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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curious what other WK2 owners do about wheel alignment when it comes to having wheel spacers?

2014 WK2 diesel, with QL and 99k miles on it. I run 1" spacers on the front, 1.25" rear.

I seem to have issues getting a good alignment. I have had it done without the spacers. I had one tech say to leave them on, and the computer rack would take care of it (NOT, ruined a set of tires.) I recently upped my tire size to 275/55-20. I removed the spacers before I had them installed and aligned. I showed the tech how to put into alignment mode. Still bad alignment. Tech said everything was in spec. He swapped front tire L/R and the problem went away, kind of. Now getting feathered edges on new tires.

I will soon be attempting to add a RCX 2" spacer lift in the front, and do some ride height adjustments via alphOBD to reduce the suspension topping out issues. So maybe that would be the time to get my alignment issues worked out.

Any suggestions?
 

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2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, ProCharged 5.7L Hemi
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My simple philosophy as a mechanic is, Get it aligned as it is to be driven.

If you are going to use spacers, get it aligned with the spacers installed.

I had mine aligned with spacers when I was using spacers. No issues. When I got the new wheels and tire, I had to remove the spacers and had my alignment verified and adjusted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My simple philosophy as a mechanic is, Get it aligned as it is to be driven.

If you are going to use spacers, get it aligned with the spacers installed.

I had mine aligned with spacers when I was using spacers. No issues. When I got the new wheels and tire, I had to remove the spacers and had my alignment verified and adjusted.
In your experience, does having two different size spacers F/R, effect the alignment rack computer? I'm sure with some simple math it the new track width can be entered. However, most of the time these days I have a feeling that it is very tech dependent on how well the alignment is done. Do they have real alignment skills or just rely on what the computer tells them. Foremost is whether they put the beast into alignment mode. Sadly, it reverts back on a restart so I can't just set it then hand over the keys. Computers are great for many things, but they operate on the GIGO theory; garbage in = garbage out.
 

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I've had well known alignment shops swear up and down that their techs know what alignment mode is, yada yada. Was in one a year or so ago, extremely clean shop, up to date equipment, 20 service bays and 2 alignment racks with state of the art Hunter alignment equipment. I told the service writer that this Jeep has an alignment mode and would i need to show the tech how to get into it, he told me his tech was an alignment "expert" and knew what to do. Once the tech had my Jeep on the rack I could see through the waiting area window that it was NOT in alignment mode, could tell by the ride height that it was in curb/exit mode. I mentioned this to the service mamager who essentially told me I had no idea what I was talking about, his tech was an "expert". I said either we walk out to my jeep together and check the display or to immediately remove my car from the rack and I'll be gone. We walked out, I pulled up the display and showed the manager and tech that the Jeep was NOT in alignment mode. The "expert" tech said that his alignment machine should tell him the steps to follow if the VIN indicates any special instructions and his machine didn't tell him there's an alignment mode. I asked if he had ever set a Jeep into alignment mode and he admitted he had no idea what that was. Of course I took my Jeep and left.
 
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Align it as it’s going to be driven. As @IDoMy0wnRacing Stated, to clarify all the bullshit that surrounds wheel spacer’s, the good, the bad, the indifferent, Adding a quality 1.25-1.75 Bora or Spider Trax “hubcentric” wheel spacer is fine. There isn’t any more stress placed on any drivetrain or steering suspension components than going from a Factory 7 1/2” wide wheel to an aftermarket 9”-10” wheel. Problems happen when a “non hubcentric” spacer is used as it will allow the spacer to float around on the wheel hub face and places stress on the studs. That then causes stud breakage and can cause spacer failure. I have even seen some inferior “hubcentric” wheel spacers fail. So stick with the Bora and Spider Trax use a torque wrench for proper sequencing and never used different width spacers in a 4x4 that changes the factory track width between front and rear. Some Front IFS lift kit’s that don’t address the track width change after the lift, require adding front wheel spacers to get the track width back within specs. Usually with a stage one lift that lifts the front 3.5” without a differential drop tend to pull the wheels inbound and spacers are needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Align it as it’s going to be driven. As @IDoMy0wnRacing Stated, to clarify all the bullshit that surrounds wheel spacer’s, the good, the bad, the indifferent, Adding a quality 1.25-1.75 Bora or Spider Trax “hubcentric” wheel spacer is fine. There isn’t any more stress placed on any drivetrain or steering suspension components than going from a Factory 7 1/2” wide wheel to an aftermarket 9”-10” wheel. Problems happen when a “non hubcentric” spacer is used as it will allow the spacer to float around on the wheel hub face and places stress on the studs. That then causes stud breakage and can cause spacer failure. I have even seen some inferior “hubcentric” wheel spacers fail. So stick with the Bora and Spider Trax use a torque wrench for proper sequencing and never used different width spacers in a 4x4 that changes the factory track width between front and rear. Some Front IFS lift kit’s that don’t address the track width change after the lift, require adding front wheel spacers to get the track width back within specs. Usually with a stage one lift that lifts the front 3.5” without a differential drop tend to pull the wheels inbound and spacers are needed.
Thanks. I have no worries about using the spacers at all, just getting a proper alignment with them on,(or off.) I need to find a better alignment shop/tech.
 

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Thanks. I have worries about using the spacers at all, just getting a proper alignment with them on,(or off.) I need to find a better alignment shop/tech.
To answer one of your earlier questions.

I ran with a 1 inch spacer in the front and a 1.5 inch spacer in the rear. II did NOT have any alignment issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
To answer one of your earlier questions.

I ran with a 1 inch spacer in the front and a 1.5 inch spacer in the rear. II did NOT have any alignment issues.
Whoops, some how I left out the word "no" in my earlier statement. I am searching other forums for a quality alignment shop in the Los Angeles area today.

Thx again.
 

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The spacers change scrub radius, there is no adjustment for scrub radius. You wheels should get the same alignment, in theory, with or without the spacers.

Something could be wrong with the spacers that are introducing run-out that is giving you the problems.

Regardless of how well the tires are aligned, without the spacers there is near zero scrub radius in your front suspension. That means the forces created by the tires are perfectly aligned with the steering axis of the front suspension. So as forces change on the tires, they are applied to the suspension and not to the steering.

Regardless of how well the tires are aligned, with the spacers there is a scrub radius equal to the spacer thickness. That means the forces created by the tires are NOT aligned with the steering axis of the front suspension. You know have a torque arm on the steering. So as forces change on the tires, they are applying torque to the steering and less to the suspension.

Now, if you're steering and suspension is in great shape, it should be able to resist this torqueing, and not get too squirrelly. But if you have some wear and lash in the steering and suspension, then as forces on the tires change, they are steering the wheel and changes angles. This can create undesirable reactions/handling and uneven tire wear.

And it only gets worse the thicker the spacer you put on. Most people report problems 1.5" spacers, lots with 2" spacers.

This also assumes you're using the OEM wheels, spacers change offset of the wheel, so going to aftermarket wheels with a big difference in offset will have the same effect.

What I would do, is thoroughly inspect the suspension and steering looking for lash and wear, replace any worn parts. Worn suspension and steering with Lash, with no spacers and proper offset wheels, will let tires move around and wear unevenly, this is when the changing forces are all lined up the wheels forces aren't torqueing the wheels around. The spacers adding a torque arm would make the negligible amount of movement greatly exaggerated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
True spacers or wheel offset that is different than stock will alter the scrub radius, as does larger tires. Pending what the steering inclination angle is taller tires may cancel out the scrub radius change. Most vehicles have some scrub radius engineered in as zero scrub results in a less stable steering. The common misconception is that stock set up is zero scrub radius.
 

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True spacers or wheel offset that is different than stock will alter the scrub radius, as does larger tires. Pending what the steering inclination angle is taller tires may cancel out the scrub radius change. Most vehicles have some scrub radius engineered in as zero scrub results in a less stable steering. The common misconception is that stock set up is zero scrub radius.
Yea, forgot to mention that, taller tires will produce different scrub radius. But tire diameter usually changes it less than spacers or wheel offset.

Actually, that is a good point, some scrub radius could create a preload on the steering, so perhaps it is not right to say you want "zero" scrub radius, but you don't want the scrub radius 2" spacer will make.

Oh, not saying don't get spacers if you want them, I'm saying the downside to spacers is the change in scrub radius.
 
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