Diagnosing Death Wobble and Fixing Non-DW Shimmies and Wobbles - Page 11 - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:11 PM   #301
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Bought jeep less than 30 days ago, already lifted.

The arrow shows where they say it broke. Third party warranty list suspension but say they dont cover frame damage. Waiting on a call back from dealer still. Local service says 10 days, another shop says 1. FML
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:26 PM   #302
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If you've got a 30-day warranty through the dealer, I'd return the jeep.

DW is notoriously tough to chase. Sophisticated guys with a lot of patience often get it fixed, but many clueless folks get one patchjob after another for years. Many service techs (particularly at a place that doesn't specialize in solid axle front vehicles) aren't familiar with it or what causes it.

A real fix is likely to include welding high grade washers onto the axle housing, replacing the front trackbar and any worn ball joints, balancing the tires, and replacing all of the bolts used to hold front trackbar to the jeep. That alone is going to run over $1000, and there's probably some other stuff I'm forgetting as well. And even still . . . you never really know it's fixed--you just wait for it to happen again

If there's room for this interpretation in any 30-day warranty you got from the dealership, I'd argue that this is a substantial and dangerous defect, and that it is unrealistic to believe it can be fixed absent highly skilled and professional labor along with high quality and expensive parts. I want a refund, and they can have the jeep back.

If they refuse, I'd leave them with the keys and sue them within the week. (Admittedly . . . it helps that I'm a lawyer . . . .)

If they want to compromise, I'd also consider accepting an unconditional written guarantee from the owner of the business personally as well as the business itself that for the duration of my ownership of the vehicle, that they will fix any and all problems related to DW for free. If they don't like that, then they can pay you back, patch it up, and put it back on the lot for the next sucker.

As to the third party warranty, make sure you read your policy and see what it actually excludes. Don't accept what the adjuster tells you over the phone as the end of it.

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:04 PM   #303
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Originally Posted by MTH View Post
If you've got a 30-day warranty through the dealer, I'd return the jeep.

DW is notoriously tough to chase. Sophisticated guys with a lot of patience often get it fixed, but many clueless folks get one patchjob after another for years. Many service techs (particularly at a place that doesn't specialize in solid axle front vehicles) aren't familiar with it or what causes it.

A real fix is likely to include welding high grade washers onto the axle housing, replacing the front trackbar and any worn ball joints, balancing the tires, and replacing all of the bolts used to hold front trackbar to the jeep. That alone is going to run over $1000, and there's probably some other stuff I'm forgetting as well. And even still . . . you never really know it's fixed--you just wait for it to happen again

If there's room for this interpretation in any 30-day warranty you got from the dealership, I'd argue that this is a substantial and dangerous defect, and that it is unrealistic to believe it can be fixed absent highly skilled and professional labor along with high quality and expensive parts. I want a refund, and they can have the jeep back.

If they refuse, I'd leave them with the keys and sue them within the week. (Admittedly . . . it helps that I'm a lawyer . . . .)

If they want to compromise, I'd also consider accepting an unconditional written guarantee from the owner of the business personally as well as the business itself that for the duration of my ownership of the vehicle, that they will fix any and all problems related to DW for free. If they don't like that, then they can pay you back, patch it up, and put it back on the lot for the next sucker.

As to the third party warranty, make sure you read your policy and see what it actually excludes. Don't accept what the adjuster tells you over the phone as the end of it.

Thanks for the advice. I really dont want to return the vehicle. I need to review the contracts closely. I am a lawyer also, so it is to just sue them, but then I am fvcked without a vehicle for a period of time. Uggghh
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:45 PM   #304
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Left dealer one. They wanted it to sit for 9 days before fixing it. Dealer two said it would be done by Friday. Had a long conversation with the body shop guy about death wobble. He assured me he would get it fixed. He knew what DW. He has installed jeep lifts before. Dealer I bought from seems ready to pay for this and I am going to get them to agree to pay for anything associated with this problem going forward. Wish me luck.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:28 PM   #305
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Originally Posted by jmcdolej
Left dealer one. They wanted it to sit for 9 days before fixing it. Dealer two said it would be done by Friday. Had a long conversation with the body shop guy about death wobble. He assured me he would get it fixed. He knew what DW. He has installed jeep lifts before. Dealer I bought from seems ready to pay for this and I am going to get them to agree to pay for anything associated with this problem going forward. Wish me luck.
Sounds like a potentially good resolution--good luck.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:45 PM   #306
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I appreciate greatly you taking the time out to help me.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:24 PM   #307
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The failure in that picture is due to the inferior design of that particular Rough Country lift.

It uses a frameside trackbar drop bracket that puts too much leverage on the stock bracket and eventually causes welds or the bracket itself to fail.

The drop pitman arm and frameside trackbar drop bracket need to be removed and replaced with a stock pitman arm and adjustable trackbar. The stock bracket may need to be repaired if the leverage damage the welds at the frame work compromised the integrity of the bracket.

Unfortunately people buy Rough Country believing that they're getting a good deal under saving money, when in reality they're getting generally inferior designs and materials.

You likely have other things going on other than the damaged bracket, but that design is where the problem started.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:59 PM   #308
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Well that doesn't sound encouraging. The body shop guy indicated with a weld and tightened stabilizer it will not be a problem. You seem to think I cannot correct this
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:40 PM   #309
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Got it back. Cost me $305. But dealer I purchased from is reimbursing. Steering feels much better.

Invoice says: repair transverse bar bracket, R & I LF spring swaybar link.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:14 PM   #310
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Talked to the body shop guy after driving it. He said he fixed the bolt by welding a sleeve to prevent this in the future. He said this is how the kit/install should have been in the first place.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:01 PM   #311
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Had Death Wobble for the first time a few weeks ago. Got it to the dealer who checked it out. The front end was fine. The dealer drove it with new tires and wobble went away.

This isn't saying you aren't having a front end issue but in my case it was tire balancing. I'm running 33" MT/Rs that have 28K on them. Besides rotating your tires I'd suggest balancing the tires going on the front end every 10K or so. My front tires were off by 7 & 0+ ounces. I don't know if I had lost any weights but when you are running tires with inch thick plugs you lose a lot of rubber over the life of the tires. The time I had DW I had it 3 times in one day getting it to the dealer. After their tests I had the tires balanced and have put 500 miles on the same ones that wobbled with no issues. I can tell you this that I noticed immediately is that at highway speeds if you are hitting "ripples" in the road service they Will set up your vehicle for DW if anything, especially tires out of balance. Kinda like bouncing a football and it gets away from you.

Oh, and I have been running the Rough Country Lift kit for a year now and this was the first and only incident.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:26 PM   #312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainynite
Had Death Wobble for the first time a few weeks ago. Got it to the dealer who checked it out. The front end was fine. The dealer drove it with new tires and wobble went away.

This isn't saying you aren't having a front end issue but in my case it was tire balancing. I'm running 33" MT/Rs that have 28K on them. Besides rotating your tires I'd suggest balancing the tires going on the front end every 10K or so. My front tires were off by 7 & 0+ ounces. I don't know if I had lost any weights but when you are running tires with inch thick plugs you lose a lot of rubber over the life of the tires. The time I had DW I had it 3 times in one day getting it to the dealer. After their tests I had the tires balanced and have put 500 miles on the same ones that wobbled with no issues. I can tell you this that I noticed immediately is that at highway speeds if you are hitting "ripples" in the road service they Will set up your vehicle for DW if anything, especially tires out of balance. Kinda like bouncing a football and it gets away from you.

Oh, and I have been running the Rough Country Lift kit for a year now and this was the first and only incident.
Tire balance issues are easily repeatable at a given speed and are very different than DW. 7 oz. off is a ton of weight.

If you had real DW, the kind that feels like your front end is violently being ripped apart and requires slowing almost to 0 mph to get the oscillations to stop, then your tire balance issue was a trigger, but not the source of the DW. If the source(s) were not fixed, then it will come back when you encounter another trigger--like bridge expansion joints, a pothole, railroad tracks, etc.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:14 PM   #313
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So replacing the TB bolts with 9/16 should help prevent the problem. One question..how long should the bolts be..?
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:46 PM   #314
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So replacing the TB bolts with 9/16 should help prevent the problem. One question..how long should the bolts be..?
It does help with prevention, but you still have to include retorquing the bolts as part of periodic service.

It is easiest to just buy the Northridge4x4.com bolt kit, that includes bolts for front and rear lower control arms and the rear trackbar, as part of an overall $100 order to get it with free shipping.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:16 PM   #315
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DW caused by bad front brakes....

So I bought a 2007 JK in the beginning of Jan. After being wrecked by dumb*** in a stolen vehicle in my Nitro, I made the decision to go back to a Jeep. Found an '07, bone stock, with only 16k miles for 16k$. Pretty gud deal until I had the wobble.... I freaked the first time it hit. About lost my lunch through both ends.

I did some research through various forums, and youtube to try to find out exactly what was going on. I checked the obvious, and made sure I still had all my tires. It felt like my front wheels wanted to walk instead of roll, heck, maybe even run with all the banging going on back and forth. I couldn't complain too much, the weekend was upon me, and that meant time to ride my Harley instead.

The following Monday I took it to the local dealer who actually diagnosed bad front calipers. Thank goodness for warranty. It's been a couple weeks now, and no DW. I've driven through the same areas I had it happen, at the same approximate speed, and nothing. Miami has some pretty bad roads right now with loads of construction.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:57 PM   #316
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Originally Posted by RoadSlayr
DW caused by bad front brakes....

So I bought a 2007 JK in the beginning of Jan. After being wrecked by dumb*** in a stolen vehicle in my Nitro, I made the decision to go back to a Jeep. Found an '07, bone stock, with only 16k miles for 16k$. Pretty gud deal until I had the wobble.... I freaked the first time it hit. About lost my lunch through both ends.

I did some research through various forums, and youtube to try to find out exactly what was going on. I checked the obvious, and made sure I still had all my tires. It felt like my front wheels wanted to walk instead of roll, heck, maybe even run with all the banging going on back and forth. I couldn't complain too much, the weekend was upon me, and that meant time to ride my Harley instead.

The following Monday I took it to the local dealer who actually diagnosed bad front calipers. Thank goodness for warranty. It's been a couple weeks now, and no DW. I've driven through the same areas I had it happen, at the same approximate speed, and nothing. Miami has some pretty bad roads right now with loads of construction.
Warped brake rotors cause a shimmy while braking. They do no cause your front tires to "walk" with violent, metal clanging oscillations that we refer to as Death Wobble.

If all they did was change the brake rotors, they did not fix it. The DW will happen again.

You need to watch my 2 YouTube videos to understand your front end and how to diagnose the source(s) of your DW before you damage more components.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:28 AM   #317
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How often should everything be re torqued? Every oil change 3000?
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:11 PM   #318
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Originally Posted by jmcdolej
How often should everything be re torqued? Every oil change 3000?
Yes to the front trackbar, and after every major Offroad trip (ie a week in Moab).

I'd do all the rest of the suspension every other oil change.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:05 PM   #319
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Warped brake rotors cause a shimmy while braking. They do no cause your front tires to "walk" with violent, metal clanging oscillations that we refer to as Death Wobble.

If all they did was change the brake rotors, they did not fix it. The DW will happen again.

You need to watch my 2 YouTube videos to understand your front end and how to diagnose the source(s) of your DW before you damage more components.
It wasn't the rotors, nor was I on the brakes at the times of occurrence. I do not disagree that there isn't something amiss in the front end, however I do believe that having the calipers freeze in the closed position exacerbated the issue. For now, still no new signs of DW. I did watch most of both of them to gain some insight though. While they are very thorough I don't have time to do my own tooling. My best bet is to rely on stealerships and those other mechanical genius shops around.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:12 PM   #320
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Ok, I'm going to ask, so am I missing something here or is the assertion of this thread that DW is caused by loose track bars?

If that is the case wouldn't it mean that the suspension is inherently tuned to oscillate and the track bar is the only thing that prevents that action?
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:41 AM   #321
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Originally Posted by Frogy
Ok, I'm going to ask, so am I missing something here or is the assertion of this thread that DW is caused by loose track bars?

If that is the case wouldn't it mean that the suspension is inherently tuned to oscillate and the track bar is the only thing that prevents that action?
The most common source of DW initially starts out as loose trackbar bolts due to lack of maintenance or poor installation.

Then, if left unfixed, the wobbles cause the steering stabilizer to fail prematurely, damage the front lower ball joints, damage the trackbar bracket holes and/or welds, damage the unit bearings, damage the drag link and tie rod ends, etc., etc.

DW can start elsewhere, but it is most often trackbar related.


To answer your 2nd question, no. The suspension isn't inherently tuned to oscillate, and the trackbar isn't the only thing that prevents the oscillation.

The trackbar is the primary link that keeps your axle centered under the vehicle side-to-side. The control arms are the primary links that keep your axle in place forward-to-back. The drag link and tie rod are the primary links that enable you to steer against the resistance from the trackbar.

Like a stool requires multiple legs to not fall over, a coil suspension with control arm and trackbar links are needed to keep your axle and steering in place.

If you weaken a stool leg, that does not mean the stool was inherently designed to fall over.

If you fail to maintain the links in the front end of a jeep, that does not mean it was inherently designed to oscillate.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:17 PM   #322
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I appreciate this thread. In the fall we went wheeling and gains some hard pops at take off and the beginnings of a DW. New to Jeeps, I determined that it would either be caused by the control arms and/or track bar. I replaced both front and rear track bars and only upper control arm bushings, for reasons I'll explain in a moment. I also replaced the stabilizer.

Everything seemed to be going fine until I went wheeling g again the other day and I dropped off a creek bed and heard several consecutive pops. It had the sound of the front diff coming apart. We continued through the day with no other issues and the front diff seemed to be doing a great job with no other pops.

The next day I went into a pretty good DW, but still not full on. I was figuring I needed to also change out the lower control arm bushings but still have a problem in doing so.

In doing some searching, I ran across this thread. I inspected my track bar bolt to fond it loose. I loosed and re-torqued my upper control arms and checked the torque on my lower control arms to where I found the drivers side axle bolt loose and nut frozen. I took care of that and torqued it down. It seems to ride more solid now. Thank you so much.

I do have a few questions if you don't mind. In torquing my lower control arms, I'm certain the bushings need replacing. I bought the 98 TJ with a 4" lift already installed and the lower control arms are after market which I don't see in any catalogs. Do all control arm bushings fit all control arms or am I going to have to buy new lowers? (Uppers are still stock). Also, how does one torque the axle bolts of the rear control arms with the tires on and on the ground? My wrench will not fit. One more, since you seem knowledgeable, I have recently found that my steering is binding while in four wheel drive. It steers fine right but not left. I found out today when I locked it in at a light and when I attempted to turn left through the intersection, it did not want to turn. And insight to what would cause this?

Thanks again.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:42 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by Wranglerguy48
I appreciate this thread. In the fall we went wheeling and gains some hard pops at take off and the beginnings of a DW. New to Jeeps, I determined that it would either be caused by the control arms and/or track bar. I replaced both front and rear track bars and only upper control arm bushings, for reasons I'll explain in a moment. I also replaced the stabilizer.

Everything seemed to be going fine until I went wheeling g again the other day and I dropped off a creek bed and heard several consecutive pops. It had the sound of the front diff coming apart. We continued through the day with no other issues and the front diff seemed to be doing a great job with no other pops.

The next day I went into a pretty good DW, but still not full on. I was figuring I needed to also change out the lower control arm bushings but still have a problem in doing so.

In doing some searching, I ran across this thread. I inspected my track bar bolt to fond it loose. I loosed and re-torqued my upper control arms and checked the torque on my lower control arms to where I found the drivers side axle bolt loose and nut frozen. I took care of that and torqued it down. It seems to ride more solid now. Thank you so much.

I do have a few questions if you don't mind. In torquing my lower control arms, I'm certain the bushings need replacing. I bought the 98 TJ with a 4" lift already installed and the lower control arms are after market which I don't see in any catalogs. Do all control arm bushings fit all control arms or am I going to have to buy new lowers? (Uppers are still stock). Also, how does one torque the axle bolts of the rear control arms with the tires on and on the ground? My wrench will not fit. One more, since you seem knowledgeable, I have recently found that my steering is binding while in four wheel drive. It steers fine right but not left. I found out today when I locked it in at a light and when I attempted to turn left through the intersection, it did not want to turn. And insight to what would cause this?

Thanks again.
After sleeping on it, I'm wondering if the track bar could be flexing under the pressure of having the front locked in; causing my steering issue.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:04 AM   #324
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The trackbar is the primary link that keeps your axle centered under the vehicle side-to-side. The control arms are the primary links that keep your axle in place forward-to-back. The drag link and tie rod are the primary links that enable you to steer against the resistance from the trackbar.
Ok here's my point, the track bar doesn't cause anything, it is there as you said, to keep the axle centered. It seems to me that trackbar looseness is merely a symptom of a suspension with possibly many other issues. As with replacing the steering stabilizer, simply replacing the bolts in the trackbar only masks a greater problem somewhere else. My bet is that at some point if those problems are ignored it won't matter if the bolts on the trackbar are tight, the suspension will likely start to tear off mounting points.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:28 AM   #325
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Originally Posted by Frogy

Ok here's my point, the track bar doesn't cause anything, it is there as you said, to keep the axle centered. It seems to me that trackbar looseness is merely a symptom of a suspension with possibly many other issues. As with replacing the steering stabilizer, simply replacing the bolts in the trackbar only masks a greater problem somewhere else. My bet is that at some point if those problems are ignored it won't matter if the bolts on the trackbar are tight, the suspension will likely start to tear off mounting points.
I don't quite see the logic here.

Unless they're lock-tited or welded in, bolts loosen in all sorts of applications. Maybe they weren't torqued enough to begin with, maybe they were put through undue strain or flexion, maybe they were defective, etc.

The suspension system is held together by bolts. Sometimes one or more of them loosen. That's made more likely when some of those bolts should have been shouldered to prevent unnecessary wear, but wasn't.

Maybe I'm missing your argument.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:52 AM   #326
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I don't quite see the logic here.

Unless they're lock-tited or welded in, bolts loosen in all sorts of applications. Maybe they weren't torqued enough to begin with, maybe they were put through undue strain or flexion, maybe they were defective, etc.

The suspension system is held together by bolts. Sometimes one or more of them loosen. That's made more likely when some of those bolts should have been shouldered to prevent unnecessary wear, but wasn't.

Maybe I'm missing your argument.
Should the new heavy duty correct size (9/16, and 14mm) shoulder bolts from Northridge be installed with LockTite and torqued to spec? It seems like that should help keep the bolts from loosening.....
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:07 AM   #327
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Originally Posted by MTH

I don't quite see the logic here.

Unless they're lock-tited or welded in, bolts loosen in all sorts of applications. Maybe they weren't torqued enough to begin with, maybe they were put through undue strain or flexion, maybe they were defective, etc.

The suspension system is held together by bolts. Sometimes one or more of them loosen. That's made more likely when some of those bolts should have been shouldered to prevent unnecessary wear, but wasn't.

Maybe I'm missing your argument.
I'm not quite sure the full logic here either. While I'm new to Jeeps, if anyone has ever owned a Harley or driven semi they would know that bolts which were once torqued can loosen. Usually it's from a slight stretching that can happen, from new or used bolts. This is why it is recommended to re-torque lugs, suspension, and steering components after a specified time. Fact is, virtually no one does it; therefore possibly leading to loose bolts down the road; though not guaranteed. Point is PREVENTATIVE maintenance; a point so few understand.

The other problem I'm having here is that the first two posts of this thread has the reader checking EVERYTHING. While the author has stated that traction bar is the most likely, there are other sources, and then multiple items which can trigger. I've had two episodes of a start of a DW. I immediately go to action in finding out why. The first time I replaced control arm bushings and found both front and rear traction bars bad. The second time, several months later, I found the front traction bar loosened; probably because I did not re-torque.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:51 PM   #328
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Originally Posted by Wranglerguy48 View Post
After sleeping on it, I'm wondering if the track bar could be flexing under the pressure of having the front locked in; causing my steering issue.
Know that the torque specs and bolt sizes are completely different for a TJ.

If you just do a dry steering test like I show in the Diagnosis Part 2 video on YouTube, you will be able to quickly determine whether the trackbar is flexing.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:01 AM   #329
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Ok here's my point, the track bar doesn't cause anything, it is there as you said, to keep the axle centered. It seems to me that trackbar looseness is merely a symptom of a suspension with possibly many other issues. As with replacing the steering stabilizer, simply replacing the bolts in the trackbar only masks a greater problem somewhere else. My bet is that at some point if those problems are ignored it won't matter if the bolts on the trackbar are tight, the suspension will likely start to tear off mounting points.
Loose trackbar bolts are a symptom of lack of maintenance.

Bolts stretch. Bushings compress. Metal brackets wear and flex. If they didn't, they would be too brittle.

As a result, they need to be periodically retorqued.

When other parts on the front end wear out, they need to be addressed as well, but running correct torque on your trackbar bolts does not "mask" failed lower ball joints.

The only torn off metal brackets that I've ever seen are from loose trackbar bolts, stupid designed front trackbar drop brackets, or an impact from an accident or wheeling. Worn ball joints or drag link ends will not tear off a trackbar bracket.

Running loctite is not a good idea. Running fine thread grade 8 or F911 bolts with a stover locknut is the better idea. Loctite won't make any meaningful difference between 100-130 ft lbs on a fine thread bolt.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:59 PM   #330
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Planman, I haven't sent a thank you to you before but as many have attested to, your info and videos have taught me a lot. Thanks -

I found vertical movement in both my TREs and drag link ends yesterday after letting the wife cycle the steering. JKS TBs I have are rock tight so time to upgrade the stock TR and drag links. Going with Synergy serviceable and greaseable.

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