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Unread 08-16-2012, 09:56 AM   #1
vettefever5
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The effect of steering stabilizer on death wobble

So here's my death wobble story and my question.

I finally got my 2.5" suspension installed over the weekend. I didn't have time after I finished to align the front tires so I figured I'd just drive to/from work and do it when I got home. Well, on the way to work I hit a bump around 40mph and I got a slight shimmy in the steering wheel... nothing like I had felt before. I had a feeling it was DW, even though it went away quickly (I was already slowing down). On the way home I made a point to drive down a long straight road with a 55mph speed limit that I know is very bumpy. If I could make it down there without problems I figured I'd be good. As soon as I hit the first bump (around 45mph) DW hit, and it scared the @#$@& out of me, even though I was expecting it. I quickly pulled over, caught my breath, and drove home slowly.

I checked all the stuff in the steering... I tightened the track bar at the axle (even though it was already very tight) and noticed the tie rod at the pitman arm had a rip in the boot. I was going to bring it in for an alignment anyway so I figured I'd replace that at the same time. I measured the toe in of the front tires and I was about 1" closer in the front, which I know is WAYY off. I know I can do the alignment myself, but after feeling the effect of DW I'd rather have a shop do it, then check the measurements against what's recommended on here before I try it myself in the future.

With that said, I know that may or may not get rid of DW, but I need to start with what I know is worn. Even if this does fix it I'm always going to be nervous driving down the highway that something like that might happen again the next time a steering component wears out.

My question is.... if I get a heavy duty steering stabilizer, will that help minimize the effects if/when DW rears its ugly head again? I know it won't eliminate it, but if it would help control the vibrations so that I feel like I can pull over safely and change my pants then it's worth it to me.

Any thoughts/experiences?

Thanks in advance

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Unread 08-16-2012, 10:06 AM   #2
Shobes
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When I did a 4" lift awhile back my cast was way off which caused the death wobble. Replacing my stock front lower control arms with longer aftermarket versions rid me of my issues. If I had to do it over I would have gotten Rokmen adjustable CAs which I am planning to do soon.

The stabilizer will help bump steer And should be upgraded if you go to a larger then stock tire size but it's not going to cure death wobble.

Just my .02. Good luck!
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Unread 08-16-2012, 10:21 AM   #3
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^^^ I agree a steering stabilizer is a band aid not a cure. Cures include track bar, tie rod and drag link ends, alignment and a whole host of other causes of which steering stabilizer is not one. Find the problem not the temporary fix
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Unread 08-16-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vettefever5
So here's my death wobble story and my question.

I finally got my 2.5" suspension installed over the weekend. I didn't have time after I finished to align the front tires so I figured I'd just drive to/from work and do it when I got home. Well, on the way to work I hit a bump around 40mph and I got a slight shimmy in the steering wheel... nothing like I had felt before. I had a feeling it was DW, even though it went away quickly (I was already slowing down). On the way home I made a point to drive down a long straight road with a 55mph speed limit that I know is very bumpy. If I could make it down there without problems I figured I'd be good. As soon as I hit the first bump (around 45mph) DW hit, and it scared the @#$@& out of me, even though I was expecting it. I quickly pulled over, caught my breath, and drove home slowly.

I checked all the stuff in the steering... I tightened the track bar at the axle (even though it was already very tight) and noticed the tie rod at the pitman arm had a rip in the boot. I was going to bring it in for an alignment anyway so I figured I'd replace that at the same time. I measured the toe in of the front tires and I was about 1" closer in the front, which I know is WAYY off. I know I can do the alignment myself, but after feeling the effect of DW I'd rather have a shop do it, then check the measurements against what's recommended on here before I try it myself in the future.

With that said, I know that may or may not get rid of DW, but I need to start with what I know is worn. Even if this does fix it I'm always going to be nervous driving down the highway that something like that might happen again the next time a steering component wears out.

My question is.... if I get a heavy duty steering stabilizer, will that help minimize the effects if/when DW rears its ugly head again? I know it won't eliminate it, but if it would help control the vibrations so that I feel like I can pull over safely and change my pants then it's worth it to me.

Any thoughts/experiences?

Thanks in advance
No. It will not fix anything. Check every front end component. Track bar, ball joints, control arms/bushings, wheel bearings. Everything.
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Unread 08-16-2012, 01:39 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.... but I may have been a little unclear in my question.

I have read lots and lots about how to fix/troubleshoot DW, so I'm not going to raise that question again (yet).

My question is about AFTER I get it fixed (thinking positively). If DW is caused by sloppy or warn steering components, unless I replace EVERYTHING at once, odds are something will eventually wear out next and give me DW again.

So, in the future... if I get everything tight and I have no DW, THEN add a steering stabilizer, IF DW comes back again will the SS dampen the effect of it until I can get it actually fixed again (not relying on the SS as the fix)?

Once I get it fixed and I have no death wobble, I don't want to be surprised by it again in the future like I was this time. If it comes back I want the effect to be not quite as dramatic. I'd hate to be driving around the windy mountain roads in NH only to have DW so bad that I'd be in danger of driving off the edge.
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Unread 08-16-2012, 01:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vettefever5 View Post
Thanks for the replies.... but I may have been a little unclear in my question.

I have read lots and lots about how to fix/troubleshoot DW, so I'm not going to raise that question again (yet).

My question is about AFTER I get it fixed (thinking positively). If DW is caused by sloppy or warn steering components, unless I replace EVERYTHING at once, odds are something will eventually wear out next and give me DW again.

So, in the future... if I get everything tight and I have no DW, THEN add a steering stabilizer, IF DW comes back again will the SS dampen the effect of it until I can get it actually fixed again (not relying on the SS as the fix)?

Once I get it fixed and I have no death wobble, I don't want to be surprised by it again in the future like I was this time. If it comes back I want the effect to be not quite as dramatic. I'd hate to be driving around the windy mountain roads in NH only to have DW so bad that I'd be in danger of driving off the edge.
If you are paying attention you should feel steering shimmy start to develop even with an SS installed long before it gets to the oh crap DW state.
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Unread 08-16-2012, 02:04 PM   #7
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you may have slung a weight... happened to me. had DW really bad. used to go crazy even on the smallest bumps. go get your tires balanced.
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Unread 08-16-2012, 02:46 PM   #8
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Of course a new steering stabilizer will help with DW. Chrysler says so!
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Unread 08-16-2012, 03:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biffgnar View Post
If you are paying attention you should feel steering shimmy start to develop even with an SS installed long before it gets to the oh crap DW state.
+1. I think you'll get some warning.

Your alignment was likely your problem if it was 1 inch off.

In my experience, all of my DW's have given be some notice with the exception of my initial installation (no alignment) and my first self alignment (I adjusted a little to far in). Both caused immediate DW.

My other cases typically related to tire balance. With those I've always had some type of indicator.

I've come to the conclusion that there will always be a chance of DW with the Jeep.

A lot of people will say get a steering stabilizer. I've heard it from shop owners and dealers. It will do nothing for you.
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Unread 08-16-2012, 03:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biffgnar View Post
If you are paying attention you should feel steering shimmy start to develop even with an SS installed long before it gets to the oh crap DW state.
There is your answer!
Pay attention and solve any minor vibrations and the big one will never show up!
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Unread 08-17-2012, 06:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YogiBear88 View Post
you may have slung a weight... happened to me. had DW really bad. used to go crazy even on the smallest bumps. go get your tires balanced.
Out of ballance tires are a DW trigger, but they're not the cause. The cause is something in the front end is worn out and isn't holding the front axle/steering nice and tight like it should be. If all of the front end components are good and tight you could have no wheel weights at all, and a big clump of dried up mud on the inside of each rim, and still not get DW, you'd just have a shakey ride.
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Unread 08-18-2012, 09:15 AM   #12
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^^* I agree in my limited experience the "ovaling" if you will of the track bar mounting holes is the most common cause. As time goes on the bolts holding the track bar slowly wear a bigger hole in the frame or drag link/tie rod. Currie track bar uses oversize bolts requiring drilling which may help in this case
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Unread 08-18-2012, 11:26 AM   #13
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No, it won't. How do I know? I just did it. I replaced all 4 shocks and SS, had tired rotated and balanced. And it is actually worse. I am in the process of checking everything else now.

Save your money till you know what it is. I wish I had, but I didn't come here before buying the shocks.
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Unread 08-18-2012, 12:51 PM   #14
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Caution that not many tire shops will take the trouble to get tires perfectly balanced. On a TJ, the bigger the tire, the more important perfect tire balance is. My local Discount Tire store is, generally speaking, superb on getting my tires balanced properly the first time. But I have had to go back multiple times in one day at least three times over the years when the tech rushed the job and didn't get them balanced well enough.

In other words, having the tires balanced doesn't necessarily mean they were balanced well enough.
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Unread 08-18-2012, 01:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shobes
When I did a 4" lift awhile back my cast was way off which caused the death wobble. Replacing my stock front lower control arms with longer aftermarket versions rid me of my issues...

The stabilizer will help bump steer And should be upgraded if you go to a larger then stock tire.
I'm a bit late to the party, but chiming in to say that's good feedback on the LCAs. Im also surprised that no one stepped up to mention that bumpsteer is in no way related to or affected by a steering stabilizer or lack thereof.
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