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Old 04-20-2014, 09:30 AM
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Experienced some death wobble

Experienced death wobble twice this past Thursday and am trying to figure out what exactly is causing it. I have reviewed planman's post about diagnosing death wobble and am in the middle of trying to figure it out. It happened once before an after reviewing his videos I checked my track bar bolts and they didn't seem to be torqued all the way down, so I did that and it didn't happen any more for some time. Well it happened again this past Thursday ( twice actually) and so I've got a friend of mine that is a mechanic checking things out. He looked everything over and said it appears that nothing is worn out. I sent him a link to planman's videos and check list and he is going to check it out.

I've got the northridge4x4 bolt upgrade kit on its way and should be here on Monday. So I'm going to have him go ahead and replace there ack bar bolts.

FYI my JKU is a 2013 and only has about 17,000 miles, has a 2.5 RK max travel lift and running stock wheels/tires riGht now. A couple of questions I have:

1. Can ball joints wear out that fast (see notes on my JKU)?
2. Could just replacing the track bar bolts with the northridge upgrade fix the problem?
3. I'm due for a tire rotation, could that and maybe a tire out of balance or such cause it?
4. If ball joints are good, track bar bolts torqued, tie rod ends good, and such what are some other possibilities?

Thanks. My JKU is my daily driver and I'm finally ready to put my new wheels and 35s on so I am really, really anxious to get this figured out.

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Old 04-20-2014, 09:45 AM   #2
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DW really hurts all front end components. That's why it's very important to re-check every component twice ... 3 times.

When you pulled the bolts. Did you look at the bushing sleeves ? How about the holes for ovaling ?

People will torque or change their TB bolts after damage is done. DW can --as you experienced --come back.

How did he check the ball joints ?

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Old 04-20-2014, 09:48 AM   #3
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It's a great idea to replace the track bar bolts even if it's not the problem. It will help you in the long run. If you replace one of the items on your list and it corrects the wobble then your one lucky guy. Death Wobble is always the hot topic on the forum. Yes your ball joints can be bad already due to the poor factory design. I'm one of the guys who have replaced everything on my front end minus the ball joints. Corrected the wobble but now have shimmy and shakes. It's a process of elimination. Since my Jeep has 60K miles I just started replacing parts with most being worn out anyways. Good Luck
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:42 PM
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If my track bar bolt holes are off a little (oval), besides welding washers, what front track bar bracket would ya'll suggest? Keep in mind I have a RK 2.5 Max Travel lift on which has the RK front track bar, so it has to fit with this application.

I looked at Synergy front track bar relocation bracket. Will this fit with my application without having to purchase other components to make it fit?
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:59 PM
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I have my new wheels now and am in the process of getting new tires 35s. I wonder if it would be a good idea to go ahead and put new HD ball joints in and new tie rod and drag link ends. What would you do?

If so, I would go with the Synergy HD ball joints as they seem to get high marks. What about the drag link and tie rod ends. Any suggestions? Please list manu. and part number if possible. Thanks.

I don't play in the rocks as there aren't many here, although that might change once I get everything done. LOL So I don't know that getting a whole new HD tie rod would be needed now nor do I need to incur that cost right now either.

Really want to fix this DW problem and try to eliminate contributors as well if finances allow.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:33 PM   #6
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Don't add new parts until you troubleshoot the DW. It just introduces more variables.

The ball joints can wear out that fast if they have increased loads from other faulty parts but they normally last longer than that. Read some of the ball joint threads and you will get an idea of the range of mileage.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:37 PM   #7
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For the rear .. Synergy makes a upper TB bracket.
I think JKS makes a stock position bracket for the lower .. Not sure. TF also makes a simple bolt on Brace. Check that out too.

The synergy lower bracket raises the track bar 3"
Same with RK And most others.
Along with raising the track bar, you will need to flip the drag link. Aka steering correction or Highsteer kit.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:13 PM
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Okay. So after going over all this between myself and my friend who is a certified mechanic along with calls to RK and another 4x4 mechanic in town, we've come up with the following:

- Appears that my track bar and ball joints seem to be okay.

- Did find that my drag link end (at knuckle) needs replaced. We could feel a clunking in the drag link when doing the wheel turn back and forth and it was more defined at the knuckle. We could also see the link moving up and down. So we are going to go ahead and get it replaced once the part comes in.

- Also, I went ahead and installed the northridge4x4 bolt kit as well and the track bars took both 9/16 bolts and seemed to be a tighter fit. Factory bolt and the NR supplied 14mm bolts had a lot more play in them.

- Went ahead and did an alignment to make sure everything was okay and had to adjust the tow just a tiny bit and made sure the wheels were balanced.

Hopefully, after all this we've got it taken care of. I really hope so because I'm about to pull the trigger on some new tires. I'm currently debating on what tires (35s) to go with and I really like the Nitto Trail Grapplers but their weight is my only concern. That's part of the reason for asking about the HD ball joints.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:48 PM   #11
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I just bought a wrangler unlimited X, 66k. had it for 2 weeks and then the DW. took it to the dealer, and they could not duplicate, so I told them of two specific bumps here in Maine that would trigger it. Sure enough, they duplicated the issue, They are putting in a new steering damper or steering shock, (I am not a mechanic). Checked track bar bushings, and bearings. So, we'll see. I got some great info from this forumn by the way, so I almost know what the hell I am talking about. Anyway, from what I am reading, the track bar, stabilizer, and shocks are the first in line, but the wobble could wear out other systems as well.

That's my experience so far, but I am glad to finally have a jeep.
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Old 04-25-2014, 05:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CapnStereo View Post
I just bought a wrangler unlimited X, 66k. had it for 2 weeks and then the DW. took it to the dealer, and they could not duplicate, so I told them of two specific bumps here in Maine that would trigger it. Sure enough, they duplicated the issue, They are putting in a new steering damper or steering shock, (I am not a mechanic). Checked track bar bushings, and bearings. So, we'll see. I got some great info from this forumn by the way, so I almost know what the hell I am talking about. Anyway, from what I am reading, the track bar, stabilizer, and shocks are the first in line, but the wobble could wear out other systems as well. That's my experience so far, but I am glad to finally have a jeep.
Almost there bud.

The Steering stabilizer should not even be mentioned with DW.
Almost always a "let's replace it and send him home" fix by incompetent dealerships.

Did you read PlanMan's thread ?
Note the stabilizer
- can be a Mask
- often damaged because of DW
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:18 AM   #13
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Ok, Part finally arrives at dealership today. They want to test it first to make sure the problem is solved, so we'll see. I am glad they have been (at least from what I can see) more concerned about testing and diagnosing before throwing parts at it. I've got to go check out the other thread. My plan at this point is, if this "solves" the problem, to start replacing bolts, shocks etc.
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:29 PM
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Well crap! Mechanic friend just called me and said he got the drag link end at the knuckle end put in, checked to make sure everything was tight/torqued and went to drive it. There is a dip/bump in the road right down the street from his shop that you can get up to speed 60-65mph. Hit the bump and it happened again.

He's gonna get back under there, disconnect the steering stabilizer and do the wheel turn back and forth procedure and see what he can find.

If ball joints and tie rod ends are okay and he said he could not see any rounding out/oval in the track bar bolt holes, any other ideas?
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:31 PM   #15
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Well crap! Mechanic friend just called me and said he got the drag link end at the knuckle end put in, checked to make sure everything was tight/torqued and went to drive it. There is a dip/bump in the road right down the street from his shop that you can get up to speed 60-65mph. Hit the bump and it happened again. He's gonna get back under there, disconnect the steering stabilizer and do the wheel turn back and forth procedure and see what he can find. If ball joints and tie rod ends are okay and he said he could not see any rounding out/oval in the track bar bolt holes, any other ideas?
You're right on track bud.
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Old 04-30-2014, 06:28 PM
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You're right on track bud.
If ball joints and tie rod ends are okay and he said he could not see any rounding out/oval in the track bar bolt holes, any other ideas?
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Old 04-30-2014, 06:47 PM   #17
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If ball joints and tie rod ends are okay and he said he could not see any rounding out/oval in the track bar bolt holes, any other ideas?
Straight up s**t your pants DW?
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:01 PM
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Straight up s**t your pants DW?
Pretty sure. You have to almost slow down from say 63 mph down to about 15 mph to get it to stop. Plus the alignment shop guy who picked it up to take it to his shop to do the latest alignment said it happened to him and he thought he was going to have to go home and change his pants.
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:17 PM   #19
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Dam!!

Let's just assume your track bar is in good shape. Weld washers or brackets and 9/16 bolts. You should not have DW.

You have to remember. Just because you/they checked ball joints, TRES etc. DW can ruin good components. Every occurrence, the front end needs a 100% "RE" inspection.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:06 PM
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If my track bar is okay. Can the other items, whether they were damaged before or due to DW, cause DW to happen now?

If it's my track bar, what do you think about the synergy front track bar frame brace (upper frame end)? However that wouldn't address the lower end (axle end) bracket. Maybe just do the whole synergy front track bar relocation, frame brace, and drag link set up. Would that even work on my RK 2.5 set up? I think it might require the synergy front track bar but don't know. I did see that they note that 3" bump stops are required. I have 2" so in guess those would be needed too. I'd rather keep the 2" though.

As far as washers, I guess it would be just finding the right size diameter washers in a high strength steel and welding one on either side of each bracket leg (4 washers). Does that sound about right? Got any more info or advice on this route? I thought about doing this anyways as it would either correct the wholes or even beef the up. But I hate to weld something in place that might be in the way of future mods, especially if there is a bolt on solution.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:15 PM   #21
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kjeeper10 and magoo,
I am following this closely. The post from PlanMan's thread was very thorough, and since this is a used and the warranty is pretty much done, (remember I am not a mechanic) my plan is depending on when I get it back to put in a new track bar and bolts. But what should I get? Is there a complete assembly package to cover all the bolts etc.? and where should I get it? Once I have it, I'll have my trusted (not dealership) mechanic install. then I figure the shocks.

How am I doing?

John
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:19 PM   #22
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Oh, and what kind of shocks should I get? I am not doing any bolder hopping, but the frost heaves here in Maine are pretty severe.

thanks again for all the help! I really appreciate it.
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:56 AM   #23
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If my track bar is okay. Can the other items, whether they were damaged before or due to DW, cause DW to happen now? If it's my track bar, what do you think about the synergy front track bar frame brace (upper frame end)? However that wouldn't address the lower end (axle end) bracket. Maybe just do the whole synergy front track bar relocation, frame brace, and drag link set up. Would that even work on my RK 2.5 set up? I think it might require the synergy front track bar but don't know. I did see that they note that 3" bump stops are required. I have 2" so in guess those would be needed too. I'd rather keep the 2" though. As far as washers, I guess it would be just finding the right size diameter washers in a high strength steel and welding one on either side of each bracket leg (4 washers). Does that sound about right? Got any more info or advice on this route? I thought about doing this anyways as it would either correct the wholes or even beef the up. But I hate to weld something in place that might be in the way of future mods, especially if there is a bolt on solution.
How much actual lift do you have ?
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:59 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by CapnStereo View Post
kjeeper10 and magoo, I am following this closely. The post from PlanMan's thread was very thorough, and since this is a used and the warranty is pretty much done, (remember I am not a mechanic) my plan is depending on when I get it back to put in a new track bar and bolts. But what should I get? Is there a complete assembly package to cover all the bolts etc.? and where should I get it? Once I have it, I'll have my trusted (not dealership) mechanic install. then I figure the shocks. How am I doing? John
There's a sticky on changing the stock bolts. Northridge 4x4 and others offer a bolt kit for $40
They replace all lower CA bolts. Rear track bar bolts, and most important front track bar.
Shocks are a great upgrade. Are you still stock ?
What model do you own ?
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:21 AM
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How much actual lift do you have ?
By measuring from the spring perch and shock tower using the measurement given in a diagram from previous thread, I ended up with 3 3/8" lift up front. FYI my rig is pretty light right now. I still have the stock bumpers and no winch.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:28 AM   #26
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My DW was bad ball joints that were bad after 8,000 miles. If your lifted and Larger than stock tires, you will wear the ball joints out quickly...if you wheel...even quicker.

The OEM Ball joints are not made for anything beyond stock height and tires.

There are things to avoid replacing while your trying to diagnose DW:

Shocks

Alignment

Tire Balancing

Steering Stabalizer


None of those are a fix. They may mask the issue, leaving the DW still present only to rear its ugly head again and damaging more suspension components.

BTW: The first shop did not find the ball joints...they said they were good...it was the second shop that works on LIFTED jeeps everyday. If the shop says they have worked on JKs but not lifted ones usually...find another shop.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:38 AM
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My DW was bad ball joints that were bad after 8,000 miles. If your lifted and Larger than stock tires, you will wear the ball joints out quickly...if you wheel...even quicker.

The OEM Ball joints are not made for anything beyond stock height and tires.

There are things to avoid replacing while your trying to diagnose DW:

Shocks

Alignment

Tire Balancing

Steering Stabalizer


None of those are a fix. They may mask the issue, leaving the DW still present only to rear its ugly head again and damaging more suspension components.

BTW: The first shop did not find the ball joints...they said they were good...it was the second shop that works on LIFTED jeeps everyday. If the shop says they have worked on JKs but not lifted ones usually...find another shop.
Yea, I'm going to try to get him to show me everything he has checked and how he checked it.
- We went ahead and did the tire rotation/balance since it was due for that anyways and was pretty sure that was not the cause.
- I went ahead and did another alignment just to see what it was and I wanted to see what my caster was since I had made a minor front LCA adjustment.
- I'm not going to mess with shocks or steering stabilizer as I fell confident that isn't it and also based upon my research on here and other forums.

If we have to replace ball joints or tie rod ends or drag link ends (already replaced knuckle end drag link end), I don't like having to spend the money, but that's okay. My bigger concern is the track bar bolt holes. I know some have mentioned welding HD washers in place, but I think I would rather have an aftermarket bolt in part if possible. I know synergy makes a front track bar frame brace (frame end of TB connection) that just beefs up the bracket. It doesn't relocate it. Pretty simple deal. However, I haven't found a similar product for the axle end. At that end, all I have found are relocation brackets which entails having to do other parts/mods as well.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:41 AM   #28
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DW is very fustrating as it may have started with one thing but wore another component out...so you fix one only to find out you still have DW and your trouble shopoting again...which is not good becasue on episode of DW can break something leading to a chain effect..
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:56 PM
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My JKU is a 2013. If I am reading the information right about the northrideg4x4 bolt kit and track bar bolt size in relation to model year, I should be using the 14mm bolt on the frame side. However, on my front track bar the 9/16 bolt fits better/tighter. The 14mm bolt had more play. If I am reading all the information correctly, it should have been the 14mm right?

If so, this leads me to believe that my track bar bolt holes may have gotten wallowed out some.

Am I interpreting the bolt information for the front track bar correctly in regards to model year and size of bolt?
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:10 PM   #30
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I believe it's the joint not the mount holes. Meaning the bolt will go through the mount but not with track bar in place.
If the 9/16 works ... Use it .

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