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Unread 09-18-2014, 03:27 PM   #1
97_JGC
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Crawford, NY
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New To Me Death Wobble ?

Hello gang, I just had my mechanic replace the front lower control arms on the wife's Cherokee. The Jeep has a lift but from what I researched you can use stock LCA's if it's 3" or under, so I went with stock. The PO had aftermarket square tube arms that rotted from the inside out. After the new arms were put in I had it aligned shortly, the report is attached below.

A few days later my wife said she had the dreaded Death Wobble at about 55 mph, this was BEFORE the alignment. After that I started to take the truck to work so that 1. She was safe and 2. I could get first hand experience on what was going on. I drove it back and forth to work for two days with no issues, smooth highway at 55 and rough country roads. I was ready to blame the wobble on pre alignment issues but I got the wobble today coming home, twice.

The first one was at about 45 mph and the second was at around 35. From what I could tell both instances were caused by a dip in the road, also what my wife had mentioned when it happened to her. The LCA's were the only thing changed, no other suspension work was done. The only thing that is out on the alignment is caster, could that be related to my new LCA's?

I wish I had the used one so I could measure. I will call my guy in case they are sitting on a scrap pile. Hoping for any insight, this really sucks!



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Unread 09-18-2014, 11:39 PM   #2
96zj4me
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Check track bar it's pretty common for the bolt hole to Waller out also check balljoints
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Unread 09-19-2014, 02:44 AM   #3
97_JGC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96zj4me View Post
Check track bar it's pretty common for the bolt hole to Waller out also check balljoints
Thanks, I did a lot of research last night and the track bar was mentioned quite a bit. I will check that after work. I was just assuming it was caused by the new LCA's and the caster being off, but maybe not. Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.
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Unread 09-19-2014, 03:49 AM   #4
PolkaPower
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Poor castor angle will cause DW too but 5.8 isn't bad. You won't be able to get it closer to stock without adjustable arms. Track bar is usually the main culprit. Either a wallowed out mount on the axle end allowing it to move just a tad or the frame TRE worn out so it moves. The bracket on the frame can come loose too but that's less likely.

If it's a stock TB and not adjustable then your axle is pushed out to the drivers side because of the lift. The rear will be opposite.That can contribute to bump steer and other weird behavior.


Also, just to clarify, if you didn't feel like you were driving through an earthquake then it wasn't DW. Yet anyway.
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Unread 09-19-2014, 03:20 PM   #5
98GCLimited
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I got DW a couple times in my ZJ (the first time I legitimately thought I was going to die, after that I knew what it was, lol) and I found it to be caused by a wallowed out trackbar axle side bolt hole. I put two big washers on and torqued it to hell (bubba tight) and havent had it since. I just got the RE 1/2" trackbar bushing kit and am going to drill the hole out on the front trackbar axle side bracket and run a 1/2" bolt to get rid of the wallowed out hole.

I would check that its easy enough to see if you have front tow hooks grab them and squat down and shake your jeep side to side and watch the trackbar on the axle side and TRE side like polka said also look at the other tie rod ends while you are at it.
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Unread 09-19-2014, 03:24 PM   #6
97_JGC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkaPower View Post
Poor castor angle will cause DW too but 5.8 isn't bad. You won't be able to get it closer to stock without adjustable arms. Track bar is usually the main culprit. Either a wallowed out mount on the axle end allowing it to move just a tad or the frame TRE worn out so it moves. The bracket on the frame can come loose too but that's less likely.

If it's a stock TB and not adjustable then your axle is pushed out to the drivers side because of the lift. The rear will be opposite.That can contribute to bump steer and other weird behavior.


Also, just to clarify, if you didn't feel like you were driving through an earthquake then it wasn't DW. Yet anyway.
Thanks for the info, will be checking the track bar tonight or tomorrow. I'm pretty sure it was full on DW, scared the crap out of me and I was half expecting it. It was pretty much like this.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8KyRiux1kw
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Unread 09-27-2014, 02:08 PM   #7
97_JGC
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Well, I got the Jeep over to my guy last weekend, said the track bar and steering damper needed to be replaced. He is a very good mechanic and actually had DW in his like model Jeep. I ordered the parts and in the meantime the passenger side lower control arm bracket sheared/snapped/broke So now I have the parts to repair the DW but I need to find a welder/shop that will replace the brackets for me without costing a fortune.

Unfortunately for me my guy just does light duty welding stuff [mufflers etc] and couldn't recommend anyone so I am on the hunt for someone. Seems like a fairly "easy" job so hopefully someone will take it on. It seems the biggest issue is correct placement Here are some pics. I's broken clean off. I don't if the DW cracked it or a combination of age/rust/new bracket install/DW.

BTW I ordered heavier duty Moog parts designed specifically for DW.







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Unread 09-27-2014, 02:20 PM   #8
PolkaPower
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That is bad rust. I would closely inspect the rest of the control arm mounts. Where there is rust there is always more rust.
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Unread 09-27-2014, 02:39 PM   #9
97_JGC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkaPower View Post
That is bad rust. I would closely inspect the rest of the control arm mounts. Where there is rust there is always more rust.
Once I find someone to take the project on both sides are getting removed and replaced. More than likely I will install a heavier duty bracket unless I end up having to go to a shop that will only install factory parts. IMO these are thin steel right out of the factory.
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Unread 09-27-2014, 03:25 PM   #10
PolkaPower
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Yea they are paper thin IMO. You can get another axle and make or buy better mounts. That way you could remove all of the rust and coat it well so it won't rust again.
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Unread 09-27-2014, 03:56 PM   #11
DischbeinJr
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solution to the death wobble

I solved my death wobble problem by using the best rotors money could buy with $100 graphite brake pads at the auto parts and replaced all 4 sway bar end links. Haven't had it in a few years.
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Unread 09-27-2014, 04:45 PM   #12
WhiteOut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DischbeinJr View Post
I solved my death wobble problem by using the best rotors money could buy with $100 graphite brake pads at the auto parts and replaced all 4 sway bar end links. Haven't had it in a few years.
You solved warped brake rotors.
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Unread 09-28-2014, 12:46 PM   #13
97_JGC
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I have a machine shop about 5 miles away that's going to take a look and see if they can do it.The LCA bracket is completely snapped. Am I taking to big of a chance crawling at 10 mph for 5 miles or should I play it safe and spring for a tow?
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Unread 09-28-2014, 06:29 PM   #14
durango-bob
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I would have it towed. Have you checked to see if towing is part of your insurance? Mine has this service included at no charge.
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Unread 10-25-2014, 04:20 PM   #15
97_JGC
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I just brought my truck home from the welder, he got the new, thicker LCA brackets on for me. It sat for two weeks and the brand new battery drained, so now it's going through the "re learn" process. He noticed the engine compartment light was on with the hood closed, I'm assuming that was my draw. Now it's off to the mechanic for the new track bar and steering damper, and then alignement and then hopefully nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mrs. picked up a beautiful 2010 Liberty. Nice truck.



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