2" of Death Wobble - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-10-2013, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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1998 ZJ 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Portland
Posts: 14
2" of Death Wobble

(Coincidentally, that was also my nickname in high-school...)

I realize now that I am considering a Budget Boost pretty much solely so I can stick in some Bilstein 5100s in (-- I'm more often on hwy and occasional dirt roads with heavy load than "offroading"). I'm probably NOT going to even be putting larger tires on it.

According to Bilstein, the shortest 5100s for the ZJ (part# front: 24-185622, rear: 33-151670) fit lifts 1.5 - 2"

I really don't want my wife to suddenly discover death wobble while driving it...

Is there much reduction in risk of developing death wobble between the 1.5" instead of 2"

From the DAYS of reading I've been doing I understand that 2" and under death wobble is unlikely (but not unheard of). Is it non-existent at 1.5"

What would putting the above listed shocks in a stock, or 1" lift do? Destroy the shock?

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post #2 of 8 Old 09-10-2013, 02:00 AM
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1995 ZJ 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: maryville
Posts: 213
Death wobble can happen on stock vehicles. Lifting one throws the geometry of everything out of whack, and if things are wore out, you get it. For instance, I threw the bb on mine, even though I knew the steering gear box was worn (read: gone). I got some death wobble on large potholes above 70mph and when my caliper stuck. New stabilizer and gear box, and the thing won't wobble for anything.

As far as the shocks go, if you disco the sway bar and completely stuff a tire very hard without the right length bump stops, you'll bust that shock. If you never stuff the tires, get longer bump stops, or lift to the correct length you'll be perfectly fine. I still have the stock shocks on my zj with a bb, and have wheeled mildly a few times.

95 Laredo 4.0, 2" RE BB, RC N2.0 Shocks, Custom Roof-Mount Light Bar w/ 6 lights, Bumpers deleted, Homemade sway bar discos, Michelin LTX 31x10.50s, and a Dog Box :)
Planned: Homemade Spare tire carrier, double shear front track bar, 4 adjustable rear control arms, New Rims and 33" Wrangler MT/Rs or BFG M/T KO's w/ LOTS of trimming.
coltman151 is offline  
post #3 of 8 Old 09-10-2013, 09:11 AM
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1998 ZJ 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: The Abyss
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You can put some hockey pucks inside the springs and rtv them to the center of the perch for extended bumpstops. I have one each on the front. Email kolak@aol.com and ask him this stuff. DW can happen on any vehicle lifted or not. It just depends on if the suspension parts are worn out or not.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-10-2013, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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1998 ZJ 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Portland
Posts: 14
Trying to understand the hockey puck idea... basically by putting in 1" of additional bump stop (the puck) it keeps the shock from over-compressing allowing me to put in a shock that is fitted for 1" longer than stock when compressed? Whereas, adding 1" of spring spacer, the short-limit on the shock is reached (theoretically) but the limit of spring compression with no contact with the bump-stop?

Is this correct?

Elsewhere someone mentioned that with a 2" bb no bump-stop is needed... but sounds like this is not true...
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-10-2013, 09:41 AM
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1998 ZJ 
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It's just extra insurance that I didn't over compress the shock and have the tire dig into the fender well when I had the sway bar disconnected off road. I was told that it wasn't needed but it looked to me from the markings on the shock rod that there was not much more room left to compress so I put the pucks on to make sure. You can measure if you like but I just went with the markings on the shock rod. The tire was actually a bigger issue rubbing all around on stuff and acting like a bumpstop really.
I have the Bilsteins for a 2"-2.5" lift and OME HD coils. I had 2" spacers before though. Worked great all over southern Nevada when I lived there. I used it mainly for old wagon trails and mine exploration. Some light rock garden stuff. I wasn't into the extreme stuff. I didn't want to wreck my 5.9. Had some nice flex for a 2" BB though.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-10-2013, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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1998 ZJ 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Portland
Posts: 14
Further thoughts (DW and lift)

It seems there are a few recurring themes I'm reading:

  1. Any size lift will change the angles in your suspension (be it 1" or 10") and put parts under added strain
  2. Death wobble is not a result of the lift directly, but a result of parts under that strain showing their failing nature
  3. Replacing worn bushings is a good idea on ANY old vehicle -- but the lift might make a more noticeable necessity more quickly
  4. An adjustable track bar will straighten out your axle - and is probably a good idea on ANY sized lift, even a 1"...
  5. Although "under 2 inches" you can get away with ignoring all of the above in many or most instances, the issue still exists: you have changed things, and thus, things will change
  • To do a 2" lift properly, one should at the very-very least get an adjustable track bar, replace all worn bushings, and ... what?

Is my conclusion fair? In your opinion, what should one do to get 1.5" - 2" of lift that will minimize downstream effects (lest assume money is no object).

In essence, I'm looking for the best for my ZJ. And, if that means leaving it at stock... I guess I'm OK with that. I mean, it has worked well for me for 15 years.
ItsTheDogs is offline  
post #7 of 8 Old 09-10-2013, 11:12 PM
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2011 JK Wrangler 
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It'll be fine.. Just get one of the many 2'' BB and your choice of shocks. It's not that extreme
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-11-2013, 02:25 AM
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2007 WK 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Louisiana/Texas
Posts: 5,092
Trust me, you CAN have DW on a stock setup. 'Had it many times, usually due to a loose frame side trackbar mount or worn out trackbar. I do have the upcountry package but it's only an inch higher than stock.

Dont worry, though. It usually only happens on a Houston or Dallas freeway at 65 MPH, in a long sweeping left turn.... in rush hour traffic.... with a hopped up and therefore impatient.... semi truck driver on your tail. No sweat. Hit the brakes, pull over, flip him off and reach for your Sig .45.

2007 5.7 Hemi, Ltd. QD II -
1997 ZJ, 4,0 select trac, Up country, track lok.
Oldfrog is offline  

budget boost , death wobble , shock , suspension

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