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Wheel Alignment

Wheel Alignment

The lift does effect the toe. It causes Toe-in. As you drop the suspension away from the frame, the drag link will pull the tires to the left on the JK's. Take a look at your front end, you will notice that the Drag Link is connected to the right one tire, and the drag link connects to both. This used to be really bad on the older TJ's, but now the only thing that is affected by a lift is the steering wheel center. The distance between the pitman arm and the right steering knuckle needs to be longer with a lift to compensate for the added height. It doesn't need to be lengthened the same distance as the lift, but just enough to recenter the steering wheel.

Lifts create 2 main problems with the steering that can be addressed by steering adjustments. I'm not going to address the others (caster and camber). There are 2 adjustments one on the drag link (steering wheel) and one on the tie-rod (toe-in/out). While toe-in/ out on the JK's isn't an issue with the new setup. We can adjust the drag link and make it longer thus centering the steering wheel, this will push the pitman arm back into its normal position, but doesn't move the tires. While this will be adequate to allow you to drive, it won't completely get ride of the bump steer. The other problem is that we will still have toe-in. For this we will need to adjust the tie-rod out also to length the distance between the tires again. If you were to drive around without getting the toe-in adjusted you are basically driving and pulling your tires sideways along the road surface. Concrete and asphalt work very well as sandpaper. Example would be my friend who didn't get an alignment like I told him to and he scrubbed off half of his tread in 3,000 miles. Didn't make his wife very happy. The only problem left that I didn't mention is the higher the lift, the more extreme the angles are going to get and eventually they will not work with each other and you will not be able to make any adjustments to compensate. This is when the drop pitman arm comes in.

What a drop pitman arm does/ tries to do is lower the angle created by the lift. As you saw above we pulled on the drag link, but if we put the drop pitman arm in, we lower the connection point reducing the angle, the distance of pull so we creating a more stable ride. Even with the drop pitman arm in you will need to get it aligned after doing a lift. The new steering boxes and shafts on the JK are massive in comparison to the older setups. I don't believe there is an issue any longer with to much torque on the steering box.. If anyone has seen damage caused by this please let me know, so I can amend any statements.

CAMBER
Before each alignment reading the vehicle should be jounced (rear first, then front).  Grasp each bumper at the center and jounce the vehicle up and down three times.  Always release the bumper in the down position.  The wheel camber angle is preset.  This angle is not adjustable and cannot be altered.

CASTER
Before each alignment reading the vehicle should be jounced (rear first, then front).  Grasp each bumper at the center and jounce the vehicle up and down three times.  Always release the bumper in the down position.  Check the caster of the front axle for correct angle.  Be sure the axle is not bent or twisted.  Road test the vehicle and observe the steering wheel return-to-center position.&16-Apr-2008ility. During the road test, turn the vehicle to both the left and right.  If the steering wheel returns to the center position unassisted, the caster angle is correct.  However, if steering wheel does not return toward the center position unassisted, a low caster angle is probable.

Caster can be adjusted by installing a Mopar® cam adjustment kit located between the notches in the axle bracket (3) and moving the lower suspension arm (1) at the axle forward or rearward.
The lower suspension arm will have to be removed at the axle bracket and then the knock-outs will have to be removed in order for the kit to be installed.

Caster Angle Adjustment

NOTE: Changing caster angle will also change the front propeller shaft angle.  The propeller shaft angle has priority over caster. 

TOE POSITION
Before each alignment reading the vehicle should be jounced (rear first, then front).  Grasp each bumper at the center and jounce the vehicle up and down three times.  Always release the bumper in the down position.

NOTE: The wheel toe position adjustment is the final adjustment.  This adjustment must be performed with the engine running, if the vehicle is equipped with power steering.

1. Start the engine and turn wheels both ways before straightening the steering wheel.  Center and secure the steering wheel. 
2. Loosen the adjustment sleeve clamp bolts (2). 
3. Adjust the total toe with the tie rod.  Turn the knurled adjuster until the correct total toe is reached.  Center both sockets at the knuckles and tighten the clamp bolts to 61 N·m (45 ft.lbs).  Make sure the toe setting does not change during clamp tightening
4. Adjust the drag link adjuster sleeve so that the left and right toe values are equal.  Verify the steering wheel is still straight.  Position the clamps as shown and tighten to 35 N·m (26 ft. lbs.). 
5. Verify the toe specifications and turn off the engine.

Drag link adjustment points Drivers Side Steering Adjustment points

 NOTE: Alignment specifications are in degrees.

FRONT AXLE

CASTER

CAMBER

TOTAL TOE-IN

PREFERRED

+ 4.2°

− 0.25° (fixed angle)

+ 0.20° (0.10° each front wheel)

RANGE

± 0.5°

± 0.37°

±0.03°

MAX LT/RT DIFFERENCE

0.65°

± 0.5°

0.04

 

REAR AXLE

CASTER

CAMBER

TOTAL TOE-IN

PREFERRED

N/A

–0.25

+0.25

RANGE

N/A

0° to –.50°

0° to .5

THRUST ANGLE 0° ± 0.25°


This page last updated: 16-Apr-2008

Content and Design © 2002-present WanderingTrail,  Ron Seegert
Common Sense and Safety should always be observed when working on your vehicle or doing modifications. Jackstands, wheel blocks, disconnecting the battery are a few of the basic safety precautions that should be used and may not be mentioned in the write ups on this site. You are responsible for your own installation, these write ups are a helpful guideline and should not be taken as an official installation instruction. My write up may be different from the kits currently out there, so alwasy double check the manufacturers installation instructions when installing anything. I try to keep the site up to date with changes that have occured as I discover them, but may not have the latest unless someone lets me know. If you feel that an install is above your capabilities after reading my write ups, I recommend getting together with a club and getting some help. Only a few times have I needed to employe some actual help from a shop to get something done. Usually welding or A/C work.
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