Hello, Death Wobble, my old friend~ - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-18-2019, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
Bee4570
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Question Hello, Death Wobble, my old friend~

So, after using the ol' War Pig for about a month as a work vehicle. she's developed a bit of the death wobble. Specifically at or around 45mph. Goes away by 50. But something needs to be addressed. My research into the problem suggests the track bar is the most common cause for it in the WJs, yet my dad insists it's ball joints. Before I start sinking money into parts and tool rental on a pickle fork, I figured I should ask y'all, see which is the most likely culprit.

For reference, she's an '01 Laredo with Selec-trac and 172,300 miles. Had the engine totally replaced, and just recently I had to replace rotors and the driver front caliper(haven't done the Akebono conversion yet. Didn't have the money to. But it's on the list.) Tires are brand new BF Goodrich Rugged Terrain T/A 235/70R-16s all around. I also know that maybe the driver side front CV might need replacing.


Over, Under, Through.

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post #2 of 18 Old 11-18-2019, 10:10 PM
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post #3 of 18 Old 11-18-2019, 10:30 PM
RevScott
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Not likely the track bar to be totally honest even though its not a wise thing to do, you can drive down the road without the track bar. But the ball joints are a starting point. If they are bad they Will cause the wobble.
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post #4 of 18 Old 11-18-2019, 10:33 PM
xcaliber81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bee O' 7.62x54R View Post
So, after using the ol' War Pig for about a month as a work vehicle. she's developed a bit of the death wobble. Specifically at or around 45mph. Goes away by 50. But something needs to be addressed. My research into the problem suggests the track bar is the most common cause for it in the WJs, yet my dad insists it's ball joints. Before I start sinking money into parts and tool rental on a pickle fork, I figured I should ask y'all, see which is the most likely culprit.

For reference, she's an '01 Laredo with Selec-trac and 172,300 miles. Had the engine totally replaced, and just recently I had to replace rotors and the driver front caliper(haven't done the Akebono conversion yet. Didn't have the money to. But it's on the list.) Tires are brand new BF Goodrich Rugged Terrain T/A 235/70R-16s all around. I also know that maybe the driver side front CV might need replacing.
are you sure its not a wheel bearing? death wobble will gradually get worse with speed and not stop? Start at the track bar, check the upper front control arm bushings and the lower ball joints too.
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-19-2019, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by xcaliber81 View Post
are you sure its not a wheel bearing? death wobble will gradually get worse with speed and not stop? Start at the track bar, check the upper front control arm bushings and the lower ball joints too.
This. I would just crawl under there and check everything out. Ball joints can cause it. Trackbar seems to be the bushings or enlarge the mounting hole causing the wobble. Upper control arm bushings. They make it feel it like a completely different vehicle when changed.

I am no expert and still learning but I personally pick a tire off the ground and try and tilt it in and out to check the ball joints and left to right to check the tie rod ends and then swap sides. With it back on the ground I just grab hold of the track bar and give it a good shake to see what I can see move. Control arm bushings just need a good visual inspection or do the same as the trackbar. Should be little to no movement in any of this. Bushings should be crack/dry rot free. Could also have someone turn the steering wheel while watching the trackbar to see if anything is shifting that isn't supposed to be.

WIth 173K, if the track bar or upper control arm bushings haven't been changed, I would say that both could use with a changing. My 01 WJ has 183K and I just changed both. The upper control arm bushings is what finally fixed it. The track bar helped bring it in, but it was still there until the bushing change.
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post #6 of 18 Old 11-19-2019, 05:47 AM
MN Ben
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I found this video helpful in looking at all the reasons for death wobble... Good luck and keep us informed.

Only one kid in history had ever attempted what Benny was about to, and he got eaten.
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-19-2019, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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So, what I'm gathering here, is it is one of three potential culprits: The track bar, the wheel bearings, or the ball joints.

I'm sadly working on a budget, here. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have had to Tony Stark a Jeep back to life. "In a cave with a box of scraps".

So, what would your suggestion be for the one to try replacing first, for someone who can't afford to do all three in one go?

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post #8 of 18 Old 11-19-2019, 06:44 PM
MN Ben
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It should be clear to replace the item that is worn.
Are you saying your track bar bushings are shot, your wheel bearing are bad, and all your ball joints are bad? Or are you saying it MIGHT be one of these 3 items and we should tell you where to throw your money first.
Without doing the hands on tests of finding the worn part, you will go over budget on your budget.
What did you find when you crawled under your jeep? Did you jack it up?
How was the wobble when you moved the tires back and forth and up and down?
Was there much play in the ball joints when you used a pry bar to lift the wheel up and down?
Did you notice loose ends when your friend slowly turned the steering wheel back and forth?
If everything looked good, your "bit of a death wobble" starting at 45 and stopping at 50 may be a tire or rim issue. Maybe your tire guy saw a cute chick walk by while working on your tires and forgot to put a weight on. You could try moving the front tires to the rear and see if the issue goes away. If so, go back to your tire guy and re balance.
Good Luck and keep us posted.

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Only one kid in history had ever attempted what Benny was about to, and he got eaten.
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post #9 of 18 Old 11-19-2019, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Ben View Post
It should be clear to replace the item that is worn.
Are you saying your track bar bushings are shot, your wheel bearing are bad, and all your ball joints are bad? Or are you saying it MIGHT be one of these 3 items and we should tell you where to throw your money first.
Without doing the hands on tests of finding the worn part, you will go over budget on your budget.
What did you find when you crawled under your jeep? Did you jack it up?
How was the wobble when you moved the tires back and forth and up and down?
Was there much play in the ball joints when you used a pry bar to lift the wheel up and down?
Did you notice loose ends when your friend slowly turned the steering wheel back and forth?
If everything looked good, your "bit of a death wobble" starting at 45 and stopping at 50 may be a tire or rim issue. Maybe your tire guy saw a cute chick walk by while working on your tires and forgot to put a weight on. You could try moving the front tires to the rear and see if the issue goes away. If so, go back to your tire guy and re balance.
Good Luck and keep us posted.

https://youtu.be/07yvJuhnUYM
Well, looks like this is what I'll be doing tomorrow morning.

....I have no idea what I'm doing, honestly. But, there's only one way to learn. Thanks for the help

Over, Under, Through.

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post #10 of 18 Old 11-19-2019, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bee O' 7.62x54R View Post
Well, looks like this is what I'll be doing tomorrow morning.

....I have no idea what I'm doing, honestly. But, there's only one way to learn. Thanks for the help
If you follow the video and make some mental notes, or even paper ones, along the way, you will get it. Without knowing more of the kind of shape things are in under there, there is really no other advice the community can offer. Getting in there yourself is the best way to learn in my opinion. You will be saving yourself a good chunk of change this way too. I've got faith in ya ! You can do it!

This forum has been invaluable to myself in the wealth of knowledge offered up for anyone that needs it. If you have further questions, I'm sure someone will try and answer to the best of the knowledge they have acquired. Good luck and let us know what you find
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post #11 of 18 Old 11-20-2019, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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...it's the track bar. Wheel bearings and ball joints don't have excessive play in them. Track bar does.

TO ROCK AUTO!
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Over, Under, Through.

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post #12 of 18 Old 11-20-2019, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bee O' 7.62x54R View Post
...it's the track bar. Wheel bearings and ball joints don't have excessive play in them. Track bar does.

TO ROCK AUTO!
Pretty easy to do. You will need to remove the bump stop on the drives side. Use lots of lube removing it.
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post #13 of 18 Old 11-20-2019, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bee O' 7.62x54R View Post
...it's the track bar. Wheel bearings and ball joints don't have excessive play in them. Track bar does.

TO ROCK AUTO!
#KOLAK may have a good price on a track bar if you are shopping around.
He can be found on this site or Facebook.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Only one kid in history had ever attempted what Benny was about to, and he got eaten.
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post #14 of 18 Old 11-21-2019, 05:51 PM
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Check the chassis side mounting hole diameter and roundness. The hole may be wallowed out and you would need to weld a grade 8 washer onto it to get back to round again.

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post #15 of 18 Old 11-21-2019, 08:30 PM
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On mine, a new steering stabilizer fixed my DW. I've driven vehicles with a lot worse DW than mine had, but now there's none.

03 WJ Laredo,4.0 4x4, bone stock, 163000 miles, black with black cloth interior
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