Last winter I hit an engine block on the road while sliding though snow sideways. Stupid people dump things in the area I off road frequently. I sometimes come out with several bags of garbage. My front left wheel hit the block hard and my steering wheel even came out of it severely off center for it. The Jeep ran fine after I put the spare on. So I drove home. I centered the steering wheel by adjusting the drag link and went off for a ride the next day. There was a humming coming from the left front tire. Well at the beginning of September, the hum was up to a horrible roar. I knew it was time to change the damaged wheel bearing assembly. It was very easy to do. After I was done the Jeep ran quiet. However, between 41 miles per hour and 52 miles per hour there was a death wobble. Evidently the damaged wheel bearing hid the death wobble. With the new wheel bearing and tighter tolerances the death wobble was extremely violent sometimes and other times manageable.
I know that the toe is supposed to be slightly in on a 2001 TJ Wrangler so I turned it in quite a bit and went for a ride. The death wobble changed the speed in which it presented itself. Without even measuring, I adjusted the tie rod length which adjusted the toe on the front wheels. Using trial and error, I kept adjusting the toe out little by little. Finally I adjusted the toe on the front wheels to where it was no longer a death wobble but just an ill shimmy. I took the tools with me and just made extremely small adjustments until the ill shimmy disappeared all together.
This was my solution for getting rid of the dreaded death wobble. Toe setting is one of the major causes of death wobble. It can happen to a stock TJ or a modified TJ. I will eventually get to measure my toe setting to see what it is set, but I just do not see the hurry because it works so good.
Note: After the death wobble was completely gone, the steering wheel is off center again. A couple of adjustments on the drag link and the steering wheel is perfect again.
Adjusting the toe out is an effective way to keep DW at bay. But not forever. What ever was wrong, is still wrong. DW is insidous. That said, after each failed attempt at a fix I did to try and arrest DW, I set the toe "out' again to minimize the havoc DW visited on my Jeeps front end. At the time, I didn't know to do this/set the toe out, to confuse the DW on my own. Blaine told me to do it. That said, it's a useful tool to help you while you continue to diagnose the DW, but it is NOT a fix...
What you have done is not a solution, but if you are smart, you can use it to discover your true problem.
Since your toe out masked your death wobble, there is a good chance that the source of your death wobble is trackbar of drag link related. Start looking for what is loose or worn out in those areas. Replace parts as necessary
Has any one considered that his toe out is not out of spec? Maybe his tires were very out of alignment before, and he adjusted them to just the right amount?
Im pretty sure alignment can definitely be a cause of death wobble.
It's just masking something else as said above. A small amount of toe in, while sitting, will be pushed into parallel under force going forward. Toe OUT will simply try to open up wider, and cause a lot of tire scrub. In this case enough to help overcome wobble induced by something when the tires are running parallel, as they should. Pretty easy to verify with generic searching. Myself, I wouldn't consider toe out a fix at all. Oh, and spec does not call for any "out".
98 TJ 4.0L | GenRight Stretch, 4 Link | Built XJ HP30 & XJ 44 | AW4 | ARB's | 35" Krawlers | Allied Beadlocks | York OBA | Warn 9500i etc. | M416 Trailer
Bad alignment can certainly cause a shimmy ... even a dramatic one... but not Death Wobble. DW is a harmonic oscillation that can occur when suspension or steering components are loose, damaged, or worn beyond spec.
Changing the alignment might hinder the onset of DW for a while (it'll come back as the bad parts continue to wear.)
A new stabilizer can hide wobble (again, it'll be back as soon as the parts wear enough that the wobble can overcome the stabilizer's dampening.)
Find out what else got sprung underneath the front end and actually fix it... you CAN get RID of DW instead of just covering it up.
(Then again, it's also possible that all you had was severe alignment issues and not really what's known as "Death Wobble".)
I actually mistyped something there, I didn't mean to say his toe out wasn't out of spec, I meant to say maybe his toe in general isn't out of spec. As in, maybe he toed it way in on his first adjustment and then simply toed it back out from there to the proper amount.
Lol, sorry bout that. I could still be wrong, but I figured I'd correct my mistype before I got flamed more lol
Greeting everybody. It seems that many are believing that the toe is set out on my 2001 TJ. What I did was start with the tow set in to maximum and let it out a little at a time until all vibration is gone. The toe is still set in when I stopped letting out the toe and test driving. I went ahead and finally measured. The toe is set to 1/4 of an inch in. It is now straight as an arrow and has no vibration at all. I have driven it between 1 mile per hour to 100 miles per hour. There is no vibration even with my old tires. There is one thing I failed to mention on my initial post. Before I started adjusting the toe, I tightened all the nuts and bolts of the front suspension. I did find the trackbar lower bolt to be very loose and tightened it. However the death wobble was still there until the toe adjustment was done.
I wanted to let all my Jeep brothers and sisters know that today, 30th of November 2013, the death wobble has not reoccurred. To date, the only repair I have made in the efforts of stopping the death wobble was the tightening of the very loose track bar lower bolt and adjusting the toe to 1/4 of an inch in. There is still no shake. It is still straight as an arrow. The steering wheel is still centered.
Glad to hear it. Keep an eye on that track bar bolt. I suspect that the hole may be slightly elongated since it was loose before. I had to repair one that was pretty bad and fixed it by welding a washer on it to get a nice round hole again.