LONG POST! (sorry)...
Disclaimer: This post contains my opinions on the matters of ESP and DEATH WOBBLE, and is based on my first hand experience with both. Other opinions and experiences may most likely vary.
How did this thread so quickly change from death wobble to ESP??? Very briefly on that... The service guy at my dealer gave me a copy of a similar if not the same procedure, and it was very finicky, but after several attempts it finally worked but for only a short time. once you start driving over 40 Mph or so it kicks right back on. I found a very effective method is to just disconnect one of the sensors from behind the front wheel, and it will fail the ESP turning it off. you may have a dash light, but after shutting down the veh. and restarting when the computer runs its diagnostic, it will sense the disconnected ESP and will fail it automatically, and after a few minutes the warning light shoult go out. - However
I run a 07 JK on a 4" lift with 37s, and when I had the same problem, I found out its better to address what is triggering the ESP rather than turning it off entirely. It is perfectly safe to keep it on when lifted you just have to make sure your track bars are adjusted properly and the axels are perfectly centered. Proper caster will also help with inadvertantly triggering the system. Also check that sway bars are tight and bushings are healthy. this should resolve the ESP coming on when its is not needed, while leaving it available for when it is needed. (just a note: if you have a lift and do not have adjustable track bars, but a relocation or drop bracket is used to keep the stock one, the brackets can flex or develop play more easily than the original mounts, and really should not be used long term. Get adjustables
As for the topic at hand, I have spent the last few months trying like hell to get rid of my death wobble situation, and the last two days reading this and other threads and threads on other forums as well, and I have come to the following conclusions:
Death wobble can be caused by any number of things, and consequently is usually mitigated or stopped by several methods. There is no one
sure-fire or "permanant" cure for DW, as the suspension system is a very dynamic system with alot of moving parts, that all have relationships with other moving parts. It is engineered to be both rigid and flexable at the same time; some parts are designed to stop movement, and some are designed to allow movement. What works to solve one Jeeps problem, will not work for everyones Jeep, as the causes may be different between many vehicles. One guy may lift his Jeep like crazy and go nuts on tire size, and never see DW in his rig, while another guy with a stocker craps his pants when it bites him. The things to take away from this are:
-You need to frequently and thoroughly check your suspension systems for proper adjustments and tolerances. ESPECIALLY if you even slightly modify your system configuration (e.g. everything from tire/wheel changes and rotations, to lift kits with adjustable parts) and even more especially if you drive off-road rarely or frequently, mild to rough terrain. These checks should include: Wheel and tire pressures and balance, alignment with special attention paid to camber and toe-in, as these can become out of spec with tire size increases/decreases, changes in ride height, and through the constant articulation of the system. You should also check that trackbars, control arms, sway bars, ball joints, steering dampers, etc. are all very tightly mounted with no unintended
play. Every once in a while remove these items one attachment point at a time, and check the bolt holes for any wear that may allow lateral movement of the bolt in the hole, and while disconnected check all bushings for wear, and re-attach making sure to re-torque to spec. While the Steering damper (a.k.a. stabilizer) is disconnected, if pneumatic, check to make sure it has no damage, leaks or play. you should not be able to move the piston rod in and out without constant tension. If it moves at all before you feel the tension (especially when changing direction of force from pushing to pulling or vice-versa) it needs to be replaced, (this small anount of play may very well could be your cause and solution). You should check for play in the steering box as well.
-If you change tire size, your Caster, Alignment and toe-in WILL all be changed, and MUST be re-adjusted accordingly. you cannot go from 33"s to 35"s or from 35"s to 37"s by simply mounting the new size, happy that it fits and go about your merry way. Even incremental changes to caster and toe-in (as would occur with tire size changes) can result in an open armed welcome to DW. Re-Align and adjust caster.
Finally, go through the whole system
, Dont just replace your steering damper, or rotate your tires and ignore everything else just because that one change you made happened to stop it. There may be one cause, or many, and checking everything is the only way to find out if there are more issues lurking behind the obvious. Almost all solutions are temporary, and some last longer than others, so frequently checking even when things seem okay still seems to be the best, most pro-active way to avoid re-occurance.
Jeep suspensions, Especially the JK
seem to be prone to DW, and wear, loose bolts, misalignment, bumps and bruises of components, and configuration changes no matter how seemingly insignificant, can all make it show up.
Best thing I figure is work your way back and start with whatever you changed before DW happened, and adjust or undo that change, and work your way from there. I would also highly
recommend that you go through all the checks after every occurance of DW if possible before driving it again, as all that wobbling, shaking, and jarring is very likely tweaking or damaging something.