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Old 12-07-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
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50+ MPH Front end side to side sway

2003 Jeep Wrangler Sport
4.0L I-6

70,000 Miles
Brand new tires added 68,800 miles.

Before I changed my tires I had a front end wobble when at 50+ speeds. I recently installed new tires (Yokohama Geolanders) and the front wobble went away, however now at 50+ speeds I get a front end sway. I can still drive at 70+ speeds it is just uncomfortable because the Jeep feels like it is getting pushed side to side. Any ideas on what I should check out first?

Another thing... has anyone painted there Jeep Wrangler fender flares? And will the paint adhere fine? Will it eventually flake off?

Thanks!!!

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Old 12-07-2010, 04:38 PM   #2
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look through the sticky at the top of the TJ section called "Death Wobble?" That's more than likely what you have and you should get it looked at ASAP.

EDIT:

Dummy me need to read more thoroughly. I didn't fully read your post. You already cured your DW.

As for the other part about painting fender flares, I'll be doing mine in the spring with Krylon Fusion. Too cold for painting now.

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Old 12-07-2010, 05:50 PM   #3
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Check trackbar before driving anywhere else! Then check all other connections in the front ends. After that, toe-in.
D51

And slow down some.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:12 PM   #4
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Mine sways like this too, I just figure its because of my big tires and I need a new steering dampener. I painted my fender flares about six months ago with krylon fusion black gloss spray paint and have not had any flaking or fading so far.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lawngnome View Post
Mine sways like this too, I just figure its because of my big tires and I need a new steering dampener. I painted my fender flares about six months ago with krylon fusion black gloss spray paint and have not had any flaking or fading so far.
Nice! Did you mask off the body or did you pull the fenders? I heard the fenders are a PITA to remove.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:41 PM   #6
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I slid news paper between the body and the flares and taped off everything else and it worked great. Originally i was going to take them off but it was very hard so i gave up. I also took of the license plate plastic part and repainted it, that was pretty easy.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:53 PM   #7
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Check the torque on the lugs... did you change wheels when you changed tires? Also check the air pressure in the tires, lots of tire jockeys overinflate....
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:42 AM   #8
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It's definitely not the death wobble. It's really not a wobble at all, it really just feels like wind is blowing me side to side... but it won't be windy. If it is windy then the sway gets way worse.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:44 AM   #9
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That is the exact look I wanted to go for. I can't stand how these fenders fade out so fast. Did you also do the mirrors? Or are those the metal mirrors?
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:45 AM   #10
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Check the torque on the lugs... did you change wheels when you changed tires? Also check the air pressure in the tires, lots of tire jockeys overinflate....
I have checked everything to do with the tires and that's not the problem. My steering just feels loose when driving at higher speeds.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:47 AM   #11
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Check trackbar before driving anywhere else! Then check all other connections in the front ends. After that, toe-in.
D51

And slow down some.
Well, I like to do the speed limit... so slowing down is just going to piss people off. I drive 45-50 on most streets and 70-75 on Highway... it's the speed limits here in Michigan.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:49 AM   #12
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Might just be the wheel track in the road itself leading you around.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:02 AM   #13
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It is not normal to have the front end swaying like you're describing. Did you check all of connections in the steering and front suspension? Did you check the alignment, particularly toe-in? Until you get the issue resolved I suggest you slow down or stop driving. Crashing into someone because you have something loose in your steering might piss someone off too. Not trying to be a smart a**, just saying you need to get this resolved and offered some advice on how to resolve it.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:31 AM   #14
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ive also painted my flares, used krylon fusion black. obviously the color is up to you but ive experience no flaking yet. just scratches from offroading. i pulled the flares sanded em down really good and painted. pulling them was a pain in the ass. if i were to do it again id definately leave em on. it took me bout an hour to get em all off by myself.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:49 AM   #15
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That is the exact look I wanted to go for. I can't stand how these fenders fade out so fast. Did you also do the mirrors? Or are those the metal mirrors?
I did do the mirrors, I also did the gas hole thing and the door hinges on each side. I did not sand the flares or anything plastic when I painted because they were plastic. I did sand down the mirrors and definitely the door hindges and gave those a few coats of rustoleum rust reformer first.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:17 AM   #16
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It is not normal to have the front end swaying like you're describing. Did you check all of connections in the steering and front suspension? Did you check the alignment, particularly toe-in? Until you get the issue resolved I suggest you slow down or stop driving. Crashing into someone because you have something loose in your steering might piss someone off too. Not trying to be a smart a**, just saying you need to get this resolved and offered some advice on how to resolve it.
D51
No offense taken. It's not enough to make me crash or to throw me in another lane... it's really just uncomfortable. I will go over everything in the front end again. If I can't find anything I guess its to the mechanic it goes. Beleive me I won't put others at risk or myself by driving it... thanks for the concern though.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:27 AM   #17
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I did do the mirrors, I also did the gas hole thing and the door hinges on each side. I did not sand the flares or anything plastic when I painted because they were plastic. I did sand down the mirrors and definitely the door hindges and gave those a few coats of rustoleum rust reformer first.

So any rusted door hinges or other areas I could use the rustoleum rust reformer? And any plastic just use the Krylon Fusion?
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:29 AM   #18
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ive also painted my flares, used krylon fusion black. obviously the color is up to you but ive experience no flaking yet. just scratches from offroading. i pulled the flares sanded em down really good and painted. pulling them was a pain in the ass. if i were to do it again id definately leave em on. it took me bout an hour to get em all off by myself.
Yeah I am thinking about just taping off all the plastic and giving them a coat or two... I am also thinking about doing any hinges if they need it. I love Jeep Wranglers, but there paint sure does suck!!! I have rusted spots here and there and it's pissing me off... besides that I love my Jeep!
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:30 PM   #19
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Too much toe-in or not enough will cause it to feel like it's wandering. Check it.
A tire will try to follow straight, the one with better traction at the moment becomes dominant. Then when the surface changes slightly, or you correct slightly, the other becomes dominant.
If they were pointing the same way neither would overpower the other.
Toe-in - When you are driving the road is creating resistance, trying to push the tire back. Since the wheel is pivoted on the ball joints inside of the tread patch, the effect is to push the wheel outward slightly - both sides.
The net effect is if it has a sight toe-in, the resistance pushes it back to straight ahead - allowing the tire to roll properly.
The bigger the tires, or the more worn the steering is, the more toe-in is needed.

Simple, basic geometry.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:58 PM   #20
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I did paint my front fender, didn't have the courage to finish the rear. I took them off the Jeep, so I didn't have to worry about spraying the Jeep. I used the bed liner spray can. so far so good, just look at my avatar.....................
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LOL
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:03 AM   #21
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I just bought my jeep and on the old tires the outer edges (closest to fender) were worn more. I just replaced them. I also at 60+ can feel like the jeep getting pushed around by mystery winds. They said my alignment was "ok". So I am guessing they are wrong or their is more to check still
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:38 AM   #22
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Too much toe-in or not enough will cause it to feel like it's wandering. Check it.
A tire will try to follow straight, the one with better traction at the moment becomes dominant. Then when the surface changes slightly, or you correct slightly, the other becomes dominant.
If they were pointing the same way neither would overpower the other.
Toe-in - When you are driving the road is creating resistance, trying to push the tire back. Since the wheel is pivoted on the ball joints inside of the tread patch, the effect is to push the wheel outward slightly - both sides.
The net effect is if it has a sight toe-in, the resistance pushes it back to straight ahead - allowing the tire to roll properly.
The bigger the tires, or the more worn the steering is, the more toe-in is needed.

Simple, basic geometry.

Very well put! I am going to check this out. And yes it does seem more like the front wanders instead of sways... it's not so bad that its hard to drive or anything it just is uncomfortable. My tires are 30's so they are one step up from what was factory on my jeep... however I never had this problem before when I got these same tires a couple years ago. You are probably right about the steering being worn out.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:41 AM   #23
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I just bought my jeep and on the old tires the outer edges (closest to fender) were worn more. I just replaced them. I also at 60+ can feel like the jeep getting pushed around by mystery winds. They said my alignment was "ok". So I am guessing they are wrong or their is more to check still
I am starting to think rrich is on to something... but still if it's not toe-in then maybe it is just the front end wearing out. If the toe-in is not the problem I am going to have a mechanic check the whole front end suspension.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:50 AM   #24
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I think I am going to follow your lead on this and do the same on mine.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:03 AM   #25
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Toe measurement and adjustmet is easy to do yourself. stu-offroad.com has a good write up and if you google wrangler alignment, you will find other sites with how-to info.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:20 AM   #26
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Toe measurement and adjustmet is easy to do yourself. stu-offroad.com has a good write up and if you google wrangler alignment, you will find other sites with how-to info.

I found this link on here earlier...

Jeep Parts, Jeep Accessories & Jeep Soft Tops From The Jeep Parts Experts - Quadratec
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:30 PM   #27
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Do it yourself diagnosis - far more accurate than any machine ever thought of being.
Each vehicle has it's own characteristics, due to wear and slight factory tolerances.
Actuality, not theory or generic specs.

Take a close look at the front tires themselves. Put your hand flat across the tread on the top - fingers toward the inside, heel to the outside. Leave it there a moment to relax and really "feel" it. (Let the Force be with you - Star Wars.)

Run your hand back and forth - feel the edges of the grooves cut in the tread. Notice that one edge is sharper than the other. Use your eyes too.

Notice if the sharper corners are on both sides of the tread, just the outside, or just the inside. One side of each groove will feel sharper, the other more rounded.

Look for any feather edging too.

If the sharper edges are on the outside of the tire - that means the tire has been "sliding" slightly sideways - the road surface has it's sliding AWAY FROM THE SHARP, toward the rounded side, causing the rubber to bend and flare in that direction.

If the sharp is on the outside edges it means the toe-in is a tad too far TOED OUT.
The sharper it is the farther the toe is out. In radical problems, the sharp edge even gets a feather edge to it.

Remember Kung Foo? Remember when Grasshopper had to walk on the tissue paper without tearing it? He had to plant and lift his foot without any sideways motion. It's the same with tires! (OK, I'm showing my age here - seen the re-runs?)

And - you can even find a smooth cement driveway, wet it down, then stretch a single layer of newspaper on it, then wet that till it's really soggy. Let is stand a moment - to get really soft. Set up the vehicle so you can drive across it perfectly straight, or as straight as possible. Stop after the front tires have gone over the newspaper bufore the rears muck it up.

Look at what it did to the newspaper, Grasshopper.

Simply make a small change with the tie rod to correct it.

Machines and tape measures measure the actual toe-in. But slight differences in wear by things like tie rod ends, ball joints etc have their effect.

Years ago Alemite had the right idea - they used a spring loaded bar that spread the wheels apart, simulating the forces on the tire on the road. While the wheels were under that pressure they simply set the toe to 0!
They charged too much for that simple spring loaded patented bar - and their total alignment system was too pricey - they weren't competitive. They eventually dropped out of the alignment business.

I used that bar for years in my alignment shops , until someone left it on the floor and it got run over. Never seen another one like it.

Good luck Grasshopper - let us know.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:00 PM   #28
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Yep that's pretty much it. Like I indicated there some other tips out there like the way Jerry does it against the brake rotors.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:07 PM   #29
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So any rusted door hinges or other areas I could use the rustoleum rust reformer? And any plastic just use the Krylon Fusion?
Yah, be sure to sand as much rust off as you can first tho. So far my hinges have not chipped or cracked and still rust free. Do about 2-3 coats of rust reformer though then a few coats of Krylon
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:13 PM   #30
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Yup, that way works too. It just doesn't take into account for any wear on the parts. When you do it with a tape, push the front of the tires apart briefly - then don't move them. That helps to compensate for the looseness.

If it's bad enough to cause the wandering, you should easily be able to feel it with your hand across the tread. It's an old timers trick.

And you can feel the wear - inside vs outside of the tread too, showing camber problems.
There's been many times when a customer thought he needed an alignment when he didn't. I used it as sort of a pre-screening trick too - and to tell what I might find with instrumentation and what to look for.

Wandering could be the tires themselves too. If the alignment is good, try swapping them from front to rear. If it changes things, you know you moved it.

Used tires or tires that have been rotated side for side - making them turn backwards is another possible cause. When new the tire "takes a set" and runs true. But after it's broken in that way then you rotate them, making them turn in the reverse direction they "broke in" to, turning the other way breaks down the fibers inside, making them more unstable. Once they've broken down, nothing can be done.

Tire makers claim that's just a wives tale - but I've seen it happen too many times to believe that. I'm sure it's denied due to liability.

Whenever you remove a wheel, mark it as to direction of rotation. Sometimes even a simple brake job gets them switched if you don't keep track. Then - you think the brake job did it!

BTW - I don't think he's saying measure from the rotors. If you set the rotor's toe-in to 3/16" you've set them waaay too far in. As I remember, he says to measure from the tires.

He's done several good write-ups on how to do it - complete with pictures.

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