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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-17-2014 01:35 PM
planman
Quote:
Originally Posted by blw2000 View Post
Or I can drop it off at your place for a couple grand if you can fix it! That's how much a new lift would cost and I might still have the problem. I am surprised how hard it is to find a good shop here in Portland, OR.
Northridge4x4 is about 180 miles from you.

If I had the time, I'd certainly come fix it for you for couple grand, plus parts.

It would be more cost-effective for you to have a buddy trailer it to Northridge4x4.
09-17-2014 12:59 PM
blw2000 Or I can drop it off at your place for a couple grand if you can fix it! That's how much a new lift would cost and I might still have the problem. I am surprised how hard it is to find a good shop here in Portland, OR.
09-17-2014 12:58 PM
blw2000 Planman, we appreciate the help but not all of us have the time or expertise to do this. That is why I took it to 2 dealers. And the Jeep only has 8K miles and never seriously offroaded. I don't want to personally get a PhD to figure out why my expensive new vehicle doesn't work - I am going to sell it. Even more so now, after seeing so many people even with stock jeeps having problems.

My question is, what is my financial hit going to be when I sell it? I can only sell it back to the dealer with full disclosure as I can't imagine giving someone else this problem...
09-17-2014 09:51 AM
planman Jerry is correct about the TJ video.

A slow dry steering test like the one in the video is to identify components that are flexing. That video is too far away and too dark to be able to see if anything is flexing.

A fast dry steering test (unlike the one in the video) is to identify clunks or movement in component ends that are worn or loose. This type of dry steering test is more likely to expose source(s) of the problem.
09-17-2014 09:47 AM
planman
Quote:
Originally Posted by blw2000 View Post
I have been battling this for a long time and have not found a solution. Two dealers have looked into it. I just replaced the trackbar with a massive metal cloak one - no improvement. I have replaced all the bolts with the synergy kit. Everything has been checked and double checked (please don't point me to planman again).

If I cross a certain set of railroad tracks over 40 MPH I get violent death wobble.

Mine has a Mopar 2 inch lift (installed by dealer when I bought it).

Here's the kicker - I bought it new, it is a 2010, and it only has 8K miles on it because nobody wants to drive it.

The last dealer said they don't do the Mopar lift, but instead only offer AEV, and that I should consider swapping out the Mopar for the AEV lift. But they make no guarantees it will resolve the issue!

Long story short, I love my Jeep, but am leery of ever doing a lift again. I think I am going to trade it in to the dealer and by a new JK as there really is nothing like it (no doors and no top!). Does that make me crazy?
Your DW is due to improper installation, or worn or loose parts. Since you have had multiple episodes of DW, it is likely that several of your front end components have been damaged.

If you haven't found the source(s), it is because you haven't inspected everything in my JK written checklist, or it is because you relied on an incompetent dealer tech to do it.

The DW has nothing to do with your particular lift.

I did the 2 YouTube videos to show how easy a basic inspection can be, and that there is no excuse for an able-bodied JK owner to rely on someone else to do a basic inspection.

However, with multiple episodes of DW, the full written inspection checklist should be completed--especially if the sources are not immediately apparent with a basic inspection.

Most likely, what happened in your situation is that the trackbar bolts were not torqued to 125 ft lbs after the lift, and/or the trackbar and control arm bolts were not loosened when the lift was installed and only re-torqued after the full weight of the vehicle was back on the springs/axle/tire/ground at the new ride height.

Either from loose bolts or twisted/pre-loaded/binding rubber bushings, your jeep experienced episodes of DW that damaged the drag link ends and ball joints, and the episodes ovaled/wallowed out the front trackbar bracket bolt holes.

Your jeep is fixable. A competent tech should be able to perform a thorough inspection in about an hour. A weekend mechanic from your local 4x4 club or a fellow jeeper might take up to 2 hours to do a thorough inspection. A completely inexperienced person who watches my 2 YouTube videos should be able to do a basic inspection in less than an hour.
09-17-2014 09:38 AM
Jerry Bransford
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2004TJLucas View Post
Any ideas guys?
That video was not helpful at all... it was taken from too far away, it was too dark, and it was impossible to clearly see any of the areas (like the passenger side track bar mount) that could have been loose. What I already recommended above was you have a helper turn the steering wheel back & forth while you look closely at the front end... it's not hard to figure out when something has unwanted movement caused by a problem vs. something whose movement is normal. I still recommend that approach.
09-17-2014 09:26 AM
planman
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2004TJLucas View Post
Any ideas guys?
Here is a TJ inspection checklist:

Quote:
Originally Posted by planman
DIAGNOSIS CHECKLIST
  1. Assuming your tire psi is appropriate for the service description/load range of
    the tire, given the weight of your rig and width of your wheels (often about 26-30 psi for a TJ), and assuming your tires/wheels have been balanced and rotated to make sure the wobble doesn't move with the rotation, and that your tire tread wear is not feathered or cupped, move on to the next steps.
  2. Remove the steering stabilizer for the inspection because it will mask/buffer the following items if left attached.
  3. (Dry Steering Test) Have someone turn the engine on and turn the steering wheel with short, sharp, quick back and forth turns of the steering wheel between the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions while you listen and feel the tie rod, drag link, sector shaft, trackbar, bracket welds, and the component ends for clunks, knocks, worn parts/ends, etc. (If your tires are not too large, sometimes it is easier to hear clunks if you do this step with the engine not running, but with the key in the ignition.)
  4. (Dry Steering Test continued) Then, do the same thing but slowly from full lock to full lock while I visually, manually (with my hands on the components), and auditorily inspect for flexing components--trackbar, drag link, tie-rod, brackets, steering box, etc. Look to make sure that the steering stops on the knuckles stop the full lock turn before the steering box stops turning the sector shaft and pitman arm.
  5. Then, because the Dry Steering Test may have not exposed ovaled bolt holes, separated bushings, or cracked bracket welds, I would remove the front trackbar to inspect the axle bracket bolt holes for ovaling and inspect the trackbar bushings for separation or cracking with a long screw driver through the bolt sleeve and the trackbar in a vise to leverage against the bushing in all directions. I would also inspect the frame side bracket for damage and the frame side end of the trackbar for up and down play using a channel lock pliers. If all is good, I would reinstall the trackbar with the tires on the ground at ride height to 55 lbs at the axle side and 65 lbs at the frame side.
  6. Then, I would inspect the drag link end joints by using a large channel lock pliers that gave me enough leverage to check for up-and-down play in the drag link ends. There should not be any meaningful up and down play. If there is, the ends should be replaced, or a new drag link with heavy duty joints should be installed. After, I would check the torque of the drag link ends. Taller lifts magnify the problems of bad drag link ends.
  7. Then, I would inspect the tie rod ends with the channel lock pliers for up-and-down and in-and-out movement. There should be no meaningful play. There should only be rotational movement in the joint ends.
  8. Then, I would put the front axle on jack stands with the tires about 2" off the ground and check the front ball joints by using a long pry bar as a lever under the front tires to lift them up to inspect for up and down play in the lower ball joints. There shouldn't be more than maybe 1-2 mm.
  9. Then, I would use the prybar/lever against the frame, or usually, just my hands to yank in and out on the top of the tire to inspect for lateral movement of the top ball joints. There shouldn't be any. If you have a lighter tire/wheel combo, you can easily do this by hand.
  10. Then, I would remove the front tires/wheels and remove the front tie rod--one knuckle at a time. Then with a large wrench or vice grips, I would inspect the end for side to side play. Then I would reinstall the end and torque to spec (20 ft. lbs.) and repeat on the other side.
  11. Then, I would remove the brake calipers and brake disks to inspect the unitbearings for play.
  12. Then, I would reinstall the discs, brake calipers, and tires/wheels and set the axle back on the ground.
  13. Then, I would support, but not lift, the front axle with a floor jack and loosen the front lower control arm bolts. One at a time, I would drop the lower control arms to inspect the bolt holes and bushings (similar to with the trackbar), reinstall without torquing, and do the next one. Afterwards, remove the floor jack so the suspension is at ride height, vigorously rock the vehicle side-to-side and front-and-back, then torque to spec. (LCAs frame side 130 ft lbs, LCAs axle side 85 ft lbs, and upper CAs 55 ft lbs.
  14. Next, I would inspect the sector shaft that comes out of the steering box for cracking or twisting of the splines.
  15. Then, I would take a test drive without the steering stablizer to feel for any wobbles.
  16. Finally, I would reinstall the steering stablizer or spring $40 for a heavy duty steering stablizer. If this front end inspection does not diagnose and/or solve it, then I would move to an alignment.
  17. I would use adjustable lower front control arms to set my caster spec between 4 and 5 degrees--with a cross caster that has less on the driver side than the passenger side. I would personally not do more or less, with a target around 4.5-4.7 degrees caster.
  18. If my camber is out of spec, but it is not due to failed ball joints, I would install offset ball joints to get my camber in spec.
  19. I would set my toe-in to spec on the machine--which is about a 1/16" to 1/8" toe-in, depending on tire size.
  20. If my front to rear thrust angle alignment is off, I would install rear lower adjustable control arms to fix this. With all this, I highly doubt you do not find the source.

The last ditch thing if there is a non-DW, speed dependent range wobble, I would borrow a different set of wheels and tires to see if it changes, and I would try driving it with no front driveshaft to see if that changes anything.

Although it is always a good idea to inspect your axle shaft u-joints, they will not cause DW.

The most common sources of full on DW are:
  • Improperly torqued trackbar bolts
  • Damaged trackbar and control arm bushings because bolts were torqued on a car lift or while the vehicle was not at ride height with the tires on the ground. When you torque trackbar and control arm bolts, the bracket pinches the bolt sleeve in the bushing, as well as the bushing itself. If this is at a geometry other than actual ride height, the bushings are twisted/bound/pre-loaded, and they will eventually fail/separate/etc. If you have a flex joint end, this does not apply for that end.
  • Ovaled out trackbar bracket holes due to DW episodes from loose bolts.
09-16-2014 05:25 PM
blw2000 I have been battling this for a long time and have not found a solution. Two dealers have looked into it. I just replaced the trackbar with a massive metal cloak one - no improvement. I have replaced all the bolts with the synergy kit. Everything has been checked and double checked (please don't point me to planman again).

If I cross a certain set of railroad tracks over 40 MPH I get violent death wobble.

Mine has a Mopar 2 inch lift (installed by dealer when I bought it).

Here's the kicker - I bought it new, it is a 2010, and it only has 8K miles on it because nobody wants to drive it.

The last dealer said they don't do the Mopar lift, but instead only offer AEV, and that I should consider swapping out the Mopar for the AEV lift. But they make no guarantees it will resolve the issue!

Long story short, I love my Jeep, but am leery of ever doing a lift again. I think I am going to trade it in to the dealer and by a new JK as there really is nothing like it (no doors and no top!). Does that make me crazy?
09-16-2014 01:24 AM
busbreath Don't forget overinflated tires too! Those tire and alignment shops will fill your tires to the posted max. 33's should be about 25-28 lbs. Filling to 35 psi will also agravate a dw situation.
09-15-2014 09:43 PM
2004TJLucas Any ideas guys?
09-14-2014 08:26 PM
2004TJLucas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Have a helper turn your steering wheel repeatedly back & forth, back & forth, while you lay in front and look the steering system over for things that are moving that shouldn't be moving. Like the passenger-side mount of the track bar shouldn't moving at all....if it has any side-to-side movement while the steering is being worked back & forth, that can allow DW to develop when triggered by something else like a bump in the road or an out of balance tire. Look for things that are bolted together that have slop in them that allow things to move as you do the steering test. Tires must be fully on the ground for this test, the engine can be running to make it easier for the person turning the steering wheel.

What is probably the #1 cause of Death Wobble? A bad tire or an out of balance tire.
Jeep tj DW - YouTube
09-14-2014 02:44 PM
Jerry Bransford
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2004TJLucas View Post
If it wasn't that what's ur next recommendation.
Have a helper turn your steering wheel repeatedly back & forth, back & forth, while you lay in front and look the steering system over for things that are moving that shouldn't be moving. Like the passenger-side mount of the track bar shouldn't moving at all....if it has any side-to-side movement while the steering is being worked back & forth, that can allow DW to develop when triggered by something else like a bump in the road or an out of balance tire. Look for things that are bolted together that have slop in them that allow things to move as you do the steering test. Tires must be fully on the ground for this test, the engine can be running to make it easier for the person turning the steering wheel.

What is probably the #1 cause of Death Wobble? A bad tire or an out of balance tire.
09-14-2014 02:05 PM
2004TJLucas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
I didn't make that suggestion of getting the tires perfectly balanced lightly... which is specifically why I said not all tire shops will take the time to get them balanced well enough to prevent or cure this problem. I already assumed you had gotten them balanced at some point. I thought I had emphasized that perfect balance point enough but I guess not.

I have had to return to a tire shop twice in the same day after their initial balance wasn't good enough... that meant three trips to the same tire shop in the same day until they got the tires balanced well enough... which is why I said the bigger the tire (your 33's for example), the more important that perfect tire balance becomes.
If it wasn't that what's ur next recommendation.
09-14-2014 11:39 AM
Jerry Bransford
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2004TJLucas View Post
I just spent 200+ dollars on life time alignment balancing and rotations the jeep is steering fine and balanced properly. Any other ideas Jerry
I didn't make that suggestion of getting the tires perfectly balanced lightly... which is specifically why I said not all tire shops will take the time to get them balanced well enough to prevent or cure this problem. I already assumed you had gotten them balanced at some point. I thought I had emphasized that perfect balance point enough but I guess not.

I have had to return to a tire shop twice in the same day after their initial balance wasn't good enough... that meant three trips to the same tire shop in the same day until they got the tires balanced well enough... which is why I said the bigger the tire (your 33's for example), the more important that perfect tire balance becomes.
09-14-2014 11:34 AM
2004TJLucas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Do NOT install a dropped Pitman arm... pay no attention to whoever gave you that totally bad advice. Many lifted vehicles require a dropped Pitman arm, but a Wrangler TJ has a much better front-end design so a dropped Pitman arm is seldom needed. Installing one when not required by other aftermarket modifications will just cause an additional problem called bump steer.

This problem is very commonly caused by nothing more than imperfectly balanced tires or even a bad tire. Most tire shops won't take the effort to get the tire balanced perfectly... and the bigger the tire on a TJ, the more important perfect tire balance becomes. A big tire that is out of balance can easily cause Death Wobble where a small factory size tire with the same imbalance may not.
I just spent 200+ dollars on life time alignment balancing and rotations the jeep is steering fine and balanced properly. Any other ideas Jerry
09-14-2014 11:32 AM
2004TJLucas
Quote:
Originally Posted by barnaclebob View Post
You may not need the 4". Sorry for the prev message. Autocorrect...
Thank you for the advice I have been recommended to do that by the mechanic as well. I feel as if that might be the next step but would only wanna make sure before I go ahead and do that
09-14-2014 11:25 AM
Jerry Bransford Do NOT install a dropped Pitman arm... pay no attention to whoever gave you that totally bad advice. Many lifted vehicles require a dropped Pitman arm, but a Wrangler TJ has a much better front-end design so a dropped Pitman arm is seldom needed. Installing one when not required by other aftermarket modifications will just cause an additional problem called bump steer.

This problem is very commonly caused by nothing more than imperfectly balanced tires or even a bad tire. Most tire shops won't take the effort to get the tire balanced perfectly... and the bigger the tire on a TJ, the more important perfect tire balance becomes. A big tire that is out of balance can easily cause Death Wobble where a small factory size tire with the same imbalance may not.
09-14-2014 10:55 AM
barnaclebob
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2004TJLucas View Post
Hey everyone please help me solve my DW problem! I have only had my jeep about a month and my parents are about to force me to sell it because of problems. I have a 2004 TJ with a 2 inch spacer lift sitting on metric tires that equal about 33s i just got my jeep aligned, rotated, and balanced, still have the DW i replaced my steering stabilizer and still have it! My DW starts at what says 47 mph but really is about 50-55 due to the tires throwing it off. i have checked for loose and warn parts as well as the 2 mechanics I’ve had do work on it and we haven’t found anything showing wear tear or anything like that. I was told getting a dropped pitman arm could fix the problem but i would love to stop spending money on things that rant completely needed, i would only like to spend the money to fix the DW, key word being fix not patch! Thank you everyone.
You may not need the 4". Sorry for the prev message. Autocorrect...
09-14-2014 10:46 AM
barnaclebob
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2004TJLucas View Post
Hey everyone please help me solve my DW problem! I have only had my jeep about a month and my parents are about to force me to sell it because of problems. I have a 2004 TJ with a 2 inch spacer lift sitting on metric tires that equal about 33s i just got my jeep aligned, rotated, and balanced, still have the DW i replaced my steering stabilizer and still have it! My DW starts at what says 47 mph but really is about 50-55 due to the tires throwing it off. i have checked for loose and warn parts as well as the 2 mechanics I’ve had do work on it and we haven’t found anything showing wear tear or anything like that. I was told getting a dropped pitman arm could fix the problem but i would love to stop spending money on things that rant completely needed, i would only like to spend the money to fix the DW, key word being fix not patch! Thank you everyone.
i had same issues with my 2003 when I put a 4" lift. Replaced most of the linkage and the let was a dropped pitman arm. A 4" drop put everything back into then right angle and spec. Bought on Amazon .
09-14-2014 10:00 AM
2004TJLucas Hey everyone please help me solve my DW problem! I have only had my jeep about a month and my parents are about to force me to sell it because of problems. I have a 2004 TJ with a 2 inch spacer lift sitting on metric tires that equal about 33s i just got my jeep aligned, rotated, and balanced, still have the DW i replaced my steering stabilizer and still have it! My DW starts at what says 47 mph but really is about 50-55 due to the tires throwing it off. i have checked for loose and warn parts as well as the 2 mechanics Iíve had do work on it and we havenít found anything showing wear tear or anything like that. I was told getting a dropped pitman arm could fix the problem but i would love to stop spending money on things that rant completely needed, i would only like to spend the money to fix the DW, key word being fix not patch! Thank you everyone.
09-12-2014 12:22 PM
Hewillfly
Quote:
Originally Posted by planman View Post
Yes.
Thanks man! I'll get those on order! I appreciate the help!
09-09-2014 08:12 AM
planman
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hewillfly View Post
Can the control arms be saved by changing out the bushings?
Yes.
09-07-2014 09:18 PM
Hewillfly Can the control arms be saved by changing out the bushings?
08-19-2014 06:24 PM
Whiskerfish That bracket (axle end) for the Track bar on my Wife's 05 is junk. I think the door panels are made from heavier gauge that that thing is (being factious). Anyway I welded a small plate on it and line reamed it up to the next size and things have been good for me for a good long while now. The most challenging part was Drilling out the bushing on the track bar to the next size. That was no joke, those bushings are some seriously hard stuff.
08-19-2014 02:01 PM
BirminghamTJ
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnukes View Post
I have read a lot of forums about the Death Wobble. I experienced it a couple times after placing a 2 in budget boost. I hear this quite frequently in the forums. I believe that it is also prevalent in the higher lifts, however not as many of those are on the road. Prior to placing the BB on my '05 LJ I had a slight shimmy right at 55mph. I have been chasing this issue for a couple of years now. I have new upper and lower ball joints, steering ball joints, control arm bushings, new tires, steering stabilizer, and probably something else I forgot. I have not gotten the true DW since the stabilizer, but continue to get the shimmy at 55 mph. Next on my list is to try a new adjustable track bar. I will report the results.
I would be willing to bet that the frame or axle side track bar bolt has worn out its bracket. I'd check it and if it is drill it out to 1/2" grade 8 minimum or weld new brackets on.
08-19-2014 01:22 PM
jnukes
DW continued

I have read a lot of forums about the Death Wobble. I experienced it a couple times after placing a 2 in budget boost. I hear this quite frequently in the forums. I believe that it is also prevalent in the higher lifts, however not as many of those are on the road. Prior to placing the BB on my '05 LJ I had a slight shimmy right at 55mph. I have been chasing this issue for a couple of years now. I have new upper and lower ball joints, steering ball joints, control arm bushings, new tires, steering stabilizer, and probably something else I forgot. I have not gotten the true DW since the stabilizer, but continue to get the shimmy at 55 mph. Next on my list is to try a new adjustable track bar. I will report the results.
07-25-2014 08:39 PM
Majnoon ^^ cool post!
07-25-2014 08:35 PM
44 Echo Death Wobble, for anyone who cares, is technically Harmonic Resonance. Everything that moves, hence rotates, resonates or vibrates as it moves. For this many vehicles, of a certain brand and type, including my TJ recently, this is an inherent design flaw. The total system was designed at or near its Harmonic Frequency, a point at which the vibration moves throughout the system, repeating itself at the exact same time the next vibration occurs, thus building on itself. As each vibration occurs it leaves a little bit of itself behind. Just one vibration eventually dissipates, getting fainter in time until ends. Normally, the vibration, or frequency, is offset so by the time the "leftover" shock of the initial wave starts to return, the next wave of energy slams into it from the opposite direction, thus canceling it. If, however, the first wave matches exactly the first, again they build on one another, growing in intensity. Engineers know this, and so they are supposed to test their designs so they know where the nodal point is, that point where the frequencies exactly match one another. Changing the mass, size, or shape of just one component can alter that frequency nodal point. One other point, as most point out, changing out a steering damper most likely is only masking the problem. With this much vibration, if you don't address the issue immediately, you're just wearing out parts. It is quite conceivable that if continued to drive, something could literally fail. Google the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, if you want to see Harmonic Resonance to the point of total failure. Imagine that being your front end.
02-23-2014 07:30 AM
BusinessRogue
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleOught View Post
A lot of things can contribute to DW but the track bar is the single most important item to prevent it. Also check your unit bearings and make sure they have no play. If a new stablilizer "fixed" it, you probably have other problems that you are not aware of.
Read back a few posts. I've replaced everything except the drag link, although I replaced its tie rod.

I know for a fact tires without any weights (completely unbalanced) will cause the vehicle to start DW at extremely low MPH.
02-23-2014 07:24 AM
DoubleOught A lot of things can contribute to DW but the track bar is the single most important item to prevent it. Also check your unit bearings and make sure they have no play. If a new stablilizer "fixed" it, you probably have other problems that you are not aware of.
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