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Old 11-17-2008, 10:23 PM   #1
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death wobble question...

I have a '98 wrangler and have recently experienced the death wobble, which starts at exactly 56 mph. I was planning on taking the Jeep down to college for my first year but cant practically make it there at 55 mph the entire way So i was wondering if it was practical to take it to a shop and have them take a look at it. i know there are tons of reasons itll wobble, but i have absolutely no mechanical skills, and neither does my dad. so the only option is for a mechanic.

so is it practical or would i be just washing my money down a drain?


thanks!

-max

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Old 11-17-2008, 10:38 PM   #2
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first check would be tire balance. out of balance tires will show up right around that speed. if thats the only time you get it, start there.

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Old 11-24-2008, 10:46 PM   #3
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Truck University just featured this on an episode here's the link TruckU on SPEED Channel: Episode 415
It's actually a combination of problems but the fix is definite.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:30 AM   #4
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I have had over 10 Jeeps and had at least 4 of them with the"DEATH WOBBLE". Every time it was the steering damper. The first thing I replace on any Jeep I buy is that..I am sure you could replace it. Good Luck. Randy
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:43 AM   #5
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Replacing the steering stabilzer (dampener) to cure Death Wobble is like placing a band-aid over a skin cancer in an attempt to cure it. The band-aid may make it so you no longer notice the skin cancer but it's still there. The steering stabilizer only masks/suppresses the symptoms, it is not the actual cure.

Maddmax91, go find a tire dealer that will take the time to perfectly balance your tire. "Good enough" tire balance is not good enough for the TJ where Death Wobble is concerned. And also make sure your track bar's passenger-side mounting bolt is TIGHT and that its mounting hole is not wallowed out. For a 2002 or older, tighten that bolt to 55 ft-lbs, 45 ft-lbs for a 2003 or newer. If the bolt is loose or its mounting hole is wallowed out, it can allow Death Wobble to develop after being triggered by a bump in the road or a front tire that isn't perfectly balanced.

Lastly, make sure your toe-in is set properly and that your caster angle at least close. For stock tires, the caster angle should be 6 to 7 degrees. 33" tires 5 to 6 degrees is fine, 35" tires 4.5 to 5 degrees of caster angle is fine.

Try those suggestions and if they don't help, there are other things to try.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:06 PM   #6
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I had the death wobble in my 04 tj and after replacing the shocks and steering stabilizer the mechanic at the dealership finally took the advice that I got from this site and replaced the trac bar which fixed it.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Replacing the steering stabilzer (dampener) to cure Death Wobble is like placing a band-aid over a skin cancer in an attempt to cure it. The band-aid may make it so you no longer notice the skin cancer but it's still there. The steering stabilizer only masks/suppresses the symptoms, it is not the actual cure.

Maddmax91, go find a tire dealer that will take the time to perfectly balance your tire. "Good enough" tire balance is not good enough for the TJ where Death Wobble is concerned. And also make sure your track bar's passenger-side mounting bolt is TIGHT and that its mounting hole is not wallowed out. For a 2002 or older, tighten that bolt to 55 ft-lbs, 45 ft-lbs for a 2003 or newer. If the bolt is loose or its mounting hole is wallowed out, it can allow Death Wobble to develop after being triggered by a bump in the road or a front tire that isn't perfectly balanced.

Lastly, make sure your toe-in is set properly and that your caster angle at least close. For stock tires, the caster angle should be 6 to 7 degrees. 33" tires 5 to 6 degrees is fine, 35" tires 4.5 to 5 degrees of caster angle is fine.

Try those suggestions and if they don't help, there are other things to try.

How do you adjust the camber?
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by orange05tj View Post
How do you adjust the camber?
Camber or Caster? If you meant the caster angle, that is done with adjustable length control arms. '97 to '99 TJs had cam bolts up front that were there to adjust the caster angle but that ability was lost in later models so adjustable length control arms are the only way to adjust the caster angle on your '05.

The camber angle can only be adjusted with adjustable ball joints that replace the non-adjustble ball joints installed by the factory.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:18 PM   #9
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I have it also on my 04, although only slightly. I replaced the stabilizer with the new factory upgrade, per the TSB, but it still does it. Now I have a new trackbar to install. As soon as the weather warms up here in the north east. I think it got worn due to the lack of grease. I grease all the joints every 3k but never saw that fitting. When I grease it it is almost gone but after a few hundred miles you can start to feel it. My YJ had 200k and it never needed any ball joints, tie rod ends, etc because I greased it every 3k. I even purchased a cordless high power grease gun earlier this year to make it go fastter.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:17 PM   #10
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The offset - or "cam" bolts for the lower control arms (front) are still available at the dealer - kinda pricey for a bolt, as I remember about $15 each. They give about 4 degrees of adjustment.
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Old 12-10-2008, 04:49 PM   #11
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My mine started at 45mph, replaced steering dampener, wheels aligned & balanced & several hundred dollars at Jeep and still had the problem! Everything felt tight, nothing loose! Later found it was my upper & lower control arm bushings! Replaced with urethane & now has been over a year with no wobble!
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:56 PM   #12
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Wheel balance and alignment helped. Tightened track bar nuts.Monroe steering damper helped some more...Still couldn't rotate tires without impending doom. Currie front lower control arms fixed problem completely

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