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Causes of Death Wobble

Jim King

Member
Feb 23, 2019
76
New Jersey
Dreaded death wobble.
Replaced sway bar bushings, not knowing much. Joined this forum, gold mine of information. Tires rebalance and new shocks and steering stabilizer, Rancho 5000. Replaced front track bar, Moog, larger diameter bolt as well. I am going to install Crown HD steering this weekend. Steering is a little vague. I have a little clunking in the front, suspecting ball joints. That is beyond my mechanical abolity, so I'm going to bring it to my local garage, old school mechanics, I have had good luck with them in the past. My question is will anything else cause DW? I'll ask them to check the wheel bearings as well.
 

maddogs1911

New Member
Jun 12, 2019
1
Wintersville Ohio
My tire and front end Guy, tightened the Steering Box Screw , On certain roads its back. Lowered air pressure from 36 to 32 , I am sure there more things Just havent gotten there yet , Cheers -- Dog
 

Mikester86

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving isn't 4 U
Supporting Member
Dec 6, 2018
322
Michigan
My tire and front end Guy, tightened the Steering Box Screw , On certain roads its back. Lowered air pressure from 36 to 32 , I am sure there more things Just havent gotten there yet , Cheers -- Dog
I have heard of the steering box screw tightening method to tighten up loose steering. I have also heard it should not be touched, and the issue(s) causing it should be corrected/replaced.
 

BillNyeIsHigh

Member
May 10, 2018
64
Charleston, SC, USA
Dreaded death wobble.
Replaced sway bar bushings, not knowing much. Joined this forum, gold mine of information. Tires rebalance and new shocks and steering stabilizer, Rancho 5000. Replaced front track bar, Moog, larger diameter bolt as well. I am going to install Crown HD steering this weekend. Steering is a little vague. I have a little clunking in the front, suspecting ball joints. That is beyond my mechanical abolity, so I'm going to bring it to my local garage, old school mechanics, I have had good luck with them in the past. My question is will anything else cause DW? I'll ask them to check the wheel bearings as well.

Clunking could be control arm bushings as well. Jack up a tire and put a crow bar underneath and pry upwards. If you see movement in the ball joints, then you know they're worn. You can also grab tire at 6 and 12 and rock back and forth. I believe the pry bar is a better test method with our Jeeps. I will say, rent a BJ press from auto zone, watch a good youtube video and set aside 2-4 hours of your time and ball joints really aren't too hard to do.

Make sure that you have all steering components torqued correctly as that can cause issues with DW.

I must ask, do you truly have death wobble or just a shimmy in the steering wheel at certain speeds? If it is a shimmy, go get those tires road force balanced.

If you are having issues with your steering box, it will be expensive to replace unless you swap to the cheaper 97-02 steering box. They switched to a Mercedes box on '03 which does not have any rebuild kits floating around. If you are lucky like me, you can find a decent one on Ebay for cheaper than 600 bucks. I believe there is some room for adjustment with the screw but once you hit the end of that adjustment you need to just replace the unit.

My tire and front end Guy, tightened the Steering Box Screw , On certain roads its back. Lowered air pressure from 36 to 32 , I am sure there more things Just haven't gotten there yet , Cheers -- Dog
Your profile does not specify tires size but I would suspect that even 32 PSI is too high for you tires. I run my 33's at 26 PSI for best comfort. It all depends on size and load range of your tire, but 32 PSI rides like a damn train in these Jeeps.
 

Goatman

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 23, 2019
507
Upstate NY
I've got 265/75R16 tires with very low tred. My front felt extremely vague and floaty above 40 mph until I dropped the air down to about 26 psi. Even the tag inside the door frame says 26 psi. I have replaced ALL lower steering (all were due), but until I dropped the air it felt loose.
 

tworley

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
May 23, 2018
2,271
Morrison, CO

A dry steering test can tell you a lot if you havent performed it yet.
 
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Paparock1

Angry SE
Supporting Member
May 14, 2018
112
AL, USA
things I had to do to fix my issues: Tie rod replacement along with both tie rod ends (went to ZJ draglink), found crack in LCA mount on drivers side, welded that up along with mini sliders. 28 psi in tires (had to plug one as it would loose air then cause the wobble), Alignment, toe was in 1", I used two straight edges attached with bungy cords to the inside of my tires. 4 foot long angle iron. measured as far back as I could and measured the front. brought the toe measurements to 1/4" toe in. drives awesome!
 

BillNyeIsHigh

Member
May 10, 2018
64
Charleston, SC, USA
things I had to do to fix my issues: Tie rod replacement along with both tie rod ends (went to ZJ draglink), found crack in LCA mount on drivers side, welded that up along with mini sliders. 28 psi in tires (had to plug one as it would loose air then cause the wobble), Alignment, toe was in 1", I used two straight edges attached with bungy cords to the inside of my tires. 4 foot long angle iron. measured as far back as I could and measured the front. brought the toe measurements to 1/4" toe in. drives awesome!
FYI, when doing the alignment, you should measure from the point at where your tire diameter is. Mine are marked for my 33's and also have markings for when I had 35's on as well.
 
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astjp2

TJ Addict
Aug 22, 2018
2,082
Utah and Alaska
I just pulled my new track bar so I could align my front axle after the frame got straightened, the axle side bolt is only 10mm, I thought it was a 12, I bought a new synergy DDB track bar busing, it is 12mm. I may have to hit up the junk yard up for a 12mm bolt and flag nut once I decide to swap the clevite bushing for the synergy. I really need to get some wheels that I can put balance weights on both sides of the wheel. I hope that would take care of my death wobble. Tim