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View Full Version : Jeep Death Wobble Makes the San Francisco Local News



wayoflife
02-17-2012, 03:59 PM
A fan of our Project-JK Facebook page posted up the following article of which was recently featured on the San Francisco local ABC News. As you will see, it highlights the problems some Jeep owners have experienced with, "death wobble".

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=8547355

While I do understand the frustration these people are feeling, I personally think most of it should be directed toward their dealerships and mechanics for not having a clue as to how to fix their problem. Even on a stock Jeep, parts can loosen up and get worn out and really, this isn't a "Jeep" only issue.

JKRay
02-17-2012, 05:30 PM
I agree the dealership should know whats going on but also should the owner. I always check anything that can loosen up and fall apart its just a habit for me and I do on every oil change and in between no matter what car I own. That one guy who was complaining about the tires should also know that even if you have a 50,000 mile tire it still needs rotation and if not done on time you get a death wobble. I know that from experience in my dads truck! :crazyeyes:

wayoflife
02-17-2012, 05:34 PM
I agree the dealership should know whats going on but also should the owner. I always check anything that can loosen up and fall apart its just a habit for me and I do on every oil change and in between no matter what car I own. That one guy who was complaining about the tires should also know that even if you have a 50,000 mile tire it still needs rotation and if not done on time you get a death wobble. I know that from experience in my dads truck! :crazyeyes:

so true!! never once did that guy make any mention of how he maintains his jeep.

piginajeep
02-17-2012, 06:11 PM
Everyone should own a torque wrench, Most people don't and its one of the most important tools you will need.

JKRay
02-18-2012, 02:06 AM
Everyone should own a torque wrench, Most people don't and its one of the most important tools you will need.

I agree! :thumb:

Sharkey
02-18-2012, 02:32 AM
Everyone should own a torque wrench, Most people don't and its one of the most important tools you will need.

I keep mine in my Jeep. :)

nacho
02-18-2012, 12:42 PM
This is a little annoying and unfounded. ALL solid axle vehicles have this design short coming, not just a jeep thing. My cousins (new at the time) 1 ton GM van was doing it and the dealer could not figure it out. He asked me about it and I smiled and told him to tell the "tech" to replace the trackbar.. Guess what hahahaha fixed it. I had a 79 bronco that used to do it. It is almost 100% related to the trackbar, in a stock configuration anyway. IF jeep really wanted to fix the design they wouldnt use the crappy 14mm bolt they are using. better tolerances and shouldered high grade bolts would go a very long way in taking care of this. sorry for the rant but I am a 20 year tech in a dealer and stuff like this is close to my heart. Good techs are getting hard to find, cant plug a computer into the suspension and have it tell you what is wrong, have to use your noodle. By the way, my jeep started to feel a little funky, stupid stock trackbar bolts walk in the factory hole. retourqed and down the road I went. Going to go to an automotive hardware store and explore new bolt options. Thought about welding some thick high grade washers to the flimsy factory brackets to "beef up" the mounting holes and tighten up the tolerance a bit.

TKWJK
02-24-2012, 06:02 PM
So I fell victim to the full on death wobble twice now between 75 and 80 mph. I said "enough of that!" and installed the JKS adjustable trackbar with new 9/16"s bolts nuts and lock washers. The full on death wobble has not happened since, but I have had wobbles and shimmies after hitting large bumps on the freeway or on rough pavement roads. I have had my ball joints and tie rod/draglink ends checked by the mechanics at 4 Wheel Parts and they told me they are good and tight. What would be your next move since I am still experiencing the wobbles?

Jeep Specs:
2010 Jeep JK Unlimited 43K
AEV 3.5"+ Premium Kit
Spidertrax 1.5" spacers
Stock Goodyears 255/75-17 (Upgrading to 35" Wrangler MTRs soon)

TKWJK

wayoflife
02-24-2012, 06:10 PM
So I fell victim to the full on death wobble twice now between 75 and 80 mph. I said "enough of that!" and installed the JKS adjustable trackbar with new 9/16"s bolts nuts and lock washers. The full on death wobble has not happened since, but I have had wobbles and shimmies after hitting large bumps on the freeway or on rough pavement roads. I have had my ball joints and tie rod/draglink ends checked by the mechanics at 4 Wheel Parts and they told me they are good and tight. What would be your next move since I am still experiencing the wobbles?

Jeep Specs:
2010 Jeep JK Unlimited 43K
AEV 3.5"+ Premium Kit
Spidertrax 1.5" spacers
Stock Goodyears 255/75-17 (Upgrading to 35" Wrangler MTRs soon)

TKWJK

i know you said that you had your ball joints checked but, did they give you actual numbers to show they were within spec? not that i don't trust the mechanics at 4wheelparts or anything but, you cannot just "look" at or even "feel" if they are "good and tight". you have to use a dial indicator to measure the movement as the tollerance of being on or off is within thousanths of an inch.

Radial (side-to-side) movement in the upper ball joint should not exceed 0.060" (1.5mm).
Axial (up and down) movement in the lower ball joint should not exceed 0.050" (1.25mm).

TKWJK
02-24-2012, 06:20 PM
i know you said that you had your ball joints checked but, did they give you actual numbers to show they were within spec? not that i don't trust the mechanics at 4wheelparts or anything but, you cannot just "look" at or even "feel" if they are "good and tight". you have to use a dial indicator to measure the movement as the tollerance of being on or off is within thousanths of an inch.

Radial (side-to-side) movement in the upper ball joint should not exceed 0.060" (1.5mm).
Axial (up and down) movement in the lower ball joint should not exceed 0.050" (1.25mm).

They did not use a dial indiator, just a pry bar under the wheel. Would the dealer be a better place to take it to check to see if they are within spec or not?

TKWJK

wayoflife
02-24-2012, 06:22 PM
They did not use a dial indiator, just a pry bar under the wheel. Would the dealer be a better place to take it to check to see if they are within spec or not?

TKWJK

more like a trusted alignment shop. or, you can do it yourself.

1. From the axle, use a good floor jack to lift one of your tire off the ground. If you don't have a good floor jack, set your axle on a jack stand to hold it up securely in place.
2. From the side, place a long pry bar under the tire and have someone lift it up and down while you watch the lower ball joint for axial (up and down) movement. Any movement more than 0.050" is too much and would indicate that your ball joint is bad. Of course, if you can see this movement with your eyes, it's definitely bad.
3. Next, grab the tire at the 12 and 6 o'clock position and try to rock it back and forth while you have someone watch the upper joint for any movement. Any radial (side-to-side) movement more than 0.060" is too much. Again, if you can see the movement with your eyes and without any dial indicator, it's probably bad as well.

TKWJK
02-24-2012, 07:05 PM
Great, thanks for the instructions. I will do this next and post what I find.

TKWJK

TKWJK
03-13-2012, 04:38 AM
Sorry I never replied. I took my JK to a local offroad shop and they found nothing. They put my front tires on the balancer and found the right front .5oz out and proceeded to counter balance it by added a .5oz weight to the opposite side of the existing weight! Obviously these guys didn't know what they were doing so not real confident there. I have not had the full on DW since installing the JKS adjustable trackbar. I am experiencing shimmies over small bumps in the roads around Tucson above 30 mph. At this point I am tracing it back to these unbalanced stock tires I have and possibly my ball joints. Everything else seems right and tight. I still need to get a buddy to help me check my ball joints so once I get that looked at I will post again. Opinons on Goodyear MTRs or BFG KM2?

TKWJK