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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys. I’ve really enjoyed reading this forum in recent weeks while I’ve considered joining the brotherhood and buying my first Wrangler. I’ve wanted one for a while now.

I have to say, though, that the so-called “death wobble” has me more than a bit concerned. I’d read about the issue here and there but didn’t really dive into the extended thread (tacked to the top of this board) until last night. By then, I’d already agreed in principle to close the deal on a beautiful early-2000s Sahara with low mileage. It’s mostly stock, though with larger tires, and the low mileage really makes it especially appealing to me.

My plan was to pick it up today and I’d spent the past couple of days looking forward to it. But the reading last night about the death wobble was a huge buzz kill, and I called the seller today and told him I needed some more time to research and process this. I spent a good couple of hours on these boards taking in the horror stories of people who seemed to be driving perfectly good Wranglers and then, all of a sudden, you-know-what happens. Not only does the actual event seem frightening, but scarier to me is the prospect of spending of lot of money to fix the issue.

My question is this: How common is the dreaded death wobble? That’s the one question, after reading everything, that’s still unclear to me. Is this something that afflicts 10 percent of TJ Wranglers? More? Less? Is there any way to know? Is there a certain year that’s most prone to this issue? I’m guessing not since the front alignment/suspension system doesn’t change from year-to-year. I know some folks on here have said it affects Wranglers that have been modified/lifted, etc., but it seems like stock ones have had the same issues, though perhaps less frequently. From reading up on this a bit, it seems like there’s no way to predict which ones might come down with the wobbles – seems equally to affect older-model TJs, and even some Wranglers built in the past five or six years. Is that a fair assessment: That there’s no way to really know it’s coming until it happens?

It’s unbelievable to me that this issue wouldn’t have been addressed and fixed by Chrysler, given all that’s out there about this. I mean, if you Google “Jeep Wrangler death wobble,” more than 40,000 links pop up. That can’t be good for the brand. Even so, until last night, I’m not sure I appreciated the extent of the problem and what some people have been going through with this.

I know from reading some threads here that some folks minimize the issue. But it’s a huge concern to me, and was the only thing keeping me from completing the deal today. I’d be less concerned, perhaps, if I were buying a Wrangler as a secondary/weekend vehicle, but it’d be my daily driver. The prospect of getting off road here and there is appealing, but I’d also need it to be a reliable day-in, day-out mode of transportation, too.

Sorry for another thread on this, but I’d appreciate some feedback. Some brief background on the Wrangler I’d had my heart on: It’s an early-2000s, Sahara, with less than 70K miles. The seller (a dealer) says he knows of no wobble issues with it. Clean carfax, though it shows four owners (now I’m paranoid thinking they ditched it because of the DW). I love the style of the Wrangler, the versatility and the idea of owning one.

So am I crazy to be really concerned about this?
 

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Well that was a lot of reading and I will be honest i only read about 3/4 of your post. Yes you are reading way too much into it. A properly maintained suspension with special attention and care given after each wheeling trip (and promptly repairs made if needed) will lessen DW chances by 99% in my opinion. I have a 98 with 6" of lift and 35" tires and have no problems what so ever.
 

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The DW is usually do to a lifted jeep as far as I know. I've owned three jeeps and know lots of jeep owners and none have had any problems with the dreaded DW. It sounds like a decent vehicle to me. Just my two cents.
 

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Yes. You can get a death wobble in a truck also. Seen it happen and MAN is it scary. All four wheels could fall off at any time. The steering wheel could lock up and no steering at any time. I own two jeeps, one stock and one modified but not hugely, stock is a '90 and modified is a '99 and have not had a death wobble yet. If you look for what "could" go wrong with any used vehicle (or new) then you are going to have to stop driving and start hoofing it to where you want to go.

As for Chrysler "fixing" the problem, there are so many varriable as to what causes it (a major one being lack of upkeep and maintenance on the jeep) that "fixing" it is not as simple as changing one thing to make it never happen. Kinda like "fixing" a vehicle so that nothing breaks while in operation. Good luck with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, guys, and yes -- long original post. Apologies for that.

I appreciate the feedback. I guess my main concern from reading the thread tacked to the top of this board was that it seemed like this DW thing can just come out of nowhere, for no reason. I have friends/family with Wranglers, as well, and had never heard of the issue until recently. And then I guess the 800-plus response thread up top messed with me a little bit.
 

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Death wobble doesn't happen for no reason. There's always a reason for it. I think a lot of it is caused by ignorance and/or poor maintenance. I've experienced it first-hand...in a 1970 Ford Bronco. The entire front end was worn out on that thing. The steering and suspension were sloppy.

I've never had any issues with my Jeep. I do my own maintenance and inspect everything regularly. If I see a problem, I take care of it before it can cause bigger problems. That's not just good advice for Jeeps, it's good advice for any vehicle. Even if you don't do your own maintenance and mechanic work. When a problem arises, have it fixed.

The previous owner of my jeep didn't take very good care of it. Nothing major, but there was a long list of small things that needed to be done. I've pretty much wiped the list clean now and even though it was mostly small things, it's added up to a drastically improved driving experience. I see the guy from time to time and he always checks the jeep out and is amazed it's the same jeep. A little TLC goes a long way.

Don't let the fear of Death Wobble keep from a Jeep if you really want one. Also, you really need to want one to be happy owning one. I love mine, but I'll be the first to tell you it's also a pain in the ass. The fuel mileage isn't great and there's not much room in one. Creating storage space for the normal everyday stuff you carry can be challenging. Kind of like living in an RV, the designers have to get very crafty to come up with ways to fit everything inside one.

Ultimately, it's your call. If you really want one, buy one.
 

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As you can see in the other posts ANY 4WD can get or have Death Wobble. The hundreds of Jeeps I have rode in with friends or driven myself only one had this issue. It was a stock YJ. Never had the issue with my 91 YJ or 98 TJ. (both stock currently). Well maintained Jeeps rarely have the issue. All that said it is a Jeep and to me troubleshooting is part of the fun and an excuse to MOD!
 

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I’ve considered joining the brotherhood and buying my first Wrangler. I’ve wanted one for a while now.
Excellent.

I have to say, though, that the so-called “death wobble” has me more than a bit concerned.

But the reading last night about the death wobble was a huge buzz kill
As others have said, you are reading way too much into it. While it can happen on any solid front axle 4WD which isn't properly maintained, it is cetainly not guaranteed to happen on any specific vehicle. Personally, I have owned six Jeeps now, and none of them has ever experienced a single instance of DW.

I mean, if you Google “Jeep Wrangler death wobble,” more than 40,000 links pop up.
If that's your main concern, better grab your pitchfork and torch and head for Ford's headquarters: if you Google "Ford F-150 DW" and "Ford F150 DW" (since people spell it both ways) you'll see a similar combined total of hits. As I said above, it can happen with any solid front axle 4x4.

So am I crazy to be really concerned about this?
Yes. Not buying a Wrangler solely out of fear of DW is like never stepping on board a commercial airplane because airplanes sometimes experience engine fires. Does it happen? Sometimes. Is that a guarantee it will happen to you? Hardly.
 

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Mine started wobbling about 5 months after the lift. All it took was a $50 alignment and it's been great for just over a month. No more issues.
 

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Thanks, guys, and yes -- long original post. Apologies for that.

I appreciate the feedback. I guess my main concern from reading the thread tacked to the top of this board was that it seemed like this DW thing can just come out of nowhere, for no reason. I have friends/family with Wranglers, as well, and had never heard of the issue until recently. And then I guess the 800-plus response thread up top messed with me a little bit.
You were reading a thread concerning death wobble, so it is by nature drawing posts of people who have experienced it and/or seen it. It may seem like a lot, but it's just because that's all you are reading about. Death wobble comes from loose or worn parts, or alignments that are way out of adjustment pure and simple. that is the reason that Chrysler isn't doing anything. Properly lifted Jeeps have no more problems with dw than do stock suspension Jeeps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, again, for all the feedback and responses, guys. Really appreciate you taking the time. You've helped ease my concerns.
 

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:pop:

Maybe you should just tell me where the Jeep is at. I'll go check out the low mileage beauty for you
 

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BUNK: did you test drive this sahara yourself at highway speed? if not, get that out of the way before the purchase. in my opinion it is foolish to buy any used vehicle w/o a proper test drive by the buyer.

if there is no DW at 65-70 mph, and all else checks out on this jeep, you should be good to go. DW isn't like getting a pimple, it doesn't just pop up overnight, DW is a symptom of something worn out or broken.

good luck. hope your TJ checks out and you are able to scratch your itch.
 
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