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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
okay i have a 93 grand laredo, v8 147,000 miles
So the last couple months i have been getting really bad DW at about 30mph.
this is my daily driver and i cant even get on long back roads or the freeway or even main street because its so bad- to date i have replaced...
both hubs
all ball joints
shaft u-joint on drivers side
drop pitman arm
tightened all my steering up
new steering box
steering stabilizer
new sway bar links
the track bar has no play
the joints on the control arms all seem fine
now after i replaced the balljoints (2 nights ago) the problem went away a little and i could do 50-60mph, but last night i went up on the mountain and played in the dirt and now it is doing it again... Im so stuck i dont know what to do and it is pissin me off cause it is my DD :brickwall
i know i need an alignment but cant afford it right now, could an alignment really make it that bad??
any one got any ideas?? come on guys i am STUCK
 

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did u take the trackbar off the axle side mine was tight on my mj but the hole was oval out and under weight of the truck it gave me dw
 

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How's the steering feel? The sector shaft bearing in the steering box is shot on my buddy's ZJ allowing for side to side movement of the sector shaft. It's causing severe DW at 30 MPH. Just something else to look at.
What the heck is above said thing? Do you have a pic?
:facepalm: I thought I had mine figured out, you've got me second guessing myself. Darn you.
 

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This is a JK checklist, so the torque specs are different than a ZJ, but the process would diagnose the problem:

NEW, UPDATED DIAGNOSIS CHECKLIST

Assuming your tire psi is less than 28-30, your tires/wheels have been balanced and rotated to make sure the wobble doesn't move with the rotation, here would be my order:

  1. Remove the steering stabilizer.
  2. Have someone turn the engine on and turn slowly from full lock to full lock while I visually, manually (with my hands on the components), and auditorily inspect for any play in the tie rod ends, drag link ends, sector shaft, trackbar ends/bolts/brackets, and trackbar welds.
  3. Then, do the same thing but with short, sharp, quick back and forth turns of the steering wheel instead of the slow, lock to lock approach.
  4. Then, I would remove the front trackbar to inspect the bolt holes for ovaling and inspect the trackbar bushings for separation or cracking with a long screw driver through the bolt sleeve and the trackbar in a vise to leverage against the bushing in all directions. If all is good, I would reinstall the trackbar with the tires on the ground at ride height to 125 lbs.
  5. Then, I would inspect the drag link end joints by using a large channel lock wrench that gave me enough leverage to check for up and down play in the drag link ends. There should not be any meaningful up and down play. If there is, the joints should be replaced or a new drag link with heavy duty joints should be installed. After, I would check the torque of the drag link ends. There should be no meaningful up and down, no side to side, and only rotational movement in the drag link ends.
  6. Then, I would inspect the tie rod ends with the channel lock wrench for up and down movement. There should be no meaningful up and down play. There should only be rotational movement in the joint end.
  7. Then, I would put the front axle on jack stands and check the front ball joints by using a long pry bar as a lever under the front tires to lift them up to inspect for up and down play in the lower ball joints. There shouldn't be more than maybe 1-2 mm.
  8. Then, I would use the prybar/lever against the frame and the top of the tire to inspect for lateral movement of the top ball joints. There shouldn't be any.
  9. Then, I would remove the front tires/wheels and remove the front tie rod--one knuckle at a time. Then with a large wrench or vice grips, I would inspect the end for side to side play. Then I would reinstall the end and torque to spec and repeat on the other side.
  10. Then, I would remove the brake calipers and brake disks to inspect the unitbearings for play.
  11. Then, I would reinstall the discs, brake calipers, and tires/wheels and set the axle back on the ground.
  12. Then, I would support but not lift the front axle with a floor jack and loosen the front lower control arm bolts. One at a time, I would drop the lower control arms to inspect the bolt holes and bushings (similar to with the trackbar), reinstall without torquing, and do the next one. Afterwards, remove the floor jack so the suspension is at ride height, vigorously rock the vehicle side to side and front and back, then torque to spec.
  13. Next, I would inspect the sector shaft that comes out of the steering box for cracking or twisting.
  14. Then, I would take a test drive without the steering stablizer to feel for any wobbles.
  15. Finally, I would reinstall the steering stablizer or spring $40 for a heavy duty steering stablizer.

If this front end inspection does not diagnose and/or solve it, then I would move to an alignment.

  1. I would use adjustable lower front control arms to set my caster spec between 4 and 5 degrees--with a cross caster that has less on the driver side than the passenger side. I would personally not do more or less, with a target around 4.5-4.7 degrees caster.
  2. If my camber is out of spec, but it is not due to failed ball joints, I would install offset ball joints to get my camber in spec.
  3. I would set my toe-in to spec on the machine--which is about a 1/8" toe-in.
  4. If my front to rear alignment is off, I would install rear lower adjustable control arms to fix this.

With all this, I highly doubt you do not find the source.

The last ditch thing if there is a non-DW, speed dependent range wobble, I would borrow a different set of wheels and tires to see if it changes, and I would try driving it with no front driveshaft to see if that changes anything.

Although it is always a good idea to inspect your axle shaft u-joints, they will not cause DW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
awesome, i will check the steering shaft asap tomorrow!! i do not have tie rod ends i have spherical joints that are in good condition-the trac bar bracket on the axle end is almost new and still in really good shape. The steering box shaft makes sense to me, if thats not it i will run down that list and hopefully find the culprit! if it is the steering box (which i hope it is so i can be done with this) then i will throw a new one in-THANKS for the help guys its much appreciated:thumbsup:! i will update you when i find out what is causing it
 

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One or both of your tires are either unbalanced or "out of round". This can easily happen on a 4x4 because you'll sometimes lower the air pressure in the tires. Even if you haven't done that, your tires may be out of round. This will cause a DW and will destroy everything on the front end, especially the ball joints. Since your calling it a DW I'd say out of round. I have a slight shimmy in the front when I get to around 55 then it goes away. This is the sign of tires being unbalanced.
 

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I installed a new steering stabilizer today on my '98 ZJ. I then had my wife rock the steering wheel and saw that I need a track bar bushing. Since I work part at the local NAPA, I am going to order a new track bar Monday. I hope that thos stops my death wobble.
 

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Have you found the cause yet? I am fighting the same problem, lots of new parts to correct problem with no great results. Good luck.

-Joseph
 

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The NAPA that I work at had the track bar in stock and I installed it yesterday. I will know in a few day's if I have solved my death wobble problem.
 

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I tried to get my YJ to wobble today on the way to and from work but did not have any. It looks as if I might have solved my death wobble problem.
 
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