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Jeep Wrangler TJ Driveway Alignment

jeep alignment
The wheel alignment of any vehicle is very important for many factors.  Tire life, steering ease, driveability, and bump steer are all major factors in keeping your vehicles alignment within factory specifications.  Once a lift kit has been installed on your vehicle, a professional alignment is heavily recommended.  If this isn't something that you are able to do, the align can be done on any flat surface with simple hand tools. 

This method is commonly known as The Backyard Alignment.  It is not a perfect way to do an alignment, but it will be enough to help you be able to drive your vehicle until a professional alignment can be done.  We will discuss the proper procedure and tools needed to set toe and recenter the steering wheel.


Tools needed:
3/8th” ratchet wrench
13mm deep well socket
15mm deep well socket
13mm box end wrench
15mm box end wrench
Channel Locks or Pipe Wrench
Tape Measure
Floor Jack and Stands*

*NOTE: Jack stands will allow the tires to sit off of the ground and make the adjustments easier.  It is not needed a needed step however. 

How to Set Toe:
It may be difficult to see, but the front tires of your vehicle are not 100% parallel to each other.  Toe-In is the term used for when the tires are pointing slightly inward, and Toe-Out is for when they are pointing outwards.  The following steps will help bring the toe measurements within a specification close enough to factory to allow you to drive. 

Step 1.
Park on level ground, and with the help of a friend or some tape, measure the width between your rear tires.  Be sure to use the same measurement points between each tire.  Once you have your measurement, and using the same points as the rear, measure the front tires.  The difference between the two will be our adjustment total.

Step 2.
Using the 13mm socket and the 13mm wrench, loosen the sleeve clamps on both sides of the tie rod. 

Step 3.
Using the channel locks or pipe wrench (be careful not to damage the tie rod bar), turn the tie rod in small increments.  Take measurements every adjustment to make sure that you have not passed the original measurement length.  Keep the adjustment about 1/16” closer than the rear tire measurement.

Step 4.
Re-tighten the tie rod sleeve clamps once toe has been set.

Re-centering Your Steering Wheel

Step 1.

After adjusting and setting the toe measurement, turn the tires so that they are pointing as straight as possible.  Loosen the drag link clamps using a 15mm socket or 15mm wrench.

Step 2.
The sleeve rotates between the two sections of the drag link.  Spinning this will turn the steering wheel either farther away from center or closer to being centered.  Try using your hand to spin this, but if it will not move, the channel locks should work just fine.  Check the steering wheel to make sure the adjustment is going the correct direction.

Step 3.

If possible, try to have the sleeve clamp bolts pointing away from the track bar.  Tighten the bolts up with the 15mm wrench or socket used previously.

Step 4.
Take the vehicle out for a test drive, and redo the steps as needed.
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