Originally Posted by GroundHawg
generally with stock jeeps, you get bumpsteer, not DW.
bumpsteer has numerous causes, much like death wobble, and both are often confused.
death wobble, like jk'n mentioned, is simply out of control, holy f'ing sh*t, stop the jeep, slam on the brakes type of wobble. there have been accidents and fatalities with it..hence the term.
DW is rare in stock jeeps. JK's shouldn't have any that are stock. if your stock jeep's problem is what I just described...check the track bars for damage, or slop. loose control arms, and control arm bushings are also a cause...along with way out of spec caster, a bent axle, anything really.
9 times out of 10 folks that cry DW are actually experiencing bumpsteer. it's a wobble or shimmy in the steering wheel that doesn't cause you to lose control, and leaves quickly.
with stock, and lifted jeeps, primary cause is too low of a caster angle, or too much toe in. what's going on is the exact same thing as the front wheels on a shopping buggy. the have 0 caster, therefore the wheels have trouble getting back to center after a sharp turn, at high speeds, or hitting potholes and bumps at weird angles.
an alignment shop corrects this by resetting the axle angle. with lifted vehicles, alot of folks lift the jeep, and don't get an alignment afterwards. they assume they don't need it because the jeep tracks straight. in reality...installing bigger tires increases toe in due to the new width. the tires basically start fighting each other, leading to tire wear and bumpsteer.
picture your 2 feet, toes straight ahead. you can easily walk straight. now point your toes together so each big toe touches. you now have too much "toe in". now walk. not as easy huh?
your tires do the same thing. they tend to skip and bounce hitting bumps with too much toe in.
with messed up caster, the tires can't find center, or "straight" as easily. so they hunt back and forth rapidly like the shopping cart. and like the cart, you don't lose control, but get a quick wobble or shimmy in the steering wheel.
caster and toe in aside, out of balance tires, or an overdue tire rotation are causes in stock jeeps.
sorry for the long post. I just wanted to explain a little about alignment to folks that might be confused about why shimmy or wobble occures when the suspension appears sound and tight.
my advice...rotate/balance the tires. if it still shimmies, check the alignment specs. the caster is probably off.