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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2009 Jeep Patriot sport. 103,000 miles.

Upon inspection, it was clear my tie rods needed to be replaced. Seeing it as a straight forward job, I ordered compatible parts from Amazon.(Amazon.com)

Replaced both the inner and outer tie rods myself and very confident I did everything correctly. On test drive, the wheels squealed badly and took it to have it aligned,- Squealing went away but noticed it felt a bit unstable- Like the jeep would all of a sudden dart right or left without any input from me. It's not extremely dramatic, but it is definitely felt by me and requires constant micro corrections from me. I find it happens more often when I hit the accelerator.

I also notice that if I am at a stop and say I cut the wheel the entire way and just want to make a full turn at 2 mph, it honestly feels like I'm going over a small bump in the road or if my tires weren't perfectly round and I know that's not normal.

It doesn't feel safe. Could this be an alignment, toe / caster / camber issue ? That all gets checked when you have an alignment, right?

Could the part I used, though it said compatible with my jeep- be causing the instability?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated
-Mike
 

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I would start by talking to whoever did the alignment. They should have checked all the things you mentioned and done a test drive after they made adjustments.

Have you checked the ball joint recently? Checked the sub-frame / cross-members to make sure they aren't rusted though and coming apart?

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would start by talking to whoever did the alignment. They should have checked all the things you mentioned and done a test drive after they made adjustments.

Have you checked the ball joint recently? Checked the sub-frame / cross-members to make sure they aren't rusted though and coming apart?

Thanks for the reply Sandstone. That exact video is the one I watched after I started noticing a clunking, banging sound and started to suspect it was the ball joints. I did that lateral and vertical tests - 12 to 6 test that would indicate a worn out ball joint was actually very stable. The 9 to 3 test was the one that had a good amount of play for me which is where I discovered that the tie rods definitely needed to be replaced.

Control arm, ball joints, axels all look good - Sub frame is rust free. More to the point, I never had this unstable problem before the tie rod replacement / alignment - Even with the bad tie rods, I never felt the instability that I feel now.

As far as the alignment shop. I doubt they did everything that you mentioned given that they called me back exactly 20 minutes after I dropped it off to tell me it was ready. This was over 2 months ago and it hasn't improved. I hoped it just needed some time to adjust but it hasn't. Plus I'm not even entirely sure what the cause of the problem is, so I'm not sure if another alignment at a different shop would be advised or if I should start looking elsewhere.

Thanks again for your advice
-Mike
 

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On a stock Patriot, the only thing readily adjustable is front and rear toe. There's no adjustable camber bolts in front or adjustable rear control arms, and the front caster is changed by moving the engine cradle / cross-member. The idea is that if there's been no damage, like from an accident, and the suspension parts aren't worn out, then camber and caster will be in range and won't need any adjustment.

I don't know anything about the alignment shop you worked with, but the ones I use have computerized racks so checking those things is just part of the process.
Along with my bill they give me a rundown of how it went, any problems they found, and computer generated report of before and after readings so I can see what adjustments, if any, they had to make.

If that wasn't your experience, then maybe all they did was do a quick adjustment on the front toe, no checking / adjusting in the rear, and maybe a quick drive around the block.
And if the toe / alignment is still off, it can cause instability and wander.

If you don't think they did a thorough job and have lost confidence in them, I would try another shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
On a stock Patriot, the only thing readily adjustable is front and rear toe. There's no adjustable camber bolts in front or adjustable rear control arms, and the front caster is changed by moving the engine cradle / cross-member. The idea is that if there's been no damage, like from an accident, and the suspension parts aren't worn out, then camber and caster will be in range and won't need any adjustment.

I don't know anything about the alignment shop you worked with, but the ones I use have computerized racks so checking those things is just part of the process.
Along with my bill they give me a rundown of how it went, any problems they found, and computer generated report of before and after readings so I can see what adjustments, if any, they had to make.

If that wasn't your experience, then maybe all they did was do a quick adjustment on the front toe, no checking / adjusting in the rear, and maybe a quick drive around the block.
And if the toe / alignment is still off, it can cause instability and wander.

If you don't think they did a thorough job and have lost confidence in them, I would try another shop.
Thanks again Sandstone. I didn't know that about a stock patriot- I got no print out as you did. This comment has convinced me to just bite the bullet and have another reputable shop check and do the alignment / check toe .

One last question if I may. Is a rear alignment something that gets done when you tell a shop you need an alignment? Or is it just a front alignment that gets done unless you specifically ask for the rear to be aligned as well?

Thanks again
-Mike
 

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On these cars, good alignment shop should do the rear alignment check and adjustment without needing to be told, but when going to a new shop I'd ask them for the specifics of what their alignment includes or doesn't, just to be sure. I also might check with more than one shop for comparison sake, and do a search for reviews (BBB, Yelp, etc.) as well. Might give you a better feel for what to expect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
On these cars, good alignment shop should do the rear alignment check and adjustment without needing to be told, but when going to a new shop I'd ask them for the specifics of what their alignment includes or doesn't, just to be sure. I also might check with more than one shop for comparison sake, and do a search for reviews (BBB, Yelp, etc.) as well. Might give you a better feel for what to expect.
All great advice. Thanks very much. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thanks again
-Mike
 
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