Death Wobble: Fix First or Upgrade?
I've got a 2003 Rubicon (50K miles) that can be considered stock. About a month ago after some "llight offroading) I started to notice symptoms of the dreaded "Death Wobble" (DW). Since then, I've done more research on this issue than I care to admit. I've checked for all the classic areas (Trac bar, Steering Dampner, Mud in the rims, alignment, and Tire balance. Eveything checked out fine, no slop, all componets tight, etc. The tires are about 5K miles old, so no issues there. The wobble has progressed considerably, to the point where safety is a real concern, and traveling anywhere over 50 mph in the Jeep is problematic.
Out of options, I took the jeep to the local jeep dealership, pointed at it and said "death wobble". 60 minutes and $90 bucks later, they told me it was the steering dampner. I replaced it myself with a Rancho 5000 SS, and took her back out to see if the issue had been resolved. It was better, but still severe enough for safety concerns. I'm inclined to beef up the Trac bar next, but I guess there aren't any guarentee's that will work either?
The biggest PITA to this is I'm ready to lift the Jeep (4 inch), and upgrade the tires (33's). Now with the Death Wobble, I'm concerned about doing anything to it prior to addressing the DW. On the other hand, upgrading the entire suspension may address the issue indirectly? I'm lost here, any thoughts from the community would be appreciated, if anyone knows of a shop (Not a dealership) in the Columbus, Ohio area that has experience with correcting death wobble, they'd likely get my business for both the DW and for the upgrades. Thanks in advance!