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Old 06-26-2011, 07:42 AM   #331
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Death Wobble

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Originally Posted by TJ-Mike View Post
One more thing Jerry, should I go ahead and get an alignment and wheels balanced first?
Hi Mike,
Please don't take offense here, I have seen experienced shops throw in the towel trying to repair a DW problem. This is not something for a newbie to tackle.
Replacing ball joints requires specialized tools. Sometimes you can rent them, but you still need to KNOW what you're doing. I've seen all kinds of goof ups by guys who didn't know. Especially if you replace them with the adjustable kind.
As for checking them, one way is to jack up one corner, then take a large pry bar and attempt to "lift" the tire up and down while watching the upper and lower ball joints. If they are bad, you will see vertical movement. There shouldn't be much if any movement. Even 1/32" is too much. Don't lube the ball joint prior to checking it, that will temporarily tighten it up and give you false info.
I would recommend you take it to a "Jeep experienced" alignment shop with a very experienced technician. Ask to observe him checking out your steering and suspension so you can learn.
I would print out the article on Death Wobble just in case he hasn't had all the experiences someone like I have. That way he will KNOW what to look for. We all can learn... I sure do.
If everything checks out, do the alignment. Make sure they know about setting the caster between 3.5 and 4.5 degrees. The specs will tell them 7 + or - 1 degree. On a lifted Jeep, the stock specs do not apply.
DW is a very serious problem and a very difficult one to solve. Even with my experience, there have been Jeeps that have worn me out trying to get it right. We had one that 4 shops in Las Vegas and two more in Grand Junction had worked on with no success that we finally dialed in, but it took us a lot of dinking around to make it work. I took it on several test drives and experienced probably 20 DW cycles. Between the alignment shop... with over 30 years experience and us, we finally found all the problems including a slightly bent frame. Like I said, this isn't a problem for the average guy. It can drive you nuts.
Let us know how it goes.
Happy Trails.

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Old 06-26-2011, 09:55 AM   #332
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No offense taken Jerry! I appreciate your feedback. I spoke with an alignment shop yesterday and asked a few questions and he seemed to be knowledgable. I was just hoping not to spend a ton of money. It sounds like it will cost a on to get this resolved. I will report back with the findins and solution so others can learn. Thanks again.

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Old 06-26-2011, 01:47 PM   #333
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About a year ago my 05 TJ had the DW bad. After new tires, alignment, track bar, and making sure everything was tight, DW still there. Then, a friend of mine told me he would check one last thing...my front u joints. Replaced and no mire DW. Now, last Sunday I rotated my tires and did oil change , and DW is back ! I am not certain why this is, because I have rotated them before, and everything else seems to be good . Tomorrow I will be taking it in to check alignment and rebalance tires and start from scratch. I have no lift ( yet) and have 30 9.5's on Jeep. Guess I am gonna have to start from scratch and check out everything all over again. :-(
I only drive 2 miles to work and back, have not been offeoad or hit anything, really baffled cuz I don't think just rotating the tires would cause it to reappear. Ugh!
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:21 PM   #334
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After having the stock Wrangler tires that came with the Jeep, DW started, and after new BFG AT's, a Rancho SS, and an alignment, it disappeared. I had the tires rotated two months ago and it came back. I'm having a new SS, track bar and a Crown HD steering kit installed this week. DW has happened lately, but I've been staying away from sides of the lanes that have the most bumps. I rotated the tires every 5k, but maybe I should have had them rotated every 3k instead. I wondering if uneven tire wear can trigger DW.


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Originally Posted by trbogrl08 View Post
About a year ago my 05 TJ had the DW bad. After new tires, alignment, track bar, and making sure everything was tight, DW still there. Then, a friend of mine told me he would check one last thing...my front u joints. Replaced and no mire DW. Now, last Sunday I rotated my tires and did oil change , and DW is back ! I am not certain why this is, because I have rotated them before, and everything else seems to be good . Tomorrow I will be taking it in to check alignment and rebalance tires and start from scratch. I have no lift ( yet) and have 30 9.5's on Jeep. Guess I am gonna have to start from scratch and check out everything all over again. :-(
I only drive 2 miles to work and back, have not been offeoad or hit anything, really baffled cuz I don't think just rotating the tires would cause it to reappear. Ugh!
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:58 PM   #335
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DW experienced today and I must say I don't care for it!

so, I picked up my TJ with a fresh new 4" lift installed and off I went home (planned on getting aligned Monday). So knowing I need an alignment badly, I still drove the 40 miles home, on the freeway = first mistake. Sure enough, 50-55 mph, one hand on the wheel, the other on the stereo and the holy **** dreaded DW happened and it is was violent but no crash, pulled over, checked everything out, seemed good, back on the road, both hand firm on the wheel, slower speed, watching EVERY bump, crease and mark on the road.

When i got home, I spent time checking out my new lift. All looked great until I happened to look in the bed of the Jeep and found 2 bolts. Hmmm, I thought, that is odd. So I want through the lift and smack dab right in my face.... no passenger side lower shock bolts were installed.

OK, that explains alot. Lessons learned.....
  1. if you want something done right, do it yourself.
  2. check everything done by someone else, **** happens and this was an honest mistake, but it could have really bad and a simple double check is all it would have taken to find this "whoops".
  3. get alignment on lift immed. after getting it done and 60mph is the freeway without a solid amount of shakedown time is just stupid.
So the jeep is lifted, tires and alignment are getting done in the AM, shock is now bolted down correctly and I spent a good part of the day going over every nut and bolt with a fine toothed comb.

Learned some lessons this weekend and I, and the Jeep, are no worse for the wear.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:12 AM   #336
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Unhappy

I am wondering the same. I did rotate at 3000 miles, but I also noticed a bit of uneven wear. I am taking it in today so hopefully I will get some answers.
Fortunately I only drive 2 miles to work, but unfortunately, its a very curvy 2 miles and I go the same way there and home several times a day, maybe that is causing the tires to wear unevenly also.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Stanton View Post
After having the stock Wrangler tires that came with the Jeep, DW started, and after new BFG AT's, a Rancho SS, and an alignment, it disappeared. I had the tires rotated two months ago and it came back. I'm having a new SS, track bar and a Crown HD steering kit installed this week. DW has happened lately, but I've been staying away from sides of the lanes that have the most bumps. I rotated the tires every 5k, but maybe I should have had them rotated every 3k instead. I wondering if uneven tire wear can trigger DW.
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:20 AM   #337
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Death Wobble

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Originally Posted by trbogrl08 View Post
About a year ago my 05 TJ had the DW bad. After new tires, alignment, track bar, and making sure everything was tight, DW still there. Then, a friend of mine told me he would check one last thing...my front u joints. Replaced and no mire DW. Now, last Sunday I rotated my tires and did oil change , and DW is back ! I am not certain why this is, because I have rotated them before, and everything else seems to be good . Tomorrow I will be taking it in to check alignment and rebalance tires and start from scratch. I have no lift ( yet) and have 30 9.5's on Jeep. Guess I am gonna have to start from scratch and check out everything all over again. :-(
I only drive 2 miles to work and back, have not been offeoad or hit anything, really baffled cuz I don't think just rotating the tires would cause it to reappear. Ugh!
Your tires are NOT the cause of your DW. They are just the pressure on the trigger that sets it off.
Go back to post #308 here and read the article "Death Wobble". It explains the usual causes and cures for DW on a Jeep Wrangler.
You'll want to repair this before doing a lift of any kind or you'll just make it worse with the lift.
When you look for a shop to check this out, quiz them about their experience with DW on a Jeep. This is not a job for just anyone. Most are just experimenting on your dollar. Find a very good alignment shop with an experienced technician is probably your best bet.
They should know how to check the components properly.
You might print out the DW article for them to review because there are some things in it that the average tech may not know about.
Let us know how you come out. It's always interesting to hear.
Happy Trails
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:28 PM   #338
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Out of curiosity, would bad bushings on a trackbar cause it to make an odd clunking noise, mainly when turning right or returning straight from a right turn?
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:13 AM   #339
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clunking

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Originally Posted by ellman605 View Post
Out of curiosity, would bad bushings on a trackbar cause it to make an odd clunking noise, mainly when turning right or returning straight from a right turn?

Yes, that would be entirely possible. It could be a number of things though.
If it's bad enough to make noises, it should be easy to find using the right methods of checking things.
You might want to pay attention to the control arms. The upper CA can make noises like you describe too.
Check the bolt holes on the track bar for elongation too.
Happy Trails.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:27 PM   #340
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onejsmith

Yes, that would be entirely possible. It could be a number of things though.
If it's bad enough to make noises, it should be easy to find using the right methods of checking things.
You might want to pay attention to the control arms. The upper CA can make noises like you describe too.
Check the bolt holes on the track bar for elongation too.
Happy Trails.
Im near certain ill have to drill new holes when my new trackbar comes in. At least I know whatever the clunk is its certainly from the front right.

Thanks!
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Old 07-03-2011, 06:39 AM   #341
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Some threads I shouldn't read - especially after reading that a DW may be masked with the repairs I had done.

I just had my '97 Jeep Wrangler repaired. Stock Wrangler with no lift. Got the DW at 65mph, which busted my cherry and provided me with enough adrenaline to grip the steering wheel with enough pressure to leave my fingerprints permanently embedded

I hadn't owned it long and it sat most of the winter while other work was being done (new brake lines, brake cylinders, and muffler, etc.).

During that time I lurked on the forum and read about "other people's" death wobble problem, out of curiosity.

I took it to Kost (a NE service chain) where I know the manager and had it checked. Luckily, two of the service techs own Jeeps and I had a total of 3 guys looking it over.

While I suspected the trackbar, they also found the steering stabilizer was blown, as was one shock. They also rebalanced and rotated the tires.

So, new trackbar, new stabilizer, 4 new shocks, and tire work cost me $700.

My Death Wobble is gone... but now I'm wondering if the new is masking the real culprit that was causing it.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:39 AM   #342
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UPDATE:

Well after three or so weeks of trying to figure my DW out, I replaced the front track bar busing and tightened all the bolts. The DW turned into a bad wobble at certain speeds, 45mph. Took it in for a wheel balance and alignment and the guy said that the tires were bad and couldn't keep a balance. I took it to another place for a second opinion and was told that the tires were indeed bad. They were BFG AT's that looked like that had plenty of tread, but were over 5 years old. The guy said that the rubber starts to break down after time....?? Anyway, bought 4 new GY Duratracs and the wobble is gone!

So the track bar was the cause of the DW but the tires were a catalyst for it to start. Thank you to everyone with all of your advice!
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Old 07-03-2011, 01:43 PM   #343
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Well it finally happened. What started as a little shimmy is now DW. I have read a lot since it started a few weeks ago, I have a small amount of knowledge thanks to this forum. I guess it is time to find a shop and pray that this does not get out of control.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:17 PM   #344
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i had DW so bad i was scared to spend 700 on tires and then find out that wasnt the issue but today it got so bad i had to drive home from work at 25miles per hour i said ok i had enough of this and i bought new tires 32x11.5x15 bfg and the wobble is gone jeep drives awsome back to normal


Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ-Mike View Post
UPDATE:

Well after three or so weeks of trying to figure my DW out, I replaced the front track bar busing and tightened all the bolts. The DW turned into a bad wobble at certain speeds, 45mph. Took it in for a wheel balance and alignment and the guy said that the tires were bad and couldn't keep a balance. I took it to another place for a second opinion and was told that the tires were indeed bad. They were BFG AT's that looked like that had plenty of tread, but were over 5 years old. The guy said that the rubber starts to break down after time....?? Anyway, bought 4 new GY Duratracs and the wobble is gone!

So the track bar was the cause of the DW but the tires were a catalyst for it to start. Thank you to everyone with all of your advice!
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:23 AM   #345
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I just encountered my first DW. what a thrill ride. circumstances were downhill, applied a little brake without clutch, 45-50mph, and wham. it hit. gonna try the same thing tomorrow and see if it does it again.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:40 PM   #346
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Originally Posted by Red00Tj View Post
i had DW so bad i was scared to spend 700 on tires and then find out that wasnt the issue but today it got so bad i had to drive home from work at 25miles per hour i said ok i had enough of this and i bought new tires 32x11.5x15 bfg and the wobble is gone jeep drives awsome back to normal
If buying tires cured your symptoms then you didn't have death wobble.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:53 PM   #347
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I had it prior to replacing the track bar bushing. Couldn't drive above 30 before the jeep would shake apart and would have to come to a complete stop. After that, I just had a bad wobble cause by bad tires. Bad tires over time can cause breakdown in the suspension which turned into DW. Am I wrong?
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:06 PM   #348
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasWrangler View Post
I got some SERIOUS death wobble today on the expressway. I was doing about 70, hit a bump and the tires where squealing and the shaking was bad. Cars behind me were slowing down and changing lanes because they probably thought I was about to crash I took the next exit, slowed to 40mph for it to stop, then got back on.

So as soon as I got to work, I ordered an aftermarket stabilizer and adjustable track bar. I hope it fixes it.

I hardly ever get DW on regular roads (40mph - 50mph), but on the highway it can be bad if I hit bumps at 60+
I never heard of an adjustable track bar. I just had my tracking bar replaced but don't think it's adjustable. What's the diff?
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Old 07-10-2011, 02:07 AM   #349
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Death Wobble

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ-Mike View Post
UPDATE:

Well after three or so weeks of trying to figure my DW out, I replaced the front track bar busing and tightened all the bolts. The DW turned into a bad wobble at certain speeds, 45mph. Took it in for a wheel balance and alignment and the guy said that the tires were bad and couldn't keep a balance. I took it to another place for a second opinion and was told that the tires were indeed bad. They were BFG AT's that looked like that had plenty of tread, but were over 5 years old. The guy said that the rubber starts to break down after time....?? Anyway, bought 4 new GY Duratracs and the wobble is gone!

So the track bar was the cause of the DW but the tires were a catalyst for it to start. Thank you to everyone with all of your advice!
Tire companies will tell you that because the Feds (in their INFINITE wisdom???) tell them they must. It's the Feds way of explaining why older tires may blow out... aren't they genius?

Chances are, you may have "fixed" your problem. The reason I say "May" is that you don't say much about what else you checked out. IF the track bar bushing was truly bad, you would have definitely repaired one of the causes of DW. Without more info, it's impossible to say if you got the whole cause with what info you provided.
We hope you did get it all.
Happy Trails.
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Old 07-10-2011, 02:16 AM   #350
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Death Wobble

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Originally Posted by konaman View Post
Well it finally happened. What started as a little shimmy is now DW. I have read a lot since it started a few weeks ago, I have a small amount of knowledge thanks to this forum. I guess it is time to find a shop and pray that this does not get out of control.
When they "finish" repairing whatever they find is causing your DW, have it aligned. Tell the alignment shop that with the 6" lift, when they set the caster to set it about +3 degrees (+ or - 1 degree). They will probably tell you the specs are +7. That is for a stock ride height Jeep... not one that's lifted.
Good luck.
Happy Trails
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Old 07-10-2011, 02:27 AM   #351
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Adjustable Track Bar

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I never heard of an adjustable track bar. I just had my tracking bar replaced but don't think it's adjustable. What's the diff?
An adjustable track bar is usually only installed on a lifted Jeep. A stock height Jeep really has no need for one. They engineered it to be that height.

Most lifts come with a bracket to bring the track bar back to the original angle (nearly level at ride height). If it is properly engineered, the bracket is enough. If not, an adjustable track bar is required to center the axle under the Jeep from side to side.

Happy Trails
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:57 AM   #352
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onejsmith View Post
Tire companies will tell you that because the Feds (in their INFINITE wisdom???) tell them they must. It's the Feds way of explaining why older tires may blow out... aren't they genius?

Chances are, you may have "fixed" your problem. The reason I say "May" is that you don't say much about what else you checked out. IF the track bar bushing was truly bad, you would have definitely repaired one of the causes of DW. Without more info, it's impossible to say if you got the whole cause with what info you provided.
We hope you did get it all.
Happy Trails.
Thanks Jerry. You are correct. I should say I "believe" the DW to be fixed. We checked the u-joints, upper and lower ball joints, and wheel bearings. We DID NOT check the control arm bushings by removing the arms. I only looked at the connection, which doesn't tell you much.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:07 AM   #353
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onejsmith View Post
Tire companies will tell you that because the Feds (in their INFINITE wisdom???) tell them they must. It's the Feds way of explaining why older tires may blow out... aren't they genius?

Chances are, you may have "fixed" your problem. The reason I say "May" is that you don't say much about what else you checked out. IF the track bar bushing was truly bad, you would have definitely repaired one of the causes of DW. Without more info, it's impossible to say if you got the whole cause with what info you provided.
We hope you did get it all.
Happy Trails.
Thanks for that - I think mine will continue till I get new tires like that guy. It's been a few days since my tracking bar has been replace and last night and this morning I had the Wobble again. Can't find anything else and since mine is a 2006 with original tires that's all I can think of still causing it.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:08 AM   #354
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Death Wobble

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Thanks for that - I think mine will continue till I get new tires like that guy. It's been a few days since my tracking bar has been replace and last night and this morning I had the Wobble again. Can't find anything else and since mine is a 2006 with original tires that's all I can think of still causing it.
Sorry to have been right again about the "may" have fixed. Go back to post 308 and read my article about DW. It gives pretty detailed explanations of the real causes of DW and how to find them. There are some causes that few know about and can be hard to find if you don't know what to look for.
You might even want to print the article and give it to whoever you take your Jeep to. They may learn a few things and save you some money by not experimenting on your rig.

I usually recommend taking it to a very experienced alignment shop as they will know how to check things like ball joints and others properly where a lot of techs really do not. Too many are just parts changers and will keep changing things till they accidentally find your problem.

DW is a serious problem that can be very hard to diagnose. More often, it is not just one thing and only experience with it will give a tech the knowledge required to know when "some wear" in a particular joint is too much. Added together, wear in all the joints can just be too much and will cause your problem.

You as the owner have to understand what it takes to repair this problem.
Usually, you will think the shop is a rip-off artist because they will "repair it" and give it back to you only to have the problem come back again soon.

Unfortunately, sometimes you will be at least partially right... they don't know what they are doing. Unless your rig is consistent about going into DW, it can be hard to know if it truly is repaired. I found a deserted stretch of road that has several features that trigger a DW and can pretty much tell if it is repaired... or just better, but even knowing what I do, I can't say positively that it won't happen again.

Your tires can definitely contribute to your problem, but they are not the actual cause. They will pull the trigger and they can make it worse while it is happening, but changing them will only be taking one problem away from what could be a hand full of problems.

One last thought... I went back to your first post and saw that you bought a new stabilizer. I would recommend that you do not install it until the other repairs are complete and you don't have DW anymore. A stabilizer can hide your real problem and for that reason they wear out faster and the problem will be back sooner than later. If you don't have DW without the new stabilizer, you won't have it with it. I don't run a stabilizer and am not a big believer in them.
They tend to hide problems till they are really bad and don't provide much positive in improving anything. Just my opinion and I'm sure will generate some controversy but then I can take a little.

Good luck on getting it repaired. Remember to be patient.

Happy Trails
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:01 AM   #355
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One last thought... I went back to your first post and saw that you bought a new stabilizer. I would recommend that you do not install it until the other repairs are complete and you don't have DW anymore. A stabilizer can hide your real problem and for that reason they wear out faster and the problem will be back sooner than later. If you don't have DW without the new stabilizer, you won't have it with it. I don't run a stabilizer and am not a big believer in them.
They tend to hide problems till they are really bad and don't provide much positive in improving anything. Just my opinion and I'm sure will generate some controversy but then I can take a little.

Good luck on getting it repaired. Remember to be patient.

Happy Trails
I 100% agree that you shouldn't install the stabilizer until the DW is fixed. I vehemently disagree that you shouldn't run one and here's why.

After you get through spending all the time, money, and effort that it takes to fix a bad case of DW, what better way to protect that investment than with a very cheap device that will soften a lot of the forces the steering has to deal with and damp them.

Anything that makes all that stuff live longer is a very good thing and anyone that doesn't see that is simply not paying attention.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:03 AM   #356
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this thread has been a big eye opener for me. when i got my 03, the front end shook real bad between 50-55 mph. i didnt know it was a common condition. i had the tires balanced and it got rid of most of it, but it still DW's a bit here and there.ill check the track bar, ball joints and what not. big thanks to you folks for the tech support.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:14 AM   #357
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I've been able to reproduce my DW. it's always going downhill when I apply the brakes and hit a bump. my mechanic said it is most likely the steering shock. that it most likely had a leak and the fluid now has air in it. any thoughts?
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:54 AM   #358
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Death Wobble

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Originally Posted by Black Magic Brakes View Post
I 100% agree that you shouldn't install the stabilizer until the DW is fixed. I vehemently disagree that you shouldn't run one and here's why.

After you get through spending all the time, money, and effort that it takes to fix a bad case of DW, what better way to protect that investment than with a very cheap device that will soften a lot of the forces the steering has to deal with and damp them.

Anything that makes all that stuff live longer is a very good thing and anyone that doesn't see that is simply not paying attention.
Once again I do agree with what you say. They do soften shock forces that happen once in a while.

But on the other hand, every time you turn your wheel, you must overcome that resistance as well. It's one of those chicken and egg arguments that nobody wins.

Had I been running one, I may not have broken my pitman arm when I hit a large rock hard while not paying attention well enough. (I sometimes get mesmerized by the surrounding view). So this is one of those instances where there is maybe truth on both sides of the question, and I definitely respect your argument.

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Old 07-13-2011, 09:19 AM   #359
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Once again I do agree with what you say. They do soften shock forces that happen once in a while.

But on the other hand, every time you turn your wheel, you must overcome that resistance as well. It's one of those chicken and egg arguments that nobody wins.
Believe it or not, and I am confused by this, but there are S/S's that are pressurized like a gas shock. (confuses my poor brain trying to figure out who thinks that is a good idea) So, that means that you should be able to have really easy steering one direction and really difficult steering the other way. (this is if there were some merit to the resistance thing) Having driven the rig trying to diagnose his DW, you can not tell the difference and given that the stabilizer is pressurized in the direction to move you into head on traffic if you are not paying attention, I was surprised to see there was no difference.

Considering that the average steering gear has enough power to move your rig sideways on dirt if you put the side of a tire against something and then turn the steering wheel, I don't believe the S/S has enough resistance to matter.

Quote:
Had I been running one, I may not have broken my pitman arm when I hit a large rock hard while not paying attention well enough. (I sometimes get mesmerized by the surrounding view). So this is one of those instances where there is maybe truth on both sides of the question, and I definitely respect your argument.

Happy Trails
Was it a drop pitman?
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:36 AM   #360
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Death Wobble

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Originally Posted by Black Magic Brakes View Post
Believe it or not, and I am confused by this, but there are S/S's that are pressurized like a gas shock. (confuses my poor brain trying to figure out who thinks that is a good idea) So, that means that you should be able to have really easy steering one direction and really difficult steering the other way. (this is if there were some merit to the resistance thing) Having driven the rig trying to diagnose his DW, you can not tell the difference and given that the stabilizer is pressurized in the direction to move you into head on traffic if you are not paying attention, I was surprised to see there was no difference.

Considering that the average steering gear has enough power to move your rig sideways on dirt if you put the side of a tire against something and then turn the steering wheel, I don't believe the S/S has enough resistance to matter.



Was it a drop pitman?
Yes on the drop pitman. I am not absolutely sure it wasn't cracked on a previous trip and finally gave up on the final rock. On the previous trip, the steering wheel jumped off center for no apparent reason and I didn't see any problem that would keep me off the second trip before tearing into things looking for what had happened. Luckily, it didn't break out on the highway.
The new one we got to replace the broken one has a little more meat where the original broke, so maybe this has been a problem that nobody would admit to.

As for your pressurized SS, are you sure it's only pressurized in one direction. THAT really makes no sense unless someone is using a shock absorber for a SS.
There is no good reason I can think of why you would want something like that in a steering system. Engineers... who knows what they think sometimes.

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