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Unread 07-18-2003, 09:45 AM   #1
Gracie
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Serious shuddering at highway speed - white knuckles needed to steer!

I have a 96 Grand Cherokee Limited 5.2L. At highway speed, when hitting any small type of bump, the car will randomly start shaking/shuddering so hard that I think the car is either going to fall apart at the seams or flip over.

I have to hold onto the wheel with all my strength since it won't steer and take my foot off the gas and coast over to the shoulder since the brakes don't work when this is happening b/c the wheels are shaking too much. The shuddering/shaking lasts as long as it takes the car to stop. It's like if I was driving 100 mph over really bad cobblestones.

It only happens occasionally, and cannot be reproduced on demand for my mechanic. We have awful roads here in MA and I hit bumps all the time, yet it only happens randomly. Three mechanics, including a dealership, have no idea what this is. Can anyone help me?

Thanks!

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Unread 07-18-2003, 11:06 AM   #2
BritBabe
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I have a 99 GC Limited 4.8L. I don't have the same problem however, coing from MA also, I can definitely sympathize with your problem!! Have you ever been to Taunton?? That's the worst!!!!

But I can relate on a somewhat similar note: occasionally, if I hit a pothole or bump and brake at the same time, my wheels jog and my brakes take longer than usual to grab.

I thought my dealer just put on cheapie brakes when I bought it (just a couple of months ago) but I asked around anyway and and other than it being the brakes I have found no answer as to why the jogging would occur.

Maybe it has something to do with the shocks?? Maybe they aren't heavy-duty enough. Just a theory....
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Unread 07-18-2003, 09:41 PM   #3
Texas ZJ1
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Welcome to a type of death wobble. I would check the brakes, steering stabilizer, and sway bar bushings.

Hunter


Brit Babe,

you have a 4.8 motor or a 4.7?
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Last edited by Texas ZJ1; 07-18-2003 at 09:43 PM..
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Unread 07-21-2003, 12:10 PM   #4
BritBabe
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Texas - sorry typo...i have a 4.7L
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Unread 07-21-2003, 02:05 PM   #5
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Gracie, I read your other thread. The hydraulic system in no way will cause DEATH WOBBLE. It is just for power steering.

Death Wobble usually happens when you lift a Grand but it can happen to a stock Grand.

I asume your Grand is stock. When conrtol arm bushings, track bar bushings, shocks, and the sterring stabilizer get as many miles as your Grand has. They can be worn very badly. Not all of them usually but they can be. The rubber bushings in the control arms are hidden & can't be seen untill they are taken out.

This is where I would start. Have the steering stabilizer replaced. That is about the first thing that will cause beath wobble. It might look OK, but you can't tell just by looking at it. You said that you have allot of bumpy roads that you drive all the time. That would be one of the first things to wear out.


If that does not solve the problem I would have the track-bar bushings checked. Or a least make sure it is TIGHT on both ends. With stock track-bars I don't think the bushings can be replaced. The whole track-bar needs replacing unfortunately. I could be wrong about that though.

Shocks should at least be replaced at about 60,000 miles.

I would save the control arms for last. At least make sure they are torked to spec. ALL 4 of them.

One other thing that can cause death wobble is a front tire. When was the last time the tires were rotated & balanced? An out of balance tire can cause death wobble. Not that often, but it can. I've heard of a BAD tire causing it. That is, a tire with a broken or worped cord in the tire. Or it could just be out of round.
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Unread 07-21-2003, 02:23 PM   #6
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Thank you Colorado, you've given me hope! You are correct my Grand is stock.

I had the front end aligned and all wheels balanced very recently. That was the first thing (and least expensive thing) I thought of to have done. That turned out to be a waste of money since it really didn't need either of those.

I definitely need new tires, too. I am approaching 99K miles.

I have my next dealership appointment next Monday and will ask them to check all of this. I am concerned that they'll fix something just to shut me up since they can't reproduce it while they have it during test drives, but maybe I'll be lucky and whatever they fix will do the trick.

Gracie
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Unread 07-23-2003, 03:41 AM   #7
fro
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I have had some problems like that with mine - Luckly it wasn't highway speeds, but I went over a bump leaving a friends house, and it shook it to death like you said. I'm glad I am not the only one!
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Unread 07-23-2003, 07:23 AM   #8
Texas ZJ1
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A good alignment and steering stabilizer will do a world of good. You've already had the alignment so after the new tires, get a new stabilizer and you'll be in there.


I'm afraid to tell you that the mechs aren't always the first ones to ask when something goes wrong. I had an electrical gremlin that the mechs couldn't fix or diagnose for three days. It was only after multiple test drives that it happened to them.

Let us know how everything works out.

Hunter
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Unread 07-23-2003, 10:01 AM   #9
Gracie
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Quote:
Originally posted by Texas ZJ1
I'm afraid to tell you that the mechs aren't always the first ones to ask when something goes wrong. I had an electrical gremlin that the mechs couldn't fix or diagnose for three days. It was only after multiple test drives that it happened to them.
That's exactly it! They'd have to keep it forever doing test drives before it would happen to them.

I have an appointment for Monday to get a new stabilizer and also to have them check the tie rod ends since there might be some play (pivoting action) where the tie rod clamps onto wherever it clamps onto.

Apparently my year Jeep the tie rods were thicker than they should be allowing for some play at the clamp and the stabilizer sometimes leaks oil on the inside but not be visible when the car is up on a lift. This would explain why 2 very reputable mechanics couldn't see anything when they put it up to check it out.

I hope these aren't very expensive repairs.
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Unread 07-23-2003, 10:53 AM   #10
Texas ZJ1
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Your stabilizer isn't leaking oil on the inside....


How much are they charging you for the stabilizer?


Hunter
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Unread 07-23-2003, 12:11 PM   #11
Gracie
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I don't know how much they're going to charge me. This is my regular mechanic who owns his own Mobil station. His kids go to school with my daughter, etc, and I always bring my car to them plus I know them on a personal level as well. They are usually fair and a bit lower than a dealership. I preferred going to them rather than a strange dealership I've never been to.

do you know what would be a fair price for the stabilizer and/or the tie rods/clamps?
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Unread 07-29-2003, 06:52 AM   #12
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The end of the story (I hope!)

I got my Jeep back from my mechanic yesterday. He replaced the steering dampener/stabilizer and tightened the tie rod ends.

He said there was definitely play in the stabilizer so he thought that was the cause. He didn't think that the tie rod ends really needed tightening but he did it anyway.

I felt like it drove better this morning on the highway but I don't know how much of that was in my head and how much of that was attributable to the new stabilizer.

The best part was that my bill was under $200 and that included an oil change as well!

Here's hoping I've seen the end of Death Wobble.
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Unread 07-29-2003, 01:09 PM   #13
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I hope that takes care of the problem Gracie! Good to know it did not cost you that much too. Good luck & let us know how things go.
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Unread 07-29-2003, 02:22 PM   #14
Gracie
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I'm not tempting fate or anything, I really think my problem's solved, but since I've begun researching Death Wobble, I've learned that as many people have had their problem solved by replacing the track bar as by replacing the steering stabilizer.

What's the difference between the track bar and the tie rod ends? Are the tie rod ends just the end of the track bar? If so I'll feel better, like I covered all the bases, since my mechanic also tightened those.
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Unread 07-30-2003, 01:13 AM   #15
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The Tie Rod & Track-bar are two differant things. The tie rod ends are on both ends of the tie rod & connect to the steering knuckles. It is the first hoizontal bar you'll see when looking under the front of the jeep.

The track-bar runs at an angle from the axle (the pass. side ) up to the frame on the drivers side. The axle side has a bushing & the frame side has a greasable ball joint. I did read some where in the past few weeks after one of my other posts that the bushing can be replaced. The ball joint can be also.
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