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Unread 07-03-2013, 07:53 PM   #1
viennah
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Death Wobble is driving me crazy!

I've inherited a 2003 Jeep TJ.

It's had the dreaded Death Wobble since 2007. I didn't know it was a "thing" just thought this jeep sucked because it had this "shaking" problem.

When I drive at about 100km/h (60mph), more or less, and I hit any sort of bump or crack in the road (and the roads in Quebec are notorious for always being cracked and broken) it sets off the death wobble. I can barely hold on to the steering wheel, its as if the wheels are about to fell off.

In the past, it would go away on its on after a while, if I hit another bump, if I slowed down to 90-80 km/h, or sped up to 120 km/h. Dangerous, scary, inconvenient, but I can deal. I've tried every Jeep dealership in the area. They keep giving me BS about wheels being unbalanced and such. It never helps for long, the problem eventually comes back.

I got brand new tires and all. Recently had it in the garage for a few minor things, and they promised me balancing the wheels would cure the death wobble.

But they made it WORSE! It takes even less of a bump to set it off, it shakes more violently than ever, and it doesn't stop shaking until I come to a COMPLETE stop!!!! Obviously, this is extremely dangerous, I can't keep pulling off the busy highway to stop, and often there is no shoulder to pull off to. What happens if you keep driving on death wobble?

Yesterday someone actually followed me and stopped me to warn me that my wheels were about to fall off my car.

I can't stand it anymore! How do I figure out the REAL cause of my death wobble and get it fixed once and for all, I can't trust these idiots at the dealership anymore, i've wasted too much money.

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Unread 07-03-2013, 07:58 PM   #2
brplatz
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There are quite a few threads on this, including one I started....

Basics are checking for worn control arm bushings, track bar bushings, unit bearings, ball joints, and steering components.

All those can be causes
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Unread 07-03-2013, 08:01 PM   #3
tyvanwie
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Check one of the 75000 threads on it on here. You have worn parts.

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Unread 07-03-2013, 10:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viennah View Post
I've inherited a 2003 Jeep TJ.

It's had the dreaded Death Wobble since 2007. I didn't know it was a "thing" just thought this jeep sucked because it had this "shaking" problem.

When I drive at about 100km/h (60mph), more or less, and I hit any sort of bump or crack in the road (and the roads in Quebec are notorious for always being cracked and broken) it sets off the death wobble. I can barely hold on to the steering wheel, its as if the wheels are about to fell off.

In the past, it would go away on its on after a while, if I hit another bump, if I slowed down to 90-80 km/h, or sped up to 120 km/h. Dangerous, scary, inconvenient, but I can deal. I've tried every Jeep dealership in the area. They keep giving me BS about wheels being unbalanced and such. It never helps for long, the problem eventually comes back.

I got brand new tires and all. Recently had it in the garage for a few minor things, and they promised me balancing the wheels would cure the death wobble.

But they made it WORSE! It takes even less of a bump to set it off, it shakes more violently than ever, and it doesn't stop shaking until I come to a COMPLETE stop!!!! Obviously, this is extremely dangerous, I can't keep pulling off the busy highway to stop, and often there is no shoulder to pull off to. What happens if you keep driving on death wobble?

Yesterday someone actually followed me and stopped me to warn me that my wheels were about to fall off my car.

I can't stand it anymore! How do I figure out the REAL cause of my death wobble and get it fixed once and for all, I can't trust these idiots at the dealership anymore, i've wasted too much money.
If it has truly had it for that long, plan on replacing just about every part on the front suspension and steering except for the springs.

DW in most iterations is an extremely violent event that takes it's toll on parts and will kill them quickly.

In your case, other than the dry steering test that will point out the obvious, I don't know where I would start, but be prepared to spend some money.
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Unread 07-03-2013, 11:47 PM   #5
krughzn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyvanwie View Post
Check one of the 75000 threads on it on here. You have worn parts.

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Congratulations on getting to 5,000 posts in less than 10 months. I'm sure you're proud of yourself.

It was his first post, if you can't help him, then you should just move along.
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Unread 07-04-2013, 08:11 AM   #6
tyvanwie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krughzn

Congratulations on getting to 5,000 posts in less than 10 months. I'm sure you're proud of yourself.

It was his first post, if you can't help him, then you should just move along.
How was this post more helpful than mine..?

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Unread 07-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #7
viennah
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I'm a "her" actually...a very girly "her" :P

So this isn't my jeep, it's my dad's, but he's selling it to me. I used to love this thing, but now the death wobble is getting to a point where I'm really scared of driving it. I know there are other threads about the Death Wobble, but most people seem to have the problem I had at the beginning, where it would stop wobbling when I slowed down. But now it wobbles more frequently, more violently, and doesn't stop wobbling until I actually completely stop the vehicle. Just slowing down in traffic can even set off the death wobble now, it doesn't even need a bump. So I think this is much more severe than most people's wobbles.

I brought it to a small truck specialist shop this morning. First time ever, I meet a mechanic who knew what death wobble was!!! How did so many jeep dealerships NOT know what it was???? Anyways, he said the steering box's tie rod (I hope I understood that right) and the track bar had to be changed, that's it. I hope he's right. He seemed to understand the problem much better than anyone else who looked at it.

I'm just a bit concerned that he wants to put in the same track bar again. He said it has to be the same one (Mog), because the modified track bars are only for lifted jeeps (mine isn't). Does that make sense????? If it's the same kind of track bar, is it just a matter of time before I get the same problem again?
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Unread 07-04-2013, 11:49 AM   #8
mrblaine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viennah View Post
I'm a "her" actually...a very girly "her" :P

So this isn't my jeep, it's my dad's, but he's selling it to me. I used to love this thing, but now the death wobble is getting to a point where I'm really scared of driving it. I know there are other threads about the Death Wobble, but most people seem to have the problem I had at the beginning, where it would stop wobbling when I slowed down. But now it wobbles more frequently, more violently, and doesn't stop wobbling until I actually completely stop the vehicle. Just slowing down in traffic can even set off the death wobble now, it doesn't even need a bump. So I think this is much more severe than most people's wobbles.

I brought it to a small truck specialist shop this morning. First time ever, I meet a mechanic who knew what death wobble was!!! How did so many jeep dealerships NOT know what it was???? Anyways, he said the steering box's tie rod (I hope I understood that right) and the track bar had to be changed, that's it. I hope he's right. He seemed to understand the problem much better than anyone else who looked at it.

I'm just a bit concerned that he wants to put in the same track bar again. He said it has to be the same one (Mog), because the modified track bars are only for lifted jeeps (mine isn't). Does that make sense????? If it's the same kind of track bar, is it just a matter of time before I get the same problem again?
You should try balancing the tires, keeping them balanced, and rotated frequently. Also keep a good steering stabilizer on there to protect the system and buffer it against the tires and pot holes.

The frequency of your DW is what is tearing up the parts, keep the tires in good shape and the DW won't be as frequent and the damage will revert to normal wear and tear.
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Unread 07-04-2013, 11:50 AM   #9
tyvanwie
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Worn parts are worn parts. Nothing lasts forever, not even high quality parts. A stock replacement would be ideal, but I wouldn't rely on him being 100% correct. He may be, but he may not be. It sounds like you have a very severe case of death wobble, yo could very well need almost everything replaced.

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Unread 07-04-2013, 11:53 AM   #10
viennah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brplatz View Post
There are quite a few threads on this, including one I started....

Basics are checking for worn control arm bushings, track bar bushings, unit bearings, ball joints, and steering components.

All those can be causes
Hopefully these are all things that were checked this morning. I was in the Jeep turning the wheels side to side while the mechanic was looking underneath. Hope he didn't miss anything...
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Unread 07-04-2013, 11:59 AM   #11
viennah
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Originally Posted by mrblaine View Post
You should try balancing the tires, keeping them balanced, and rotated frequently. Also keep a good steering stabilizer on there to protect the system and buffer it against the tires and pot holes.

The frequency of your DW is what is tearing up the parts, keep the tires in good shape and the DW won't be as frequent and the damage will revert to normal wear and tear.
I've had the tires balanced so many times, since the dealerships always tell me that's the problem. Also, the law where I live is that you must use two sets of tires, one for winter, one for summer. I actually have two sets of wheels, not just tires. Both are sets are new, and it hasn't fixed the problem. Though the summer wheels/tires are more prone to the wobble than the winter ones.
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Unread 07-04-2013, 12:04 PM   #12
viennah
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Originally Posted by tyvanwie View Post
Worn parts are worn parts. Nothing lasts forever, not even high quality parts. A stock replacement would be ideal, but I wouldn't rely on him being 100% correct. He may be, but he may not be. It sounds like you have a very severe case of death wobble, yo could very well need almost everything replaced.

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True, things do get worn, but I'm hoping replacing parts doesn't become an annual event. I can't afford that...

Gonna keep my fingers crossed that the rest doesn't need to be replaced, but I have a feeling you are right, and I'll be back to get it fixed again soon.

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with this jeep lol.
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Unread 07-04-2013, 12:52 PM   #13
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If the mechanic is correct in his diagnosis, a stock trackbar made by Moog is a good part on a TJ. If you had a JK, I'd say that an aftermarket would be better. My guess is that you are going to see good improvement with these changes but, more will be coming because of wear from the long term between the first symptoms and the repair. Bushings are cheap but labor isn't. If you don't do a lot of hard core offloading, the stock control arms, etc. will work fine with new bushings as long as they aren't damaged.
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Unread 07-04-2013, 03:13 PM   #14
mrblaine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viennah View Post
I've had the tires balanced so many times, since the dealerships always tell me that's the problem. Also, the law where I live is that you must use two sets of tires, one for winter, one for summer. I actually have two sets of wheels, not just tires. Both are sets are new, and it hasn't fixed the problem. Though the summer wheels/tires are more prone to the wobble than the winter ones.
The tires cause the wear. Run them unbalanced or out of round and the wear accelerates. Once they wear the parts past their ability to perform their function, then you may get DW.

The only way to keep it at bay is with overly strong parts or keeping the tires within the abilities and strengths of the parts you have.

Running tires out of round or out of balance will take it's toll, don't do it.
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