Death Wobble Survey

AndyG

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Jul 30, 2018
1,808
Alabama
Knowing tire balance causes most death wobble ,or at least sets it off-

How many forum members have experienced death wobble with oversized mud tires , versus all terrain and street tires?

Personally I 've had it with all terrains on an F250 and it was track bar related .

My Jeep with KO2's (12.5 x 33) hasn't had it .
 

Jerry Bransford

TJ Guru
Supporting Member
Nov 9, 2015
9,982
Escondido California
In 22 years with a TJ, my rare DW cases with just one fully developed DW case have all been caused by bad tire balance. By itself, a loose passive component cannot be the root cause of DW, it can just make it easier for DW caused by a spinning unbalanced tire which is what provides the power behind DW's violence
 

Artemis

TJ Enthusiast
Jul 17, 2018
348
New Madison, Ohio
I had it with my AT tires, and I felt like an ass when I discovered what was causing it. I do a quick PMCS before I ever drive. Like look around and the body and tires, wipers, check fluids periodically. My tires "looked" good, but after I had the DW for a week, I was like wtf? I looked over everything to see if something was broken (and I am not mechanical inclined) so the last thing I did was check tire pressure. Front driver had 8 lbs. Yes, 8 lbs! The others had over 32 and I did just have an oil change so I figured someone didn't do something they said they did when they marked on the paper. Never any problem since. I just make sure to check tire pressures more often!
 

Daryl

Bumblebee
Supporting Member
Apr 29, 2018
762
California, USA
In 22 years with a TJ, my rare DW cases with just one fully developed DW case have all been caused by bad tire balance. By itself, a loose passive component cannot be the root cause of DW, it can just make it easier for DW caused by a spinning unbalanced tire which is what provides the power behind DW's violence
Well stated Jerry.
 

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,333
Texas Hill Country
I had DW on 31x10.5r15 MT/R’s. I had them balanced and still had DW. Then I got a new trackbar, it was better there was still a shimmy and after about 2 months I was going into DW again. I replaced the tie rod ends (and ZJ tie rod and drag link at the same time) and it went back to a shimmy. I had the tires balanced again. It was better but still a shimmy. I got a set of new larger tires 33x12.5 MT/R’s and everything was perfect. I concluded that those tires were shot (I knew from the sidewall numbers they were almost 5 years old and my tread level was 5/32 so it was time anyway) and I had some components that were at or near the end of their life. Good thread...
 
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bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,076
NorCal
BFG KM's, Life is over DW. Balanced 3 times, better, but still onset. New TB, still there. ZJ tie rod, better, but shimmy, Currie Lower arms, cured.
 

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,333
Texas Hill Country
X2, and I’ve owned quite a few.

I have however been in a friends Jeep when it happened. It’s scary as hell when it’s real death wobble.
You guys must be babies. I read that guys sh—their pants when they get DW. It’s really not that bad (to me). And yes, I had it, like 50 times, and I always had to come to a complete stop or near complete stop to get it to stop shaking violently. Of course, I’m used to sitting passenger in my wife’s Yukon. That, in itself is so scary that my opinion may be skewed. :meparto:
 
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tworley

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
May 23, 2018
1,845
Morrison, CO
Had it once at about 40 mph, and it was truly death wobble. I had to come to a complete stop and it damn near jerked my hands off the wheel. I didnt spend any time looking for the cause because that very same weekend I installed adjustable control arms, trackbar, and zj steering that were already planned. Never had DW since.
 

CodaMan

California Prisoner (for only a while longer)
Supporting Member
Mar 9, 2017
2,752
California (for now)
I had DW when I purchased my first TJ .. that was why I got it so cheap. The PO borrowed a friends tires and wheels but still had DW so he sold it cheap.

When I bought it I replaced the tires, had a spot on balance and replaced a worn track bar ... the thing drove perfect.

It is my theory that DW starts with bad tire balance and then VERY quickly destroys other parts. So the moral of the story is to keep your tires balanced and in good condition to save your front end components.
 
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Liberated

TJ Enthusiast
Aug 23, 2018
105
Northwest Ohio
When I first bought my jeep, I had bad tie rod ends... Really bad. The thing drove great all the way home. It was stock, and on 215/70r15 ATs. I didn't get the death wobble until I hit a really rough bump on US6 doing 60. But it went all out. Happened several times in that same spot.

I was in the midst of a whole house remodel, and not ready to do the lift, so I paid a shop to do the repairs and lift at the same time(worst decision ever, that place sucked). With 33s and new tre's the serious death wobble was over, but they balanced the tires like crap, and it wiggled constantly, until I got rebalanced by a better shop. Got new track bars and control arms at the same time, so I don't know if they had any effect, but now she rolls smooth.
 

Imapepper

TJ Enthusiast
DW is fine if no one is around you.In heavy traffic it gets a little frightening. Mine was caused by a foolish decision to buy used tires, they balanced OK but still had dw. After replacing steering components that were suspect and still having dw new tires were purchased and balanced... no DW or carrying around tp and replacement boxers.
 
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JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,333
Texas Hill Country
There seems to be a recurring theme here. Nearly everyone ultimately had some tire issue and replaced some steering components. I agree essentially with @CodaMan, that the DW gets started by something wrong with the tires, it could be that they are old and no longer round, or they are out of balance, or they have poor inflation. The DW then causes premature wearing of other components. So if you replace those components and get the tires right you're good to go.

One more note: It doesn't help matters that we put larger tires on these Jeeps. They are a lot more rolling mass.
 
Reactions: CodaMan

Longarmtj

New Member
Oct 9, 2018
3
mississippi
Had it couple bad heim joints on steering arms and drop pitman arm teeth had worn causing a little play there. It was worse with super swampers but still had it with a new set of tires.
 

06TJ35's

TJ Enthusiast
Mar 17, 2018
376
Los Angeles, CA, USA
I had DW with my previous all terrain tires fixed the trac bar tighten all bolts.Fixed. I decided to buy used 15wheels and with 35 mud tires. I immediately DW.First thing I did was balance tires. Same time I looked at my ball joints and they were shot and the new set up exposed them. I replaced ball joints. The death wobble is fixed. Forward maybe a year my death wobble is back.-.-