death wobble seemed cured, 5 days later it's back - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
vwsales1
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death wobble seemed cured, 5 days later it's back

Got a new to me TJ back in march. Had to have somethings fixed and life got busy so just got around to tackling the death wobble issue. Jeep would be fine until about 58-60 miles per hour and then minor bumps, expansions joints, seems in concrete, etc would cause violent death wobble. It would always seem to start from the right side. Meaning that if the left wheel hit a bump or crack in the road it didn't always trigger it. But if it was the right side it would happen all the time. Since this is just a run around vehicle for me I just kept it below 55mph on my travels. Well that got annoying so it was time to look into it.

Got some great tips from posts here. I was going to start with having the tires balanced but the local shop I went to suggested a heavy duty steering dampener. From what I read here that sounds like a band-aid, not solving the issue. Haven't had a chance to find a new tire shop yet. So what I figured I would do what I could. I moved the right front wheel to the right rear and the right rear wheel to the right front. Took the Jeep out for a spin, using the roads I normally drive on the would trigger the death wobble. Did about 25 min of driving at speeds from 50-75 and no death wobble at all. So that lead me to believe that the wheel that was on the front was out of balance. That was last Sunday

Fast forward to last night. Driving the same roads I now get a very bad shimmy just over 60 mph. It never goes to the extreme side to side motion of death wobble but there is a very heavy vibration.. goes away above or below that speed.

Does this mean that the right front tire has no become out of balance? Possible uneven wear from the last 5 days (about 300 miles) has worn the tire to cause this issue? Or do I start trouble shooting suspension/steering components?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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post #2 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 08:45 AM
Shark_13
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Get the tires balanced first.
Then get a helper and do a dry steer test to find anything that might be worn or loose. (Track bar, tie rod ends)
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post #3 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
vwsales1
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i did have a shop give it a once over when i got it. needed new oil pan, brakes, few other goodies. they also said the track bar was shot and i had them replace it.. time to find a tire shop i guess
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post #4 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 09:03 AM
Ironhead
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if rotating the tires changed the DW at all, thats the first place to look.
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post #5 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 09:48 AM
Jerry Bransford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironhead View Post
if rotating the tires changed the DW at all, thats the first place to look.
X2. And don't trust ANY shop that recommends a newer or a more heavy-duty steering damper as a cure for DW, they don't know what they're talking about... that's like being told to just put a bigger band-aid on a skin cancer. A new steering damper is never the cure for DW, they can only sometimes temporarily suppress the symptoms of DW enough to fool some into thinking it cured it.

Your DW is very likely caused by a tire that isn't balanced well enough, even if the tires were recently balanced, likely in combination with something not being tight enough like the track bar, tie rod ends, etc..

When you have a choice, buy American made.
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post #6 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 10:01 AM
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Agree with getting the tires balanced. Additionally, it's may be worth getting an alignment done. There's really only one thing they can fix on the alignment (toe-in), but getting the numbers on everything else can point out other issues (i.e. bent parts).
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post #7 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
vwsales1
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That what I was thinking about the steering dampener thanks to all the good info here.. It's a shame too because for the most part they have always done good work for me. Plus they are within walking distance, so I dropped the Jeep off, walk home and take a different car to work. I just wanted them to balance the tires and they really wanted to do the HD dampener as well. Rather than get into a argument about it I just left... Oh well... I guess maybe the wheel. Isn't balanced well enough as you say since the shimmy came back.
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post #8 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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I was trying to hold off on that for a bit since I'm thinking about getting a new set of tires. 1 of the 4 are a completely different tires, I have know idea when the previous owner rotated them, how old they are, etc.. I may just have to bite the bullet and get new ones. But then it tempts me to go bigger than stock.. It's a extra car for the summer that really won't probably go off roadie so it's hard to make that jump
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post #9 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwsales1 View Post
I guess maybe the wheel. Isn't balanced well enough as you say since the shimmy came back.
Full-blown death wobble can damage other components. Your wheel may be fine now, but other stuff is loose which can bring on DW easier.
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post #10 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Having the wheels balanced now. Won't know til tonight after work if it changed anything
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post #11 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwsales1 View Post
Having the wheels balanced now. Won't know til tonight after work if it changed anything
Be very aware that not many shops will allow their tire jocks enough time to get our tires/wheels balanced well enough. A tire balance job that is "good enough" for the typical smaller size tire used on cars is not usually good enough for the larger Jeep size tires we run.

I always make it a point to talk with the guy actually doing the balancing to ask him to try to spend a little more time with them to make sure they're "perfect". Before switching to that tactic, I have had to return to the tire shop as many as three times in one day before they finally figured out I wasn't going to accept anything less than perfect.

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post #12 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
vwsales1
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They seemed to understand.. I told him my dilemma, and that I wanted him to take his time and make sure it was right. We seemed to be on the same page, I'll find out tonight. He did spend a lot of time doing it, whole process took just under 1.5hrs. I could look thru the window and watch, he did seem to take his time and seemed to be proud of his work. I guess we will find out tonight after work
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post #13 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Well so far so good. On the smooth roads no shimmies or noticeable wobbles up to about 75. But on some bigger bumps in the road at 65 the death wobble creeps back.. It seems way more controlled and "tighter" than before if that makes any sense..
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post #14 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 09:49 PM
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Keep in mind that a simple speed sensitive shimmy is not even close to Death Wobble.

When you have a choice, buy American made.
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post #15 of 50 Old 08-25-2017, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark_13 View Post
Get the tires balanced first.
Then get a helper and do a dry steer test to find anything that might be worn or loose. (Track bar, tie rod ends)
OP, did you ever do this?...
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