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Old 01-25-2012, 06:06 PM   #1
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WORSE than a Death Wobble

Okay folks, I need a sanity check here to see if I'm getting complete information from my service department.

4 months ago I bought a beautiful '07 JKU with 33" tires and already lifted (2" I think). A couple of days ago I was driving through town and the front end of my Jeep started shaking so bad it wouldn't stop until pulled over (glad I wasn't on the freeway or back in the boonies) . I couldn’t drive over 5 miles an hour or the wobble would start again. I've never felt a death wobble before but figured that was what it was. I crawled under the front end and found the bracket where the steering stabilizer (it is the thing that looks like a shock absorber, sorry if my nomenclature is off) attaches to the axle housing had completely broken off (all 3 weld points) and was hanging below the axle (sorry, no pictures).
I had it towed to the dealership and after looking at it they said it would cost $2950 to replace the entire axle housing. They went on to say it was because of the aftermarket lift on the truck! They say the attachment of the lift weakened the stabilizer bracket so when it broke, that caused my wobble. After I swallowed my heart and cleaned out my pants, I explained that the Jeep was purchased from then that way only 120 days ago and I played the “Extended Drive-train Warranty” card and they agreed to cut the charge to $150 for a co-pay.

They told me yesterday that after further investigation they found the damaged was caused because the lift kit the PO put on it was "extra heave duty" and was causing stress on the factory components. They said they could replace the axle housing and everything would be fine (for now) but they said without fixing the main problem it could happen again. They said that for an additional $270 there was an after market item they could get that would dampen anything that might put a strain on the factory parts. I haven't been able to get by to find out exactly what they are replacing and I probably could have done it by myself but I figured they had everything torn apart anyway, it would be worth it. I am new to JKs but it makes since that after the dealer just absorbed a $3k repair, they would want to make sure it didn't happen again. Additionally if I had said no to the new part and the bracket broke again, I'm sure they wouldn't fix it for free and tell me they gave me the cause and I decided not to fix it.

Now, I'm smart enough that there was probably more than a little smoke being blown my way by the dealer but I wanted to get some input on this with 2 questions:

1. Does this classify as a true "Death Wobble"? I thought that had to do with loose joints.

2. What should I look for to make sure something like this doesn't happen again?

I've trad the thread Diagnosing Death Wobble and Fixing Non-DW Shimmies and Wobbles (Excellent post by planman by the way) but just wanted to get more input.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-25-2012, 06:43 PM   #2
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Steering stabilizer itself won't cause DW.
Not the problem. Something else would have caused it. The DW probably caused the stabilizer to go bad. They robbed you.
Could be a bunch of different things.
Problem is, once your jeep stops from shaking, damage accrued to other parts.

Dealer probably did a reverse lift , haha
I'm hopping they did not just do the steering stabilizer?

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Old 01-25-2012, 06:48 PM   #3
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Most DW as you've read from the thread here on WF is a result of the track bar and or it's bolts. IMO the dealer should not charge you a dime for this repair and they should go above and beyond what is called for to diagnosis, fix, and follow up with you in the future to make sure their work is complete. Stay on them for this and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:20 PM   #4
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Bottom line, the jeeps 5 yrs old and most likely the original owner beat on it. Now your left with the aftermath. It was probably traded in by the original owner because it started wobbling a little bit here and there. IN MY OPINION, get the fix the dealer is offering and then trade it right in to them for another jeep. The next time you may not get so lucky. But that's just my opinion.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:43 PM   #5
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I thought you had the jeep fixed already

I would not pay that. Get the jeep off it's wheels and look around. Check the trac-bar bolts, ball joints, any thing suspension/steering related.

That's a lot of $$$
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:26 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the great feedback guys.
I should get my truck back tomorrow or Friday, I'll update you.

Also, despite wht my sig. line says, I appreciate all the input, even if it isn't what I want to hear.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beastmaster
Thanks for all the great feedback guys.
I should get my truck back tomorrow or Friday, I'll update you.

Also, despite wht my sig. line says, I appreciate all the input, even if it isn't what I want to hear.
Looks like you avatar jeep has DW also
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:36 PM   #8
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I'll bet money they don't replace the whole diff.
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Old 01-26-2012, 03:26 AM   #9
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Ditto... All it needs is that bracket welded back on. 10 minute job. Then need to go over all bolts and brackets and find whats loose/broken/worn.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
Looks like you avatar jeep has DW also
Ouch!
(it's okay)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaComms View Post
Ditto... All it needs is that bracket welded back on. 10 minute job. Then need to go over all bolts and brackets and find whats loose/broken/worn.
Agreed, but you know dealers; they would rather replace than repair and since it's on their dime, I don't mind. All I'm waiting on right now is the adjustable track bar to come in. They have also promised me they will be inspecting/repairing/replacing anything in the area. I'll be taking everyone's advice and inspecting everything myself now that I know what I am looking for.

I'll probably be able to pick her up tomorrow.

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Old 01-27-2012, 05:51 PM   #11
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Just picked my baby up from the dealer.
  • New front axle housing, drive pinion and bearing, new gear oil and front end alignment all under extended warranty = $150
  • Adjustable track bar parts, labor & overnight shipping = $280
  • Having my Jeep back on the road = Priceless
I believe all the problems I have had from day one were related to the track bar/steering stabilizer bracket on the axle housing. I believe the PO had weakened the bracket with the OEM track bar he was using. I would get the stabilizer light often and it would sometimes feel "mushey" on the highway. My steering wheel was slightly off center and my ProCal couldn't adjust it.

Thanks for everyone's advice, I plan on crawling all over her this weekend checking everything that can be checked.




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Old 01-29-2012, 07:08 PM   #12
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this thread helped me in a similar situation and I couldn't pin point my next move. thanks
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:58 AM   #13
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This thread actually scared the $&!# outta me as I just put a little lift on my 2007 JK this past weekend. I'm glad to hear your story ended well and just hoping I don't have a story to tell....ever!
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:38 AM   #14
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Glad some good came from my pain. But hey, at least I got a new front end out of it.

I've been learning allot about my truck in the few months I've owned it.

To paraphrase: "That which does not kill us makes us smarter"


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Old 07-12-2012, 08:21 PM   #15
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Lightbulb Update on [what I believe is] the true cause of my problem!

Okay forum, It's now 6-months on and I am allot smarter about my Jeep so I thought I'd re-visit this thread with what I have learned. I want to pass on my lessons learned so hopefully no one will have the problems I have had.

Last week I had some more problems with my front end (of my Jeep that is) that I posted here: http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/lifted-07-jku-swaybar-question-171713.html to which I have ordered sone extended swaybar links. Since I had to get new ones I decided to go with ones with quick disconnects.

I had an epiphany today, or what many people would call a face-palm moment.
I got thinking back and believe both of these problems are related and are due to the PO of my rig leaving on the short sway bar links on the front axle. Here is why I believe this:
  • Right after I went to Pep-Boys to have my tires rotated, my steering was mushey and my EBS would activate on the slightest turn. Later the steering wheel became slightly off center.
  • To change the tires, they raised the entire truck off the ground which extended the sway bar links.
  • Last week I did some minor off-roading, hit some pretty good bumps lifting the front end off the ground extending and inverting the sway bar links.

I bet the sway bar links became inverted after being on the lift at the auto shop too, causing them to rub on my steering linkage. The extended pressure on the linkage caused the track bar brackets to break. I believe the OEM track bar was only a symptom and not the cause.

The moral of this story: If you buy a Jeep that already had a lift kit installed, check the sway bar and sway bar links. Make sure the sway bar is level +/- 5 degrees.

As a side note: I think it's funny, I really love my rig and have had a ball upgrading and fixing things. Geting rid of it has never crossed mt mind. At the risk of flack from some people I'll say it; "I guess it really is a Jeep thing"

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