Extreme camber after BMB brake install

av8r_bray

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Sep 18, 2019
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Location
Salt Lake City
Alright. What did I mess up. I installed the 16” big brake kit, and my front wheels now have noticeable negative camber. I’m not sure how this is even possible.

Jeep was fine before, so nothing is bent. Yes I did install new spicer ball joints. I did use a ball joint press, but I did not have the angled cup for the lower joint, but I froze them, and got them started what seemed to be pretty straight. The press was a little crooked pressing the lowers in but I don’t see how they wouldn’t be straight after being pressed in past a certain point. Is it possible they could be pressed in crooked causing negative camber?

Also, I installed WJ V8 steering at the same time, matched the tie rod and draglink length to the original. When I drove it and did the 1st series of brake pad break, it drove very squirrely, I can even hear the tire squeal/scrub on slight turns at 30-40mph. I attributed that to I probably messed the toe up pretty bad. And then I noticed the camber.

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Alright, here is how we check and verify our knuckles are built to spec. The fixture is a piece of an OEM axle long side cut off. Then a piece of tube was pressed into the OEM tube to center our fixture bar and disc. The bar is a slight slip fit with minimal lateral play. The disc has been machined to fit the big hole and pressed onto a smaller diameter and against a shoulder on the alignment bar where it was then welded. We drilled it to mark it so we can rotate it 180 to verify it is still straight.

This was a good axle with OEM low mileage ball joints in it. The first thing we do is install the knuckle and tighten the lower. Then a nut is screwed onto the upper so we can stick an open end wrench between the nut and knuckle and wedge the upper down into the taper. That sets the lateral location of the top of the knuckle.

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Then we insert the alignment bar and disc into the axle tube, square up the knuckle to it side to side and get ready to check vertical.
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We check it with a straight piece of aluminum bar stock.
If you look closely, this one is borderline reject. The gaps can be no more than a few thou.
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Then we turn the disc 180 and check again.
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As you can see, the fixture is crude, but exceptionally accurate and tells us exactly what is going on with the parts. We also do a 100% inspection on every single knuckle that goes out the door.

However, that started a couple of years ago due to us initially doing a random inspection after initial approval of parts. We would check about every 5th set and then one day I found one out of spec. After that, it is 100% and that doesn't vary. We are not perfect, but we try our best to make sure one gets what they paid for. If you want to send them in, I am glad to check them and see if perhaps we screwed up and missed a pair (almost zero chance of that, but still not zero especially if both sides do it)

The only thing I can think of other than our mistake is maybe you can post up pics of the balljoints that were removed??
 
Thanks for all the help everyone.

Yes ball joints are fully seated.

Yes everything is double checked torque wise, including the unit bearings and axle nut.

You’d be surprised what I can screw up, but yes, lug was removed. Regardless, it drives smoothly down the road hah!

I don’t have a picture of the ball joints that were removed at the moment, but they factory originals. And replaced with spicer 706944X.

Sending back the knuckles would be a huge inconvenience since this is my only daily driver. But if they are wrong not much choice. Yes, both sides look the same. Would you be willing to overnight a verified set and I’ll send this back? I really don’t see what I could have messed up here.
 
Thanks for all the help everyone.

Yes ball joints are fully seated.

Yes everything is double checked torque wise, including the unit bearings and axle nut.

You’d be surprised what I can screw up, but yes, lug was removed. Regardless, it drives smoothly down the road hah!

I don’t have a picture of the ball joints that were removed at the moment, but they factory originals. And replaced with spicer 706944X.

Sending back the knuckles would be a huge inconvenience since this is my only daily driver. But if they are wrong not much choice. Yes, both sides look the same. Would you be willing to overnight a verified set and I’ll send this back? I really don’t see what I could have messed up here.

Please post a picture showing the ball joints and how they are seated to the inner "C's"
 
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I’m away from the Jeep until Thursday. But these are what I have picture wise. I ensured they were pressed in all the way, fully seated. I don’t have a picture of the lower right now.

But if the lower was not seated all the way, wouldn’t I notice that as a gap between the Inner C/boot of the ball joint and the knuckle? Further, wouldn’t there be an issue with the castle but lining up with the cotter pin hole?

Also, if the lowers are not pressed in straight, I’m damn sure the uppers are…. The lowers pivot freely… wouldn’t it all still align however it would want. / align with the upper.

Oh and no, no play on the wheel.

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I’m away from the Jeep until Thursday. But these are what I have picture wise. I ensured they were pressed in all the way, fully seated. I don’t have a picture of the lower right now.

But if the lower was not seated all the way, wouldn’t I notice that as a gap between the Inner C/boot of the ball joint and the knuckle? Further, wouldn’t there be an issue with the castle but lining up with the cotter pin hole?

Also, if the lowers are not pressed in straight, I’m damn sure the uppers are…. The lowers pivot freely… wouldn’t it all still align however it would want. / align with the upper.

Oh and no, no play on the wheel.

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If the lower went in at a slight angle outwards, that would lean the top of the tire inward, the knuckles would not move freely due to binding the upper. That would cause erratic steering that has very little to no return to center. It would not steer well at all. The lower pin rotates on a ball. It can handle all manner of misalignment with no issue. The upper is the problem, it floats up and down in a straight bore with zero misalignment. It would bind very easily if the lower balljoint was out at all. Out as in not straight with the upper.

The other thing we don't know is if the uppers were adjustable ball joints and rotated to shove the top of the knuckle outward. There are some from the factory that way and also the reason adjustables for the TJ even exist. There was a TSB for an out of spec alignment issue that was fixed with an adjustable ball joint(s).

What we need is a good clear pic of the lower showing the shoulder seated all the way around the machined surface it butts up against.
 
I’m away from the Jeep until Thursday. But these are what I have picture wise. I ensured they were pressed in all the way, fully seated. I don’t have a picture of the lower right now.

But if the lower was not seated all the way, wouldn’t I notice that as a gap between the Inner C/boot of the ball joint and the knuckle? Further, wouldn’t there be an issue with the castle but lining up with the cotter pin hole?

Also, if the lowers are not pressed in straight, I’m damn sure the uppers are…. The lowers pivot freely… wouldn’t it all still align however it would want. / align with the upper.

Oh and no, no play on the wheel.

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I would look at that upper again…I see a shadow, circled below. Might be nothing, but that doesn’t looked pressed all the way to me. Could also be a reflection of light on a radius there

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Sending back the knuckles would be a huge inconvenience since this is my only daily driver. But if they are wrong not much choice. Yes, both sides look the same. Would you be willing to overnight a verified set and I’ll send this back? I really don’t see what I could have messed up here.
You are asking me to bet 700 dollars that I am wrong. The best way to do this is you can easily verify my possible mistake by simply swapping on one or both of the old knuckles and checking the face angle with the tie rod hooked back up. If it not the same as ours and is in fact correct on the new ball joints, I'll expedite a set out to you with a call tag to get the other ones back to me.
 
Unlikely. Both sides appear to be the same. To get a bad pair is statistically very low.

Missed the comment that both sides are looking the same. Agree on that is very low chances. I hope OP can go through and rule out one variable at the time to see what went wrong. Good luck!