I am looking for some advice, I hesitate to post in an open forum because i know there will be many different opinions. I've read through numerous threads on the varying issues here, so it will be interesting to see what you guys think. I'm not too proficient with posting on here, but I've uploaded some pictures for reference to my gallery, hopefully. If needed, I can post them here in this thread as well.
The issue: I am experiencing death wobble, along with some other issues, but it all starts with that. I have made few modifications to the jeep, it was purchased as is, so I am not sure of the type of lift and components, but I believe it is a rough country from the looks of it. The springs in the front measure 15 3/4 inches and 12 1/2 inches in the rear. The front lower control arm mount on the passenger side was bent while wheeling, so I had them cut off and new mounts welded on, along with the skids on them that you will see. All of the control arms have been loosened and re torqued to spec, along with all of the other components. The track bar in the front looks to have been moved over on the axle side, the hole was wallowed out. I re-drilled the hole and added a 1/2 grade 8 bolt. The rear track bar has a angled bracket added.
I am working on a severely limited budget, so the upgrades I do will have to be done in stages. I also understand the importance of not going the super cheap route, so I'm not opposed to waiting until I can purchase what is necessary. Just wondering if I should focus on the steering components first, or do the control arms, or all at the same time. I would like to replace the front track bar, tie rod, tie rod ends, ball joints, wheel hub assembly, and front u joints. Or is this overkill? For the control arm upgrade, I am either looking at the jj setup from currie, or using the rc long arm upgrade kit. Two totally different animals, I know. But they are about the same price, and for the type of driving I'll be doing, I think a long arm would suit my needs.
There is also a transfer case drop, so I will have to upgrade to a SYE in the near future as well. I understand this post seems a bit all over the place, but I feel there are way too many things wrong going on with this jeep, and I need to prioritize what needs to be fixed first, hopefully with the help of you guys. Any questions, feel free to ask. Your opinion counts, no thin skin here!
Did you notice that someone re-drilled and moved the track bar mount hole on the axle side very close to the edge of the mount plate? Some do that in order to re-center the front axle after a lift. It's not an ideal way to do that. Doing that leaves very little bracket material left at the edge of that hole. it may fail there eventually. I'm not saying that it is the cause of your DW, but it should be addressed none the less. There are many factors that lead to DW. With the engine turned off and on flat ground, have a buddy turn the steering wheel back and forth while you are under checking the tie rods and TB for excessive movement. Also, have your tires road force balanced. I've heard those Bighorns are fantastic offroad, but a little rough for DD street use. If you find the steering components are solid, the track bar is good, the ball joints are good, the unit bearings have no play in them, chances are it's your tires. Replacing the clevite bushings out of your control arms with a better design (ie Currie JJ's or MC Duroflex joints) will aid in eliminating DW also. Just my 2 cents.
Did you notice that someone re-drilled and moved the track bar mount hole on the axle side very close to the edge of the mount plate? Some do that in order to re-center the front axle after a lift. It's not an ideal way to do that. Doing that leaves very little bracket material left at the edge of that hole. it may fail there eventually.
A simple 1/8" plate welded to the axle bracket will fix that.
bobthetj03- yeah that was one of the first things I noticed, and addressed that in my first post. I was worried about that too, but the grade 8 bolt is doing it's job for now, as well as the bracket holding up. I will be replacing that with an adjustable track bar to get it back to the original mounting hole, along with a plate over it to beef it up. Bearings and bushings seem solid so far, I am however worried about the TRE's. specifically the one that connects the draglink to the pitman arm, it seems to be at an extreme angle, and the rubber boot is torn. I would like to replace this, but if the angle stays the same Im sure it will wear out again just as quickly. I have a feeling those fixed lower control arms are contributing to my dw, along with the fact that the uppers are stock. I had originally looked at currie jj's, but they are the same price as the rc longarm upgrade kit, so I'm tempted to go with that.
The RC longarm setup is tempting for sure. I just don't like the way it mounts. It drops your shovel even lower and the CA mounts hang down lower than I'd like. Also not sure what kind of quality the joints are. I'm not knocking the RC kit, just not my cup of tea. Good luck with your quest.
First things first. Get your tires dynamically balanced. This will involve them putting weights on both sides of the rim as needed. Make sure and take it to a shop that is familiar with Jeeps and let them know it has to be done very precisely. Always good to also take it to a shop that will give you a "Lifetime Balance" as I always lose weights after a good weekend wheeling. Then take it to an alignment shop and get it checked. Do not have them do an alignment just have them check it and have them give you the print out. Some shops will readily give you a print out and others will not so ask in advance. Any shop worth going to will do this for free. Then work on getting an adjustable front track bar to get the axle aligned under the Jeep. I recommend Currie's track bar as it has the least amount of problems of any track bar. You can get it through Savvy's website cheaper than anywhere else. Above all read through this thread.
I can't help you with death wobble as I was one of the lucky ones without it. I can say this though, when I lifted mine I opted for the cheaper (not better) relocation of the track bar mount, and I noticed that about once a week or every other I would have to tighten up the lower bolt on the track bar, or else I'd getting notorious popping noises everytime I touched the wheel. I splurged on a adj. track bar yesterday and also went with the Currie Correctlync and new ball joints. WOW!!! What a huge difference!!! Once I factored in the fact that the Currie comes with heavy duty ball joints and is a complete bolt on replacement the price was much more in line with the OEM ZJ parts I was considering from NAPA.
So far, with only about 50 miles (none on dirt) I am more than pleased with my choice!
After thoroughly checking everything, it seems that all of my TRE's are worn, along with my wheel bearings and front drive shaft u joint. The u joints for the front wheels seem to be okay, but I will replace those as well just to be on the safe side. Because of costs, I will have to do this upgrade in two phases. Initially, I would like to replace the wheel bearings, track bar and do the zj tie rod conversion. Next paycheck will be currie control arms all around, they seem to be my best option, especially over the rc longarm upgrade. As for the zj tie rod conversion and TRE's, I am looking at using Moog for all of my components. Just wondering if anyone out there can see a better option for the price? The next best thing would be Currie for about $150 more. I'm looking at $327 shipped for
As someone who has been there and done that, go for the Currie for 150 more. The difference in quality and heavy dutiness more than justifies the extra cost. The TRE's are way heavier and the overall girth of the steering componets....WOW!
I agree that the Currie steering if pure beef and definitely money well spent, but you have to weigh out the type of wheeling you plan to do against the extra cost and decide if it's worth it. For me, the ZJ setup was sufficient for the style of offroading I do, plus the ZJ tie rod has a benificial bend in it on the driver side to aid in clearance issues at full bump. Either way you go, you can't go wrong IMO. Good choice on the Currie arms! That upgrade alone will help with your DW issue.
Went ahead and pulled the trigger and ordered some spicer joints, currie currectlync, and the new HD JJ adj front track bar from savvy. Now it's just the waiting game. Once the taxes come in it will be time for the control arms. As soon as the parts start rolling in I'll post pics if anyone is interested.