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Old 06-25-2019, 02:21 PM
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Death wobble?

Hello first time posting. The last several weeks a lot of articles about death wobble has been in the media, as well as this forum. Do the leaf sprung jeeps have this problem or just the coil sprung, straight axle models; Jeeps as well as pickups. My background is with 20's & 30's Fords, straight axles transverse leaf springs, and late model Ford F150's. They had their issues, but not what I would call death wobble unless steering components were completely worn out. I suspect the root of the death wobble is the same, just more pronounced because of the coils. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I joined the forum to learn about the Wrangler. I plan on making a purchase in the next year or so. I've always wanted a Jeep they just didn't fit my life. One big snag will be the ride, I'm trying to avoid back surgery right now, will know more in a couple of days. I remember when the cj7 was introduced. Thanks for the info that I'm sure will come. Bob

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Old 06-25-2019, 05:53 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum Robert E. Lee,

I've never experience "death wobble" in my Jeep.
I think worn parts and repairs by so-called "experts" are the main cause of the condition. For some guys, Bubba next door says "If you want to have a cool Jeep, you should (insert whatever)". Then the Jeep owner goes out and buys cheap parts without any research and ends up with something worse than what he started with. Keep checking in on this forum for a lot of good advice on what Jeep to buy and how to do proper mods. Since many Wranglers get modified, I think that's why they seem to have a greater incidence of DW.

I just had spinal fusion surgery last month and still can't bend enough to climb up into my Jeep. Hopefully your doc can come up with a reasonable alternative to get rid of your pain.

Good Luck, L.M.
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:11 PM   #3
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I have never experienced death wobble on any of my jeeps leaf sprung or coils. But i know people who have had it and it seems to be coil sprung jeeps that suffer from it.
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Old 06-26-2019, 05:26 AM   #4
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Our leaf sprung Jeeps are less susceptible to death wobble, but it can still happen. When you put on big tires and your steering geometry changes, you are more likely to have it happen. Especially when steering components are worn or otherwise loose.

I had the pitman arm nut back off about 3/4 of a turn once, and that was enough "loose" to get death wobble at 35mph. Scared the crap out of me. A wrench and some locktite and about 5 minutes took care of it.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:49 AM   #5
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I had it in a 53 Willys. Turned out to be worn shackle bushings, Quick,cheap,and easy fix.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:58 AM   #6
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Leaf springs add a ton more stability in the left/right direction and as such death wobble is much harder to get. You basically have your ball joints falling out first.
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Old 06-28-2019, 05:33 AM   #7
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Ive experienced death wobble......In my 2010 F350 DUALLY! I just had bought the truck and they had done a SMALL lift and leveled the truck out. What they didn't do was add steering stabilizers. I went in to a curve pulling a horse trailer, hit the brakes and the world broke loose! I thought I was going off the road for sure! Got the stabilizers on there, no issues since!
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Old 06-28-2019, 12:01 PM   #8
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I had it happen to me on a Harley Davidson softtail at about 85 MPH. On a motorcycle it's called a "tank slapper". I rode it out and came to a heart fluttering stop. I rode the motorcycle home and got rid of the spoked wheels for cast wheels. It seems that if the spokes loosen up it allows "death wobble" to happen on a motorcycle. Just another example of worn or loose steering components on a stock vehicle.

Good Luck, L.M.
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"Wrangler....It's not just a vehicle, It's a lifestyle".
.................................................. ........................
1987 YJ-4.2L-Standard Shift- Re-manufactured Carter Carb-2" body Lift-31X10.5X15 BFG KOs-190K Miles No back seat.
HEI distributor with computer and all related relays and wiring removed.
12K Badlands winch with dual batteries.
Warn front bumper. Matching imitation Warn bumper on the rear.
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Old 06-29-2019, 09:36 PM
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Thanks for the responses, you have pretty much confirmed what the I believed. Poorly maintained or engineered suspension lifts are the primary factor, especially the track bar. The coil springs only make matters worse because of lack of lateral stability compared to leaf springs. The only experience I've had was in a mid 70's f100, the tie rod end was completely worn out. When I removed it, it fell apart into 2 pieces. That's when I decided to keep a closer eye on my parents vehicles.
Living in northeast Ohio rust free cj or a yj is going to be harder to find than a tj. With the back issues my wife and I have I think the coils would be a friendlier ride, especially the longer wheelbase of the lj. The extra room of the lj would be handy for hauling the bird dogs. Thanks again for the replies Bob
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Old 06-29-2019, 09:41 PM
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I'll be reading the various forum threads and learning what I can. Nothing beats learning by doing, but it's cheaper to learn by others doings. Thanks again Bob
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Old 06-29-2019, 09:54 PM   #11
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LeafJ owner, big ole tires, big lift, can do 65, hit bumps and straight as an arrow. For me death wobble is something I have only read about.....fortunately.

Ride, although straight, is like a jet ski on choppy water and most folks find it challenging to get into it also. These are for the folks that lean more to the side of athletic than the side of health issues such as back injuries for example....IMHO
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Old 06-30-2019, 12:06 AM   #12
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I've seen Death Wobble once on a YJ. Most of the stock components had been swapped ( axles, steering, suspension). Something was loose or installed wrong. I do not recall the details. That YJ never did it again.

TJ on coils would probably be a better ride. Do find good quality seats for whatever Jeep you find. Aftermarket full suspension seats are a must. Hitting the trail with stock seats (YJ/TJ) is fine when your 20yrs old.

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