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Old 06-09-2010, 06:56 PM   #1
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Newbie Rant

Just got a new '05 Wrangler 40k miles, paid 13.5 for it and I am having some issues with the lift that had been done to it. It basically has a shimmy and once the shimmy starts and I hit a bump I go into kind of a mild "death wobble". Just the wheel shakes back and forth and I have to slow down to like 10 mph to stop it.

First the guy I bought it from says it's the tires - they are cupped and it is out of alignment.
We get new tires, and same story. Says U joint. Mechanic says ehh you need these adjustable rods, or the U joint will keep breaking. Say ok.

Does that all today and go to pick it up. He broke the speedometer trying to recalibrate it. No big deal, says he can put a new one in in 5 minutes tomorrow. I drive it off the lot and hit a bump, BAM, wobble/shimmy back. I get pissed and drive it back. He says yeah, sorry, thought he had taken care of it and even rotated the tires and rebalanced. He was trying to get it back to me ASAP. He is a real big Jeep guy and has three himself.

He says it can be a few things:

One of the wheels could be f'ed, but he looked at then and didn't see any obvious defects.

The tires could be defective.

He is going to put wheels from another jeep on it tomorrow and see if that will isolate it.

Believes it could also be this steering column stabilizer thing.

Weird: I noticed all the weights that were on the wheels were off. They were on previously. He goes yeah I noticed that too, we didn't take them off though. So they all got thrown off from a wobble I got into on the highway a day ago? On BOTH wheels? Hmmm I dunno about this.

He said hopefully he can get everything fixed and ready for me by Friday. I sure hope so, I am going to be making a payment on this thing and haven't even driven it for more than a weekend yet pretty soon here!!!

Sorry for the rant.

Also the bad thing is that this guy is "THE JEEP" guy in town, so I hope he isn't screwing around with me!!! The only reason I really have to believe he is, is that when he was on the phone with the guy I bought it from (who owns a real small lot) I heard him say (through the phone) are you on speaker? And then something about bushings being bad...so I think he kind of tried to put a cheap fix on it but it didn't quite work the way he wanted to.

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Old 06-09-2010, 06:59 PM   #2
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I would be taking it back and get it fixed or replaced!

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Old 06-09-2010, 07:06 PM   #3
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I would be taking it back and get it fixed or replaced!
Yeah I left it at the shop, got a loaner car, (the shop owner actually gave me a ride back to the lot to pick it up).

He said he is hopeful he can fix it by Friday, but we'll see. I am hoping he'll give me a call tomorrow afternoon saying it's almost done! But on the other hand I just want it FIXED without a f'ing shimmy/wobble.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:07 PM   #4
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Make sure the track bar is tight where it bolts to the diff, there should be zero play. The best way to do this is start the Jeep and have a buddy wiggle the steering wheel back and forth while you watch the track bar. Like I said ZERO PLAY. I just had to replace my track bar bushing with only 41,000 miles on mine.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:28 PM   #5
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Make sure the track bar is tight where it bolts to the diff, there should be zero play. The best way to do this is start the Jeep and have a buddy wiggle the steering wheel back and forth while you watch the track bar. Like I said ZERO PLAY. I just had to replace my track bar bushing with only 41,000 miles on mine.
I forwarded him some of the threads on here about DW so hopefully he fixes it tomorrow. I am so pi$$ed off...
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:01 PM   #6
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Wow dude, I'd be pissed too When you say you just bought, how long we talking? I would think that would be something the dealer you bought it from should take care of if it's not safe to drive! DW can be a "b" to track down. I bought mine from a private party and had it also. Lots of advice here helped, replaced shocks alone and did it, then replaced stabilizer. But to have a dealer try that, sucks Good luck.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:50 AM   #7
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Wow dude, I'd be pissed too When you say you just bought, how long we talking? I would think that would be something the dealer you bought it from should take care of if it's not safe to drive! DW can be a "b" to track down. I bought mine from a private party and had it also. Lots of advice here helped, replaced shocks alone and did it, then replaced stabilizer. But to have a dealer try that, sucks Good luck.
I signed the papers Friday, drove it over the weekend (because I wanted to drive it), dropped back off on Monday for him to get it fixed. He is like a really small lot, not a dealer, and he took it to the guy in town who specifically does Jeeps. This guy used to work at a Jeep dealer and is now runs a private shop where does a lot of custimzation and lift stuff. However the guy says he has only seen "real" DW 3 times.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:08 AM   #8
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What kind of lift does it have? Who makes it etc? Any pic's? Front track bar, control arms, tires etc all can play a part.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:26 AM   #9
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2005 Used Jeep Wrangler ROCKY MOUNTAIN 4.0 LITER at The Auto Link in Bartonville, IL, IID 5437733

That's the jeep, I doubt you can tell much about the lift from those pics. I certainly don't know the answers to your questions...yet.

The tires on it have also been replaced with a slightly smaller set.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:34 AM   #10
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Just a guess but it looks like a 3.5" rubicon express lift.. maybe. Also in the one front suspension photo it appear you still have the stock trac-bar. which could be some of the issue. What you need to look at is if it is the stock bar.. did they drill a new hole next to the factory mount hole on the axle passenger side mount.. IF so..that is bad..you want to get a front adjustable bar in there at the factory hole. That might help with the dw. Nice looking jeep btw.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:38 AM   #11
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It says in the listing no body work, but and I may be wrong but haven't the fender flares been repainted at least?
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:03 AM   #12
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Just a guess but it looks like a 3.5" rubicon express lift.. maybe. Also in the one front suspension photo it appear you still have the stock trac-bar. which could be some of the issue. What you need to look at is if it is the stock bar.. did they drill a new hole next to the factory mount hole on the axle passenger side mount.. IF so..that is bad..you want to get a front adjustable bar in there at the factory hole. That might help with the dw. Nice looking jeep btw.
One of the first things the shop guy did was replace the track bar with an adjustable one from one of his Jeeps, but the problem persisted.

I'll keep you guys posted as to how this develops throughout the day. I really NEED it to be done today as I am heading up to Chicago for Cubs/White Sox and the Hawks Championship parade!!

Regardless, this forum has been great so far, glad I joined!
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:04 AM   #13
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It says in the listing no body work, but and I may be wrong but haven't the fender flares been repainted at least?
They are an addition or repaitned, there are also aftermarket bumpers and steps on it, so some definite work has been done. The guy who owns the lot knew it but the listing may be incorrect.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:07 AM   #14
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Can anyone tell me what the "Rocky Mountain Edition" has different than the standard?
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:20 AM   #15
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rocky mtn has painted fend flairs, and... the dana 44 rear axle. and some other minor cosmetic items.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:30 AM   #16
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Can you tell me a little more about the dana 44
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:55 AM   #17
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It sounds like you're experiencing bump-steer. Death Wobble is extreme bump-steer that doesn't stop on it's own.

Most of the time bump-steer is corrected by front and rear adjustable trackbars. Now just slapping those on doesn't cut it. They need adjusted to get the axles corrected. If that doesn't cut it, I'd recheck the alignment. Something might be off. You should post us the readout showing your suspension specs if you can. If it's maxed, you might need some rear upper control arms to fine tune the alignments. Jeeps don't like to be messed up too much. The higher a Jeep goes, the more finely tuned it needs to be.

Before you buy any of that sh*t though, I'd just inspect the suspension real well. Worn arm bushing, loose drag link, worn tie rods, loose lug nuts, or a tire not balanced perfectly enough will all cause bump-steer. Don't purchase any parts unless you confirm those components are ok, and check out the alignment specs.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:02 AM   #18
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It sounds like you're experiencing bump-steer. Death Wobble is extreme bump-steer that doesn't stop on it's own.

Most of the time bump-steer is corrected by front and rear adjustable trackbars. Now just slapping those on doesn't cut it. They need adjusted to get the axles corrected. If that doesn't cut it, I'd recheck the alignment. Something might be off. You should post us the readout showing your suspension specs if you can. If it's maxed, you might need some rear upper control arms to fine tune the alignments. Jeeps don't like to be messed up too much. The higher a Jeep goes, the more finely tuned it needs to be.

Before you buy any of that sh*t though, I'd just inspect the suspension real well. Worn arm bushing, loose drag link, worn tie rods, loose lug nuts, or a tire not balanced perfectly enough will all cause bump-steer. Don't purchase any parts unless you confirm those components are ok, and check out the alignment specs.
The more and more I think about it the more I am thinking the tires/wheels might be the problem. We'll see what he says though, I am going to call him at lunch and see what he is thinking. Cross your fingers for me.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:28 AM   #19
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The more and more I think about it the more I am thinking the tires/wheels might be the problem. We'll see what he says though, I am going to call him at lunch and see what he is thinking. Cross your fingers for me.
WRONG.

Just talked to him. He put the tires / wheels from his Jeep on it and the problem was still there. Checked the trac-bar. Loose.

Said he thinks the old tires wore out the old-trac bar. Has the part in hand, and will be able to install that and do my brakes/speedometer by the end of the day.

SCORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(ASSUMING THIS SOLVES THE PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:08 PM   #20
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That's great if this fixes it. Sometimes bumpsteer is a major PITA to nail down.

Get used to this though. Bumpsteer is a common problem with lifted Jeeps. 90% of the time though it's because you've got a tire going out of balance and/or you need a rotation. So ALWAYS start there. Another 5% is alignment. If you offroad it's not too hard to knock that front end out. The final 5% is worn components or something loosened up.

I'll add one more word of advice. In the future when bumpsteer or DW show up, NEVER accept a steering stabilizer as the fix. It'll mask the real issue. If you drive on rough roads and let go of the wheel and get a slight wobble, that's ok to use a SS on. You shouldn't FEEL it though, only see a very slight wobble. Anything more the problem is hiding in the suspension or tires.

I'm fighting some mild bumpsteer too. Mines a tire though. I had some out of control death wobble last week from throwing a weight. DW is gone, but now it's bumpsteer. I balanced my tires myself and was in a hurry. I don't think I did it well enough.

Good luck though. If it returns or isn't fixed let's see what your alignment looks like
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:18 PM   #21
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That's great if this fixes it. Sometimes bumpsteer is a major PITA to nail down.

Get used to this though. Bumpsteer is a common problem with lifted Jeeps. 90% of the time though it's because you've got a tire going out of balance and/or you need a rotation. So ALWAYS start there. Another 5% is alignment. If you offroad it's not too hard to knock that front end out. The final 5% is worn components or something loosened up.

I'll add one more word of advice. In the future when bumpsteer or DW show up, NEVER accept a steering stabilizer as the fix. It'll mask the real issue. If you drive on rough roads and let go of the wheel and get a slight wobble, that's ok to use a SS on. You shouldn't FEEL it though, only see a very slight wobble. Anything more the problem is hiding in the suspension or tires.

I'm fighting some mild bumpsteer too. Mines a tire though. I had some out of control death wobble last week from throwing a weight. DW is gone, but now it's bumpsteer. I balanced my tires myself and was in a hurry. I don't think I did it well enough.

Good luck though. If it returns or isn't fixed let's see what your alignment looks like
Yep I'm with ya. I will not be offroading much (if at all) so hopefully it is not a constant issue.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:24 PM   #22
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I went through the same thing: bought a used, lifted jeep from a small town used car lot. I now realize the 2 mistakes in that sentence: bought a non-stock jeep and bought it from a used car dealer. Doh! Naturally, a month or two later, I got DW....bad. As I now know, the PO cut just about every corner possible while lifting the Jeep to save every dollar he could.

I tried a handful of things, shot through 2 stabilizers and a tie rod, and finally fixed it with an adj front track bar. No local dealer could/would help me....they all hid behind 'its not stock'. Oh well.....at least I learned to fix my jeep.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:08 PM   #23
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I went through the same thing: bought a used, lifted jeep from a small town used car lot. I now realize the 2 mistakes in that sentence: bought a non-stock jeep and bought it from a used car dealer. Doh! Naturally, a month or two later, I got DW....bad. As I now know, the PO cut just about every corner possible while lifting the Jeep to save every dollar he could.

I tried a handful of things, shot through 2 stabilizers and a tie rod, and finally fixed it with an adj front track bar. No local dealer could/would help me....they all hid behind 'its not stock'. Oh well.....at least I learned to fix my jeep.
Did the same thing! Only my small lot dealer is paying to fix the DW....because the original owner cut corners like yours did!

Turns out the front trac bar didn't solve the problem. The mechanic removed the rear bar and it went away, so installing an adjustable rear should solve the problem.

I see you are in Metamora...the best Jeep guy in town is at Scott Automotive over by the airport...you can google it. I am in Peoria myself
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:54 PM   #24
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Yep, death wobble cured by taking out the rear trac-bar. Mech. said 50% of jeepers he knows don't even use one, so told me to drive it for a month and see how I like the ride.

It rides good but I get a tiny bit of bump steer... but no real big deal He thinks adding an adjustable rear trac / adding an oversized steering stabilizer sould solve the problem, because the one in mine is stock. He said you kind of just have to add one ot see if it solves, then if it doesn't just add the other.

So I wil drive for awhile and probably get the steering stab. unless someone here tells me different. The only other issue is I get some rear end noise cruisng around 50-60 mph, but he said he thinks the noise won't get any different for another 100k, so just leave it alone unless it really starts to annoy me. Said the time to do it would be if I get narrower rims/bigger tires and want to adjust gear ratio..or something to that effect.

All in all Jeep is in front of my house and it works!

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