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How critical is a Steering Stabilizer?

Discussion in 'TJ General Discussion' started by Bird, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Bird

    Bird TJ Enthusiast
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    I got bored this morning so I'm in the process of removing my stabilizer just to see how my Jeep reacts without it.

    I've heard some say that a steering stabilizer should not be a requirement.

    I'll report back :)
     
  2. JamesAndTheSahara

    JamesAndTheSahara TJ Addict
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  3. Bird

    Bird TJ Enthusiast
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    Lol, should of known it's already been well documented.
    Thanks
     
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  4. Bizzarestevo

    Bizzarestevo Member

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    On the Jeeps (especially lifted ones) i think its more important than on most vehicles because it really calms down the death wobble.
     
  5. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    Not true at all. A quote taken from @Jerry Bransford:

    Death Wobble would never be an obvious sign the steering stabilizer is bad because a bad or weak steering stabilizer is absolutely NEVER the cause of Death Wobble. Neither is installing a new Steering Stabilizer EVER the cure for DW. A new SS may temporarily suppress the symptoms of DW confusing some into thinking it cured it but when the SS weakens a tad, the DW will return. Kind of like holding a gorilla down... you may hold him down for a short period of time but eventually you'll get tired and that gorilla will be back in your face.

    You can run without a steering stabilizer and not get DW if your tires are well balanced and the suspension/steering is in good condition.

    The way to know when a steering stabilizer is bad is when after you remove it for testing, you can easily push it in & out. It should resist enough to require a lot of effort to compress or expand a SS. And 99% of all steering stabilizers are hydraulic so they will not not try to expand out on their own, they will stay put at whatever position they're left at.
     
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  6. Bird

    Bird TJ Enthusiast
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    I was just having a little fun today and was just curious what difference the SS really made.
    I'm going to replace the old one anyway.

    I had to get quite creative to remove the old one, thing was REALLY seized.
    I finally slipped a digging iron in close to the stuck shaft and forcefully twisted with a pipe wrench and POP.
    Don't try this if your planning on reusing SS but very effective :).
     
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  7. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    I don't blame you @Bird, it's fun experiment for sure. It just shows how much marketing hype and B.S. there is with steering stabilizers. Of course the bigger myth we're trying to bust here is that steering stabilizers have anything to do with death wobble (which they don't). But that myth seems to be rampant on the internet.
     
  8. Starrs

    Starrs TJ Addict

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    The steering stabilizer has to have a little bit to do with DW...it corrects steering. Sure it’s not the main factor, but you can’t blindly think it has nothing to do with it. One mans opinion on a subject is just that, an opinion. I think we have learned a lot on this forum that many ppl have many different theories and opinions. DW is a problem that has a few bad things happening all at once. Usually start with the tires and then go from there. Can we really say that the steering stabilizer has absolutely nothing to do with it tho? I’m not sure
     
  9. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    I'll let @Jerry Bransford or @mrblaine respond to you on that one. They know way more than I do about this sort of thing.

    I will tell you this though... If I can remove my steering stabilizer for weeks, drive down the road just fine, and not experience any death wobble whatsoever, then explain to me how the steering stabilizer can have anything to do with death wobble whatsoever?

    If it had anything to do with death wobble, wouldn't I be feeling death wobble when I drove down the road without it (which I've done)? And you can't use the, "Well if the steering stabilizer was going bad..." argument, because running without a steering stabilizer entirely won't cause death wobble.
     
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  10. jodomcfrodo

    jodomcfrodo TJ Enthusiast
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    I've never really been able to understand what the steering stabilizer really does. Everyone is always talking about replacing theirs (seems JK people talk about them more than TJ people). I have the stock steering stabilizer on my jeep. Its rusted out and has 225,000 miles on it. My jeep still steers like a dream even though I'm almost certain the stabilizer is shot.

    What exactly does a steering stabilizer do? Does it compensate for poorly set up steering? I've seen people say it helps with bumpsteer, but shouldn't a properly set up draglink/trackbar take care of that?
     
  11. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    Taken from another very informative post:

    "There seems to be quite a bit of misinformation regarding steering stabilizers with regard to what purpose they serve, what steering issues can be fixed by installing one, as well as if there is a need for a double steering stabilizer as opposed to a single.

    I often overhear people suggesting that a heavier duty or dual steering stabilizer is the solution to "fix a wandering or flighty steering problem", or "if you have had an episode of Death Wobble, installing a better steering stabilizer or even a double steering stabilizer will correct the problem". Nothing could be further from the truth!

    The fact is, if you have your suspension/steering dialed in correctly, you could drive around all day without any steering stabilizer at all and likely wouldn't notice a difference on smooth flat terrain. I want to be clear, we are not suggesting that you don't need steering stabilizer your vehicle at all because they do, actually have a purpose. If they didn't, the vehicle would not have come from the factory with one installed. If your steering stabilizer is leaking or damaged, it needs to be replaced.

    The steering stabilizer's primary function is to dampen or stabilize the side to side movement of the wheels in much the same way shock absorbers limiting excessive suspension movement & oscillation. Steering stabilizers are a necessary component because it helps to absorb bump-steer and flighty steering issues. If you have a heavy duty steering stabilizer, it will absorb more bump-steer and flighty steering issues.

    That being said, some gas charged steering stabilizers have a tendency to try to fully extend all the time. This can, sometimes, result in a constant push of the steering to the left. This is typically an issue on Jeep Wranglers that have heavy duty, aftermarket, gas charged stabilizers installed. This is why it is always recommended that the steering stabilizer be removed prior to the test driving a vehicle to troubleshoot or diagnose steering problems.

    A steering stabilizer will often act as a band-aid to cover up or disguise the real causes of wandering or flighty steering which could be caused by anything from poor alignment to improper steering geometry to a broken track-bar mount on the frame or axle, or any number of other things.

    It is important to realize that a steering stabilizer does NOT and WILL NOT FIX any steering problem. It will only dampen the symptoms.

    Many people install dual stabilizers simply because they like how it looks. If you are running excessively large/wide tires they might be a rational consideration. There are, although, very few situations where there would be so much oscillation in the steering that it would REQUIRE dual steering stabilizers to absorb it, and not be covering up a much more serious, underlying steering issue.

    It is important that steps be taken to diagnose and fix the actual source of any steering problem that you might be experiencing as opposed to masking or hiding it with a steering stabilizer."

    Anyways, the point being is that a steering stabilizer has NOTHING to do with death wobble. Replacing the steering stabilizer won't fix death wobble, nor will it prevent it. If you hear otherwise, you're taking advice from someone who doesn't know what they're talking about.
     
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  12. Ranger_b0b

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    The flaw in your logic is the all or nothing assumption. If your suspension is tip top, then you won't have death wobble, regardless of the presence of a steering stabilizer. IF something is a little worn, and the damper quells the oscillation before DW occurs, well, now the steering stabilizer has just prevented Death Wobble. When full blown DW occurs, its because the oscillations grow in magnitude greater than the damper can control and they overcome the normalizing force of the Stabilizer. Like most things on the internet, the truth gets over exaggerated. Some guy somewhere had a blown stabilizer, and something minor worn. He got a minor wobble, said it was death wobble, and all of a sudden, Steering Stabilizers cure Death Wobble.
     
  13. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    Yes, but a new steering stabilizer wouldn’t fix death wobble. It might mask the death wobble potentially and lessen it, but it’s not truly fixing it. That’s the point I’m trying to drive home. Of anything it’s just a temporary band aid.

    I just hate seeing people that say that a new steering stabilizer will fix their death wobble as if the steering stabilizer is the cause to begin with.
     
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  14. Jerry Bransford

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    A steering stabilizer has nothing more to do with death wobble than a band-aid has to do with a skin cancer. Many drive their Jeeps without a steering stabilizer even being installed. At the most a steering stabilizer can temporarily mask or somewhat suppress the symptoms of a mild case of DW.
     
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  15. Bird

    Bird TJ Enthusiast
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    Well appropriately enough....just returned home after a long drive with my functioning steering stabilizer removed.

    It had absolutely no effect on how my Jeep drove or handled prior to removing it.
    Jeep has 4" lift with 33's.

    It was a fun experiment but was expecting some loss in handling.....nothing.
     
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  16. CodaMan

    CodaMan TJ Addict
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    Exactly
     
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  17. Bird

    Bird TJ Enthusiast
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    I will now install my new Rancho Stabilizer for purely cosmetics :)
     
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  18. CodaMan

    CodaMan TJ Addict
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    Well, it's not purely cosmetics, they do serve a purpose.
     
  19. Bird

    Bird TJ Enthusiast
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    I'm guessing offroad is where they show up.....preventing bump steer in the rocks.
     
  20. cjaama

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    Not to get too far off topic, but I think part of the problem is that there are some pretty serious differences in what defines "death wobble". The guy from Midas told me I needed a better steering stabilizer to correct my death wobble. But when pressed he meant there's a shimmy in the steering wheel when going over bumps, far from the bone jarring stuff you see videos of online.
    So, I guess I should ask... how likely is it that a new stabilizer will help reduce the feedback I get in the steering wheel when going over a bump? I already bought a cheap $30 Monroe replacement, because I figured it couldn't hurt.
     

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