Help with lifted TJ

Sharpermd

New Member
Aug 28, 2018
10
2
Carmel, Indiana
#1
Recently bought a 2003 TJ with 33 inch BFGoodrich tires. The ride is terrible, and I've had a 3 "death wobbles" in the last 2 months. Although I was told the wrangler was not lifted, this is what I see when I look at the front suspension. I am sure I will need some suspension work, and have purchased a new oem track bar. But I am worried that I need to "fix" the entire suspension to fix this problem. Is this a 3 inch or 4inch lift, and can I improve the ride by just removing a "ring" from the suspension? New to this game, but am trying to learn! Thanks in advance!

Lift2.jpg
 

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
6,731
6,449
Texas Hill Country, United States
#3
Congratulations on your new TJ! There is no way anyone on the forum can tell you how much lift you have from the photo. However, if you measure the coil springs plus the spacers in your photo, then you’ll know. Stock is 12” up front and 8” in the rear. Anything over that is the amount of lift those spacers are giving.

Ride quality is related to your tire pressure and your shocks, not your springs. So, with 33’s drop your pressure down to 26psi. For your shocks, after you figure out how much lift you have and decide what you want to do with your suspension, get some Rancho 5000X shocks and you’ll be in heaven.

Unfortunately, a stock track bar with the lift you have will keep your front axle off center. The reason is when you add lift the trackbar really needs to be longer to keep the axle centered under the Jeep. It’s attached on the passenger side at the axle and the driver side at the frame. Since the frame won’t move, the axle is shifted toward the driver side. To correct this you need an adjustable trackbar.

However, for now just figure out how much lift you have and what you want to do with the suspension. Then you can decide on new shocks. And get that air pressure down to 26psi, that will make a world of difference and your tires will wear evenly.
 

steelhd

New Member
Jan 1, 2019
10
16
Eastern WA
#4
Unfortunately, a stock track bar with the lift you have will keep your front axle off center. The reason is when you add lift the trackbar really needs to be longer to keep the axle centered under the Jeep. It’s attached on the passenger side at the axle and the driver side at the frame. Since the frame won’t move, the axle is shifted toward the driver side.
Ive been told that can be a cause of death wobble. The significant shift off center causes energy to build up in the suspension as the Jeep travels down the road and with an upsetting bump the energy releases releases. Im sure I didnt get that technically correct but thats the general idea. Maybe real, maybe not.
 

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
6,731
6,449
Texas Hill Country, United States
#6
Ive been told that can be a cause of death wobble. The significant shift off center causes energy to build up in the suspension as the Jeep travels down the road and with an upsetting bump the energy releases releases. Im sure I didnt get that technically correct but thats the general idea. Maybe real, maybe not.
Thanks for the responses! Unfortunately, bought the oem track bar, so hopefully I can return it. Cheers!
Death wobble, which I had for two months almost daily, is sourced in tires being out of balance coupled with worn front end component(s). The problem is harmonic oscillation caused by the out of balance tires taking advantage of your worn component(s). But you could even have it without worn component(s). Some JL's have already reportedly got Death wobble. Getting the tires balanced is the first step. They have to be perfect. Insist that the tire tech get it perfect and not just good enough. If this doesn't work, sometimes the tires themselves won't balance because they are out of round or just plain old and no one can explain what is wrong with them. This was my problem. I replaced my track bar and my tie rod and tie rod ends and drag link. This helped a lot, but there was still a shimmy between 40-45mph. The day I got new tires (and they were larger, I went up from 31's to 33's), there was no more shimmy. It drove perfect and does to this day.
 
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Sharpermd

New Member
Aug 28, 2018
10
2
Carmel, Indiana
#7
Death wobble, which I had for two months almost daily, is sourced in tires being out of balance coupled with worn front end component(s). The problem is harmonic oscillation caused by the out of balance tires taking advantage of your worn component(s). But you could even have it without worn component(s). Some JL's have already reportedly got Death wobble. Getting the tires balanced is the first step. They have to be perfect. Insist that the tire tech get it perfect and not just good enough. If this doesn't work, sometimes the tires themselves won't balance because they are out of round or just plain old and no one can explain what is wrong with them. This was my problem. I replaced my track bar and my tie rod and tie rod ends and drag link. This helped a lot, but there was still a shimmy between 40-45mph. The day I got new tires (and they were larger, I went up from 31's to 33's), there was no more shimmy. It drove perfect and does to this day.
Thanks! I do have a shimmy at around 40ish mph, and although it isn't terrible, it does seem to be one of the things that I notice just before "death wobble."
I'll give the local tire shop a call today!
 
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Sharpermd

New Member
Aug 28, 2018
10
2
Carmel, Indiana
#8
As an update....I had the wheels balanced today and an inspection performed. Sure enough, one of the ball joints is bad, as are the tie rods. Bad news is the car is even worse after the inspection/balancing (technician said it likely had to do with putting the car on the lift ?), and I had 3 episodes of DW on way home! So, am having those things fixed tomorrow. I'm browsing adjustable track bars, too, but will probably put that on myself at a later date.

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed! It is really great to find such a community.