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Unread 06-25-2013, 07:39 PM   #1
Xanatos
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1991 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Hendersonville, NC
Posts: 114
Death Wobble help

Hello all, I am in Hendersonville, NC and I am pretty sure I have something loose in my steering components. This is my first Jeep and I don't have a lot of mechanical experience so I'm not exactly sure what to look for. When I hit 65 the front end of the Jeep shakes like crazy and I can see the front wheels going back and forth. It is a 91 Cherokee so I know pieces will be worn, but I can't tell what is worn out. I have tried taking it to a shop, but the places I have taken it to usually aren't very familiar with this problem and don't offer much help. If someone around Hendersonville would be willing to take a look at the front end and let me know what I need to replace. Or if someone knows a shop that has dealt with death wobble like this, I could go there. I would be willing to drive to your place for you to take a look at it. I'll probably be throwing in some CFA coupons/gift cards for the help.

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Unread 06-26-2013, 11:53 AM   #2
_AdriaN_
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Erwin, TN
Posts: 275
I've not had this problem myself but...

Get under the jeep and wiggle all the front end stuff and report any loose stuff. Also, try rotating tires to see if they are the cause. If this helps at all check them for flat spots and make sure they are balanced good.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 02:22 PM   #3
Xanatos
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1991 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Hendersonville, NC
Posts: 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by _AdriaN_
I've not had this problem myself but...

Get under the jeep and wiggle all the front end stuff and report any loose stuff. Also, try rotating tires to see if they are the cause. If this helps at all check them for flat spots and make sure they are balanced good.
Tires are rotated and balanced. Alignment done. I jacked it up but I'm not too sure of what to look for. The steering parts looks tight and fine, but I'm not an expert so from what I can tell, it looks fine.
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Unread 06-30-2013, 10:01 PM   #4
KnoxButler
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1981 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 149
I had a 96 zj that wobbled like crazy. What you want to look for while its jacked up (safely) try and wiggle the tires i.e put one hand at 9 o'clock on the tire and the other at 3 and push with one hand and pull with the other repeatedly and feel for play, do the same at 1 o'clock and 7 (avoid putting your hands under the tire as a precaution) If you do feel play your tie rod ends, etc probably need to be replaced.
Make sure everything is tight, on mine the cuff that links the tie rod to the tie rod end was lose.
Finally the steering dampener... get a new one, may or may not be a contributing factor to the wobble but in my experience the wobble puts a lot of stress on the dampener and there fairly cheep.



These are just the things that helped me and probably the most common things, there are many many things that could cause a death wobble. There is a lot of information online including this forum about death wobbles, take some time and do a few Google searches and you will get a lot of information!

Keep us posted
-Knox
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Unread 07-01-2013, 04:22 PM   #5
Xanatos
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1991 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Hendersonville, NC
Posts: 114
Well I jacked up the front end again, but still no play in the wheels. The drag link end on the passenger side has a torn boot but nothing has play from left to right. The only thing I noticed, was the whole assembly(tie rod, drag link) can rotate slightly back and forth, but that doesn't seem like it would cause left-right vibrations. No play in the wheels whatsoever though.
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Unread 07-04-2013, 08:26 PM   #6
marinelj
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 32
The tierod naturally rotates from front to back 20 degrees or so, but that doesn't apply to death wobble. Every time I have had death wobble problems it has stemmed from the track bar. The problem is, when you jack the front end off the ground the entire weight of the axle is on the track bar links, so unless you can bench press that weight you can't move it to see. The best way is park the jeep, have someone else start it and turn the wheels back and forth while sitting still. Not all the way to lock left to right, just barely enough for the power steering to catch in each direction. You are looking for tie rod ends, drag link ends, and track bar ends. If you see nothing, your other culprits could be wheel bearing assemblies, alignment, ball joints, bent wheels, or play inside the steering box itself... I hope this gives you some direction, I have had this issue before on a few of my jeeps, and I know how frustrating it can be, and how scary it can be. Just whatever you do, don't throw a new steering stabilizer to bandaid the issue, it only delays the inevitable problem. Best of luck!
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Unread 07-07-2013, 08:41 AM   #7
Xanatos
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1991 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Hendersonville, NC
Posts: 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by marinelj
The tierod naturally rotates from front to back 20 degrees or so, but that doesn't apply to death wobble. Every time I have had death wobble problems it has stemmed from the track bar. The problem is, when you jack the front end off the ground the entire weight of the axle is on the track bar links, so unless you can bench press that weight you can't move it to see. The best way is park the jeep, have someone else start it and turn the wheels back and forth while sitting still. Not all the way to lock left to right, just barely enough for the power steering to catch in each direction. You are looking for tie rod ends, drag link ends, and track bar ends. If you see nothing, your other culprits could be wheel bearing assemblies, alignment, ball joints, bent wheels, or play inside the steering box itself... I hope this gives you some direction, I have had this issue before on a few of my jeeps, and I know how frustrating it can be, and how scary it can be. Just whatever you do, don't throw a new steering stabilizer to bandaid the issue, it only delays the inevitable problem. Best of luck!
Well I have play in the steering wheel, is that different that steering box play? And how do I check the wheel bearing assemblies or ball joints? I have jacked the front up and tried to wiggle the tire by grasping the top and bottom of the wheels, but no play. I would really appreciate if someone could meet me around town to try and help me out.
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