Diagnosing Death Wobble and Fixing Non-DW Shimmies and Wobbles - Page 7 - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:06 PM   #181
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I picked up my new rubicon on 1/9/12, do i have the good stabilizer? or did I get the last of the bad stabilizer?

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Old 01-24-2012, 11:59 PM   #182
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The steering stabilizer is neither the cause nor the solution. Period. I don't care what dealers say--indeed they say all sorts of crazy stuff. Read the first few posts of this thread for a complete checklist.

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Old 01-25-2012, 03:56 AM   #183
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That steering stabiliser being fitted is the same as the one fitted down here as a TSB in early 2010.

Personally I dont think its much different, just looks a lot bigger as it has a plastic sleeve over the normally open end.

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Old 01-25-2012, 05:43 AM   #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTH
The steering stabilizer is neither the cause nor the solution. Period. I don't care what dealers say--indeed they say all sorts of crazy stuff. Read the first few posts of this thread for a complete checklist.
Agree.

My steering stabilizer failed on my YJ.
I drove around without it for a day or two.
Hardly noticed a difference.
With a properly aligned vehicle and no other issues. IMO the SS does not do to much.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:19 PM   #185
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On the contrary, it does quite a bit, but what it does is what it says it does. It dampens the steering. If you hit a nice big rock off road with the outer edge of the wheel without it the wheel will jerk to the side pretty hard. This is what its designed to stop or reduce, and as correctly stated, its not designed to stop death wobbles. It will however mask it a little since it is supposed to stop sudden jerks to the side of the steering.

With the stock wheel offset being quite close to the steering knuckles there is not a lot of load on the damper, so it wont be or shouldnt be very obvious without one. stick 3in backspace wheels on and now you have some serious leverage when hitting a rock with one wheel and will prob need a heavy duty damper to stop the wheel pulling out of your hands.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:51 PM   #186
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SeaComms –I still remain skeptic over this whole issue of DW and the overall effect the damper does or does not play in all of this. Below is a copy of a post I put on the TJ forum in response to a fellow who changed out some key bolts in his system.:

"DaisyCutter, You offer some excellent points and like you, our 09 JK is my hold on my youth and not a true off-roader. Hell, we only have 12,400 on it and that is all road and highway on a totally stock front end. It is for this reason that when it broke loose last weekend I began to reconsider what I knew and thought about DW. In the past, it occurred on true off road vehicles that had seen some serious ware and tare on the suspensions, but this time it happened on one that is about as pampered as they come.

I am sorry, but front-end suspensions do not simply fall apart. If they did, the recall rate would put the automakers out of business. Even a multi-articulating setup like that on that on the TJ and JK, if maintained properly, is not just going to suddenly come loose. There has to be something that initiates the DW. As you point out, yours started on simple tire rotation, yet some will argue that that is not possible or that it must not be “true” DW. When faced with the reality of your vehicle feeling like it is about to explode, semantics are not important!

The truth for me is simple, when the steering wheel is about to break my wrist, the front end feels like it is going to sling everything on the side of the road and I can’t even focus on the instruments, then something is defiantly wrong. Did the damper cause it? I don’t know, but I do know this, Chrysler Jeep, for what ever you think of them, which must be good since we all bought their product, has way to much on the line to simply ignore the possibilities.

Who knows or can say who is right in this argument, but I do know that to simply rant and rave at each other here on line is not solving this problem in the long term. As for me personally, I would much rather work with the folks who built this thing and have so much on the line, along with the engineers to do the research, and try to find a solution. As a matter of fact, I have passed on your comments concerning over sizing the bolts. Could it be that simple?"


My point is this, on modified and lifted vehicles and ones used extensively off road, I can wrap my brain around something loose being a major player in DW. However, in stock units, and especially low mileage vehicles, what/how do we account for the front-end just suddenly going into DW? Again, not a vibration, wobble, shimmy or shake, but a violent incident of DW.

A final point – We got a call form the dealership and the technician who has been working on our JK took the guidance we printed off and provided from the first of this post and he went through it point by point. After checking all torques and alignments, he found nothing out of line or torque. Now I am totally confused!!!
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:10 PM   #187
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I bought my 07 back in April with 25K on it. I got the DW within 30 minutes of leaving the dealership. I was ready to return it, without a doubt... THey went through that jeep top to bottom. Checked for proper torque, alignment, tire balance, name it. THey ended up replacing my steering stabilizer twice. The second time around it was replaced with a Rancho. I swore up and down after reading everything on line that it would return and I would be back with the Jeep. I now have 37K on it and it's never returned. I'm not going to say it was the stabilizer that fixed it.....just that it has not returned.....
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:22 PM   #188
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:16 AM   #189
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In fear of throwing gasoline onto the bonfire, from my extensive reading on the topic, many, if not most, misreport their front end problems as "death wobble". It is an easily found term when googling Jeep front end problems, and the first diagnosis most apply to their situation. Not to detract from other front end problems such as shimmy, misalignment, or other steering system problems, which all have been reported in one form or another, on stock and modified Jeeps. I have read everything from "I went through a mud puddle and now have death wobble" to "sometimes I get death wobble when I am driving slow down dirt roads". As this thread begins, and where all should start, is that real death wobble happens at highway speeds and can only be stopped by coming to a complete stop. Simply slowing down will not stop it. Anything that is less than this simple definition simply is not death wobble. It is a problem, and it must be addressed, but it will not be properly addressed my lumping it into the generic "death wobble" diagnosis. Do your homework on what you do and don't have first and you will get your problem fixed much faster and much less expensively and with far less headache.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:05 AM   #190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peaceful Pirate
I disagree.

There's nothing magic about a Rancho stabilizer. I've also seen folks claim an alignment or a tire rotation fixed their DW, but it doesn't make them right. Either they didn't have DW to begin with, something else was tightened or changed along the way, or perhaps the stabilizer/alignment/etc fixed whatever issue was principally setting off the DW.

But as I understand it, it's just not possible that steering stabilizers, alignments, tire rotations, etc. will in and of themselves fix the combination of harmonics and loose fittings that is DW. They can't. Look at what those things are, think about what they do, and just think about what DW is.

By all means, switch out your stabilizer. If your DW goes away, I have to think that it's because you either didn't have DW to begin with or you're no longer having the issue that would trigger it. If it's the latter, then whatever was actually allowing you to experience DW (wallowed out TB bolts, etc) is still there.

Have you tried the checklist found in the first few posts of this thread?
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:27 AM   #191
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Dw

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In fear of throwing gasoline onto the bonfire, from my extensive reading on the topic, many, if not most, misreport their front end problems as "death wobble". It is an easily found term when googling Jeep front end problems, and the first diagnosis most apply to their situation. Not to detract from other front end problems such as shimmy, misalignment, or other steering system problems, which all have been reported in one form or another, on stock and modified Jeeps. I have read everything from "I went through a mud puddle and now have death wobble" to "sometimes I get death wobble when I am driving slow down dirt roads". As this thread begins, and where all should start, is that real death wobble happens at highway speeds and can only be stopped by coming to a complete stop. Simply slowing down will not stop it. Anything that is less than this simple definition simply is not death wobble. It is a problem, and it must be addressed, but it will not be properly addressed my lumping it into the generic "death wobble" diagnosis. Do your homework on what you do and don't have first and you will get your problem fixed much faster and much less expensively and with far less headache.

When your front end goes apeshit, and it feels like your sitting in one big vibrator, with the front wheels about to fall off, and there's nothing you can do about it.............is that DW?????

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Old 02-02-2012, 12:36 PM   #192
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When your front end goes apeshit, and it feels like your sitting in one big vibrator, with the front wheels about to fall off, and there's nothing you can do about it.............is that DW?????
Barrone, I am only trying to help you with your problem, not dismiss it or make it seem less serious.

If you have DW, there is only one way to stop it, and that is to come to a complete stop. Due to the reason DW occurs, anything less than a complete stop will not stop it or cause it to settle out. It is a result of a harmonic resonance occurring based on play in steering components. You stated it went away when you slowed down, which would indicate that is not the nature of your problem. There is no doubt you have a serious problem, but correct and accurate diagnosis will get you back to normal much faster. You can give someone with a infection an Advil, but that won't cure what's ailing them. If you give them some antibiotics, they'll get better a lot faster. If you haven't already, read these carefully, from start to finish:

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/dia...les-78034.html

and

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/the-importance-of-changing-out-stock-bolts-128154.html

These two threads are essentially the end-all-be-all bible of how to fix what ails your front end problems.

Planman and djstorm are the man, and they are pretty friendly. I'm sure if you PM either one, or both, they would be happy to help you on the road to recovery. Best of luck!
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:14 AM   #193
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where is the thread in which a guy found out a bolt is too small for the hole in one of those front brackets?

He installed a new bolt,, and wahhhhhhlaaaaaaaaaaaa fixxed?
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:17 AM   #194
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where is the thread in which a guy found out a bolt is too small for the hole in one of those front brackets?

He installed a new bolt,, and wahhhhhhlaaaaaaaaaaaa fixxed?
The Importance of changing out stock bolts!!
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:21 AM   #195
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Thanks Glue !!!!!!!!

Isnt that the main big player here?
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:24 PM   #196
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Thanks Glue !!!!!!!!

Isnt that the main big player here?
Yes. While checking proper torque (semi) regularly is important, the wrong sized threaded bolt will wallow out and deform the bushings, and that is what DW is all about. Rather than continuously taking out the torque wrench at each oil change, I got a paint pen, so when a bolt is torqued, I just paint a line across the nut, then when when I crawl under to change my oil, I just have to give a visual inspection that all of my paint marks are still aligned.

Easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy.
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Old 02-04-2012, 03:07 PM   #197
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Every now and then mine will wobble for a few seconds then stop, but never as bad as it was in the video, do you guys still think that's death wobble?
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:45 PM   #198
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Every now and then mine will wobble for a few seconds then stop, but never as bad as it was in the video, do you guys still think that's death wobble?
Something is loose or worn, or your alignment is bad.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:15 PM   #199
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I had a sincere shimmy in my jeep once, but it didn't happen again for a while so I didn't think about it. It happened again driving down the road the other day after hitting a rough patch. I don't think it's dw, and my jeep is completely stock for the moment. It looks like another trip to the dealer though, still under warranty
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:20 AM   #200
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NEW, UPDATED DIAGNOSIS CHECKLIST

Assuming your tire psi is 28-30, your tires/wheels have been balanced and rotated to make sure the wobble doesn't move with the rotation, here would be my order:

  1. Remove the steering stabilizer.
  2. Have someone turn the engine on and turn slowly from full lock to full lock while I visually, manually (with my hands on the components), and auditorily inspect for any play in the tie rod ends, drag link ends, sector shaft, trackbar ends/bolts/brackets, and trackbar bracket welds.
  3. Then, do the same thing but with short, sharp, quick back and forth turns of the steering wheel between the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions, instead of the slow, lock to lock approach.
  4. Then, I would remove the front trackbar to inspect the bolt holes for ovaling and inspect the trackbar bushings for separation or cracking with a long screw driver through the bolt sleeve and the trackbar in a vise to leverage against the bushing in all directions. If all is good, I would reinstall the trackbar with the tires on the ground at ride height to 125 lbs.
  5. Then, I would inspect the drag link end joints by using a large channel lock wrench that gave me enough leverage to check for up and down play in the drag link ends. There should not be any meaningful up and down play. If there is, the ends should be replaced, or a new drag link with heavy duty joints should be installed. After, I would check the torque of the drag link ends. Taller lifts magnify the problems of bad drag link ends.
  6. Then, I would inspect the tie rod ends with the channel lock wrench for up and down movement. There should be no meaningful up and down play. There should only be rotational movement in the joint end.
  7. Then, I would put the front axle on jack stands with the tires about 2" off the ground and check the front ball joints by using a long pry bar as a lever under the front tires to lift them up to inspect for up and down play in the lower ball joints. There shouldn't be more than maybe 1-2 mm.
  8. Then, I would use the prybar/lever against the frame and the top of the tire to inspect for lateral movement of the top ball joints. There shouldn't be any. If you have a lighter tire/wheel combo, you can do this by hand.
  9. Then, I would remove the front tires/wheels and remove the front tie rod--one knuckle at a time. Then with a large wrench or vice grips, I would inspect the end for side to side play. Then I would reinstall the end and torque to spec and repeat on the other side.
  10. Then, I would remove the brake calipers and brake disks to inspect the unitbearings for play.
  11. Then, I would reinstall the discs, brake calipers, and tires/wheels and set the axle back on the ground.
  12. Then, I would support but not lift the front axle with a floor jack and loosen the front control arm bolts (upper and lower on the axle side). One at a time, I would drop the control arms to inspect the bolt holes and bushings (similar to with the trackbar), reinstall without torquing, and do the next one.
  13. Next, I would inspect the sector shaft that comes out of the steering box for cracking or twisting.
  14. Then, I would take a test drive without the steering stablizer to feel for any wobbles.
  15. Finally, I would reinstall the steering stablizer or spring $40 for a heavy duty steering stablizer.

If this front end inspection does not diagnose and/or solve it, then I would move to an alignment.
  1. I would use adjustable lower front control arms to set my caster spec between 4 and 5 degrees--with a cross caster that has less on the driver side than the passenger side. I would personally not do more or less, with a target around 4.5-4.7 degrees caster.
  2. If my camber is out of spec, but it is not due to failed ball joints, I would install offset ball joints to get my camber in spec.
  3. I would set my toe-in to spec on the machine--which is about a 1/16"-1/8" toe-in depending on tire size.
  4. If my front to rear alignment is off, I would install rear lower adjustable control arms to fix this.

Also, I recommend you switch out your stock 14 mm trackbar bolts for 9/16" grade 8 bolts.

See the following video for more information:




With all this, I highly doubt you do not find the source.

The last ditch thing if there is a non-DW, speed dependent range wobble, I would borrow a different set of wheels and tires to see if it changes, and I would try driving it with no front driveshaft to see if that changes anything.

Although it is always a good idea to inspect your axle shaft u-joints, they will not cause DW.

The most common sources of full on DW are:
  • Improperly torqued trackbar bolts
  • Damaged trackbar and control arm bushings because bolts were torqued on a car lift or while the vehicle was not at ride height with the tires on the ground. When you torque trackbar and control arm bolts, the bracket pinches the bolt sleeve in the bushing, as well as the bushing itself. If this is at a geometry other than actual ride height, the bushings are twisted/bound/pre-loaded, and they will eventually fail/separate/etc. If you have a flex joint end, this does not apply for that end.
  • Ovaled out trackbar bracket holes due to DW episodes from loose bolts.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:47 AM   #201
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Thank you for posting. I am buying my first jeep once the widest car is paid off and I'm looking for all the info I can. Thanks.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:10 PM   #202
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I am so glad to find this post!!! I have a 2011 4 door jeep wrangler. I was stopped at a stop light and was rear-ended by a pickup. I had no cosmetic damage done to my jeep. About a week after the accident, I was driving down the road and the entire jeep went to violently shaking from side to side!! The jeep actually make me go over into the ditch!! I thought I had blown a tire. I got out and inspected it and was astounded to find that there wasn't anything wrong with it. (so I thought). I tried and tried to get it to do it again for my husband... of course nothing. As I am driving down the highway to take it to the dealership (with my husband and kids following behind me), I hit a series of bumps in the road and it went to shaking so bad it sent me sideways in the middle of the road!!! My husband had to drive off into the ditch to avoid t-boning me.....
I took it to the dealership in Midland, Texas... if any one lives around here you will know the only jeep dealer that I am referring to. After they had it for over a month, instead of doing some test on it, they just had it aligned. Told me that it was all fixed. This morning I got in it to drive to work and sure enough, it had an epidsode. I went directly to the place they had it aligned. The owner of the alignment shop (not affiliated with the dealership) told me that he was never even informed that the jeep was in an accident!! He told the dealership that the jeep was not misaligned. Which means the dealership never even inspected!!!! Now I am reading everyone's post on the "death wobble" and I know exactly what is wrong with my jeep!!!!
So has anyone else ever experienced this wobble after being rear ended? Could the impact have caused the issued that has been listed?
Any help will be greatly appreciated.... I will not be taking my jeep back to this dealership in Midland. It makes me sick to think these people, after being told exactly what was going on and how I was affraid for my family's safety, could just hand me back a jeep with it being so unsafe!!! As you can tell, I am furious right now!!! Anyway, any suggestions would make my day!!!
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:14 PM   #203
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The shaking only seems to start when I hit a rough patch on the road. I havent experienced it on a smooth surface.... yet.

My jeep it all still stock. No modifications have been done on it. I know I know ... boring!!! haha
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:58 PM   #204
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When i drive at about 32 to 40 mph my steering wheel wobbles some back and forth but at every other speed its fine. Sometimes its worse than normal too. Whats the best thing to do? And yes i did read everything but im still new to the whole jeep thing, would it be best to take it to the place i bought it? because they installed the lift/tires/wheels. Thank you to anyone in advance...
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:06 PM   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tgass
When i drive at about 32 to 40 mph my steering wheel wobbles some back and forth but at every other speed its fine. Sometimes its worse than normal too. Whats the best thing to do? And yes i did read everything but im still new to the whole jeep thing, would it be best to take it to the place i bought it? because they installed the lift/tires/wheels. Thank you to anyone in advance...
That happened to me at 45 mph it was because my wheels were really off balance. One was 5 oz off I think

Anyway, could be a good place to start for you
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:27 PM   #206
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Is death wobble really just inherent in having a solid front axel? I remember my friend having it in his Jeep in the 70's, but my God it is 2012 - how can this still be a problem? My Jeep just experienced it recently (stock other than 2" mopar lift) and I am going to install the new bolts. But it has me a bit depressed about the quality of my JK...
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:38 PM   #207
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When i drive at about 32 to 40 mph my steering wheel wobbles some back and forth but at every other speed its fine. Sometimes its worse than normal too. Whats the best thing to do? And yes i did read everything but im still new to the whole jeep thing, would it be best to take it to the place i bought it? because they installed the lift/tires/wheels. Thank you to anyone in advance...
That is usually either a bad alignment or failure to remove the lug retainer clips when running aftermarket wheels or wheel spacers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blw2000 View Post
Is death wobble really just inherent in having a solid front axel? I remember my friend having it in his Jeep in the 70's, but my God it is 2012 - how can this still be a problem? My Jeep just experienced it recently (stock other than 2" mopar lift) and I am going to install the new bolts. But it has me a bit depressed about the quality of my JK...
Your DW is due either to improper installation or poor maintenance.

Post #1 of this thread explains DW.

In your case, it is likely either loose trackbar bolts or that whoever installed the lift did not loosen all the control arm and trackbar bolts for the install, then wait until the tires/wheels were reinstalled and the jeep was back on the ground at the new ride height before retorquing the bolts to spec--125 ft lbs for the trackbars and lower control arms and rear upper arms, and 75 ft lbs for the front upper arms.
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His: 07 JK Rub 2 dri, 6 spd, 5.38s in Currie RJ 60s, 4.5" Trailmaster long arm with 99" wheelbase, 40" Xterrains on ATX Slabs, River Raider cage, RIPPd
Hers: 08 JK Rubi 4 dr, auto, 5.38s, Teraflex LA w/ORE/King coilovers, 37" STTs on WE beadlocks, RIPPd
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:43 AM   #208
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So 2012 models...have they figured it out yet, or are the still undersizing the bolts? Mine gets delivered tomorrow...
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:20 AM   #209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F1LOCO
So 2012 models...have they figured it out yet, or are the still undersizing the bolts? Mine gets delivered tomorrow...
The bolts are still undersized.

Most everyone who keeps the stock bolts regularly torqued to 125 ft lbs will never have a problem. However, I'd still suggest people consider switching out the bolts to 9/16" for the better fit and to avoid using fully threaded bolts with suspension components.

There have been inconsistent reports of the front axle side trackbar bracket bolt hole on the back side being slightly smaller than 9/16". So, if this happens to you, a 9/16" drill bit run through it can clean that up for you.
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His: 07 JK Rub 2 dri, 6 spd, 5.38s in Currie RJ 60s, 4.5" Trailmaster long arm with 99" wheelbase, 40" Xterrains on ATX Slabs, River Raider cage, RIPPd
Hers: 08 JK Rubi 4 dr, auto, 5.38s, Teraflex LA w/ORE/King coilovers, 37" STTs on WE beadlocks, RIPPd
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:47 AM   #210
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So if torquing to 125lbs is the key, would it be advisable to add a little red loc-t to the threads to help keep it at 125?

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