Death Wobble?? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 32 Old 09-05-2017, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
Markymarc350
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Death wobble??

Just purchased a Jeep gc 2002 160k on it, had known idea this death wobble even existed until now.
Not really sure it that's what I'm experiencing because it only happens under breaking, and at higher speeds,usually coming of an exit ramp. Otherwise she stops just fine,doesn't pull or anything.
Had a local shop take a look and on the test ride he said something definitely felt loose on the front end but upon inspection said there was a lot of new partbut on recently and everything was tight.He suggested to change the rotors. Spoke to the previous owner and he said he just had all the breaks done a few months ago and barley drove it .he also said it was just aligned.
That's when someone told me about this "death wobble "
It dose seem a little wobbly over bumps , but the violent shaking only happens under breaking,
Just thouid do some research before doing another break job.
Any suggestions or input would be much appreciated
Thanks
Marc

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post #2 of 32 Old 09-05-2017, 08:09 PM
azzkicker
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I don't know your skill level, or willingness to do it, but I'd start by pulling the front tires off and checking that the rotors are tightly bolted on. Just because somebody replaced the parts, doesn't mean they did it right. In fact, new problems are often caused by whatever you touched last.

You could also check your steering components by blocking the wheels, setting the brakes, have it in park with somebody smart enough to leave it there, and have them turn the wheel back and forth a little while you watch each moving part for obvious slop. It's not a sure fire method of detecting worn parts, but it has saved people a lot of time when it does show you the problem.

I don't think death wobble is very common on these longer wheel base vehicles, but I'm no expert on the subject. I think it's the short wheel base, solid front axle folks that have more trouble.

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post #3 of 32 Old 09-05-2017, 11:27 PM
Chirpz
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I had "death wobble" in my old XJ (Cherokee Sport). It turned out to be a crack in the unibody "frame" where the steering box attaches. I think they are too different for this to mean much...but here it is.

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post #4 of 32 Old 09-06-2017, 07:09 AM
dman83
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I had death wobble on my 2000 WJ, the front suspension, steering, and brakes are similar to the TJs and are susceptible to the same failures. In my case there were several issues. Warped brake rotors and stuck/failing calipers were causing the wobble under braking. Between 35-55mph the wobble was caused by worn ball joints and a busted steering stabilizer. I replaced all four brakes (calipers, rotors, and pads), all four front ball joints, steering stabilizer, and tie rods and it drives like a new Jeep. Usually from what I have researched death wobble is not a single culprit but a combination of front end parts. In your case I agree with azzkicker, check the front rotors first and make sure there aren't any other worn steering components.
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post #5 of 32 Old 09-06-2017, 10:49 AM
4WDlifeform
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azzkicker View Post
I don't know your skill level, or willingness to do it, but I'd start by pulling the front tires off and checking that the rotors are tightly bolted on.
I am thinking azzkicker meant calipers, not rotors? The rotors just sit on the hub and studs. They are held tight when the wheel is torqued.

Warped rotors or seized calipers can and will trigger death wobble when a component in your suspension/steering is bad allowing the oscillation to get out of control. Your Jeep being 02 has the old Teves calipers, which were known to seize and cause rotors to warp. First off, check your calipers and rotors, and get new braking equipment installed.

This will not fix the fact you have "death wobble". Searching the forum will make your head explode.. It really comes down to checking all your steering and suspension components. Have someone turn the wheel back and forth (no need to have engine running), lay underneath and feel/look for play. Start with the most likely candidates first: check ball joints, tie-rod ends, and track bar. Then just keep working your way though all front end components: control arms, shocks, sway bar, driveshaft... basically anything that touches your front axle. Bad tires can also be the culprit.

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post #6 of 32 Old 09-06-2017, 06:01 PM
wolf_7669
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+1 for checking the rotors and calipers first. If you've got a stuck caliper, it could easily toast a rotor and a set of brake pads in a short amount of time.
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post #7 of 32 Old 09-07-2017, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
Markymarc350
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Thanks for all the responses,
Wondering if this is only happening wile breaking, is what I'm experiencing even death wobble??
Another mechanic said he nevertheless herd of it and he's a long time Jeep owner, he also said rotors or calipers would show a sign of a problem at all speeds, his opinion was the stearing stablizer,said to leave it with him to check it out further.
Once again, the Jeep breaks perfectly around town, just at higher speeds usually coming of an exit dose the steering wheel shake violently, but other than that, no pulsing, shaking if pulling,
See what happens when he throws it up on the lift,
Thanks again for ur input and I'll keep you posted on what he finds
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post #8 of 32 Old 09-07-2017, 06:48 PM
azzkicker
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I was thinking calipers, not rotors. Do let your guy check it out, but be careful he doesn't just shotgun parts at it while you write checks.

It doesn't sound like death wobble to me. I also question the idea that bad rotors will misbehave at all speeds (if they're really bad, then sure). I've had a few that only shook during high speed braking, and hard braking. Replacing the rotors fixed the problem. In fact, I bought a used Lexus, which had bad rotor shake at most speeds, and I negotiated a brake job in the sale. It fixed the rotor shake, seemingly, except on the freeway. Then I replaced the rotors that had been turned, and it went away all together.

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post #9 of 32 Old 09-07-2017, 07:46 PM
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Do your self a favor.. check the u joints I. The driveshaft first mine did the same thing and I had seized u joint

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post #10 of 32 Old 09-08-2017, 01:49 PM
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Not to hijack your thread, but I also have a question about this.

And, Im going to need a little advice here.

99' WJ, 2.5in lift (BDS Springs & .75in spacer up front). Had it on for quite some time with stock tires and had no issues, that I knew of. Fast forward 1-2 years. Threw on some larger tires and guess who got a little wobbly? Now, I have had a lifted TJ, so I know the thrills of DW, this wasn't as bad as I've had it, but I know it was only a matter of time. I could pinpoint it to between 40-50mph if I hit a bump, she would want to go.

So, went through, checked tie-rods, ball joints, re-balanced and aired tires, put on a new JKS adjustable track bar (the bolt holes looked fine, not ovaled and I torqued it down as much as I could), got an alignment, replaced the steering stabilizer (which I think was fine to begin with), and I still feel like she is going to dance on me. if I hit a slight bump, I get a little bump steer, If I am in the money spot 40-50mph and hit a bump, it feels like it wants to go, but hasn't yet.

So, before I spend another $75 or whatever for Kevin's hard bushings and bolts, can someone tell me if these pics look right? My steering wheel is straight, but I am wondering if the top of the track bar and drag link are a little off, and if being off by even the slightest will have an effect on this. I havent checked the parallel distance between the 2 points of articulation yet, but I will shortly.

Any help/guidance is always greatly appreciated!

other pics
https://imgur.com/a/MGEoj



I should add that this really only became noticeable, after the tires were changed to a larger size tire and the black steel wheels, obviously they are much heavier. I also had just removed my front driveshaft, not sure that would have any effect on it though, right?

Another note, when I get under the Jeep and have someone turn the wheel back and forth, it all looks really tight everywhere. I may be wanting it to move so I know, but I think the track bar mount to the frame, could be shifting ever so slightly, but I dont know, it may just be the motion of the JKS bushing?!?!

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post #11 of 32 Old 09-08-2017, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superheady View Post
I think the track bar mount to the frame, could be shifting ever so slightly, but I dont know, it may just be the motion of the JKS bushing?!?!
How long have you been running the JKS track bar? I installed my JKS during DW, and it did not fix it. I installed the KOR bushings, and although at the time it did not end the DW, it seemed to DW much less violently and was harder to trigger it.

I compared the amount of "squish" between the JKS and KOR bushings. The difference was quite surprising. IIRC, I was getting about .040" with the JKS, and only .010" with the KOR.

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post #12 of 32 Old 09-08-2017, 05:33 PM
superheady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4WDlifeform View Post
How long have you been running the JKS track bar? I installed my JKS during DW, and it did not fix it. I installed the KOR bushings, and although at the time it did not end the DW, it seemed to DW much less violently and was harder to trigger it.

I compared the amount of "squish" between the JKS and KOR bushings. The difference was quite surprising. IIRC, I was getting about .040" with the JKS, and only .010" with the KOR.
Brand new. Just installed it, and cant really tell if it is moving or I am just paranoid that it is. I torqued it down super tight too.

ugh

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post #13 of 32 Old 09-08-2017, 07:04 PM
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Warped rotors will make the vehicle shake when you put on the brakes , but not when you aren't braking. You never know when the rotors were changed or even if they were. Everbody lies when they sell a car. I have had perfectly good new rotors go bad very fast depending on the driver. Cheap rotors will warp in a heartbeat if somebody clamps down on the brakes going down a long steep grade. My wife did that and she has a habit of riding the brakes when she drives. I'd start there.
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post #14 of 32 Old 09-09-2017, 07:52 AM
keith20mm
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An easy thing to do is to get your helper behind the wheel, you lay on ground in front, and look at the tie rod end, first right, then left.

Let your helper turn the key to unlock position and rock the steering wheel ever so lightly while you watch the: Right tie rod end at right steering knuckle, then Right drag link at right steering knuckle, then Drag link at pitman arm, then Left tie rod end at left steering knuckle.

At each position, notice if you see motion in the link that isn't happening in the knuckle. In other words, isolate slack in the links that isn't happening in the knuckles.

If you see a tie rod moving, and the knuckle isn't, then plan on replacing that tie rod end, similarly, the drag link ends need to not have slack where the Pitman arm moves, but the drag link doesn't, or the drag link right end moves, but the knuckle doesn't.

As to brakes, high speed pulsing, or pulsing at any speed, and brakes applied, this is most likely warped rotor.

This vehicle was produced with two kinds of brake calipers: The black caliper is the A. Teves (ATE) unit, and is famous for having rotors warp. The silver caliper is Akebono. The black caliper has the wire anti-squeak spring on the outer face of the caliper. Some mechanics leave this part out, so you cannot depend on the presence of the wire to indicate the caliper design.

The Teves unit is famous for warping rotors, I know not why.

The rotor is the same for either caliper make.

You can change the rotor without removing the caliper from the caliper bracket. You just remove the two caliper bracket bolts, pry the caliper open slightly, lift the entire caliper and bracket unit off, set it on the axle tube, and bump the rotor off.

Notes:

1) Apply heat with a heat gun to the bolts before removing them, as these two bolts are installed with blue thread locker. Heating the bolts makes a huge difference in the ease of removal.

2) Apply a small spritzer of PB Blaster to the rotor at the hub to ease rotor removal. If rotor has been on vehicle for a long time, especially in a salt road area, there will be plenty of corrosion trying to keep the rotor on the hub.

3) If you find some sheet metal push nuts on the studs, retaining the rotor, do keep those, remove them using needle nose pliers, and do reinstall them. They are useful, and many low life mechanics do discard them.

4) If you really want those rotors to remain useful longer, get drilled and spiral milled rotors. They dissipate heat much better than stock rotors.
This is especially true of the Teves installations.

5) Use a wire brush to scrub the hub around the hub lugs. Cleaning this area will insure a perfect mate between the hub and the rotor, so that the rotor is spinning at exact right angle to the axis of hub rotation. Any deviation from perpendicular will definitely provide you with a shake when brakes are applied. This shake will definitely produce additional wear in the tie rod and drag links, noted above, in addition to the steering gear box, itself, plus the ball joints and wheel hub bearings. Ponder this and you will conclude same.

If you change rotors, do also change the pads. Again, you do not have to remove the caliper from the bracket to replace pads, if you have the bracket off the knuckle.

Use a large (6") c-clamp and a flat piece of aluminum, steel, wood, etc to compress both pistons in the caliper, together. If you mash only one, the other will pop out almost an equal amount that you mashed the one.

The pistons should smoothly re-enter their bores. The rubber piston boots should not show any cracking. If the boots are cracked, replace them. If the pistons are gritty due to cracked boots, grit will likely lock between a piston and its bore, galling the bore, and preventing effective braking.

When mashing the pistons back into the bores, watch the level of brake fluid in the reservoir to make sure it doesn't overflow, making a mess and possibly misleading you as to why the sudden puddle on the shop floor.

If you do remove the caliper pins, MAKE SURE the pin hex hole is clean before you try to stick a wrench into the hole, otherwise, you may end up with a stripped out caliper pin hole, and that is a real hassle to then remove. Also make sure you have the exact wrench to fit that hole, likewise.

If someone came along before you and honked this hole up, you may have to take a larger hex wrench, grind it down into a slightly pointed hex, bang it into the hole, HEAT THE BRACKET with a heat gun, until it is smoking hot, then turn out the caliper pin. You heat the caliper where the pin is threaded into the bracket, and the bracket itself. Heat nowhere else.

Replacement caliper pins are available at most auto parts stores, same for the spring for ATE units... that is the ATE hardware kit, containing the spring and rubber bushings. If you need to replace a rubber bushing, wipe the area that goes in with lithium grease, grab the leading end through the hole with needle nose pliers, and pull it into the hole. Don't tear the rubber, though. It will go in, with effort.

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post #15 of 32 Old 09-11-2017, 06:43 AM
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If you are new to death wobble and diagnosing it, watch this video.

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4 Door Jeeps Deserve Waves Too.
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