Another Death Wobble issue - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-13-2011, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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Another Death Wobble issue

Okay, I've chased my tail long enough, quadruple checked everything on beautiful death wobble thread, but it was still there. It is initiated at about 25mph and hitting a bump. Though I have gotten it on a piece of new asphalt without hitting a bump at about 35mph.

Here is what I have and tried:
2007 Jeep JK unlimited rubicon
Just under 35,000 miles
clayton 4.5" lift with a JKS trackbar instead of the clayton trackbar
caster at 4.8deg
35" BFG muds on WE beadlock balanced, roadforce balanced, rotated around (no change in deathwobble).
Front track set (currently 1/8" off to the driverside) as measured by the alignment machine.
Camber is .75degrees (thanks for the cheap axles Jeep)
Ball joints are solid still (impressive)

I have tried swapping out the JKS trackbar for the OEM trackbar with the same result in deathwobble

Hands, eyes, rulers, torque wrenches and micrometers on the front suspension yield the following observations:

No bent or damaged welds
Swaybar holes are not ovaled or enlarged.
Swaybar is torqued properly, even overtorqued it a little.
Swaybar itself does deflect at the bend when moving steering wheel about 1/2" when turning left (deflects up), little to no movement turning right, but it does not move in the mount points.
There is compression of the rubber bushings as load is applied, but no difference between the stock and the JKS track bars as to the amount, I would count this as normal loading.
I have tried the JKS trackbar with the second bend in the up and down positions (1/2 turn on the adjuster) with no change.
Draglink and trackbar are fairly parallel (as parallel as you can get with a bend in the trackbar to clear the diff).

Tie rod is solid, no visible or feelable movement from it.

Drag link. I could feel something giving under the Jeep through the steering wheel, kind of like a pop, click, shutter feel. As if something was shifting. It actually comes from the drag link. You can feel it, if not see it when you have your hands on it. There was no difference in the feel at any point on drag link. I double checked the adjuster to see if it was loose or didn't have enough thread engagement. Nope. I originally though maybe a TRE was bound up, or broken. I pulled the drag link and didn't find anything bound, or broken. Not haveing a point of reference for the TRE's, they didn't appear to loose, though they did move around freely with a little pressure, not a sloppy movement, but didn't require giving yourself a hernia to move them, but having played with a few TRE's over the years, they don't appear to be bad. The TRE's on the drag link are at a pretty good angle with the lift, but should be able to handle it. There not bound and have some room for movement.

So I completely pulled the suspension and reinstalled all the OEM parts. I believe I was able to get the death wobble started, but I was going slow enough at that point and the natural reaction to jam on the brakes overrode the testing part. I could not initiate it on the drive this morning and I was gunning for bumps. I have not been able to get under it and check for the shutter that I was feeling in the drag link, but I don't feel it in the steering wheel.

My initial thoughts lead me to think that I have a problem with the drag link, or geometry between the drag link and trackbar.

Thought and help would be appreciated. I know long post, but I figured I would try to put out everything that I tried and have.

Ron

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.
But the Marines don't have that problem." ..... Ronald Reagan


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post #2 of 13 Old 05-13-2011, 08:58 AM
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I assume you are talking about my thread that is linked in my signature.

The method to check the drag link and tie rod ends ends is with a large channel pliers to check for up and down play in the ends. It is not uncommon for the stock drag link ends to fail on the stock drag link. Mine failed, and instead of replacing the ends, I just upgraded to the Currie drag link.

There should not be a clunk felt in the drag link. It is an indication of failing ends, a damaged sector shaft in the steering box, or other steering box problems.

You wouldn't be the first one who needed to replace the stock steering box.

The problem with DW is that even one episode can take out other components.

So a complete inspection of everything needs to be done in once sitting:

Remove steering stabilizer until the source(s) are diagnosed and fixed, then:
  • trackbar bushings
  • trackbar bracket bolt holes
  • trackbar bracket welds or flexing of brackets--particularly the frame side bracket
  • trackbar threads and jam nut on adjustables
  • swaybar links and ends
  • drag link ends
  • tie rod ends
  • sector shaft and steering box
  • ball joints--lowers for up and down play, and uppers for side to side play
  • unit bearings
  • control arm bushings--particularly the front uppers in the axle housing
  • control arm bracket bolt holes and bracket welds
  • remove front driveshaft to see if vibration there makes a difference
  • try a different set of tires/wheels
  • toe-in at around 1/16"
  • caster closer to the mid 4 degrees

Often, poor camber specs are an indication of failing lower ball joints more than bent Cs. The stock ball joints are weaker than the stock Cs. So, they would typically fail before the Cs bend.

Even if shimmies and/or DW gets fixed, the damage to the tires can cause ongoing problems.

Tire compounds are generally not consistent all the way through. As tires wear, the compound gets stiffer. This is why tires get louder as the wear down. Tires that are feathered or cupped due to poor alignment or wobbles will have very poor driving/vibration characteristics even if they have been correctly balanced because of the variation/combination of harder/softer rubber compounds due to the uneven wear.

Don't know if this helps, but I would suspect that with proper inspection, your out of camber spec is due to a bad lower ball joint, and the clunk in the drag link is due to a failing end and/or steering box.


By the way, love your wanderingtrail.com website.


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Last edited by planman; 05-13-2011 at 09:02 AM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-13-2011, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Yep, yours is the write up. I used it to double and triple check everything that I had already checked. I've been really meticulous running through the parts and pieces. I'm basically down to the only issue I can find is the steering. Just having a hard time grasping how it cause the death wobble, unless it initiates it and the normal give of the trackbar bushings are the result. I just can't figure out how that would do it. Either that or I have trackbars made of rubber.

Thanks on the site, I need to get back to work on it.

Ron

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.
But the Marines don't have that problem." ..... Ronald Reagan


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post #4 of 13 Old 05-13-2011, 09:50 AM
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Certainly some pretty good shimmies or wobbles can be caused by drag link issues. It typically isn't full out DW like the youtube video linked in my thread.

Have you seen this recent DW thread that ended up being a poorly drilled out knuckle for a drag link flip?

https://jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=49713


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post #5 of 13 Old 05-13-2011, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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I saw the video and that thread. No flip on mine yet, or maybe never. This is definitely full blown death wobble. At least it stays straight in the lane until I get it stopped. Right now I'm so frustrated I'm putting it back stock and taking a look from that vantage point. Just hope I can duplicate it stock.

Ron

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.
But the Marines don't have that problem." ..... Ronald Reagan


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post #6 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 02:21 PM
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Talking Woes of DW

WT, I was in your boat with my 07 Unlimited Rubicion. 4 inch skycrapper, 35" BFG AT's, everything else stock.

I was to the point of selling the JK when I happened across Planman's outline, which was the first step by step deductive solution path I had found.

Used Planman's outline and got it under control, although I did have to replace my stock junk stabilizer (bent and leaking) with an RC twin, teraflex monster forged adjustable trackbar with a JKS welded trackbar mount, but the biggest difference was a set of Poly Synergy upper and lower adjustable control arms. My Skycrapper CA bushings were shot after less than 6 months.

You might also check your stock trackbar mount for cracking around the axle. JK's are notorious for this issue front and rear.

Very shortly added Teraflex rear trackbar bracket to insure symmetry.

Good luck, it can be done!
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, I spent the weekend playing with all sorts of things and am currently back at stock with all the armor off of it. Looks pretty funny on 35's and no lift. I've eliminated pretty much everything except the drag link, steering box, and tires. I have about a 1/8" shift in the sector shaft when turning (I believe this is my clunk). The clunk feels stronger as you work your way up from the steering knuckle to the pitman arm and is strongest when you put your hand on the pitman arm. There are no cracks or loose bolts on the steering box and the frame behind it does not flex, so that appears to be good. I can't see nor measure any movement of the bolts holding the trackbar. I get about the same amount of flex and bushing deflection between the JKS bar and the stock bar, so I feel I can eliminate those points. The welds have been checked all over the place, nothing cracked. The death wobble is under control with the steering stabilizer in place up to about 45mph, where you can feel it start and then dampen out. I haven't had a chance to get it going faster. Without the stabilizer, I can still get it at about 35mph and a bump. I'm going to go check TRE on the drag link again, though initial inspection did not show any shift or movement in them.

Ron
"current owner of one frustrating Jeep and a very pissed off wife."

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, I got some better readings on the sector shaft, it's only 1/16" movement. Still can't figure out the clunk. TRE's all appear to be good, I can't get any movement out of them other than a little compression and the normal rotation. Nothing side to side. Ball joints have been pried on and nothing there. I pried on the tie rod as much as I could and couldn't get any movement there either. Only thing I can't currently eliminate is the tires. Any volunteers to come swap tires for a few minutes?

Could a rear end issue cause a death wobble up front? Never heard of it, just wondering?

Ron

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.
But the Marines don't have that problem." ..... Ronald Reagan


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post #9 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 05:15 PM
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Setup is everything, Steering stabilizers are not meant to be a DW cure. your Jeep should run perfect if setup right with no stabilizer.

The JK's draglink and tie rod are shit at best. under load they flex like a flag whip in the wind. After flexing these components over and over again they become weaker and get a slight bend or arc and flex even more. Its become a rare sight to see a straight tie rod even on a new jeep. Hitting a bump with bigger tires will allow these components to flex and induce a wobble, which in turn weakens the rods even more allowing more flex for the next time.
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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I agree about the drag link and tie rod, even if I'm not seeing any movement in the bars. Biggest thing is I need to swap out tires for someone elses ride and see if the death wobble goes away. The wife is already pissed and trying to pry money out of her hands is going to be difficult at least. She'd rather me leave the "CAR" perfectly stock... My 35's have seen a few years on them and I am leaning towards them causing a problem even if they have been roadforce balanced. Note: not worth the money I spent to do that IMO. I just can't go change out the tires on a guess..

Ron

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But the Marines don't have that problem." ..... Ronald Reagan


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post #11 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 10:34 PM
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If you are getting a shimmy/wobble that you can drive out of by going faster, it is a tire/wheel related problem.

You might be dealing with 2 issues.

The shimmy/wobble problem could be a tire/wheel or alignment problem.

The shimmy/wobble from tire/wheel or alignment problem could be just enough to trigger the DW source(s).

There should not be a clunk in the steering. It typically would be a drag link end--from your explanation, likely the end that attaches to the pitman arm.

Full on, violent DW indicates something is loose or worn. It doesn't take much. As I start out with in my DW thread, the stock trackbar bolt holes are too large for the stock bolts from the factory. Any play there ends up in ovaling of the holes. Teraflex makes a weld on piece now for the front of the axle side bracket. Many guys have had good results with welding washers that have a snug fit on the trackbar bolts onto both the front and back sides of both the axle and frame side brackets.


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post #12 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planman View Post
If you are getting a shimmy/wobble that you can drive out of by going faster, it is a tire/wheel related problem.

You might be dealing with 2 issues.

The shimmy/wobble problem could be a tire/wheel or alignment problem.

The shimmy/wobble from tire/wheel or alignment problem could be just enough to trigger the DW source(s).

There should not be a clunk in the steering. It typically would be a drag link end--from your explanation, likely the end that attaches to the pitman arm.

Full on, violent DW indicates something is loose or worn. It doesn't take much. As I start out with in my DW thread, the stock trackbar bolt holes are too large for the stock bolts from the factory. Any play there ends up in ovaling of the holes. Teraflex makes a weld on piece now for the front of the axle side bracket. Many guys have had good results with welding washers that have a snug fit on the trackbar bolts onto both the front and back sides of both the axle and frame side brackets.
I agree 100%

Jason

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post #13 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 11:33 PM
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X3 on that. I know you had them balanced but if you can, swap wheels with another JK and run it down the street. I'll bet that will expose the real problem.

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