Death Wobble and suspension overhaul - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 36 Old 01-10-2020, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
MeatCurtains
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Death Wobble and suspension overhaul

Since July I've replaced all the dampers, track bar, all the steering, brakes, tires, and I'm out of ideas. I'm down to possibly a new steering box and brace, and possibly finding another lift and another set of tires.

Is there anything you all could recommend I don't do much in the ways of rocks. Its mostly dirt trails through the woods in, out and through old creek beds, and just random shenanigans. This problem is really got me scratching my head and this is the only place left I can think to go.

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post #2 of 36 Old 01-13-2020, 08:49 AM
cranbiz
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Ball Joints OK? How are your Control Arm bushings?

I feel your pain. I ended up replacing just about everything up front and rebalancing the tires to fix my DW.

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post #3 of 36 Old 01-22-2020, 11:58 PM
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Ball Joints OK? How are your Control Arm bushings?

I feel your pain. I ended up replacing just about everything up front and rebalancing the tires to fix my DW.
X2. Ball joints fixed a lot of slop on mine. Upgraded to Teraflex joints as the OEM ones aren't known for their longevity.

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post #4 of 36 Old 01-30-2020, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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I've replaced all of that including everything in the steering. It's currently in a buddies garage with the axles off waiting for a different suspension.

I've had the tires balanced multiple times at several places. Dunno, hopefully this fixes it.

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post #5 of 36 Old 02-07-2020, 07:16 AM
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By all the steering, you did do the drag link correct? How is your alignment and caster?

Also, everyone says it isn't so, but on mine I had a bad wheel or tire that was causing death wobble. I was able to rotate tires around to avoid it and I ended up getting discount to replace the wheel and tire and didn't have the problem any more after that. It balanced fine when at the tire place but I suspect it would not have on a roadforce balancer. I think there was enough flex in either the stock drag link or tie rod that the messed up tire/wheel could cause the harmonics to go whack. It was super frustrating for a while though.

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post #6 of 36 Old 02-09-2020, 10:47 AM
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tire are the first thing to be very sure they are round and balanced ...many shops just get it close call it day. changing to ones that are known good is best. rotation can do this IF< they are better. The rest is just knowing what is worn and what is not. Today people are not all that knowledgeable with these solid axles as they area about like the horse and buggy. Any solid axle can do this, even a 2x4 one. heck so can a IFS if things get real bad. I had it happen on a 2x4 with IFS front that was caused by a separation of the tire cords. tire basically turned in to an egg. The truck shook very violently. put the spare on all fixed but had to make a stop in Reno to replace both front as the opposite side cords were as well starting to do the same.

wobbles tends to get the wack moll treatment. just replace parts in hope it works. This can lead to a lot of money in search of the answer and can lead to no avail.

wobbbles as well tends to be more then one issue. Tires tend to start it. you might feel a slight pulse in the steering. This is the sign you need the tires checked. Dont do that and it eats at the front end until things get sloppy enough to break out into full on wobbles.

Death wobble? No one ever died from what i have known in my near 50 years of driving. Those that may have i would bet just kept driving it as if it will go away.......would be like getting a blow out and just keep going on the rim. what can go wrong?

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post #7 of 36 Old 02-09-2020, 08:00 PM
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here is the experience that I've had in the last two weeks with death wobble. I have a ruffstuff steel tie rod in my 08 jku and it is one of the you cut it and weld it kits that I purchased in 2012. Had death wobble a couple times with the factory tie rod and never with the ruffstuff rod. So, I purchase one of the new aluminum solid 7075 tie rods from them and after doing some measurements off of the brake rotors, with them bolted down so no movement, I get the new rod installed. make a trip down to el paso to shoot a match and damned if I don't get death wobble with every frigging hole and bump I hit. jeep was wandering around also. Two days a go I decide to put the old tie rod back in and when I pulled it off, I put it back to back with new rod and compare the lengths with grease zerts and see that I was about 1/8" short compared to the old rod, which turned out to be 1/2 turn to get the rods the same length. Decided to put the aluminum rod back in and go down to el paso again yesterday. doing great till I hit one pot hole doing about 75mph and had the tires start to shake again, not to bad. got home and put the steel rod back in and gave another 1/2 turn out and went out a hit the same pot hole again. no more problem anymore. here's my two takes on death wobble.


1. my case was caused by having to much toe in. I ended up turning the tie rod out 1 full turn. try it on your rig and see if it doesn't clear up the deathwobble. if the outsides of your front tires is worn down more than the middle and inside of the tire, then you have to much toe in.
2. the aluminum tie rods that can be bent and will return back to being straight act like torsion bar. when I hit the hole, it was moving my toe in and out, like a guitar string, were the steel rod is solid and does not act like a spring. my opinion is that the aluminum is good for offraod only and not for the street.
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post #8 of 36 Old 02-11-2020, 09:22 PM
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The problem with death wobble is that it isn't a single cause problem, it's a multiple cause problem, thus it's not a single solution fix.

The first cause of death wobble is that something in the front steering, alignment, ballance, or other control of the front axle, or steering is slightly loose or out of ballance, thus allowing the tires to shake side to side slightly....

Normally that side to side shake would slow down and go away naturally if everything is nice and tight, and the steering stabilizer would help dampen the movements even further so the slow down would happen nice and quickly and wouldn't be an issue...

But if certain parts are to far worn out, they allow the tires to shake side to side faster and harder than the rest of the system can handle...

Some of the time this shaking is just annoying but it will still go away because it runs out of energy...

But at certain road speeds, the resistance of the tires against the road, against the force of the Jeep driving forwards, will equal the same force needed to keep the tires shaking from side to side... and now instead of the tires shaking until they slow down, they will continue to shake, and they will shake harder and harder, until the force input raises above the ability of the suspension parts ability to control the tires/steering/axle...

This is why sometimes multiple parts need to be replaced all at the same time in order to combat death wobble.


A nice tight steering and suspension system will push the natural harmonic resonance of the front end up so high that wobble is never possible, but for every part that gets worn out the speed that wobble can happen gets lower and lower, until the wobble gets so big and violent that it becomes Death Wobble instead of just a mere shimmy or shake... and by then a simple 1 or 2 thing fix is pretty much a wish and a prayer, unless you're really lucky, or caught it right at the beginning before the violent wobbling could damage and wear out other parts that are relatively new or used to be in good shape.
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post #9 of 36 Old 02-28-2020, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
MeatCurtains
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I know it's been a while since my last update, but zero changes to any of the equipment on the Jeep, just putting it back together seems to have solved it. I've put about 700 miles on the vehicle since putting it back together and it's not had it once. Maybe something was loose and I didn't catch it before. Either way, problem seems solved. Before it would happen regularly.

As for the questions asked. Everything was replaced. Tie rods, track bar, ujoints, arms, drag link, yadda yadda.

Now I've just got to replace my broken winch rope and I'm back to normal.

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post #10 of 36 Old 03-03-2020, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeatCurtains View Post
I know it's been a while since my last update, but zero changes to any of the equipment on the Jeep, just putting it back together seems to have solved it. I've put about 700 miles on the vehicle since putting it back together and it's not had it once. Maybe something was loose and I didn't catch it before. Either way, problem seems solved. Before it would happen regularly.

As for the questions asked. Everything was replaced. Tie rods, track bar, ujoints, arms, drag link, yadda yadda.

Now I've just got to replace my broken winch rope and I'm back to normal.

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Good luck! Hopefully it doesn't come back once the weather warms up. I've found that DW happens more to me in the summer than when it's cold out. My guess is the bushings are more pliable when it's warm allowing more play/movement etc...
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post #11 of 36 Old 03-17-2020, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Good luck! Hopefully it doesn't come back once the weather warms up. I've found that DW happens more to me in the summer than when it's cold out. My guess is the bushings are more pliable when it's warm allowing more play/movement etc...
Well, you foresaw my today.

So. I'm left with this thought. Find arms with non pliable bushings like heim joints or just deal with it. I can't fathom anything else to look at. The alignment questions earlier i don't remember the exact numbers but i know on my truck i always had it aligned to zero toe. Could doing that possibly help?
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post #12 of 36 Old 03-17-2020, 01:18 PM
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Toe on a JK is .25" in. Bad toe setting will contribute to DW.

06 KJ
12 JK, 2.5" Teraflex lift, Bilstein 5100's, BFG KM3's 37x12.5/R17
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post #13 of 36 Old 03-17-2020, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Toe on a JK is .25" in. Bad toe setting will contribute to DW.
Toe is set at an angle. What exactly are you measuring to get 1/4 inch?
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post #14 of 36 Old 03-18-2020, 10:01 AM
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Toe is set at an angle. What exactly are you measuring to get 1/4 inch?
That's the published spec. It's also what was on my alignment sheet.

I get it close with measuring the same point on the front and back of the tire in the center at what I hope is 0" of toe, then make the adjustment and remeasure both front and back of the tire.

It gets it close and then I can have a shop check it.

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post #15 of 36 Old 03-18-2020, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cranbiz View Post
Toe on a JK is .25" in. Bad toe setting will contribute to DW.
Toe depends on the size of the tires once you lift your vehicle and deviate from the factory settings. So does caster.
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