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been reading thread, and trying to find a cause of a vibration i get at 55-65mph

05 TJ sport 88k 3rd owner, 4.0, auto. MML, 2.5 OME lift/bilstein. 33x12.5x15 grabber at2s.

I have had a driveline vibration for a little while now. I have wondered if it was tire balancing or something else. today I swapped to the original alloy wheels and 29 inch tires and at 50mph i got severe death wobble. But at the same speed with the larger tires I just got vibration. I take it the extra mass/weight of the larger tires stops the DW. Any advice would be appreciated.

the front track bar/tie rod/control arms are all stock. I've gone wheeling approx 5 times with jeep in 2 years of ownership.
Speed sensitive problems like shimmies or vibrations are nearly invariably caused by a tire or wheel problem. Imperfectly balanced tire, bad tire, bent wheel, etc. That your symptoms change by changing tires is a strong indicator your tires are causing the problem. Not many tire shops will take the time to get the larger tire sizes typical to Jeeps balanced perfectly as is required. Many shops only spend enough time to get a tire balanced to what they consider "good enough" which is seldom good enough for a Jeep or truck with the type of front end they have.
 

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Thanks Jerry, I put the larger tires back on. Then installed my Metalcloak front track bar, and upgraded to a ZJ tie rod just for good measure because the TRE looked like they were starting to go bad anyway. I got the Toe close to where I thought it was before hand. brought it to an alignment shop that the local Jeep shop recommended, the guys adjusted the Toe, but then they bottomed out the drag link and end link trying to get the steering wheel straight. I just left it that way and it cruises down the road way better. I want to upgrade to alloy wheels, when i do that Ill get the tires mounted somewhere else.
 

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'04 Shimmy Question

I have read this entire, lovely thread and am looking for some direction. My 2004 (very basic stock) Wrangler will more often than not begin to vibrate or "shimmy" at speeds over 55-60mph. This began last summer and at first it felt as if the front passenger-side wheel was going to come off. Simply taking my foot off the accelerator and letting the 2.4L engine slow down to around 50mph stopped it. Mechanic checked everything and I can't remember what he replaced but things were ok again. Last December, it came back and the front wheel bearings were replaced and, I believe, also the U-joints. Things were ok for a while, and then, yes, it came back. Dead-as-a-doornail front shocks were replaced a couple of weeks ago, as was the steering dampener. Ride is nicer but instead of feeling like the front wheel is going to fly off, the vibrations now seem to run up "deeper" through the engine compartment and come up through the steering wheel. Hitting a bad spot in the road (which is almost constantly here in SE MI) sets it off when going around 50mph. I haven't and won't take it on the expressway and, FWIW, I only drive maybe 150 miles a week; odometer is just over 118k.

Last night, as I pulled into a parking spot at the grocery store, a "tight turn", there was a single clunk type of sound; front end, around the driver's side wheel. At first I thought it might have been that I'd apparently run over a ballpoint pen while turning into the space, but it did it again, less noisily, as I pulled out. No further issues driving the 10 miles home. As far as alignment, I can take my hands off the wheel and go at least 1/4 of a mile on the good stretches of our paved country roads before there is any drifting and even then the drift is very minor.

I have copied off so much of this thread but am looking for the right words to tell my mechanic. It's one thing to have to take surface roads everywhere, but now I'm nervous just driving period.

Thanks bunches for any advice.
 

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Follow-up: My mechanic said to take her to Belle Tire for an alignment and suspension diagnostics (his shop doesn't have the machine to do one). First thing their mechanic noticed was that the passenger side of the steering dampener was just hanging down. The sound I'd heard in the parking lot must've been the bolt coming loose. They put that back together and replaced all four tires with Goodyear Wrangler SUV-sized (1" wider than the Coopers that were last put on back in 2013 and showing a lot of wear). Also replaced the rear shocks.

That fixed the problem. No more nasty vibrations when hitting potholes and bad sections of pavement in the city; she drives great and at posted 70mph on the highway again.

Yesterday, however, she quietly died coming off the highway while on a long exit ramp. Fortunately there were two nice workmen in a truck right behind me who pushed me onto the shoulder. After 20 minutes on the phone with AAA, I called my mechanic to let him know he'd be seeing me soon and when I went to demonstrate the inability to restart the engine, the engine started just fine. Drove her there and, based on other threads here, with no codes thrown and the battery testing perfectly and an incredibly smooth idle, I'll have them clean the IAC today.

FWIW, this forum is AWESOME. :)
 

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Tires/suspension do have some say in this aswell..going from a guaranteed minor to mid-level vibration,and finally a shimmy at 53 mph that apexed at 57 mph,then falling off the map entirely at 59 mph.First noted last year and after new tires/rims and a pro comp 6" shock re-valve with a better stabilizer the inherent issue did calm down..but never truly went completely away.(now just slightly vibrates thru the same 6mph range.Very interesting thread.Thanks for the time well spent posting up.
 

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Follow-up to my follow-up: Had the IAC cleaned and everything from the filters forward was properly reamed. My mechanic even took a photo of "how dirty' it all was. Of course I smacked him and said, "Told you so." Now she's driving and handling as if she were ten years younger. Whew!


Again, thanks for this incredibly awesome thread!
 

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question: started having a small wobble again at highway speeds. the whole front end has been upgraded/replaced w/ moog parts minus the control arms, and steering stabilizer. would those cause wobble? everything has been replaced within the last year and half. also when I brake at low speeds its almost like the front end rotates ever so slightly and there is a small clunk, then the front passenger side dips down slightly more than the driver side. I don't know if they are two related issues or not?
 

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I just addressed my worsening wobble on my 04 Rubicon with RE 5.5" lift and 35" tires. It's been driving fine for the better part of 5 years now but after I went about 40 miles on about the worse rocky road I've ever been on I started having some problems. I am a fair mechanic but I'm not that good with suspensions but I know how to do bolt on suspension parts etc.

First I noticed that when backing out of my garage and turning my wheel, then putting it in drive and pulling forward and turning the wheel in the other direction I'd get a clunk at the start of the turning of the wheel. I took it to a friend that is the best Jeep mechanic (dealer trained master mechanic) I have ever known. He looked under my Jeep as I turned the wheel back and forth in each direction. Found a wobbly steering knuckle where the tie rod is connected on the passenger side. We changed places and I looked so that I can see the problem. Yup, it's wobbling pretty bad and Marty recommended a replacement steering knuckle. We also noticed that the bushing in the steering stabilizer shock was a tad worn. I decided to get a replacement steering knuckle from Pick-a-Part and a new steering stabilizer. When I was replacing the knuckle I noticed that the lower ball joint was very loose. It wasn't loose up and down, but loose turning. I replace that too. After putting it all back together, we inspected it again. Now the bushing in the trackbar bushing was noticeably worn too. Not so noticeable when testing when other components were worn more but now that those were tight, the worn trackbar bushing was very noticeable. Replaced that too and after I did an alignment all is good, no wobble.

What Marty says is that the majority of time the problems with death wobble are worn suspension parts; namely all the parts I've replaced and more. Before I worked on replacing all that stuff I tried driving it without the steering stabilizer and had a bad case of death wobble at 30-35mph. Totally undriveable. After I installed the new steering stabilizer I tried it again and noticed a slight wobble at the same speeds. Steering stabilizers are bandaids for death wobble. Fixing worn steering and suspension components are usually the fix. But if your steering geometry is really bad, that can also cause it. But most good suspension lifts are designed to work well and most will not get death wobble until later as parts get extremely worn.

That road that I took that really took a toll on my suspension was a road to the Queen a Sheeba mine in Death Valley. The rocks were about the size of softballs, to half sized footballs. They were very ragged and rough. The road wasn't dippy, or rutty, it was just made up of super rough rock - probably rock from the mining operation. We drove it at a pretty high rate of speed (40mph if I remember right). Later that day I noticed a couple of my antennas had broken off. It put such stress on everything from the radical vibration of that road that all kinds of stuff was failing. Lesson learned here is to take that road or roads like that at a much slower pace to preserve my nerves and Jeep.
 

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Just want to throw my recent experience out there with my daughters 2002 TJ with a 4" budget lift... and how I finally figured out what was wrong with it. It had the wobbles consistently start at 45-50 MPH. I never tried to drive through it as I was afraid I would cause more damage than good.

Alignment - Got everything in spec (had to add adjustable front lower control arms) - Still wobbled
Re-Balance & Rotate Tires - Still wobbled
New MetalCloak adjustable front trackbar - Axle perfectly centered - Still wobbled
New balljoints and wheel bearings - Still wobbled
New stock upper control arms (bushings on the axle side passed visual inspection) - Still wobbled
New HD Tie Rod / Drag Link - Still wobbled
Re-Aligned - Everything back in spec - Still wobbled
New main swaybar bushings and end link bushings - Still wobbled
Everything installed by me and torqued to spec when jeep was sitting on the ground - Still wobbled
Dry steer showed zero play in the steering box or anywhere else - Still wobbled
New steering stabilizer - and guess what... just kidding - Still wobbled

Moral of the story. Don't think just because you rebalanced your tires that they aren't the cause of your wobbles and shimmies. We bought my daughters jeep from a family member, so I knew it had the wobbles and I wanted to replace most of the front end components for peace of mind. But if you are having trouble diagnosing your wobbles. Find a local jeep club and see if you can borrow someone's wheels/tires that are proven to be properly balanced. It could just save you the time and trouble. I think I read that advise about 20 times within this entire thread... I just didn't believe it. Now I do! Don't be like me. :grin2:
 

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Ok here's my death wobble exp./story. I used to get dw. At 35 mph hitting bumps/ irregularities. Here was my setup. Short arm ruff stuff tj arms. rockcrawler uppers. 2.5 rc springs f250 towers bilstein shocks. heavy duty axle brackets.Ruff stuff chevy tre on top of knuckle. poly performance hd ball joints. heavy duty correct angle track bar rod ends. Turns out drivers upper frame wallowed out. I havent had dw since i did this. 26" mid arm barnes, enduro joints, cut a hole in the floor to clear drivers upper bracket. Tigged in weld washers. Oh btw hp d30 right now going to upgrade to hpdana44. I drive my tj daily 26 mile round trip in omaha ne. I think it cost me around $700 in parts for the midarm. So i'm 3 linked now. I hit road irregularities now and it just laughs it off. Usually bridge expansion joints are a problem. now i can hit it at a bad angle (due to wind) it tries to go up into column but just disappears. Trying just to help. and think of what else i got on my setup. Current setup hpdana30 with trutrac. spidertrax adapters. full size ford 9 disk brakes. oh yeah 285 procomps 16" steel rims so metric 33's. I'll post pic of jeep tommorrow. if i can figure out how to post with phone.
 

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oh yeah replaced u joints,unitbearings. It might take alot more things then you realize to reduce your dw. I don't think with a solid axle you can fully get rid of it. If you hit a bad enough road imperfection at the wrong angle you'll probadly get it. Having everything upgraded/ right geometry,alignment will help it recover alot faster. I've hit stuff at 70 mph bracing for dw and it didn't happen. also i think it starts with the concentrcity of u joint getting outta balance. and it vibrates to other side and up thru the column.
 

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I would just like to say that whoever told me (years ago) that the steering stabilizer was "just a Band-Aid", which caused me to avoid replacing after my "needle in a haystack" search for wobbling issues, that I decided to go against that advice and try it, once again. Hasn't wobbled in 2-3 years. I've definitely learned no two cases are the same, so while I understood what this individual was saying, in my case, the steering stabilizer was extremely helpful. Just a random comment on my experience. Lol.
 
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Death Wobble

I purchased a 97 TJ as a rebuild with a known death wobble. We all know DW can come from any component and in my case the upper and lower ball joints were frozen with rust & no lube, steering stabilizer was worn out and just a Christmas ornament, and steering linkage just old and worn. Track bar driver side was locked up with rust.

I replaced everything with new and to my horror I still had DW. I should watch more youtube videos as my root cause for DW was the passenger side connection for my track bar...hole was washed out and not allowing a tight fit for the connection bolt. With that said, is there a better fix?, in my case used some thick walled washers on both sides of the connection then tightened the bolt to near failure.
 

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Those are good questions.

If I were to re-evaluate the bolt hole/bolt size issue, I'd still say that an ovaled hole is evidence of an insufficiently torqued bolt and that the fact that the oscillations were sufficiently violent to oval the bolt holes, that the bushing/sleeve or joint, and the bracket welds may have been damaged as well.

I'd like to understand why you state that no amount of ovaling matters and Climbit says that when too much ovaling has happened, welding them closed and redrilling or welding in the Fixit Ruffstuff washers is an improvement.
 
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