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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So it seems I've caught a case of the death wobbles. Track bar was a little loose, and I replaced it, and that seemed to straighten it out for a little bit. However, now when I'm between 55 and 60mph, it starts feeling a little loose and will escalate into a full on wobble. If I accelerate past 60, or slow down below 55, it will steady up. and it's smooth sailing. It's not every time either, but once in a while is more than enough. It's only escalated into a full wobble twice now, and I'm pressed for time and cash so I am wary of driving in a situation where it could happen. I stick to side roads for the most part.

I'm going to try looking at it myself this weekend, using what resources I have found online, but I was hoping the speed dependency might help one you give me a clue as to what is most likely, or where to look first. Also, if I have an adult passenger it doesn't seem to happen at all. Weird right?

Thanks!

(Stock rubicon, on smaller road tires)
 

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So it seems I've caught a case of the death wobbles. Track bar was a little loose, and I replaced it, and that seemed to straighten it out for a little bit. However, now when I'm between 55 and 60mph, it starts feeling a little loose and will escalate into a full on wobble. If I accelerate past 60, or slow down below 55, it will steady up. and it's smooth sailing. It's not every time either, but once in a while is more than enough. It's only escalated into a full wobble twice now, and I'm pressed for time and cash so I am wary of driving in a situation where it could happen. I stick to side roads for the most part.

I'm going to try looking at it myself this weekend, using what resources I have found online, but I was hoping the speed dependency might help one you give me a clue as to what is most likely, or where to look first. Also, if I have an adult passenger it doesn't seem to happen at all. Weird right?

Thanks!

(Stock rubicon, on smaller road tires)
First, I would do a dry steering test to identify and fix any possible worn/loose parts...that's free. Then I would have the wheels/tires balanced.

Dry Steering Test

Do a dry steering test by having someone sit in your Jeep (with the tires on the ground) and continuously turn the steering wheel back and forth from about the 11 to 1 position while you lay under the front end and watch and feel for any lateral play in any steering or suspension joints. Check both track bar ends, the tie rod and drag link ends.
Although rotational movement in the tie rod and drag link is normal and necessary, there should be no end movement at all in the joints. There also should be no movement in the track bar ends.
 

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For what it's worth my observations didn't turn up abnormal movement of anything other than the track bar bushing and one TRE.

What I found while removing/replacing/upgrading parts though was one abnormal ball joint, a bad unit bearing, and more draglink/TRE issues. My control arm bushings are worn too, but I knew that I'm just saving up the cash for upgrades all around.

I had my tires rebalanced yesterday and he said they were each around 1/2oz out of balance. They are now perfect again but the slightest shimmy is still there. My unit bearings should be here Tuesday so I guess I'll see. Anyhow, just thought I'd share a little of what I've been through chasing down the shimmy/slop (and initially DW) in my LJ. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
For what it's worth my observations didn't turn up abnormal movement of anything other than the track bar bushing and one TRE.

What I found while removing/replacing/upgrading parts though was one abnormal ball joint, a bad unit bearing, and more draglink/TRE issues. My control arm bushings are worn too, but I knew that I'm just saving up the cash for upgrades all around.

I had my tires rebalanced yesterday and he said they were each around 1/2oz out of balance. They are now perfect again but the slightest shimmy is still there. My unit bearings should be here Tuesday so I guess I'll see. Anyhow, just thought I'd share a little of what I've been through chasing down the shimmy/slop (and initially DW) in my LJ. Good luck!
Thanks man! I am in the same boat. Trying to work towards a full lift/wheel/tire swap and having to replace the bits I'll have to be replacing again really grinds my gears!
 

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Thanks man! I am in the same boat. Trying to work towards a full lift/wheel/tire swap and having to replace the bits I'll have to be replacing again really grinds my gears!
Well I didn't want to scare you but I did not see this stuff in the dry steer test (could totally be my fault for missing it) but the shimmy/vibe stuff has lessened with each replacement part so far. The suspension/steering was a sloppy, noisy, wobbling mess when I got it. That was my negotiating point on this rig. :)

I hear you on the doing things twice part, but I have to look at it like I'm building spares or I'd be frustrated. I needed ujoints and ball joints, but I plan on doing the vanco big brakes, though it's about $6-8k down the list so I had to put new parts on the current shafts/knuckles.
 

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Track bar was a little loose, and I replaced it, and that seemed to straighten it out for a little bit. However, now when I'm between 55 and 60mph, it starts feeling a little loose and will escalate into a full on wobble.
You might have a track bar mount that is oblong and not round due to the repeated shimmy you experienced. How long has it been since you replaced your ball joints? Although the Dry Steering Test did not reveal this, when my knuckle was pulled, I saw how easily the ball joints moved - in particular, the lower ones.

Google 'Hunter Road Force Balance' in your local town, and spend the $20/wheel to get this done on your Jeep. This along with the dry steering test will help you tremendously. I had DW and bad shimmies for over a year, so I know how frustrating this problem can be.
 

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Well I didn't want to scare you but I did not see this stuff in the dry steer test (could totally be my fault for missing it)
That's why it's important to grab on to and feel parts as they are being cycled. Many times you can feel what you cannot see. Also, another point on the dry steer test...don't stop looking once you find one questionable joint. Many times, it's not just one, but small movement in multiple joints.
 

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That's why it's important to grab on to and feel parts as they are being cycled. Many times you can feel what you cannot see. Also, another point on the dry steer test...don't stop looking once you find one questionable joint. Many times, it's not just one, but small movement in multiple joints.
Yeah I dropped the ball there. :) it's almost all new now though. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
First, I would do a dry steering test to identify and fix any possible worn/loose parts...that's free. Then I would have the wheels/tires balanced. Dry Steering Test Do a dry steering test by having someone sit in your Jeep (with the tires on the ground) and continuously turn the steering wheel back and forth from about the 11 to 1 position while you lay under the front end and watch and feel for any lateral play in any steering or suspension joints. Check both track bar ends, the tie rod and drag link ends. Although rotational movement in the tie rod and drag link is normal and necessary, there should be no end movement at all in the joints. There also should be no movement in the track bar ends.
I assume "dry" means unassisted by power steering?

This might be tough for my 11yr old helper!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, so I finally had an opportunity to do this. Nothing looked or felt immediately off, but I'm admittedly no pro at this. Right now though, I'm suspecting ball joints, or a wallowing of a track bar bolt hole.
 

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Is your suspension stock? Or lifted? Make sure your tires are balanced and one of them didn't throw a wheel weight.
 

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Is your suspension stock? Or lifted? Make sure your tires are balanced and one of them didn't throw a wheel weight.
After a reread of the op's original post, I agree, tire balance is one of the first things to check.
You cannot drive through (speed up enough to get past) real death wobble. You have to come to almost a complete stop. Real dw is shaking the steering wheel so bad, that the last thing you would even think about is speeding up. The vehicle is to a point where it's just about uncontrollable. Speed sensitive shimmies and wobbles are almost always attributed to tire/wheel balance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
After a reread of the op's original post, I agree, tire balance is one of the first things to check. You cannot drive through (speed up enough to get past) real death wobble. You have to come to almost a complete stop. Real dw is shaking the steering wheel so bad, that the last thing you would even think about is speeding up. The vehicle is to a point where it's just about uncontrollable. Speed sensitive shimmies and wobbles are almost always attributed to tire/wheel balance.
I will get the wheels rebalanced this weekend. The jeep is stock as a rock. I have to replace rotors and pads all around anyway, I'll go ahead an get the balance work after that and report back Thanks again!

And I should clarify, if I speed up at the shimmie stage, it gets solid again at 60+. If I linger with the shimmies, it get the dw.
 
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