Death Wobble

Rudy Technician Utah Posted   Latest   Edited  
Resolved
Chassis
2009 Jeep Wrangler X 3.8L (1 EGT) 4-spd (42RLE)
Wobble Of Death

This Jeep here has a pretty severe “death wobble” that occurs around 50mph if you hit a bump in the road.

If no bumps, you can cruise through 50-60 mph with no issues.

We've replaced the steering stabilizer and track bar with dealer parts. Balanced the tires and checked the alignment.

There areno obvious worn bushings or otherwise. 

Looking for ideas/experience.

TIA

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Interesting
Matthew Technician
Nova Scotia
Matthew
 

Hey Rudy, Curious if this Jeeps been modified to any extent? Maybe Check caster angles to make sure they’re in specs.

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Sean Technician
California
Sean
 

Have you checked the front end with the wheels on the ground and have an assistant turn right to left slightly to check all front end components?

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LaMont Owner/Technician
Ohio
LaMont
 

Make sure there is no play in the Trac Bar. Check it with the full weight of the vehicle on the tires and have someone move the steering wheel back and forth while someone else watches for movement at each end.

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Richard Owner/Technician
Maine
Richard
 

Check for a bent wheel.

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Jeff Technician
Oklahoma
Jeff
 

Every time I get one of these with this issue I replace the loose components and the problem is still there. I almost always end up having to replace the tires to get the wobble to go away. Usually I have another vehicle I can swap tires with to confirm they are the cause.

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Interesting
Jesse Owner/Technician
Pennsylvania
Jesse
 

hi has this jeep been lifted? does it have BIG tires, the other guys already asked the other important questions. hope you can find the problem.

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Jaxon Technical Support Specialist
Australia
Jaxon
 

Hi Rudy, something like this? youtube​.​com/watch?v=ncTgYl…

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Funny
Jesse Owner/Technician
Pennsylvania
Jesse
 

Also forgot to mention, most dodge and jeep vehicles that are modified suspensions and large tires have that problem.

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Patrick Diagnostician
Michigan
Patrick
 

With Jeep on the ground, have assistant move steering wheel back and forth while you observe and “feel” the tie rod sockets for any looseness. With vehicle on lift, turn wheel to outer lock and rotate the tire to check the outer u-joints for any binding. The tire should rotate without any resistance. Also look for any rust at the u-joint dust boots.

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Karl Owner/Technician
Pennsylvania
Karl
 

Most of the time death wobble in these Jeeps are caused by the track bar. I highly recommend you check this on the ground while someone turns the wheel back and forth looking for any movement in any components and especially the track bar. Since the track bar was just replaced make sure they torqued the bolt on the passenger side properly. I often see these under torqued and you will see with…

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Dean Owner/Technician
Idaho
Dean
 

Adjust the toe to zero. This is a common issue.

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Interesting
Mark Owner/Technician
Michigan
Mark
 

Does it have ABS and ESC? I have a 2015 Ram Promaster 1500 and it experiences a similar conditions in a right turn. correct me if I am wrong but does the braking and electronic stability control work hand in hand. If the ESC thinks that the right conditions exist and a correction is required from the ABS. Turn off the ESC and try the symptoms again at 50 mph. the magnetic strip and the ABS…

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Cliff Technician
Arizona
Cliff
   

We had same issue on ‘06 Jeep Wrangler Sahara. We replaced both loose track bar bushings. Still had death wobble at 40-50 mph. Replaced the tires and no more death wobble. Customer later sold the Jeep and the new owner came to us about 6 months later with complaint of death wobble. Everything in suspension and steering was still tight. Suggested to replace the tires. He had them replaced and…

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Mark Owner/Technician
Pennsylvania
Mark
 

All of the things mentioned, plus, see if there is any up and down play in tie rods. We had an issue several years ago where there was no side to side movement, but could fairly easily move them up and down.

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John Owner/Technician
Australia
John
 

We had a utilitu with a very bad Wobble after a lot of messing around and having the wheels balanced we removed the tyres to find one had almost a liter of Tyre repair gunk in one wheel, not a common fault but somthing to consider.

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Jason Owner/Technician
California
Jason
 

We have chased this problem for years, and eliminated it with new tires also. We recently had a F250 in the shop with the same problem, it was a friends truck and I wanted to fix it, not just send it down the road with new tires. We did everything. New ball joints, track bar bushings, shocks, and lowered the caster 1.5 degrees. All these made it better but it was not great until we replaced the…

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Rudy, I would be critical about shocks. Have a helper follow you and get up to speed while talking via mobile phone. I've seen wheel dribble like a basket ball due to a bad shock. Bad shocks do not always leak. Of course rotate tires and see if anything changes as well. I've played the new tire game before and think it masks the issue for only a short time. Look across the tire treads…

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Rex Technical Support Specialist
Ohio
Rex
 

Hmm, in heavy duty I have not paid a lot of attention to shocks when looking for a vibration cause. Mainly because they were optional for a long time. Figured it was just a ride thing. I might need to rethink that.

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Joshua Technician
South Carolina
Joshua
 

We have had good luck finding loose parts checking on ground vehicle running assistant holding down brakes and Working the steering wheel slow sweep then agressive side to side.

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary
 

Hello, Rudy. How big are the tires?

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Rudy Technician
Utah
Rudy Update
   

Thanks for the replies guys. gave me some direction for tomorrow. The Jeep is all stock with stock ride height and tires. I havent seen the wobble from the outside, but it surely feels like the way it looks in the video above.

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Rick Technical Support Specialist
Missouri
Rick
 

Once all the mentioned items have been checked or replaced? Pay attention to the trailing arms aka control arm bushings. Center bolt bushing may be elongated.

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary
 

Hello, Rudy! Death Wobble occurs when a solid front axle shifts sideways in relation to the frame. Each time the axle shifts position, the front wheels are steered slightly left or right, which creates the Death Wobble. In short, the Death Wobble occurs when the front wheels are rapidly changing direction. Offset wheels and big tires contribute to Death Wobble because the tire centerline falls…

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Randy Curriculum Developer
North Carolina
Randy
 

If all other components mentioned here have been dry park checked and alignment, especially caster, are in spec take a close look at the steering box for play, pitman shaft wear and mounting points. I have even seen frame cracks under the mount points.

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary
 

Good point, Randy. Most conventional steering boxes should, at the very least, have an over-center adjustment performed. Frame cracking can be a real issue if the Jeep sees a lot of off-roading use…

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Donny Manager
Colorado
Donny
   

Rudy, We have fixed so many of these things. I have not read anybody else's comments so I will be repetitive for certain. We have learned that these need a wholistic approach. There are no silver bullets. They have had a few problem parts over the years but generally the following components are the wear issues that contribute to this problem the most - Track arm - Bushings - Worn Steering…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary
   

Good points about the caster angle and tire wear, Donny…

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Rudy Technician
Utah
Rudy Resolution
 

Thank you for all the replies. It was the tires. We rotated them and the shaking was reduced by at least 80% and a “swaying” motion could now be felt in the rear of the vehicle. I would've never thought tires could cause that violent of a shaking, but here we are. Thanks again.

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Interesting
Gary Owner/Technician
Colorado
Gary
 

Thanks for getting back to us, Rudy…

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LaMont Owner/Technician
Ohio
LaMont
 

Hopefully it doesn’t reoccur after the tires wear a bit.

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Colin Owner/Technician
New York
Colin
 

Everytime ive run into “ death wobble” that wasnt a suspension related issue . It always had good year tires . Ive noticed over the past few years that good years take alot more weight to balance even when the are brand new . Then with other brands . Dont make them like they used to i suppose

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