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Old 01-11-2007, 06:26 PM   #1
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front end vibration

I have a 2002 stock automatic 4.0 liter sport with 46000 miles on it. Every once in a while, I get a vibration from the front end while driving. It doesn't matter what speed I'm going nor whether I have the gas pressed, but it continues to be there until it deciedes to go away. Also if I press in the brake while it's occuring the front end vibrates a lot more than the initial problem. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-11-2007, 07:16 PM   #2
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I've heard it refered to as "death wobble", I'm not sure what exactly causes it, but try rotating and balancing your tires, and if that doesn't work, try replacing your steering stabilizer. I did that on my jeep and never had it happen again. Somebody else probably knows more about this than me, though....

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Old 01-11-2007, 08:23 PM   #3
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There used to be a "sticky" on the TJ thread about death wobble. I guess we lost it when the site was reworked. How about it moderators, could that be put back up. It is still there on the YJ forums.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamecock22 View Post
I have a 2002 stock automatic 4.0 liter sport with 46000 miles on it. Every once in a while, I get a vibration from the front end while driving. It doesn't matter what speed I'm going nor whether I have the gas pressed, but it continues to be there until it deciedes to go away. Also if I press in the brake while it's occuring the front end vibrates a lot more than the initial problem. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
doesn't sound like deathwobble if its just vibration. death wobble is when the front tires are swaying crazily back and forth (kind of like the tires are shaking like jello)

there is a vid showing deathwobble. its crazy! the whole front end shimmy's and shakes. i don't think you have DW. or is it more severe than you make it sound?
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:04 PM   #5
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I'm a newbie jeep owner

the tires don't shake around like jello. it seems the vibration comes from around the axle. but if it gets worse the whole front end of the jeep shakes.

does death wobble only come at certain speeds?
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:11 PM   #6
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It doesn't sound like DW to me. You'd know it if you had it.

Best advice I can give you is to get underneath your Jeep and see if you notice anything loose or anything that doesn't appear to be working properly. Get someone else behind the wheel and have them turn the steering wheel back and forth. Look for anything that doesn't look right. That's exactly what I did after it was suggested to me in other thread here. If something is wrong it should jump out at you.

Here's a list of items from another forum (sorry) that should shed some light on DW and what needs to be checked.

(Below are NOT my comments BTW)

1- Trackbar axle bolt is TIGHT, the hole is still round, correct size bolt, bushings/joints are in good shape.

2- Tires balanced? Super Swampers are notorious for being way out of balance. I use Centramatic dynamic wheel balancers to keep mine balanced.

3- Upper adjustable control arms to set correct castor. A good self check can be performed by placing an angle finder on the flat plate next to the shock just behind the axle tube. (Check each side.) If it's about 3 degrees below 0, you should be OK, less than that and you will likely have some trouble. Alternately you can use a socket on top of the upper ball joint with the angle finder and get your castor angle that way. In my case, one full turn of the upper arm equals one degree, YMMV. Don't forget to check the angle on the front driveshaft. DS and castor are a compromise to ensure safe vehicle handling with good U joint life, you may not be able to get either exactly correct, shoot for what works best for both.

4- TRE's in good shape, you may even have to disconnect the joints and move them by hand to verify smooth operation. Remember, easiest way to remove TRE's is to hit the surrounding metal piece with a BFH to loosen, don't hit the threaded end or use a pickle fork unless you want to destroy the joint. Grease the joints every oil change, grease is cheap, joints are not.

5- Solid lower control arms to prevent unwanted movement and flex, if you still have the factory ones they could be the problem.

6- Control arm joints tight, my RE superflex joints can be disassembled, cleaned, lubed, rebuilt, and reassembled as required. Alternately I can just tighten them up with an inexpensive tool. RE told me to rebuild after tightening 3 or 4 times.

7- Factory washers on the lower control arm to axle joint. My RE arms came with new washers, so I used 'em. They were slightly smaller in diameter and thickness them the factory, and didn't have the tapered edge to ensure correct axle alignment. Once I replaced them with the factory ones, it tightened things up nicely.

8- Check the joints in the steering wheel shaft itself, two under the hood and one under the dash. I had one wear and loosen up, and it took forever to find it. Felt like problems elsewhere in the steering system because it allows play between steering wheel and the rest of the steering system. I ended up replacing my intermediate steering shaft and was good to go.

9- Wheel bearings (hubs) in good shape? Cheapest I found for my wifes TJ was about $150 at Autozone, made by Timkin, highly respected bearing company. Everybody else wanted around $200. Don't do what the previous owner (idiot!) did to hers, he only tightened the axle nut to hand tight instead of 175 ft/lbs.

10- How about your ball joints? Same goes there, a good way to check is to jack the tire off the ground and see if there's any top/bottom play.

11- Ensure upper and lower shock bushings are in good shape, I had one get cut by a sharp edge on the upper mount, allowed some unwanted axle movement before any dampening occured.

Basically do an inspection of every part from the steering wheel to the tire. Verify each fastener fits correctly in the holes provided with no slop. Each time you find a component worn, or loose, and you tighten or correct the problem, your alignment may be off again. Get a factory service manual or Chilton's to ensure correct torque specs. Near the end of ORO's U-turn install instructions, they give a good step by step procedure for doing a self alignment that you can follow. Basically you use two 4' long 1"x1" aluminum angle pieces (Got mine at Lowes for about $5 each IIRC) held to the wheel with bungies, and two tape measures to check the difference. I do this about once a quarter anyway just to check. Make it part of your routine maintenance as it only takes about 20 minutes.
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:13 PM   #7
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Okay when it shakes really bad are you about to lose control of the jeep and does the front axle feel likes is going to be ripped off the jeep, and do you think your going to die? If you answered yes to these questions you have death wobble.

Now go out to your jeep and get your tool box. Tighten every bolt and nut you can find. Be sure to double check the track bar needs to be around 75 foot lbs if I recall. Is the jeep lifted? Check you tire pressure, are the tire's balanced? We have a sticky on this I think.. can't find it right now...though...
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Old 01-11-2007, 10:04 PM   #8
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Ye when it shakes I don't feel like I'm going to lose control, but front axle feeling like its going to be ripped off yes.
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Old 01-11-2007, 10:08 PM   #9
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Check your trackbar.
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Old 01-11-2007, 10:26 PM   #10
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i would flip the front and the rear tires to see if its any difference. In my previews car (miata) i had similar problem that was caused by bad tire balance. It would come out randomly some times at 30 mph sometimes at 80, but for sure it felt like the car was going to fall apart. Rear in my case. Replaced the rims and tires with the ones i wanted to get and no more vibrations at any time.

ps: if any mods are reading this i'm just wondering cant we increase the time to maybe 5 minutes of the "last edited" blab at the bottom of the reply Many times i write something and then think of soemthing to add right away and by the time i'm done writing it i get last edited note on the bottom of the page.
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Old 01-12-2007, 12:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamecock22 View Post
I have a 2002 stock automatic 4.0 liter sport with 46000 miles on it. Every once in a while, I get a vibration from the front end while driving. It doesn't matter what speed I'm going nor whether I have the gas pressed, but it continues to be there until it deciedes to go away. Also if I press in the brake while it's occuring the front end vibrates a lot more than the initial problem. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Yeah I agree, this most likely isn't death wobble. Maybe you lost a wheel weight. Check your rotors too. Check tire wear, rotate if necessary and see if it stops. Check your lugs.
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Old 01-12-2007, 06:55 PM   #12
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sounds like warped rotors to me.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:15 PM   #13
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Thank you for all the help

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