Buying JK - What to avoid? (death wobble concerns) - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-03-2015, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
rockyroad30
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Buying JK - What to avoid? (death wobble concerns)

Hi All,
Moving to Toronto from Ireland, currently driving a Suzuki Sidekick (geo tracker) no real options to buy Jeep Wranglers here. I had the pleasure of driving 2 tripped out lifted wranglers while on holidays and very much enjoyed it. They were 2014 Wrangler JK Rubicon Unlimitedís.

I have my heart set on a JK, ideally Rubicon, probably the short wheel base (Totonto st. parking) and due to girlfriend promises I have to go automatic.

Iíve done my homework and the Death Wobble is my only concern; the expense involved if it occurs to troubleshoot and sometimes not solve. I am a decent home mechanic but at the same time donít like the idea of abrupt safety concerns. Are there any particular JK setups from 2007 that are less prone to this? For example: unlimited Vs non unlimited, Rubicon Vs non Rubicon, Particular year(s) to avoid etc.

I will be buying second hand and am not made of money so I wonít be buying a shiny 2015 model without any issues!

Really appreciate any advice you can give, I want to be part of the Wrangler club, itís the only thing holding me back.


Cheers,
Rosco

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post #2 of 14 Old 03-03-2015, 10:23 AM
mike134
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From what I understand, the 'death wobble' cases that are 'unsolvable' are because people didn't do the repair work properly. I think these are usually high mileage vehicles with the suspensions worn down to the bone.

If you buy a Rubicon and experience the death wobble, just have all of the suspension wearable parts replaced, balance the tires, and get an alignment, because its time.

Test drive the vehicle on the highway at various speeds to see if it wobbles (bring some spare underwear with you in case it death wobbles... because some poo is going to come out...). If it doesn't wobble, buy it. If it does wobble, negotiate a front end suspension overhaul into the price or walk away if you are uncomfortable.

Bad or improperly installed lift kits are more likely to experience death wobble. Take this into account when shopping for vehicles.
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-03-2015, 11:34 AM
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Something about an undersized track bar bolt was used too. A minuscule difference, perhaps metric to standard or vise versa. Iirc, An easy swap if need done.

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post #4 of 14 Old 03-03-2015, 11:55 AM
Spank
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike134 View Post
people didn't do the repair work properly.
This pretty much sums up why the JK gets such a bad rap with regards to the death wobble. Chrysler is still using the wrong size bolts in various areas of the suspension and many shops and Chrysler dealerships still think the solution is to replace the steering stabilizer.

Being a '14, you most likely won't experience these issues. Nonethless, most people solve them by simply replacing the bolts at the trackbar, replacing ball joints with quality aftermarket ones, getting an alignment done, and/or making sure tires are properly rotated and balanced.

'14 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-03-2015, 12:14 PM
LIJeepJC
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Originally Posted by rockyroad30 View Post
Hi All,
Moving to Toronto from Ireland, currently driving a Suzuki Sidekick (geo tracker) no real options to buy Jeep Wranglers here. I had the pleasure of driving 2 tripped out lifted wranglers while on holidays and very much enjoyed it. They were 2014 Wrangler JK Rubicon Unlimitedís.

I have my heart set on a JK, ideally Rubicon, probably the short wheel base (Totonto st. parking) and due to girlfriend promises I have to go automatic.

Iíve done my homework and the Death Wobble is my only concern; the expense involved if it occurs to troubleshoot and sometimes not solve. I am a decent home mechanic but at the same time donít like the idea of abrupt safety concerns. Are there any particular JK setups from 2007 that are less prone to this? For example: unlimited Vs non unlimited, Rubicon Vs non Rubicon, Particular year(s) to avoid etc.

I will be buying second hand and am not made of money so I wonít be buying a shiny 2015 model without any issues!

Really appreciate any advice you can give, I want to be part of the Wrangler club, itís the only thing holding me back.


Cheers,
Rosco
Soon to go on my third JK and have NEVER experienced the "death wobble". Hope never to.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-03-2015, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
rockyroad30
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Thanks for the quick replys.

Woah on the 2014! not a chance I'll be getting one that new! Be lucky to get one newer than 2010 for my budget especially if it is a rubicon.

The main reason we're looking at the jk is to step up in internal comfort from the sidekick, otherwise tj would be the more affordable option. The tj looks very similar and plastic inside to our sidekick. And having enjoyed the jk it seemed to have a touch of luxury, while being an off road beast.

Yes I undrstand that not every jk owner experiences the death wobble but I don't wanna be one of the unlucky ones. Does the tj suffer as often as jk for this issue?

Thanks again,
Rosco
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-04-2015, 10:15 AM
LJameson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spank View Post
This pretty much sums up why the JK gets such a bad rap with regards to the death wobble. Chrysler is still using the wrong size bolts in various areas of the suspension and many shops and Chrysler dealerships still think the solution is to replace the steering stabilizer.

Being a '14, you most likely won't experience these issues. Nonethless, most people solve them by simply replacing the bolts at the trackbar, replacing ball joints with quality aftermarket ones, getting an alignment done, and/or making sure tires are properly rotated and balanced.
The fact that people think the bolt is too small tells me that people don't know the true job of the bolt. It's not there to take up all the space in the bushing sleeve and act as a pivot. It's simply there to apply torque on the bracket and clamp it onto the sleeve.

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post #8 of 14 Old 03-04-2015, 11:08 AM
mike134
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Originally Posted by LJameson View Post
The fact that people think the bolt is too small tells me that people don't know the true job of the bolt. It's not there to take up all the space in the bushing sleeve and act as a pivot. It's simply there to apply torque on the bracket and clamp it onto the sleeve.
A smaller bolt is equivalent to a worn bushing.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-04-2015, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mike134 View Post
A smaller bolt is equivalent to a worn bushing.
No it's not. The point of the bolt isn't to take up slack in the sleeve. The only job of the bolt is to CLAMP the bracket onto the sleeve, making the bracket hold the bushing in place. You could have a bolt that fits snugly in the sleeve, bolt it finger tight and get death wobble. On the other end, if I could ever find a 1/4-20 screw that was strong enough to hold enough torque required to clamp that bracket down to the bushing, I wouldn't get death wobble.

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post #10 of 14 Old 03-04-2015, 03:35 PM
Spank
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJameson View Post
The fact that people think the bolt is too small tells me that people don't know the true job of the bolt. It's not there to take up all the space in the bushing sleeve and act as a pivot. It's simply there to apply torque on the bracket and clamp it onto the sleeve.
It's the combination of the bolt size and the fact they're completely threaded. Those threads eventually wear out both the bushing sleeve and the trackbar mounting bracket holes. It's the wallowing of the bracket hole that typically gives people the DW.

I shouldn't have said wrong bolt sizes, but just wrong bolts entirely. Regardless, it's been a known issue for years and granted you aren't going to run into it if you never ever modify your Jeep and/or never take it off-road, but given the major amount of flack Jeep got for DW in the JK during its first few years, I'm surprised they never addressed it by simply using different bolts.

'14 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
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post #11 of 14 Old 03-05-2015, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
rockyroad30
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All good infor there. And encouraging that it can be small issues overlooked.

That being said did the tj experience this DW less often. Personally I'm not gonna turn mine into a mini monster truck but I would like to lift it if it hasn't been lifted.


So 2 questions:
1) did tj suffer from less DW issues
2) what are the main checks I should make when viewing 2nd hand tj/jk to assess if it suffers from DW?

Cheers
Rosco
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post #12 of 14 Old 03-05-2015, 08:19 AM
Mike Romain
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Originally Posted by mike134 View Post

A smaller bolt is equivalent to a worn bushing.
Yup! I just had the spring perch rebuilt on the passenger side and first frost heave/bridge crossing I hit on the highway put my ZJ into the death wobble. Didn't stop until I stopped. Took it back and turns out the mechanic used a bolt that was too thin. (Standard?) I heard the master mech tell him to go get a metric bolt, they installed that and all is good.

Mike
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-05-2015, 08:27 AM
Mike Romain
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Originally Posted by rockyroad30 View Post
All good infor there. And encouraging that it can be small issues overlooked.

That being said did the tj experience this DW less often. Personally I'm not gonna turn mine into a mini monster truck but I would like to lift it if it hasn't been lifted.

So 2 questions:
1) did tj suffer from less DW issues
2) what are the main checks I should make when viewing 2nd hand tj/jk to assess if it suffers from DW?

Cheers
Rosco
I think that a Jeep that is bone stock is the best buy. Anything modified or lifted tends to be driven to the limits of the modifications which means higher wear. Plus you don't know the quality of the work done.
In Ontario, vehicles only need one inspection when they are sold. They only require emissions testing every 2 years.

It is Extremely easy in Toronto to just hand over some money and have someone fill out the paperwork with only a very superficial look at the vehicle. Extremely easy.... I lived there for 20 years or so.

That said, the best $50.00 - $75.00 you will ever spend on it is to take it to a mechanic and have a real inspection done on it before you buy. If the seller objects, walk away.

Mike
86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG AT's, 'glass nose to tail in '00, 'New' frame,wires and plumbing in '09. Carter BBD Carbed 4.0 HO in '10.
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-05-2015, 10:32 AM
chango
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Buy a stock rig. Death wobble is usually the result of a poorly done lift and/or worn suspension bushings/ball joints.
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