JeepCares

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I agree- there is no reason why a vehicle with 17k miles on it should have a distinctive wobble when going over a tiny bump. Nevertheless, my dealer is not going to replace the crappy aluminum steering box... at least not yet.

I took my Jeep into Discount Tire today, and they found the front wheels were indeed out of balance. After the tires were brought back into balance the wobble is definitely less noticeable- but I still get a slow wobble between 40-45mph when I hit just the right kind of bump. I'm glad I don't have the severe "death wobble" other Jeeps have experienced. Fortunately, my Teraflex Falcon Nexus 2.2 Steering Stabilizer arrived today (plan to install tomorrow a.m.), which should "mask" the defective suspension design FCA put into the JL. Hopefully I'll have no wobble until they decide to replace the steering box (if I have to, I will eventually just purchase the steel box, which I'm sure is what FCA wants).
You need to contact @JeepCares and discuss the unwillingness of the dealer to perform the TSB. That's BS!
Hi @SSinGA - Thank you for tagging us!

@Varilux - Please send our team a private message so that we can discuss your vehicle concerns further. We would be happy to provide additional assistance.

Darlene
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Varilux

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You need to contact @JeepCares and discuss the unwillingness of the dealer to perform the TSB. That's BS!
Thank you for tagging Jeep Cares- I've sent them a PM.
It's very unlikely the steering box is the culprit. Have you followed the steps in the algorithm in the 1st post and performed them?
I've checked the torque on all the fasteners (using the FCA sheet as a reference), have checked to ensure there is no wobble being caused by ball or universal joints, and had the tires rebalanced (which did reduce the intensity of the wobble slightly, but it's still there). I scheduled an appointment to have the alignment checked, but my Jeep dealer talked me out of it- indicating he didn't think the Jeep was out of alignment due to the normal wear of the tires and didn't feel as if the alignment was the cause. The dealer's fix (as mentioned earlier) is to install an adjustable steering stabilizer. My mechanic (who used to install lift kits for my dealer on their new inventory) has checked the geometry of the steering components and says there is nothing there to explain this wobble (it's his opinion the steering box is the culprit).
Hi @SSinGA - Thank you for tagging us!
@Varilux - Please send our team a private message so that we can discuss your vehicle concerns further. We would be happy to provide additional assistance.
Darlene
Jeep Cares
Thank you for your reponse, and PM sent.
 

Whoisalejo

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Hey everyone, just wanted to thank the OP for this fantastic write up! I had death wobble, and i had it bad. My jeep was a CPO 2019 with less than 8k miles on it and has death wobble (quality parts from the factory amiright -_- ) but thanks to this write up my first change was installing a teraflex track bar, i took it for a ride and still had death wobble but the amplitude of the vibrations was down 60%.

I kept following the OPs instructions and figured the next thing was the ball joints, so I picked up the dynatrac HD rebuildable ones and paid a local 4x4 shop for the install.

After that though BOOM death wobble gone. This weekend I took my JLU sport out on a 2hr highway drive up to 90mph on bad socal roads and a few miles on a dirt road and it was solid as a rock.

If you're here for death wobble, it's definitely fixable. It's scary, it sucks, and the factory ball joints are plastic trash, but with some work it too shall pass
 

LazyJL

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Jeeps have suffered from DW for decades, it's not just an issue for late models. DW seems to be in the nature of solid front axles
My TJs and XJs, along with a 4X4 Dodge Dakota and a 1959 Ford F100 4X4 have had the problem.
Wheel bearing looseness caused the problem with the Ford and Dakota, the Dakota had a slight amount of play in the driver's side unit bearing...terrible DW.
The Jeeps either had track bar problems or a ball joint was worn enough to cause the DW but not enough wear to be out of specifications when jacking the axle up and checking the ball joint's slop with a dial indicator. Wish there was a faster way of checking the ball joint's preload without major disassembly.
My 2001 XJ had DW at 25,000 miles. An aftermarket track bar with extra-hard bushings set it right.
 

cmb396

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I haven't seen anything detailed on here providing an algorithm for diagnosing and fixing true DW and felt this method may help save folks alot of time, money and headaches. As parts wear out, this issue seems to eventually affect the majority of solid axle vehicles(especially when lifted) and I waded through ALOT of info dealing with recent DW that ran the full gamut. This included significant time researching, working on it, talking with a dealer, going to 2 offroad shops and talking with several very knowledgeable guys on here to learn how to isolate the root cause. Most know it can be caused by 1 issue or a multitude of issues combined and unfortunately, it seems there are alot of misconceptions and many Jeep owners/dealers/offroad shops don't know how to properly diagnose it and simply give up or blindly start throwing costly new parts at it. Or they resort to blaming the steering stabilizer...when in reality, a properly setup jeep should be able to drive without DW with the steering stabilizer taken off.

At 29k miles, my jeep began experiencing true DW driving 25-45mph over certain pot holes/manhole covers and I had to brake below 5mph or stop the jeep for it to stop. I slowly drove home and retorqued everything and worked with an experienced friend performing steps 1-4 listed below without fixing it. I then tried to ask the lead mechanic at my dealer if he would check ball joints while the jeep was there for yet another electrical issue. The mechanic referred me to a well known local offroad shop(no surprise...it's lifted 2.5" on 37s) and they couldn't find the cause after 3 days and essentially did nothing more than what I had already done and even charged for it.:lipssealed:

I took it to another shop that claimed they would do whatever it took to find the root cause or they wouldn't charge anything. This shop had a different approach and was calculated...it was apparent they had alot more experience working on DW. They treated it like the jeep has a 100% curable disease and they're a physician trying to efficiently and cost effectively isolate the root problem(s) and fix it. They had a checklist for ruling out potential causes beginning with the most common that are the least expensive/easiest to check. They also emphasized the importance of properly inspecting each part because many people unknowingly overlook issues and spend alot more $/time chasing it than should be needed. Below is the algorithm that was used and I will be following in the future:

1. Have a knowledgeable person lay under jeep with someone rocking the steering wheel back and forth from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock and look closely for movement/slop in the trackbar/draglink/tie rod bushings and then firmly pull on them to see if you get any movement. It's even better to do this with a tire against a curb to add stress to help uncover slop in a bad joint. Pay careful attention to the trackbar joints as it seems to the be the culprit the majority of the time. Also, pull on control arms to see if anything feels loose. If any joints or brackets have movement, inspect further and check mounts/brackets to see if welds look good and nothing is obviously bent/flexing. Retorque or replace as needed and test drive it.

2. With the jeep on the ground, loosen bolts in trackbar/draglink/tie rod and control arms and rock the jeep and then retorque to spec to make sure bolts weren't loose or bound up. Check lugnut torque and grease joints if you have greasable joints and haven't recently. Test drive jeep.

3. Lift each front tire off the ground at the axle and use a pry bar under tire to lift up and check for movement at ball joints. This typically works if ball joints are in very poor shape flopping around. However, you likely won't see movement if the ball joints are moderately bad and arent applying preload to the knuckles like mine and several others have experienced. Ball joints may still be the root cause of DW, so dont rule them out based on this test alone. The 1st offroad shop I took it to stopped at this step and thought they had eliminated ball joints as the cause bc they didn't see any movement and they felt it was unlikely on a 2 year old jeep with 29k miles mainly riding on lightweight wheels and 33" and 35" ko2's. Fully inspecting them requires significant labor removing the brakes & knuckles and is addressed in the last step.

4. Check shocks and steering stabilizer(bolts and compression for consistent compression/extension) and make sure steering box is bolted to frame at proper torque.

5. Have wheels/tires rebalanced dynamically....or better yet, swap on a friends set of wheels/tires.

6. Check alignment and caster.

7. Retorque ball joint castle nuts to spec and insert new cotter pins.

7. Time to start swapping in different steering parts and checking the bolt holes to see if they are wallowed out and then test driving it after each new part. I had my takeoff stock parts available and used them. Begin with trackbar and test drive it...and then draglink, tie rod.

8. If none of that is fixing it, you're narrowing it down to ball joints or steering box with ball joints being much more likely. Time to get serious and have an experienced shop disassemble the brakes/knuckles and check preload on ball joints.(6 hour ish job) The mechanic said my ball joints weren't applying preload on the knuckle, but were not flopping around like you see with ball joints that are completely shot. He said that is a classic sign that the ball joints are the culprit and replaced them with Dana Spicer ball joints and reassembled everything.

With the new ball joints, the jeep drives like new. Very frustrating and drawn out experience....glad it's resolved! :jk:
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Great write up, and Go Vols!!
Just got on here to research for a friend that is experiencing DW after going from a 2.5" spacer to 2" Mopar lift, and is frustrated. We will start with this list to diagnose. and btw, are you ChattaVol on Volnation that does the deep and detailed algorithms, charts, and spread sheets on everything football related? lol
 

Varilux

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Just a follow-up on my experience with wobble... The adjustable stabilizer from Teraflex (Falcon 2.2) eliminated the wobble when set to the medium or firm setting- but if placed on the soft setting I would still get some wobble. I have since installed the Teraflex track bar, and can now set the stabilizer to soft without any wobble (although I prefer it set to medium, as it helps reduce the amount of steering correction needed when going over bumps). I am waiting to see if any additional aftermarket ball joints hit the market, and will eventually swap those out as well. I just don't like the idea of having ball joints with plastic internals. I've been wobble-free for over a month now.
 

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