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Old 03-18-2016, 08:27 PM
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Help with verifying if I am experience Death Wobble

Dear Forum members,

I am new to this forum and somewhat new to Jeeps since the last one I had access to was way back in the mid 80's.

So here is my scenario. My Daughter and Son would like me to get a Jeep for the family to use and I have found a 08 Jeep Wrangler Ultimate X 4x4 automatic at a local dealer with 85K miles on it for a fair price (given the mileage).

So we took it out for a test drive today and I am fairly certain we experienced the Death Wobble.

I got the Jeep up to 65 miles per hour and then when coming toward a light backed off on the accelerator and as we dropped in the 40 to 50 mileage range, the Jeep started wobbling violently back and forth both along the front as well the back of the vehicle.

I am presuming that this the infamous Death Wobble that I read about in this forum?

If this is the Death Wobble, what would be a good estimate to fix most of the items associated with this issue so that I would feel comfortable with my kids driving it? I am fairly mechanically inclined so I would do the work myself, but would need to know how much I would need to spend in parts.

I also noticed that the both the ESP/BAS as well as the TCS lights were on.

Any guess as to the estimate to fix these issues?

The dealer already is open to dropping the price since they do not want to fix the issue themselves and would just send it to auction. So I am trying to figure out how much to ask them to drop the price in order to then fix the items myself.

Or should I walk away from this particular Jeep.

Thanks for your inputs.

Best regards,
ABKsDad

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Old 03-18-2016, 09:03 PM   #2
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Run don't walk away RUN! Search for another one, plenty out there.

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Old 03-18-2016, 09:52 PM   #3
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There's a lot of things that could be. What concerns me is that, in addition to the potential DW, you have some possible electrical issue...with the warning lights.

Patience is your friend here, my friend. I'd move along and find a better conditioned Jeep.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:22 PM   #4
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It sounds like what you experienced would be a vibration in the drive train/braking system since it occurred when slowing. DW is encountered when you are driving along and hit a bump or pavement irregularity and it does not stop until you have almost brought the vehicle to a stop. While DW vibrates the entire vehicle you would feel it most through the steering wheel but feels like it is tearing the vehicle apart (it actually can).

It is caused by loose or worn components, most commonly the track bar which is attached to a bracket on the frame on the drivers side and the fixed part of the steering knuckle on the passenger side. The duty of the track bar is to keep the front axle from drifting left and right with coil springs in the front. The U-bolts clamping the front axle to the leaf springs did this on those vehicles.

If it is new, simply replacing the bolts on the track bar can fix it, but by the time it rears it's head enough it can need new tie rod ends on the tie rod and new ends/new drag link (connects the steering pitman arm to the movable part of the passenger side steering knuckle) as well as a new bracket and or new track bar. Some install a steering damper when the vibration first occurs, but that is treating the symptom not the cause.

But, the fact that the vibration is felt when you were slowing and the lights indicated another problem. If you were braking at the time, it may be warped brake rotors. With the lights on, it may be the ESC and or TCS modules. With 85,000 miles, it may be late in the life of the second set of brake pads. New rotors and pads are a relatively inexpensive fix if they are the cause.

If the vehicle is worth it to, another test drive, to a knowledgeable Jeep mechanic might be in order, if nothing else to read the error codes. If the lights are on, it should be throwing codes. I am more troubled by the fact that the dealer shows little interest in diagnosing, much less fixing the problem.

I would assume that you did not look under the vehicle for rust (but I bet the dealer did), and I would also assume that the dealer is not offering you a CarFax report on the vehicle.

Never, ever buy a used vehicle without a CarFax report (even if you have to pay for it yourself). It will give you the registration history of the vehicle and a sketchy maintenance history if done at dealers, as well as any accidents. Also never, ever buy a used vehicle without looking underneath for rust, especially the invasive rot of frame and under body. Minor surface rust can be treated and controlled, but if it has penetrated significantly, it can be expensive to fix.

I would also recommend continuing to look for a better vehicle, but adhere to the above paragraph. If a vehicle is priced at a bargain, then maybe it's not.

Here is a link to a thread on this forum explaining DW in depth. Something for you to review at your leisure. I have never experienced it on either of my Jeeps, the Rubicon is well maintained and was when I bought it with 112K miles on it two years ago and the Sahara is too new for it.

https://www.wranglerforum.com/f202/di...les-78034.html
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:43 PM
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Dear Forum members,

Thanks for the excellent guidance. Since I wasn't applying the break during the slow down, I am going to assume it was the ESC and / or TSC modules (or some sub component of them) I'll run away from this Jeep.

Best regards,
ABKsDad
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:52 PM   #6
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^^^Good decision..IMO

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Old 03-19-2016, 01:56 AM   #7
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Wise decision. But at least you now have more information and a place to go and ask questions.

I have been on a lot of forums and this is one of the best I've ever been on. Very friendly as long as you stay away from the auto vs manual and soft top vs hard top issues. There seem to be a lot of opinionated folks about those topics.
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgreen65 View Post
Wise decision. But at least you now have more information and a place to go and ask questions.

I have been on a lot of forums and this is one of the best I've ever been on. Very friendly as long as you stay away from the auto vs manual and soft top vs hard top issues. There seem to be a lot of opinionated folks about those topics.
Don't forget the almighty Rubi vs Sport threads....bwahahahahahaha!
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Old 03-19-2016, 11:20 AM   #9
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How true. I guess Jeepers are opinionated - NAH.

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