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Pugulis 08-08-2013 10:12 PM

Death Wobble won't go away
So I've got the dreaded DW. I've replaced all 4 ball joints, the passenger side wheel bearing, tie rod ends, steering stabilizer and track bar. My tires are newly balanced. My control arm bushings are fine. What else could it be?

fljeepney 08-08-2013 10:14 PM

Did you get an alignment?Are the control arms original from when the Jeep was first built?

jabba974 08-08-2013 10:15 PM

Your asking the question that I think everyone wants to know...What else do I do??? Check the steering gearbox..and make sure its aligned properly... Good luck...I've been fitting that problem with my dodge ram for 3 years now...

Pugulis 08-08-2013 10:46 PM

Didn't get an alignment yet. I just did the measurement trick. Yes, the control arms are original. But in perfect condition. The worst part is I can't go above 45mph. If I even hit a crack in the road, it starts and violent is an understatement.

I was thinking the steering gearbox, but there doesn't seem to be any play in it. The only other thing I can think of is that the people over at Mavis screwed up the tire balance. After all, they didn't notice the bad ball joints when they did the alignment 2 months ago.

WhiteOut 08-08-2013 11:07 PM

I'd say your trackbar hole on the axle end is wallowed out. Even with a brand new bar, you'll have issues if it is.

Pugulis 08-08-2013 11:28 PM

Trackbar hole is perfectly round. I made sure to check it.

jnicewan 08-09-2013 01:11 AM

I didnt replace a lot of stuff on mine when I was looking for a wobble but it did allow me to check over everything up front. I have dealt with death wobble before but I didnt consider this one to be death wobble. Mine started shaking the wheel around 40-55mph, it was always there but not always as bad as other times. The last thing I suspected was a bad tire but thats what I found. A tire can be balanced but still be bad depending on type of balance and machine used, like if the tire is out of round or has a seperated belt or something. I had a fairly new KM2 on mine that had 3 out of round spots across the tread. This was what caused my wobble, replaced the bad tire and was good to go.

You might put your jeep in the air, shift to 4H and let engine idle in gear. Take a good look at the tires when they are rolling, look from the side and front of them and make sure they are perfectly round.

JohnnyZJ 08-09-2013 01:50 PM

old tires will peel on the inside and you won't notice it on a balancer, but will on the road. it will cause vibrations, but not boxer changing DW.

if tires are bad they will cause other stuff to set it off. have someone wiggle the steering wheel back and forth while you crawl underneith and watch for play. somethings loose and that will help you find it.

i'm betting control arm bushings. just because they 'look' good doesn't mean they are.......

01xjltd 08-09-2013 06:51 PM

I have just finished up the same issue on my 96 zj and found, amoungst everything else, the lower control arm bushings were wiped out on both ends even though they appeared good externally. I him hawed around on changing them, and finally did last week, only to find the center section of each bushing sheared. After changing all of the ball joints, tie rod ends, track bar, and upper control arms, steering still felt loose and vehicle wandered. Changed the lowers and alignment, it drives like a dream with no death wobble at any speed. Life is good................

Mickey_D 08-09-2013 11:28 PM

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Yeah, I think some people underestimate just what Death Wobble really is. A vibration in the steering wheel isn't Death Wobble. A pulsing you can feel in the seat isn't Death Wobble.

A violent shaking that tries to rip the steering wheel out of BOTH of your hands with a white knuckle grip is Death Wobble. An accompanying loud crashing sound from all the suspension components that would drown out a 500W stereo system is Death Wobble. A massive shaking that quite literally rips your rear view mirror off and leaves it hanging from the wires is Death Wobble. A violent enough shaking from the front end of your Jeep that makes someone driving the other way on a divided highway swerve into the ditch for fear you're going to explode and take them with you is Death Wobble.

I should take my Jeep out and film it happening. I would bet half the people that have/had Death Wobble (yes, there's a reason I capitalize it. It's out of respect.) and think an out of balance tire solves it would reconsider what they call it. The only thing a tire can do to even remotely resemble Death Wobble is if the tire went flat, came off the bead and flopped sideways.

Picture trying to drive on square wheels. Then you might be coming close to Death Wobble...

jnicewan 08-10-2013 12:03 AM

Post above is correct but you are putting an emphasis to extreme or real bad death wobble. You can definitely have death wobble on a smaller scale if you are lucky. A bad tire can cause or start the wobble process but chances are high that other things in the steering or suspension have wear or play to make it go. Im not saying a simple tire out of balance can be the issue but a tire with seperated belts or being out of round can cause wobble.

The bad cases of death wobble are impressive on how bad they can shake things and make you feel like you have no control over the vehicle. Milder cases of death wobble act the same but not as pronounced. If mild wobble is ever felt you should start checking things fast before it gets out of hand.

Mickey_D 08-10-2013 12:18 AM

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This is true. I only have experience with mine. It went from nothing driving down the freeway (that had a lot of construction work done on it) at up to 75mph to 50mph on a brand new road. Out of nowhere I had 4 cars (3 on my side of the road the fourth coming the other way) go into full defensive driving avoidance tactics because my Jeep suddenly needed an exorcist!

It literally was perfectly fine up until then. Not even a slight shake. Felt fine, drove fine. The worst part? This happened on the way TO wheeling, not afterwards!!!

Pugulis 08-10-2013 01:43 AM

Trust me, I have full on Death Wobble. At around 40mph, if I hit a seem in the road, it feels like the hole Jeep is going to shake into pieces. Well at least I only have a few more things to change. The drag link, steering box and control arm bushings. :rolleyes:

Mickey_D 08-10-2013 09:14 AM

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I feel ya man. I haven't started to fix mine yet. Mainly for fear of sticker shock. And I'm broke.

I have been avoiding any road over 45mph since Feb.

Pugulis 08-16-2013 12:59 PM

Well I've gotten to the point where I can at least get it up to 55mph. But if I hit a big enough bump, it comes back. Any other suggestions? Will a bad alignment really cause DW? I don't want to spend money on another alignment if it won't fix the problem.

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