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Old 09-29-2010, 10:06 PM   #1
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Washboard Roads

So, just bought my new 2011, 2dr flame red sport. This is my first Jeep experience. Thus far, fun as hell to drive and despite the deep divide here and elsewhere on the new interior, I think it is great myself!

My question is, we took it out on the dirt roads today, nothing too extreme. We hit some washboard roads at about 30 mph and I thought my teeth would fall out. I know washboard roads are a tough nut to crack for even tougher 4wd vehicles.

I read some posts that you can let the air out of your tires some. (That does not seem practical however for the occasional dirt road trip.) I also know you can drive faster, but then when I hit the gravel, I start swooshing around a lot which freaks me out.

So, with that said, what current ideas do you pros have that would reduce the washboard road super shakes suspension wise, or would anything really make that much of a difference for the money spent. I would rather not spend it if it won't change things much.

Thanks for any input!

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Old 09-29-2010, 10:15 PM   #2
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when I hit that sorta road I either slow down, or avoid the washy parts. I guess airing down would absorb the bumps a bit better. suspension seat? hehe

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Old 09-29-2010, 10:23 PM   #3
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SWB vehicles and washboard roads don't go well together.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:24 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'm with you, believe me, when I hit the washboard I slowed way down! When I said my teeth were going to fall out I was not kidding!

I guess I just wonder if higher end shocks then stock would be better or not really help all that much? Or any other parts for that matter?
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:26 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'm with you, believe me, when I hit the washboard I slowed way down! When I said my teeth were going to fall out I was not kidding!

I guess I just wonder if higher end shocks then stock would be better or not really help all that much? Or any other parts for that matter?
you can throw it in 4lo and just walk alongside the jeep when the roads get rough then you wont feel the bumps one bit
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:31 PM   #6
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Yeah, I'm with you, believe me, when I hit the washboard I slowed way down! When I said my teeth were going to fall out I was not kidding!

I guess I just wonder if higher end shocks then stock would be better or not really help all that much? Or any other parts for that matter?
Gas shocks would definitely help.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:44 PM   #7
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Slowing down helps a lot.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:45 PM   #8
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Walking along was not out of the question. The road was a heavy use road, lots of gravel, so, kind of took me by surprise as you could not see the washboard all that well, with the gravel and the setting sun in my eyes.

Since I did not know about the SWB vehicles on washboard, I was feeling cocky but got my ego quickly squashed. The other problem was, the stick shift was shaking so bad I could hardly grab it to down shift!

Tom - What brand gas shocks do you think would do the trick?
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:04 PM   #9
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one thing I learned this week was be careful with how much air you take outta your tires. Get them too soft and they are like a basketball on suspension. asking for a death wobble.
And that will shake yours and your Jeeps teeth out.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:22 PM   #10
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one thing I learned this week was be careful with how much air you take outta your tires. Get them too soft and they are like a basketball on suspension. asking for a death wobble.
And that will shake yours and your Jeeps teeth out.

Point noted.

I've read so much about death wobble that I both fear and respect the occurrence. Thus, I give sacrifice to the Death Wobble Daemons that my new jeep may not ever occur such wrath - not now or post warranty, nor myself of course.

Death Wobble Daemon Impersonator -
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:37 PM   #11
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Here are a few photos of the proud addition to the family. I can't take the full top off just yet as I'm heading back east on a trip and obviously need to take it with me. So, just the front panels are off for now.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:53 PM   #12
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hey nice red jeep!
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:57 PM   #13
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Thanks Bob, it makes me smile. And I think it is growing on my wife. My daughter does not like it however, so, I asked her to move out and finish college without our support. JK = Just kidding err.. JK = Jeep?
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:59 PM   #14
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Adjustable shocks will take care of the problem you are having on whatever road you choose. I run Rancho 9000s, but there are other adjustable ones too.
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:36 AM   #15
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Just air down.
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:58 AM   #16
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Live axles and short wheelbase make Jeeps one of the worst on washboard roads.

A better overall suspension helps tremendously and often obviates the need for airing-down.

But, as was already stated, nothing beats airing-down.
Except that you have stock tires... ...and it will still help, just not as much...

How are you planning to build it out and use it? Better tires go hand in hand with a lift, better springs, dampers, etc.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:26 AM   #17
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I prefer Bilstein.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:16 PM   #18
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I prefer Bilstein.
Me too; a pair of Billies and the right spring rate.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:29 PM   #19
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Take the washboards at an angle; not perpendicular to them. This means you'll be weaving across the road back and forth. As long as nobody else is on it, you'll notice a big difference.

Airing down will help as well.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:34 PM   #20
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Everyday I have to deal with washboards on the way to and from home. I slow down, or drive on the other side of the road.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:37 PM   #21
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When I've got "some distance" to drive on KNOWN washboard and I'm pulling my trailer--

I slow down and also change my shock setting on the JKU and air down the trailer tires to 15 psi--no problemo !!

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Old 09-30-2010, 12:42 PM   #22
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I have found that driving slow will help, or driving faster helps.
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:31 PM   #23
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Thanks for the info everyone. I'll definitely look into the higher grade shocks and utilize the other advice!
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:41 PM   #24
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I have found that driving slow will help, or driving faster helps.
One big problem with driving faster on washboard; crashing. Especially in a curve. Doesn't even need to be that quick either.
Wheel hops, it skips, it slides, it might just take you off the side of that mountain...

Washboarding is the result of vehicle suspensions reaching a critical speed and return dynamic; it happens over many many cycles or happens relatively quickly, depending on the road aggregate.
It's been debated around campfires for years but my theory is that the vehicle (or class of vehicles) that goes through the stricken area the most creates the dominant effect, its Soft-sphere Dynamics are the ones that determine the period of the gaps, and they are the ones that can rhythmically ride them out.

Lighten your unsprung mass (biggest cause in the creation of washboarding, btw), have springs at the proper rate, good dampeners (adjustable if you like), air-down if appropriate, and go slowly.
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:48 PM   #25
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One big problem with driving faster on washboard; crashing. Especially in a curve. Doesn't even need to be that quick either.
Wheel hops, it skips, it slides, it might just take you off the side of that mountain...

Washboarding is the result of vehicle suspensions reaching a critical speed and return dynamic; it happens over many many cycles or happens relatively quickly, depending on the road aggregate.
It's been debated around campfires for years but my theory is that the vehicle (or class of vehicles) that goes through the stricken area the most creates the dominant effect, its Soft-sphere Dynamics are the ones that determine the period of the gaps, and they are the ones that can rhythmically ride them out.

Lighten your unsprung mass (biggest cause in the creation of washboarding, btw), have springs at the proper rate, good dampeners (adjustable if you like), air-down if appropriate, and go slowly.
Oh I agree that slow is better, and any time I come across washboards, they arent on the side of mountains. Id never take anything fast if it put me in a bad situation. The washboards I end up on, are always the back roads or roads on the way up to a trail head. If I am looking at a flat washboard I tend to take it faster than slower, but if there are any other variables (turns, hillsides, etc) I will always take it slower
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:54 PM   #26
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Welcome and congrats on the new Jeep, man that thing is really red!!
I run a lot of gravel roads and forest roads, on some of them the smoothest path is to have one side nearly in the ditch...lol, If you're running mostly on blacktop, just drive slower on the washboard roads, if you are planning to wheel a lot, then upgrade mostly everything. What you are describing is a common symptom of a solid axles and short wheelbase, you can throw money at it and may be able to mask it some, it mostly depends on how you plan to use your Jeep.....
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:20 PM   #27
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Welcome and congrats on the new Jeep, man that thing is really red!!
I run a lot of gravel roads and forest roads, on some of them the smoothest path is to have one side nearly in the ditch...lol, If you're running mostly on blacktop, just drive slower on the washboard roads, if you are planning to wheel a lot, then upgrade mostly everything. What you are describing is a common symptom of a solid axles and short wheelbase, you can throw money at it and may be able to mask it some, it mostly depends on how you plan to use your Jeep.....
Yeah, just don't want to throw money at it and have it not help much. I don't plan on the heavy duty climbing some of you do, just traveling dirt roads in the high country with the wife is all. So, no lift, but some stronger suspension would probably be in order just to deal with bumps and washboard mostly.

My photos were a bit washed at first because it was so bright so I did some contrast on them which darkened the red color as a side effect, so, it is not quite that red.

Hilldweller - Your theory sounds very plausible to me. I think for the time being, when I'm out and about in the wild, I'll just take it slow, even with new super shocks. Just does not make sense to beat up the new rig - that comes a few years later as I understand it.

Off topic - I also did my first mod. I got half of the ugly orange sticker ripped off of the visor. Still struggling with the other half and the visors don't switch over like in some of the older models Wranglers, so, I suppose goo remover might be my next option??
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:39 PM   #28
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I'd recommend for your second mod. to protect the rocker panels.

Those will get chipped rather quickly.

I use my Jeep much like you are planning, logging roads, forest roads, some rugged terrain, but those days of hard wheelin' are over for me.
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:53 PM   #29
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I'd recommend for your second mod. to protect the rocker panels.

Those will get chipped rather quickly.

I use my Jeep much like you are planning, logging roads, forest roads, some rugged terrain, but those days of hard wheelin' are over for me.

I'll look into those panels, thanks for the heads up. When I was twenty, I did some really foolish things in my 88 Dodge Raider that nearly killed me and my family and yes, beer was involved. I'm so ashamed of that, that I will never do those types of things again. So, basic dirt roads for me as well.

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