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Unread 01-23-2012, 10:44 AM   #1
grininmonkey
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Lake City, SC
Posts: 49
Is there no cure for steering shimmy?

What I call the shimmy:

If you have your hands off the steering wheel at the speeds in which it occurs, the steering wheel rocks back and forth. If you imagine a red dot on the top of the steering wheel, the movement is about 3/4 inches to the right of center, and then moves 3/4 inch to the left of center. The rate: In the span of 1 second the steering wheel moves from right to left to right and almost back to full left. If you have a normal grip on the steering wheel, the force changes but the average is about a movement of 1/4 inch to each side of center at the same rate. If you man handle the steering wheel... you can prevent the movement and just feel the vibration or force but it feels like the rate might be increased (just seems like it).

History:

When I first bought my Jeep, I had a serious death wobble issue. From day one, my jeep has had the shimmy between 45'ish and 55, and the death wobble would happen when the right bump was encountered.

At the time, I checked everything according the forums (looked sound) so before purchasing anything I had my tires checked and it was discovered that one of the tires had a broke belt. After a new set of tires was put on, I never experienced the death wobble again.

However, the shimmy was still there... same speeds, same amount of shimmy but the shimmy would no longer break out into a death wobble when hitting a bump on the road.

Over the past year the following parts which affect the front axle has been replaced as part of a lift and general maintenance: Ball Joints, Steering Linkage (Currie HD), Track Bar, sway bar - bushings, sway bar links with rubber bushings on both ends (Skyjacker extended Disconnects), Control arm bushings, Break Calipers, Rotors, Pads, Axle shaft U-Joints, Front drive shaft u-joints, stabilizer (actually been through two different after market ones).

Tires are "Road Force" Balanced each rotation and my current set of tires and rotors are less than one year old.

The mild shimmy is still there and has never changed from day I got the jeep. Tire rotations ,new parts has had no impact on my described shimmy.

Currently (My Shimmy Revisited):

When I started the "Road Force" Balance, the shimmy is still there at the same speeds, but it seemed to me that the force or strength of the shimmy was reduced some (might be my imagination) so I thought I would start some experiments to resolve this annoying shimmy so....

I pulled my front axle shafts out to eliminate any axle, differential or drive shaft affect. The shimmy is still there - no impact.

I pulled my rotors off and put them on a lathe to check for any warp. No Warp.

I measured and check if the steering knuckles were equal and if I had some slight bend or warp maybe in the axle. Nothing stood out

Went to the shop and asked for the numbers on an alignment, Discovered I had a slight rear drive and so I placed a track bar bracket on the rear which corrected the issue to satisfaction.. but no other measurements were out of tolerances... except, would 1 degree off of the caster create my shimmy?

I bought the jeep with 2" spacer lifts and have since replaced the lift with new springs etc... and ride at 2.5" lift. My caster is slightly less than stock by 1 degree.

After reading many threads... I really don't have a clue other than one post in one thread where a fella mentioned a steering pump could contribute to a shimmy.

So I'm looking for new clues again... because this shimmy is just plain ol annoying and I want to get rid of it. I have driven some other TJs with the same stuff as mine and they have no shimmy... so it has to be something that I can fix???

[Update] -- Rather or not steering pump could impact a shimmy at the steering wheel, It might be worth mentioning that I do have a wet hose.. meaning the hose running to my steering gear box is very wet with fluid. I have checked the levels and they are good. There is no noise from the pump until you reach the steering limits (that standard hiss).

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Unread 01-23-2012, 11:04 AM   #2
mdm
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Bent wheels?

Unit bearings?

Have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth while you watch for slop in the steering/suspension components.



Quote:
Originally Posted by grininmonkey View Post
... I pulled my front axle shafts out to eliminate any axle, differential or drive shaft affect...
Just how did you do this? Did you drive it with the axle shafts removed?
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Unread 01-23-2012, 11:15 AM   #3
grininmonkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdm View Post
Bent wheels?

Unit bearings?

Have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth while you watch for slop in the steering/suspension components.





Just how did you do this? Did you drive it with the axle shafts removed?
The tire shop did some sort of light test a while back and they said my wheels were good.

My wheel hubs or unit bearings are factory but make no noise and there is no play.

I removed the sections of the axle shaft that enter the axle and placed the hub with the knuckle side of the shafts still in place back on. I have been driving the jeep for a few months like this ( I don't do much in the winter ) and also wanted to get some mpg values like this.
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Unread 01-23-2012, 11:38 AM   #4
mdm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grininmonkey View Post
...I removed the sections of the axle shaft that enter the axle and placed the hub with the knuckle side of the shafts still in place back on. I have been driving the jeep for a few months like this ( I don't do much in the winter ) and also wanted to get some mpg values like this.
How did that work out?
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Unread 01-23-2012, 02:14 PM   #5
grininmonkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdm View Post
How did that work out?
Not much difference to my surprise.... but someone told me once, while pushing a brick down the road at 60mph, the resistance created by the front driveline is not noticeable ;-)
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Unread 01-23-2012, 03:14 PM   #6
amike_321
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I am experiencing the same shimmy you describe in my stock 50k miles 2004TJ. My power steering hose coming from the pump is wet like you describe. The play is in my steering box, mercedes type. I can feel the play at the pitman arm to the box body. "They" say you cant adjust the slop in the box. I had adjusted it slightly to try to remove any play to no effect.
I'm saving up for an aftermarket box to install one day. Mine likes to wander on the interstate at 60-70mph.

I have looked into replacing the control arm bushings, they looked cracked on the outside surface, but when I took an arm off it was still intact and quite solid.
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Unread 01-24-2012, 08:28 AM   #7
jeepdaddy2000
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Quote:
except, would 1 degree off of the caster create my shimmy?
Toe in good?
Caster is the primary reason for shimmy (other than mechanical failure or bad tires).
You may want to try a set of shims to see if that helps.
Quote:
I am experiencing the same shimmy you describe in my stock 50k miles 2004TJ. My power steering hose coming from the pump is wet like you describe. The play is in my steering box, mercedes type. I can feel the play at the pitman arm to the box body. "They" say you cant adjust the slop in the box. I had adjusted it slightly to try to remove any play to no effect.
While wandering will occur, a loose steering box should not cause a shimmy (it may allow it). Again, a check and replace all worn bushings, ball joints, tie rod ends, and other frame to axle links. Check tires, and proper alignment and toe in is a must.
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Unread 01-27-2012, 07:12 PM   #8
ROWA
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I pulled my front axle shafts out to eliminate any axle, differential or drive shaft affect.
I hope you left the outer shaft in the unit bearing. The outer shaft is the only thing that hold your unit bearings together.
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Unread 01-30-2012, 07:05 AM   #9
mdm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROWA View Post
I pulled my front axle shafts out to eliminate any axle, differential or drive shaft affect.
I hope you left the outer shaft in the unit bearing. The outer shaft is the only thing that hold your unit bearings together.
Read much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grininmonkey View Post
...I removed the sections of the axle shaft that enter the axle and placed the hub with the knuckle side of the shafts still in place back on...
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