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Old 03-26-2014, 11:39 AM   #1
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Death wobble

I searched the forum for info on “death wobble” and found a few things but still had a couple questions I was hoping someone can help me answer.
First I believe I correctly diagnosed the issue as a “death wobble” …was driving the kids to soccer the other day and just about had a heart attack when I lost control of my Jeep. I was traveling on a paved road…up a small windy hill at about 45 mph and hit some potholes when it happened.
A week earlier I had my tires rotated…when I was leaving, the Jeep dealer service rep told me that I needed a steering shock ($151)…probably due to a leak they saw (?). Is the installation of a steering shock difficult for an amateur without fancy tools and without a strong command of anything mechanical?
Do you think that the steering shock will fix the problem, and/or do you think the problem is a result of the tire rotation? I have stock tires/rims and no lift on the JK 2011 6-speed Sahara. This is the first time I experienced the “death wobble” and hope to never experience it again!
Thanks for any advise!
Dino

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Old 03-26-2014, 11:41 AM   #2
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It could with my jk I found out it was the track bar had play in it

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Old 03-26-2014, 12:56 PM   #3
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the long road ahead

I don’t want to sound rude however by reading your post, you clearly didn’t dig too deep into the forum looking for advice, now before you jump on me for sounding like a jerk, please be aware that I did the exact same thing and paid for it.

Read this thread first. it used to be on WF but for the life of me I cant find it.
Diagnosing Death Wobble and Fixing Non-DW Shimmies and Wobbles - JeepForum.com

if it gets over whelming, at least take this way from it. Your Steering damper (steering shock) will simply mask the problem and not fix it. Death wobble is normally caused my a number of other issues often in conjunction with one another in your front suspension if you only change out the damper, it will come back.

Go through the check list that PlanMan posted. Its on all the major Forums because it works.

I myself am trying to properly diagnose and fix the exact same issue. If you had it once, you WILL have it again. Dont get discouraged, I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about my Jeep and you should to.

To date, Ive replaced the Track bar, Tack bar bolts, Control arms, and I just ordered new tie rod ends and ball joints all for less than what most dealerships will charge you for a proper diagnosis. At first I was discouraged but now I feel comfortable crawling underneath and seeing for myself what’s going on.

Short answer to your question though as the damper probably has to be replaced now anyways after going through a death wobble is yes. The damper is really easy to replace and a great way to get started with getting your hands dirty and learning your suspension. While your down there, have a friend turn the steering wheel left and right while you look at all the joints move back and forth. Feel around (watch your fingers) and look for any “play” or loose joints. This should point you in the right direction.

When I called my dealer after my DW, the first thing he told me was I needed a new steering damper, without saying another word, I hung up on him. They will drain you financially looking for the cause. Doing it yourself or having a shop that specializes in 4X4’s is truly the best way to go.

Better yet, mix it up. I purchased a plan form NTB. Paid for one wheel alignment and they give me free alignments for a year. Now, every time I add or adjust a part, I take it back to them to check my work and realign. Its paid for its self many times over.

Sorry for such a long post. It’s a sore subject for me and I hate seeing other people go off in the wrong direction on what is potentially a long and miserable road.

Good luck.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:51 PM   #4
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The tires are not the root cause but tire imbalance can trigger the DW. Ditto for the steering stabilizer. Start by getting the tires dynamically balanced and then go through Planman's videos and step-by-step process following the link EDubiton provided. It is a methodical process (there are a lot of parts involved) and it works. For some reason even many shops have a problem identifying the root cause.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:41 PM   #5
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DO NOT BALANCE THE TIRES!!!!

1, Why? Because it will not fix tproblem..it will only mask it if anything. If its the trigger...dont fix the trigger. Instead find the root casuse and repair it. If you fix the "trigger" most shops will tell you its fixed when its not - this will end up costing you more in damaged parts down the road and the DW WILL come back worse!

Your tires never stay perfectly balanced due to tire wear etc....so that is a very temp fix.

2. You need to inspect the parts that are the root cause and eliminate them one by one...track bar, track bar mounting holes, control arms, tie rod ends, ball joints.

Trust me, I went through it.. on a Jeep less than year old. My lift, 35" tires, and playing in rocks tore up my ball joints.

I wasted money on tire balancing and alignments....save the money and repair the root cause
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by gorillahydrographics View Post
DO NOT BALANCE THE TIRES!!!!

1, Why? Because it will not fix tproblem..it will only mask it if anything. If its the trigger...dont fix the trigger. Instead find the root casuse and repair it. If you fix the "trigger" most shops will tell you its fixed when its not - this will end up costing you more in damaged parts down the road and the DW WILL come back worse!

Your tires never stay perfectly balanced due to tire wear etc....so that is a very temp fix.

2. You need to inspect the parts that are the root cause and eliminate them one by one...track bar, track bar mounting holes, control arms, tie rod ends, ball joints.

Trust me, I went through it.. on a Jeep less than year old. My lift, 35" tires, and playing in rocks tore up my ball joints.

I wasted money on tire balancing and alignments....save the money and repair the root cause
That makes a surprising amount of sense. Good point
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:41 AM   #7
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Thanks. My search did pull up the post...and yes, there is a lot to digest! Can you tell me, per the detailed pict that was included in the link, where is the Steering Shock (what color in the color coded pict)? Is the steering shock also called the track bar? The Steering Shock was what the Jeep Dealer recommended (I was hoping to trust them) ...although they never heard of a "Death Wobble"...is there a technical term for this?

Thanks! …And sorry for my mechanical ineptness.
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:53 AM   #8
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Thanks. My search did pull up the post...and yes, there is a lot to digest! Can you tell me, per the detailed pict that was included in the link, where is the Steering Shock (what color in the color coded pict)? Is the steering shock also called the track bar? The Steering Shock was what the Jeep Dealer recommended (I was hoping to trust them) ...although they never heard of a "Death Wobble"...is there a technical term for this?

Thanks! …And sorry for my mechanical ineptness.
the steering stabilizer is bolted to your tie-rod. as others have said -- replacing it isn't going to fix your problem. i suspect your track bar is either loose or the crappy bolts from the factory (non-shouldered) are allowing for a bit of play.

there should be no play. best first investment you can make if you're dying to spend money, is to buy a grade 8 bolt kit.

replace all the track bar bolts with the grade 8 shouldered bolts. while you're at it. do your front lower control arms.

i'd bet you notice a difference right away.
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:56 AM   #9
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Im going to throw my 2 cents in and go with the track bar as well. Im more familiar with the Cherokee suspension set up but im sure its not too different then the Wrangler.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:14 AM   #10
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This death wobble thing is starting to get me concerned. I have a 2013 unlimited Sahara and have not done a lift kit or changed the tires.

Is this dw a concern for me or is it only happening with lift kits?

If it's such a reoccurring problem then why isn't their a recall on it , or something covered under power train warranty
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:21 AM   #11
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I have a stock Jeep...no mechanical mods. After it (DW) happened last week, I now drive the Jeep like I have a nuke in the back seat, dodging potholes, etc...Kind of ironic seeing that it is an "off road" vehicle!
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
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This death wobble thing is starting to get me concerned. I have a 2013 unlimited Sahara and have not done a lift kit or changed the tires.

Is this dw a concern for me or is it only happening with lift kits?

If it's such a reoccurring problem then why isn't their a recall on it , or something covered under power train warranty
as components wear, DW could COULD become more of a possibility. a lot of it depends on how you drive, how hard you've been on your jeep, and what components are wearing.

with proper maintenance DW can be mitigated. it's happened to me a few times. i am somewhat rough on my JK. but by staying on top of maintenance and inspecting my rig - i know what components are wearing and what needs to be replaced -- and when.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:34 AM   #13
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Read this thread first. it used to be on WF but for the life of me I cant find it.
Here: Diagnosing Death Wobble and Fixing Non-DW Shimmies and Wobbles
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:44 AM   #14
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Thanks, it used to be at the top of the forums, looked everywhere. Really didn't want to post a link to another forum.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:58 AM   #15
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Wanted to follow up with the question above before I talk to my dealer again...

"Is the steering shock also called the track bar?" I couldn't find the "steering shock" on the color-coded figure in the attached link.

Thanks!
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:07 AM   #16
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Wanted to follow up with the question above before I talk to my dealer again...

"Is the steering shock also called the track bar?" I couldn't find the "steering shock" on the color-coded figure in the attached link.

Thanks!
Negative. Your steering shock is called a stabilizer and Is connected to your tie rod. The track bar is higher up and one end connects to the frame while the other is connected to the knuckle.

Hope this helps. Those are the bolts you need to check
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:09 AM   #17
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the steering stabilizer is the horizontal shock on the tie rod.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:13 AM   #18
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Wanted to follow up with the question above before I talk to my dealer again... "Is the steering shock also called the track bar?" I couldn't find the "steering shock" on the color-coded figure in the attached link. Thanks!
your stearing stabilizer looks like your shocks, it attaches to your tie rod and to the passenger side if your front axle. The tie rod is the long bar that goes across from wheel to wheel. You can see it in that colored diagram.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:36 AM   #19
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This death wobble thing is starting to get me concerned. I have a 2013 unlimited Sahara and have not done a lift kit or changed the tires.

Is this dw a concern for me or is it only happening with lift kits?

If it's such a reoccurring problem then why isn't their a recall on it , or something covered under power train warranty
From what I've heard the majority of death wobbles to the JK have occurred in models from 2007-11. Like yourself I have a '13, I've never had any issues and my street is in desperate need of replacement, pot holes and bumps everywhere.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:37 AM   #20
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Thanks! I'll let you know how this pans out!
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:11 AM   #21
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guess who dosnt have much to do at work today

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Old 03-27-2014, 02:57 PM   #22
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Thanks, very helpful! After reviewing this info several times, the service folks at my dealer might think I know what I'm talking about now and won't try to play any games!

I can see that my steering shock (aka steering stablizer) is leaking so I'm okay with them replacing it...they are installing a Jeep part so hopefully that will be good. I will also ask them to check the bolts holding the trackbar for tighness and to make sure that the holes have not been ovaled out...I guessing that they will need to remove the bolts to examin the holes. I notiecd the note about switching the stock 14 mm trackbar bolts for 9/16" grade 8 bolts...not sure if the dealer would have those or if I would need to order them. I'll try to find the specs on the bolts (the width is 9/16" but not sure of the length or how many I need without looking under the Jeep).

Thanks again, especially EDubiton for taking the time during your busy work day :-)
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:14 PM   #23
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This is the bolt kit you need.
Northridge 4X4 Jeep JK Grade 8 Hardware kit
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:27 PM   #24
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guess who dosnt have much to do at work today

good stuff - one correction, but you have the gist of it. what you have identified as the track bar, is actually a synergy hi-steer kit (drag link). my track bar is directly behind the drag link.

difficult to see... but it's in the same line as the drag link. though instead of bolting to the pitman arm, it bolts direct to the frame.
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:33 PM   #25
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good stuff - one correction, but you have the gist of it. what you have identified as the track bar, is actually a synergy hi-steer kit (drag link). my track bar is directly behind the drag link.

difficult to see... but it's in the same line as the drag link. though instead of bolting to the pitman arm, it bolts direct to the frame.
Ah, I figured it was a fancy after market track bar. I should probably take this down before it starts some real confusion lol.
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:36 PM   #26
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Ah, I figured it was a fancy after market track bar. I should probably take this down before it starts some real confusion lol.
nah... you've got it covered thank you for what you did all about helping the OP; which you did.
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:40 PM   #27
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nah... you've got it covered thank you for what you did all about helping the OP; which you did.
too late

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Old 03-27-2014, 03:50 PM   #28
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too late

well played sir... well played!
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:52 PM   #29
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Thanks again all! Going to order the kit!

Question, what is an "OP"?
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:13 PM   #30
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Thanks again all! Going to order the kit!

Question, what is an "OP"?
Original Poster I think.

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