Steering stabilizer question


Jerry Bransford

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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.
 

StG58

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Steering stabilizers have nothing to do with death wobble. Nothing.

A bad steering stabilizer may leak, is extensively corroded or exhibits any of the other signs of a bad shock absorber. That's all it is, a shock absorber that is valved 50/50.

Once again you beat me to it Jerry, and with a better explanation.
 

Jerry Bransford

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I basically wanted to know does the steering get lighter, twitchier(?) when it goes bad?
The steering stabilizer is more correctly called a steering damper. Its job is really to isolate the steering system from bumps and jolts, not to actually "stabilize" the steering. You might notice the steering is a little lighter if the damper/stabilizer has gone completely bad but that's about it.
 

StG58

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It might be hard to notice a bad steering stabilizer if the rest of your front end is in good shape and your tires are correctly balanced. If you are noticing something new I would start by having the tires perfectly balanced. TJ's are sensative to that. You may have to take it back several times to get the balance correct.

Edited to add: I give up @Jerry Bransford, you got this covered man.
 

JWjeepSask

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Mine was leaking a month after I bought my TJ. So I ripped it off and ordered a new one. I drove without my stabilizer for almost a month and it was terrifying if I went over 70kmph


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MikeyO

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The steering stabilizer is more correctly called a steering damper. Its job is really to isolate the steering system from bumps and jolts, not to actually "stabilize" the steering. You might notice the steering is a little lighter if the damper/stabilizer has gone completely bad but that's about it.
Yeah, highway speeds it is kinda' sketchy. Its got new tires and they don't bounce or shake. Had an alignment done and front suspension, hubs, steering gear and ball joints are all in great shape.
 

Jerry Bransford

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Mine was leaking a month after I bought my TJ. So I ripped it off and ordered a new one. I drove without my stabilizer for almost a month and it was terrifying if I went over 70kmph
That could only be the result of something being off/bad in your front-end or steering system. Your steering stabilizer has nothing to do with whether or not it is "terrifying" at speeds over 70 kmh. Your steering should be fine and stable with or without a steering stabilizer. Again, as described above and how it is often described, its job is really not to "stabilize" the steering.

I have driven my TJ several times without a stabilizer and frankly, I couldn't tell it was gone and even kind of forgot it was gone.
 
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MikeyO

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That could only be the result of something being off/bad in your front-end or steering system. Your steering stabilizer has nothing to do with whether or not it is "terrifying" at speeds over 70 kmh. Your steering should be fine and stable with or without a steering stabilizer. Again, as described above and how it is often described, its job is really not to "stabilize" the steering.

I have driven my TJ several times without a stabilizer and frankly, I couldn't tell it was gone and even kind of forgot it was gone.
I'll take it back to the shop, and have them check it again. Thanks.
 
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MikeyO

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He said 70 kmh which is only 43 mph. When the steering is not stable at speed, that's usually an alignment problem. Improper toe-in or insufficient caster angle.
Mines fine at 70 KMH ... its 70-75 MPH that's got me wondering. I know that it doesn't handle like, or is aerodynamic as Vette, at highway speeds, but still not as stabile as other Jeeps I've owned, and ridden in.
 

Jerry Bransford

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Mines fine at 70 KMH ... its 70-75 MPH that's got me wondering. I know that it doesn't handle like, or is aerodynamic as Vette, at highway speeds, but still not as stabile as other Jeeps I've owned, and ridden in.
Did you also note the other part of my answer saying poor stability at speed is usually caused by an improper toe-in angle or insufficient caster angle? When is the last time you had them checked?
 

Jerry Bransford

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I got the front steering checked, an alignment, ball joints and hubs checked, when the tires were done.
Could have been pure incompetence on the shop's part that left it unstable at 70 mph. When the alignment is correct, the ball joints are tight, the hubs are good, and the tires are good, a TJ will be stable at 70 mph. Even my tired well-used TJ with its 35's and 5" of lift is very stable at 70-75 mph.
 
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MikeyO

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Could have been pure incompetence on the shop's part that left it unstable at 70 mph. When the alignment is correct, the ball joints are tight, the hubs are good, and the tires are good, a TJ will be stable at 70 mph. Even my tired well-used TJ with its 35's and 5" of lift is very stable at 70-75 mph.
I'll take it back to the shop ... Thanks!
 

Jerry Bransford

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Make sure too that your tires are not overinflated and that they are all inflated equally. Overinflated tires are a common cause of reduced stability. Tire shops commonly and regularly overinflate tires due to the tire jocks being inadequately trained on knowing what the correct pressure should be. Some think you use the same tire pressure in 35" tires as you do in 28" tires.

What size tires are you running and exactly what tire pressure is currently in them?

Edit: I see you're running 33's. 26 psi when the Jeep is lightly loaded with just 1-2 passengers is appropriate, go to 28 psi when the Jeep is fully loaded. No higher than that for 33x12.50 tires.
 
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MikeyO

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Make sure too that your tires are not overinflated and that they are all inflated equally. Overinflated tires are a common cause of reduced stability. Tire shops commonly and regularly overinflate tires due to the tire jocks being inadequately trained on knowing what the correct pressure should be. Some think you use the same tire pressure in 35" tires as you do in 28" tires.

What size tires are you running and exactly what tire pressure is currently in them?

Edit: I see you're running 33's. 26 psi when the Jeep is lightly loaded with just 1-2 passengers is appropriate, go to 28 psi when the Jeep is fully loaded. No higher than that for 33x12.50 tires.
Well there ya' go! I have 33x10.5x15's. Just checked them and they are at 34-36 lbs. WAAAAYYY too high!
 
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Jerry Bransford

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Well there ya' go! I have 33x10.5x15's. Just checked them and they are at 34-36 lbs. WAAAAYYY too high!
If you go back to have your alignment checked, get the printout of its final alignment settings and post 'em up here. It'd be good to see what its caster and toe-in angles are.