Need Advice with Death Wobble - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
HarveyCat
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Need Advice with Death Wobble

I have a "new to me" stock (120,000 mile) WJ 2003 4.0L "select-trac" with Death Wobble every once in a blue moon or every "50 miles"...

Here are photos of the front end... Please tell me any thoughts - it feels tight when turning "lock to lock"

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post #2 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
HarveyCat
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...also was thinking of getting these to try...
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post #3 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 03:04 PM
smokeyyank
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If nothing has been touched on the suspension, which is what it looks like, might be time to freshen things up. MOOG is good but avoid the R series stuff. Crown is decent and you can check with Kolak (vendor on here) for parts. His prices will be the best and he's super knowledgeable on WJ's.

DW is tricky because there's no one good answer on what the problem is. It can come from a multitude of places. Most time the trackbar is the issue but TRE's, steering stabilizers, etc can be the problem.

Have you crawled under and at least checked by hand to see if any parts have a bunch of play in them?
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3" IRO lift, fastman TB, 32s, lunchbox rear 242HD, 3" exhaust
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post #4 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
HarveyCat
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Thanks Smokeyyank. I don't see that vendor in the list. I am going to order the two parts shown above and have a friend's shop pop them on - I am going to have my girlfriend turn the wheel "lock to lock" while I am under it to see if anything moves. I will also reach up and twist on things and see if anything is loose - my shop will also check all - but at least I will have those good parts to supply.
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post #5 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 07:08 PM
2oldjeeps
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b4 i ever had dw i changed 4 ball joints,4 tie rod ends, 2 hubs. in one day i had violent dw twice. terrified!!!
i then did track bar and stabiliser. praying. have no idea how/why it happens OR how to test.
oh also tire balance and alignment.
i try to keep thumbs out of steering wheel...

99wj,143,000 miles
00xj,177,000 miles
10hummer3,74,000 miles
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post #6 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
HarveyCat
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Did the Death Wobble ever happen since you did the Track Bar and stabilizer?

I will try to keep my thumbs out- though I am not sure why...😷

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2oldjeeps View Post
b4 i ever had dw i changed 4 ball joints,4 tie rod ends, 2 hubs. in one day i had violent dw twice. terrified!!!
i then did track bar and stabiliser. praying. have no idea how/why it happens OR how to test.
oh also tire balance and alignment.
i try to keep thumbs out of steering wheel...
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post #7 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 08:18 PM
coldspit47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarveyCat View Post
Did the Death Wobble ever happen since you did the Track Bar and stabilizer?

I will try to keep my thumbs out- though I am not sure why...😷
Thumbs out of wheel so they dont get borked when the wheel violently rips from your hand during DW. +1 on contacting Kolak, he just hooked me up with a bunch of parts for my current project. [email protected] is his email address.

Are you lifted at all? DW has come up on here quite a few times in the last few days, not sure why. Make sure you're actually experiencing true DW, not just some front end shimmy or wobbling from pulsating brakes or other worn components. True death wobble makes you feel like your whole front end is being attacked by an extremely angry jackhammer hellbent on making you soil yourself. Assuming this is what you have, proceed.

First check trackbar bushings. Dry rotted, cracked, or too much play = replace. Take the bolts out holding the trackbar and look at the mounting holes. Violent DW can wallow those holes out, causing play. If bushings are bad and holes are wallowed, might as well check out kevins offroad kit with larger bolts, sleeves, and super hard bushings. I haven't needed them, but I see many people running them. After that's sorted, move on to the control arm bushings. Same signs of wear as trackbar bushings = replace. Can buy poly bushings or can get adjustable arms with flex ends. Next check ball joints and tie rod ends/pitman arm. For ball joints, raise vehicle, put hands at top and bottom of wheel and try to rock it top to bottom. If you can feel play, one or more ball joints is toast (should be able to feel a clunk or play in one of your two hands). TREs should have zero movement toward either tire or front to back. Some rolling on the joint front to back is fine, but too loose is a sign they need to be replaced (when I just changed mine I could roll the tie rod with thumb and one finger and no resistance). Make sure all tires are balanced and inflated correctly and are worn evenly. Finally, now that you have a ship-shape front end, check your toe and caster. My caster was way off with factory arms once I lifted. Got adjustables and squared it away. If you still have DW after all this, check your steering box. It can be adjusted (search here) but only so many times before the gears are toast and the box needs to be replaced. If you still have it, triple check everything in the list again. Hope that helps, good luck. I've had it thrice now in the 6 years I've had this WJ and 2/3 times the cause was due to something on this list (first time was my own fault, attached stabilizer incorrectly)

04 WJ NV242, IRO 3in, bilsteins, IRO adj UCAs/LCAs/A arm, 265/75/16 Laufenn Xfit, 4.56 gears
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post #8 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
HarveyCat
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Thanks - I just emailed him.

It was Death Wobble - short lasting but very violent and the whole front end & steering wheel...

What do you think of the parts I was going to order? My friend is a mechanic so will have him check all - but it helps for me to bring some parts...

See below...
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post #9 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 08:59 PM
coldspit47
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Are you lifted? If so, I highly recommend the IRO adjustable track bar. Moog has a really good stabilizer for about $53 (RockAuto), Kolak also stocks them. I currently have one and have had zero issues with it (other than my own fault) in the 6 years it's been on there. I have no knowledge of fixed track bars and brands, I lifted pretty quickly after I got mine. Moog usually is my go-to for steering parts.

In general, Rough Country has mixed success in the WJ world...

04 WJ NV242, IRO 3in, bilsteins, IRO adj UCAs/LCAs/A arm, 265/75/16 Laufenn Xfit, 4.56 gears
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post #10 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 09:03 PM
KKiowaTJ
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I'm in the same boat! Just went to a WJ Wednesday and had DW so bad I had to almost come to a complete stop! I have owned dozens of jeeps, this is the first one to ever have any play in the front end.
I ordered the exact SS as the newer one looks iffy. New track bar, all TRE's and if needed, I will add upper and lower control arms. The ball joints and unit bearings are tight, I jacked up the front and had no play in them. But layer under and had someone turn the well running and not running, as well as manually moving parts for play.
Only thing I can't see at this point is a little play in the TB and enough play in the steering to justify replacement. Plus it's 19yrs old now, so it due for a new front end parts. Most DW issues on the WJ point to the TB, so I'm hopeful what I replace will cure it. If not, control arms and back to the drawing board.
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post #11 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
HarveyCat
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I plan to keep this stock without lift. I live in the City - so mostly I use it to jump curbs unless we go upstate. Thanks for all the advice - I switched to a Monroe Steering Stabilizer from Amazon. See listing below.
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post #12 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 09:50 PM
coldspit47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarveyCat View Post
I plan to keep this stock without lift. I live in the City - so mostly I use it to jump curbs unless we go upstate. Thanks for all the advice - I switched to a Monroe Steering Stabilizer from Amazon. See listing below.
Good choice. You may be able to just replace bushings in the stock TB rather than the whole arm if you have access to a press, would save you a bit.

04 WJ NV242, IRO 3in, bilsteins, IRO adj UCAs/LCAs/A arm, 265/75/16 Laufenn Xfit, 4.56 gears
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post #13 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 10:00 PM
KKiowaTJ
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That's my plan also, keep it stock DD! Mainly bought it so I don't have to drive my diesel every day and more room for my kids.
The PO was a kid and decided to hack it all up! Cut the muffler off and attempted to went in a straight pipe. But for being in the rust belt, it's pretty much rust free and the price was right.
I also have a set of new tires already mounted on WJ wheels I got from free that have a couple hundred miles on them, so I'm going to run them to see if the current tires are helping the cause of DW. Plus they are more aggressive of an a/t so will help with all the gravel I drive and when weather is bad.

Only thing I'm curious about is the best specs to run for alignment. I always run a jeep with 1/8" toe in, but have read about caster. I don't see much if any adjustment and being stock I hope I can get away with setting toe, have it checked at alignment shop to make sure it's in spec. Have them balance the tires also, so I know everything runs true so I can narrow it down if DW is still there.

MOPAR!
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post #14 of 58 Old 05-08-2020, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
HarveyCat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldspit47 View Post

Good choice. You may be able to just replace bushings in the stock TB rather than the whole arm if you have access to a press, would save you a bit.
My mechanics no longer have a press. Likely with their time it would end up costing more than the part. At $55 the Moog TB seems like a good deal. I will have them put those on and while up on the lift I can (with their help) check the ball joints - control arms - tie rods etc... If needed they can get those at Advance auto locally or elsewhere. I also need to change the power steering pump or something making noise - so it will all be a combo deal of some sort.

Thanks for all the help.

Cheers
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post #15 of 58 Old 05-09-2020, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
HarveyCat
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I got a deal on a Mopar Track Bar for $130 total shipped - offered to Mopar dealer on ebay. I am sure the Moog is just as good - but since I am paying for labor might as well get the sure thing...
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