Steering wheel wobbling, don't think it's the death wobble? - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:50 PM
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Steering wheel wobbling, don't think it's the death wobble?

Just bought my son a 2008 Wrangler 2dr., It has a 3.5" spring lift and 315/70R17 BFG's on it. It has a slight wobbling feeling in the steering wheel at around 25 to 30 mph. You can let go of the wheel and see it moving back and forth, left to right. It goes away on it's own if you speed up or slow down? Anybody ever hear of anything like this?

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Old 10-03-2019, 07:17 PM   #2
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I have the same thing but at like 40-45 mph. Maybe unbalanced tires or bent rim? If you figure it out can you please let us know what was causing it for you?


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Old 10-03-2019, 07:51 PM   #3
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Very likely unbalanced tires, but could be loose bolt. Start by re-torqueing your LCAs, UCAs, tie rod, drag link and track bar. If it still wobbles try rotating your front tires to the back.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:26 PM   #4
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Definitely not death wobble. DW is a violent shaking of the front end and steering wheel around 45 mph that only stops when you stop the Jeep. It's one of these "you'll know it when you see it" things.

Your issue might be an out of balance tire; can also be caused by a dented rim or some mud in the wheel.

Your alignment might also be off. I had such shake recently, that all but went away when I realigned.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:38 PM   #5
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I had the exact same problem it was my front tires out of balance
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:44 PM   #6
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Any wobble (tire people refer to it as a shimmy) that is speed sensitive as both SuperDad and elithrash have described is almost always wheel/tire related.

Death Wobble (aka DW) is characterized as occurring suddenly at any speed can only be stopped by coming to an almost complete stop. While covered extensively on Jeep forums, DW is something that can occur on any vehicle with a solid front axle and coil spring suspension on that axle. It is usually enabled by a loose suspension joint, most often on the track bar that allows the front axle to move slightly and set up that movement in a harmonic.

When I first purchased my TJ in 2014, I had the same questions about DW and found this post very helpful. Along with others, I usually provide a link so new members can understand our Jeep suspension. It takes some time as it is lengthy along with two 20 minute videos, but after reading it, I had a better understanding of our suspension.

https://www.wranglerforum.com/f202/di...les-78034.html
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:45 PM   #7
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Go have the tires road force balanced (discount tire if you have one)
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:12 AM   #8
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I get this from time to time. I will get a build up of mud on the inside of the wheel. Might not be a bad idea to check.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:17 AM
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I'll first try and get them rotated and balanced
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:55 AM   #10
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@SuperDad , make sure you specifically ask them to road force balance with large tires.
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Old 10-04-2019, 01:01 PM   #11
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Mine did this was between 45-50mph...
Turned out the tires were separating... both fronts and one rear.
So, if they have not thrown a balance weight, look them over real good.
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Old 10-04-2019, 01:26 PM   #12
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Sounds typical of BFG tires over the past few years. Probably a defect in one or both of the tires up front.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:57 PM   #13
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There is a chance the steering box needs tightened up a bit. I had that once. Your alignment guy should be able to do that. It needs to be done right or further damage could happen in the future.
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:14 PM   #14
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I had one a while back with a slight wobble and after resurfacing the front brake rotors it went away. You may want to check rotors with a run out gauge to see if they need attention, that is easy to do while you have the tires off
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperDad View Post
Just bought my son a 2008 Wrangler 2dr., It has a 3.5" spring lift and 315/70R17 BFG's on it. It has a slight wobbling feeling in the steering wheel at around 25 to 30 mph. You can let go of the wheel and see it moving back and forth, left to right. It goes away on it's own if you speed up or slow down? Anybody ever hear of anything like this?
Hey Super Dad, congrats on getting your mini-me a nice Jeep starter kit. My first was also a 2dr (TJ) and I'll never forget it.

Ok, your big clue is the bent tie rod. Tie rods can take a lot of punishment so the previous owner likely was off roading and hit a large rock with their tire. Bent tie rods are usually not a big deal. That said, I agree with the gentlemen who said to look at your front suspension (especially rgreen65). Look for anything from loose bolts to other things that also got whacked or dented. When I had Death Wobble in my TJ, it was caused by very worn ball joints. It can also be caused by broken or worn component ends, like tie rod bushings, control arm bushings, etc.

How to quick check: If you have a street jack, get the front wheels off the ground, use jack stands, then just grab and jerk on every joint you see in the front. If anything moves *at all* at the joint or mounting point at the end, that's likely a problem and needs to be fixed. Ball joints can be tested by putting a tire iron under the wheel and trying to pry up or just pull the top of the wheel back and forth hard when it's off the ground. *Any* play or clicking is a problem (bad ball joints, wheel bearings, etc).

Some of the references given in this thread are excellent for finding DW (kudos to rgreen65 ).

obtw, I suppose it's possible, but I've never heard of a professional shop doing an alignment with a bent tie rod. That should change the geometry of the whole front and make the alignment less reliable.


Definition of DW - not speed sensitive (doesn't stop if you speed up of slow down), usually happens when you hit a bump/pothole in the road and is always violent - no doubt it's death wobble. (OMG, I'm gonna die unless I stop NOW!)

Good luck.
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:51 PM
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Ok, so it's not the tires. I had the balance check on them and they are all good. Will start looking at tie rods and other front end parts tonight.
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:15 PM
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Took it to a shop and put it on a lift. Front end parts all seem good and tight, no sign on bent tie rods ether.

I ended up buying some Rancho RS62103 Geometry Correction Brackets. Going to have the shop put them on and see how it drives.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:04 PM   #18
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I had the same problem - I removed the wheel spacers from the front wheels and the problem went totally away.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:57 PM
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I had the same problem - I removed the wheel spacers from the front wheels and the problem went totally away.
I don't have wheel spacers
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:32 AM   #20
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I did Napa's offset upper ball joints on the top and Moog ball joints on the bottom. Those have micro grease zerks on the sides, not the top of the joint so check them first, then you can grease them. Your alignment guy will do a reading and tell you what offset he wants for each side. Every Jeep is different.Then put a good set of adjustable heavy lower control arms on. Factory arms are too soft. Core 4x4 are great. After your done your alignment guy will do a final alignment. That fixed all 3 of my Jeeps.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:04 AM   #21
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Sorry forgot to say. I suggest to take it to an alignment shop that has done or knows about lifted jeeps. My alignment tech is a drag racer. He is awesome. Knows alot about setting up front ends. You can drive any of mine with two fingers. Not suggested though. Just my opinion and it's worked for my set ups. Good luck and I hope you get it figured out.
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:28 PM
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Sorry forgot to say. I suggest to take it to an alignment shop that has done or knows about lifted jeeps. My alignment tech is a drag racer. He is awesome. Knows alot about setting up front ends. You can drive any of mine with two fingers. Not suggested though. Just my opinion and it's worked for my set ups. Good luck and I hope you get it figured out.
I'm going to take it to a 4x4 custom shop next week. They build Jeep's and other trucks there. They said they know they can kit it.
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:41 AM   #23
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Good deal. Keep us posted. There is alot of reasons and alot of fixes. Hope they find an easy one
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:59 AM   #24
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Took it to a shop and put it on a lift. Front end parts all seem good and tight, no sign on bent tie rods ether.

I ended up buying some Rancho RS62103 Geometry Correction Brackets. Going to have the shop put them on and see how it drives.
Putting it on a lift really doesn't help, you need the resistance of the tires on the ground in order to truly check the rod ends and bushings as a helper moves the steering wheel back and forth.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:00 PM   #25
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I'm going to take it to a 4x4 custom shop next week. They build Jeep's and other trucks there. They said they know they can kit it.
What did you find out?
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Old 11-04-2019, 07:08 AM   #26
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Must be that time of year. We ran into the same issue during a cold snap. At first we thought we had tossed a weight on one of the wheels. Tire shop did a vibration test and could not find anything. 4x4 shop did the lift install (June), we gave them two opportunities, because it went from shimmy to wobble in two weeks, and a week to figure out and fix the issue(s). They told us they could not replicate our wobble and said the only slight looseness was possibly one of the ball joints. On the way home, 10 miles, we experienced wobble 6 times! Dropped it off at the dealership since our ‘18 JKU is still under warranty. They replaced the tie rod drag-link, did an alignment and said the steering stabilizer had a dead space in it. Everyone told us that the stabilizer is not our issue so we did not replace it. DH drove it to work and the wobble was so bad he nearly had an accident. We found another 4x4 shop and limped it to them, they also had it a week to diagnose (another cold spell) and said it was our Old Man Emu steering stabilizer. It was leaking and had a dead spot. They replaced it with a custom designed (for Colorado) Fox stabilizer. The wobble has subsided but we can still feel something is still not right. We’ve already spent a lot of money and time off from work trying to diagnose the issue. Soon as we can we will again get the wheels balanced and an alignment.

Hope you get yours figured out.
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:21 AM
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Took it to All South in Buford,GA. Added the Rancho RS62103 Geometry Correction Brackets, Had the tires re-balanced, Got a front end alignment. Wobble is gone for now.
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:58 AM   #28
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@HighDesertStorm , as you may know a steering stabilizer can cover up a wobble but it isn't going to fix one. And a shop that sells you an expensive steering stabilizer to "fix" a wobble scares me. Your Jeep should drive straight and wobble free without a steering stabilizer. So a dead spot, if it had one, wouldn't really matter. You really should find the play in your front end before something bad happens. It usually only gets worse. @SuperDad , a speed related wobble is often a tire balance issue, and low caster can make a tire balance wobble worse as the front end is less stable with low caster. So it makes sense. I hope that is the end of it for you.

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