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samwhite

Death Wobble

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Once again my friend, the death wobble, has come to visit. My buddies at Fletchers suggested I get some offset ball joints and a new double steering dampner. They would only charge me some $2700. I did some checking and the dampners are $125. Ball joints, at least the offset kind, are a bit more difficult to find but I have two sources and the most expensive is $100 each. Of course I need to know the offset and Fletchers doesn't give that out. Heck, I was in Kanab and had a front end alignment and got a very pretty four color printout. I would use it but it is four years old. Anyone know of a place that does this sort of thing? Also if say the alignment is out 0.5 do I get an offset of -1.0? JK's don't allow one of the alignments, I think caster. :)

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A few thoughts here:

 

 

1) Don't bother with the double steering damper. That is a Band-Aid that only masks the real problem(s).

 

 

2) You need to isolate what the actual problem is rather than throwing a bunch of money at various parts.

 

 

3) Things to check: alignment, tires, ball joints, u-joints, tie rod ends, pitman arm nut, steering gear box, steering gear box bolts, upper control arm bushings, lower control arm bushings, compromise of caster and pinion angle

 

 

4) You should be able to drive the Jeep with no steering damper and not have death wobble. Once everything checks out, keep the single steering damper on there for comfort and added security.

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On my 2010, I replaced the bolts in the front end to 9/16th and it took care of the problem. I don't know if that was a problem only on the 2010 or not. Jeep put in 17mm bolts (I think) which allow the holes to wallow out.

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Sam,

We've had this discussion before, so you already know that Lo Phat & I disagree on the value of a steering damper in correcting axle tramp, and you know that the steering dampers installed when this issue came to light initially a couple years ago, did indeed correct your axle tramp (aka: the dreaded death wobble).

 

If it were mine, I would not think twice about the minor alignment "issue", as unless there is slop in them, new ball joints (off-set or otherwise), will do nothing to correct your vehicles axle tramp.

 

I would instead double check to ensure all suspension pivots are free of slop, fastener's are tight, then install a new set of double damper's again, and accept the fact that they will from time to time wear out, just like tires, and like tires are a consumable that you will need to be replacing occasionally, in order to continue to be provided with good service.

 

PS: The offset joints are typically used to adjust camber…;)

 

For anyone else reading this…

ALL live steered axles (aka solid steered axles), require some sort of damping force or hysteresis in the steering system, to prevent axle tramp, no matter what the geometry. Yes, even with all the suspension pivots fully up to snuff, and no other issues present.

 

In the old days of live steered axles, this damping force was provided by adjusting the kingpin friction to a specified torque value (the old service manual procedure actually had a spec for this force being measured using a fish-scale). In the modern world of live steered axles with ball joints, that damping force or system hysteresis, is supplied with a steering damper.

 

There is not a single live steered axle vehicle which uses ball joints as the steering "kingpin" pivot, of which I am aware of, that does not come from the factory with a steering damper. Must be a reason for this, as NO manufacture likes to spend $$'s on components which are not necessary…:P

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Thanks Steve and others. For sure the real problem started after a tire rotation and I do have two old and two newer tires on the Jeep. I was putting off getting four new tires until after Christmas. I do have a Rubicon lift and they are notorious for bushing wear. Now I have something to do over the holidays. Thanks again.

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Excellent advice Steve. This was reiterated by the shop that finally fixed my sisters lifted JK. I sent her there after we talked last time.

 

My sister's issue was that Desert Rat did not include all the kits components(found and replaced by Cutting Edge 4x4,) subsequently the constant wobble and pulling to one side had worn the dampner. They inspected, replaced, and aligned everything(in one day) and she is on the road, trouble free.

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It seems that four new tires (something I didn't want to do three days after Christmas) has minimized the problem. I still plan on changing the bushings on the control arms and installing a new set of steering dampers. I also ordered some heavy duty ball joints which I suppose I will put in when I find the time.

 

Thanks everyone and happy New Year.

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Jimmy: LOL!!

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New bushings cured my wobble. Steve you are spot on

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