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Old 11-08-2013, 06:00 PM   #1
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Frame damage.

Hey guys I have a few questions. So I was recently in an accident. I put a 4in lift on my jk and didn't get it aligned immediately. This resulted in me getting death wobble while exiting the interstate and going through a guard rail. That was three weeks ago. I've been dealing with geico since then and they're telling me that it have over 11k worth of damage just in parts. That's without labor. They said it'd take approximately 49hrs to fix. Now depending on how much they charge per hour I might be looking at another 5k in labor. That'd be a total of over 16k which is over half of the current value. They also told me that it has un repairable frame damage. Now in my vast knowledge as a 22y/o service member I feel like that would be grounds for a total loss claim. The insurance company is telling me otherwise. Has anyone ever dealt with a situation like this before? Am I wrong to think that? Would this type of damage result in decreased value even if properly repaired? Thanks in advance for any insight.

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Old 11-08-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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The DW caused the accident?

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Old 11-08-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
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The DW caused the accident?
yeah unfortunately. I was exiting the freeway and hit a bump. Death wobble reared it's ugly head and I lost control.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:15 PM   #4
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Damn sorry !!!!
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
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I recently went through a similar experience. 2 month old 2014 JKU hit in the left front. I told the adjuster, the body shop manager, and my agent I would not be satisfied with that vehicle being "fixed". It was not my fault, it was a brand new Jeep, not a repaired brand new Jeep. And that a search of the car fax would ALWAYS show that repair and would devalue my vehicle.

I have State Farm Insurance. I had the Body shop at the dealer where I purchased it do the estimate, they called it a total loss. Wreck was on Sat, I had a check for what I paid minus deductable on Wens. State Farm home office called and asked what I paid for it as the '14 JKU Wrangler was not in their computer. They called my dealer to verify the cost.

Kinda like my salesman said. Yeah you can get "cheaper insurance" but in a situation like this is when you see that you get what you pay for.

Bottom line..IMO I would be quiet about you doing the lift and not getting it aligned, than loosing control due to DW which everyone knows come from something in the front end being out of "harmony".
If they start digging to far or get pissed may try and push it back on you and "negligence" for not doing the alignment.

Yeah it really sucks........ might try and talk/ convince them that if frame is damaged beyond repair than it can never be fixed/ therefore it is totalled. But it is a 4 year old Jeep and they hold all the cards.

That was one advantage in my position someone else hit me.

Good Luck.....might not hurt to talk to a lawyer but IMO its gonna cost more to use one than it would if you took the same money you would pay the lawyer, and your repaired Jeep and started over.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:26 PM   #6
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I recently went through a similar experience. 2 month old 2014 JKU hit in the left front. I told the adjuster, the body shop manager, and my agent I would not be satisfied with that vehicle being "fixed". It was not my fault, it was a brand new Jeep, not a repaired brand new Jeep. And that a search of the car fax would ALWAYS show that repair and would devalue my vehicle. I have State Farm Insurance. I had the Body shop at the dealer where I purchased it do the estimate, they called it a total loss. Wreck was on Sat, I had a check for what I paid minus deductable on Wens. State Farm home office called and asked what I paid for it as the '14 JKU Wrangler was not in their computer. They called my dealer to verify the cost. Kinda like my salesman said. Yeah you can get "cheaper insurance" but in a situation like this is when you see that you get what you pay for. Bottom line..IMO I would be quiet about you doing the lift and not getting it aligned, than loosing control due to DW which everyone knows come from something in the front end being out of "harmony". If they start digging to far or get pissed may try and push it back on you and "negligence" for not doing the alignment. Yeah it really sucks........ might try and talk/ convince them that if frame is damaged beyond repair than it can never be fixed/ therefore it is totalled. But it is a 4 year old Jeep and they hold all the cards. That was one advantage in my position someone else hit me. Good Luck.....might not hurt to talk to a lawyer but IMO its gonna cost more to use one than it would if you took the same money you would pay the lawyer, and your repaired Jeep and started over.
yeah I "neglected" to mention I hadn't gotten it aligned lol I'm just worried about it crushing my resale value if I do ever decide to get rid of it. With me being at fault, would that have a say in their decision? Yeah I lost control but it's not like I meant to put it through a guard rail. With it being a '10 it's not worth what the newer ones are. And 16k in damage is pushing that value threshold. I just don't know what I can do to convince them otherwise.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:38 PM   #7
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I hope they don't ask to see receipts for the MODS and such...they would expect to see one for the alignment.....best chance you got is trade as soon as possible maybe to the Jeep dealer that is doing the repairs.

In this state you can choose who does the repairs, and if you can do that, start working a trade now on your repaired Jeep. If the dealer "balks" because of frame damage than you can go back and talk to the ins, again with more ammunition. Bottom line if the dealer can say it is totaled and won't accept it on trade you would come out ahead...but would have to start over on payments. Check with your JAG office, missed the service member part first time around,...they can help "guide you" in this matter. But it may take a while, being in the military I am sure you understand how slow things move sometimes.
Bottom line IMO dump it fast or make a dedicated trail rig out of it.

And THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:52 PM   #8
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I hope they don't ask to see receipts for the MODS and such...they would expect to see one for the alignment.....best chance you got is trade as soon as possible maybe to the Jeep dealer that is doing the repairs. In this state you can choose who does the repairs, and if you can do that, start working a trade now on your repaired Jeep. If the dealer "balks" because of frame damage than you can go back and talk to the ins, again with more ammunition. Bottom line IMO dump it fast or make a dedicated trail rig out of it.
they haven't asked for anything yet. Hopefully they don't. Maybe I'm looking at this wrong though. I think this might give me an excuse to upgrade.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:54 PM   #9
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I hope they don't ask to see receipts for the MODS and such...they would expect to see one for the alignment.....best chance you got is trade as soon as possible maybe to the Jeep dealer that is doing the repairs. In this state you can choose who does the repairs, and if you can do that, start working a trade now on your repaired Jeep. If the dealer "balks" because of frame damage than you can go back and talk to the ins, again with more ammunition. Bottom line if the dealer can say it is totaled and won't accept it on trade you would come out ahead...but would have to start over on payments. Check with your JAG office, missed the service member part first time around,...they can help "guide you" in this matter. But it may take a while, being in the military I am sure you understand how slow things move sometimes. Bottom line IMO dump it fast or make a dedicated trail rig out of it. And THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!
and I appreciate the thanks. I hope you have a blessed Veterans Day.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:01 PM   #10
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if the frame can't be fixed.. to me that means the jeep would be toast and they should cut you a check.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:16 PM   #11
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alignment has nothing to do with the death wobble. Mis-alignment can be annoying and wear tires down but it will not cause the axle to violently shake back and forth. Components not torqued down correctly, however, will have a direct effect.

So don't worry about the alignment or lack of.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:32 PM   #12
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alignment has nothing to do with the death wobble. Mis-alignment can be annoying and wear tires down but it will not cause the axle to violently shake back and forth. Components not torqued down correctly, however, will have a direct effect.

So don't worry about the alignment or lack of.
Yup, improper toe, caster or uncentered axles won't cause death wobble. At least I haven't heard of anyone with that problem because of alignment.
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #13
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This is a stretch, but considering death wobble is the DIRECT result of untorqued bolts/worn parts, and you gotten your jeep lifted, I would say the death wobble would be caused by the person who installed your lift. Death wobble is caused by: 1. Bad bushings/not properly torqued bolts on a trackbar (which you installed with your lift) 2. Worn out steering parts 3. New steering parts without being in sync with each other

Considering you have 4" of lift, you most likely have a new front track bar, new control arms, but most likely no drag link mod, correct? In this case your drag link no longer sits were it is suppose to, (in sync with track bar.) which causes bump steer. Bump steer will wear out your parts and cause DEATH WOBBLE. This is not uncommon. People lift, and don't correct their steering geometry. Some get by a week, month, but death wobble will happen. 4" is a huge amount of lift, and there are drastic measures needed to be taken when lifting that tall. If your lift kit did not include all the complete parts, or if your shop did not tell you about the parts needed, you should pick up the phone.

Another alternative theory is that who ever put on your lift did not Torque your track bar correctly, or your control arms. Your track bar will be the leading cause of the death wobble, and if it's loose just a tiny bit, you got death wobble.

I say, have a talk with your shop that installed your lift. Ask them what track bar, how they installed, if it was torqued correctly, etc. And don't mention that you may be potentially getting a lawyer involved. Find out every new part that went into your jeep and every detail you can about the install

An alignment will have nothing to do with death wobble, I promise you that. The death wobble you had is caused by new parts/worn parts. Your shop has some explaining to do, I say.
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:24 PM   #14
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Different states have different percentages that warrant a total loss. Frame replacement does not guarantee a total loss. Here in Wv the damage has to be 75 percent of the total value. Now that Wrangler hold there value it would be tough to total. If you're not happy with the repairs made. You could always trade up.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:12 AM   #15
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This is a stretch, but considering death wobble is the DIRECT result of untorqued bolts/worn parts, and you gotten your jeep lifted, I would say the death wobble would be caused by the person who installed your lift. Death wobble is caused by: 1. Bad bushings/not properly torqued bolts on a trackbar (which you installed with your lift) 2. Worn out steering parts 3. New steering parts without being in sync with each other Considering you have 4" of lift, you most likely have a new front track bar, new control arms, but most likely no drag link mod, correct? In this case your drag link no longer sits were it is suppose to, (in sync with track bar.) which causes bump steer. Bump steer will wear out your parts and cause DEATH WOBBLE. This is not uncommon. People lift, and don't correct their steering geometry. Some get by a week, month, but death wobble will happen. 4" is a huge amount of lift, and there are drastic measures needed to be taken when lifting that tall. If your lift kit did not include all the complete parts, or if your shop did not tell you about the parts needed, you should pick up the phone. Another alternative theory is that who ever put on your lift did not Torque your track bar correctly, or your control arms. Your track bar will be the leading cause of the death wobble, and if it's loose just a tiny bit, you got death wobble. I say, have a talk with your shop that installed your lift. Ask them what track bar, how they installed, if it was torqued correctly, etc. And don't mention that you may be potentially getting a lawyer involved. Find out every new part that went into your jeep and every detail you can about the install An alignment will have nothing to do with death wobble, I promise you that. The death wobble you had is caused by new parts/worn parts. Your shop has some explaining to do, I say.
yeah the shop neglected to mention that i needed a drag link correction. What all should be included in a kit that has 4" of lift? As far as steering geometry correction?
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:16 AM   #16
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If it were me I wouldn't be posting on the internet about installing a lift, not getting it aligned, and getting in an accident because of DW. Just sayin'.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:27 AM   #17
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If it were me I wouldn't be posting on the internet about installing a lift, not getting it aligned, and getting in an accident because of DW. Just sayin'.
I have serious doubts about geico and their investigative ability.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:45 AM   #18
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I have serious doubts about geico and their investigative ability.
I think you maybe get a very unpleasant surprise. Insurance companies fraud prevention units are pretty sharp.
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:49 AM   #19
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I think you maybe get a very unpleasant surprise. Insurance companies fraud prevention units are pretty sharp.
I'm sure. But this isn't a fraudulent claim. No worries.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:16 AM   #20
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yeah the shop neglected to mention that i needed a drag link correction. What all should be included in a kit that has 4" of lift? As far as steering geometry correction?
Adjustable control arms, Adjustable track bar, some form of a drag link flip kit or other steering corrections. If you did not have death wobble before the install, I bet good money the shop did something wrong. Even professional shops make mistakes.

Also, don't worry about what people are saying about posting on here about the alignment/fraud etc. You did nothing to cause death wobble, and your lack of getting an alignment will never be the cause of your problems. Your post on here will have no effect on your claim.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:03 PM   #21
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Adjustable control arms, Adjustable track bar, some form of a drag link flip kit or other steering corrections. If you did not have death wobble before the install, I bet good money the shop did something wrong. Even professional shops make mistakes. Also, don't worry about what people are saying about posting on here about the alignment/fraud etc. You did nothing to cause death wobble, and your lack of getting an alignment will never be the cause of your problems. Your post on here will have no effect on your claim.
yeah it was my first experience with death wobble. I won't lie. I panicked lol but I'll be sure to ask more questions my next go round.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:08 PM   #22
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Bad alignment will cause your rig to track like sh!t, but not deathwobble.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:22 PM   #23
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I recently went through a similar experience. 2 month old 2014 JKU hit in the left front. I told the adjuster, the body shop manager, and my agent I would not be satisfied with that vehicle being "fixed". It was not my fault, it was a brand new Jeep, not a repaired brand new Jeep. And that a search of the car fax would ALWAYS show that repair and would devalue my vehicle.

I have State Farm Insurance. I had the Body shop at the dealer where I purchased it do the estimate, they called it a total loss. Wreck was on Sat, I had a check for what I paid minus deductable on Wens. State Farm home office called and asked what I paid for it as the '14 JKU Wrangler was not in their computer. They called my dealer to verify the cost.

Kinda like my salesman said. Yeah you can get "cheaper insurance" but in a situation like this is when you see that you get what you pay for.

Bottom line..IMO I would be quiet about you doing the lift and not getting it aligned, than loosing control due to DW which everyone knows come from something in the front end being out of "harmony".
If they start digging to far or get pissed may try and push it back on you and "negligence" for not doing the alignment.

Yeah it really sucks........ might try and talk/ convince them that if frame is damaged beyond repair than it can never be fixed/ therefore it is totalled. But it is a 4 year old Jeep and they hold all the cards.

That was one advantage in my position someone else hit me.

Good Luck.....might not hurt to talk to a lawyer but IMO its gonna cost more to use one than it would if you took the same money you would pay the lawyer, and your repaired Jeep and started over.
Funny thing, i have state farm and it was the cheapest insurance i could get? Maybe i should switch back to geico, pay twice as much, so i can get better coverage?



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If it were me I wouldn't be posting on the internet about installing a lift, not getting it aligned, and getting in an accident because of DW. Just sayin'.
The only alignment he should have needed to do would be adjust the drag link to center the steering wheel......... and last i checked, the steering wheel being off center wont cause death wobble. Infact, OP probably didn't loosen and retorque the entire suspension at ride height.

Infact, even if it was OP's fault, why would that make a difference? Last I checked insurance pays for accidents you cause as well. It's not like it was intentional and It's not like we're talking about broadform policies here, such as the one i have because i am such an excellente driver.....
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:12 PM   #24
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Would this type of damage result in decreased value even if properly repaired? Thanks in advance for any insight.
Well, what do you think? Would you pay a premium price for it after it was repaired? Thats just how it works; wreck a car, or get hit in a car and insurance pays to have it repaired. That's the limit of their liability; they have ZERO responsibility to insure that your car, truck, van, Jeep retains it's pre-collision value. Particularly in this day and age of the consumer dictating where the repairs will be made, they just pay the bills, and then spot-check the repairs when done. Example: Used to lease an Infinity G-37...freaking Chevy 2500 decided to back halfway up the hood. Massive amount of damage, in the shop for a LONG time, and repaired to State Farm's standards...but not to mine. The paint on the hood was OK, but not to the original finish standards. Thankfully, it was a lease, so at the term of the lease I simply walked in, toss 'em the keys, and walked away. Because it was finished to "industry standards" they couldn't say anything, but a used car manager darn sure would have tattooed me if I was trading it in.

Hate to sound like an ass, but they weren't driving your Jeep when it went through the guardrail; their obligation is to pay to have it fixed, not to roll back the timeclock.
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:57 PM   #25
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Well, what do you think? Would you pay a premium price for it after it was repaired? Thats just how it works; wreck a car, or get hit in a car and insurance pays to have it repaired. That's the limit of their liability; they have ZERO responsibility to insure that your car, truck, van, Jeep retains it's pre-collision value. Particularly in this day and age of the consumer dictating where the repairs will be made, they just pay the bills, and then spot-check the repairs when done. Example: Used to lease an Infinity G-37...freaking Chevy 2500 decided to back halfway up the hood. Massive amount of damage, in the shop for a LONG time, and repaired to State Farm's standards...but not to mine. The paint on the hood was OK, but not to the original finish standards. Thankfully, it was a lease, so at the term of the lease I simply walked in, toss 'em the keys, and walked away. Because it was finished to "industry standards" they couldn't say anything, but a used car manager darn sure would have tattooed me if I was trading it in.

Hate to sound like an ass, but they weren't driving your Jeep when it went through the guardrail; their obligation is to pay to have it fixed, not to roll back the timeclock.
OP should have floored it and cranked the wheel HARD at an odd angle in the ditch if he wants it totalled... It does have a roll bar.......

YMMV.

Why are we so concerned about resale value? I didnt buy my jeep to sell it. Anyone wants it, they can pry it from my cold dead hands.

I'd be suing the shop that put the lift on.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:54 PM   #26
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OP should have floored it and cranked the wheel HARD at an odd angle in the ditch if he wants it totalled... It does have a roll bar.......

YMMV.

Why are we so concerned about resale value? I didnt buy my jeep to sell it. Anyone wants it, they can pry it from my cold dead hands.

I'd be suing the shop that put the lift on.
Good points!
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:07 PM   #27
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Yup, improper toe, caster or uncentered axles won't cause death wobble. At least I haven't heard of anyone with that problem because of alignment.
Improper toe, caster, camber can DEFINITELY contribute/exacerbate to death wobble though.

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