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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
My girlfriend recently got a 04 TJ. Today she got on the free way and as she accelerated she the car began to shake/wobble. She quickly exited and as she slowed down the wobbling subsided.
Now when I drove the car, I notice as I approach 50mph I can feel the front end begin to shake and the steering wheel wobble. As I slowed down the it ceased, but I really couldn't take the car more than 45mph.

I just read an article about the "death wobble" and I want to share the car's history since it seems to pertain to what I read.

Previously the TJ was in accident. In the process of getting the car put together and running it was discovered the wheels were grossly out of aligned...Well not that bad, but it was definitely visible. At the time it was suspected it was the track bar because there was difficulty getting it back on(If i recall it seemed that the track bar was making the front passenger tire stick out).
It was taken to a shop and learned that there was frame damage. Well supposably that was taken care of and the car was then taken to be aligned. While finishing up the alignment we were told the bar (pictured) was bent. Is this the trackbar? I thought the real trackbar was another part located just beyond the one pictured? What are the chances of this being the source of the wobble? The car is not lifted. Its an 04 so I don't think any of the rubber parts or the ball joints would be too worn. If it is a track bar, is it recommended to get an adjustable one because the car might be a lil tweaked?

Thanks in advance.

 

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The item pictured is the tie-rod...loose/bent components in the front end could certainly cause death wobble though.
 

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Did this start the first time it was driven after repair or has it been ok for awhile and this just started?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm a fool. After I posted this thread I found a great picture showing me the names and locations of certain parts.
I know the part circled in red is the tie rod. The tie rod was told said the be bent when we got the jeep aligned. Would this effect wobble?
The part I suspected to be the track bar is the track bar. I know this would effect wobble. Is it a good idea just to get this replaced. Should we go with a stock track bar or a adjustable one?
Also, when the jeep was taken to get the frame fixed, the lower control arms were replaced. Would this be a factor too?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Did this start the first time it was driven after repair or has it been ok for awhile and this just started?
The car was purchased wrecked. So we don't know how it drove before that. Maybe it was wrecked bc of the wobble?lol I don't know...but it was fixed to minimum running conditions at home and then taken to a shop for further repair. It was then learned that there was frame damage, and the lower control arms were replaced. Nothing was said about a bent tie rod until we got it aligned at another place. Which makes me think the tie rod is really bent or not?
 

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As stated, any bent or out of line steering components will cause a steering wobble. If it were me, I would have the frame checked for straightness on a laser frame straightener. You really need to start with a straight frame and work your way back from there through the steering components. If its just the tie rod, you can get one from a salvage yard from a ZJ jeep that is bigger and stronger and should be cheap.
 

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As fire said I would make sure the frame was fixed right and if the tie rod is bent there's no way that alignment shop got it correctly aligned in the first place, they shouldn't have even tried to align it! Every shop down here by me will straight up come out and tell you hey this is broke or this is bent or that's worn out so we can't do the alignment until that's fixed and they either tell you they can do it or ask if you wanna fix it then bring it back!! So I would get that replaced then go back and tell them to realign it for free!!
 

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Another thing to consider is plain old warn parts. How many miles are on it?

Tie rod ends a wear items.

Another frequent issue (not just on Jeeps which I am admittedly new to) is worn or rusted u-joints causing serious vibration. A simple test for those is to bring it to the "wobble" speed and put it in nuetral (or push in the clutch w a manual). When you stop transmitting power through them the vibration goes away, or greatly lessens.

I have read about death wobble also. But 2 of the 3 Jeeps I test drove recently had the u-joint problem I described.

I had a 4x4 Dakota go through this issue. It wanted to shake the fillings out of your teeth on the highway. I would call it a vibration, but I could see it being called a "wobble" also. People use some words differently.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
As stated, any bent or out of line steering components will cause a steering wobble. If it were me, I would have the frame checked for straightness on a laser frame straightener. You really need to start with a straight frame and work your way back from there through the steering components. If its just the tie rod, you can get one from a salvage yard from a ZJ jeep that is bigger and stronger and should be cheap.
The place that took care of the lower control arms, but not the alignment, was where the frame was inspected and straighten back to normal as much as possible. I dunno if a laser straightener was used or not.

Now the one who took care of the alignment was the one who spoke about the bent tie-rod. But he didn't have any knowledge of was done to the car before hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
As fire said I would make sure the frame was fixed right and if the tie rod is bent there's no way that alignment shop got it correctly aligned in the first place, they shouldn't have even tried to align it! Every shop down here by me will straight up come out and tell you hey this is broke or this is bent or that's worn out so we can't do the alignment until that's fixed and they either tell you they can do it or ask if you wanna fix it then bring it back!! So I would get that replaced then go back and tell them to realign it for free!!
Yea we will definitely take it back to where it was aligned. As for the frame, I think the only way to see if it was fixed right is to take it to another shop. Which sucks because cash was spent to have it done right the first time.

Another thing to consider is plain old warn parts. How many miles are on it?

Tie rod ends a wear items.

Another frequent issue (not just on Jeeps which I am admittedly new to) is worn or rusted u-joints causing serious vibration. A simple test for those is to bring it to the "wobble" speed and put it in nuetral (or push in the clutch w a manual). When you stop transmitting power through them the vibration goes away, or greatly lessens.

I have read about death wobble also. But 2 of the 3 Jeeps I test drove recently had the u-joint problem I described.

I had a 4x4 Dakota go through this issue. It wanted to shake the fillings out of your teeth on the highway. I would call it a vibration, but I could see it being called a "wobble" also. People use some words differently.
Jeep as about 87k miles on it. I will the u joint test, but I feel the wobble causes the steering wheel to turn left to right--like on the edge of losing control--and isnt really a vibrating feeeling
 

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It definately seems to be steering components. If you are comfortable witht the way the frame was fixed, go ahead and try a new tie rod, check the torque on the track bar at both ends, make sure the ball joints are ok and see how it goes.
 

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Improper alignment will never (!) cause a shimmy but an out of balance or bad tire or bent wheel always will.
 

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Jeep as about 87k miles on it. I will the u joint test, but I feel the wobble causes the steering wheel to turn left to right--like on the edge of losing control--and isnt really a vibrating feeeling
I would tend to agree. I wish u luck in tracking this down!
 

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04 Jeep wobble- I have a '04 Wrangler sport that I purchased used with just over 20k as a "program car". I replaced the stock tires at about 30k and within a few weeks got the "death wobble" after 3 trips to the tire shop I went to another shop. He checked alignment and that everything was "straight" as I had not had it that long and mileage was still low.

He replaced the steering stabilizer and said if that didn't fix it he would reimburse the cost and help look further for the problem. The wobble was gone until this summer at 125k miles it started to come back. I bought the part and installed myself. Cleared problem up immediately. It is really an cheap fix for the type of damage it could cause if not replaced. If the road is at all uneven than it is obviously much more noticeable.

Hope this helps. Good Luck
 

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Jerry Bransford said:
Improper alignment will never (!) cause a shimmy but an out of balance or bad tire or bent wheel always will.
Ummm I'm pretty sure any part dealing with the steering or other components such as a tie rod being bent could cause it though!!
 

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When my tires were last rotated, a worn tire and a lesser worn tire were paired in the front causing the steeringto wobble at exactly 50 mph until I hit 55 and it would go away.
I re-paired the tires with the worn two in the back and my jeep went back to normal.

Now I just need new tires :(
 

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Were are you located in socal? I know somebody that will offer up help. Send me a pm
 

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Jerry Bransford said:
While a bent tie rod will increase the amount of toe in and cause accelerated tire wear, it won't cause a shimmy.
Well then for now on Jerry if I have any questions I will come to you because there's alot of contradictions going on in these forums, to many people chiming in on stuff they don't really know about! Someone posted a thread similar to this one a while ago and everyone was telling him totally different things then what's being said here!! So Jerry your my go to guy if I need help because you seem to know alot about what your talking about!!
 

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The thing about a bad alignment is it will only cause steering issues or unusual tire wear. The steering issues being poor or lack of steering wheel return to center after completing a turn, pulling to one side, or poor tracking where constant steering input is required. Problems with unusual tire wear from a bad alignment including feathering, more or uneven wear on the inside or outside edge, or cupping.

But when there's a shimmy or vibration felt through the steering wheel, that's always going to be tire related providing the wheels are not bent or dented. With the wheels are ok, shimmy or vibration is always going to be caused by the tire itself. Out of round, a bad spot on the tire, lost wheel weight, manufacturing defect, or more likely they are simply out of balance.
 
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