Diagnosing Death Wobble and Fixing Non-DW Shimmies and Wobbles - Page 3 - JeepForum.com
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Unread 09-03-2010, 10:46 AM   #31
JKommuter
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I used grade 8 9/16" bolts from tractor supply.

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Unread 09-03-2010, 11:04 AM   #32
JLC08JK
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It sounds like the nut is jamming on the non-threaded portion of the bolt.
You could try adding a washer to each side to achieve the proper torque/fitment.
The other option is a non-metric equivalent as stated above.
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Unread 09-03-2010, 03:37 PM   #33
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Thank JKommuter.

JLC08JK, yor probably right I never did check to see if that was what was going on, it got late and I was getting pissed off. But I'll do that tonight. Thanks
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Unread 09-07-2010, 05:47 PM   #34
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NEW, UPDATED DIAGNOSIS CHECKLIST

Assuming your tire psi is 28-30, your tires/wheels have been balanced and rotated to make sure the wobble doesn't move with the rotation, here would be my order:

  1. Remove the steering stabilizer.
  2. Have someone turn the engine on and turn slowly from full lock to full lock while I visually, manually (with my hands on the components), and auditorily inspect for any play in the tie rod ends, drag link ends, sector shaft, trackbar ends/bolts/brackets, and trackbar welds.
  3. Then, do the same thing but with short, sharp, quick back and forth turns of the steering wheel instead of the slow, lock to lock approach.
  4. Then, I would remove the front trackbar to inspect the bolt holes for ovaling and inspect the trackbar bushings for separation or cracking with a long screw driver through the bolt sleeve and the trackbar in a vise to leverage against the bushing in all directions. If all is good, I would reinstall the trackbar with the tires on the ground at ride height to 125 lbs.
  5. Then, I would inspect the drag link end joints by using a large channel lock wrench that gave me enough leverage to check for up and down play in the drag link ends. There should not be any meaningful up and down play. If there is, the joints should be replaced or a new drag link with heavy duty joints should be installed. After, I would check the torque of the drag link ends. There should be no meaningful up and down, no side to side, and only rotational movement in the drag link ends.
  6. Then, I would inspect the tie rod ends with the channel lock wrench for up and down movement. There should be no meaningful up and down play. There should only be rotational movement in the joint end.
  7. Then, I would put the front axle on jack stands and check the front ball joints by using a long pry bar as a lever under the front tires to lift them up to inspect for up and down play in the lower ball joints. There shouldn't be more than maybe 1-2 mm.
  8. Then, I would use the prybar/lever against the frame and the top of the tire to inspect for lateral movement of the top ball joints. There shouldn't be any.
  9. Then, I would remove the front tires/wheels and remove the front tie rod--one knuckle at a time. Then with a large wrench or vice grips, I would inspect the end for side to side play. Then I would reinstall the end and torque to spec and repeat on the other side.
  10. Then, I would remove the brake calipers and brake disks to inspect the unitbearings for play.
  11. Then, I would reinstall the discs, brake calipers, and tires/wheels and set the axle back on the ground.
  12. Then, I would support but not lift the front axle with a floor jack and loosen the front lower control arm bolts. One at a time, I would drop the lower control arms to inspect the bolt holes and bushings (similar to with the trackbar), reinstall without torquing, and do the next one. Afterwards, remove the floor jack so the suspension is at ride height, vigorously rock the vehicle side to side and front and back, then torque to spec.
  13. Next, I would inspect the sector shaft that comes out of the steering box for cracking or twisting.
  14. Then, I would take a test drive without the steering stablizer to feel for any wobbles.
  15. Finally, I would reinstall the steering stablizer or spring $40 for a heavy duty steering stablizer.

If this front end inspection does not diagnose and/or solve it, then I would move to an alignment.
  1. I would use adjustable lower front control arms to set my caster spec between 4 and 5 degrees--with a cross caster that has less on the driver side than the passenger side. I would personally not do more or less, with a target around 4.5-4.7 degrees caster.
  2. If my camber is out of spec, but it is not due to failed ball joints, I would install offset ball joints to get my camber in spec.
  3. I would set my toe-in to spec on the machine--which is about a 1/8" toe-in.
  4. If my front to rear alignment is off, I would install rear lower adjustable control arms to fix this.

With all this, I highly doubt you do not find the source.

The last ditch thing if there is a non-DW, speed dependent range wobble, I would borrow a different set of wheels and tires to see if it changes, and I would try driving it with no front driveshaft to see if that changes anything.

Although it is always a good idea to inspect your axle shaft u-joints, they will not cause DW.
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Unread 09-22-2010, 06:23 PM   #35
bibi544
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Death Wobble

Well a very good technical post.
What is said in that post is that the main cause of DW is the track bar and its brackets. Although it does make sense it is not entirely correct.
I have had a DW problem, went to the shop where they replaced any ball joint suspected of play including a new track bar. Checked every thing after the replacement and no play was found anywhere, still had the DW.
After it was fixed - by adjusting the toe - I had my front track bar replaced by an adjusting one from RE. After a relative short time - 6 months - it developed a big play in the bushing that caused the vehicle to fail the yearly MOT test, and when I checked it I could see the play in the bushing very clearly but had no DW problem what so ever. So the a track bar related free play is not always the cause of a DW. I believe that a change in the front axle resonace frequency - caused by lifting the jeep or changing the suspenssion components such as LCA etc - cause the DW to appear. When we try to eliminate the DW we start to change parts that may change the resonace frequency back to a frequency that can not occure while driving.
This seems logical to me since if I have no DW when at stock hight but have a serious DW when only lifting it for 1.2", a play somewhere in the front suspenssion is not a logical explaination since this play is there also on stock hight so why no DW appears in stock hight.
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Unread 09-22-2010, 06:43 PM   #36
planman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bibi544 View Post
Well a very good technical post.
What is said in that post is that the main cause of DW is the track bar and its brackets. Although it does make sense it is not entirely correct.
I have had a DW problem, went to the shop where they replaced any ball joint suspected of play including a new track bar. Checked every thing after the replacement and no play was found anywhere, still had the DW.
After it was fixed - by adjusting the toe - I had my front track bar replaced by an adjusting one from RE. After a relative short time - 6 months - it developed a big play in the bushing that caused the vehicle to fail the yearly MOT test, and when I checked it I could see the play in the bushing very clearly but had no DW problem what so ever. So the a track bar related free play is not always the cause of a DW. I believe that a change in the front axle resonace frequency - caused by lifting the jeep or changing the suspenssion components such as LCA etc - cause the DW to appear. When we try to eliminate the DW we start to change parts that may change the resonace frequency back to a frequency that can not occure while driving.
This seems logical to me since if I have no DW when at stock hight but have a serious DW when only lifting it for 1.2", a play somewhere in the front suspenssion is not a logical explaination since this play is there also on stock hight so why no DW appears in stock hight.
Regards
Ophir
There are certainly many causes, but in all the front coil sprung, 5 link vehicle forums and threads, what we find is that as the suspension flexes, the trackbar bolts have a way of working themselves loose over time--even on a stock, unlifted rig.

When the trackbar bolts work themselves loose, they allow the resonance that is the full Death Wobble seen in the youtube video in the the beginning of this thread.

With loose trackbar bolts, they trackbar bracket holes oval/wallow out. They more they oval/wallow out, the more the leverage of the bolts damage the bolt holes and stress the bracket welds. Also, the more they are ovaled/wallowed out, the more room there is for the resonance of the front suspension and steering.

Death Wobble is a FAQ/frequently discussed topic on every TJ, XJ, ZJ, WJ, and JK forum, and every Dodge truck forum as well.

The commonality is the 5 link suspension (4 control arms and a trackbar).

The solution for the manufacturers is heavier duty trackbar brackets, trackbars, and trackbar bolts.

Even more importantly, every owners manual and service maintenance schedule for every 5 link suspension vehicle should suggest re-torquing the trackbar bolts to spec at the vehicle ride height (not on a car lift), at every oil change interval, and after every vigorous offroading trip.

In addition, lifted 5 link suspension rigs should probably have blue loc-tite applied to both trackbar bolts.
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Unread 09-23-2010, 12:57 AM   #37
bibi544
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This is all good but does not explain the thetrack bar loose bushing I described with NO DW at all at a lift of 3.5 - 4 inches. If what you are write was 100% correct then I would have to have a DW at that situation and did not, on the same rig with only BB of 2" with the track bar and all streening rod ends new I had the DW so things are not that simple. I wish that when DW occures you can go to the track bar replaced it check the brackets and if OK thats it problem solved but it is not.
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Unread 10-23-2010, 11:38 PM   #38
xjgeko
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Last Sunday just put my lift and bigger tires on my jeep and sure enough death wobbles i thought i was gonna $*it my pants first time.

Thank you so much im gonna tare the front end apart 2marrow and see what i can do.
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Unread 10-24-2010, 12:13 AM   #39
planman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bibi544 View Post
This is all good but does not explain the thetrack bar loose bushing I described with NO DW at all at a lift of 3.5 - 4 inches. If what you are write was 100% correct then I would have to have a DW at that situation and did not, on the same rig with only BB of 2" with the track bar and all streening rod ends new I had the DW so things are not that simple. I wish that when DW occures you can go to the track bar replaced it check the brackets and if OK thats it problem solved but it is not.
DW is usually but not always a trackbar issue. From my inspection checklist, you can surmise that there are many potential sources.

With a bad trackbar bushing, loose bolts, cracked bracket welds, and/or ovaled bracket holes, DW will happen eventually when triggered by the right frequency of bumps in the road, out of balance tires, or some other trigger.

I do not know why you did not experience DW with a loose trackbar end/bushing. It is possible that a steering stabilizer could suppress DW for a short period of time until the stabilizer fails/gives out to the point it could suppress it no longer.

However, DW is simple physics of the control arms, trackbar, and steering systems fighting against each other instead of working together.

I suppose if you want to really test my explanation, you could.loosen your control arm, trackbar, tie rod/drag link end, swaybar link, and steering stabilizer bolts; pull the weights off your wheels, and drive some uneven railroad tracks at an angle at more than 45 mph to see if DW happens. I certainly would not recommend it because you would end up damaging your front end components.

I say you were just lucky that the suspension frequency did not result in DW.

The bad bushing may have been caused by some other source of DW.
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Unread 10-30-2010, 03:39 PM   #40
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Planman - thanks for such a detailed post. I have been replacing parts with no luck so far. Now that I have found your post (with such detail) I am going to plan a day with my mechanic and use your checklist one item at a time. Thanks again for taking time to share this info. I have been experiencing the full DW. Not a good feeling. I need to get this fixed asap.
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Unread 10-30-2010, 03:55 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by OCBob View Post
Planman - thanks for such a detailed post. I have been replacing parts with no luck so far. Now that I have found your post (with such detail) I am going to plan a day with my mechanic and use your checklist one item at a time. Thanks again for taking time to share this info. I have been experiencing the full DW. Not a good feeling. I need to get this fixed asap.
Thank you.

Please report your findings here when you are finished.
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Unread 10-30-2010, 04:00 PM   #42
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NO DOUBT ABOUT IT! If this fixes the problem I will definitely post! Once again thank you for taking so much time to share the info with all of us.
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Unread 11-15-2010, 04:13 PM   #43
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Great write up. Thanks for the info!
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Unread 11-23-2010, 09:13 AM   #44
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Possible Solution

Good morning. This thread was very helpful. After going through it and working through each item I decided to purchase an AEV Front Steer Kit. I installed it over the weekend. IT SEEMS TO BE WORKING so far. This may have been the culprit all along. I have hit bumps that had been sending me into the death wobble and no wobble. I know it has only been a few days however, I believe this was it........ Thanks again for sharing the post which really helped me pinpoint my problem. Have A Great Thanksgiving!
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Unread 01-22-2011, 08:22 PM   #45
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Bump! Im looking to fix my newly developed DW on my YJ and this thread is exactly what I am looking for.

Thanks for taking the time to write this out.
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death wobble , JK Wrangler , shake , shaking , steering shimmy , wheel shimmy , wrangler

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