When this started happening I checked the drivers side ball joint, and it was loose so today I replaced it and although the wobble has gotten smaller, its still there. I checked the track bar BTW, because I had an issue with that before, and it was tight.
Check your from sway bar links the lower part where they connect with the t50 bolt, the nut might be coming loose. That wheel shake, almost a violent one, which seems to show up out of nowhere after hitting some sort of bump or pothole, or sometimes following a hard press on the brake pedal.
“It can definitely be a scary thing, death wobble, with the Jeep violently bashing and everything inside rattling, especially on the highway. In fact, for all its mystique and talk among enthusiasts, there never has been a recall issued by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for death wobble.
According to the Detroit News, NHTSA last did a study on the 2005-10 model year Jeeps and found only two crashes blamed on death wobble, with just one listed as causing some sort of non-fatal injury. Chrysler did issue a Technical Service Bulletin back in 2012 warning drivers of its solid axle vehicles that steering systems needed to be kept in good working condition, but also did not issue any sort of recall.
That may seem obvious, but it still can be difficult to accomplish when your vehicle suddenly hits a bump and starts shaking wildly at higher speeds. Don’t mash the brake pedal, as that will only make the vehicle more difficult to control, and do not give the Jeep gas in hopes of accelerating through the problem.
Hitting them slow will keep any shaking down to a minimum and not cause more damage to your vehicle that already has some obvious issues.” This is absolutely not true, as any solid front axle vehicle can get death wobble under the right conditions.
Another incorrect belief is that swapping out the Jeep’s steering stabilizer to a stronger version will solve death wobble. In fact, a steering stabilizer can only make things more difficult to resolve and even may cause more problems down the road.
“I run 42-inch tires on the Rip Supercharged Grapple JK build and one of the things I have always tried to ensure was that all the steering and suspension components were top-notch and able to handle the harsh requirements that come with running a very large off-road tire.” The best place to start understanding and rooting out the causes of death wobble is to get under the vehicle and give the steering and suspension a good visual inspection.
Components like your front track bar, tie rod and tie rod ends, ball joints, upper and lower control arms as well as bushings, and wheel bearings should all be checked for excessive wear, damage or missing parts. In addition, if you have recently installed a new suspension lift then ensure the hardware is properly torqued and nothing is loose or out of place.
Many times you can inspect and or remove the steering stabilizer and test drive it see if the problem still exists. While these aren’t necessarily a cause of death wobble, any unbalance can certainly make the issue worse.
Like we’ve said before, death wobble can strike both a stock or lifted Jeep thanks to all of these vehicle having solid front axles. Well for starters, remember to ignore anyone who says throwing a new steering stabilizer at the problem will solve the issue.
We previously covered this as a misconception and, in fact, the best thing you can do when striving to fix wobble is to disconnect that stabilizer in order to get a more accurate diagnosis. Next, take what you’ve learned from your visual inspection and make sure all the bolts in your suspension and steering parts are tightened to proper specs.
Grab a buddy and set the Jeep in neutral with the motor off, but key in the ‘on’ position. To check these, use a jack to lift the front of the Jeep and then have a friend grab one wheel and twist it back and forth.
If the tie rod doesn’t move, but the ends seem to wiggle, then they most likely need replacement. The vehicle’s ball joints are yet another important part to investigate when trying to eliminate death wobble.
If these boots are damaged and grease is leaking then it’s a good bet the ball joints need replacement. You can also lift the vehicle with a jack and check the ball joints by pushing against the tire with a pry bar.
Damaged arms remove that control and lead to excessive vibration in the suspension. Unbalanced, damaged, or improperly inflated tires play a role in the sense that something needs to start the wobble.
A warped, underinflated or unbalanced tire hitting a bump or pothole can be enough to set the whole thing in motion. Make sure you use a company who knows how to deal with 4×4 vehicles and won’t sell you on simply getting a four-wheel alignment, as you do not have independent rear suspension in your Jeep.
A good alignment shop will also know how to properly set your vehicle’s caster and toe angle. So with everything now inspected, all those components correctly tightened and maybe even a few parts replaced, the risk of getting that crazy wobble after unexpectedly striking a bump or pothole is significantly less.
Truck freight and oversize charges still apply unless otherwise noted, and can only be shipped to the lower 48 States. Certain vendors have shipping restrictions that require us to collect a handling fee for the part.
It has earned this name because it feels like your Wrangler is shaking itself apart and that letting go of the steering wheel can lead to a bad day. With death wobble, it becomes extremely difficult to control your Wrangler and the only way to get it to stop is by slowing down.
Death wobble typically occurs at speeds above 45 mph and in most cases requires a trigger like hitting a bump or a pothole. One of the common death wobble myths is it can't happen to stock Jeeps, only ones that have been lifted.
Any solid front axle vehicle runs the risk of experiencing death wobble. However, it is true that if you have done any suspension upgrades (Ex: Lift kits) you are more likely to experience death wobble.
Every Jeep, even the older Willy's, can find themselves plagued with this issue. If you’re faced with this unfortunate situation, here are some suggestions and tips to help solve the problem.
Front Track Bar Ball Joints Drag Link/Tie Rod Ends Upper Control Arms Lower Control Arms Suspension Bushings Steering Stabilizer Steering Knuckles Your front track bar, drag link, steering knuckles, ball joints, steering stabilizer, upper and lower control arms, and even bushings should be checked for damage or excessive wear.
In addition to ensuring that all hardware is properly tightened to the correct torque specifications, check your wheels, tires, and alignment. While unbalanced tires and wheels being out of alignment won’t usually cause death wobble, it can help trigger or even amplify it.
The sudden, harsh steering wheel movements can damage your fingers if you have a tight, misplaced grip. Try to slow down evenly and safely without aggressive braking or forceful/quick movements of the steering wheel.
If you carry a set of tools with you, your next move should be to check for any loose suspension bolts. Fixing it requires finding which part of the Jeep suspension puzzle is the catalyst.
Something as simple as a tire's misaligned camber or toe could cause enough vibration to trigger the wobble again. One thing many people do is install a new steering stabilizer, but this is not a permanent fix.
Jeep steering stabilizers can temporarily get rid of death wobble, therefore masking a more serious problem. The front track bar is designed to absorb a tremendous amount of force.
As a result, the two anchoring points are extremely critical and should be the first stop in your track bar investigation. 2018 JR honorable mention: If you have one of these Jeeps, be mindful of the track bar to body weld.
If your JR falls under the recall conditions, see your dealership immediately. Should the track bar weld fail, you'll lose steering control and be worse off than in any death wobble situation.
Similarly, if your track bar was moving around, but your bolt was staying in place, then your bushing is worn out and should be replaced. If this bracket isn't braced properly, it could act as a lever on your suspension, gradually pushing against mounting bolts and breaking things loose.
Should the relocation bracket be bent from abuse or simply wear, replace it immediately. They're covered with a soft rubber boot filled with lubricating grease.
If the protective boot has ruptured or the grease has leaked out, the joint could be compromised, causing dangerously excessive movement vertically or horizontally. In the case of the boot being intact and if you have a dial indicator handy, you can check vertical and horizontal movement that way.
Another test you can do with a jack is to lift one of your wheels off the ground while your friend watches a ball joint. If your friend sees any slight movement between the ball joint and the steering knuckle then it is worn out and should be replaced.
Next, have your friend (who may have been helping you check your track bar) watch the tie rod end for the lifted wheel. If your friend sees the tie-rod wiggle back and forth, but the tie-rod bar itself (sometimes referred to as a drag link as well) is not moving, then the tie-rod end is worn out.
After any of your steering components are replaced it is a good idea to bring your Wrangler in for a front wheel alignment. Granted, an unbalanced wheel or an improperly worn tire being the cause of your Wrangler's death wobble is less probable, but it's certainly not impossible.
Hop onto any of the offloading forums, and you'll find a case of someone noticing missing wheel weights, getting their tires re-balanced, and their Jeep's shakes disappearing. By far your cheapest option when diagnosing the source of your misfortune is double-checking the condition of your wheels and tires.
After every offloading venture, be sure to clean off any caked mud, and make sure your air pressure is back up to where it should be. Uneven tire wear can also cause unnecessary vibrations, triggering the wobble.
The worst case scenario as far as wheels and tires are concerned is having a bent rim. Depending on how badly damaged the rim is, no amount of wheel balancing will help.
The constant, improper rotation can rattle things loose, setting the stage for a catastrophic evening. Lower caster numbers result in more forward moving resistance.
More rolling resistance leads to a harder working suspension, more vibration, and a recipe for disaster. Toe-in is when the front tires are angled towards the vehicle's center (from a bird's eye view).
Similar to an improper caster setting, excessive toe-in can increase rolling resistance leading to heavier wear on your tires and suspension components. Some Keepers have even reported toeing out their front wheels helped stave off death wobble, but doing so won't eliminate the root cause if there are more gremlins at work.
An inexpensive and easy preventive solution is replacing the factory bolts with a higher grade alternative. Bolt kits from Synergy, for example, provide high-grade alternatives to the factory hardware and allow you to tighten the components at a higher torque.
This allows important suspension components to settle properly and prevent mounting points from binding. It’s also recommended having your Jeep properly aligned by a professional after any steering/suspension modification as well as part of your routine maintenance.
Finally, its good practice to inspect all these mounting points as well as all joints/rubber protective boots for excessive wear or damage. Immediately replacing or addressing issues early on will help prevent future problems.
Some are upset that instead of issuing a recall, FCA suggested upgrading the steering stabilizer. Time will tell if lawsuits determine the FCA should be held accountable, but something to keep in mind is all front solid axle vehicles can experience death wobble.
Shop prices will vary by area as will stock versus aftermarket replacement parts. Drag Links & Tie Rods: Cost here will vary depending on how high you have your Jeep.
Don't fret though because you can replace the tie rod portions with stock units for $20-$50 per side. If you're tight on funds, however, a steering stabilizer can stave off the issue long enough for you to fix the real source of the problem.