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Is this typical for a Jeep alignment?

KNN

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I have a 2020 JLU EcoDiesel Sport S on a Clayton 3.5" Overland lift w/ Falcon 3.3 shocks. I installed the lift myself in my garage. I set the arms according to Clayton's recommendations but it didn't ride right after. So I took it to a local Jeep shop to get the suspension dialed in. $750 later the Jeep drives better but also developed death wobble. I tightened (over torqued) the track bar bolts and that seemed to fix it but it returned after a weekend of wheeling.

Here are my numbers. Do they look right?

Jeep Wrangler JL Is this typical for a Jeep alignment? IMG_2209

Jeep Wrangler JL Is this typical for a Jeep alignment? IMG_2210


Was my experience getting my Jeep aligned normal? They added caster and corrected a few things w/ my install. It didn't have death wobble or bump steer before. Now it does.

Jeep Wrangler JL Is this typical for a Jeep alignment? IMG_2611 2


Thoughts appreciated. I'm new to the Jeep world.
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00 Trans Ram

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OK, so my alignment experience comes from road racing sportscars, so I don't know the correct absolute values to go for here. However, I know quite a bit about alignments in general, especially before-after.

Looking at diagrams of your kit on Clayton's site, it looks like all of the various arms and rods are fully adjustable on one end of the rods. While this makes doing an alignment harder than if they have adjusters on both ends of the rod (single adjuster means you have to remove one end and turn it, while two adjusters means you can loosen the jam nuts, turn the rod itself, then tighten the jam nuts), it's still 100% possible to achieve a perfect alignment.

Ideally, you want similar camber, caster, and tow settings on each of the front and rear wheels. Moreover, the shop needs to put ~200lbs of weight in the driver's seat when they are doing the alignment. This step is ESPECIALLY important in vehicles with softer suspension (like a Jeep) as it will accurately reflect a driver in the seat and the subsequent change in weight distribution in the vehicle.

The thing that I'm most concerned with is that they charged you $250 to "Add front caster", yet caster remained at 6.8* and 6.9* on the left and right, respectively, front wheels. There is no caster added.

I might make an exception if they changed the camber substantially, as that can affect caster. For instance (depending on suspension design; this is just an example), if you go from -1* camber to -3* camber, you can lose caster. You have to re-add caster just to get the readings back to what they were when you started. But, because both camber and caster are unchanged, I don't think this happened.

They did change your toe settings, which could definitely account for the death wobble introduction. Basically, your Jeep is more pigeon-toed now (both tires pointed inwards). This is usually a good thing for straightline stability. However, I don't know if this would be good in our case.

Again, I don't know the cause for death wobble, so I can't say if this helped or hurt. What you can do is change your own toe and see if it helps.

My suggestion would be to remove the adjustable end of the track bar and unthread the end 1 full turn. Tighten everything up, and see how it drives. If it's better, do another turn. Repeat until it feels good.

Once you get it feeling good, DEFINITELY measure your toe. It's easy to do. Get some 1/2" plywood and make 2 identical boards that are 38" long and 8" tall. Cut a small slit on either end of the boards, about 2" off the ground. Basically, you are making your own toe plates (like this https://www.amazon.com/Longacre-LON52-79501-Toe-in-Plates/dp/B000VAOHB2). Get 2 tape measures and measure the distance.

You want the measurements to be exactly the same (probably not this), or slightly shorter in front (probably this). We always measured our toe in inches, not degrees (because we did our own alignments). My racecar liked 3/16" toe out. But, that was because I wanted the instability because it helped me turn the car in corners. For a Jeep, you want a slight toe-in.

Think of toe-out it like this. The tires are pointing outwards. If a small imperfection in the road hits one tire and gives it a tad more grip, that tire will try to go the direction it's pointing a little more than the other tire. It will pull the car to that side. Then the tires start fighting over which one wins, and you get a wobble. Toe-in can do the same thing, but it's much harder for a tire to want to turn itself into the car, rather than out of the car.

This kinda turned into a longer post than I originally intended. But, hope it helps!
 
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KNN

KNN

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They added about 4* of caster. I was at around 2.8* w/ the Clayton Arms set at their recommended lengths. Adjusting toe makes sense but how would lengthening the track bar (incrementally) improve things?

I'm planning to pick up the TMR toe alignment tool on sale for CM today.
 

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They added about 4* of caster. I was at around 2.8* w/ the Clayton Arms set at their recommended lengths. Adjusting toe makes sense but how would lengthening the track bar (incrementally) improve things?

I'm planning to pick up the TMR toe alignment tool on sale for CM today.
Did you recenter the wheel yourself? Any chance you adjusted the tie rod instead of the drag link?
The toe shouldn't have changed when you installed the kit.
 

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The only comment I have is wow, and it's about the cost. We get free alignment measurements at shops around here, but pay up to $65 (camber/caster/toe; thrust angle) to $125 (true four wheel). What you got charged is three or four times what a person around here would pay/charge.
 

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KNN

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Did you recenter the wheel yourself? Any chance you adjusted the tie rod instead of the drag link?
The toe shouldn't have changed when you installed the kit.
I definitely adjusted at the drag link and not tie rod. Toe was adjusted by shop during alignment.
 
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KNN

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The only comment I have is wow, and it's about the cost. We get free alignment measurements at shops around here, but pay up to $65 (camber/caster/toe; thrust angle) to $125 (true four wheel). What you got charged is three or four times what a person around here would pay/charge.
It was higher than I was originally quoted (which was still pretty high). Do your prices include the cost to drop control arms and adjust?
 

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It was higher than I was originally quoted (which was still pretty high). Do your prices include the cost to drop control arms and adjust?
Sorry if I'm explaining something you're familiar with. A thrust angle alignment is when the rear is "fixed" length and you're matching the front (adjustable) to the rear (fixed). Four-wheel alignment is when everything is adjustable. So, $125 for a four-wheel alignment is normal around here; however, if there is a lot of back and forth, the tech may change by the hour.

$750 would be about ten hours of work, or a day and a half. A reasonable amount of time might be four hours, or $250 - $300. A tech could remove and install your entire suspension in that amount of time, with correct alignment.
 

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Sorry if I'm explaining something you're familiar with. A thrust angle alignment is when the rear is "fixed" length and you're matching the front (adjustable) to the rear (fixed). Four-wheel alignment is when everything is adjustable. So, $125 for a four-wheel alignment is normal around here; however, if there is a lot of back and forth, the tech may change by the hour.

$750 would be about ten hours of work, or a day and a half. A reasonable amount of time might be four hours, or $250 - $300. A tech could remove and install your entire suspension in that amount of time, with correct alignment.
I agree, if they aren't including the control arm (caster) adjustment. The only thing they are even doing is rotating the tie rod sleeve a few spins, looks like that cost ya $250 ($100 alignment check + $150 alignment). What are they saying they "corrected" for $120?
 
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@KNN You're sure the "wobble" isn't balance related, right?

Death wobble is normally steering related, so track bar, drag link, tie rod, steering box. Maybe ball joints, a lot of Jeeps are delivered with loose ball joint castle nuts, and that can wallow out the tapers.
 

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Wow. That is an expensive alignment bill! Damn.

Could you elaborate how the death wobble feels like? Is it when you hit a pothole at certain speeds? Any side in particular?
 

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My gosh 750 bucks!! I wish i could help. I used to do my own alignments. But that was over 20 years ago. I'm assuming that the important measurement (differing from factory) would be the Caster. I'm pretty sure it's going to be 7 deg+ for a lifted vehicle such as yours.

Sorry that's all I got. Sounds like Matt explained it well. I know I would do my own if I ever own a Jeep. That way I control every measurement instead of a shop.
 
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KNN

KNN

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I agree, if they aren't including the control arm (caster) adjustment. The only thing they are even doing is rotating the tie rod sleeve a few spins, looks like that cost ya $250 ($100 alignment check + $150 alignment). What are they saying they "corrected" for $120?
I installed the rear track bar upside down and a control arm bolt needed adjustment.

@KNN You're sure the "wobble" isn't balance related, right?
Tires could be rebalanced. There is a slight vibration (KO2s) that's been there since I first mounted them about 23K miles ago. I rotate every 5K miles. I think I've isolated which wheel is out of balance.
 
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KNN

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Wow. That is an expensive alignment bill! Damn.

Could you elaborate how the death wobble feels like? Is it when you hit a pothole at certain speeds? Any side in particular?
It's usually around 40-55 MPH. Potholes, bridge crossings, roadwork, or general road imperfections. Doesn't seem to be side specific.
 

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Everyone is looking at the bill and thinking about the cost of an alignment but these guys had to basically re-do the entire lift install. This is why you shouldn’t put line items for labor like this.

Your left front camber makes me think the bj’s are wearing out.
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