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post #1 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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Death Wobble?

Hi I'm having a shimmy issue in the front of my wife's jeep after a weekend of wheeling. Noticed on the way home almost to the house there was a slight wobble in the front end. She drove it and said it was a little worse the next day then the day after was uncontrollable. I've watched planmans videos on YouTube and just about every thread on the subject. NEar as I can tell with the swaybars disconnected the only thing seeming out of place is it appears we smashed the steering stabilizer and it leaked the oil out. The jeep has 81k on it everything is tight except a tiny amount of movement in the trackbar bushings less than 1/16 inch of movement combined is that enough to cause DW? Thanks

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post #2 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 06:05 AM
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Did you bend the tie rod?


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post #3 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 06:26 AM
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Same reply ^^^. Sounds like maybe bent tie-rod. Also could be missing wheel-weight(s) or spun tire on the wheel ( if you aired down) causing out of balance issue. I doubt that anything's broken but again, possibly bent tie-rod or other component... could also be a loose connection somewhere ( track-bar bolt has got to be torqued to spec). Not a bad idea to get up under the front end while someone turns the steering wheel slowly back and forth full lock left/ right to see if you can determine any movement anywhere. Also suspect could be wallowed-out track-bar hole... even if bolt seems tight upon initial inspection.

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post #4 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Doesn't appear so. It's a 7 hour drive from where we were wheeling at drive fine until almost home Sunday I hit a bump and notice a slight shimmy then but didn't think anything of it seeing as everything was covered in ice. I'm going to put 9/16 bolts in the trackbar and see if that helps.
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post #5 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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I had someone shake the wheel yesterday and everything seemed ok but I'll put a wrench on everything tonight and double check.
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post #6 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 07:24 AM
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In my experience, the two main culprits when it comes to DW are tire balance and track bars. If this were my jeep, here is what I would do.

1. Have the tires dynamically rebalanced by someone who knows what they are doing and willing to take the time to get it as close to perfect as possible. "Good" is not good enough. In another DW thread, someone posted that they wheel with a group of the JK engineers from FCA and he said they are extremely fussy about tire balance. And for good reason. DW starts when the tire impacts an anomaly in the road. This induces an oscillation in the suspension system. A properly balanced tire will not oscillate as much as one out of balance. I have cured DW just by re-balancing tires.

2. Purchase and install a synergy frame side track bar brace. By now the frame side bolt hole has been worn somewhat. The factory bracket is so thin its a joke. If you wheel at all, you need this.

SYNERGY MANUFACTURING*::*Jeep JK*::*Synergy Jeep JK Front Track Bar Brace

3. Inspect the axle side track bar bracket hole. If there is any deformation, it needs to be repaired by welding washers on either side or replacing the bracket altogether.

4. Get a new track bar. You don't need an aftermarket one (that will require adjusting) you just need a new OEM one. You can find nearly new ones for sale on this forum and other JK forums. Most 4x4 shops have nearly new take offs in their scrap metal bins. But get one with less than a 1,000 miles on it. The bushings wear out. You will see how sloppy the joints are when you take your old one out and replace it with a "new" one. You will know right away that was at least partially the cause of your DW.

Do those 4 things. Most likely shouldn't cost more than $200 to complete and your DW will most likely be solved. If its not, start looking at tie rod ends, ball joints and the like.
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post #7 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 07:27 AM
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It is a little crazy to think the JK requires a steering stabilizer from the factory and gets really unhappy when there is not one...especially with larger tires.

When you get an aftermarket stabilizer, go ahead and get the brackets to put on top of the tie-rod to keep it out of harms way.


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post #8 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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Ok pulled the truck over the pit and removed the trackbar the holes aren't ovaled. Loosened and tightened front and rear control arms and rear track bar. Jacked up the front axle 0 play in wheel bearings or steering linkages. With a prybar under the tire while the axle is jacked up left side balljoint play is not visible but can be felt by wedging finger in between knuckle and axle, right side is visible movement around 1mm of vertical movement. I can't believe these would be loose enough to cause the wobble is it possible it's just a stabilizer? Tires had a very slight vibration on the way up north but could not tell on the way home due to poor road conditions. Sorry for the long post worried about my wife losing control on her 100 mile round trip commute.
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post #9 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 07:45 AM
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the fact that you had a vibration prior to any DW means you almost certainly have a tire balance issue. Get that addressed and replace the track bar.

Neither of those things should be very costly nor hard to do.
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post #10 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Alright I'll get a factory trackbar ordered (I'm assuming it would be wasted money to get a adjustable if we aren't going to lift it more?) when the new stabilizer shows up we'll have the tires force balanced. Thanks for the help I'll post when the work is done if it's fixed.
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post #11 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 08:33 AM
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I'd honestly start with balancing the tires and replacing the track bar bushing. The bushing is pretty cheap and simple to install with a press.
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post #12 of 31 Old 11-23-2016, 11:07 AM
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You're lifted. Upgrading the track bar is absolutely justified.

If you have the OEM tie rod, make sure the adjustment collar is holding tight.

On 285 tires I wouldn't be very paranoid about tire imbalance. Save your money and try a tire rotation - should make the wobble change if it's a problem.

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post #13 of 31 Old 12-02-2016, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so put a new Rubicon Express stabilizer, relocate kit, oem track bar, and 9/16 bolts (mount holes are not ovalled), and it still gets a DW at around 25 mph on uneven roads. I cannot believe I cannot see anything loose its unbelievable. I'm at a lose. I should also state I used to be a ASE certified tech for 5 years at a Gm dealer, I'm pretty versed in suspensions but this is baffling me. Haven't had the tires balanced yet but the vibration was only noticeable at freeway speeds. Any ideas? I'm going for to pull thre tires off in the morning and make sure the spacers haven't loosened but they were tightened during a oil changed less then 2k miles ago.
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post #14 of 31 Old 12-02-2016, 03:33 PM
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Shane,

JK's are alien creatures and a lot of different little things can cause death wobble (DW). Speaking of, what is your definition of DW? A true DW is uncontrollable shaking of the front end until the Jeep is completely stopped.

A shaking at highway speeds is just tire balance. Always a good thing to check the spacers. Have you checked your ball joints as well?

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post #15 of 31 Old 12-02-2016, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so I ran it on the jack stand left tire had a little vibration so swapped the spare on. Runs smooth as butter down the road until you hit a bump then everything goes south any speed hitting a bump over 20 mph the steering wheel shakes out of your hands until you come to nearly a stop. I do notice a little play in the bottom shock bushings. But other than that I'm lost.
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post #16 of 31 Old 12-02-2016, 05:52 PM
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Do a search on here for Planman's write up on death wobble. Gospel around here.

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post #17 of 31 Old 12-02-2016, 07:45 PM
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Ok so put a new Rubicon Express stabilizer, relocate kit, oem track bar, and 9/16 bolts (mount holes are not ovalled), and it still gets a DW at around 25 mph on uneven roads. I cannot believe I cannot see anything loose its unbelievable. I'm at a lose. I should also state I used to be a ASE certified tech for 5 years at a Gm dealer, I'm pretty versed in suspensions but this is baffling me. Haven't had the tires balanced yet but the vibration was only noticeable at freeway speeds. Any ideas? I'm going for to pull thre tires off in the morning and make sure the spacers haven't loosened but they were tightened during a oil changed less then 2k miles ago.
What is baffling to me is why people are so resistant to addressing the tire balance / out of round issue. I have fixed DW by doing nothing more than having my tires balanced BY SOMEONE WHO KNOWS HOW TO BALANCE LARGE HEAVY TIRES. When I solved my DW with a tire balance, it took 3 tries and a very helpful manager at a local Discount Tire. He called Hunter Engineering tech support and they walked him through a very specific procedure. Solved the DW issue. I did NOTHING else to the jeep.

There was another thread on here about DW and someone chimed in that they wheeled with some of the FCA engineers for the JK product line and that they were very picky about tire balance. Makes sense.

DW is a kinetic energy phenomenon. It involves certain frequencies and harmonics that send the suspension system into a DW. But it all starts when the TIRE hits something. Could it be that an imbalance in the tire sets up the energy building DW? When dealing with rotational forces, one can see how something out of balance would wobble. Think of a spinning top. If it is balanced, meaning the mass is distributed evenly around the it, then it spin smoothly. But put a drop of glue on it and see if it still spins without wobbling.

Why do I even post up in these DW threads.................seems pointless. Everybody has their own ideas on what to do anyway. no mas.
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post #18 of 31 Old 12-03-2016, 02:07 AM
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Agree ^ nobody around here can properly balance tires. If you have a shop local willing to take the time and do it right you're lucky. Its not a easy or quick process and 90% all i hear is excuses. Thats IF they will even look at a tire larger then stock. The only place i found to balance a 37 was a large truck tire place and they use that Equal shit a lot. It was a battle to get them to actually balance them and i know they did not do it right .. I mean by stripping all the weights/starting from scratch and rotating the tire on the wheel-if needed. All they do is throw the tire on the machine as is and chase the weights until it shows 0. Another question ive not been given a answer to. I heard to perfectly balance a tire on a non hub centric wheel they should be using a bolt on adapter NOT a one size fits all cone normally used. Makes a lot of sense actually. If the center section is not machined perfectly true hows a cone CENTERING the tire going to be ?
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post #19 of 31 Old 12-03-2016, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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On the jack stands the tire that was vibrating was the left rear tire that made it on to the rear axle from the spare position last oil change, why she didn't tell me that a vibration started after the oil change rotation is more of a wife problem than a jeep problem. Now if I take it out on the main road in front of our farm we can run 75mph 0 vibration. Take it down a side road and hit some bumps and you can't get from 40mph slowed down fast enough. I've rewatched planmans videos last night I'm going to go through it one more time this morning if i can't find anything I'm going to have to find a shop familiar with jeeps.
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post #20 of 31 Old 12-03-2016, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
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Well let me start by saying that I feel pretty dumb. Apparently you can't check steering linkages on a jeep the same as a Gm vehicle( just grabbing the wheel and shaking back and forth). I was digging through Planman's videos on YouTube and found a video of him videoing someone else's video about using channel locks to check joints. Sure enough both tierods and both ends of the drag link have at least 1/8 inch of up down play. I've been trying to find something that could've been damaged while wheeling instead of assuming it was just a coincidence and starting from the basics seeing as it's got 81k on all original components except trackbar and stabilizer. I should've known better, if they ever invent a time machine I'll be sure to go back to when I was a mechanic and let me kick my butt.
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post #21 of 31 Old 12-04-2016, 05:58 AM
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i keep a nearly 2hand - required ,large set of Channelock pliers in my 'constantly ready ' small tool bag that's accessible under pssgr seat for tightening the front sway bar wing nuts once reconnected after wheeling and for checking all the TREs from Synergy that I run. This tip from Planman's venerable help video helped you , me and likely 1000s of others and is one of the greatest JK wobble troubleshooting tips. Glad it worked ...


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post #22 of 31 Old 12-05-2016, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Just for a little closure to the post. After new RE stabilizer, track bar, both tierods, and both ends of the drag link the jeep drives like brand new. Thanks for the help guys.
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post #23 of 31 Old 12-06-2016, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Guess the closer was a little early. Drove it around town 0 issues, she finally drove it to work and once almost to work said it shook a little over bumps. Fine when she left work and almost home full on DW. Checked bolts and nuts holding steering linkages. Guess it's goin to the dealer.
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post #24 of 31 Old 12-06-2016, 07:47 PM
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Good luck with that...................My first DW episode I tried a number of jeep specialist shops. What a joke. Nobody could fix it. They don't want to spend the time it takes to diagnose and fix it. They just want it gone. One shop set the toe way the hell OUT, claiming that "fixes" DW.

A dealer, wow, that should be interesting. Is there a book rate for diagnosing and fixing DW?

PS its a tire balance issue, but we already went down this path..............
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post #25 of 31 Old 12-06-2016, 10:14 PM
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Good luck with that...................My first DW episode I tried a number of jeep specialist shops. What a joke. Nobody could fix it. They don't want to spend the time it takes to diagnose and fix it. They just want it gone. One shop set the toe way the hell OUT, claiming that "fixes" DW.



A dealer, wow, that should be interesting. Is there a book rate for diagnosing and fixing DW?



PS its a tire balance issue, but we already went down this path..............

Actually, from what ive researched. setting a little toe out works on some JK's to help w/ DW.


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