Jeep Garage  - Jeep Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I bought a 2003 WJ (Laredo, 4.7L 4WD) with a 4” rough country suspension lift knowing it had death wobble. However a few days after purchasing it from the previous owner, it came up that they had been driving through the wobble for over a year and a half (compensated by putting it in 4WD... explained why the tires were trashed... and why they wanted to get rid of it so e

I have since replaced all 4 TRE’s, all 4 ball joints, I welded on some 3/8’s plate steel with some tight holes to reinforce the track bar brackets, installed a new adjustable track bar, installed some heavy-duty adjustable upper control arms, i replaced the huge all-terrain tires with some “smaller” all-season tires and had them balanced... outside of the standard fixes for death wobble, I also replaced the front driver’s side CV joint, had the motor mounts replaced, I rebuilt the double-Cardon and replaced the u-joint at the axle for the front drive shaft... the DW is STILL not fixed. Everything is tight... no play in the tie rod, drag link, ball joints, wheel assembly (x or z direction), track bar...

My (completely unprofessional) concerns are... 1.) The only things I know are torqued to the right specs are the track bar bolts. 2.) the adjustable control arms are currently not the same length (I had a shop install them because I couldn’t get the Jeep up high enough to safely unload the suspension to get them off but I have no faith in the shop... but it’s the only one I can get to in the current shape of the vehicle) could the difference in length mean things aren’t centered? 3.) the steering is loose... but the pitman arm has no play? 4.) the track bar is off by 1/16th of an inch... but again, everything is tight and snug 5.)It used to only happen after a bump, but now it happens unprovoked but with warning under my feet and in the steering wheel at about 55mph on the same stretch of road (the road banks slightly left when it comes on). I also have to slow WAAAY down now. almost to a complete stop to get everything to stop shaking. (When I first started working on it, it would only happen after a bump and I could “fix” it by slowing down to about 40mph).

I am a broke and poor college student... this has been the biggest stress as I live way out in the the middle of nowhere and I have to take highways almost daily (I’ve been borrowing a family car... I drive this POS WJ as LITTLE as possible to keep things from getting worse). ANY suggestions on what to try are welcome... I just feel defeated with this thing.

thanks in advance!

Elliot
 

·
Registered
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
Joined
·
264 Posts
You've done a lot and I may break your heart with this but as a guy who used to build JK Wranglers and had death wobble on Jeeps who's suspension was done 100% correct and with only 15K miles my recommendation is to turn it back to stock. Regardless if you fix the issue this time it will happen again and it's just way too much stress on a vehicle you don't have a budget to maintain. Problem with death wobble is it could be multiple small issues from various parts adding up to death wobble. Return it to stock or get rid of the damn thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
I don't know if i'd throw in the towel on the DW.
Somethings either worn, broke, bent or out of adjustment.
A 4" plus lift is the point where the front end geometry can get out of whack easily if not compensated for.

If you haven't done this already, leave the tires on the ground (do not jack the Jeep up) with engine off.
Go inside and turn the steering wheel with a helper under neath looking for any play or hearing for clicks, anything out of the ordinary.

I think you mentioned your steering is loose.
I had moderate DW in my XJ, turned out to be the steering box was worn and its steering rod had too much slop too.
Plus a worn tie rod end.

Here's what i'd do.
Do the test with a helper as i mentioned above.

What kind of shocks are installed?
If they're stiff enough they could definitely contribute to DW but likely not be the root cause as also the front end stabilizer shock.

Double check the tire balance first by rotating the rears with the front then see if that makes a difference.

Did you get a 4 wheel alignment at a reputable suspension shop preferably one that specializes in lifted Jeeps?

The 'adjustable' control arms you installed could be off spec or the wrong length for the lift.
The castor especially or even the camber or toe could be out of factory specs.

The track bar could be another cause. Either worn mounting bolt holes, worn bushings or if its adjustable and new, again you nee to get that 4 wheel alignment done by a shop that knows Jeeps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I have been on the borderline of just calling it quits with this thing. If I was the one who lifted it, and still had the stock parts, I’d just drop it and call it good. But I am not willing to put the money and time into lowering as is. I was able to get it to a speciality shop that focuses on lifted vehicles and they did a tow and caster alignment and a “shake down”... they said everything was pretty darn tight but the tow and camber were far off (about 2* each side for both tow and camber). They also said the shocks are pretty darn worn... I need to get some shims in order to get the rest of the alignment fixed. It seems a lot better, but not quite there. I’m hoping that by fixing the camber and putting in some new shocks will stiffen it up enough to do the trick.
I appreciate both of your guys’ input and advice! Things are getting there, but I’m not sure this thing will every be a relaxing ride.
 

·
Registered
2014 Summit 5.7 4wd 20" tires swapped to 18", added all skid plates
Joined
·
1,798 Posts
I have been on the borderline of just calling it quits with this thing. If I was the one who lifted it, and still had the stock parts, I’d just drop it and call it good. But I am not willing to put the money and time into lowering as is. I was able to get it to a speciality shop that focuses on lifted vehicles and they did a tow and caster alignment and a “shake down”... they said everything was pretty darn tight but the tow and camber were far off (about 2* each side for both tow and camber). They also said the shocks are pretty darn worn... I need to get some shims in order to get the rest of the alignment fixed. It seems a lot better, but not quite there. I’m hoping that by fixing the camber and putting in some new shocks will stiffen it up enough to do the trick.
I appreciate both of your guys’ input and advice! Things are getting there, but I’m not sure this thing will every be a relaxing ride.
A friend of mine bought a brand new one and experienced death wobble within the first several hundred miles. Also several times after including one instance where it was heading off the side of the road in a curve from the wobble and he was having trouble regaining control.. had to slow way down and luckily had room to do so. After less then 18 months he got rid of it, was too worried it was going to kill him. Personally I think the tires on many of these are just too big and heavy relative to the rest of the vehicle... but I'm sure there are many theories of the cause....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
I have been on the borderline of just calling it quits with this thing. If I was the one who lifted it, and still had the stock parts, I’d just drop it and call it good. But I am not willing to put the money and time into lowering as is. I was able to get it to a speciality shop that focuses on lifted vehicles and they did a tow and caster alignment and a “shake down”... they said everything was pretty darn tight but the tow and camber were far off (about 2* each side for both tow and camber). They also said the shocks are pretty darn worn... I need to get some shims in order to get the rest of the alignment fixed. It seems a lot better, but not quite there. I’m hoping that by fixing the camber and putting in some new shocks will stiffen it up enough to do the trick.
I appreciate both of your guys’ input and advice! Things are getting there, but I’m not sure this thing will every be a relaxing ride.
Well there you go maybe the root cause is the front alignment needs to be set back to factory specs.
Once you get the front alignment sorted out, i'd have that shop do a 4 wheel alignment to check the track bar length.
When you replace the shocks, i'd also replace the front steering stabilizer shock.
A 4+ inch lift will likely never give a Cadillac ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
w
Hey all,

I bought a 2003 WJ (Laredo, 4.7L 4WD) with a 4” rough country suspension lift knowing it had death wobble. However a few days after purchasing it from the previous owner, it came up that they had been driving through the wobble for over a year and a half (compensated by putting it in 4WD... explained why the tires were trashed... and why they wanted to get rid of it so e

I have since replaced all 4 TRE’s, all 4 ball joints, I welded on some 3/8’s plate steel with some tight holes to reinforce the track bar brackets, installed a new adjustable track bar, installed some heavy-duty adjustable upper control arms, i replaced the huge all-terrain tires with some “smaller” all-season tires and had them balanced... outside of the standard fixes for death wobble, I also replaced the front driver’s side CV joint, had the motor mounts replaced, I rebuilt the double-Cardon and replaced the u-joint at the axle for the front drive shaft... the DW is STILL not fixed. Everything is tight... no play in the tie rod, drag link, ball joints, wheel assembly (x or z direction), track bar...

My (completely unprofessional) concerns are... 1.) The only things I know are torqued to the right specs are the track bar bolts. 2.) the adjustable control arms are currently not the same length (I had a shop install them because I couldn’t get the Jeep up high enough to safely unload the suspension to get them off but I have no faith in the shop... but it’s the only one I can get to in the current shape of the vehicle) could the difference in length mean things aren’t centered? 3.) the steering is loose... but the pitman arm has no play? 4.) the track bar is off by 1/16th of an inch... but again, everything is tight and snug 5.)It used to only happen after a bump, but now it happens unprovoked but with warning under my feet and in the steering wheel at about 55mph on the same stretch of road (the road banks slightly left when it comes on). I also have to slow WAAAY down now. almost to a complete stop to get everything to stop shaking. (When I first started working on it, it would only happen after a bump and I could “fix” it by slowing down to about 40mph).

I am a broke and poor college student... this has been the biggest stress as I live way out in the the middle of nowhere and I have to take highways almost daily (I’ve been borrowing a family car... I drive this POS WJ as LITTLE as possible to keep things from getting worse). ANY suggestions on what to try are welcome... I just feel defeated with this thing.

thanks in advance!

Elliot
wow, that is the best advise^^^. As i have spent thousands... 4^ lift, upper control arms, bushings upper/lower ball joints, gearing mechanism, sway bar. Your really have to want this to justify the work it takes to figure this out. Your in a quagmire tying to figure out a i
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Hi, fellow WJ2004,

I agree w the post that says to stop now. I have spent thousands and become a expert on front end single axle steering and suspension. If your just not committed with money and passion, then stop now. Because this is a rabbit hole.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
only thing left are tre and bushings. if that is not it maybe your knuckle/pit man arm and bushings. if thats not it then you prolly have a salvaged title and the frame is bent.
 

·
Registered
03 WJ, 4.Slow, 3" IRO
Joined
·
139 Posts
Unfortunately driving around with DW will hammer EVERYTHING loose in the front-end. Persistent DW is usually the result of a collection of very minor issues. Bad shocks and steering stabilizers never help but are not the cause. However, shocks that are adjustable for rebound and compression can prevent it but all balljoints, tierods, etc must be tight. Simply having two different brands or rated shocks can prevent it, but it is not a cure, or good idea.

Every steering component will need to be replaced after DW has occurred. If you replace, say just balljoints, and drive it to DW again, your new balljoints are now compromised. It is best to replace everything at the sametime.

As stated above, mounting holes can be ovaled and not detected on standard checks. Control arm bushings are often destroyed. Too much toe-in will cause DW. You should have neutral or slight toe-in. You can adjust the steering box (its very easy) but only do it in 1/4 turn increments! You can bind the steering by over tightening. This is only a temporary fix, a worn steering box will need to be replaced.

The very design of most straight axle coil-spring front-ends is the problem. It is, not just waiting to happen, it WANTS to happen. It could have been easily designed away, but beancounters had a strangle holds on the engineers. Several car companies, including Jeep, went before Congress to testify on DW. Of course, the car companies convinced or politicians it is the owner of the vehicle to blame. We don't want to spend money on maintenance. Also, DW is not, in fact, deadly, just an inconvenience...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
This ^
I haven't had death wobble for years with my XJ but a few weeks ago i was driving on a 60 mph road and decided to pass some slow driver.
Problem was the dilapidated road divider area between lanes was full of deep pot holes.
It was the perfect storm..... deep pot holes, turning at 60+ mph and i was on cruise control at the time.
That resulted in a death wobble from hell.

Checked the front end carefully and everything wast tight but discovered the front steering stabilizer was definitely shot.
Don't know if that shot steering stabilizer was the root cause or not but it hasn't happened since i replaced it.
These old Jeep front ends are on the edge of stability and any little thing can set off the dreaded death wobble.
 

·
Registered
03 WJ, 4.Slow, 3" IRO
Joined
·
139 Posts
Moparado,

With DW caused by a pothole, try rechecking track bar bushings and bolts. Also, recheck the entire draglink and everything attached to it including the steering box. Very, very small amounts of play can add up.

Yes, DW is a very violently event! Have you ever seen the front-end of a vehicle when "Death Wobble from Hell" occurs? It is truly impressive to see the front wheels bouncing almost a foot in the air several times a second!

A new steering stabilizer will definitely help prevent death wobble, but it is not the cause. Long story short, I drove my WJ for over a week without any stabilizer or left-front shock, DW never occurred.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
Moparado,

With DW caused by a pothole, try rechecking track bar bushings and bolts. Also, recheck the entire draglink and everything attached to it including the steering box. Very, very small amounts of play can add up.

Yes, DW is a very violently event! Have you ever seen the front-end of a vehicle when "Death Wobble from Hell" occurs? It is truly impressive to see the front wheels bouncing almost a foot in the air several times a second!

A new steering stabilizer will definitely help prevent death wobble, but it is not the cause. Long story short, I drove my WJ for over a week without any stabilizer or left-front shock, DW never occurred.
Yep i tend to agree that a shot steering stabilizer is probably not the root cause but in my case it didn't hurt to replace it.
The other thing that was shot were the front sway bar bushings which were veeery worn.
The front end was checked thoroughly with absolutely no play anywhere.

After replacing the steering stabilizer and the sway bar bushings, it hasn't happened since but haven't pressed my luck either. Cross my fingers.
These semi unstable XJ front end suspensions are always teetering on the edge of DW when any little thing gets worn, out of adjustment or even from tire issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Hey all,

I bought a 2003 WJ (Laredo, 4.7L 4WD) with a 4” rough country suspension lift knowing it had death wobble. However a few days after purchasing it from the previous owner, it came up that they had been driving through the wobble for over a year and a half (compensated by putting it in 4WD... explained why the tires were trashed... and why they wanted to get rid of it so e

I have since replaced all 4 TRE’s, all 4 ball joints, I welded on some 3/8’s plate steel with some tight holes to reinforce the track bar brackets, installed a new adjustable track bar, installed some heavy-duty adjustable upper control arms, i replaced the huge all-terrain tires with some “smaller” all-season tires and had them balanced... outside of the standard fixes for death wobble, I also replaced the front driver’s side CV joint, had the motor mounts replaced, I rebuilt the double-Cardon and replaced the u-joint at the axle for the front drive shaft... the DW is STILL not fixed. Everything is tight... no play in the tie rod, drag link, ball joints, wheel assembly (x or z direction), track bar...

My (completely unprofessional) concerns are... 1.) The only things I know are torqued to the right specs are the track bar bolts. 2.) the adjustable control arms are currently not the same length (I had a shop install them because I couldn’t get the Jeep up high enough to safely unload the suspension to get them off but I have no faith in the shop... but it’s the only one I can get to in the current shape of the vehicle) could the difference in length mean things aren’t centered? 3.) the steering is loose... but the pitman arm has no play? 4.) the track bar is off by 1/16th of an inch... but again, everything is tight and snug 5.)It used to only happen after a bump, but now it happens unprovoked but with warning under my feet and in the steering wheel at about 55mph on the same stretch of road (the road banks slightly left when it comes on). I also have to slow WAAAY down now. almost to a complete stop to get everything to stop shaking. (When I first started working on it, it would only happen after a bump and I could “fix” it by slowing down to about 40mph).

I am a broke and poor college student... this has been the biggest stress as I live way out in the the middle of nowhere and I have to take highways almost daily (I’ve been borrowing a family car... I drive this POS WJ as LITTLE as possible to keep things from getting worse). ANY suggestions on what to try are welcome... I just feel defeated with this thing.

thanks in advance!

Elliot
Hey just for the heck of it make sure your brake caliper is not siezed. I change alot of parts in the front end and my caliper was stuck and caused death wobble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
Moparado,

With DW caused by a pothole, try rechecking track bar bushings and bolts. Also, recheck the entire draglink and everything attached to it including the steering box. Very, very small amounts of play can add up.

Yes, DW is a very violently event! Have you ever seen the front-end of a vehicle when "Death Wobble from Hell" occurs? It is truly impressive to see the front wheels bouncing almost a foot in the air several times a second!

A new steering stabilizer will definitely help prevent death wobble, but it is not the cause. Long story short, I drove my WJ for over a week without any stabilizer or left-front shock, DW never occurred.
Yep everything checked out ok including all that you mentioned.
The front end is tight, good shocks, tires balanced and alignment on target.
So far i attribute it as i said earlier to a perfect DW storm at hi speed then hitting a deep pot hole while turning sharply.
Not to mention my steering stabilizer was totally leaking shot and the worn sway bar bushings didn't help either.
Since replacing the stabilizer and sway bar bushings it hasn't happened since and i've hit some good bumps at hi speed albeit i wasn't turning at those times.

I'll tell you what at 60mph, on cruise control and totally unexpecting DW it was an instant adrenaline white knuckle end of the world WTF happened.
 

·
Registered
03 WJ, 4.Slow, 3" IRO
Joined
·
139 Posts
Yep everything checked out ok including all that you mentioned.
The front end is tight, good shocks, tires balanced and alignment on target.
So far i attribute it as i said earlier to a perfect DW storm at hi speed then hitting a deep pot hole while turning sharply.
Not to mention my steering stabilizer was totally leaking shot and the worn sway bar bushings didn't help either.
Since replacing the stabilizer and sway bar bushings it hasn't happened since and i've hit some good bumps at hi speed albeit i wasn't turning at those times.

I'll tell you what at 60mph, on cruise control and totally unexpecting DW it was an instant adrenaline white knuckle end of the world WTF happened.
A bad stabilizer won't cause DW, but it's about the only thing up there that can keep it from happening. A little short-term trick I figured out to actually stop DW. I Plasti-Dipped my front springs. It can dampen the harmonic vibration just enough to make it stop. I have also had success with sliding rubber tubing around the spring wire. You can feel Death Wobble start and then fade away. It's not a permanent solution, because whatever is worn will continue to wear and get worse.

I'll tell you what at 60mph, on cruise control and totally unexpecting DW it was an instant adrenaline white knuckle end of the world WTF happened.
LOL I bet!!! :oops: It feels like forever trying to get the dang slowed down from just 35 mph! You half expected to see springs, wheels and the draglink to come flying out in all directions!
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top