Diagnosing Death Wobble and Fixing Non-DW Shimmies and Wobbles - Page 2 - JeepForum.com
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Unread 07-13-2010, 01:31 AM   #16
asknight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpie View Post
I think I found my culprit: the ball joint at the top end of the RE track bar. I had my wife turn the steering wheel while I was looking at the various joints and saw it moving around. Now to figure out how to go about fixing it.

Right now, I'm thinking about replacing the trackbar. I also plan on replacing the swaybar tie-ins.
If you go back in with that same style heim, put a wide-enough washer between the bottom of the heim and the bolt so that if/when it fails, the trackbar will not fall completely off the mount resulting in an accident.

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Unread 07-16-2010, 10:38 AM   #17
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Planman. Wow great thread packed with great information for a newb such as myself. After experiencing possible DW last night going about 40-45mph I got my work cut out checking out the various components that could have caused the problem.

Is there a recommend place to start checking and then work from there? I would also like to mention that I have smashed my stock SS on a rock while wheeling the other weekend and didn’t realize it till last night. Monday I thought that the steering wheel was not centered properly and then last night as stated I experienced DW. Advice on where I should start looking first would be great because this is my first experence with it and would like to fix it before it gets worse then it is. Thanks
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Unread 07-16-2010, 10:48 AM   #18
planman
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Did you experience Death Wobble like in the youtube video?

If not, I'd remove the steering stabilizer, then check your alignment & straighten your steering wheel. An alignment takes 15-20 mins max with a wrench, pliers, measuring tape, and a helper for measuring & telling you when the steering wheel is straight.

If you just had a wobble/shimmy at those speeds but it was nothing like the video & did not require coming to almost a complete stop to stop the harmonic resonance/vibration of the suspension, then drive it without the steering stabilizer to make sure you fixed the source.

If you still have wobbles/shimmies, then do the steps I list in post #2 of this thread.
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Unread 07-16-2010, 11:11 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by planman View Post
Did you experience Death Wobble like in the youtube video?

If not, I'd remove the steering stabilizer, then check your alignment & straighten your steering wheel. An alignment takes 15-20 mins max with a wrench, pliers, measuring tape, and a helper for measuring & telling you when the steering wheel is straight.

If you just had a wobble/shimmy at those speeds but it was nothing like the video & did not require coming to almost a complete stop to stop the harmonic resonance/vibration of the suspension, then drive it without the steering stabilizer to make sure you fixed the source.

If you still have wobbles/shimmies, then do the steps I list in post #2 of this thread.
I would yes, it was shaking pretty violently I thought. It happened after I hit a hole. It started shaking and as soon as I felt the first couple of shakes I applied the brakes to turn into a neighborhood that was about 250 feet away. When I got down to about 5-10 mph right before I was going to make the turn it stopped, I got out and looked under to see if I could visually see any problems. I saw nothing wrong other then the SS damaged. The other problem is that I am new at this and am not exactly sure what to be looking for or at to be able to tell if something else is damaged as you have stated.

So, if what I am experiencing is like the video the recommendation would be to do what.

This might be a stupid question but I look on project JK to read how to do an alignment but how do you center the steering wheel. Do you know of a write up on this or is it in doing the alignment it in fact centers the steering wheel.
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Unread 07-16-2010, 02:09 PM   #20
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The first part of the alignment write-up explains how to center your steering wheel:

Project-JK.com - Jeep JK Wrangler Resource

It sounds like you had Death Wobble instead of a non-DW wobble or shimmy.

So, you will want to systematically inspect each component.

First, remove the front trackbar to inspect the bushings for damage and the bracket bolt holes for being ovaled out.

To inspect the bushings for damage, slide a large screwdriver through the bushing sleeve and flex it so you can look for cracks or separation in the bushings. If the bushings are damaged, they either need to be replaced or the trackbar should be replaced.

If the bolt holes are ovaled out, then the correct bolt hole size washers should be welded in place on the brackets to cover the ovaled out holes.

With the trackbar removed, inspect the welds on both the axle side and frame side trackbar brackets. If there is any cracking in the welds, they need to be re-welded.

When you are done, reinstall the trackbar with the bolts loose with the tires on the ground and the suspension at ride height.. Vigorously rock the vehicle forward and back, and side to side. Then torque the bolts to 125 ft lbs.

Second, you need to inspect the drag link and tie rod ends.

Torque the ends to proper specs. Here is a link to the JK torque specs:

Project-JK.com - Jeep JK Wrangler Resource

Then, have someone slowly turn the steering side to side and back again (with the engine running so the power steering is operative) while you inspect the tie rod and drag link ends for lateral movement. (Rotational movement is necessary for the suspension to cycle, but lateral, side-to-side movement indicates damage.)

A common place for damage is in the adjusting sleeve on the driver side of the tie rod. Sometimes to inspect this end, you have to remove the driver side front wheel and remove the rod end from the knuckle to see if there is play in the end without any opposing forces from the vehicle, steering, etc.

If the tie rod ends and the drag link ends are good, then move on.

Third, check the ball joints. I explain how to do that in #5 of my post #2 of this thread.

Fourth, check the bolt holes and bushings for the front lower control arms--one side at a time. (Do not remove the bolts from both lower control arms at the same time because it is a pain to get everything back together if you do.)

Anyway, between this post and post #2, you should have some work to do.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 07:52 AM   #21
leojam73
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Planman,

Thanks for the great info. I loosened the track bar and control arms last night, rocked it as you said, let it sit an hour, rocked it again and retorqued! Man....it was a heck of a difference. Most of the shimmy I had is gone....almost unoticable now! Have to finish going through your list, and hopefully I'll get it right!


All this after nurmerous wheel balances, and the stealership telling me nothing was wrong!

Thanks Again!
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Unread 07-19-2010, 08:16 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leojam73 View Post
Planman,

Thanks for the great info. I loosened the track bar and control arms last night, rocked it as you said, let it sit an hour, rocked it again and retorqued! Man....it was a heck of a difference. Most of the shimmy I had is gone....almost unoticable now! Have to finish going through your list, and hopefully I'll get it right!


All this after nurmerous wheel balances, and the stealership telling me nothing was wrong!

Thanks Again!
Glad to help, and good to hear.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 08:30 AM   #23
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planman, great info on trouble shooting front-end problems. Way to go.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 11:33 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planman View Post
The first part of the alignment write-up explains how to center your steering wheel:

Project-JK.com - Jeep JK Wrangler Resource

It sounds like you had Death Wobble instead of a non-DW wobble or shimmy.

So, you will want to systematically inspect each component.

First, remove the front trackbar to inspect the bushings for damage and the bracket bolt holes for being ovaled out.

To inspect the bushings for damage, slide a large screwdriver through the bushing sleeve and flex it so you can look for cracks or separation in the bushings. If the bushings are damaged, they either need to be replaced or the trackbar should be replaced.

If the bolt holes are ovaled out, then the correct bolt hole size washers should be welded in place on the brackets to cover the ovaled out holes.

With the trackbar removed, inspect the welds on both the axle side and frame side trackbar brackets. If there is any cracking in the welds, they need to be re-welded.

When you are done, reinstall the trackbar with the bolts loose with the tires on the ground and the suspension at ride height.. Vigorously rock the vehicle forward and back, and side to side. Then torque the bolts to 125 ft lbs.

Second, you need to inspect the drag link and tie rod ends.

Torque the ends to proper specs. Here is a link to the JK torque specs:

Project-JK.com - Jeep JK Wrangler Resource

Then, have someone slowly turn the steering side to side and back again (with the engine running so the power steering is operative) while you inspect the tie rod and drag link ends for lateral movement. (Rotational movement is necessary for the suspension to cycle, but lateral, side-to-side movement indicates damage.)

A common place for damage is in the adjusting sleeve on the driver side of the tie rod. Sometimes to inspect this end, you have to remove the driver side front wheel and remove the rod end from the knuckle to see if there is play in the end without any opposing forces from the vehicle, steering, etc.

If the tie rod ends and the drag link ends are good, then move on.

Third, check the ball joints. I explain how to do that in #5 of my post #2 of this thread.

Fourth, check the bolt holes and bushings for the front lower control arms--one side at a time. (Do not remove the bolts from both lower control arms at the same time because it is a pain to get everything back together if you do.)

Anyway, between this post and post #2, you should have some work to do.
Planman. I took your advice and removed the track bar and inspected the bushings. The bushings had some minor cracks so a new JKS adjustable track bar was purchased along with a Terafelx steering stabilizer and Rock Krawler heavy duty tie rod. I could not tell by inspecting the tie rod if it was damaged or not so figured it would not hurt to replace that as well.

After the track bar was removed I inspected the bolt holes and welds as you stated. The bolt holes were ovald out and the welds to the brackets were fine. I got washers to weld onto the bolt holes to correct the holes. 4 washers per bracket. Only problem is I could not find anyone to weld them on this past weekend. So hopefully this week that will get done.

I then went through and torque the tie rod and drag link to the correct ft-lb. I have not checked the toe or centered the wheel because I am waiting on the new parts. So when they arrive I will do all that.

I did not check the ball joints or the lower control arms yet either but I will try and take a look at these tonight possibly.

Also noticed in your earlier post that you recommend to just get a Dynatrac 44, gears, lockers and chromoly shafts and that would also solve your problems. Well that funny because I got all that sitting in my garage waiting for a guy in my local club to install the gears so we can slap that bad boy on.

Again thanks for all the help and I will keep you posted on my progress.

Make this thread a sticky.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 12:32 PM   #25
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It is really good to hear that you have found the sources of the problems.

I would still check the ball joints, etc., in case the DW that appears to have started with the trackbar caused damage to other components.

Sometimes people find the source of the DW but do not check all the components, and what they find later is the DW damaged the other components as well.
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Unread 08-21-2010, 04:11 PM   #26
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working on the dreaded death wobble with my jeep now....thanks for posting this info!
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Unread 09-02-2010, 02:14 PM   #27
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So I fixed my DW but now i get a little shimmy/wobble when it hits 50mph then dissapears after that. I have a JKS track bar and after market SS thats torqued to spec, So should I be worried or maybe replace the LCA's?
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Unread 09-02-2010, 04:04 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by 04_Sahara_Man View Post
So I fixed my DW but now i get a little shimmy/wobble when it hits 50mph then dissapears after that. I have a JKS track bar and after market SS thats torqued to spec, So should I be worried or maybe replace the LCA's?
On an 04 TJ with a 3" lift, it would help to have adjustable front lower control arms or the fixed front lowers that BDS sells to accompany their 3" lift.

Usually, a speed dependent, 50 mph shimmy/wobble that goes away is a tire/wheel balance issue.

I would first rotate your tires/wheels front to back to see if the shimmy/wobble moves to the back.

You could also try varying your tire psi between 28 and 32 to see if that makes any difference.

If the rotation makes no difference, then try adjustable front lower control arms to increase your caster alignment specs.
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Unread 09-02-2010, 04:33 PM   #29
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Ok thanks! I'll try the Tire rotation...its due for one anyways.
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Unread 09-03-2010, 09:31 AM   #30
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Planman. It’s been awhile since I posted. But everything has worked out great, except recently I have been experiencing a shimmy that I get around 50 mph but I believe that is an alignment issue and will be taking care of that this weekend. Just wanted to thank you again from your help and also got another question for you.

As you suggested washers were welded onto the track bar brackets to fix the ovaled out holes. The problem is that I used ¼” thick washers on each side and the stock bolt is not long enough to thread completely through the nut, so I don’t feel comfortable torque’n it to spec till I get a longer bolt. I have been to Home Depot, Lowes, True Value, Pep Boys, Auto Zone, Fastenal, another specialty bolt store(can’t recall name), and the dealership. None of these places has that size bolt with the length that is required. Fastenal said they could help and said that they had something that would work, so I went and ordered up the bolts and nuts. Installed them and they fit great but they were not threaded all the whole way. So, after I got the track bar torque’d down to spec, I grabbed it and I could move it slightly back and forth and up and down. I decided that was not a good thing so I removed the bolts and but back in the stock. Planman do you or anyone else know we’re I can get bolts that will work or is there something else that I can do to solve this problem.
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death wobble , JK Wrangler , shake , shaking , steering shimmy , wheel shimmy , wrangler

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