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ASAP!!alignment question/1 degree=new ball joint?


NAXJA Forum User
West Michigan

2000xj +3in Front +3.75Rear, adjustable track bar, new lift. 235bfg's

The dealer just called and said I need an offset ball joint for the drivers side upper, it's a full degree off.

everything else looks ok

I did have slight accident a month ago, I wacked a guy going 40 and hit the ditch at 20. The repair shop said I was good to go, only drove it a few days before lifting it.

advice, I told him to wait, and give me the alignemt print out this afternoon

Help me please, it's 225.00$ for the joint. I can't do that. I'm starting to dislike my Jeep again.
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Don't blame your jeep for what you did or what someone else caused you to do. They have feelings ya know. :cry:

The problem is that your going to the dealership to fix something that you may be able to do your self. I understand that not everyone has the same abilities and knowledage, and ball joints are a royal PITA anyway. Maybe you can find another shop or a buddy that can help you out.

www.madxj.com has a write up on the offset baljoints.

goodluck :)
Tom, there's just no way a 3" lift would create a need for an offset balljoint ... on only one side, no less.

Obviously, you need to find a better body shop. The accident must have tweaked something. Hard to say what -- you said the dealer reported the driver's side is a degree off, but you didn't say if it's caster or camber. Offset ball joints can be used to correct either -- or both.

The actual alignment readout will be somewhat informative, but the bottom line is that I believe your unibody is bent. I'm sure that's not what you want to hear, but if you have had the damage repaired by a body shop then they owe it to you to make it right. Get the printout from the dealer, then take it to the body shop. However, if it's camber that's off (camber normally not being adjustable, which is why you need offset ball joints to fix it), the problem could be a bent axle tube.

If they can't or won't fix it, report them to whatever state agency licenses body shops in your state (here it's the Dept of Motor Vehicles).
the camber is off.

It's way off on the left and the service manager said the right is o.k. but it could be better, he can adjust the right but it's almost maxed out on the right.

My insurance co. is going to send a guy over to the Jeep dealer tomorrow. I hit a guy going 35 and ditch at 25, no bumper on at the time.

Do I need to have the dealer who did the body work put it on a frame rack and check it? (axle)

I will post the alignment print out numbers tonight.

My Jeep dealer does not have a body shop so the body work was done at a Chevy dealer, it is right now at the Jeep dealer for a post lift alignment.

Thanks, I'm going to go have a good cry now.
Wait a minute, the *CAMBER* is off?

IIRC, camber is tip/tilt of the tires towards/away from the vehicle centerline, and should be zero. If you've got a 1 degree camber, I'd suspect a bent front axle tube or housing.
Sounds to me like your service manager is full of BS. Unless it already has offset balljoints, they can not adjust even the right side. Like the others said, sound like a bent axle tube. If you hit a ditch on the left side, could very well be the case.

I think the service manager's brain is maxed out.

I have always heard that a cherokee's stock ball joints have trouble once your lift gets to 3 or more inches. NOT that I am right, but merely stating that I have heard it. I have 4.5 inches and never could get the alignment spot on until I installed adjustable ball joints. It ended up being 1.5 degrees on one side and .5 on the other. It was a PAIN IN THE A!!!! The stock joints had been on there about 10 years
00xj said:
the camber is off.

It's way off on the left and the service manager said the right is o.k. but it could be better, he can adjust the right but it's almost maxed out on the right.

Still not convinced that the issue is camber. The service managers mention of "maxed out" implies something that is adjustable, like castor rather than camber. Castor and camber are often confused. It would seem that impacting a ditch would force the axle rearward. This could potentially bend the axle (rearward), push the LCA at the chassis rearward, bend the axle mount or bend the control arm. In most cases, the lower arm would be the victim.

The actual alignment specs would clear alot of this up.

If your problem actually is castor, you may have tweaked the axle or chassis bracketry which is pulling the axle alignment out of spec. Checking the alignment with the "impact side" control arm bolts lose enough to free things up might give you a different reading.
I just put new lower arms on as part of a post crash lift.

1. normal stocker
2. crash
3. body work
4. drove for a week, never felt 100%
5. realigned
6. rotated tires, thought I fixed the alignment
7. lift installed
8. post alignment
9. discovered problem with "camber"

Thanks for the continued support, I will post all mey alignment information tonight after I get home from the dealer.

Thanks for the help

So now it seems the camber is off on the right side, too ... but not by as much as the left?

So, let's go with the bent axle tube scenario. Assume the bend is where the left (short) tube enters the diff housing, so the "kink" is well off-center toward the left side.

Draw this on a piece of paper and you'll see that if the camber was zero on both sides before introducing a bend, a bend will obviously affect both sides, but the "short" side will be affected by quite a bit more -- probably by a ratio of about 3:1 (based strictly on distance from point of bend to hubs).

If we are really talking about camber, the dealer's service manager is blowing smoke because, as already posted, camber is not adjustable (except by using offset ball joints, which isn't exactly an "adjustment," it's more like a "kludge."

Let's get those alignment read-outs up here so we can all know what the heck we're talking about. At the moment, we're all guessing based on insufficient data.
Well here are your numbers,

1st set after wreck before lift

Left Front -0.9 camber -0.5 Right, range -0.8 to 0.5
Left Front 7.1 caster 7.2 right, range 5.3 8.5
Left Front .06 toe .07 right, range 0.00 0.23

cross camber actual-0.4 before -0.4 Range-1.0 1.0
cross caster -0.1 -0.1 Range -1.3 1.3
cross sai n/a
total toe 13 degrees /before -0.01 Range 0.00 .45

Left Rear Right Rear
-0.1 (0.1 before) camber -0.2 (-0.2 before)
0.31 (0.31 before) toe -0.3 (0.4 before)

cross camber 0.1 actual (0.1 before)
total toe 0.28 actual (0.27 before)
thrust angle 0.17 actual (0.17 before)


After Lift after crash (all actual)

Left -1.1 camber right -0.7
Left 6.0 caster right 6.2
Left 0.11 toe right 0.10
Left 10.9 sai right 11.8
Left 9.8 included angle right 11.8

cross camber -0.3
cross caster -0.2
total toe 0.21

left -0.5 camber right 0.0
left 0.19 toe right 0.14

Total Toe 0.33
Thrust angle 0.03


I think that's it.

The delear said a 1 dergee offset on the left and an 1/2 degree off set on the right would be the factory authorized fix. He also said that some XJ's come from the factory with an off set joint already installed. They are going to look at the joints in the morning to see if they are offset already.

They do not know how to determine if the front axle is bent. They said the frame rack guy could tell, and the frame rack guy said the alignment guy could tell. Holy Crap! it's like a bad dream.

Thanks for your continued help.

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I am not an expert in any way but I did notice that your Camber was off equally (.2) on both sides and your Castor was different as well before and after the lift.

I don't think that the camber actually changed, relatively speaking, since lifting it except for the fact that your axle is at a different angle so your camber changed with your castor.

I wouldn't worry about being out of spec by that little.

Which way is neg (-) camber is it this way / \ or this way \ / as you look at it from the front?
Negative camber is this: / \

I'm with FatXJ on this- I think the camber and caster are both off because your front axle is tilted forward due to your new lift.

The yokes that the upper and lower ball joints mount in are not directly opposite one another- they are in a slightly different vertical plane. This difference will cause the camber to change as the axle tilts forward or back. This is a secondary side effect of the tilt of the axle- the direct effect of tilting the axle is the caster change. Are you running stock control arms with the 3 inch lift?
Handlebars said:

The yokes that the upper and lower ball joints mount in are not directly opposite one another- they are in a slightly different vertical plane. This difference will cause the camber to change as the axle tilts forward or back.

Is that why they want to put 1degree in the left and 1/2 degree in the right?

I would agree as well. If you don't like the way the vehicle tracks, i.e. on the highway alot, then fix it otherwise, forget it. Of cousre I am still in the denial phase cause I bent my frame but seriously I had 4.5" I put on and was good for aWHILE Until I got up the energy to change the ball joints myself to correct a small discrepency
If it were my Jeep and money was tight(and it is), I'd be inclined to run it as is. Maybe try to get that extra degree of castor back in if it doesn't cause you grief with front u-joints. At the original setting, you were only .1 over the factory spec. Hardly ideal, but not that far out of wack.

Rotate the tires often and watch for tire wear. Experiment with tire various tire pressures. If it appears to be a problem you can always change the ball joints later on.

On the other hand, it you can get the insurance company to pay for this...
I might even try setting the front end up an a jack stand under the pumpkin and run a few passes with my welder on the bottom of the tube. That just might pull the axle back in the opposite direction a little.

I can't recommend that you try this, but I have a spare D-30 :)