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Trying to cure a light case of death wobble

Discussion in 'Wrangler TJ (1996-2006)' started by SergeantYates, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. Mar 9, 2019 at 7:02 AM
    #1
    SergeantYates

    SergeantYates [OP] Member

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    not real sure if this is exactly the right category to ask this, but I just got a 97 Wrangler sport edition, and after the first time I went 4-wheeling, I started getting the death wobble. I changed every u joint in the thing, even the front axle ones, and it made a big difference, but I still hear a rattle and the steering wheel wobbles a little bit every now and then at around 45-55 mph. At first I thought a wheel balancing might be the solution, but when inspecting the tie rod ends, I noticed that there was old grease all around a few of them. I shot new grease into all the boots, but while I was doing that I also noticed that I could wiggle the front track bar forward and backwards and made a rattle noise while doing it. And within a few minutes of pumping grease into the boots grease started coming out of all but 2 of the boots. So, I need confirmation, do I need a new track bar bushing? New tie rod ends? Or both? Let me know if more info is needed.
     
  2. Mar 9, 2019 at 7:23 AM
    #2
    aggrex

    aggrex Well-Known Member

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    Welcome @SergeantYates replacing the loose trackbar would be a good first step.
    Inspect the frame mount for the TB for ovaling or bolt hole enlargement.
    xjeep-steering-diagram.jpg.pagespeed.ic.i2iql7up02.jpg

    IMG_20190309_102702_edit.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    bongo, dancar, Harleymick and 3 others like this.
  3. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:26 AM
    #3
    SergeantYates

    SergeantYates [OP] Member

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    I’ll check when I can
     
  4. Mar 9, 2019 at 11:07 AM
    #4
    SergeantYates

    SergeantYates [OP] Member

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    Ok, so I took another look at the bolt holding in the tb to the axle and realized that it was just loose, and the bushing looks pretty decent. so I torqued it down to specs (125 pound feet) and I couldn’t move it at all after that, but when I drove it to see if I still experienced the rattle, I still heard it rattle when I start off in first. I have no idea what is causing the rattle. Anybody got any ideas?
     
  5. Mar 9, 2019 at 11:15 AM
    #5
    aggrex

    aggrex Well-Known Member

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    Just like loose shock mounts the brackets can get twisted and mounting holes elongated. Extended periods driving the jeep with DW tend to compound suspension issues with other components having unusual wear.
     
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  6. Mar 16, 2019 at 5:06 PM
    #6
    SergeantYates

    SergeantYates [OP] Member

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    Lift (don’t know how much), new 33in tires and wheels
    I found the issue, it was a bad wheel bearing. I put the new one in and absolutely no wobble. That’s the good news. The bad news is that when I was test driving it, after installing the new wheel bearing, I noticed considerably more rattling noise at around 45-55 mph and when slowly accelerating and felt like it was doing it the entire time while driving down a rough road. I read in another thread that it could be some bearing in the transfer case. I’ll have to push down on the 4wd lever when it starts rattling and if it stops when I push down on the lever, that is the source. I’ll give it a try next time i’m out in the Jeep.
     
  7. Apr 21, 2019 at 9:36 AM
    #7
    Harleymick

    Harleymick Well-Known Member

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    With some valuable assistance from these guys you are teaching yourself an awful lot about TJ front suspensions and how to cure the death wobble. That is a good thing.
     
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  8. Apr 21, 2019 at 10:34 AM
    #8
    OFFGRID

    OFFGRID Well-Known Member

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    I'm having a little trouble following you, because I'm trying to narrow down when your feeling the symptoms. You might be having more than 1 issue. Have you ever felt full on death wobble? Everything in the seats will be on the floor and it wil scare the crap out of you even when you are expecting it to happen, this isn't to say that you are having early symptoms of it if you havent had full death wobble. DW is first felt in the steering wheel and then in the seat of your pants. Usually for a full cure of death wobble I completely rebuild the front suspension, because the I cant see any good components surviving the violence of a full death wobble, and since I'm already there I might as well replace it. My list is as follows: All tie rods and draglink ends, track bar, ball joints, and wheel bearing units, and control arm bushings if there are any play in them.

    I also hear you saying that you feel the vibration while excelerating. Are you feeling this vibration in the seat of your pants? How much lift do you have (looks like at least 3-4in)? Do you have a Slip Yoke Eliminator (SYE) or Transfercase drop kit. This vibration on exceleration is common on lifted YJs and TJs. The cheap fix is a Tcase drop. The correct and more expensive fix is the SYE. Probably not the output bearing, but rather the angle of the driveshaft is too great for the slip yoke found on the stock Tcase.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  9. Apr 21, 2019 at 2:16 PM
    #9
    Harleymick

    Harleymick Well-Known Member

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    I agree with OFFGRID. For proper ride, handling and even safety, vehicles require a certain geometry in the suspension and drive train. Any substantial lift disrupts this and wherever it may be it must be corrected whether it is all at once or one part at a time as I had to including a SYE. One suggestion regarding the vibration in the seat of your pants. Jack it up in neutral and spin the rear drive shaft, it may be bent. If the angle causes it to hit the transmission crossover support it will be. That means a new telescoping drive shaft as well as a SYE for me.

    I'm no ASE certified mechanic but I have owned my TJ since 2005 when it was pure stock. The original lift I had done was to 3" along with 33" tires. I've done everything since with either the help of my mechanic brother or believe it or not by watching You Tube videos as I went. As stated elsewhere it now has a 6" lift and 35" tires on 15" wheels with 4.88 gears. I can't give you all of the analytical expertise that some others on here can, but I can damn sure vouch for a lot of what they are telling you. I love my TJ and wouldn't sell her at any price, but we have gone round and round several times over several issues. I may fight or deny the problems but she eventually wins. In return she gives me easy handling and a smooth ride up to at least 90 MPH. (I had to know)
     
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  10. May 22, 2019 at 12:53 PM
    #10
    dancar

    dancar Member

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    New to forum. Reading "death wobble" threads. imho: many of these steering components can cause oscillation when worn excessively. But, I have a stock jk 07 wrangler x. Now with heavy duty after market steering dampener installed by cbj wylie tx. It helped some but did not solve the problem. Multiple shops and mechanics have looked. All suspension and steering components, bushings... are sound and tightened to spec. No adverse wear.
    Track bar is solid. No noticeable wear or movement at mount bolt (factory sae hole with metric bolt - watch for play there).
    So whats next?
    And I disagree with the report of wiring/electrical power steering components being the issue. Does that wiring or steering box have an internal balancer that goes off kilter on rough roads? I think not. But does anyone know?
    Waiting and looking for a cure.
     
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  11. May 22, 2019 at 1:20 PM
    #11
    boondoc89

    boondoc89 Well-Known Member

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    Just out of curiosity... but is your rig aligned right? Maybe new set of tires that didnt balance well?? Also another thing to look for is to make sure your axles are perfectly underneath the frame and body. When I had my case of DW it was cuz my track bars were all out of whack. The front axle was too far to the passenger side and the rear was too far to the driver side. Threw everything into a shit storm lol
     
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  12. May 22, 2019 at 2:32 PM
    #12
    Prerunner1982

    Prerunner1982 Well-Known Member

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    A steering dampener only masks the issue and won't fix it.
    Tires rotated and balanced properly?
     
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  13. May 22, 2019 at 6:02 PM
    #13
    aggrex

    aggrex Well-Known Member

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    Welcome @dancar as mentioned the HD steering dampener is not a permanent solution. How long has DW been going on as the problem can affect other steering parts. "Light case" of DW? Perhaps its not DW symptoms you are experiencing. Just some questions that may help the group help you: How is the alignment/tracking/tire wear? The multiple shops/mechanics familiar with solid front axles? Some areas to focus on during your inspection: track bar>ball joints>drag link>tie rods>control arms>bushings>stabilizer>knuckles.
     
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  14. May 22, 2019 at 6:44 PM
    #14
    JKBob 25

    JKBob 25 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum @dancar .
    I can't add to whats already been mentioned. So...:popcorn:
     
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  15. May 23, 2019 at 6:41 AM
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    dancar

    dancar Member

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    Thanks to all for inputs:
    Vehicle never been in hard off road use.

    boondoc89: tires are nearing 30 mos old but have few miles, balanced, front end aligned, axles true, all suspension and steering components in excellent condition.

    aggrex: nothing loose. Conditions of the jeep are great. DW oscillation occurs mostly at highway speeds when hitting a pothole/rough spot.

    Frankly all the normal culprits have been evaluated and reconsidered.
    The reported Jeep Tech Bulletin on steering wiring harness is the only mfgr advise Ive heard of.

    Anyone have experience with that (even though I have doubts)?

    Thanks again for all ideas.
     
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  16. May 23, 2019 at 8:53 AM
    #16
    aggrex

    aggrex Well-Known Member

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    Hard to picture the wiring harness having a role in your wobble issue. Could see a possible connection with the JL electro-hydraulic PS.
     
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  17. May 23, 2019 at 6:34 PM
    #17
    JKBob 25

    JKBob 25 Well-Known Member

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    9.9 times out of 10. DW issues are related to a streering/ front end component. A bad bushing to a bad tire, a bad shock, to some thing bent. I understand your not hard on the Jeep. But as others have mentioned. I can't see how a wire harness could be the culprit. Youve retorqued everything?
     
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  18. May 23, 2019 at 7:09 PM
    #18
    TJ_abuser

    TJ_abuser Well-Known Member

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    @boondoc89 where do you get your tires balanced and do you have them checked often? My back tires seem to be egg shaped now I can barely drive 60 mph. I've never experienced tires that became out of balance as they wore. I have rotated them every 5k grrrrr since I put them on.
     
  19. May 23, 2019 at 7:20 PM
    #19
    JKBob 25

    JKBob 25 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not @boondoc89. But any tire seller / installer can balance tires. And most places that sell you the tire. Will give you a lifetime warranty for balances and even stems if they dry rot or fail.
    @TJ_abuser . If your rotating your tires on a regular basis. And your back tires get outta shape. I dont think it a balance issue. Or you'd have the same issues up front. Just my thoughts.
     
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  20. May 23, 2019 at 7:23 PM
    #20
    TJ_abuser

    TJ_abuser Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm I gathering that I got screwed by the place I bought the tires they want to charge me to rebalance. Thanks @JKBob 25 that post was to all just tagged doc cuz he said something about tires few posts back. You know I love ya bob. Lol
     
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