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Should I loosen upper control arms before lift install?

04wrangler77

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Jul 31, 2019
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Kentucky
I’ve recently installed a 4 inch lift and was greeted by the lovely DW. After exhausting all my options and replacing parts it dawned on me that I had never loosened them before the lift. Maybe their in a pinch ? Any input on that would be awesome. I wasn’t even sure if that was a step or a potential culprit in my problem. Thanks yaw.

-Tanner.
 

Chris

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The upper control arm bolts being too tight wouldn't have anything at all to do with death wobble.
 
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04wrangler77

04wrangler77

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Kentucky
No, I have not gotten any new tires yet. That’s next on the list. Track bar is very tight and the last shop I went to regarding this issue they decided to step the toe out a tad to see if that would help. 2 different shops have determined that I have no play in my steering wheel components.
 
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04wrangler77

04wrangler77

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The upper control arm bolts being too tight wouldn't have anything at all to do with death wobble.
I didn’t think so. I just wasn’t sure if I should have loosened them up before I installed the lift besides leaving the tension on them like I did. I’m just trying to look at anything that would be causing my DW issue. Do you think it could be my tires possibly ?
Upper control arms are stock **
 

Jerry Bransford

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The #1 trigger for DW is tires that aren't balanced well enough. They might have been balanced well enough with the stock suspension but the new suspension changed things enough to change where it will oscillate/DW. If you're not installing new tires right away I'd have your current tires rebalanced. And make sure they take enough time to get them balanced perfectly... have them tell you if they can't. And a balance job that is "good enough" for smaller tires on a standard car won't be good enough for bigger Jeep-size tires on a Jeep with a solid front axle like our Wranglers have.

I have had to visit the same tire store three times in one day before they finally spent enough time to get them balanced well enough that I wasn't getting the initial onset of DW once I got faster than about 40.

And stop worrying about the control arm bolt tightness. :)
 
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04wrangler77

04wrangler77

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Jul 31, 2019
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Kentucky
Hey Jerry thank you for your advice ! I find it very odd that I’ve taken it to 2 shops now and had them balanced only to still have the same issue. Also had an alignment done at the same 2 shops as well. I have noticed that my driver side tire is having weird wear patterns on the outside of the tire. What’s up with that ?
 

g.hayduke

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Feb 19, 2019
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New Mexico
It won't cause DW but you should loosen all the control arms when installing a lift, centering your axle, etc. Then re-tighten them when you're done.
 

rasband

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Highlands Ranch, CO
I did a smaller lift and had new shakes (not DW level though). I did an alignment and a rotate/balance - been great the last few days under the same conditions.

You can always do a dry steering test to check for worn/loose components that could contribute.
 

John Scoggins

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Houston, TX
Does the DW happen at certain speeds, or does it have to be introduced by hitting a bump or a combination of these?

I have noticed that my driver side tire is having weird wear patterns on the outside of the tire. What’s up with that ?
What condition are the tires in? It might be that you have some broken belts in the tire(s) causing it to vibrate and induce the DW. A shop should be able to tell if the belts are broken, the biggest indicator is the balance will not hold but I guess that depends on the shop.
Also what condition is the steering damper in (yes its function is to dampen the resonant frequencies that can be set up in a solid axle front end due to the large unsprung mass of the front suspension) assuming that all the front end parts are tight and the alignment is correct.
 
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Jerry Bransford

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Escondido California
Hey Jerry thank you for your advice ! I find it very odd that I’ve taken it to 2 shops now and had them balanced only to still have the same issue. Also had an alignment done at the same 2 shops as well. I have noticed that my driver side tire is having weird wear patterns on the outside of the tire. What’s up with that ?
Odd wear in a tire could be caused by a defect in the tire but more often it is alignment related. Sometimes a bad shock coupled with an imperfectly balanced tire can contribute to odd wear too.