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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the last two times we had the JGC at the dealership for recall work, they commented on the alignment being off. We had planned to wait until we put new tires on, which was ~500 miles ago. Unfortunately, the tire shop did not offer alignments, so we were aiming to get it done soon. We have two more recalls that need servicing so we'll be at the Jeep dealership soon.

But research has educated us that the JGC has limited adjustments to the alignment, so I'm curious as to how serious or important the alignment changes are and whether we have options. There were three general issues reported to us from our last visit:

The front wheel camber was noticeably out-of-spec negative for both wheels. It's our understanding that the front camber cannot be adjusted other than shifting the crossmember left or right. But since both wheels have negative camber, that would fix one but just make the other worse, wouldn't it? I'm not sure I understand how the alignment can be set up in such a way that the camber can be off for both wheels but can't be fixed?

The total toe was reported as being off to the right, again a noticeable amount. But the report shows a positive number for both left and right, so I'm not sure if it's toed too far in or out. I will state that the vehicle seems to track straight.

The only other one that was 'out' was the rear right camber, but it was right on the line between in and out.

If we ask Jeep to do the alignment, I'm curious as to what they'd be able to do about the front wheel camber. And if the answer is nothing, then I'm wondering how critical fixing the total toe would be.

You have to understand that the service advisor that has been seeing us has been repeatedly trying to get us to have work done unnecessarily, so we're not apt to trust what he says. (*surprise*)
 

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2014 Summit 5.7 4wd 20" tires swapped to 18", added all skid plates
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Some info here that's interesting if you use aftermarket parts.
Northstar Manufacturing ::

My main observation is how many miles on it.. if it's low and you haven't been beating on it I would not expect it to need an alignment. How are the tires wearing, how's it handling? The main effect of camber is on handling but it it's way off it could cause the tire to wear a lot on one edge. If you have positive toe on both sides that just means they are both aimed out (or both in, not sure which direction positive is) Out of spec toe can wear tires really fast depending just how far out it is. It can also affect handling/tracking.

In my experience and opinion some people get alignments done way way more than is needed. The only one I really worry much about is the toe. I've had cars that were "way out" and after the alignment they drove pretty much the same as before. So if yours seems to drive normally, no funny tire wear, I'd think about whether it's worth doing an alignment if it's going to cost a bunch. Maybe just have them adjust the toe.
 

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I’m just throwing this out there but an alignment should Be less then 100 bucks....it’s not like it’s a 300 Dollars service, Sears does lifetime
Alignments for like under 200 and you can go back as much as you want free just an FYI
 

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A little negative camber isn’t bad and helps in cornering at speed. What are the numbers? A little toe out would be unusual-good for road racing but not ideal for easy driving with the wheels wanting to track straight. Could be how they set up your car on the rack. Sounds possibly shady to me unless your running over curbs and jumping the car. You could actually check those yourself with a digital camber gauge, a couple of 2x4’s and a tape measure if you’re up for the challenge.

A little toe out will make steering twitchy in ruts and lane changes depending on your tires. I think they can cock the steering on the rack to produce a bad number on your report.
 

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just picked up a 2015 Limited last Friday and drove it from Philadelphia to Atlanta. it drove great but I plan on taking it to my tire shop and getting the life time 4 wheel alignment and the tire rotate and balance every 5K mi for the duration of the Michelins that are on it. I know the tech personally and he will do it right. It looks like I will be considering some Northstar parts if he recommends them. I will post back on the subject Friday.
 

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So the last two times we had the JGC at the dealership for recall work, they commented on the alignment being off. We had planned to wait until we put new tires on, which was ~500 miles ago. Unfortunately, the tire shop did not offer alignments, so we were aiming to get it done soon. We have two more recalls that need servicing so we'll be at the Jeep dealership soon.

But research has educated us that the JGC has limited adjustments to the alignment, so I'm curious as to how serious or important the alignment changes are and whether we have options. There were three general issues reported to us from our last visit:

The front wheel camber was noticeably out-of-spec negative for both wheels. It's our understanding that the front camber cannot be adjusted other than shifting the crossmember left or right. But since both wheels have negative camber, that would fix one but just make the other worse, wouldn't it? I'm not sure I understand how the alignment can be set up in such a way that the camber can be off for both wheels but can't be fixed?

The total toe was reported as being off to the right, again a noticeable amount. But the report shows a positive number for both left and right, so I'm not sure if it's toed too far in or out. I will state that the vehicle seems to track straight.

The only other one that was 'out' was the rear right camber, but it was right on the line between in and out.

If we ask Jeep to do the alignment, I'm curious as to what they'd be able to do about the front wheel camber. And if the answer is nothing, then I'm wondering how critical fixing the total toe would be.

You have to understand that the service advisor that has been seeing us has been repeatedly trying to get us to have work done unnecessarily, so we're not apt to trust what he says. (*surprise*)
Front camber, caster, and toe, can all be adjusted. Do you have the print out from the initial alignment check? What were all the numbers?
 

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Front camber, caster, and toe, can all be adjusted. Do you have the print out from the initial alignment check? What were all the numbers?
But, can they all be adjusted with the factory components? There's more than one company out there that offers adjustable components for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and I'm really interested to see how my alignment comes out on Friday.
 

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But, can they all be adjusted with the factory components? There's more than one company out there that offers adjustable components for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and I'm really interested to see how my alignment comes out on Friday.
Yes, they can all be adjusted with factory components. If the alignment cannot be achieved with factory components, you either have damaged or worn suspension parts.

However, if your suspension components are not stock (lifted/lowered), you may need aftermarket, adjustable components.


 

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Yes, they can all be adjusted with factory components. If the alignment cannot be achieved with factory components, you either have damaged or worn suspension parts.

However, if your suspension components are not stock (lifted/lowered), you may need aftermarket, adjustable components.
Makes sense!! Thanks for your clarification and input:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
So first off the specs I had been looking at may have been for the TrailHawk. The specs had an asterisk for both front and rear camber with this note:

* For reference only (nonadjustable angles).

But it appears this may only be for 'lifted' suspensions such as the TrailHawk? Or maybe Quadra-Lift? At any rate, these specification notes probably don't apply to our WK2 2014 Limited 2WD model.

And as far as total toe, looking at that again the allowed range is listed as 0.07° to 0.33°, so an overall positive (toe in?) spec is required. That's the one we have with perhaps the highest exception, with the wheels toed in more than spec.

UNFORTUNATELY, we have two service reports which include the vehicle checklist, alignment report, treadwear, etc, but there is no listing of the actual alignment readings. (Again, this is a Jeep dealer). The report only shows a diagram and numeric limits for each spec with color coded areas for in and out of range. Then there's an arrow which shows where along the diagram your reading lies, but no numerical reference. If I had to 'guess' based on the arrows, our alignment was:

Front left camber = -0.9 (spec 0.4 to -0.8)
Front right camber = -1.5 (spec -1.2 to 0.0)
Front total toe = 0.5 (spec 0.07 to 0.33)
Rear left camber = 0.1 (spec 0.0 to -1.1)
Rear right camber = -1.2 (spec -1.1 to 0.0)
Rear total toe = 0.35 (spec -0.15 to 0.55)

The vehicle is at ~56K miles and we have not had any issues. We just replaced the Forteras and while there was some shoulder wear on the front tires, that was more due to driving habits than alignment, I believe.

I have no problem getting the alignment done, and again - that was our plan. Our only apprehension was that we don't trust the guy they keep giving us at the dealership. The service adviser has told us we needed new tires (when we still had ~6/32), has twice told us we needed to replace the transfer case fluid (again, this is a 2WD model and the first time this was at only 30K miles!) and other 'recommended' preventative maintenance well before the Jeep scheduled intervals. Since it was a woman bringing the vehicle in and the adviser was what we call a 'good ol' boy', we think we were getting the old 'brake light fluid' treatment and definitely don't consider this an adviser we can trust. The only reason we go back is for the recalls, and because we purchased the extended warranty from Chrysler and want the record of maintenance visits.

It sounds like a third-party shop is the way to go. A friend recommended Firestone as they also have a lifetime alignment, but will look around. I'd really like to find a place that will center all the alignment settings versus just nudging it into the range of spec.
 

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I will second Firestone. I recently used them to mount a set of Forteras, and then alignment afterwards. I believe they use Hunter alignment racks. Hunter is quality equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I will second Firestone. I recently used them to mount a set of Forteras, and then alignment afterwards. I believe they use Hunter alignment racks. Hunter is quality equipment.
I'm curious as to which vehicle this was? I just checked via Firestone online for an alignment estimate and got:

"NO ALIGNMENT OPTIONS FOUND FOR YOUR 2014 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE LIMITED"

It goes on to say the vehicle alignment isn't in their database, but I could call and ask about other options.

Odd.
 

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I'm curious as to which vehicle this was? I just checked via Firestone online for an alignment estimate and got:

"NO ALIGNMENT OPTIONS FOUND FOR YOUR 2014 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE LIMITED"

It goes on to say the vehicle alignment isn't in their database, but I could call and ask about other options.

Odd.
2011 WK2 70th Anniversary 4x4
 

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Had my 4 wheel alignment done this morning. Tech showed me it was just slightly out and it dialed in nicely. Also had tires rotated and balanced. They were just out slightly. Should be good to go for another 5K mi.
 

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"Service Adviser" is a sales job, no kidding, his/her job is to hock service, they may or may not have any actual mechanic background at all. I do not trust them, nor do I trust dealership service departments, which make me feel bad when I actual encounter a good one, since I expect them to be bad.

I installed a Chrysler Accessory myself, but had to bring it to the Dealership Service Department to be activated. I handed the instruction sheet to the service adviser and explained the mechanic will need the sales code on the instruction sheet to activate the accessory. I had an appointment, so I only had to sit around 2 hours for 5 minutes of work to be performed. And of course the Mechanic came into the waiting area and asked if I had the instruction sheet with the sales code for the accessory, otherwise he couldn't do the job (instead of wasting time asking why he couldn't look it up) we had to track down the service adviser and he had to fish the instruction sheet I gave him out of the trash can, so the mechanic could finish the job. ugh....

Firestone is an independently owned franchise, just like the dealership. There is no guarantee they are any better than your local dealership, unless the franchise is cracking down on them and ensuring they run their local franchise like they expect. (Having said that, more often than not, I have had good experiences at Firestone franchises, not so for CDJ Dealerships).

Most modern vehicles, with the assembly process have far more precision today, do something called "NETBUILD" where they assemble the components and tighten them with the alignment in spec.

Some of the cheap economy cars have no adjustment for alignment at all, they come from the factory aligned and should never need aligned unless you have an accident and they have special repair parts that will allow for alignment later if that happens.

The more expensive cars do have adjustment, perhaps less than the past because of the NETBUILD, but if you're just barely out on a couple specs, there should be enough to bring you back into spec.

The aftermarket does make some parts that can be swapped out to fix alignment problems, especially if you've raised or lowered the vehicle.

The wheels usually change in Camber as they go up and down, this is by design and/or byproduct of the suspension geometry. So if you've changed the ride height of your suspension or it changed on its own, that could change you camber.

One of the aftermarket parts, like Moog, Problem Solvers, is an offset ball joint, you swap out the balljoint and it can bring camber back a degree or two. BUT, that's only for if you've hit the end of the adjustments on your suspension and still need more to move it back into spec. Unless the suspension was damaged, the only reason you'd need something like an offset balljoint is if you raised or lowered the suspension.
 

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Gee Mongo, why don't you quit beating around the bush and tell us how you really feel about Dealer service.:):D:lol: Not trying to upset you anymore. I feel the same way;) That's why I took my JGC to my Tires Plus where I have a very good relationship with the manager and their best technician, who is really good. They, Tires Plus, are owned by Firestone which is owned by Bridgestone. Funny weird how things evolve.
 

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Sadly, there are good CDJR dealership service departments out there, but too many of them are bad and its smears the good ones.

I think it was a Ford fan telling me that Ford Dealerships were the same a decade back (I may have the brand wrong) but now are mostly great dealership service departments, because the Parent Company cracked down on them and held their feet to the fire to improve.

And the Corporate HQ can't hurt the dealerships without hurting themselves, so you can see when the Corporation is struggling the dealerships can get away with murder. When the Company is in a good position, they can take a little short term pain for long term gain to get their dealerships in line.

To be a bit more neutral, there is a ton of consumer ignorance in the auto repair industry and lots of less than reputable merchants willing to take advantage of that ignorance. Regardless of whether its a Dealership, Franchise, corner garage, you really need to be wary and try to inform yourself as much as possible, when trying to get auto repair and servicing done.
 
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