'97 Stock ZJ Death Wobble - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-25-2010, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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2004 WJ 
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Location: Illinois
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'97 Stock ZJ Death Wobble

Ok, I know the Death Wobble has been discussed almost to death, and I know there are tons of posts... but there isn't too much info about stock jeeps, especially stock zj's...

I have a 1997, Jeep Grand Cherokee, no modifications, at all!!! and I my DW is getting worse! I know it is a DW because it likes to almost throw me off the road above 50 mph, the only way to stop it is to stop, COMPLETELY, and it is usually caused by a small bump that starts a mild shaking and continues to get worse.

I have been underneath, and have done some basic examinations...

1) my tires are all worn EVENLY, no major issues besides normal wear and tear
2) the alignment is fine. I can let go of the steering wheel, and she glides right down the road, straight as an arrow.
3) I have some play in the tires... The driver's side wheel is loose side to side, and up and down (tie-rod ends, and ball joints, respectively). The passenger side is only giving some play side to side (tie rod ends).
4) I haven't checked the track bar yet...
5) I haven't messed with the steering stabilizer
6) when I brake, I feel the beginnings of a DW, but it never pans out... I think this is related to my DW, because my rotors are not warped. But, this could still be a brake issue.
7) I am around 180k miles, and it runs great!

I am going to go to my local shop that offers free estimates tomorrow hopefully, and see what they say. Most likely I might have to go to an off-road shop, because the local shop might not know what a DW is.

If anyone has any info on ZJ DW's with no LIFT, I would greatly appreciate the comments!!!!!!! Thank you!!!

2004 WJ- Grand Cherokee, Limited, 4.7L V8, Quadra-Trac II, Pewter
Mount Prospect, IL
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 12:40 PM
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1997 ZJ 
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I recently had DW issues only when braking at 50 mph with my stock ZJ. I had just replaced rotors and pads less than a year ago so I was certain it couldn’t be warped rotors already. Took it to a shop and they checked steering stabilizer, track bar, shocks, alignment and recommended turning the front rotors. After some stubborn arguing on my part I went home, took the rotors off and had them turned. Problem solved. The mechanic said that he had to turn/replace rotors every 6 to 10 months on his ZJ.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 12:51 PM
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1994 ZJ 
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my buddy had what was very close to deathwobble with his stock zj. when we did his lift we found a crack in his trackbar mount. i also had deathwobble from a broken trackbar mount as well so go check and see if you can find a crack on there. thats where i would put my money. and its the mount on the driver side frame rail

1994 ZJ 4x4 with 5.2 and 46rh, 249, k&n cold air, mike leach headers, msd iginition, flowmaster 50, taurus e-fan, rancho 3" lift, bfg 31", ARB bumper, warn m8000, ipf lights, custom sliders, don-a-vee tire carrier, custom drawers in the back
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 01:17 PM
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1995 ZJ 
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I would also start with the track bar. I did not have any DW on my stock ZJ until I removed the track bar. But your issue is likely within the track bar bushings, or the mounts (as mentioned above).

And yes, I replaced the track bar the next day. Had to remove it due to a busted bolt head. I didn't want something to come flying off while driving and hit another car. I felt it better to deal with the DW and pull over as necessary.

1995 ZJ 5.2L V8 318. 230,000 miles and still rollin.

List of parts not replaced yet:
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 01:55 PM
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1994 ZJ 
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Not to hijack but i have similar issues.

All stock 94 ZJ 118K

i took hard visual at every joint rubber bushing possible..i see alot of suspects lol aside from all the rusty nuts and bolts..my biggest culprit i think is a blown grease bushing on my drag link connecting to my pitman
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 03:09 PM
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1997 ZJ 
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I had exact same symptoms with mine. Replaced the steering stabilizer.....smooth as glass now. I've actually had this problem, the DW, with two ZJs and both times replacing the stabilizer fixed it.
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 03:31 PM
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Have a friend turn the wheel back and forth while you look for play in all the components int he front. Look at the frame and axle ends of the track bar especially. Don't pay attention to the poster above you tells you to change the SS, it will only mask symptoms and not solve them. It is entirely possible to run without one so thaat would not be the cause.
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 05:00 PM
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Check your lugnuts, make sure they are torqued down, then every bolt in your steering/suspension and make sure they are torqued to spec, then if its not that check the physical mounts, and if not that... Well, it's a Jeep. DW can be caused by any number/combination of things with solid axle vehicles.

(broken)98 ZJ 5.9
UT Jeepcrew #13
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 06:46 PM
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1994 ZJ 
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upper/lower ball joints, wheel hub assembly any play in that can cause DW, and check your front lower control arm bushings, you have to take em out to see if theres any issues but at 180k i bet there pretty worn out, and definately check the axle side track bar bolt

1994 Grand Cherokee V8.... R.I.P Black ZJ
IRO/RC 4.5"
33" Dunlop A/T's
Built Not Bought #520
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 07:19 PM
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1997 ZJ 
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I would for sure check the trac bar. I lost the bolt that holds it on and thought I was going to die...
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post #11 of 12 Old 03-23-2014, 01:48 PM
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1995 ZJ 
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I changed out the ball joints and wheel hubs on my stock 95 zj. (245xxx on the stock parts) it took care of my wobble and drove like a dream
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post #12 of 12 Old 03-23-2014, 05:09 PM
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My stock ( with U/C only) ZJ's DW has been caused by a couple of different things over the years.
The #1 cause was a bad track bar, followed by a loose frame side track bar mounting bracket. Then I had a loose steering box once..but suspected that an earlier DW incident(s) caused it.

2007 5.7 Hemi, Ltd. QD II -
1997 ZJ, 4,0 select trac, Up country, track lok.
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1997 zj , death wobble , death wobble diagnosis , stock

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