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Old 06-24-2013, 07:19 PM   #1
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Is this death wobble, or something else?

2009 JK Sahara, 40,000 miles

Hi all,

As I joined the highway on my way home today, the steering started to oscillate. The steering wheel was shaking left/right at 60 MPH, in the same way as it would if you had a severely unbalanced wheel.

I slowed down to 40, it eased off, and eventually stopped. I accelerated again and it was gone.

I've read the relevant sticky, but can't figure out of this is death wobble or not.

So, is this death wobble, caused by the infamous 14mm bolt in 9/16th hole?

Thanks!

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Old 06-24-2013, 07:26 PM   #2
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Yes .... on the research you've done.

track bar is #1 culprit. Check for obvious looseness. If nothing remove and inspect bushings and mount holes for wear.

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Old 06-24-2013, 07:32 PM   #3
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Yes .... on the research you've done.

track bar is #1 culprit. Check for obvious looseness. If nothing remove and inspect bushings and mount holes for wear.
Thanks man, I appreciate the confirmation. I'll get onto the track bar at the weekend.
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:40 PM   #4
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Wait did you have to completely stop for it to stop shaking or did you just slow down and it eventually stopped?

If its death-wobble I heard it only goes away once you come to a complete stop.
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:42 PM   #5
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Wait did you have to completely stop for it to stop shaking or did you just slow down and it eventually stopped?

If its death-wobble I heard it only goes away once you come to a complete stop.
I read the same article - no, I didn't have to stop. Slowing down from 60MPH to 40MPH, and cruising at 40 for a few minutes, was enough to make it stop.
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:04 PM   #6
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when I had mine I had to come to a complete stop and it felt like the whole front end was going to fall apart. Cars were swerving to get out of my way.

From my research to make dw stop you have to come to a stop or real close to it.
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:06 PM   #7
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kJeeper10 is on the right track. My 08 was doing the same thing. 45 to 60 it would occasionally shake horribly, some times I would have to stop completely and other times just slow down to 35 and it would go away. I installed a new JKS trackbar, JKS steering damper bracket, trackbar relocation brackets, heavy duty stering damper, & changed as many 14mm bolt out as possible. I have been DW free for 6 months. My fix was about $550.00 Good luck man, It can drive you crazy.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:28 AM   #8
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Some say you you can have the beginnings of DW or its not DW unless coming to a complete stop. Not true IMO. You have the track bar, upper and lower control arms constraining the axle. Any one of these bad theres going to be problems. Bad Ca and track bar ... BIG problems.
I've never had full out DW surprisingly, my TF track bar adjustment sleeve lost torque. The jeep would shake hiring bigger bumps. Enough to realize something wasn't right. Sure enough my TB was loose causing the side to side shake.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:36 AM   #9
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Did you almost die? Did you have to change your shorts? Death wobble always made me come close to needing a change of shorts.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:37 AM   #10
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Are you stock on your suspension?
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:41 AM   #11
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Did you almost die? Did you have to change your shorts? Death wobble always made me come close to needing a change of shorts.
This. if you didn't poop a little i wasn't death wobble.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:45 AM   #12
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Are you stock on your suspension?
Yup, all stock.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:47 AM   #13
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Did you almost die? Did you have to change your shorts? Death wobble always made me come close to needing a change of shorts.
I'm usually pretty good in scary situations, so no poop. But my wife did find it somewhat alarming.

Thanks everyone for your feedback. I'm going to check the track bar for play, and replace the bolts if I can find suitable replacements. I'll post back results.
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:54 AM   #14
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I'm usually pretty good in scary situations, so no poop. But my wife did find it somewhat alarming.

Thanks everyone for your feedback. I'm going to check the track bar for play, and replace the bolts if I can find suitable replacements. I'll post back results.
It's difficult to check a track bar for play. It doesn't move easily. I installed JKS aftermarket bars and I must've sissy'd it because my axle was... 'swaying'... afterwards and it annoyed me. Not a wobble, but perhaps the beginning stages of DW. The track bar wouldn't move during inspection but finally I bit the bullet and unbolted and re-torqued it with all the 140lb man strength + breaker bar power I could muster. My 'swaying' is gone but since I'm not a strong guy I think I'll have to re-torque it now and then.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:39 AM   #15
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Ok, I'll torque the bolts instead of checking for play. I'll also see if I can get hold of some 9/16th bolts to replace the 14mm.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:53 AM   #16
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Death wobble first of all is caused by any looseness in the steering system. And second of all it damages the steering system, causing looseness.

Definitely get 9/16 shoulder bolts with washers and nuts. You might have to bounce the jeep a little to get the bolts back on. Inspect the bushings and bolt holes visually while its off.

A new trackbar fixed mine.

Retorque it at oil changes and after heavy wheeling. Sometimes the bolts stretch and lose torque.

Replace steering stabilizer after its fixed. Death wobble tends to ruin them. And the stock one is crap anyway.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:01 PM   #17
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Thanks michiganadam. Does anyone know the exact spec of the replacement bolts? So far, I have 9/16th, grade 8. But how long a shoulder do I need? Are both bolts the same?

I'd like to pick up the bolts before I dismantle.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:08 PM   #18
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If you thought the Jeep was going to fall apart in the middle of the road resulting in full destruction of you and all vehicles near you if you did not stop fast, then you had death wobble. If it just oscillated like you had a slightly off balanced tire, then you have not experienced DEATH Wobble, yet.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:10 PM   #19
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Only way to stop DW is come to a complete stop.Rebuilt my whole frontend on my 2008 wrangler still get it a little at times on bridge expansion joints.Just learn to bump steer.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:48 PM   #20
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I had DW on a Rubicon I rented in Moab. It only ceased when I came to a complete stop. It's a pretty freaky feeling if you don't expect it.
Told the guy at the Jeep rental company but they just shrugged their shoulders and sad "yea, ok".

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