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Old 05-09-2012, 12:17 AM   #1
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how my death wobble was (mostly) fixed

Just want to pass along some info. Maybe it will help someone out?
Background on our Jeep:
We bought our 06 LJ Rubicon last summer(2011). At the time we purchased it we had a 4" Skyjacker suspension lift installed. We took the tires from our old jeep (64 CJ-5) and put them on our new jeep-BF Goodrich Mud terrains 33X12.5R15.
Since we have owned the Jeep, it has always had a slight wobble At about 45 MPH. Slowly the wobble got worse to where it was doing it between 40 and 50 MPH. Recently a couple of times it would shake really bad at lower speeds every so often. maybe 2 or 3 times. That is what really worried us. You would literally have to slam on your brakes because the jeep felt like it was going to come apart.
THE FIXES:
On an unrelated visit to my mechanic, i asked him about this. He said the tires needed to be balanced with special attention applied to the balancing; do the weights need to be installed to the inside or outside of the rim. He also said that it needed to be aligned. After lifting the jeep the castor (or was it the toe) was off. He balanced the tires and i had the jeep aligned. I am glad that i had each of these done but it did not fix the problem at all.
After having a bad wobble episode in stop and go traffic trying to enter the freeway, we wanted to get it fixed once and for all. I called my local 4 Wheel Parts store and asked them if they could fix it. I took it down there and the guy came out and had me start the jeep while he got under the front. He told me to put it into gear hold the brake down, and turn the wheel from side to side. After doing that he told me that my stock track bar was not quite where it should be because the lift throws it off a little and that the bushings were bad. He said this is common with lifted jeeps with high mileage (ours has 82K miles). He recommended at least changing the bushings but to also have an aftermarket track bar installed. They are adjustable depending on how much lift you have. the new track bar was $170 and another $95 to have it installed and adjusted according to the lift. I had them install the new track bar.
Now:
The bad wobble is gone. It still does slightly wobble at 45 MPH sometimes but is livable. I actually think its the tires doing that. Rough roads especially while going around turns can bring on a little wobbling but al least thats predictable. The $270 was well worth it.
My advise:
Don't go to a regular mechanic regarding death wobble. There are many different things that can cause it and you dont want to pay for each one to find out. Go directly to a shop that specializes in 4WD and lifts.
Pics of the new Track bar:



This last one doesn't have the track bar installed.. its just a pic of the Jeep!

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Old 05-09-2012, 12:40 AM   #2
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Definitely a common problem lifted Jeeps face. Most budget lifts will instruct you to drill a new hole just right of the stock hole, which is what appears was done with yours. The hole has a tendency to open up, loosening the stock track bar. A lot of us promote either welding on a new plate with a hole in the proper location or purchasing an adjustable trackbar. For me, it's definitely the latter solution.

Your tires can throw off the balance, especially coming from another vehicle. It's one of the concerns about buying used tires. There are numerous DW guides on here and other forums that describe the steps to take to address death wobble. Many times it's just a bad driveline angle. There are also numerous guides on adjusting toe-in settings and castor using cam bolts that are provided with many lifts.

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Old 05-09-2012, 12:57 AM   #3
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Track bar bushing condition, and drag link alignment/length/parallelism with track bar are the LEADING cause of DW and bump steer....It is SO simple, but so often discounted or overlooked, and is the reason DW still exists.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:14 AM   #4
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Yeah you can have a new track bar bracket welded in at axle side so you don't have those two holes in it. I would definately. Actually had a local Jeep shop weld in a heavier guage bracket on mine, I think it may have been a currie bracket. I wouldn't feel safe driving my jeep with two bolt holes drilled into the axle side bracket.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark52 View Post
Just want to pass along some info. Maybe it will help someone out?
Background on our Jeep:
We bought our 06 LJ Rubicon last summer(2011). At the time we purchased it we had a 4" Skyjacker suspension lift installed. We took the tires from our old jeep (64 CJ-5) and put them on our new jeep-BF Goodrich Mud terrains 33X12.5R15.
Since we have owned the Jeep, it has always had a slight wobble At about 45 MPH. Slowly the wobble got worse to where it was doing it between 40 and 50 MPH. Recently a couple of times it would shake really bad at lower speeds every so often. maybe 2 or 3 times. That is what really worried us. You would literally have to slam on your brakes because the jeep felt like it was going to come apart.
THE FIXES:
On an unrelated visit to my mechanic, i asked him about this. He said the tires needed to be balanced with special attention applied to the balancing; do the weights need to be installed to the inside or outside of the rim. He also said that it needed to be aligned. After lifting the jeep the castor (or was it the toe) was off. He balanced the tires and i had the jeep aligned. I am glad that i had each of these done but it did not fix the problem at all.
After having a bad wobble episode in stop and go traffic trying to enter the freeway, we wanted to get it fixed once and for all. I called my local 4 Wheel Parts store and asked them if they could fix it. I took it down there and the guy came out and had me start the jeep while he got under the front. He told me to put it into gear hold the brake down, and turn the wheel from side to side. After doing that he told me that my stock track bar was not quite where it should be because the lift throws it off a little and that the bushings were bad. He said this is common with lifted jeeps with high mileage (ours has 82K miles). He recommended at least changing the bushings but to also have an aftermarket track bar installed. They are adjustable depending on how much lift you have. the new track bar was $170 and another $95 to have it installed and adjusted according to the lift. I had them install the new track bar.
Now:
The bad wobble is gone. It still does slightly wobble at 45 MPH sometimes but is livable. I actually think its the tires doing that. Rough roads especially while going around turns can bring on a little wobbling but al least thats predictable. The $270 was well worth it.
My advise:
Don't go to a regular mechanic regarding death wobble. There are many different things that can cause it and you dont want to pay for each one to find out. Go directly to a shop that specializes in 4WD and lifts.
Pics of the new Track bar:



This last one doesn't have the track bar installed.. its just a pic of the Jeep!
It's unfortunate that he sold you that particular trackbar. Go do the steering test again, turn the wheels side to side and watch the trackbar at the bends. You will actually be able to see it flex.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Magic Brakes View Post
It's unfortunate that he sold you that particular trackbar. Go do the steering test again, turn the wheels side to side and watch the trackbar at the bends. You will actually be able to see it flex.
Mr. Blaine,

Which track bar is that?
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2012 JK Sport 2dr. Sahara Tan. Stock
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:17 PM   #7
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UPDATE:
The first week or two after i got this new track bar installed the jeep felt like it was wobbling much less. this jeep is not our daily driver thought and recently it seems to be wobbling almost as bad as it was before the new track bar was installed. Most of the time it will wobble a little bit between 40 and 45 MPH. I could live with that if i had too but we have noticed that if you happen to hit a bump while going this speed it will sometimes cause the jeep to shake pretty bad until you slow down a little. Even worse if you are going around a turn at the time.
Black magic brakes mentioned above that the track bar installed in our jeep will actually flex. I tried this but it was very hard to tell if the thing was flexing. It didnt look like it was to me but I'm not sure. Anyone else have trouble with this track bar? any other ideas? I am going to go back to 4 wheel parts soon and tell them about this but i would like to have more info before going back there.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:22 PM   #8
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Just a crazy out of left field question but did you happen to get any work done on your brakes recently? My buddy is having similar issues and I am trying to diagnose the issue from 2500 miles away. He too has an 06 LJ rubicon.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark52 View Post
UPDATE:
The first week or two after i got this new track bar installed the jeep felt like it was wobbling much less. this jeep is not our daily driver thought and recently it seems to be wobbling almost as bad as it was before the new track bar was installed. Most of the time it will wobble a little bit between 40 and 45 MPH. I could live with that if i had too but we have noticed that if you happen to hit a bump while going this speed it will sometimes cause the jeep to shake pretty bad until you slow down a little. Even worse if you are going around a turn at the time.
Black magic brakes mentioned above that the track bar installed in our jeep will actually flex. I tried this but it was very hard to tell if the thing was flexing. It didnt look like it was to me but I'm not sure. Anyone else have trouble with this track bar? any other ideas? I am going to go back to 4 wheel parts soon and tell them about this but i would like to have more info before going back there.
You need to go back and do the dry steering test again and see what if anything is moving that shouldn't be. I assume previously you had your tires balanced again, but that's still something I'd check, especially if you have steel wheels. Try to get a roadforce balance if possible:

Hunter GSP9700 Wheel vibration Control System solves wheel vibration and tire pull problems that balancers and aligners can't fix

Blaine (Black Magic Brakes) is the same guy who designs the products for Savvy if you're not familiar with him, so I'd take his advice in regards to the trac bar; he's probably dealt with a few in his line of work. If you end up needing a good replacement, the CE-9120TJS and CE-9120TJJ are both good replacements.

Are those Zone lower control arms? They might not be, but they kinda look like it, or at least similar to it. I replaced mine because of how bad the bushings were wearing out; if yours are wearing out badly as well, that could be causing some wobbling. It did in my case.
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wulf711 View Post
Just a crazy out of left field question but did you happen to get any work done on your brakes recently? My buddy is having similar issues and I am trying to diagnose the issue from 2500 miles away. He too has an 06 LJ rubicon.
NO. But we have only owned this jeep for a year now and it could have had the brakes worked on before that?
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geiman View Post
You need to go back and do the dry steering test again and see what if anything is moving that shouldn't be. I assume previously you had your tires balanced again, but that's still something I'd check, especially if you have steel wheels. Try to get a roadforce balance if possible:

Hunter GSP9700 Wheel vibration Control System solves wheel vibration and tire pull problems that balancers and aligners can't fix

Blaine (Black Magic Brakes) is the same guy who designs the products for Savvy if you're not familiar with him, so I'd take his advice in regards to the trac bar; he's probably dealt with a few in his line of work. If you end up needing a good replacement, the CE-9120TJS and CE-9120TJJ are both good replacements.

Are those Zone lower control arms? They might not be, but they kinda look like it, or at least similar to it. I replaced mine because of how bad the bushings were wearing out; if yours are wearing out badly as well, that could be causing some wobbling. It did in my case.
I have done the dry steering test again and i didnt see anything wrong. I have watched several youtube videos of these various parts moving during a dry steering test and our jeep wasnt doing any of them.
I have, However, rotated the front tires to the rear and the rears to the front and that has helped a lot. The tires with the most tread were in the front. Now that they are in the back most of the wobble is gone so far. only some slight wobble at 45 sometimes. Thanks for the other info. I am considering upgrading the steering to beef it up for the trails. Maybe that will help.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:32 AM   #12
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I have done the dry steering test again and i didnt see anything wrong. I have watched several youtube videos of these various parts moving during a dry steering test and our jeep wasnt doing any of them.
I have, However, rotated the front tires to the rear and the rears to the front and that has helped a lot. The tires with the most tread were in the front. Now that they are in the back most of the wobble is gone so far. only some slight wobble at 45 sometimes. Thanks for the other info. I am considering upgrading the steering to beef it up for the trails. Maybe that will help.
If rotating your tires is helping the problem, then it sounds like you need to get them balanced.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:54 AM   #13
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My son in law had a lifted Cherokee (6") on 33's with DW, he lowered the front tire pressure and got rid of 90 % of it... Mike
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:57 AM   #14
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If rotating your tires is helping the problem, then it sounds like you need to get them balanced.
The tires were balanced a year ago when we bought the jeep, had the lift installed and bought new rims. I had them balance again by a better shop a couple of months ago when the DW was getting worse. Balancing the tires in my case didn't help.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:45 AM   #15
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The tires were balanced a year ago when we bought the jeep, had the lift installed and bought new rims. I had them balance again by a better shop a couple of months ago when the DW was getting worse. Balancing the tires in my case didn't help.
It might seem that way, but if you truly have nothing else wrong then I'd bet my money it's your tires/wheels. If you have steel wheels, I'd guess that is the actual culprit.

I'd make sure both of the tires shops you went to actually have experience balancing larger tires, took the time to rotate the tire on the rim if necessary, etc. The last set of 33s I had mounted I had to take to a few different places until I found someone local to where I had moved that could balance them correctly.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:57 AM   #16
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It might seem that way, but if you truly have nothing else wrong then I'd bet my money it's your tires/wheels. If you have steel wheels, I'd guess that is the actual culprit.

I'd make sure both of the tires shops you went to actually have experience balancing larger tires, took the time to rotate the tire on the rim if necessary, etc. The last set of 33s I had mounted I had to take to a few different places until I found someone local to where I had moved that could balance them correctly.
You very well may be right. I love these tires but I did buy them new in 05 I think and until last year they were on our old 64 cj-5. They may have started to wear unevenly.

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