Jeep Wrangler Forum banner
1 - 20 of 684 Posts

· Registered
358 Posts
The videos are kind of long at 18-19 minutes each. Hopefully, they are thorough enough to help.

Death Wobble Diagnosis and Inspection Jeep JK Wrangler Part 1 - YouTube
Death Wobble Diagnosis and Inspection Jeep JK Wrangler Part 2 - YouTube

Inspection Checklist is in Post #2.

I'll start out by explaining that Chrysler decided to use a 14 mm trackbar bolt, with a trackbar bushing sleeve designed for a 9/16" bolt, and the trackbar bracket bolt holes are somewhere around 15-16 mm large. This is a sure recipe for DW if the trackbar bolts are not properly torqued and periodically re-torqued to 125 ft. lbs.

Death Wobble is no mystery.
It is caused by loose bolts, damaged components, or improper

Look at the picture below and follow along:

First, the tie rod (green) has ends that attach to a knuckle on each side. As you could imagine, if either ends of the tie rod were broken or bad, that could be a culprit for a shimmy (not Death Wobble). A common place to damage the tie rod is on the driver's side at the adjusting sleeve (in the picture, just to the right of the red swaybar link). That sleeve (maybe not the correct term for it, but you can see what I am talking about) allows the width of the tie rod to be expanded or contracted. There are threads on that end that can be damaged, causing play on that driver's side and allow an up and down, or circular play movement. Again, this would cause a shimmy, not Death Wobble.

Next, look at the drag link (purple). On one end, it attaches to the pitman arm (lavender), that attaches to the steering gear box. On the other end, the drag link attaches to the passenger side knuckle. When you turn your steering wheel, a shaft turns that goes to the steering gear box. The steering gear box turns the pitman arm, and the pitman arm pushes or pulls the drag link, which pushes or pulls the knuckle. Your steering wheel is straitened by loosening the two nuts on the sleeve/turnbuckle on the drag link and rotating the sleeve/turnbuckle to lengthen or contract the length of the drag link. If either end of the drag link is damaged, this would cause a wobble or shimmy, but not Death Wobble.

Next, look at the trackbar (aqua). It attaches to a bracket on the frame on the driver's side and to the axle on the passenger side. The purpose of the trackbar is to center the axle on the frame. With the axle centered on the frame, it provides some resistance to the steering system to allow you to turn. If there was no trackbar and you turned the steering, the whole front frame would shift. As a result, there is significant force applied to the trackbar in driving and steering.

Now, imagine that the bolts that hold the trackbar are loose in their bolt holes, or that the bolt holes are wallowed out (oval), or that the bushings at the trackbar ends are damaged, or that the bracket at the axle side has come loose because the weld has broken, or that the bushings are all twisted up because the rig has been lifted without the installer loosening the bolts and then retightened them at the new ride height. All these things would allow play in the front trackbar. When you steer or go around a corner, these loose or broken things would allow the axle to shake or slide side to side. If you hit a bump in the road, it could knock the trackbar towards the driver's side. Then, the rest of the suspension (springs, etc.) would try to bring the trackbar back to the passenger side. If you were going at any sort of speed, you could develop a kind of harmonic resonance as the axle more and more violently slide/rocked/shaked from side to side. It would feel like your whole front end was being voilently torn apart. You would have to bring your vehicle to a complete standstill to stop the harmonic resonance. This is Death Wobble.

Even one incident of violent Death Wobble related to the front trackbar can cause significant damage. The voilent harmonic resonance of the back and forth shaking is more than the trackbar bushings, bolt holes, and brackets are designed to handle. A severe Death Wobble occurance can crack or break the welds on the axle side trackbar bracket, or the bolt can wallow out the bolt hole in the bracket, or the bushing can be permanently damaged.

This is the most common source of Death Wobble because inexperienced installers either do not remove the bolt from the trackbar when they install a lift--leaving the bushing pinched in the bracket and bound up, or they do not properly torque the bolts after the lift has been installed with the tires on and the full weight of the vehicle on the ground at ride height, or (maybe the most common) they do not retorque the trackbar bolts after the first 50 miles, after every heavy wheeling trip, and at every oil change interval.

Next, look at the lower control arms (purple) and the upper control arms (light blue). In the picture, they are aftermarket arms with a heim joint on one end. However, the stock control arms have a rubber bushing at each end. When the control arms are properly torqued, the bushing is somewhat pinched in the mounting brackets on the axle and the frame. Sometimes, an installer will make the mistake of not loosening the bolts for the control arms when they install a lift. What happens sometimes is they really bind up the bushings because they are pinched/sandwiched at stock ride height, but then forced to the new lifted ride height. These bound up bushings can cause weird handling, bushing failure, and lead to Death Wobble. The proper way is to loosen the bolts, install the lift, reinstall the wheels so the suspension and jeep are at the new ride height, rock the vehicle/suspension back and forth and side to side, then re-torque the bolts to spec, then after 50 miles re-torque them to spec, then after every oil change or very heavy wheeling trip re-torque them to spec.

Improperly balanced tires, too much air in tires, bent wheels, improperly installed wheel spacers, bad tires (with separated plys), and poor alignment specs (caster, camber, and not enough toe-in) can cause wobbles and shimmies that lead to Death Wobble. However, these precipitate Death Wobble, but they are not the cause of Death Wobble.
Although not specifically identified in the picture, the ball joints that are at the top and bottom of each knuckle where it attaches to the axle C can go bad. Bad ball joints can cause shimmies, wobbles, but usually not full on Death Wobble.

Next, allthough not identified in the picture, the unit bearings can go bad and be a cause of shimmy and wobble, but not Death Wobble.

Hope this helps--assuming you read it all.

Death Wobble is no mystery.

The reason that the steering stabilizer masks it is that it can absorb some of the side to side voilent harmonics of a loose trackbar or damaged mounts. However, this masking is dangerous because it will not prevent the eventual failure of trackbar bracket welds and bolt holes from trackbar Death Wobble.

It is extremely important to immediately diagnose and fix Death Wobble.

Even one episode of DW can damage other components.

Multiple episodes of DW are almost guaranteed to damage other components.

Multiple episodes will often damage your:

    • ball joints
    • tie rod ends--including the adjusting sleeve end on the driver side
    • trackbar bushings
    • trackbar bracket bolt holes
    • steering sector shaft (where the pitman arm attaches to the steering box)
    • steering stabilizer
    • front lower control arm bracket bolt holes
    • unit bearings
    • trackbar bracket welds
    • drag link ends
Hellbound13 is an example of a member who with 5-6 episodes of trackbar related DW on a stock jeep ended up "chasing his tail" for many, many months. He ended up replacing almost everything in the above list--sometimes more than once.

Without repairing/replacing everything that was damaged at once, the remaining damaged components continued to cause DW problems, further damaging the remaining components.

This is Death Wobble (and the guy is extremely foolish for repeating it on purpose):
YouTube - Death Wobble

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)

Assuming your tire psi is 28-30, your tires/wheels have been balanced and rotated to make sure the wobble doesn't move with the rotation, here would be my order:

  1. Remove the steering stabilizer.
  2. Have someone turn the engine on and turn slowly from full lock to full lock while I visually, manually (with my hands on the components), and auditorily inspect for any play in the tie rod ends, drag link ends, sector shaft, trackbar ends/bolts/brackets, and trackbar bracket welds.
  3. Then, do the same thing but with short, sharp, quick back and forth turns of the steering wheel between the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions, instead of the slow, lock to lock approach.
  4. Then, I would remove the front trackbar to inspect the bolt holes for ovaling and inspect the trackbar bushings for separation or cracking with a long screw driver through the bolt sleeve and the trackbar in a vise to leverage against the bushing in all directions. If all is good, I would reinstall the trackbar with the tires on the ground at ride height to 125 lbs.
  5. Then, I would inspect the drag link end joints by using a large channel lock wrench that gave me enough leverage to check for up and down play in the drag link ends. There should not be any meaningful up and down play. If there is, the ends should be replaced, or a new drag link with heavy duty joints should be installed. After, I would check the torque of the drag link ends. Taller lifts magnify the problems of bad drag link ends.
  6. Then, I would inspect the tie rod ends with the channel lock wrench for up and down movement. There should be no meaningful up and down play. There should only be rotational movement in the joint end.
  7. Then, I would put the front axle on jack stands with the tires about 2" off the ground and check the front ball joints by using a long pry bar as a lever under the front tires to lift them up to inspect for up and down play in the lower ball joints. There shouldn't be more than maybe 1-2 mm.
  8. Then, I would grab the top of the tire with both hands and push it towards the frame and pull it away from the frame to inspect for lateral movement of the top ball joints. There shouldn't be any.
  9. Then, I would remove the front tires/wheels and remove the front tie rod--one knuckle at a time. Then with a large wrench or vice grips, I would inspect the end for side to side play. Then I would reinstall the end and torque to spec and repeat on the other side.
  10. Then, I would remove the brake calipers and brake disks to inspect the unitbearings for play.
  11. Then, I would reinstall the discs, brake calipers, and tires/wheels and set the axle back on the ground.
  12. Then, I would support but not lift the front axle with a floor jack and loosen the front control arm bolts (upper and lower on the axle side). One at a time, I would drop the control arms to inspect the bolt holes and bushings (similar to with the trackbar), reinstall without torquing, and do the next one.
  13. Next, I would inspect the sector shaft that comes out of the steering box for cracking or twisting.
  14. Then, I would take a test drive without the steering stablizer to feel for any wobbles.
  15. Finally, I would reinstall the steering stablizer or spring $40 for a heavy duty steering stablizer.
If this front end inspection does not diagnose and/or solve it, then I would move to an alignment.

  1. I would use adjustable lower front control arms to set my caster spec between 4 and 5 degrees--with a cross caster that has less on the driver side than the passenger side. I would personally not do more or less, with a target around 4.5-4.7 degrees caster.
  2. If my camber is out of spec, but it is not due to failed ball joints, I would install offset ball joints to get my camber in spec.
  3. I would set my toe-in to spec on the machine--which is about a 1/16"-1/8" toe-in depending on tire size.
  4. If my front to rear alignment is off, I would install rear lower adjustable control arms to fix this.
Also, I recommend you switch out your stock 14 mm trackbar bolts for 9/16" grade 8 bolts.

See the following video for more information:

YouTube - Common Source of Death Wobble

With all this, I highly doubt you do not find the source.

The last ditch thing if there is a non-DW, speed dependent range wobble, I would borrow a different set of wheels and tires to see if it changes, and I would try driving it with no front driveshaft to see if that changes anything.

Although it is always a good idea to inspect your axle shaft u-joints, they will not cause DW.

The most common sources of full on DW are:

  • Improperly torqued trackbar bolts
  • Damaged trackbar and control arm bushings because bolts were torqued on a car lift or while the vehicle was not at ride height with the tires on the ground. When you torque trackbar and control arm bolts, the bracket pinches the bolt sleeve in the bushing, as well as the bushing itself. If this is at a geometry other than actual ride height, the bushings are twisted/bound/pre-loaded, and they will eventually fail/separate/etc. If you have a flex joint end, this does not apply for that end.
  • Ovaled out trackbar bracket holes due to DW episodes from loose bolts.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Glad to do it.:thumb:

I did a TJ version for their section as well.

I should add that inspection of the swaybar link bushings and proper torquing of swaybar link bolts should be included in the inspection list.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I do believe that jeep should at least do a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) that instructs the dealer techs to weld washers over the trackbar brackets so that the trackbar bolts fit snuggly instead of having so much play from the factory.

I also believe that the Owners Manual should be updated to recommend re-torquing the front trackbar bolts to 125 ft. lbs. at every oil change interval and after every extended/vigorous offroading trip.

A very small percentage of JK owners will ever experience DW. However, that small percentage is sufficient to justify proper training of dealer techs and the addition to the Owners Manual.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #36 ·
HELP! Will a new steering damper permanently eliminate the Death Wobble? My dealer replaced my stearing damper per TSB #02-003-10 under warranty after multiple episodes (4) of the dreaded wobble . My 08 wrangler JKU has 27000 miles with all stock equip. My warranty will expire next February and I don't want this to be a repeat issue costing $$$$$$$!
Please go back and read the first 2 posts in this thread, and you will have your answer as to why a steering dampner has absolutely nothing to do with the most common sources of DW and why your dealer techs are completely incompetent for saying a new one is the fix.

Without fixing the source, the DW will continue to get worse and the new steering dampner/stabilizer will eventually fail because it will no longer be able to mask the source(s) of your DW.

So basically if you keep your trackbar bolts tight you shouldn't have this problem? Why not just replace the 14mm bolt with a 9/16th bolt? What's the thread pattern?
Basically, jeeps with proper installation and maintenance of factory and aftermarket parts do not experence DW.

They may end up with wobbles due to worn or damaged ball joints or joint ends (tie rod or drag link), or from a bad alignment due to a bent tie rod, but they catch them and fix things right away before they damage other components.

If you want to deal with the difference in bolt hole and bolt size, you can use larger bolts or weld in washers that fit snugly on the stock bolts. If you use larger bolts, you will want to use shouldered bolts and to weld a flag on the new nut for the axle side. Otherwise, you want to weld the washers on the front and back of both the axle and frame side brackets.

Hi all,
I'm considering a 2011 Sahara Unlimited.
Great looking vehicle, enjoyed the test drive and all else to be honest.
I'm wondering if the death wobble is something that I should worry about on a 2011 MY.
The main reason for asking is mainly because I read about Chrysler doing a couple of recalls, atleast one related to the axle.
Did this fix the wobble or is it something totally unrelated?

If the recall/s were not related to the wobble, I assume it's safe to say that it's still an ongoing issue in the 2011MY.
DW is an issue for any poorly maintained vehicle with a 5 link front end. It has been an issue with every Ford, Dodge, and Jeep with a front trackbar and 4 front control arms. It is not specific to JKs. In fact, it happens less frequently with JKs than with other models because of the beefiness of the JK front trackbar and 125 ft lbs torque specs for the trackbar and front lower control arms.

Google ford death wobble, dodge death wobble, or jeep death wobble and you will see what I mean.

If you are keeping your jeep stock, after you get your jeep, go around and re-torque all the bolts to spec as soon as you get it.

Then, just add re-torquing the trackbar bolts to 125 ft. lbs. at every oil change interval, and you will be fine.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #44 ·
I have expirienced the death wobble more than a handful of times. Started when I hit bumps on the highway going 70+ in the fast lane. We had no idea what it was and I had to come to a complete stop on the left hand side of the road (thank jebus for emergency lanes in the middle at that spot). We checked all the tire pressure, kicked the snow off all the axels, and tightened the lugs up. Ended up recurring more and more often until I finally got it in to my dealer. They said it was 'just' a stearing damper problem (after multiple highway emergencies!) & they'd replace it. Even after they replaced it I've still gotten the wobble, I've just learned to avoid it or to control it. I guess I never thought about what it was doing to my engine, etc.

Thanks for the write-up. I'm about 200 miles away from the end of my warrentee. Guess I'll be making a trip to the dealership!
If you have read this thread, you know that a steering stabilizer is only a mask. It will not fix your source(s) of DW.

Few dealer techs have been trained how to simply diagnose and fix DW.

Print out my first and second posts and take them with you.

Because you continued to drive your jeep without immediately fixing the problem, it is very probable that you have damaged your ball joints, drag link ends, trackbar bushings, trackbar brackets, etc.

Sorry to hear that you are having issues as well. Because of the recurrent issues I was having, I ended up trading in my 08 JKU for something safer and much more reliable. I enjoyed my jeep for the 3 years I owned it but it was time to move on and get true daily driver. My family's safety is more important to me than my wrangler, although some day I will own one again. Good luck with your wrangler and I hope you get the answers and the solutions you need.
This is too bad. DW is very simple to diagnose and fix.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Could this be the same for my 97 cherokee? Its had almost all the front end done and still has this shake, been to the tards at good yr and they said it was a jeep death shake but have yet to have fixed the problem and 2000$ later im still shakin! They also suggested replacing whole front end on 91 YJ cuz as they said is the number one jeep that has this problem. Is this true or are they blowing smoke up my tailpipe? :banghead:
Yes. It is the same. Read my TJ write-up because it has the same front end as an XJ:

What I wonder is how dealers are equipped to fix this.
When I was younger I would delve right into something like this, but now I just take it in.
They aren't. There is a TSB about steering stabilizers and there is a TSB about re-torquing the suspension bolts for a limited number of one year model JK jeeps.

The only way taking it to the dealer would help is if one of their techs is a jeep-head and learned on his own.

You might benefit from printing out my first post and the inspection checklist and taking it to the dealer. However, most dealer techs only look at what the Chrysler computer manual tells them to do.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Would you recomend having it re-alligned after that to make sure everything is as it should be?
With lifts of 2.5" or less without adding adjustable control arms, or cambolts (not advisable), an alignment shouldn't be needed.

When you start adding adjustable control arms and lifting taller than 2.5", I believe it is helpful to get an alignment and keep the printout so you have a basis to work from if some extra fine tuning is needed.

An alignment usually does not include an inspection of your ball joints, control arm and trackbar bushings, bolt torque specs, etc.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #66 ·
This happened to me driving downhill in fog 2 weeks ago and about scared the life out of me. Not to mention that it shook so badly that it bounced me into the oncoming traffic lane. Thankfully, there was no one coming. I took it the dealer and they acted like they never heard of this before which has to be a complete lie as it happened to my brother last year (he drives the same jeep). How can they get away with something that is SO dangerous and pretend like they don't know what happens? I'm appalled.
Have you read posts #1 and #2 of this thread?

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #68 ·
This is really detailed, thanks for sharing this. Is this something we need to worry about with a new jeep that has not been modded yet? Should I add this to the checklist everytime I change the oil? I try to change the oil every 3000 to 4000 miles
You should re-torque your front trackbar and all your control arm bolts. It will take maybe 10-15 minutes to do.

More than one person has reported that the bolts on a stock, non-modified jeep have been improperly torqued.

After that, you don't really need to worry about it.

Although, you should re-torque your front trackbar bolts at every oil change interval. It takes less than a couple minutes to do with a good torque wrench and second wrench for the frame side bolt & nut.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #78 ·
This is mostly all answered in posts #1 & #2.

The tie rod must have rotational play to allow the suspension to cycle.

There should be no meaningful up and down or side to side play in the tie rod or drag link ends.

There should be no meaningful up and down play in the ball joints.

There should be no play with trackbar ends where they bolt to the brackets.

The swaybar links should not be loose enough to clunk.

A lift over 2.5" should have caster correction with adjustable front lower control arms. It can be done with cambolts for a street only driven rig.

The only 3.25" lift I am aware if us the Rough Country. It is incomplete, with shocks that are too stiff, no adjustable front trackbar, no extended bumpstops, and no adjustable front lower control arms. It is more prone to wobbles due to the lack of caster correction, but this is not the main source of full on DW.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #80 ·
Yes, I've read #1 & #2. What I'm saying is that Jeep must be aware of this problem and decided it would be better not to acknowledge. My brother had to take his jeep back 4 times and they finally said it was the breaks seizing. When it happened to me, I took it straight to the dealer, within 15 mins, and they told me that absolutely nothing was wrong with my car. When I explained the shaking like the car was going to tear in two, they looked at me like I was crazy. So my point it, that either they don't have a way of reporting what must be the hundreds of cases (if not thousands) to a national database for review or they must be choosing not to make the recall and risk the lives of their customers. I believe it's the latter.
There is incompetence in the dealer tech training and with Chrysler.

DW is an problem that can happen with any solid axle front vehicle with a trackbar.

It has been a serious, but infrequent, problem since the 1984 Cherokee XJs, and the 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJs. It happens with solid front axle Dodge trucks that have control arms and a trackbar.

DW is most always trackbar related. The engineers at Chrysler tried to reduce the frequency of the problem on JKs with a beefier design for the front trackbar than with TJs and XJs. Even mid stream on JKs, the newer models have a different design for the frame side trackbar end.

DW on JKs is infrequent on stock rigs, but it happens.

DW is most common on JKs with lifts installed by inexperienced owners or shops, or with JKs that are not properly maintained.

As I mentioned in post #1, Chrysler decided to cut corners and uses bolts that are too small compared to the front trackbar bracket bolt holes and bolt sleeves.

They should do a recall of all JKs and install 9/16" front trackbar bolts.

They should properly train their techs to diagnose and fix DW.

They should include re-torquing the front trackbar to 125 ft lbs at every oil change interval as part of the recommended maintenance.

Because DW is so uncommon, Chrysler has not taken action to address it.

The most common progression of DW is:

  1. After improper installation or poor maintenance, the front trackbar bolts are loose and/or the trackbar bushings are damaged.
  2. The jeep experiences DW that damages the trackbar bracket holes and/or trackbar bracket welds.
  3. Instead of immediately fixing it, the jeep owner continues to drive the jeep, and multiple episodes of DW damage the ball joints, tie rod ends, drag link end, front upper axle side control arm bushings, etc., etc.
  4. After multiple components are damaged, the jeep owner takes it to a dealer or shop that is incompetent, and they install a new steering stabilizer to mask the problems.
  5. After a relatively short period of time, the new steering stabilizer fails, and the DW gets worse.
  6. Instead of inspecting and fixing everything at once, the shop or owner starts fixing components one at a time, but the remaining damaged components end up damaging the new components.
  7. After chasing his/her tail replacing components--sometimes more than once--the jeep owner gives up and sells their jeep at a loss in frustration.

...or, the DW never happens because the installations are correctly done and the jeep is properly maintained.

...or, after even one episode of DW, the jeep owner goes through the entire checklist in post #2 and easily diagnoses and fixes the problem(s), and it never happens again.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #82 ·
Is there a reason we as consumers can't (or shouldn't) simply do this as part of a lift install or general maintenance?
I recommend using 9/16" bolts for the front trackbar for every lifted JK or stock JK that has had DW.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #88 ·
2010 JK with 5000klms on the clock ,, recently experienced horrific "Death Wobble" . Never heard , or experienced it in over 40 years of driving , and over 40 different vehicles.
Took it a dealer, was told they could find no evidence of a problem .I asled them to check the front end , and especially for the upgrades I had heard of .
They cam back , told me there was a slight wheel alignment problem , and one wheel out of balance.
I called Jeep Australia, they were not interested.
I have the Jeep back , and though it seems to be driving ok ,I back off a lot , and get a bit concerned when passing or being around other vehicles, as it feels like it's ready to do a repeat performance at any tick of the clock .
Sought legal advice , was told if I have an accident due to this , I will be held responsible .
Wrote the problem up on CarAdvice, a website for car probs.
Got an E-mail from Chrysler asking me to call them .
Sent a reply stating as there were not interested when I called , and as they are prepared to sell vehicles like this , I doubt very much I'd get any help from them .Told them not to bother replying.
Am now seeking legal advice as to how I stand re My financial contract , as I'm looking to get rid of it , as no confidence, and don't fancy driving another 4 years wondering if I'm going to land in Jail.
Also seeking advice as to the roadworthiness , and how it managed to pass.
Will post more.:banghead:
Read posts #1 and #2 of this thread.

It has most all the information you need to fix the problem.

Do not drive your jeep anymore until you fix it.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #91 ·
Dw sucks. All i have left is a small amount of shimmy that i can't find.
Is it speed dependent or random?

Can you drive out of it by going faster?

How even is your tire treadwear?

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #94 ·
Well, not going to get any help from chrysler, unless I drive around the country to a dealer,, so looks like I'm on me pat malone,, last jeep for me ,, cheers folks ,, thanks for listening
It really isn't that hard to fix.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #96 ·
Might be if you have the right gear and the know how ....
That is true, but it is not rocket science, and it doesn't cost more than maybe a couple hundred dollars to buy the right gear.

What you need to do the inspection:

Jack stands
torque wrench that goes up to 150 ft lbs
ratchet and socket set with some extensions
15, 18, 19, 21, 22 mm wrenches
floor jack
channel lock pliers
pry bar

As far as the know how goes, if a person prints off the picture in post #1 and follows the steps in #2, they shouldn't have too hard of a time checking things.

The primary sources of DW are trackbar related. It really doesn't take much know how to remove the front trackbar to inspect the bolt holes for ovaling, and then reinstall it with 9/16" grade 8 bolts instead of the stock 14 mm bolts.

It really doesn't take much know how to have someone cycle the steering left to right while you lie under the front of your jeep and look/listen/feel the tie rod, drag link, pitman arm, and trackbar for clunking or loose ends.

Even if that is too much, most areas have a local 4x4 club with members who are more than willing to help a fellow jeeper figure things out. Many local clubs have "Mod Days" where they get together to do modifications and upgrades at the same time.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #103 ·
Thanks for the kudos...

I plan on ordering a new Wrangler in February with delivery in late March or early April 2012. It's going to be fairly basic - the Sport S, two-door with the 6-speed manual and dual-top option.

I don't do a lot of my own mechanic work on a car. I plan to use this as a daily driver (second car) and will occasionally drive it on backroads in North Carolina's mountains or make a few trips to the Outer Banks and may have it on the beach ...

Question: I had never heard of Death Wobble until today ... and it sounds pretty freakin' awful. Most of the posts I have read describe 2007-08 JKs. Does this continue to be a problem for the newer JKs?
DW is something that can happen with any vehicle solid front axle (Jeep, Dodge, Ford, etc.).

One thing that I would recommend is for you to run down to your local Sears and buy a torque wrench that is capable of at least 150 ft lbs. You also want a 21 mm socket, a 3" extension, and a 21 mm wrench.

A torque wrench is a precision instrument. It should never be used in a loosening position--only a tightening position. It should never be used as a ratchet or breaker bar. It should never be used as a lever or hammer. It should always be stored at its lowest setting. It should never be dropped on the ground.

When you take delivery of your jeep, re-torque the front trackbar bolts to 125 ft lbs. They should be fine, but it takes less than 1 minute to do.

Then, at every oil change interval, and after every major offroading trip where the suspension was really flexed, re-torque the front trackbar bolts.

If you do this, you decrease the likelihood of ever experiencing DW.

This additional 1-2 minutes to re-torque suspension components at every oil change interval should be part of the normal recommended maintenance and service for Jeeps and Dodge trucks.

One JK owner took me up on this advice and re-torqued the bolts on his brand new jeep right after delivery. He re-torqued all 8 control arms and front/rear trackbars. He found several control arm and trackbar bolts were not fully torqued.

· Registered
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #112 ·
How is this in place of a torque wrench? Alltrade 940759 Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor for 1/2-Inch Driver: Home Improvement

What do you recommend for those tight squeezes where it is hard to get to get a socket head in?
This one is a good deal. I bought one:

Digital Torque Wrench - Holiday Special - : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum

To fit into tight spaces, you need extensions and maybe a universal joint:

Any idea why i still have a slight shimmy? Only if i hit a nice size bump.
Something else is worn. The only way to know is to go through the inspection checklist.

It could be ovaled out trackbar bolts, worn ball joints or unit bearings, worn front upper axle side control arm bushings, worn tie-rod or drag links ends, a worn steering box, etc. It could even be loose shock bolts/nuts.

If you have had DW even once, it is possible that many components were affected or damaged.

Multiple episodes of DW are almost guaranteed to damage other components.

I properly set up jeep should not have a shimmy.
1 - 20 of 684 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.