alignment.
Cool info about nascar running different pressures on the right VS left side tyres!!!!
I have also considered that it might be my tyres....
He saw (as least the second time I took it for an alignment) that the CA are adjustable but are not part of the Alignment process which befuddles me lol.
Fire stone said they can't do the alignment (they installed my tyres) bc it is not stock.



Thanks for info guys.
I just got some LOD Rock sliders that will be installing this weekend and will take a look at my suspension and such in detail.
 

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Installing a lift will change the numbers, but not what the numbers should be. Can't change the camber easily and a lift won't. Toe in can be changed and the correct specification should not change. That leaves castor. Lifting a Jeep will change the castor and the purpose of the alignment is to bring the castor back into spec (or at least closer) - which has not changed. The way this is done is by changing the length of the control arms, most often the lower. This is the purpose of the adjustable control arms.
 
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In general Firestone will not get to involved with nonstock setups other than adjusting toe. And setting up caster on most adjustable control arms is time consuming as it involves disconnecting control arms to make the adjustment hence the increased cost to have it done.

But setting up caster at home is fairly easy. The first thing you are going to need is an angle finder. I find the digital ones to be easy to use and very accurate. Set zero to whatever surface you are working on.

Angle Finder

Next here is a picture of the front differential. As you can see pinion angle and caster have a fixed relationship. With 0 pinion you have 6 degrees of caster. As you rotate the pinion up you lose caster. Most of us shoot for 5 degrees of caster meaning that you pinion angle is going to be 1 degree up. But as long as you are 4 degrees or better you are good.

4484096


I find measuring off the pinion flange to be a pain so instead I measure of the front of the diff as shown in the picture below. With the angle find zero'd to the floor and set for 180 measurements your angle on the diff should be 95 degrees.

4484097


Last but not least a couple of words of caution.

First only adjust one arm at a time. Write down how many turns you adjusted it and after you have reattached that arm do the other.

Second look at your rod ends, they are probably offset meaning you have to make full 360 turns of the end. With the lift I own caster is adjusted via the upper control arms allowing for half turns which don't have an offset.

This is not hard but it is time consuming. Taken the initial measurement, then jacking up the vehicle, removing tires, making the adjustment, putting tires back on lowering vehicle, taking measurement then repeating if it is not correct. If you can find a shop that works mostly 4x4 or Jeeps that does alignments you can pay to have it done but it will be a few hundred dollars.
 

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TerryC6 - Excellent advise and instructions.
 

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My tire pressures (Fire Stone MT Destination MT) were 37# all around untill I went to 35# all around (1 weeks later). Before and after alignment I checked them again and they stay on par. I am religous about tyre pressure because of going to the track on motorcycles.
For 35" tires I think you will find better results at around 28 - 30 psi. Larger tires do not need as much air pressure in them to support the same load. The stock air pressure spec was for the stock tires and means nothing when you are running 35" tires.
 
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