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Old 10-23-2019, 08:52 AM
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Slight death wobble

Hi. I have a '15 JK Willys 2-door. Love it! I installed TeraFlex spacer level kit in it a couple years ago. Waiting for my tire to wear down more before I purchase new ones.

Anyways.....

I recently noticed that I have a slight death wobble when I hit a bump. I'm going to do a good inspection of my front end tonight after work. Haven't had the time till now. But it is getting worse.

I started to look up pricing for tie rod ends, and WTF! one end is ~$85, the other side is ~$205! I understand that is threaded the opposite, but at this price point I might as well spend the money on an upgraded steering system. I just wanted to hear everyone thoughts on this, and if you've changed out your steering system, what did you go with?

Thanks,
J

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Old 10-23-2019, 09:07 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Remy View Post
Hi. I have a '15 JK Willys 2-door. Love it! I installed TeraFlex spacer level kit in it a couple years ago. Waiting for my tire to wear down more before I purchase new ones.

Anyways.....

I recently noticed that I have a slight death wobble when I hit a bump. I'm going to do a good inspection of my front end tonight after work. Haven't had the time till now. But it is getting worse.

I started to look up pricing for tie rod ends, and WTF! one end is ~$85, the other side is ~$205! I understand that is threaded the opposite, but at this price point I might as well spend the money on an upgraded steering system. I just wanted to hear everyone thoughts on this, and if you've changed out your steering system, what did you go with?

Thanks,
J
FWIIW, I have a 2014 JKU with 35s and a 2.5" AEV lift. I experienced what I think was DW. I would hit a pothole and the front end would start shaking violently and not stop until I was stopped or almost stopped. I discovered that my track bar bushings we worn allowing the axle to move from side to side. I replaced with a Steer Smarts Yeti adjustable track bar and the issue was resolved.

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Old 10-23-2019, 09:07 AM   #3
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No such thing as 'slight" death wobble. You may have the beginnings and you're smart to look into it. I would start with bushings and connections. Grab and yank in every one of them. You'll probably find a loose one and that's your culprit.

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Old 10-23-2019, 09:09 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum.
There is no such thing as "slight death wobble", that is like being "slightly dead".
But if you have a slight wobble when you hit bumps I would take it serious as it could devolve into Death Wobble. Check for any play or looseness in the steering linkage, ball joints, or front track bar.
One way is to watch the steering linkage from underneath while someone turns the steering wheel back and forth.
Another common issue that is hard to see is the holes in the track bar mount can oval out. That can allow side to side movement causing a steering wobble. FYI, the torque on tightening the track bar is pretty high, 125 ft/lbs or so. You can't really do that free hand, you need a torque wrench that goes at least that high.
If you need to replace parts because of worn ends or joints, I would go straight to aftermarket HD options. You can usually buy a HD rod with both ends installed for only a little more than the cost of a pair of decent ends.
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Old 10-23-2019, 09:14 AM   #5
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I'm a big fan of the planman videos to track it down.

Good luck





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Old 10-23-2019, 09:15 AM   #6
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Trac-bar, trac-bar!!!!!!!!!!! Check your trac-bar for ANY movement or looseness at the ends! First thing to check is the trac-bar!!!!!!! Have a friend, wife, girl friend, kid........anyone sit in the driver seat and rock the steering wheel back and forth while you are under the JEEP. Put your fingers on all joints, TRE’s, etc. You may feel something loose before you would actually see movement. And the first thing to look at is the trac-bar!!!!!!! I can’t emphasize this enough.
Search out @planman , he posted an excellent thread about DW and how to fix it.
Did I mention the trac-bar?

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Old 10-23-2019, 09:18 AM
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Awesome! Thanks!

Yes, probably not "slight death wobble" more like the beginning of. It will shake for only a couple of seconds and will come back under control without having to slow down. I also notice that it very slightly happens just normal driving, no bumps needed.

I used the search function, (I know, right) and found a great write up on death wobble with a checklist. I'll try and go through that over the next couple nights.

One more question, track bar bolts, I see that people are replacing these with 9/16 Grade 8 bolts. Is this a common thing? Would I have to enlarge the axle or frame side holes to match? Should I just do this anyways, for peace of mind?

Thanks,
J
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Old 10-23-2019, 10:10 AM   #8
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Awesome! Thanks!

Yes, probably not "slight death wobble" more like the beginning of. It will shake for only a couple of seconds and will come back under control without having to slow down. I also notice that it very slightly happens just normal driving, no bumps needed.

I used the search function, (I know, right) and found a great write up on death wobble with a checklist. I'll try and go through that over the next couple nights.

One more question, track bar bolts, I see that people are replacing these with 9/16 Grade 8 bolts. Is this a common thing? Would I have to enlarge the axle or frame side holes to match? Should I just do this anyways, for peace of mind?

Thanks,
J
The bolt upgrade is fairly common. A number of the holes for bolts on the front end are 9/16 in size and the factory puts a slightly smaller metric bolt in there. Another thing to look for is bolts that have a large unthreaded shoulder so that they fit even tighter in the hole.
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Old 10-23-2019, 10:27 AM
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This may be a dumb question, but would the rear track bar have anything to do with this? Same bolt upgrade? not worth it?

Thanks again
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Old 10-23-2019, 10:36 AM   #10
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This may be a dumb question, but would the rear track bar have anything to do with this? Same bolt upgrade? not worth it?

Thanks again
Nope. Rear can be left alone unless you visibly see worn bushings.
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Old 10-23-2019, 11:28 AM   #11
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This may be a dumb question, but would the rear track bar have anything to do with this? Same bolt upgrade? not worth it?

Thanks again
I hope you take this the right way....... if it were me, and when it was, I would troubleshoot the issue and fix it first. Then you can throw more upgrades at it if it makes you feel more confident about your build.
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Old 10-23-2019, 11:49 AM   #12
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I hope you take this the right way....... if it were me, and when it was, I would troubleshoot the issue and fix it first. Then you can throw more upgrades at it if it makes you feel more confident about your build.
I think you are misunderstanding the question. It WAS related to fixing the wobble issue. The question was whether or not the rear track bar might contribute to wobbles and would benefit from the 9/16th bolt upgrade. A fair question from someone who is not experienced with death wobble and its causes.
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Old 10-23-2019, 11:56 AM   #13
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I think you are misunderstanding the question. It WAS related to fixing the wobble issue. The question was whether or not the rear track bar might contribute to wobbles and would benefit from the 9/16th bolt upgrade. A fair question from someone who is not experienced with death wobble and its causes.
I was commenting on the thread overall and not your comment. Earlier OP asked about upgrading bolts. I would not start down a path of upgrade until I diagnosed and fixed the pending issue. Some do upgrades to solve an issue without troubleshooting first. If that is the method they choose to use that is fine. I would not. I am not suggesting that that was your recommendation or that the OP plans on doing this either. I was making a suggestion to trouble shoot the cause first, fix and then start upgrades. That way if new issues arise it will be easier to pinpoint the cause.
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Old 10-23-2019, 12:10 PM
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Talking

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I was commenting on the thread overall and not your comment. Earlier OP asked about upgrading bolts. I would not start down a path of upgrade until I diagnosed and fixed the pending issue. Some do upgrades to solve an issue without troubleshooting first. If that is the method they choose to use that is fine. I would not. I am not suggesting that that was your recommendation or that the OP plans on doing this either. I was making a suggestion to trouble shoot the cause first, fix and then start upgrades. That way if new issues arise it will be easier to pinpoint the cause.
I hear ya! I do plan on following @planman thread about death wobble. I believe (hope) that I'll be able to find the root cause of the issue. I completely understand that not finding and fixing the root cause of the issue will, in the long run, not really fix anything. Not taken the wrong way. I'm open to all comments. That's why I'm here.

On the other hand, I'm not a novicest at jeep builds, just to the DW issue.
My last jeep was originally a '94 XJ 2wd. When I sold it, it was 4wd, sitting on 5" lift, 35" tires, long arm, and a full width D44HD and Ford 9" out of a 1979 ford f150 ext cab.
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Old 10-23-2019, 12:26 PM   #15
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While I do agree that fixing the issue before moving on to other things is good, the bolt upgrade, especially regarding the front track bar, might be directly related to the issue. So upgrading those bolts might be part of the fix.
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Old 10-23-2019, 01:11 PM   #16
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While I do agree that fixing the issue before moving on to other things is good, the bolt upgrade, especially regarding the front track bar, might be directly related to the issue. So upgrading those bolts might be part of the fix.
I agree. If the track bar is determined to be the issue like it was in my case.
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Old 10-23-2019, 01:38 PM
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Where would one get said bolts? If this was the issue. Local auto parts store? Home depot?

Just wondering ahead of time.

Thanks
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Old 10-23-2019, 01:45 PM   #18
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You can buy the bolts as a kit from vendors like Northridge 4x4.
You can buy the bolts from a hardware store or bolt supplier, but you need to make sure the bolts are the right size and grade. Also, some hardware stores sell cheap bolts that I would not trust. If you buy the bolts, don't forget the matching nuts.
I would buy a kit from a vendor, I can be a cheap bastard but there are times when it just isn't worth it. Sometimes I would rather spend the coin and be sure I got the right stuff. I have wasted money trying to save a few bucks, eventually I learn.
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Old 10-23-2019, 05:17 PM
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So, after inspection, the first thing that I've noticed is a lot of play in the tie rod. It's hard to see, but can definitely feel it. I'm going to start there.
One thing I hate is that the factory ends don't have zerk fittings, anything I can do for that? I want to say I've seen a needle style grease end for a grease gun. But not sure.
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Old 10-23-2019, 05:46 PM   #20
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Track bar, ball joints, tire balance are the big 3 causes, most times it's a combination of 2 or more of those.

I just went thru this. Tie rod and drag link were fine. Track bar bushings on the axle side were worn out and the bolt hole was ovaled out. Then I also checked the ball joints, all were bad. I fixed all of that which greatly helped but still had some speed related issues so the tires went for re-balance.

All of my suspension bolts now are 9/16-18 grade 8 bolts. Got all that from Bolt Depot. High quality HW, much cheaper than the available kits. My track bar bolts were stock but I had extra from when I did the control arms so the stock bolts got replaced as part of my fix.

Now I'm fine but before spending any money, I went thru all the components with the appropriate tests to determine if replacement was needed.
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Old 10-23-2019, 07:38 PM   #21
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So, after inspection, the first thing that I've noticed is a lot of play in the tie rod. It's hard to see, but can definitely feel it. I'm going to start there.
One thing I hate is that the factory ends don't have zerk fittings, anything I can do for that? I want to say I've seen a needle style grease end for a grease gun. But not sure.
With the Tie Rod, it should be able to flop or move in some directions. But it should have no play side to side or directly up and down.
If the ends are really worn and have play, greasing won't change that. The ends are sealed and the grease put in there from the factory should last the life of the joint as long as the boot does not fail. If the boot doesn't fail the grease cannot escape. So more would not be needed.
While play in the Tie Rod can cause a wobble, the Track Bar and Ball Joints are more typical sources of the problem.

If the Tie Rod ends are failing, just replace the Tie Rod. They are not that expensive, especially aftermarket (I would not buy a stock TR). And for a little more money you can get a HD one that should last a lot longer.
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:32 PM   #22
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A slight wobble after hitting a bump, particularly after installing any kind of lift; have you checked the caster angle?


Lifts reduce your caster & make the steering more subject to shimmies. My JK had that exact problem. I hit a bump at ~50mph, particularly at an angle & it would shake all over the road. Almost ran me right off the road once! After adjusting the caster angle, (first with adjustable LCAs, later with geo brackets), it has never come back.


But certainly also fix any loose bits that you find. Likely you have just got the low caster shimmy at the moment, but with a few worn parts, it could further damage them & end you up with DW on top.
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Old 10-30-2019, 05:16 PM   #23
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Consider replacing your shocks. I have a ‘16 Rubicon with 67k miles. In the last year handling became horrible. Back roads would make passengers seasick. When I took my original shocks off, They were clearly shot. I was able to compress them by hand and they didn’t return immediately. With all new shocks, the handling is better than new (insert gratuitous Fox 🦊 plug here).
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:50 PM   #24
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Replaced Damn Near all FrontEnd

i replaced everything there was to replace, EXCEPT the cheapest things that WEREN'T listed in "the list" of culprits. i found that my shocks were part of the problem, then, finally, had to get new tires (and without knowing it) to fix the problem......they still had fair tread on them, but were worn and causing the DW at exactly 53mph. had them examined by tire people, road force balanced, AND full alignment problem went away for first several miles! then had new 35s put on, POOF, DW GONE.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:54 PM   #25
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idk what kinda tie-rod ends you're buying, but DAMN!!! MOOG ends are affordable and warrantied....... FWIW
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Old 10-31-2019, 08:02 PM   #26
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Does anyone know if the Rubicon Express Forged Track Bar RE1689 needs to be modified (holes enlarged) for the 9/16 bolt upgrade mod? I have a friend whom is upgrading his track bar and I was going to suggest it to him but before I did I wanted to make sure he didn't have to modify it. I reached out to RE and their response was that it is made for the 14mm factory bolt and would most likely have to be slightly opened up.
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Old 11-01-2019, 10:57 AM   #27
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Does anyone know if the Rubicon Express Forged Track Bar RE1689 needs to be modified (holes enlarged) for the 9/16 bolt upgrade mod? I have a friend whom is upgrading his track bar and I was going to suggest it to him but before I did I wanted to make sure he didn't have to modify it. I reached out to RE and their response was that it is made for the 14mm factory bolt and would most likely have to be slightly opened up.
The difference between 14mm bolt and a 9/16 bolt is 0.28mm. Taking a 9/16 drill bit to a 14mm hole is going to be very anticlimactic. When I enlarged a 14mm hole to 9/16 I thought to myself, "Wait, did that work? Was that all?"

Bottom line, just modify it if it needs it.
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:40 PM   #28
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The difference between 14mm bolt and a 9/16 bolt is 0.28mm. Taking a 9/16 drill bit to a 14mm hole is going to be very anticlimactic. When I enlarged a 14mm hole to 9/16 I thought to myself, "Wait, did that work? Was that all?"

Bottom line, just modify it if it needs it.
I have no problem running a reamer through the hole to modify it. It's not mine though and I don't know if my friend(more of an acquaintance) has the tooling or aptitude or desire to modify his new track bar. That's why I wanted to confirm this before I suggested it to him. Since RE won't commit I thought I would ask here.
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Old 11-07-2019, 10:43 AM   #29
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Yes, the RE1689 will take a 9/16 bolt.

Just did mine a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:49 PM   #30
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So, after inspection, the first thing that I've noticed is a lot of play in the tie rod. It's hard to see, but can definitely feel it. I'm going to start there.
One thing I hate is that the factory ends don't have zerk fittings, anything I can do for that? I want to say I've seen a needle style grease end for a grease gun. But not sure.
Did you compress the ends with a large channel locks? PlanMan suggests this but doesn't show it IIRC. Mine passed his turn test, but failed the compress with channel lock test. There should be no up down movement when compressing them with channel locks. I wish he showed this instead of a brief mention, I think it's key if true.

Little luck has been made to install a zerk on factory BJ's, or TRE's. The needle greasing wont replace warn metal. Perhaps if it was needle greased for the last 30k miles may help, but maybe the holes in the boot would escalate wear? I don't know. Crown OEM replacement tie rod ends and drag link ends are affordable if an upgrade isn't warranted. They come with zerks.

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