Death Wobble After Installing New Parts
This is going to be a long one as I feel that describing the full history of my Jeep will help with suggestions so if you take the time to read this then thank you for your time.
So a little background on my Heep, its a 2004 Grand Cherokee with the 4.7 and 545rfe with Quadratrac II and a 2” spacer lift on 31” tires with 17” JK rims. Pretty basic setup. My dad bought it salvaged in 2005/2006 with 15,000 miles on it (front end collision but everything was repaired and straightened out). He drove it for 8 years and gave it to me as my first vehicle with 140,000 miles on it. It drove fine for 2.5 years and eventually developed a clunk in the front end when driving on dips at highway speeds. This clunk presented no drivability issues so I ignored it as I wasn’t very mechanically inclined at the time. Fast forward to 4 years and 165,000 miles I installed the Rough Country Budget boost and new tie rod ends. The clunk remained but handling was okay so I continued to roll with it.
Fast forward to 180,000 miles it developed a slight shimmy over RR tracks and bridges along with the clunk so I parked it for two years rarely driving it just to wash it or run the old gas out as I had purchased a newer vehicle and began working full time and going to school to get my auto tech degree. This year I got my degree and decided that I wanted to solve this clunk once and for all before I left my job at the parts store (sick discount on parts) so I installed new tie rod ends, balljoints, wheel bearings, cv axles (all these parts were well worn and due for replacement). Took it for a test drive, still clunking but shimmied a little worse than before so I figured an alignment and wheel balancing was overdue. Proceeded to replace the track bar when I found out that there was a clunk when I moved it front to back as the metal sleeve had separated from the bushing on the frame side. Once installed everything felt tighter and more responsive than ever. But I still had a clunk and figured it had to be a control arm bushing or something. 15 mins into my test drive I went over a bridge connection and got my first experience with full death wobble. This had me pretty shook so I immediately took it to my mechanic and asked him to double check my work and throw on all new control arms and bushings as well. I went cheap and used all stock components as that was what was on it this whole time. He test drove it and said all was good except needing an alignment, he pointed out that the clunk was the upper control arm contacting one of the cats with articulation due to the axle being a little off center with the lift so I said great I’ll just cut it off later and took it to a local dealer with a tech that is a Jeep guy himself and got death wobble on the way there. This mechanic checked it out and verified it had bad death wobble but couldn’t find the cause. He did an alignment and wheel balancing and rotation anyway as per my request but couldn’t get the castor angle within spec due to stock control arms (8.2 degrees driver and 7.3 degrees passenger). He recommended adjustable LCA’s and seeing a 4WD Specialty shop but there isn’t one for 80 miles and I can barely drive the thing so I’m stuck. So from what myself and the two mechanics can tell everything is tight and there isn’t any play but the axle is off center and castor angle is off and I’m not really sure where it’s supposed to be with 2” lift so idk how bad those measurements are. I spent about $2,000 on maintenance since I parked it (I did some work to the rear end and installed a new alternator starter and battery as well) and I don’t want to spend anymore on adjustable components hoping for a fix. I realize that installing a proper long arm kit would solve my problems but my whole vision for this thing was just to restore the handling and use my discount to replace the usual stuff that goes bad at this kind of mileage and keep it low budget. In the process I somehow made things worse. I don’t want to scrap it for sentimental reasons but I don’t want to sink too much more money into it as I don’t really plan on doing a full rebuild due to the salvaged title affecting the amount I can insure it for. I just want to get it driving right so I can give her “one last ride” so to speak until the engine or trans goes out.
Everything else on it works great, and the A/C is ice cold so this is a huge bummer. Could adjustable LCA’s and Trackbar cure this or is there something else I should be looking for? Tires are Falken A/T with 80% tread remaining and no visible issues. As I mentioned above they have been balanced and swapped around to see if that would change anything, Rims are perfectly round with no cracks or dents. The SS is Rough Country and was installed with the lift, I took it off to see if it was blown and it’s still pretty firm. Any help would be greatly appreciated.