Join Date: Apr 2018
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2006
Trim Package: Limited
Power-Train: 5.7L V-8 Hemi
If 4WD - system: QD-II
Thought I would share my less than great experience with wheel alignment up here in BC at Kal Tire. I have the RC lift, and just now got around to installing a set of JBA UCAs over the weekend. Decided to replace the lowers as well, but after I got the uppers in, I realized that I was going to have to pull the wheel spacers, calipers, rotors and also pop the CV axle out of the wheel hub in order to get the lowers out, and that was a bit more of my days off than I wanted to spend working on the ol' Jeep with no air tools. So, took it in and instructed them to install my new lower control arms from Rock Auto and then do a wheel alignment.
Surprisingly, the Mander drove pretty darn well and seemed to be pretty close to aligned when I drove it in to Kal Tire with the new UCAs. After they replaced the lowers, aligned it and I got it back, the alignment was obviously way out and MUCH worse than when I brought it in, and their alignment report sheet said as much (Camber and Caster were way out, and in some cases actually WORSE than when they put it on the machine after the work was done). They said my CV axles were on their way out, and the lady at the front told me that since the CV axles were bad, that they couldn't align it properly. I didn't say anything at that point and figured I would be bringing it back the next day if all was not well, but I knew what she was telling me was complete BS. CVs ARE in rough shape, and I'll get to that soon, but that doesn't have a damn thing to do with the alignment.
Ended up bringing it back the next day, and left it while I went on a work trip. Called in today and was told that since there were no cam bolts, that the Camber and Caster were not adjustable! Sorry, but also complete BS. I got into a short lived argument with her about this (she very obviously didn't know what she was talking about and was simply regurgitating what the tech wrote on my work order), she eventually asked if I would like to talk to the technician, which I did.
He told me the same thing, saying that he figured that year of commander wasn't adjustable since he couldn't see any cam bolts to make the adjustment. I then began reading to him the information in the service manual about the lower control arm bolts needing to be loosened and the control arm moved with a pry bar to make those adjustments. I even went so far as to email him that section of my Jeep factory service manual. He said he didn't know about any of that, and that their manuals didn't make any mention of adjusting them that way. He had just set the toe and called it good, figuring that there were no more adjustments that could be done.
Unreal that even after the second try, that someone being paid to do alignments, doesn't know how to do an alignment! Perhaps the Commander is a different setup than others and it is somewhat less common than most other vehicles, but I would imagine that the Grand Cherokees are the same, and there sure are plenty of those around. I'm sure that tech is competent, but he obviously relies on the manuals that his company provides him to do his job, and they are sadly lacking in this case!
So, if anyone tells you they can't adjust the Camber or Caster, they probably just don't know what they're doing. Show them the wheel alignment section of the factory service manual where it specifically tells them how to adjust it.
They're going to try it a third time in the morning, armed with the knowledge that I had to give them to do their job, so we'll see how it goes.