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Old 01-06-2014, 09:23 AM   #1
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New tj and new to jeeps. Help is appreciated

Alright, Friday I picked up a 1997 jeep wrangler sport with 142,xxx. I always drove Chevrolet full size trucks but it got totaled. I had to get a vehicle, By doing so I sold my 450 bike to get one. What better way to keep your interest and summer fun of the woods by keeping it there trading 2 wheels for 4.
On my way home the heat went out an hour and a half away I was FREEZING! Windshield was not fogging up, no antifreeze on the floorboards, nor a smell so I had high hopes it wasn't a heater core. The next day I topped off the coolant and the heat got just a little better to where your fingers and toes aren't numb but its still hard to call it heat. I was on my way to my buddy's shop to do the maintenance on it (oil for the 4.0, gear oil in ax15, and coolant flush, possible heater core flush to take the next step for this heat deal.
I'm on the highway and this thing was driving like a death trap so once I got off my exit I headed towards Advanced the closest shop and sat in the parking lot searching on these forums to figure out what exactly caused the dw. From what I could find it was the stabilizer and a lot of the other shops I called said it was too. I bought a new thermostat and a moog super trail boss steering damper for too much and started to put it on last night. I take my old one off and its stiffer than the moog. But.. I noticed my sway bar links have about .020 thousands of free play and also my tie rod adjuster had a bolt bouncing around cause it was cross threaded and it looks like they gave up trying to tighten it. I need to fix it right, at least for now. I'm not sure what kind of lift it has on it but it looks as if its a rough country cause coil springs are silver along with the shock tubes. But I didn't see rough country have solid extended sway bar links in any of there lift kit packages. They are silver too. I want to say it has a 3 inch lift with a 1.5-2 in body lift. Its got 35 in. pro comps on it. I was going to take the steering stabilizer back to advanced auto parts today and get what it needs. I'm thinking sway bar links. How do I know what to get, What exact lift is on my jeep, should I get anything else??? and any advice with all my problems with this thing so far.. Thanks my names Mike

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Old 01-06-2014, 09:39 AM   #2
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hey Mike, welcome to the addiction.

good call on returning the steering damper, as it isnt the problem. not sure how people can still recommend this band-aid

i wonder if the PO installed a drop pitman arm, very common on some lifts and a horrible idea that causes DW.

the sway bar links can have some play, thats not a big deal. the tie-rod, on the other hand should have zero play and all bolts should be torqued down

post some pics of the loose bolt in the tie rod and of your pitman arm

if the tie rod is as you claim, id start by replacing it with a ZJ tie rod
ZJ Tie Rod Conversion

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Old 01-06-2014, 09:46 AM   #3
Knows a couple things...

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A dropped Pitman arm doesn't cause Death Wobble, it causes bump steer... two completely different and unrelated problems.

And as you discovered, a new steering stabilizer (more correctly called a steering damper) is never the cure for DW. At the best it's a temporary band-aid that temporarily suppresses the symptoms of DW. Like placing a band-aid over a skin cancer. It masks the problem but the problem is still there.

DW is normally caused by a combination of things, one of the more common combinations being an imperfectly balanced tire together with something loose in the front-end like the track bar. The TJ's front-end is especially sensitive to tires that aren't perfectly balanced and the bigger the tire, the less imperfectly it has to be balanced to trigger DW.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:50 AM   #4
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correct, improper terminology on my part.

and most jeepers dont know the difference. but you are correct, and i have a feeling that the PO is referring to is neither bump steer or death wobble, but loose parts and misalignment due to those parts
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:02 AM   #5
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Here is where it was bouncing around at. I have to get some nuts and bolts when I go out today and thanks for quick response but its too late on away bar links. I started taking them out and with it being so cold the bolts were just snapping off. I'm giving it a break to find out whats wrong and warm up for right now.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:12 AM   #6
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@ jerry
I understand where your coming from its a good valid point thanks. But another thing I was curious about was the track bar being stock throwing off the axle a little? It seems like the only things installed was the coil springs, absorbers, and sway bar links. At that height what all should be installed to maintain a nice ride for a daily driver.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:16 AM   #7
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you have a drop pitman arm and possibly a drop track bar bracket, hard to tell from that pic.

not sure where that bolt goes from those pics
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:38 AM   #8
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Pointing right at it. It's hanging in there like it was before just with out the nut not being cross threaded half way down the bolt. There's surface rust on the tie rod and adjuster it doesn't look like its been moving at all but I guess that's what's causing it??? And get the tires balanced?
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:56 AM   #9
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ya, thats the clamp that locks down your toe-in adjustment

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death wobble , heat not working , identify lift

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