Infamouse Death wobble -
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-19-2017, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Infamouse Death wobble

Hey guys ,
I started having that all too well known death wobble but mine is if I hit a good bump at the right angle than she starts to wobble badly , I hit the breaks and she straightens right out . I have read many articles on it it always seems to point to the panhard bar bushing and bolt being elongated from years of use . I have replaced ball joints and am planing on replacing upper and lower control arms with nice HD aftermarket ones and of course the panhard bar as well. Everything appears to be very tight underneath and it just started out of nowhere . I value your opinions tremendacely as you have helped me in the last with great success.
Have you found that the real culprit is the panhard bar/bushing and assembly more times than not ?

Thanks for your time my fiends

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post #2 of 10 Old 04-19-2017, 11:04 AM
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
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Very seldom is one single part the only thing causing Death Wobble. Typically a combination of worn or damaged parts are to blame, and the cure for Death Wobble is to replace any and all weak/worn/damaged parts, and to fix any elongated bolts track bar bolt holes.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-19-2017, 11:24 AM
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
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On the last 3 vehicles that I diagnosed death wobble on it was the pan hard bar axle side bushing that was the big culprit. Have you had someone sit in the vehicle and turn the steering wheel back and forth while you looked under the front end? This is how I always find it. Put your hand on each component and watch each joint to find the one that has slop in it. The outer hole on the axle side pan hard bar bolt gets egg shaped and typically allows the front end to move around. It can be caused by any number of things though. A quick fix for the pan hard bar issue is to weld the correct sizes washer to the axle, effectively making the hole round again. Just did this to my old roommates Jeep on Friday and he said his drive home was much more enjoyable than the drive to my house.

88 YJ with a 4.6l stroker, AX-15, NP231, 2.5" lift, 4.10's and 33's
2000 Red XJ w/ 350k+, AW4, NP231, Locked Rear, HD Crown Leafs, trimmed to fit 33's, soon to be a donor
2000 Silver XJ, Drivetrain from the Red XJ, Stiffened, IRO leafs, RE coils, custom 3 link, WJ knuckles, 35's <=== In the works
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-19-2017, 11:48 AM
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The track/panhard bar is pretty common (usually the axle side), but death wobble can be caused by anything in the front end. Ball joints, TRE's, track bar even a bad hub assembly. The only sure way, if nothing obviously has more wear and play than it should, is the shotgun approach. If it looks worn or you don't know the history of the part, replace it. Hit it all and you can't miss. That's an unfortunately expensive methodology but in my experience even if it does start with one clearly worn component, death wobble tends to prematurely wear down or damage everything else to the point that it can keep happening after the original cause is fixed.

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post #5 of 10 Old 04-19-2017, 12:34 PM
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Loose/worn track bar bushing. If the hole has wallowed out, simply torque it correctly.

Read the statements from Mrblaine (Savvy/Black Magic).
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-25-2017, 04:48 PM
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I had death wobble really bad about a year ago. Replaced everything I could think of, but nothing seemed to help;not even the slightest bit. What finally fixed the wobble was new sway bar links. Turned out one side was broken, but the bushings can go bad on those as well.

Just something to look in to. Hope this helps. Good luck!
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-26-2017, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Baron_S View Post
I had death wobble really bad about a year ago. What finally fixed the wobble was new sway bar links. Turned out one side was broken, but the bushings can go bad on those as well.
That won't cause DW. You can drive with it disconnected.
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-26-2017, 05:15 PM
It's the crank sensor!
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My understanding of “death wobble” is this. Somewhere on the vehicle, one or more components is worn beyond tolerances, and when oscillation initiates from a suspension “traumatic” event (like hitting a bump or a pothole) or also when a vibration reaches a certain point and harmonic at a certain speed, it causes the other components to react. This is called the “multiplier effect”, where one component affects one or more other components as the event travels through the front end of the vehicle.

Death wobble is not uncommon with the XJ! It is even more common with a lifted XJ. Finding the worn component or components is not always easy and can sometimes be downright difficult. Sometimes it’s obvious, other times everything appears to be okay when you perform an inspection on a hoist, but getting the vehicle up in the air and going over everything with a fine tough comb is always a good first step. Have a friend turn the steering wheel back and forth full travel as you perform the inspection. It is very helpful if you know exactly how to perform a comprehensive inspection of every single front end part, looking for abnormal wear and or play in that hardware. If you do not know how to do this type of inspection, pay an experienced professional to do it. Be sure to ask them if they are familiar with “death wobble”, as not all technicians are versed in this…..

Possible causes of death wobble are listed below. Isolating death wobble is a process of elimination; the root cause is not always obvious and it can often be caused by a combination of things! Always chase and resolve death wobble because if it is not resolved, it is such a violent event that it has the potential to seriously damage front end parts. From my personal experience, I would first concentrate on the track bar and the control arms and associated bushings.
-Front tires out of balance (try swapping fronts to rear; see if symptoms change)
-Tire pressure. Don’t laugh. It’s not a root cause but can exaggerate the problem. Experiment with lower tire pressure to see if it helps
-Improper lug nut torque on wheels
-Front alignment out of spec
-Loose track bar
-Worn track bar bushings
-Worn track bar (check for play!!)
-Bad control arms and associated bushings
-Worn/damaged steering stabilizer (not generally a cause in and by itself)
-Worn/damaged shocks
-Worn/damaged tie rod end
-Bad U Joint
-Bad ball joint
-Loose frame mount
-Steering box loose
-Bad front hub assembly

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Past Jeeps: 49 Willys, 81 Scrambler, 88 Comanche
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-26-2017, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBoogieman View Post
That won't cause DW. You can drive with it disconnected.
I'm well aware of the fact that sway bars are for body roll. In my case, I had to hit a bump at just the right angle to cause the DW; nothing but coming to a complete stop would end the violent shaking.

You can drive with it disconnected, but the jarring of the body can throw the front end out of wack causing DW.

Generally speaking you are correct though.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-29-2017, 07:02 AM
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I drive my XJ with no sway bar out back and disconnects up front and get no death wobble, but check the steering box bolts-they can snap and if they don't can rip the thin sheet metal they are bolted to. It is a poor design and I have a plate welded over that area because they ripped.

Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ purchased Sept 2014
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