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  #1  
Old February 4th, 2005, 07:36
4DLVOFJEEPS 4DLVOFJEEPS is offline
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Bonafied death wobble!

97 XJ Sport, 3" lift, 31" BFG at/ko's. 150,000 miles.
I have a classic case of death wobble. I have decided that it was death wobble due to the fact that it built up over time and transgressed into one final "crap my pants" episode at about 45mph. After the final death wobble episode I drove home @ 20 mph as I could no longer drive any faster without the jelly in my eyeballs shaking. I vowed to never drive my XJ until I got the problem fixed, something to do with my "self preservation" issues. I had my wife steer to and fro in the driveway as I inspected everything and notice the stock trac bar @ the frame slopping about. I promptly changed the complete bar for a new OEM one and once again braved the open road. My poor wife does the laundry and was very upset after my second "crap my pants" episode. My next step is a complete front end tune-up. Bushings, ball joints, wheel joints, tires, alignment, and tie rods. I've read alot of posts about DW and I came to the conclusion that the problem is to dangerous to just replace one component. You don't wipe the oil and antifreeze off a blown head gasket and keep driving, and you shouldn't take your steering lightly either, it ruins perfectly good pants! I'll post again after the rebuild/tune-up, any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated!
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  #2  
Old February 4th, 2005, 08:26
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creeperjeep creeperjeep is offline
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Re: Bonafied death wobble!

BIG help is a good steering stablilizer, it made the night-day difference on my DW
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  #3  
Old February 4th, 2005, 08:33
99XJ 99XJ is offline
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Re: Bonafied death wobble!

I had the same situation I replaced the factory LCA with RE fixed ones and it fixed the problem. Good luck it is scary when it happens.
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  #4  
Old February 4th, 2005, 09:47
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Yucca-Man Yucca-Man is offline
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Re: Bonafied death wobble!

Eyeball jelly...heh-heh.

Typically, steering stabilizers are a band-aid that does nothing to fix the problem of DW, but they mask the symptoms. I'd recommend finding and fixing the actual problem. Alignment, tire balance, bushing wear on the control arms, loose trackbar, worn ball joints, bad wheel bearings or loose steering box are all good likely suspects before the stabilizer.

Last edited by Yucca-Man; February 4th, 2005 at 10:10.
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Old February 4th, 2005, 09:49
Jackhill442 Jackhill442 is offline
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Re: Bonafied death wobble!

I wouldn't go to the trouble of doing all that. That will take you a while. Replace the lower control arm bushings with poly (I did it, love them), and have your tires balanced. The greasable joints are tough and last a long time, and shouldn't be bad.
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  #6  
Old February 4th, 2005, 09:58
littlexj1 littlexj1 is offline
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Re: Bonafied death wobble!

i drove my trail rig to the trail (hour away) with a little shimmy.....thought it was a tire issue. needless to say the way home my little shimmy went to "shaking the jelly in your eyes" (awsome quote)...i also parked it and have been buying parts since for a rebuild of the front end....so far i got a dana 30 out of a 97 with 75k on it...that was cheaper than buying new ball joints...i got the HD tie rod kit and HD track bar kit...new bushings for my CA's and MJ lower control arm brackets...tomorrow i start the build.....goodluck with yours
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  #7  
Old February 4th, 2005, 11:02
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MaXJohnson MaXJohnson is offline
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Re: Bonafied death wobble!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yucca-Man
Eyeball jelly...heh-heh.

Typically, steering stabilizers are a band-aid that does nothing to fix the problem of DW, but they mask the symptoms. I'd recommend finding and fixing the actual problem. Alignment, tire balance, bushing wear on the control arms, loose trackbar, worn ball joints, bad wheel bearings or loose steering box are all good likely suspects before the stabilizer.
Your steering stabilizer is an integral part of the steering system, not a band-aid. Your front axle, tires, suspension and steering linkage have a natural frequency at which oscillations will occur if given the opportunity. The steering stabilizer is part of this mass/spring/damper system and is there to help dampen unwanted oscillations in the wheel-hop frequency range, typically around 10Hz. At 150,000 miles, it's certainly due for replacement.

Your suspension mods and tire/wheel upgrades changed the mass and spring rate which resulted in a change in the natural frequency. The result is an increased likely hood of uncontrollable oscillations: DeathWobble. 31" tires and 3" of lift seem to be one of more susceptible combinations.

When your particular combination of modifications puts your Jeep into this "window of opportunity", you need to make sure all steering and suspension parts are tight, tires are true and dynamically balanced, steering stabilizer is doing it's job and your front-end alignment, including castor, is up to spec.

If you are planning on a complete front-end rebuild, take a look at Currie's drag-link and tie rod replacement. Make sure to include a new steering stabilizer, too. You'll find that very few lifted XJ's run poly bushings. They tend to squeak and groan if not greased regularly and transmit more road noise and vibrations to the driver. This is particulary true with a uni-body which lacks the additonal isolation of body-to-frame rubber isolation.

good luck.
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  #8  
Old February 4th, 2005, 11:11
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pabloconrad pabloconrad is offline
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Re: Bonafied death wobble!

I agree with MaXJohnson. Rebuild your front end with new parts and get your tires balanced and a re-alignment. With over 150K miles, your XJ is just wearing out.
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  #9  
Old February 4th, 2005, 11:51
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BillR BillR is offline
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Re: Bonafied death wobble!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4DLVOFJEEPS
My poor wife does the laundry and was very upset after my second "crap my pants" episode.
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  #10  
Old February 4th, 2005, 12:25
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Yucca-Man Yucca-Man is offline
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Re: Bonafied death wobble!

Allow me to rephrase then - simply throwing a heavy-duty steering stabilizer or two at a wobbly front end is a band-aid that does nothing to address the actual problem although it may cover it up enough that the driver thinks the problem is fixed. Then it eventually comes back with a vengeance..

Better?
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