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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am proud to say after months of dealing with a severe death wobble, my death wobble is gone. Big thanks to JKO and the great assistance members go out of their way for diagnosis and solutions to fix the issue. Also, a huge thanks to my good friend Tim (he'll be on here soon with a 4Door JK) for the time an efforts working on my Jeep doing alignments, tire balancing, torquing, putting the ball joints in - he did it all! Tim also put hours of work taking with my Jeep up on his lift at work. (nothing like seeing a Jeep in an Audi Service Department.)

A little about my Jeep:
2009 Unlimited Rubicon, 4.5in lift w/ 37in tires. almost 37,000 miles (Lift/wheels/tires/gears/bumpers added at 12,000 miles.)

The Jeep drove great until about 30,000 miels. I noticed the steering was very muted and a looseness started in.

- At about 34,000 miles the tires would start wobbling at exactly 40mph and stop if I powered through 50mpg or slowed down. I worked through the checklist thread on this site. Tightening all the bolts to spec, road force balancing tires and putting the best two up front, and replacing my track bar since I got a very low mile one of a buddy's Jeep that he had just laying around.

- At 35,900 miles the wobble was occurring more often and was getting worse. We checked the ball joints using a crow bar and I had a few millimeters of up/down play. Reading up I found there should only be about 1mm of play. Also, turning the wheel side to side would reveal a dull popping in the bottom passenger ball joint. I was referred to a local dealer and after the Jeep sitting there a whole damn weekend, the called me Monday afternoon claiming the ball joints were "within spec" and will not be replaced under warranty. I was not happy with their stance or poor communication, but nothing I can do, so I thanked them and left. They also pointed to my Teraflex LCA's claiming the threads were shot from poor maintenance causeing the DW, so I should buy new ones. Nice try, no thanks. To be sure I took the adjustable LCA'a off and put on the AEV drop brackets and OEM LCA's. I liked them better anyway, so I sold the Tera Flex LCA's.

- At 36,500-36,700 miles there was no way of stopping the wobble until I slowed to less than 15mpg and even at that the wobble was intermittent. Going down the highway 60-65mph, there were times I would hit a bump and it would go into full-on death wobble until I came almost to a stop. I did the checklist again, Tim did an alignment putting the toe-in just slightly. It helped. The wobble appeared less often, but anytime I hit a bump or followed a long curve in the road it would come on very hard not stopping until I came to a stop.

It was time to pick an upgrade and do it. My next steps were new ball joints, then a new drag link and tie rod. I chose to go with ball joints first as I don't see any play (or odd bends) in the drag link or tie rod.

This week we replaced the Ball Joints and the crispness is back in my steering and going over speed bumps and dips in the road is just like it was long ago.

I put 150 miles on the Jeep today running around town. City driving, highway driving and all is well.

Upon installation. When we took the hub off, it was apparent the ball joints were shot. The bottom joint could be moved around effortlessly and you could feel the play. Same with the top, it would go up down with little effort and you could move it left/right very slightly by hand.

With several aftermarket choices to go with, I chose the Dynatrac Pro-Steer Ball Joints because of their long life and the ability to rebuild them down the road. I'm extremely happy with the results and the fit and finish of their product.

Youtube of the OEM lower ball joint

Pics from the install



 

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Very cool that you resolved your issues. Its always good to have a friend that can help as well. Thanks for the details, im sure this will help people who are frustrated with death wobble.

RENEGADE
 

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Cool, nice pics of it. My lower ball joints were totally wore out. All good now:beer:
 

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I chose the ball joints the Poly Performance sells, won't be able to say how good they are until i get home and drive my baby around :D :D
That's what I went with. You'll be very happy.
 

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At what mileage is everyone getting BJ issues? :D
 

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At what mileage is everyone getting BJ issues? :D
My wife's 4 dr needed them at 23k miles.

My 2 dr needed driver sides at 12k miles. Then, I replaced all of them with Dynatracs at about 16k miles.

Our second 4 dr had them replaced at 36k miles. They are still good at 77k miles.

It varies. The stock design is poor. People should inspect their lowers at around every oil change frequency if they are running original factory ball joints. It takes about 5-10 minutes max with a floor jack and a long pry bar or 2x4 or something else to use as a lever.


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I just started getting a wobble at 40 mph this morning. My 2011 two-door Rubicon has 28,000 miles on it. I've never had the wobble, and this doesn't (yet) qualify as death wobble - it starts to wobble at 40 mph, stops soon after as you accelerate through it, and hasn't (yet) gotten out of control. It does it even less often on deceleration.

The Jeep is running RK 2.5-inch springs and all RK control arms EXCEPT the front uppers which are stock, as well as RK track bars. It has AEV wheels and 35-inch KM2s. I just got done having the tires rebalanced and rotated, and the problem is still there. I'm currently in Odessa, TX, where we've had some cold weather and snow over the last few days. At first I thought I might have ice or mud accumulated in a wheel, but it's in the 50s today and nothing has changed. I've checked all suspension and steering arms and everything is kosher. I have about a millimeter of lateral play in the Krawler joint at the axle on the driver's side LCA, but I wouldn't think that would cause it.

Sounds like I might be in a similar situation as the OP. Any ideas?
 

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Ive had this wobble/shimmy from 45-55mph on 2 Jeeps an 08 and an 07, Ive put RK arms, custom tie rod with 1ton ends, poly ball joint, Teraflex track bar, and a Bilstein SS. This all has helped tighten up the steering greatly and minimized my problem but its still somewhat there. Next is a poly high steer drag link with bracket and a sector shaft brace. After that I give up.
 

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I had similar issues, started around 37,000 miles and when I went from 35" Nitto's to 37" H1 take offs my shimmy turned worse and eventually horrible death wobble. I did Planman's checklist a few times, alignments, tire balancing, installed bit's and pieces along the way all with minimal visible play in my balljoints, less than 2mm but when I broke down and installed Poly's joints it was like driving a new Jeep again! Once the knuckle was removed it was easy to see just how bad the bottom ball joints had gotten but the tops were not too far behind. It's all thanks to a great community and vendors here on JKO that my frustration finally was ended and I can enjoy driving my JK again and it's good to here others succeed too.

Mike
 

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Ive had this wobble/shimmy from 45-55mph on 2 Jeeps an 08 and an 07, Ive put RK arms, custom tie rod with 1ton ends, poly ball joint, Teraflex track bar, and a Bilstein SS. This all has helped tighten up the steering greatly and minimized my problem but its still somewhat there. Next is a poly high steer drag link with bracket and a sector shaft brace. After that I give up.
You can't use the sector shaft brace and bracket with the Tera tb. I called and asked . You have to use a straight tb without the bend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just started getting a wobble at 40 mph this morning. My 2011 two-door Rubicon has 28,000 miles on it. I've never had the wobble, and this doesn't (yet) qualify as death wobble - it starts to wobble at 40 mph, stops soon after as you accelerate through it, and hasn't (yet) gotten out of control. It does it even less often on deceleration.

The Jeep is running RK 2.5-inch springs and all RK control arms EXCEPT the front uppers which are stock, as well as RK track bars. It has AEV wheels and 35-inch KM2s. I just got done having the tires rebalanced and rotated, and the problem is still there. I'm currently in Odessa, TX, where we've had some cold weather and snow over the last few days. At first I thought I might have ice or mud accumulated in a wheel, but it's in the 50s today and nothing has changed. I've checked all suspension and steering arms and everything is kosher. I have about a millimeter of lateral play in the Krawler joint at the axle on the driver's side LCA, but I wouldn't think that would cause it.

Sounds like I might be in a similar situation as the OP. Any ideas?
That's exactly how mine set in and the symptoms I had. Whether it is your ball joints or not, the factory ones suck and you'll be a step ahead replacing them now. At the moment you can power through it or slow down to stop it, but over time mine got worse.
 

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You can't use the sector shaft brace and bracket with the Tera tb. I called and asked . You have to use a straight tb without the bend.
Good to know thanks, I guess maybe an upgraded steering box.
 

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That's exactly how mine set in and the symptoms I had. Whether it is your ball joints or not, the factory ones suck and you'll be a step ahead replacing them now. At the moment you can power through it or slow down to stop it, but over time mine got worse.
Yep, and I'm really glad I found this thread. I spent some time talking to Marcus at RCO last night, and ordered the Poly ball joints. I'm pretty confident they will be the solution. Thanks for posting your experiences!
 

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I still don't understand how DW is caused by the ball joints going bad...
is it just because there is lateral play?

I was under the impression that the only "real" DW was caused by the track bar being loose.

everything else was just a shimmy or wobble.

I'm most likely wrong, as my beast is parked because I don't have time until after the first of the year to work on the front end.

It's sad really to see an '09 with less than 40k on blocks with no axles under it... and still making payments while it sits there taunting me!
 
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