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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-12-2014 06:42 PM
kjeeper10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdonathan View Post
I have a 1990 Jeep YJ Wrangler. A rather large tree fell on the hood and damage is quite extensive. I have repaired most of the damage. My question is the drivers side front tire is considerably cantered in at the top. What would usually bend to cause this condition. I have jacked it up and spin the tire and there is no wobble. runs straight. any ideas would be appreciated Thank you
Axle. have it aligned. If the axle tube is bent, both tires should show negative camber.
12-12-2014 05:48 PM
jdonathan I have a 1990 Jeep YJ Wrangler. A rather large tree fell on the hood and damage is quite extensive. I have repaired most of the damage. My question is the drivers side front tire is considerably cantered in at the top. What would usually bend to cause this condition.
I have jacked it up and spin the tire and there is no wobble. runs straight.
any ideas would be appreciated
Thank you
11-01-2014 10:46 PM
kjeeper10 People with multiple DW episodes can develop steering box issues. You mentioned flex or play in the sector shaft. I would bring focus to the steering box.
11-01-2014 08:38 PM
Kiddmen57 All the rubber bushings look new too....
11-01-2014 08:35 PM
Kiddmen57 Pretty much. DW'd then to tire shop for balance and rotate. Home and went through the checklist. Found slight play in drag link ends and upper driver ballpoint had visible vertical movement. All other TREs were solid and all bolts checked out good.

Haven't done alignment yet for reasons stated earlier.

A couple DW episodes later including one after installing a new drag link and going through the checklist note the tie rod ends are now seemingly loose. Track bar still torqued and re-checked holes- no sign whatsoever of ovaling.

I know the dampener is toast but is just a bandaid. Sector shaft appears to have some flex in it, hard to tell by eye. There is a clunk though from it when going back and forth. Thus new tie rod, Ball joints, and adding a sector shaft brace and compatible track bar.

Once I'm done with those items I'll get an alignment and have the tires balanced again just for good measure.
11-01-2014 06:42 PM
planman
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiddmen57 View Post
So I am just now experiencing the horrors of DW. I have just under 20K on my 2013 JKUR and 15k since I did my AEV 3.5 lift. I followed all the proper setup procedures (torquing under load etc) and the jeep has been a dream to drive since. That is until this week when I hit a construction plate in the road and went into full on DW, first time it ever happened. Had to stop in the road and continue. Happened twice more before I got home. Found this article and checked the front end out. A bit of history...I grease the chassis/ driveline components, rotate tires, check major component torques, and change oil every 3K miles. As I went through the front end I noted that the drag link TREs were looking a bit worn and the upper driver balljoint has a bit of vertical play (visually able to see it). So I ordered a new drag link. This did not solve the issue and I had a DW episode on my test drive (same initial DW construction plate). So I went over everything again, my TB holes are not ovaled, the bolt hasn't moved since originally installed (yes i used 9/16 upgrades on the TB). Now my mind is going crazy. The TREs on the tie rod seem worn out now, I still have a clunk in the drag link (brand new Synergy) which I think might be the sector shaft and still don't have a definitive solution. Again, my track bar has been 100% fine every time i've checked it. Now, I did not yet check alignment, tires were balanced immediately after the first DW day and rotated as well. So now my plan is new ball joints, new synergy tie rod, track bar, track bar and sector arm brace, fox ATS stabilizer (my OME blew with the first DW episode) and after all that an alignment and another tire balancing. I Just have this sickness in my gut that makes me think it'll still be there after all this and $1600 in new parts and alignment. 2013 JKUR with AEV 3.5 SC (with geo correcting brackets) and BFG AT 315/70's on stock wheels with 1.5 spidertrax spacers (also torque checked every tire rotation - never one loose). Im just really hoping that replacing/ upgrading all the steering components and such will fix this as I never did find one smoking gun, but a couple minor possibly worn parts.
Did you perform the comprehensive inspection checklist in post number two of this thread, all in one sitting?
11-01-2014 06:20 PM
Kiddmen57 So I am just now experiencing the horrors of DW. I have just under 20K on my 2013 JKUR and 15k since I did my AEV 3.5 lift. I followed all the proper setup procedures (torquing under load etc) and the jeep has been a dream to drive since. That is until this week when I hit a construction plate in the road and went into full on DW, first time it ever happened. Had to stop in the road and continue. Happened twice more before I got home. Found this article and checked the front end out.

A bit of history...I grease the chassis/ driveline components, rotate tires, check major component torques, and change oil every 3K miles. As I went through the front end I noted that the drag link TREs were looking a bit worn and the upper driver balljoint has a bit of vertical play (visually able to see it). So I ordered a new drag link. This did not solve the issue and I had a DW episode on my test drive (same initial DW construction plate). So I went over everything again, my TB holes are not ovaled, the bolt hasn't moved since originally installed (yes i used 9/16 upgrades on the TB). Now my mind is going crazy. The TREs on the tie rod seem worn out now, I still have a clunk in the drag link (brand new Synergy) which I think might be the sector shaft and still don't have a definitive solution. Again, my track bar has been 100% fine every time i've checked it.

Now, I did not yet check alignment, tires were balanced immediately after the first DW day and rotated as well. So now my plan is new ball joints, new synergy tie rod, track bar, track bar and sector arm brace, fox ATS stabilizer (my OME blew with the first DW episode) and after all that an alignment and another tire balancing.

I Just have this sickness in my gut that makes me think it'll still be there after all this and $1600 in new parts and alignment.

2013 JKUR with AEV 3.5 SC (with geo correcting brackets) and BFG AT 315/70's on stock wheels with 1.5 spidertrax spacers (also torque checked every tire rotation - never one loose).

Im just really hoping that replacing/ upgrading all the steering components and such will fix this as I never did find one smoking gun, but a couple minor possibly worn parts.
09-04-2014 02:49 PM
ASE_MasterTech A mechanics take on "Death Wobble"

The kingpin axis inherent in every coil spring steerable solid live axle that I'm aware of, due to the nature of the available geometry, lends itself to a tire scrub radius prone to perpetuating wheel oscillation - resulting in 'Death Wobble'.

For lack of a simpler description;
Think of 'Scrub Radius' on a steerable solid axle as the usually calm pair of 800lb gorillas in the room..
Add in loose steering/suspension parts-higher lift/increased angles-larger tires-more rim offset-etc, etc.. now hitting a bump is like poking one of the gorillas, one gets upset-then both get upset-start fighting each other..
I think most can imagine the results of that scenario...

In other words, I don't believe any one of the above are a specific 'reason for' but more so a 'result of', the "geometrically dynamic" limitations inherent to these type suspension/steering systems.

You can't redesign the laws of physics so you'll have to take some bad with the good.
If you want a 'simple to lift-high articulation-solid live axle' like coil spring types, you're gonna have to deal with a negative aspect or two..
However, by keeping steering & suspension components tight, most shouldn't have any issues...
09-03-2014 08:08 PM
kjeeper10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wkdstx View Post
Just installed a RoughCountry 3.5" lift on my 2014 4 door JK. Followed everything in instructions to a tee (I thought). Took it for a test drive, "wa la" Death Wobble. And I mean bad. Slowly drove home and began dissecting components like Planman's write up. Loose bolt on the track bar mount at the axle. Bolt wasn't long enough to properly engage the lock nut and came Louise. Went to the hardware store and got longer Grade-8 and "bam" .......DW gone. I tried to hit small dips and pot holes to ensure my find was correct and I'm glad to report no issues. Going to alignment shop in the am. Thank you very much Planman, for a excellent write up.


Did you go through everything 100%
DW can cause a lot of damage. Worn track bar holes, ball joints, tre's, steering box/sector shaft.
Don't want it to sneak back up on you.
09-03-2014 07:07 PM
eh384 Just dropped mine off at the shop to fix my wobbles. I have a 2010 Unlimited, 4 inch lift, 37 inch Nittos. My guess is its the ball joints...
09-03-2014 06:39 PM
Wkdstx Just installed a RoughCountry 3.5" lift on my 2014 4 door JK. Followed everything in instructions to a tee (I thought). Took it for a test drive, "wa la" Death Wobble. And I mean bad. Slowly drove home and began dissecting components like Planman's write up. Loose bolt on the track bar mount at the axle. Bolt wasn't long enough to properly engage the lock nut and came Louise. Went to the hardware store and got longer Grade-8 and "bam" .......DW gone. I tried to hit small dips and pot holes to ensure my find was correct and I'm glad to report no issues. Going to alignment shop in the am. Thank you very much Planman, for a excellent write up.
09-03-2014 12:58 AM
i82much Not gonna read all this but I got very clear, repeatable DW on a 2013 with 19k miles, no lift, and 32s. Tightening the track bar bolts fixed it.

Seems clear to me Planman is on to something.
09-02-2014 07:28 PM
Rubedog So I didn't take too many pics, but I will say it was easy to have on jack stands , both wheels off, but I couldn't for the life of me so god help me loosen the tie rod from the bar on the passenger side! It was impossible , we even heated it and stuff to try.. Clamps.. Vice grips. Etc.. So I have 3 of the 4 pieces replaced . I'm going to buy the bar with that side already on, eff the hassle trying again.. Now here comes the fun part, that little shock dampener that's connected to the track bar was blown too, soo I ordered it, and before I can even get it here.. I drive away and go home, and starts to wobble again even with new drag link etc, well the weld holding that shock broke off .. Now I'm down a car can't even drive .. My big question is even with ALL the steering stuff being fixed, would having new shocks maybe help absorb some of that impact rather them the steering taking a lot of it?

Attachment 1450393
08-29-2014 11:06 PM
cmaggi2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubedog View Post
All good lol yes with stock (Moog parts and one movtech) ... Awesome info , this may sound dumb but it seems like there's room for changing the drag link without removing the tires but obviously for the tie rods they come off. Yeah the old drag link is bent along with the ends being worn out. After I change them all I'm just going to have it aligned at a shop , I don't feel like messing with aligning it. I appreciate the extra info I'll take pics and show everyone how it goes
I just replaced stock drag link with Synergy upgrade. Tires off was worth the time.
08-29-2014 07:04 PM
kjeeper10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubedog View Post
All good lol yes with stock (Moog parts and one movtech) ... Awesome info , this may sound dumb but it seems like there's room for changing the drag link without removing the tires but obviously for the tie rods they come off. Yeah the old drag link is bent along with the ends being worn out. After I change them all I'm just going to have it aligned at a shop , I don't feel like messing with aligning it. I appreciate the extra info I'll take pics and show everyone how it goes
I believe you should be able to keep the tires on.
08-29-2014 02:02 PM
Rubedog
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
Sorry I wasn't clear. You are replacing stock with stock I assume ? The easiest way to do things. Replace the drag link first. Remove and match the new drag link in length. Adjust so the Steering wheel is centered. The tie rod is a little more difficult. Remove SS then tie rod. Measure and try to match the lengths. This sets your toe angle so it's important the lengths match. There's plenty of write ups how to set toe. If unsure .. Have the jeep professionally aligned. Couple ways to break the taper from the knuckle. Sometimes a solid hammer whack to the knuckle works. I like to leave the nut loose but left on near the top of the bolt (to protect the threads) use a piece if wood and hit the bolt head with a hammer.
All good lol yes with stock (Moog parts and one movtech) ... Awesome info , this may sound dumb but it seems like there's room for changing the drag link without removing the tires but obviously for the tie rods they come off. Yeah the old drag link is bent along with the ends being worn out. After I change them all I'm just going to have it aligned at a shop , I don't feel like messing with aligning it. I appreciate the extra info I'll take pics and show everyone how it goes
08-29-2014 05:48 AM
kjeeper10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubedog View Post
In the pic I got what is considered the drag link .. Both ends.. The long shaft and the short one.. Then the ends of the tie rod too.. Those 4 parts
Sorry I wasn't clear. You are replacing stock with stock I assume ?

The easiest way to do things. Replace the drag link first. Remove and match the new drag link in length. Adjust so the Steering wheel is centered. The tie rod is a little more difficult. Remove SS then tie rod. Measure and try to match the lengths. This sets your toe angle so it's important the lengths match. There's plenty of write ups how to set toe. If unsure .. Have the jeep professionally aligned.

Couple ways to break the taper from the knuckle.
Sometimes a solid hammer whack to the knuckle works. I like to leave the nut loose but left on near the top of the bolt (to protect the threads) use a piece if wood and hit the bolt head with a hammer.
08-29-2014 12:50 AM
Rubedog
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
What exactly did you get for parts/brand ?


Attachment 1435322

In the pic I got what is considered the drag link .. Both ends.. The long shaft and the short one.. Then the ends of the tie rod too.. Those 4 parts
08-28-2014 10:57 PM
HappyFunJeep
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
U-joints/ball joints would be my guess, especially with a 07-08 and/or higher mileage and bigger tires.
Thanks. But they checked out okay when I ran Planman's checklist. Sorry if I didn't make it clear, but the problem cleared up completely when I fixed the electrical issue. It seems to drive better than it ever has in the two years I've driven it.

It's just another quirky problem to add to the possibilities, in case the wobble is accompanied by weird electrical symptoms.
08-28-2014 10:25 PM
kjeeper10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyFunJeep View Post
Just wanted to say a huge thanks to Planman for all the information and the videos. My inspection didn't turn up anything (except a grimy bruise on my forehead), BUT my death wobble went away after I fixed some electrical problems that had been worsening at the same rate. For a long time my Jeep had a mild possession: when I opened the door or put in the key, occasionally the wipers would jump or the horn would beep quickly. I assumed it was a relay somewhere, but since it was just a mild nuisance I didn't go after it. Then a few weeks ago it worsened: several times while I was driving, the horn would start chattering, the wipers and fluid pump would go haywire, and sometimes the stabilization light and one other light would come on (I don't remember which). I could get it to stop by pounding on the lid of the fuse box, which I learned accidentally but which worked consistently. Around that time, I began to experience an unsettling occasional wobbling when I was going between 35-55 mph and turning the wheel to the left. I didn't think about it til later, but it worsened at the same rate the possession did. To make a long story longer, I dismantled the fuse box/power distribution assembly, cleaned all the connections and put it back together. This totally solved the electrical possession, including that old mild nuisance with the horn/wipers. AND, bonus! It did solve my wobble. Hypothesis is that it was freaking out the stabilization system which created a bad feedback loop ... but what do I know. At least that wobble is gone...it really was strong and sometimes borderline frightening. Great thread!
U-joints/ball joints would be my guess, especially with a 07-08 and/or higher mileage and bigger tires.
08-28-2014 09:42 PM
HappyFunJeep Just wanted to say a huge thanks to Planman for all the information and the videos.

My inspection didn't turn up anything (except a grimy bruise on my forehead), BUT my death wobble went away after I fixed some electrical problems that had been worsening at the same rate.

For a long time my Jeep had a mild possession: when I opened the door or put in the key, occasionally the wipers would jump or the horn would beep quickly. I assumed it was a relay somewhere, but since it was just a mild nuisance I didn't go after it. Then a few weeks ago it worsened: several times while I was driving, the horn would start chattering, the wipers and fluid pump would go haywire, and sometimes the stabilization light and one other light would come on (I don't remember which). I could get it to stop by pounding on the lid of the fuse box, which I learned accidentally but which worked consistently.

Around that time, I began to experience an unsettling occasional wobbling when I was going between 35-55 mph and turning the wheel to the left. I didn't think about it til later, but it worsened at the same rate the possession did.

To make a long story longer, I dismantled the fuse box/power distribution assembly, cleaned all the connections and put it back together. This totally solved the electrical possession, including that old mild nuisance with the horn/wipers. AND, bonus! It did solve my wobble. Hypothesis is that it was freaking out the stabilization system which created a bad feedback loop ... but what do I know. At least that wobble is gone...it really was strong and sometimes borderline frightening.

Great thread!
08-28-2014 07:46 PM
kjeeper10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubedog View Post
Sorry to keep this going but i have all my new drag link/tie rod components, how long on average does it take to change them, how easy is it? ive worked on many jeeps before but never messed with steering..I am glad you posted those videos, helped me out a ton to diagnose, thank you. they seem fairly easy to change just give myself a few hours i take it
What exactly did you get for parts/brand ?
08-28-2014 06:10 PM
Rubedog Sorry to keep this going but i have all my new drag link/tie rod components, how long on average does it take to change them, how easy is it? ive worked on many jeeps before but never messed with steering..I am glad you posted those videos, helped me out a ton to diagnose, thank you. they seem fairly easy to change just give myself a few hours i take it
04-28-2014 12:50 PM
lee indy Im having some serious flighty issues.
only think i havent replaced is the draglink.

36k miles.

occasionally she will randomly wander off track and i have to fight a little to bring her back. alignment is good. im thinking its one or both of the TREs on the drag link.
03-06-2014 08:38 AM
MrJones944 Started to feel a little wobble about 6 months ago and it got progressively worse. OE ball joints last 31k miles with 35" tires and some light wheeling thrown in the mix. Luckily Szott Jeep in Michigan is awesome and its a warranty repair.
02-25-2014 07:02 PM
MarksJKU Hey Planman! Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this. You've answered most of the questions I've had about solid axle front end components. So far I don't have the DW, but I'll be sure to use this info in the future if needed. Thanks Again!
02-25-2014 05:45 PM
planman If Alex is still following this, I wanted to report that I found the following from the Chrysler rep on jeepforum:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepCares View Post
There is an update available on the Steering Shimmy issue. Service Bulletin 19-002-12 has been distributed to the dealers. The Jeep Owners site been updated with the same information referenced below:

Steering System Maintenance:
It is important that the steering system be kept in good working condition. Having your vehicle inspected regularly to ensure it meets proper factory specifications, and promptly repairing the steering system when it is out of factory specifications, helps ensure the vehicle maintains its intended ride, handling and steering characteristics.
Vehicles equipped with a solid front axle may exhibit steering system vibration if the steering system is damaged or not properly maintained. This condition is not unique to Chrysler Group vehicles; any manufacturer’s vehicle equipped with a solid front axle has the potential to exhibit steering system vibration.
To ensure that Chrysler Group customers have the most relevant information to enhance their vehicle enjoyment -- and that customers receive the best service from repair facilities diagnosing and addressing steering system vibration -- the Company has issued Technical Service Bulletin 19-002-12 to assist dealers and repair facilities in the diagnosis and repair of this condition.
The following is a summary of the steering and suspension system elements that can potentially contribute to steering system vibration. Chrysler recommends having your authorized Chrysler dealer inspect these elements should you experience steering system vibration:
  • Is the vehicle equipped with aftermarket components or other modifications (e.g. lift kits, wheels, suspension components or tires) that can affect the performance of or wear upon steering components?*
  • Check the air pressure in the tires and ensure they are inflated to the recommended pressure. This value can be found on the tire placard located on the driver’s front door enclosure.
  • Inspect the tires for signs of unusual or uneven wear, cupping or other damage.
  • Ensure that the tires/wheels are balanced within specification
  • Inspect the steering damper for excessive wear or damage.**
  • Inspect the track bar for excessive wear or damage.**
  • Inspect the tie rods for excessive wear or damage.**
  • Inspect the drag link for excessive wear or damage.**
  • Inspect the ball joints for excessive wear or damage.**
* Installation of aftermarket steering and suspension components or wheel and tire assemblies that are either not compatible with your vehicle or not designed for on-road use is most often the cause of steering system vibration, in which case you may consult your aftermarket equipment manufacturer or vehicle modifier for repair suggestions
** If any of the steering or suspension components are replaced, a front end wheel alignment is required.
If you have questions regarding your vehicle, its ride and handling or steering characteristics as they may relate to steering system vibration, please consult with your authorized Chrysler Group dealer to have your vehicle inspected.
02-19-2014 11:21 AM
planman
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexInYT View Post
Planman's Diagnosis IS a very thorough, well done examination, I give props for that; as a professional. I merely point out the need not to neglect that which puts all the other components to the road; particularly if any appreciable milage - or unusual travel/wear - is on the unit. Really, the mechanical aspect is the easy one to eliminate - Tires, not so easy given their dynamic nature. And, it only takes ONE loss-of-control event to really spoil someones day.
Thank you.

The purpose of this thread is to help people diagnose the sources of their Death Wobble and Non-DW Wobbles and Shimmies.

We both agree that proper maintenance and installations reduce the possibility of full on, rip-your-front-end-apart Death Wobble.

We both agree that keeping tires balanced and rotated, and keeping alignment specs correct is critical to maintenance.

I think you agree with me that periodically retorquing suspension bolts should be part of normal maintenance.

I think you probably agree with me that the "acceptable" range of play in ball joints and other suspension components is too broad--especially when there is a cumulative affect when there is "within spec" play in multiple components at the same time.

I think we agree that a vehicle that gets used offroad gets exposed to damage or stress to components--i.e. a rock or tree stump can damage the adjusting sleeve/collar on the front tie rod, which puts the alignment out of spec, and which introduces play/vibrations to the front end that can damage other components.

I think that where we disagree is that I believe that believe that a rig with perfectly balanced tires and a correct alignment can still develop Death Wobble if suspension bolts are not periodically torqued or if rubber control arm or trackbar bushings are pinched between brackets in a non-nuetral, pre-loaded/binding/twisting position. I believe that road variations from crossing bridge expansion joints, railroad tracks, potholes, etc., are the most common triggers of the Death Wobble oscillations.

I think we also disagree about tires. For example, I don't believe that a Goodyear MTR 35x12.50R17, load range C, 111Q service description tire will result in wobble and shimmy problems and premature component wear on a 4000-4500 lbs jeep.

In the end, I think what would be most helpful for readers--with the understanding that the majority of readers of this thread are already dealing with shimmy, wobble, and/or full on Death Wobble issues--is to clarify that we agree on the thoroughness of the steps required to diagnose all the sources of the problems, and that it is incompetent to simply balance and rotate tires, do an alignment, and install a new steering stabilizer without a thorough diagnosis that identifies why the steering stablizer failed prematurely.
02-19-2014 10:14 AM
kjeeper10 So I was correct. The definition of "DW" is different to some people. I think it would be safe to "agree to disagree"

This is what most including myself consider death wobble. There's many videos but this one if one of my favorites,
http://m.youtube.com/watch?sns=em&v=...xJE%26sns%3Dem
02-19-2014 07:21 AM
AlexInYT
Quote:
Originally Posted by planman View Post
Alex. I would point out that of the tens of thousands of people who have read my threads and watched my videos to diagnose and fix their source(s) of Death Wobble, a good percentage of them have been completely stock vehicles, and a good percentage of them that were upgraded, were running load range D and E tires. I doubt that many of them were running load range C tires. Pretty much the only load range C tires that end up on JKs are 35x12.50R17 Goodyear MTRs. The vast majority of non-stock tires on JKs are load range D and E tires.
At the risk of sounding rude - an internet celebrity does not a professional make. (This is not to say you are, or are not a professional - this is to say using internet celebrity is not a valid claim to experience or knowledge.) In the case of running higher grade ( aka, more mass) tires, the risk of inciting a shimmy, shudder, vibration, or death wobble increases. Yes, higher grade, stiffer tires will do a great deal to mask/dampen the issue - but the added mass of that same tire puts more stress, especially long term, over the components. Its kind of a circular issue, if you follow. It really boils down to the 'weak link in a chain' analogy - beef up one component, then the next-weakest component will be the one that fails. Hell, I run Hankook IPike Ice tires. standard load, same numerical size but of ultimately lighter mass than the BFGoodrich stockers (at least it feels that way when I re/re them; never actually weighed them), and Ive had those tires run the Jeep up to near triple digits on the old scale - I am on 37,000+KMS. My front end is rock solid tight - and the roads I travel are far from ideal. In fact, I have felt a wobble (very mild at that) from the front precisely twice in my time owning my Jeep - once when a blob of mud glued into the LF rim and once when I chucked the weight off the RF rim. The Jeep told me instantly something was up; demonstrating the sensitivity to a loss of perfection in any regard. In short - demonstrating a lack of tolerance for issues.

Quote:
In fact, the friend's jeep that I used for the two inspection videos was on load range D 37x12.50R17 BFG KM2s. The tires were regularly balanced and rotated.

He didn't have full on, violent Death Wobble, but he did have a bad, random wobble and shimmy.
In short, issues to be repaired. As I have stated before, even tires that balance out can still cause a shudder if not appropriate for the task. Is that in your case? Well, I guess the question is, did you fix what you found?
Quote:
He took it to the dealer and to his offroad shop. Supposedly, they inspected everything, and the only thing they found wrong was a leaking steering stabilizer. So, they installed a heavier duty steering stabilizer and sent him on his way. Of course, it didn't fix the problem.

With my teenage son, it took us less than 45 minutes--including time to record the video--to diagnose that the stock ball joints had excess play, and the drag link end at the knuckle had play.
To be fair; Ive noted a lack of (what I would call) professionalism in some shops down in the States - at least, from what I have observed both online and what has been reported to me over the years by customers passing through the shops I have worked at - Where I am from however, generally such is eliminated by the fact that to be a technician techs have to actually attend training and apprentice for 4 years; spending 2 months for each of those years going to school. The requirements are quite stringent - and, to some dealership techs, rather annoying that the factory does not recognize said training. Oh sure, you hear the odd horror story - but usually the story stems from the customer being rather irked at a rather large repair bill (usually due to getting rejected on warranty claims); Which only gets exacerbated by non-dealerships offering the same job for considerably less. But, YMMV in such cases.

Quote:
There is no reason or excuse that the "professionals" at the dealership or the offroad and tire shop should miss worn ball joints and a worn drag link end at the knuckle. It is either incompetence or laziness to do an alignment, balance and rotate tires, and then slap a new steering stabilizer on it. The shop and the dealer didn't find the alignment out of spec or the tires/wheels out of balance.
I would be very careful in saying that. Funny thing - Ball joints and drag links have 'permissible specifications' in which play noted within the specs is considered acceptable, normal, and NOT causes for wear (which, in fact, you did glance upon in your initial post). Without putting the proper tools on the components you checked, namely balljoints, little hard to arbitrarily say that 'the ball joints are shot'. Same with the vertical play you demonstrated in the drag links. LATERAL play is the 'instant call', but vert play? Expected by the factory. Now, if the play exceeds specs then yes they get called as wore and to be replaced. Since I did not see you present the appropriate tools to MEASURE the play; yea, that case can be easily made either way. Its a very, very common trick that no name brand shops play - they will grab a pair of vice grips, compress links/tie rods with them, and say to the customer 'oh, there's .020" play in your tie rod; it needs to be replaced'. Yet the guys that would stand to lose billions if such were true, dont call tie rods/links for such exhibited play; at least until the link shows truly severe play. Now, flip side of the coin, there was sufficient play in the ball joints that I saw in your vid where I would of applied the tools - namely, dial indicator - to measure the play and confirm suspicions. Also? An alignment, in and of itself, may not detect a wobble concern or fault. By that, I mean that a wore component may be sitting within its spec alignment while sitting on the machine - and of course, be knocked right out to lunch the second its off the machine. An Alignment is an important (preferably second final) step, to be sure. BTW - what is the date code on those tires?

Now, to be fair, I tend to be over protective when I inspect said components, and will call them shall we say 'aggressively' - that said, Ive also learned to recognize what is normal, does not pose a safety risk, and is part of the normal life cycle of a part. Wheels shaking out of customer hands? That generally brings a VERY quick comeback - and I, for one, pride myself on doing all I can that when a customer returns, its not because I screwed the pooch.
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The stock ball joints are fairly weak and not servicable. The are a poor design and wear out prematurely, even on a completely stock jeep. The worn ball joints resulted in wobbles that caused premature failures of the steering stabilizer and the drag link end at the knuckle. None of this was tire/wheel related on his jeep.
In regards to the balljoints being of light construction, I agree. However; you are STILL ignoring WHERE the wear - bloody tongue twister - comes from. How many klicks were on that Jeep, out of curiosity? More to the point - what do you think might happen when loads over and above design specifications are applied to the ball joints? Its called "accelerated wear". Yes, they are lightly built (re - cheap) but faulting the joints for premature failure if/when other aspects have been ignored is pretty flawed diagnostics. That line of 'oh why did they wear out?" "oh they are just crappy parts" can be a very quick way to land in a libel court; and is not particularly honest to a customer.

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Here is a study of the stock ball joints: OEM Ball Joint Study - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum

And another thread comparing aftermarket to stock: ***NEW*** Synergy Suspension Jeep JK Ball Joints!!! - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
Interesting links you provide. The latter, in particular, seems to have a less than stellar opine of this forum. But, thats neither here nor there.

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Jeep does not use a ball joint in JK trackbars--at least they didn't on 07- early 11s. They use a 14 mm bolt with a torque spec of 125 ft lbs, with a trackbar that has Clevite rubber bushings.
That was a comment aimed at the trucks - I had thought that obvious. Pardon me on that.

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Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
DW to some has different meanings. That's where the confusion Lies.
Let's remove the solid front axles and add IFS. Throw on a set of badly out of round unbalanced tires ... Is this death wobble ? To some,
a bad shake (not a harmonic resonance/DW)
DW is related to and common with any solid axle vehicle the track bar needs to be loosen or worn out to HavE DW. Everything else is a trigger included tires .
If I were to be sardonic, I personally would define a 'death wobble' as any condition in which control of the vehicle is threatened via the shaking/wobbling of the steering. More to the point - a wobble, ANY wobble, shudder, shake, etc that compromises the safe handling of a vehicle must be addressed. However, to be precise of the matter; you are not quite right about the application of harmonics - in that, harmonic shudder can and does come from the lateral, vertical, or really any direction of repeated oscillation of an axle - AND that originating from tire/wheel assemblies. Think the term 'harmonic balancer' such as on engines, and you'll instantly see my point. If it rotates; that is a harmonic. Harmonics can be very peculiar too - they can increase or cease as the speed goes up.

To be crystal clear - there *IS NO* confusion on my part. Im simply attempting to eliminate the confusion for anyone else that reads this. Nor am I trying to be a prick or what have you - but when it comes to the safety of people on the road; I do what I can to ensure that nothing is missed. I see a lot of ragging on the manufacture - and not a lot of would be called 'personal responsibility' for issues that arise outside the control of the manufacturer. Gods know, Ive ranted more than one occasion on the cheap slag that Mopar, and any other, manufacturer produces - But that damned well includes the final component that 'unites' the vehicle to the road.

TL;DR - I am in no way stating 'do not inspect/repair mechanical components'. I am stating, very clearly by now I should hope, that the root cause for said issues must be examined for. Planman's Diagnosis IS a very thorough, well done examination, I give props for that; as a professional. I merely point out the need not to neglect that which puts all the other components to the road; particularly if any appreciable milage - or unusual travel/wear - is on the unit. Really, the mechanical aspect is the easy one to eliminate - Tires, not so easy given their dynamic nature. And, it only takes ONE loss-of-control event to really spoil someones day.
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