TJ Front end alignment


After having done any modification to your suspension height on your jeep, you will need to do a front end alignment.  This will also have to be done if you replace a tie-rod end, the tie-rod or the drag link.  This is necessary to prevent severe tire wear and/or death wobble.  This write-up will cover the Toe-in and Centering your steering wheel.


They are different ways to obtain the same results.  You can get an harbor freight alignment tool.


Setting your axle on jack stand allow the wheels to move freely when you do the adjustment.  I have found to have better result when the tires are actually on the ground.


Your tie-rod and drag link may be different front this write-up as they are different steering system offered on the market.  However, the basic principle remain the same.


Toe-in and centering your steering wheel works together.  Centering your steering wheel will affect your toe-in since it's modify the length of the drag link.  You might have to repeat the process a couple of times to get it right.


Time: 15-20 mins



General Information


The steering linkage consists of the pitman arm. drag link, tie rod, and steering dampener.  Adjustment sleeves are used on the drag link and tie rod for toe and steering wheel alignment.


CAUTION: Components attach with a nut and cotter pin must be torque to specification.  Then if the slot in the nut does not line up with the cotter pin hole, tighten nut until it's aligned.  NEVER LOOSEN the nut to align the cotter pin hole.


NOTE: Periodic lubrication of the steering system components is required.


CAUTION: If any steering components are replaced or serviced an alignment MUST be performed, to ensure the vehicle meets all alignment specifications.




TIE ROD: The tie rod start on the driver side knuckle and attach to the drag link creating that inverted "Y" steering setup.


DRAG LINK: The drag link start on the pitman arm and attach on the passenger side knuckle.  It move the wheels left and right with the tie rod.  The Dampener (steering stabilizer) also attach to the drag link.


TRACK BAR: The track bar attach on the axle and the body.  It center the axle under the vehicle.


TOE IN: TJ's runs Toe-in.  This mean that the front of the tires are pointing inward a little bit.


INVERTED "Y": This setup can be found on TJ and XJ.  It's when the drag link attach to the passenger side knuckle and the tie rod attach to the drag link.


INVERTED "T": This setup can be fount on YJ.  It when the tie rod goes from knuckle to knuckle and the drag link attach to the tie rod.




What you need


- Ratchet and wrench with 13mm and 15mm sockets

- Floor jack - optional

- Jack stands - optional

- Pipe wrench

- Torque wrench

- Measuring tape

- A friend to help out with the measuring tape

- PB Blaster / Loose nut


1. Park your JEEP level to the ground with the transmission and hand brake engaged.  Your driveway should be fine.  Jack up the axle and put the jack stand under it.  Dont put the jack stand under the frame as the weight of the JEEP must be on the axle.


2. Loose both tie-rod sleeves bolts using the 13mm socket and wrench.

3. Use the tire seam to measure the width in front and back of your tire.

4- Next, unbolt the second hose on the steering box using an 18mm wrench




Centering your steering wheel

1. Loose both drag link sleeve bolts using the 15mm socket and wrench.

2. Rotate the sleeve until the steering is centered.  Check again your toe-in and adjust it if necessary.  Re-tighten the bolts and go out for a sort road test.  Note the position of the steering wheel while driving as you may have to do this step a couple of times.  Try to have the bolts pointing away from the tie-rod.



Torque Chart


    - Pitman arm nut .....................  185 ft. lbs

- Drag link ball studs .................  55 ft. lbs

- Drag link Clamp ...................... 36 ft. lbs

- Tie Rod Ends (TRE) ball studs ... 55 ft. lbs

- Tie Rod Ends (TRE) clamps ....... 20 ft. lbs





Written by: TJ Frank