Death Wobble + Knocking Noises... a Jeep nightmare. - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 20 Old 09-17-2018, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
HeyAwesomePeopl
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Death Wobble + Knocking Noises... a Jeep nightmare.

Hey jeepers. This is going to be a long one. I have two issues. My jeep tried to run into a pole today with it's DW so I need all the advice I can get.


First issue: Death Wobble!!!

I have replaced the track bar, drag link, and tie rod ends (1AAuto). I have gotten my car aligned (twice). My track bar is stock and I do have a 4 inch lift, so my axle isn't centered perfectly. I torqued the tie rod ends to 55 ft-lbs. Nothing feels loose that I can grab and shake.

The death wobble began several months ago after a trail ride but only at high speeds. I ignored it for a while. Just a week ago I used to get the death wobble above 65mph. I figured now it's time to replace some things. I did the track bar one week and it had no change, it still death wobbled at 65mph. The next week I replaced the drag link and tie rod ends. I immediately went and got an alignment - and what do you know??? Now I get death wobble at 45mph+.

Every bump I go over it feels like I'm going to go into death wobble when doing more than 30mph. Over 45 mph, and bumps/potholes/manholes send me into the death wobble. Did me installing tie rods and getting an alignment mess it up even more?? My alignment also isn't holding. They say they get it perfect and I see the numbers the computer says they did. But one day later I come back between I'm out of alignment again and they ask me if I changed anything!? (I didn't).

I'm at a loss. My daily driver is parked right now. If I can't find a solution soon I am going to have to take it to Adam's Driveline (a 4x4 repair shop in Vegas). I don't really want to have to do that since the tow will cost a chunk of money and the diagnoses/repair will cost money too. Budget is tight though, as I'm still in high school.

Any help in this area would be nice! Thank you!



Second issue: Knocking Noises, Banging noises from Drivers side

I also have a knock, it seems to be coming from the drivers side. When shifting from 1-2 (Manual) or going over bumps like driveways and speed bumps, I get banging I can feel under the floorboard and hear it audibly too. It's feels like something is about to break off. It doesn't seem to occur at higher speeds. I cannot for the life of me figure it out.

I did notice though that my drivers side coil was missing a coil retainer. I am ordering new coil retainers now as well as coil isolators (why not?). I noticed too that with my front end lifted up by the frame, I am able to punch my drivers side coils and get knocking/clanging noises. I can also shift it around. I cannot do this to my passenger side coil. Should I be getting new coils? Video of coils

The ball joints also don't have any play (tested by jacking up with tires and grabbing them 12 and 6 and shaking). I figured maybe the shocks could be causing it (shock bushings were all bad), but I still get noises with both shocks removed. Sway bar link bushings are also new and tight, as well as the sway bar bushings themselves.

I was driving at about 30 mph today (slowly because I almost crashed from the death wobble) and I hit a small bump. It literally sounded like something fell off of my jeep (nothing did that I can see).


so yeah. death wobble and terrible noises from my front end. Any advice on what to do here? I have ordered an adjustable track bar from rusty's as well as shock bushings (to install Bilstein 5100's) and a new steering dampener (mine was old and leaking fluid. I know it isn't a reliable fix for DW, but I figured they're cheap and I need a new one anyway).

Here are some pictures of under my jeep.

Thanks for any suggestions.

(I have cross-posted this with Reddit, Jeep Forums, Cherokee forums, and NAXJA just to explain why you might be seeing this post a second time)

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post #2 of 20 Old 09-17-2018, 10:19 PM
BagusJeep
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You need to fill out your profile to get more accurate guesses!!!!

Death Wobble is common, a lot of us have had it when it gets a bit worn. It is frightening but will disappear after afew seconds and should not stop you from driving to the shop. I replaced every bush and joint in mine, the ball joints were the ultimate culprit but every rubber was cracked from age.

The causes are the layout of a solid front axle and the reliance on a track bar. Any worn components in the suspension and steering can allow it to oscillate backwards and forwards.

The track bar is the first place to start. The bushes can wear and the mountings themselves. You need to get a long lever in there and lean on it to find play. When you replace it, look for elongated holes.

Secondly the ball joints. Any signs of cracked rubbers? Have you tried moving them with a lever? These would be an excellent culprit for that banging sound as well. You need to jack it up and lower it so the ball joint is loaded, do not try with it free hanging in the air. the 12 and 6 o'clock rocking checks only for horizontal play. For vertical play get a long lever or timber under the tyre and rock it up and down whilst looking for movement, it can be surprising to see sometimes.

The steering box. Is it securely mounted? no cracks nearby? if teh alignment is changing I suspect this is not teh right area, you need to be looking around the steering knuckles.

Have you checked all nuts are up tight? You have changed the TRE but are they tight?

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post #3 of 20 Old 09-17-2018, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
HeyAwesomePeopl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BagusJeep View Post
You need to fill out your profile to get more accurate guesses!!!!

Death Wobble is common, a lot of us have had it when it gets a bit worn. It is frightening but will disappear after afew seconds and should not stop you from driving to the shop. I replaced every bush and joint in mine, the ball joints were the ultimate culprit but every rubber was cracked from age.

The causes are the layout of a solid front axle and the reliance on a track bar. Any worn components in the suspension and steering can allow it to oscillate backwards and forwards.

The track bar is the first place to start. The bushes can wear and the mountings themselves. You need to get a long lever in there and lean on it to find play. When you replace it, look for elongated holes.

Secondly the ball joints. Any signs of cracked rubbers? Have you tried moving them with a lever? These would be an excellent culprit for that banging sound as well. You need to jack it up and lower it so the ball joint is loaded, do not try with it free hanging in the air. the 12 and 6 o'clock rocking checks only for horizontal play. For vertical play get a long lever or timber under the tyre and rock it up and down whilst looking for movement, it can be surprising to see sometimes.

The steering box. Is it securely mounted? no cracks nearby? if teh alignment is changing I suspect this is not teh right area, you need to be looking around the steering knuckles.

Have you checked all nuts are up tight? You have changed the TRE but are they tight?
I actually just learned how to check the track bar. I had my mom rotate the steering wheel back and forth while I inspected under the jeep. The steering box wasn't moving around, all connections look good, but where the track bar was connected to the axle... there was slight movement left and right. But that's a new track bar! Maybe the old death wobble I had rounded the hole out, making it worse? I also did some research and found some people replacing the stock track bar bolt with a slightly thicker one. I already have the Rusty's track bar on the way, so once that gets here I'll get a new bolt and slap it on! It only moved a little, but I'm assuming even this little movement can cause a violent death wobble, yeah?

I'll also check for up and down movement in the ball joints. You're right I only checked for horizontal play. What do you mean by "Jack it up and lower it" and how would I use a lever or prybar to check for up and down movement?

Also all TREs were torqued to 55 ft-lbs per the factory manual. The shop after the alignment had not torqued them down (booooooooo) and so I just retorqued them when I got home.

Thanks for the help!
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post #4 of 20 Old 09-18-2018, 01:27 PM
75SV1
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I feel your pain. I've been dealing with this too. DW, No, it does not go away. Mine is violent. I have to stop. Not fun with a Semi on your tail. As for the clanking, did you check your motor mounts? Almost all my front end is new parts. I do have 4.5 lift. I think I see stock control arms on your lift. ??


I am not running a steering damper, that is my next plan of action. Also, I plan to check out the steering gear box. Mine was new or rebuilt a year or so ago. I notice last night the steering seemed about a 1/4 to each side. Seemed to firm up after I drove back from the gas station. ??? There is adjustment in the gear box. From last nights drive, I could feel it slip to one side. Then came the DW. There is a thread somewhere, where the guy tightens down the top adjustment on the gear box. I remember it being a YJ or TJ. Then backs of 1/4 or 1/2 turn. I did rebuilt a gear box, and checked this against my torque vales. It did match. Still. be careful. Better not tight enough, than to tight.
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post #5 of 20 Old 09-18-2018, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 75SV1 View Post
I feel your pain. I've been dealing with this too. DW, No, it does not go away. Mine is violent. I have to stop. Not fun with a Semi on your tail. As for the clanking, did you check your motor mounts? Almost all my front end is new parts. I do have 4.5 lift. I think I see stock control arms on your lift. ??


I am not running a steering damper, that is my next plan of action. Also, I plan to check out the steering gear box. Mine was new or rebuilt a year or so ago. I notice last night the steering seemed about a 1/4 to each side. Seemed to firm up after I drove back from the gas station. ??? There is adjustment in the gear box. From last nights drive, I could feel it slip to one side. Then came the DW. There is a thread somewhere, where the guy tightens down the top adjustment on the gear box. I remember it being a YJ or TJ. Then backs of 1/4 or 1/2 turn. I did rebuilt a gear box, and checked this against my torque vales. It did match. Still. be careful. Better not tight enough, than to tight.
Yeah the first time I got death wobble I was on a two lane highway, passing a semi at 85mph (going fast to pass quick since I was in the opposite lane). Just as I got around the semi it began! Scary!

My motor mounts and trans mounts were replaced just a few months ago, and I retightened everything just in case. I have brown dog motor mounts and motor brackets and a Napa Drivetech trans mount. They are all in good shape. I do have stock control arms, and some others suggested it that the improper caster angle this creates on a roughly 4 inch lift can cause DW. Does this sound right? If so, should I begin with Adjustable Lower Control Arms? I'm thinking of going with Core 4x4 (Tier Twos) since I'm on a budget.

I'll go ahead and check my steering box more carefully. I didn't see any movement in it while performing a steering test (someone shaking wheel back and forth).
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post #6 of 20 Old 09-18-2018, 03:18 PM
75SV1
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I just put Brown Dogs this last weekend. Also, installed a Mean Lemons Trans mount. My motor mounts were blown out. I don't have a bunch of experience with lifts. Still, it sounds about right. Hope someone chimes in. Also, go to the +25mpg thread below. Find the OP, Charlie54. PM him. He has some parts for sale. I have dibs on one of the lower control arms. If the Currie set will work for you, see what he wants. Give him a week or so. If you need the others, then I'll let got of them.
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post #7 of 20 Old 09-18-2018, 03:26 PM
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Correction, Charlie3. And see if WJ control arms would work for a 4.5 lift. I think they are only good for 3 inch lift. I did send Charlie and email.
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post #8 of 20 Old 09-19-2018, 03:36 PM
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If there is movement on the axle side of the track bar the mounting hole may be elongated/ovaled. You can weld an appropriately sized grade 8 washer to the axle to “fix” this. If doing that and the new track bar don’t fix your DW I would look at your control arms, these may be the culprit of your banging noise as well if the bushings are completely shot.


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post #9 of 20 Old 09-20-2018, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fastblack View Post
If there is movement on the axle side of the track bar the mounting hole may be elongated/ovaled. You can weld an appropriately sized grade 8 washer to the axle to “fix” this. If doing that and the new track bar don’t fix your DW I would look at your control arms, these may be the culprit of your banging noise as well if the bushings are completely shot.


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It's just odd. I bought the car with a stock track bar on it and 4 inch lift. Once I started to develop death wobble, the track bar is the first thing I replaced and it didn't seem to help at all, I still had DW at higher speeds (60+). Two weeks later, I replaced the tie rods and got an alignment and then the death wobble got worse and start to happen at lowers speeds (40+).

I definitely plan on doing this though. My adjustable track bar should come in on Tuesday. I bought Grade 8 9/16-18x3" bolts, corresponding nuts, and washers. I also bought a new Synergy Bushing to fit the 9/16 inch bolt. I'll push that bushing into my new track bar next week during the install.
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post #10 of 20 Old 09-20-2018, 10:49 AM
sduncan
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What type of control arms do you have?
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post #11 of 20 Old 09-20-2018, 11:45 PM
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I think he said he’s still running stock control arms.
DW can be frustrating, I fought it on a lifted WJ and ended up replacing dang near everything in the suspension and steering before I tracked it down to a shotty homemade drop track bar bracket. On the other hand, half of the suspension on my lifted TJ was loose (or even missing) when I bought it and there wasn’t even a hint of death wobble...go figure.


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post #12 of 20 Old 09-21-2018, 04:55 AM
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That’s the problem then... he’s not running with enough negative caster. Until that’s addressed, he will have DW.
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post #13 of 20 Old 10-01-2018, 05:56 AM
75SV1
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I think I found my problem. One of the tie rod ends was/is loose. It is the tapper that it loose in its hole. Either the taper hole is to large or the taper on the TRE is to small. I know, DUH. I did upgrade to WJ big brakes and 1-Ton Chevy TREs. I'll have to see if there are over sized TREs or a sleeve.
I did jack up the axle with a floor jack, then wiggle suspension parts. I grabbed the passenger tire and top and bottom, then front and back. It moved a bit front and back, but that was the steering gear box. Next was the driver's side. Top and bottom was OK. Then front and back of the tire and I noticed the movement.
Still, for the OP, I agree that the lower control arms need replaced. The link posted seemed $$.
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post #14 of 20 Old 10-08-2018, 06:27 AM
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Well, I put in the taper insert. Still have DW. Can't say if it is better or not. If you do not recess the 'flange' of the taper insert, the regular castle nut will be to high to insert the cotter pin. You can cut the 'crowns' a bit deeper or there are shorter castle nuts. I bought one from NAPA.
I was in the process of installing a steering stabilizer. A neighbors house caught fire Sunday. sort of got tied up in seeing if help was needed. I have OTK trackbar and cross over steering. Stock stabilizer location is gone or not usable.
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post #15 of 20 Old 11-18-2018, 07:07 AM
40vern
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i am swapping in an axle from a 93 to a 95. 2wd to 4wd conversion. i totally rebuilt every single part on the axle. death wobble at 65. i have also swapped out the steering box and drilled out the track bar and replaced the bolt with a larger one. nothing has made it any better.

if i find out that is wrong with mine i will let you know
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