Jeep Steering Alignment 101 – What do these terms mean?
Toe is the amount that the wheels are pointed in or out, often called “total toe in or out”. On a Jeep CJ it is only adjustable on the front axle and is adjusted by rotating the long tie rod or in some cases rotating the threaded sleeve at the tie rod end. The short rod from the pitman arm is called the drag link. Adjusting the tie rod usually requires loosening the clamps that keep the tie rod secure and removing or un-attaching the steering stabilizer. Typically a Jeep’s toe is adjusted 1/4″ less in the front of the tire to the rear of the tire.
Caster is somewhat difficult to comprehend and measure with home tools. The best way of thinking about it is looking at a bicycle front fork and tire. The forks arrive at the center hub at an angle. The positive caster allows the tire to return to center (the reason you can ride a bike with no hands). Another example of extreme negative caster is shopping cart front wheels, they will follow in any direction that it is being pushed. Most Jeeps were equipped with about 4 degrees positive caster with no adjustments. Adding lift kits can mess with the castor decreasing the angle sometimes to the point of becoming negative. This will cause the Jeep to wander about the road. An improper caster angle can make flat towing dangerous and coming out of sharp corners exciting due to the wheel not coming back to center.
Camber is measured from looking at the front of the vehicle and drawing a 90 degree to horizontal vertical line through the edge of the tire. If the top of the tire is in further than the bottom this is negative camber. If the top is out further than the bottom this is positive camber. Negative camber will help a vehicle during cornering due to tire roll over but will also increase tire wear on the inner section of the tire. A Jeep is best set at zero camber.