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post #1 of 24 Old 08-19-2015, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Advice on Camber? problem

Looking for a little help with my 2012 JK. It's a Rubicon with manual trans with 39k on it. I just put on a BDS 4 in. lift with adj UCAs and Fixed LCAs (not stock). The kit included a drop pitman arm and Track bar brackets. I am also running with 1.75" spacers, 35 12.5 17s on stock rims. Prior to lift I had the spacers on for about 20k miles running stock BFG KMs. It has a very small leak in the axle seal front left. I had no pulling issues or abnormal tire wear, either. I rotated every 6k, all 5 tires.
Immediately after installing the lift I took it in for alignment. Here are the results, post alignment;
LF RF LR RR
CAM -0.9 -0.4 -.05 -.08
CAS 5.7 5.7
TOE 0.10 0.10 0.09 .032
Total TOE 0.41 Thrust Angle -0.11

My concern is that it pulls to the right. It won't yank the wheel but it is steady. On a crowned 4 lane hwy in the left lane it is straight or very slight left pull. I asked the local 4X4 shop (the ones who did the lift) and they said I probably had a bent axle. I also asked the Local Jeep dealer (thinking maybe the axle seal would be covered, it wasn't) and the tech looked at my alignment printout and said to get and offset ball joint with the most offset possible. Although it will happen someday a PR44 ain't in the budget anytime soon, so I gotta make do somehow.
I wheel it hard about two or three times a year, but one is coming up the last week in sep. an annual trip to Colorado (I'm in Madison WI.) and Moab, UT. We push it pretty hard. From reading the forums it seems like the stock D44 has issues with camber but offset ball joints are getting mixed reviews. My primary concerns are a failure on the trail and wrecking my tires on the 3000ish mile trip. Does anyone have any thoughts? Thanks.
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post #2 of 24 Old 08-20-2015, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by sstephens View Post
Looking for a little help with my 2012 JK. It's a Rubicon with manual trans with 39k on it. I just put on a BDS 4 in. lift with adj UCAs and Fixed LCAs (not stock). The kit included a drop pitman arm and Track bar brackets. I am also running with 1.75" spacers, 35 12.5 17s on stock rims. Prior to lift I had the spacers on for about 20k miles running stock BFG KMs. It has a very small leak in the axle seal front left. I had no pulling issues or abnormal tire wear, either. I rotated every 6k, all 5 tires.
Immediately after installing the lift I took it in for alignment. Here are the results, post alignment;
LF RF LR RR
CAM -0.9 -0.4 -.05 -.08
CAS 5.7 5.7
TOE 0.10 0.10 0.09 .032
Total TOE 0.41 Thrust Angle -0.11

My concern is that it pulls to the right. It won't yank the wheel but it is steady. On a crowned 4 lane hwy in the left lane it is straight or very slight left pull. I asked the local 4X4 shop (the ones who did the lift) and they said I probably had a bent axle. I also asked the Local Jeep dealer (thinking maybe the axle seal would be covered, it wasn't) and the tech looked at my alignment printout and said to get and offset ball joint with the most offset possible. Although it will happen someday a PR44 ain't in the budget anytime soon, so I gotta make do somehow.
I wheel it hard about two or three times a year, but one is coming up the last week in sep. an annual trip to Colorado (I'm in Madison WI.) and Moab, UT. We push it pretty hard. From reading the forums it seems like the stock D44 has issues with camber but offset ball joints are getting mixed reviews. My primary concerns are a failure on the trail and wrecking my tires on the 3000ish mile trip. Does anyone have any thoughts? Thanks.

Hard to read the numbers, but I think I figured it out. I see to likely causes.

1. Your driver side caster should be a little lower than the passenger side (most vehicles come that way from the factory). That compensates for the natural crown in the roads. What you are likely feeling is your Jeep following the crown toward the side of the road, rather than actually pulling. Try reducing the driver caster to 5.3/5.4.

2. Your thrust angle. Do you have rear adjustable arms? I run my thrust angle at zero. Yours is not off a ton, but possibly enough to cause the issue.

Last edited by Invest2m4; 08-20-2015 at 08:18 AM.
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post #3 of 24 Old 08-20-2015, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Invest2m4 View Post
Hard to read the numbers, but I think I figured it out. I see to likely causes.

1. Your driver side caster should be a little lower than the passenger side (most vehicles come that way from the factory). That compensates for the natural crown in the roads. What you are likely feeling is your Jeep following the crown toward the side of the road, rather than actually pulling. Try reducing the driver caster to 5.3/5.4.
I have not seen any evidence of that on my JK, friends' JKs, or in the factory service manual.
You recommend changing the driver side caster. What is your procedure for doing that, independently from the other side?

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post #4 of 24 Old 08-20-2015, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ronjenx View Post
I have not seen any evidence of that on my JK, friends' JKs, or in the factory service manual.
You recommend changing the driver side caster. What is your procedure for doing that, independently from the other side?
It's a fact. If you do a little research on caster you will find plenty of information on the topic. I don't have a ton of time to look things up, but here is the chart from AEV on recommended specs. They weren't drunk when they recommended driver side be .2* lower.

Google "Jeep JK alignment specs" and click on Images. Look through all the alignment readouts people have posted and look at the before caster. They come from the factory with the driver side .2* to .3* lower.

On a standard 4 link like the JK, you can adjust one side via the control arm. So, the OP has adjustable uppers. Lengthen the driver upper. Done.


Last edited by Invest2m4; 08-20-2015 at 09:17 AM.
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post #5 of 24 Old 08-20-2015, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Invest2m4 View Post

On a standard 4 link like the JK, you can adjust one side via the control arm. So, the OP has adjustable uppers. Lengthen the driver upper. Done.
The control arm can be preloaded enough to twist the axle housing?
Wouldn't lengthening the driver side upper put the left tire slightly ahead of the right tire?
My JK service manual says the preferred caster is +4.2; no mention of one side being more or less than the other, other than a maximum amount of difference between the two, at which point, something has to be done to fix it.

I'm up for a little research, so I'll call AEV and ask about the chart you posted.

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post #6 of 24 Old 08-20-2015, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Invest2m4 View Post

On a standard 4 link like the JK, you can adjust one side via the control arm. So, the OP has adjustable uppers. Lengthen the driver upper. Done.
The control arm can be preloaded enough to twist the axle housing?
Wouldn't lengthening the driver side upper put the left tire slightly ahead of the right tire?
My JK service manual says the preferred caster is +4.2; no mention of one side being more or less than the other, other than a maximum amount of difference between the two, at which point, something has to be done to fix it.

I'm up for a little research, so I'll call AEV and ask about the chart you posted.
For what it's worth, I double checked with my friend who is an engineer on the Wrangler. He confirmed that there is a .2 to .3 degree difference driver to passenger.

We're talking very minor changes in angle, so yes, you can do that via the control arms. I'm not saying you can get excessive going that route and at some point will need offset ball joints.

If cars came with caster exactly the same on both sides, then how would they track straight on our crowned roads?
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post #7 of 24 Old 08-20-2015, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Invest2m4 View Post

If cars came with caster exactly the same on both sides, then how would they track straight on our crowned roads?
It's good to have access to a Jeep engineer. However, I have not seen any evidence that what your friend says is the case. In my experience, having equal caster on both sides has not been a problem.
Like I said above, the JKs I have seen, including my own, have zero difference in caster from left to right, and they all track just fine. They all came from the factory with zero difference.
Of course, if the road has a lot of crown, any vehicle will want to drift to the right.
The factory service manual has a troubleshooting chart which addresses drifting from straight ahead.
This is the symptom: "Vehicle leads or drifts from straight ahead direction on uncrowned road."

There is no symptom in the chart for drifting on a crowned road.

I don't mind learning something new, especially if it is different from what I previously thought was true. This may indeed be one of those times, so I'll look into it some more.

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post #8 of 24 Old 08-21-2015, 07:32 AM
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JKs do indeed have slightly more caster on the passenger side, built into the axle housing. It's to compensate for road crown and the unequal length front axle shafts. Teraflex suggests adjusting the passenger front lower control arm about 1/8" longer than driver to compensate for road crown and in my experience this works well with no adverse effects in tires, etc. Of course, the OP wild have to step up to adjustable LCAs.


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post #9 of 24 Old 08-21-2015, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by SoK66 View Post
JKs do indeed have slightly more caster on the passenger side, built into the axle housing.
That's what is being said. I just have not seen it on any of the JKs I have worked on, and no suggestion of it in any JK technical data I have read. I need to do more homework on the subject.

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post #10 of 24 Old 08-21-2015, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by SoK66 View Post
JKs do indeed have slightly more caster on the passenger side, built into the axle housing. It's to compensate for road crown and the unequal length front axle shafts. Teraflex suggests adjusting the passenger front lower control arm about 1/8" longer than driver to compensate for road crown and in my experience this works well with no adverse effects in tires, etc. Of course, the OP wild have to step up to adjustable LCAs.


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yeah im not so sure about those instructions to set one control arm longer than the other. The stock control arms are the same length yes? Jeeps come from the factory with more caster on the drivers side than passenger to compensate for different shaft lengths and road crown yes? So if this is the case the difference in caster must be built into the frame or axle side bracket placement or the axle c's which means there is no need to set one control arm longer than the other. Just like stock control arms are the same length your adjsutable arms should be set to the same length. I have never had a problem doing it this way as a matter of fact last alignment I had showed caster higher on the drivers side by .3 degrees and my control arms were each set to 23" exactly. Just my 2 cents here
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post #11 of 24 Old 08-21-2015, 08:31 AM
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last alignment I had showed caster higher on the drivers side by .3 degrees and my control arms were each set to 23" exactly. Just my 2 cents here
Max allowable difference is 0.65, either from manufacturing tolerances, or from use in the field.
Ideally there will be zero difference, according to the book.

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post #12 of 24 Old 08-22-2015, 09:21 PM
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are you still using the original kingpin ball joints?

Probably shagged with that mileage. From my experience when these are stuffed your wheel alignments are difficult and camber can definitely be tweaked.

Screwing around with control arm lengths to cater for crown on the road is a cruel joke to justify getting people to buy expensive control arms. Adjust it enough to make a difference and you end up with very unhappy ESP, imho.

ex: RHD JK 2dr CRD auto
now: RHD JK 2dr Rubicon 3.8 6spd

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post #13 of 24 Old 08-23-2015, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input. To clarify, it pulls right even on an uncrowned road. In the right lane on a crowned road the pull is very pronounced. I just mentioned the left lane (on a road where the left lane is crowned left) because that's the only time its actually comfortable to drive. I have around 1200 miles on the new 35s so I'm going to go out and do a 5 tire rotation as well lengthen the driver side UCA by 1/8" (or as close as I can get). Ill post with results from that.

It sounds like caster can used to compensate for the camber is what everyone is saying. Any input on putting on an offset ball joint on the driver front if the caster correction doesn't work?

All four UCA's are adjustable. All four LCA's are BDS fixed length so I'm not looking to replace them with adjustable LCA's. My thought was that BDS would have designed them to be the correct length to compensate for the lift. Yes, I am still using original ball joints. Could they really be shot after only 38k miles? There doesn't seem to be excessive play when I pull on them while its up on jack stands.
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post #14 of 24 Old 08-23-2015, 01:49 PM
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Yes your ball joints could be shot , mine lasted 4500 mi. , then handling went away , pulling left , pulling right , all kinds of issues were present .
I found a thread on JKO by Dirtman and used it to diagnose my handling problem , found the ball joints to be bad as well as a TRE on the drivers side .
Replaced both the upper and lower ball joints and both TRE's , Not a issue since .

Good luck .
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post #15 of 24 Old 08-23-2015, 07:05 PM
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Mate it took me 2 years to make my first JK handle properly. Was front end heavy 2 door with ARB bar, diesel engine and 545rfe trans - the engine/trans combo is what you expect a Hemi/trans combo to weigh.

Ended up with a 2.5" lift, no caster correction and a good quality steering dampener (Bilstein) and it drove perfectly. The dampener does make a difference, makes it nicer to live with day to day with less tugging and jerking through the steering wheel.

Trick was after 40k miles everything pretty much needed to be replaced. New axle unis, currie HD tie rod, synergy drag link and joints, synergy kingpin ball joints, near new OE track bar, near new OE control arms, replaced upper control arms bushings on diff, replaced intermediate shaft from firewall to steering box and the final piece of the pudding was a brand new steering box as the last one (OK, I went through more than 1 box) had side to side movement and a significant dead spot at dead centre.

As i mentioned it drove perfectly despite being on the low side of caster. I do not subscribe to caster and camber adjustment being the most important aspects of a JK's front end. There's so many points of movement, if they're all a little bit bit worn then together you get heaps of movement and a JK which drives like crap and possibly gets the shakes on the highway. You don't have to replace everything, just keep on top of wear before it causes you dramas.

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now: RHD JK 2dr Rubicon 3.8 6spd
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post #16 of 24 Old 08-26-2015, 07:30 AM
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5.7 is a good amount of caster...maybe a little too much honestly. I would encourage you to drop the caster down a degree on both sides and see what happens. What you will notice as you drop your caster down the pull will slowly mitigate to the point where the jeep will wander all over the place. You have to find that sweet spot.
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post #17 of 24 Old 08-26-2015, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by CrazyLarry View Post
yeah im not so sure about those instructions to set one control arm longer than the other. The stock control arms are the same length yes? Jeeps come from the factory with more caster on the drivers side than passenger to compensate for different shaft lengths and road crown yes? So if this is the case the difference in caster must be built into the frame or axle side bracket placement or the axle c's which means there is no need to set one control arm longer than the other. Just like stock control arms are the same length your adjsutable arms should be set to the same length. I have never had a problem doing it this way as a matter of fact last alignment I had showed caster higher on the drivers side by .3 degrees and my control arms were each set to 23" exactly. Just my 2 cents here
I can't pull them up to post for you right now, but if you look at the factory alignment specs they call for .2 degree more on passenger than driver. Prefered settings are 4.2 degrees driver, 4.4 degrees passenger. You are correct, the stock arms are same length both sides, so the factory variance is either in the axle or frame side brackets. (My bet is it's in the axle side.) I've run a Teraflex suspension on my '09 since it had 700 miles on it (now 51,000), starting with their short arms & stock front housing, now with long arms and Teraflex's R44 housing. I've always followed their suggestion and have the passenger side arms set about 1/8" longer than driver. Tracks straight as an arrow, no drift issues and no odd tire wear. Bear in mind I also run manual front hubs, which eliminate the torque unload tendency of the long passenger side front axle shaft. Roads here in SW Colorado are crowned to ensure runoff, in areas where there's lesss crown I'm not sure the staggering would be necessary or adviseable beyond what Jeep recommends.

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post #18 of 24 Old 08-26-2015, 09:03 AM
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I can't pull them up to post for you right now, but if you look at the factory alignment specs they call for .2 degree more on passenger than driver. Prefered settings are 4.2 degrees driver, 4.4 degrees passenger. You are correct, the stock arms are same length both sides, so the factory variance is either in the axle or frame side brackets. (My bet is it's in the axle side.) I've run a Teraflex suspension on my '09 since it had 700 miles on it (now 51,000), starting with their short arms & stock front housing, now with long arms and Teraflex's R44 housing. I've always followed their suggestion and have the passenger side arms set about 1/8" longer than driver. Tracks straight as an arrow, no drift issues and no odd tire wear. Bear in mind I also run manual front hubs, which eliminate the torque unload tendency of the long passenger side front axle shaft. Roads here in SW Colorado are crowned to ensure runoff, in areas where there's lesss crown I'm not sure the staggering would be necessary or adviseable beyond what Jeep recommends.
Yup. The max variance is .5 based on what Jeep told me.
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post #19 of 24 Old 08-26-2015, 01:40 PM
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I can't pull them up to post for you right now, but if you look at the factory alignment specs they call for .2 degree more on passenger than driver. Prefered settings are 4.2 degrees driver, 4.4 degrees passenger. You are correct, the stock arms are same length both sides, so the factory variance is either in the axle or frame side brackets. (My bet is it's in the axle side.) I've run a Teraflex suspension on my '09 since it had 700 miles on it (now 51,000), starting with their short arms & stock front housing, now with long arms and Teraflex's R44 housing. I've always followed their suggestion and have the passenger side arms set about 1/8" longer than driver. Tracks straight as an arrow, no drift issues and no odd tire wear. Bear in mind I also run manual front hubs, which eliminate the torque unload tendency of the long passenger side front axle shaft. Roads here in SW Colorado are crowned to ensure runoff, in areas where there's lesss crown I'm not sure the staggering would be necessary or adviseable beyond what Jeep recommends.
And just about every stock JK alignment sheet I have seen, show 4.2 and 4.4. I did ask a buddy who works at a large volume Jeep dealer and he also confirmed that the JKs come that way (and they have done a lot of JK alignments).
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post #20 of 24 Old 08-26-2015, 04:53 PM
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yeah im not so sure about those instructions to set one control arm longer than the other. The stock control arms are the same length yes? Jeeps come from the factory with more caster on the drivers side than passenger to compensate for different shaft lengths and road crown yes? So if this is the case the difference in caster must be built into the frame or axle side bracket placement or the axle c's which means there is no need to set one control arm longer than the other. Just like stock control arms are the same length your adjsutable arms should be set to the same length. I have never had a problem doing it this way as a matter of fact last alignment I had showed caster higher on the drivers side by .3 degrees and my control arms were each set to 23" exactly. Just my 2 cents here
I can't pull them up to post for you right now, but if you look at the factory alignment specs they call for .2 degree more on passenger than driver. Prefered settings are 4.2 degrees driver, 4.4 degrees passenger. You are correct, the stock arms are same length both sides, so the factory variance is either in the axle or frame side brackets. (My bet is it's in the axle side.) I've run a Teraflex suspension on my '09 since it had 700 miles on it (now 51,000), starting with their short arms & stock front housing, now with long arms and Teraflex's R44 housing. I've always followed their suggestion and have the passenger side arms set about 1/8" longer than driver. Tracks straight as an arrow, no drift issues and no odd tire wear. Bear in mind I also run manual front hubs, which eliminate the torque unload tendency of the long passenger side front axle shaft. Roads here in SW Colorado are crowned to ensure runoff, in areas where there's lesss crown I'm not sure the staggering would be necessary or adviseable beyond what Jeep recommends.
I meant to say .3 higher on the passenger side not driver my bad. With arms set to same length my shit drives straight so not messing around with different length control arms and risk binding anything in my bushings or balljoints which I have done before setting my arms to different lenghts
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post #21 of 24 Old 08-26-2015, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Well the rotation and lengthening of the LF UCA 1/8" didn't really do much. Seems to drive the same. Now that I am paying a little bit more attention to it, it does seem to wander a little and there's kind of a "catch" when I turn a little to the left or right after a left hand turn where it will drive straight for a mile or so, but as soon as I turn a little to right it's back to pulling. I'm thinking an offset ball joint or replacing both fronts might be the next move. I just hate to put on new BJs on both sides and have that not be the answer...
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post #22 of 24 Old 08-27-2015, 08:13 AM
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Well the rotation and lengthening of the LF UCA 1/8" didn't really do much. Seems to drive the same. Now that I am paying a little bit more attention to it, it does seem to wander a little and there's kind of a "catch" when I turn a little to the left or right after a left hand turn where it will drive straight for a mile or so, but as soon as I turn a little to right it's back to pulling. I'm thinking an offset ball joint or replacing both fronts might be the next move. I just hate to put on new BJs on both sides and have that not be the answer...
FYI most pull issues are tire related. Some MTs pull to the right some to the left. Thats probably your culprit. I had mtrs and I always had a pull to the right. Just replaced them with trail grapplers and now I have a pull to the left. What tires are you running
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post #23 of 24 Old 08-27-2015, 12:17 PM
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FYI most pull issues are tire related. Some MTs pull to the right some to the left. Thats probably your culprit. I had mtrs and I always had a pull to the right. Just replaced them with trail grapplers and now I have a pull to the left. What tires are you running
This is a fact. Someone listed the offending tires not long ago. I want to say the Toyo's are worst, but there are several that have a good pull to the right.
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post #24 of 24 Old 08-27-2015, 12:28 PM
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This is a fact. Someone listed the offending tires not long ago. I want to say the Toyo's are worst, but there are several that have a good pull to the right.
Yeah man one guy on another forum was running cooper stts and had a right pull. He put his stock tires on and the pull was gone. So the tires that pull right for sure are mtrs, toyo mts and cooper stts. There could be others as well. These trail grapplers have a slight left pull but because most roads around here are crowned it drives straight most of the time. They are very smooth tires btw. The smoothest MT ive ever run anyway. Cant wait to get them on the rocks
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