steering damper replacement

Kluk Ztopolovky

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After yesterday's major "death wobble" experience I took the Jeep for an inspection today and the dealer ordered new steering damper. I wonder if there was any engineering modification done to this "new" mopar damper or is it just the same quality as the one installed in the factory?





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Whiskey 13

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My guess is that it is their guess as to how and fix the wobble. Don't be surprised if it does not fix your issue.
 

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After yesterday's major "death wobble" experience I took the Jeep for an inspection today and the dealer ordered new steering damper. I wonder if there was any engineering modification done to this "new" mopar damper or is it just the same quality as the one installed in the factory?
It will not fix a death wobble as far as I can tell. It will just mask the issue a little.
 
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Kluk Ztopolovky

Kluk Ztopolovky

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It will not fix a death wobble as far as I can tell. It will just mask the issue a little.
Thanks. Can you be more specific why not ?
 
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Kluk Ztopolovky

Kluk Ztopolovky

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My guess is that it is their guess as to how and fix the wobble. Don't be surprised if it does not fix your issue.
So there is some chance that it will go away and that's better than nothing.
 

Whiskey 13

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There are several Death Wobble treads on the forum you can search. Some people have been lucky and have found a relatively simple fix but others chase it for a long time. Bent wheel, out of balanced tires, ball joints, tie rods, alignment, all can play into it. I hope the stabilizer helps.
 

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Thanks. Can you be more specific why not ?
Because death wobble is an uncontrolled oscillation of the front axle and a steering damper has nothing to do with controlling the front axle in that manner. A properly setup steering and suspension system doesn't really need a steering damper.

A really stiff steering damper may mask or keep DW from reappearing for awhile as it masks the root cause, but it will return. You need to find out what is allowing the axle to move when it shouldn't be.

With the Jeep's full weight on the axles, I'd make sure everything was torqued correctly, including ball joints. Then I'd do a complete visual inspection of every steering and suspension joint/bushing while someone moves the steering wheel left/right continuously (without actually causing the tires to turn). This puts enough force into the joints/bushings for you to look and see for any unwanted movement. Pay particular attention to both track bar attachment points, there should be no movement whatsoever.

Then check the ball joints for any movement at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions. You'll need to lift each front tire off the ground and use a pry bar under the tire to lift up and out. The tire/wheel assembly shouldn't move up/down. Someone else on the forum did this and it checked as good. However he investigated further and found the ball joints were bad. The stock ball joints aren't very strong and it's a good bet they could be bad, especially with larger than stock tires. My ball joints were bad at 30k miles, with 12k of those miles on 37's.

Other things to do are to re-balance your tires, ensure they're inflated properly, and check for bad/leaking shocks.
 

calemasters

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After yesterday's major "death wobble" experience I took the Jeep for an inspection today and the dealer ordered new steering damper. I wonder if there was any engineering modification done to this "new" mopar damper or is it just the same quality as the one installed in the factory?
I do not know the specs of the OEM damper or the "new" damper. About the only changes, if any, would the diameter of the piston and/or the valving.
 

m3reno

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Mine was corrected by balancing the tires and installing an upgraded steering damper with a Falcon unit and have been trouble free for two years. no lift stock height
 

roaniecowpony

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Thanks. Can you be more specific why not ?
Kluk,
DW occurs when the stiffness of the steering system is low. My 18 JL had soft bushings in the front trackbar. The bar itself also flexes some. I replaced it with a polyurethane bushed SteerSmarts trackbar. I was able to drive around for a couple weeks without a steering damper and experienced no DW even at high speeds. that would be the component I'd look at.

You may be wondering what the trackbar has to do with steering. It holds the axle housing in place while the steering box pushes and pulls with the draglink. If either the trackbar or the draglink can flex/deflect, the steering is affected. Imagine if the trackbar was a spring. If it wasn't stiff enough, when you put a steering input in, the axle would move side to side. This would also allow the axle to move laterally when a road irregularity pushed the tires. When the axle moves laterally and the steering is held steady, the wheels will steer because the drag link is connected to the steering box on the frame. IF it's easy enough to move the axle laterally, it can cause DW.
 
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Kluk Ztopolovky

Kluk Ztopolovky

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Kluk,
DW occurs when the stiffness of the steering system is low. My 18 JL had soft bushings in the front trackbar. The bar itself also flexes some. I replaced it with a polyurethane bushed SteerSmarts trackbar. I was able to drive around for a couple weeks without a steering damper and experienced no DW even at high speeds. that would be the component I'd look at.

You may be wondering what the trackbar has to do with steering. It holds the axle housing in place while the steering box pushes and pulls with the draglink. If either the trackbar or the draglink can flex/deflect, the steering is affected. Imagine if the trackbar was a spring. If it wasn't stiff enough, when you put a steering input in, the axle would move side to side. This would also allow the axle to move laterally when a road irregularity pushed the tires. When the axle moves laterally and the steering is held steady, the wheels will steer because the drag link is connected to the steering box on the frame. IF it's easy enough to move the axle laterally, it can cause DW.
thanks for your advice Roanie , I will see how it rides after they replace the damper and I may end up doing what you are suggesting, thanks again
 
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Kluk Ztopolovky

Kluk Ztopolovky

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Because death wobble is an uncontrolled oscillation of the front axle and a steering damper has nothing to do with controlling the front axle in that manner. A properly setup steering and suspension system doesn't really need a steering damper.

A really stiff steering damper may mask or keep DW from reappearing for awhile as it masks the root cause, but it will return. You need to find out what is allowing the axle to move when it shouldn't be.

With the Jeep's full weight on the axles, I'd make sure everything was torqued correctly, including ball joints. Then I'd do a complete visual inspection of every steering and suspension joint/bushing while someone moves the steering wheel left/right continuously (without actually causing the tires to turn). This puts enough force into the joints/bushings for you to look and see for any unwanted movement. Pay particular attention to both track bar attachment points, there should be no movement whatsoever.

Then check the ball joints for any movement at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions. You'll need to lift each front tire off the ground and use a pry bar under the tire to lift up and out. The tire/wheel assembly shouldn't move up/down. Someone else on the forum did this and it checked as good. However he investigated further and found the ball joints were bad. The stock ball joints aren't very strong and it's a good bet they could be bad, especially with larger than stock tires. My ball joints were bad at 30k miles, with 12k of those miles on 37's.

Other things to do are to re-balance your tires, ensure they're inflated properly, and check for bad/leaking shocks.
thanks , all of your recommendations make lots of sense , thanks again
 

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