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Unread 06-08-2013, 10:59 AM   #1
RedUnlimited
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2006 LJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Lakewood, CO
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Second opinion needed on track bar issue...

I have an 06 Wrangler Unlimited with a 2" lift. I put the lift on years ago and had a bit of death wobble at the time. I got a new steering stabilizer which seemed to resolve the problem, and signed up for Firestone's lifetime alignment plan. Every six months or so when I would start to notice a little bit of vibration beginning to appear, I would take the Jeep into Firestone, have them check the alignment, as well as rotating and balancing the tires. In the past, this has always fixed any issues with wobble.

Unfortunately, I recently started to get wobble again, and even after having the alignment and tires taken care of, the wobble is still there. I took it back to Firestone again and asked them to double check that the alignment had been done correctly. Their answer was that my track bar is bad and needs to be replaced. They quoted me $175 for this task.

Although something clearly needs to be done to fix the wobble, I'm not convinced Firestone is being honest with me about the problem. I always double check their work, because I have had some bad experiences with certain Firestone locations in the past attempting to sell me "repairs" that weren't needed, and then when I went to check them myself, I could clearly see that the repairs weren't needed. I'm not an expert mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but I can tell when something is in perfect working order on a vehicle with low mileage. This current Firestone location hasn't done that to me, and I actually spoke with the mechanic who did the work on my Jeep, but I still feel the need to get a second opinion to make sure I'm not being asked to replace something which won't solve my problem.

So I guess my questions are:

1. How can I verify my current track bar is bad? Is there an obvious test I can do to determine if a problem actually exists?

2. If the track bar is bad, should I simply buy a new one and attempt to replace it myself, or allow Firestone to do that?

3. I've noticed that while a basic replacement track bar is fairly cheap (I saw a link in another thread to one on Amazon for $65), there are also more expensive track bars which appear to be designed for use on vehicles with lift kits and can be adjusted. Would these more expensive track bars possibly help to solve my wobble issue and are they a good investment?

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Unread 06-08-2013, 11:04 AM   #2
Jerry Bransford
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Escondido, California, California
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First, imperfect tire balance is a very common cause of DW. The bigger the tire, the more critical perfect balance becomes to preventing DW.

A good way to determine if your track bar is loose enough to allow DW to develop after being triggered by an out of balance tire or bump in the road is this...

With the tires on the ground, have a helper turn the steering wheel back & forth while you watch the track bar for any (!) side-to-side movement. There should be ZERO side-to-side movement. Rotational movement is normal, it needs that & gets that ability from its ball mounts, but there should be no side-to-side slop. Check the other joints for unwanted side-to-side slop/movement after you've checked the track bar.
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Unread 06-08-2013, 11:23 AM   #3
TheBoogieman
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Like Jerry said,unbalanced tires will cause that.My Buddy's GF had a 4 door JK with terrible DW.I checked out everything and it was tight.I noticed the two front tires were worn and had uneven tread wear.Two tires fixed the problem completely.Keep in mind that a lot of alignment shops will rip you off and know nothing about Jeep alignments.Years ago I had a shop tell me they couldn't align my front end because both wheels moved together and wanted to know if I wanted a 4 wheel alignment on a stock Jeep.Also, my track bar was bad because it would rotate slightlyNeedless to say,I joined JF and started doing my own for many years now.Do the toe in (alignment) yourself so you know it's right.It takes 10 minutes tops.Replacing the track bar takes 10 minutes too.If the bushings are bad,I have an extra one with under 10,000 miles on it you can have for free (shipping charge only).You don't really need an adjustable track bar for a 2" lift and it won't help your problem at all.
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Unread 06-08-2013, 03:09 PM   #4
SlackJaw
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You can do your own TB replacement in about 10 minutes with a BFH and a set of wrenches. But do the steering test first. If the TB checks out, then you need to look at the control arms.
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death wobble , firestone , track bar

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