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DIY Alignment:
Anytime you replace a steering component (like a tie-rod), or lift your Jeep you should do an alignment. In stock form, only a toe adjustment is necessary (See, Alignment Terms:). This is however very easy to do in the driveway. You'll need some basic tools, a helper, and some jack stands.
To get started jack the front axle up off the ground and place it on jack stands, so that it is level and the weight of the Jeep is on the axle. Then on the front of the tires, place a piece of masking tape, then use a pen and put a mark in the middle of the masking tape, the mark only needs to be 1/4" long or so.

Now use a tape measure to note the distance between the marks with the tires in front of the axle, now rotate the tires so your tape and marks are on the back side of the axle (180 degrees), now take a measurement there. You want the measurement in the front to be no more than 1/8" less than the measurement on the back. So if you get 40" in the front, you'd want no more than 40 1/8" in the rear. I usually shoot for closer to 1/16", but 1/8" is perfectly fine.
If you need to make adjustments, its quite simple. Loosen the bolts on the adjustment sleeve clamps, then rotate the sleeve itself with a pipe wrench. Sometimes the sleeve can be stubborn to break loose, soaking them in PB Blaster prior to doing this will help. If you really can't get anywhere with it, a MAPP gas torch (available from most hardware stores for under $20) is very useful to heat them up some (Remember PB Blaster is flammable!). If there is space between the tie-rods in the sleeve you can sometimes drive a screw driver in between the sleeve to gently pry it open some (Be careful not to damage the threads!).
These images will help too:


When doing this fix the toe first, then straighten then work on straightening the steering wheel.
Now since our tires are rather expensive, I typically still have the alignment checked. Most shops will check your alignment for X amount of dollars, then the alignment is Y dollars. Around here I pay $20 for an alignment check, then if I were to actually need an alignment, they'd charge me an additional $40 to do the alignment (Around here an alignment is $60). Now my driveway alignments have always turned out to be dead on, but that $20 I pay for the alignment check is peace of mind.

© Copyright 2006 - 2024 Mike Lee