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Old 10-21-2008, 01:33 AM   #1
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Death Wobble?

Ok.. I have two issues going on with my TJ. I donít know if they are related or not. Iím thinking they may be.

First I have a clanking, first started when I pressed the pedal on the right a bit hard from a standstill when I was backing up, it would do it again when I went forward. Then is started doing it when I would back up normally and go forward again. Then is was to the point it was doing it when I started and stopped during normal driving.

The second issue a wobble when I brake. The thing thatís driving me crazy is that it is intermittent. and the severity of it depends on the speed I'm going when I start braking, the faster I'm going when I start braking the worse it is, when it happens. Some times there is nothing at all and it brakes smooth as silk I've been reading the treads for about 3 hours now looking for someone with the same problem I have, haven't found it yet. Everything I've been reading on DW is it happens and XX to XX speed. Note if I downshift and use the motor to assist stopping it doesn't happen.

I've had the tires balanced, rotated and replaced. No difference. Some one suggested it was my rotors, but if it was them, wouldnít happen every time I stopped.

I'm going to check the u-joints after reading some posts. As the seems to be a common issue and they are easy to check.

I bought my about two and a half years ago. I have a 04 Rubicon. No lift everything is stock. This problem started about 6 months ago.
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:42 AM   #2
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Check the u-joints and your shock bolts. The uppers on mine were loose and doing the same thing as you describe.

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Old 10-21-2008, 11:02 AM   #3
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That "wobble" you're experiencing while braking is not Death Wobble. Death Wobble is something else entirely, where the Jeep nearly goes out of control from an oscillation in the front-end that builds up suddenly and dramatically to make the Jeep shake like a dog shaking water off itself. True Death Wobble is an experience you'll never forget. Your problem is more properly known as "judder" which is simply either warped brake rotors or raised deposits on the brake rotors left there by the brake pads. Having the rotors turned will smooth it out. Going with a better quality all-cast rotor would reduce the frequency that this problem occurs at. Don't go with gimmick rotors that are slotted, cross-drilled, dimpled, etc. which won't help braking in the least.

The first issue you asked about could just be a bad u-joint on the rear driveshaft, or a problem inside the differential.
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:22 PM   #4
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X2 on what Jerry said. I've had the trembling when braking in other rigs and it was warped rotors each time. The rotors on the jeep generally are an easy swap and be done in your driveway.
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:12 PM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll take my disks to the shop and get them turned. I just kept thinking if it was the disks, why isn't it happening all the time. But I'll heed to the one with more experience in this then me

Also just to explain better, the shaking is way more then a "judder" for the lack of a better term. It's so bad that other cars steered away from me because they could see the front of the jeep shaking. Its in the steering wheel but it shakes the whole jeep.
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:49 PM   #6
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That you say it only happens when braking is why several of us suggested it is brake judder. Maybe the judder is also triggering DW, I don't know. At the least, have the rotors turned and try not to hold the brakes on at stops when the brakes are hot, that can lead to judder from brake pad deposits. Also, get your tires perfectly ("good enough" is not usually good enough on a TJ) balanced. The bigger the tire, the more likely an imperfectly balanced tire can lead to DW. Also, make sure your front trackbar mounting bolt on the passenger side is TIGHT... 45 ft-lbs. for 2003 and newer TJs, 55 ft-lbs. for 2002 and older TJs. A loose trackbar can also allow DW to develop once triggered by something else.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:16 PM   #7
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I typed my last post before I left for work today. Well driving to work I paid closer attention to any shaking. I do feel the "judder" its not bad, but as you said Jerry it "could" be the trigger to the shaking! I'll try and get them turned this weekend, re-torque the trackbar mount bolts and change the universals too.

I'll keep you all updated
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:06 PM   #8
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I can relate to the clankin thing. i just had a similar problem. i thought my transmisson was shot but it turned out to be the u joint on the reat drive shaft. the repair cost me $20 in parts and 1 hour in my labor. btw if you are replacing the one u joint you might as well do the other while the drive shaft is out.
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgano23 View Post
I can relate to the clankin thing. i just had a similar problem. i thought my transmisson was shot but it turned out to be the u joint on the reat drive shaft. the repair cost me $20 in parts and 1 hour in my labor. btw if you are replacing the one u joint you might as well do the other while the drive shaft is out.
planned on it. that would like changing your brakes and only replacing one brake pad..lol.

Any recommendations on makers of u-joint to go with? The OEM one only lasted 30000 miles, not very good.
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:03 PM   #10
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A very good and strong u-joint to go with for the driveshaft would be Spicer's triple sealed 5-785x. I replaced all of my original greasable u-joints (came on a Tom Wood driveshaft) with the 5-785x which is a very durable long-lasting 1310 size u-joint.
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:10 AM   #11
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i just went with whatever NAPA had because i needed to replace them before i left work to go home (no rear drive shaft is a problem ). but i would definitely recommend the spicer's like jerry said. they will take more abuse offroad.
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:47 PM   #12
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Update.

It took longer to get to then I wanted but I just finished working on the wobble. I had the front disks turned and I put new pads on. It stops smooth as silk.

As for the clunking, it turns out it was the rear upper control arms. They were loose. Happen to meet one of the guys from the local jeep club there and he helped track down the problem. But he also said from the looks of them that just tightening them is a temp fix.
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:26 PM   #13
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yes that's about right, for some reason control arm bolts seem to loosen up often.

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