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Old 05-04-2013, 02:35 AM   #1
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Please help!!! Death wobble

3 months ago I bought my first TJ after owning several YJ's, it's a 05 SE with 60k. After the first month I got the dreaded death wobble. I've searched for the culprit only to come up empty handed and its really frustrating. It's been to two dealership shops and they can't find anything wrong with it. The suspension is tight, ball joints are tight, it has a new trak-bar and stabilizer shock. I've rotated and balanced the tires, all of the bushings show no sign of wearing. I'm completely stumped. I can feel a slight vibration with play in the wheel around 40mph and like clock work at 50mph on the dot BAM!! Instant death wobbles EVERY TIME!!!! I have to hit the shoulder of the road and start all over again. If anybody has had this issue or can help me I'd be really grateful.

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Old 05-04-2013, 04:42 AM   #2
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I am by far no expert but have you looked at the 'sticky' thread at the top of the TJ forum.....if you have death wobble this is the place to go. I haven't had it but in there there are many details on possible causes and then fixes. Although you have already replaced/checked some of the usual culprits have a geez there and see if a solution is there

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Old 05-04-2013, 05:50 AM   #3
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How new are the tires? I know when mine were getting worn down this happened to me. Sometimes you have to get the tires re balanced.
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Old 05-04-2013, 09:06 PM   #4
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I'll check out the sticky, the tires look fine but I'll switch wheels and tires with my brothers XJ and see if that changes anything.
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Old 05-05-2013, 12:47 AM   #5
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Yes I have been there and done that. Check out the sticky as it has lots of good information. Mine went away with a good tire balance and new heavy duty Currie track bar.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:30 AM   #6
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I had wobble a few years back, had to replace my stabilizer and I was good as new, but there are a lot of culprits that could be to blame. Check this "sticky" and maybe you'll find your answer. Good luck. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/death-wobble-25090.html
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jricher82
I had wobble a few years back, had to replace my stabilizer and I was good as new, but there are a lot of culprits that could be to blame. Check this "sticky" and maybe you'll find your answer. Good luck. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/death-wobble-25090.html
A worn steering stabilizer will not cause DW.
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Old 05-05-2013, 12:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeep-Joker88 View Post
I'll check out the sticky, the tires look fine but I'll switch wheels and tires with my brothers XJ and see if that changes anything.
I had the same exact symptoms and had the tires balanced twice with no luck, swapped to better tires and its completely gone. I had Goodyear Wranglers on it that we're almost new and swapped to BFG ATs
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Old 05-05-2013, 01:08 PM   #9
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Balancing Jeep tires and car tires are two different beasts. Have the tires balanced at a shop that normally does Jeep tires. Close enough for a car can be a disaster for a Jeep.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Klereue View Post

I had the same exact symptoms and had the tires balanced twice with no luck, swapped to better tires and its completely gone. I had Goodyear Wranglers on it that we're almost new and swapped to BFG ATs
That's what's on there now, I'll probably switch tires with my brother and see if that cures it, if so then I'll have to shell out some dough for new tires I guess lol
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:19 PM   #11
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While imperfect tire balance can be a cause of DW, it is often a combination of bad tire balance & something being loose that lets DW get fully developed. Even a badly balanced tire won't cause DW if the front-end is tight enough to be able to dampen out the vibration. So even if you install brand-new tires, a bump in the road could be enough to trigger a fresh case of DW if something is still too loose. As suggested above, check your toe-in too because a bad toe-in can encourage (if not cause) DW.

Once triggered by a bad tire/tire balance or bump in the road, DW can be allowed to fully develop by by everything from loose shock bushings or a loose/worn/wallowed-out passenger-side track bar mount to bad control arms or bad control arm bushings.

It seems that nearly anything and everything that is bolted together on the front-end has been found to be part of the cause of DW in addition to the triggering events like bad tire balance or driving over a bad dip or bump in the road.

One method that can sometimes spot the loose culprit is to have a helper turn the steering wheel back & forth (tires on the ground) while you closely examine the front-end for something that is moving that shouldn't be.

And as mentioned above, a new steering stabilizer (more correctly known as a steering damper) is never (!!!) the cure for DW. A new steering damper may temporarily mask or hide the symptoms of DW, but it is only temporarily suppressing the symptoms of an underlying uncured issue.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:21 PM   #12
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I share your pain. I can't go over 50. Will be installing adj. track bars and replacing the bushings in the front end.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:26 PM   #13
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Another pretty common cause that can contribute and develop due to DW is the hole in the track bar bracket can become enlarged allowing for a loose fitment and wiggle room thus leading to DW.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:25 PM   #14
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Thank you all for the advice, bumps won't cause it its just when I hit 50mph no matter what. I've inspected every inch of the suspension and I can't find anything remotely loose or worn except the shocks but I don't see that being the underlying issue.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolf View Post
A worn steering stabilizer will not cause DW.
It did on mine, I'm not making it up. Thanks for your input though.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:32 PM   #16
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Check the front bearings. jack the front wheels off the ground and grab the top and bottom of the tire and wiggle it, if there's any play in it, it's the bearings. I had the same problem with mine
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:40 PM   #17
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It did on mine, I'm not making it up.
No it didn't, read the last sentence in post #11 above. Thinking a new steering damper cured DW is like thinking a band-aid cured a skin cancer.
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:05 AM   #18
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Check the front bearings. jack the front wheels off the ground and grab the top and bottom of the tire and wiggle it, if there's any play in it, it's the bearings. I had the same problem with mine
Already tried that, zero play. The front end is solid. I'm convinced its the tires. I noticed that they were cupped a little bit.
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:13 AM   #19
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I had a Bent front drive shaft,,,, The Four wheel shop found it.. After two years of DW and a lot of replacement parts,,,, New Tom Woods shaft and $65.00 labor Wow Cant believe the difference Now I can drive 70 mph NO problem!!!
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:18 AM   #20
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I FOUND IT!!! 😆 Lol the dealership replaced the track-bar but DID NOT replace the bushing?? It wasn't noticeably worn and didn't really give much but I pulled out the bolt and noticed some wear. I put a larger 7/8 bolt in and the dw was dramatically reduced. So off to the parts store to get a new one. I'll go poly.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:54 AM   #21
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Annnnnnnnnd I was wrong........ It was the tires. Goodyear wrangler 235's. bought some new wild country 31 10 50's and cured the issue.

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