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Old 10-07-2012, 02:18 PM   #1
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Fixing Death Wobble, but Before I Continue I Have a Question...

I have a '94 YJ with serious death wobble at 35 MPH. I have read many posts about this problem and I am fixing it myself. The death wobble started after I removed the 31" tires and put on 35" tires.

I got this Jeep used as a fun project. I think there is 2" or 3" of lift. It is used mostly on the street by my 16 year old son. But we will occasionally take it off-road.

I pulled all the steering components (tie rod, track bar, sway bar and stabilizer, etc.) and purchase all the new parts (see picture). I am also replacing the front axle U-Joints on both sides (they are shot) and both front calipers.

I see so many post regarding how folks have pulled the sway bar and track bar and like the ride better and I am having a heck of a time trying to remove the old sway bar links.

So before I put everything back, I'm wondering if I should leave the sway bar and track bar off and just install the steering linkage first and give it a test run?

Thanks,
Chris


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Old 10-07-2012, 02:29 PM   #2
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The sway bar needs to be reinstalled and you can get some disconnects for the trail. The track bar is the one everyone says to throw out and never install both the front and back. There are a ton of opinions on this. The new parts are all a plus how are the ball joints I assk because I am just finishing mine today.

With all this work line it up and then check tire pressures and hopefully it should be good to go.

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:14 PM   #3
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That wobble most likely is from those worn steering components. Adding those bigger tires put more stress on the linkage causing you to notice it more. I would install everything first and get an alignment and do a test run. I agree with jokerchief462 about checking those ball joints to make sure they are good. If the wobble was that bad at such a low speed, something must have been really loose. And if you can't get those sway bar links out just cut them out. Those new links come with nuts and everything you need. Give us an update when it’s back together, Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
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...how are the ball joints I assk because I am just finishing mine today.
Thanks for the response!

The ball joints look good. The dust boots look great and there are no cracks or leaks that I can see.

Man, I having a heck of a time trying to get the tie rod ends out out of the drag link. Those suckers are in tight.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:29 PM   #5
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lol, no problem. Try some PB Blaster or heat it up with a torch.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:30 PM   #6
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I'm with those guys. The track bars hold the frame/body and the axle tighter together. Removing them allows for more flex of the suspension. The sway bar stabilizes the frame/body from rolling on top of the axle, a similar function but much more noticable and important. Without a sway bar, it will feel more "top heavy", and will be more prone to flipping.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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If the wobble was that bad at such a low speed, something must have been really loose.
The steerng linkage was a mess, every ball joint dust cover was destroyed and they were packed with crap. However I suspect this was the cause of the wobble...

There was a homemade link attached to the track bar. It looks like the former owner purchase a stabilizer link, cut it in half and welded on a bolt. The bushing end was attached to the track bar and the other end was bolted to the axle housing where the track bar should have been bolted, and that bolt was loose.

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:46 PM   #8
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A couple of things without knowing all of your symptoms.
1. A sway bar has nothing to do with death wobble. I ran one on my yj because potholes would throw me over the centerline without it. My lj and cj currently have no sway bars but higher spring rated springs so no problems there.
2. If you replace factory tie rods with factory tie rods that is more than likely your problem. The factory tie rod requires a stabilizer because it so flexible that it needs help. Both my lj on 33's and my cj on 35's run searchers steering which is much much beefier. There are other manufacturers that offer tie rod upgrades as well but I decided to nix the flemsy rod ends. If you want the litmus test apply get under your jeep and push on the tie rod or drag link. You will see that they are quite flexible given their intended use.
3. A poor alignment will cause death wobble as well. You have done a number of modifications that would effect the toe in toe out. If you haven't aligned after all changes made it you may want to look at that.
4. Your tires may not be balanced. Sometimes its that simple and 35's can be difficult to get right.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:42 PM   #9
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I want to make sure the terminology I use is correct because I'm seeing different names being used for some parts and I'm getting a little confused...

Based on my Haynes manual there is the stabilizer bar and the track bar...

The stabilizer bar...
* This part has two links, one on each side that connect to the leaf spring bracket.
* Is this what people also refer to as the sway bar?

The track bar...
* This attaches to the frame on one end and to the axle housing on the other end
* I think this is the one most commonly removed which also softens the ride, correct?
* Is this what people also refer to as the stabilzer bar?

Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:03 PM   #10
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Stabilizer bar is called sway or anti sway bar.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:34 PM   #11
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Stabilizer bar is called sway or anti sway bar.
Very good! Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:37 PM   #12
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In simple terms, a stabilizer, anti-roll, or (anti) sway bar connects both wheels with each other and the frame/body. It forces the wheels to rise or lower together under force, like cornering. When you turn, the outside wheels lower and the inside wheels raise. The sway bar forces the inside wheel back down due to torsion from the downward pressure on the outside wheel, making the vehicle hug the road. It is almost always u shaped, and has multiple flex points.

A track bar (panhard bar) is a bar connecting the axle with the frame, in theory limiting its (the axles) lateral movement relative to the frame. However, leaf springs provide the needed rigidity in lateral motion, so the track bar on a wrangler (or any non coil) suspension really does 2 things: acts as a 2nd sway bar, limiting body roll, and it makes sure the axle can only move vertically in an arc equal to the radius of the track bars length. This means your wheels can't get far enough away fro the frame to crawl over that extreme obstacle.

You get a smoother ride without track bars because the wheels and axle can flex more independently of the frame, the whole point of suspension.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simspace View Post
The steerng linkage was a mess, every ball joint dust cover was destroyed and they were packed with crap. However I suspect this was the cause of the wobble...

There was a homemade link attached to the track bar. It looks like the former owner purchase a stabilizer link, cut it in half and welded on a bolt. The bushing end was attached to the track bar and the other end was bolted to the axle housing where the track bar should have been bolted, and that bolt was loose.


Whoa...WTF! i guess you gotta do what you gotta do to make it work
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:51 PM   #14
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How are your shocks? Mine were soo bad I had a hell of a shake. Put new ones on and it road so much smoother. Just a thought.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:46 AM   #15
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I too have a 94 wrangler with 31"s on it. I get death wobble at about 60mph. All tie rods and ball joints seem good. Rotated my tires in hopes that would fix it. No such luck. Any ideas? After reading this post I will check my shocks. Could it be possible that just my steering stabilizer shock is bad?
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:38 PM   #16
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I changed that also when I changed out my shocks.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:19 PM   #17
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I too have a 94 and was getting a good shake between 60-65 and then would go away. This morning while decelerating at about 50 I thought the whole front end was coming apart. Everything seems tight though. I will lift it tonight to see if anything moves. Any suggestions would help. That really made my sphincter pucker up on my way to work this morning. Kinda nervous to drive home.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:51 PM   #18
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Well, have you gotten is all together and driven it yet?

Im curious to find out if your death Wobble is gone.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:06 AM   #19
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Had all four tires balanced and rotated. No more shakes. Seems too easy though. Still nervous at 60-65. Gonna replace stabilizer, track bar bushings and shocks soon. For piece of mind if nothing else.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:49 PM   #20
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Going from 31" to 35" is a big jump in tire sizes... I would look at replacing the steering stabalizer. From your picture up top, that looks just like the stabalizer I installed (stock) I would go with an upgraded one. Check out Rough Country stabalizers or something.

Just my .02 cents...
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:43 PM   #21
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Stabilizer doesnt fix the root problem of death wobble. A well working front end can run without one and have no wobbles.

I would say balljoints, loose tierods, and toe out of alignment , and unbalanced tires are the usual culprits .

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