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View Full Version : Death Wobble Question after WJ Swap/ 1 Ton Steering.


Cburb88XJ
October 24th, 2014, 19:07
So after swapping in new axles i ran into death wobble after running them for a few hundred miles, at first it was fine. I have no stabilizer or sway bars, and i just recently re torqued and cotter keyed everything up front to spec.

the front axle is a 96 D30HP pretty much all new everything... 4.56 gears, Detroit True trac, spicer 760 u joints brand new, trussed, outer c gussets, lower c gussets, lower control arm mini skids,wj knuckles with jks adapters, new timken unit bearings, all new brakes, new balljoints upper and lower spicer and moog lowers for the wj swap. 1.50x .250 1 ton OTK steering with chevy TRE's, JKS OTA bracket, IRO double shear trackbar shortened for OTA, good bushings. RC lower control arms with new bushings for 4.5 lift, stock uppers that were reinforced and new bushings. New tcase mount and browndog engine mounts. New 35 mtrs. durango box with a reinforced spacer that ties into my winch bumper drag link and track bar are pretty parallel also and im running a SYE.

The jeep feels a little shakey sometimes when i get up to speed around 50ish or so i believe like the beginning of death wobble and if i hit a bump at the right spot it will death wobble, specially if i hit a bumper in a slight turn. Being that literally almost everything on the front end steering and axle related is new i think it could only be a few things.

Im debating on getting adjustable uppers or just long arms if i can swing it because im curious if my caster is causing this, not sure how to measure caster correctly but with my angle finder against the flat spot on knuckle below balljoint it says like 9 Degrees which is probably wrong. I also want to find a way to mount a stabilizer most likely just to help some even though i know it shouldnt be needed. Im going to look over toe-in again also, i even swapped steering boxes and it didnt help. The steering itself just feels crappy to me kinda wonders a little if you dont keep on playing with the steering wheel while driving having to shimmy side to side alot with the wheel, also not used to no stabilizer, dont know if thats why it does it. Any input i need this thing for winter and trying to figure it out before weather gets crappy.

moparcyco
October 24th, 2014, 20:15
I also finished a wj swap recently had the same issue at first.Something is loose... I thought I had everything torqued properly double check everything.
As far as caster causing death wobble I doubt it.Were is it currently?I had adjustable uppers when I swapped and recently changed to drop brackets with adjustable lowers so I could dial caster better.Made a huge improvement also aired down to 20 psi drives very well now.Hope this helps.

cal
October 24th, 2014, 20:19
i usually measure my caster by pulling the grease fitting off the upper balljoint and setting my angle finder on it.

in my experience, and others have probably experienced differently, death wobble has 100% always been trackbar related in some way.

Cburb88XJ
October 24th, 2014, 20:34
Everything is tight i literally re torqued and cotter keyed everything up front, tie rod ends, track bar, drag link, steering box and pitman arm, control arms, unit bearings, ball joints, axles etc,Measuring at the flat spot on knuckle by upper ball joint it looked like 9 degrees. The mtrs were at 35 at first from tards at tire shop but i lowered to 27. The IRO trackbar and mount is pretty new and nice and tight. At this point not sure what to do but try adjustable uppers im sure it could use them anyways...kinda stumped for the time being.

cal
October 24th, 2014, 20:51
Have someone you trust sit in the jeep, fire it up, and jerk the steering wheel left/right in a fast and somewhat violent but *consistent* manner (moving their hand like 5-6", not lock-to-lock).

Crawl under the front end and put your fingers on every joint. *BE CAREFUL*.

Something somewhere is moving. You may not be able to see it, but you will feel it. If you put one finger on the pitman and another on the draglink, you will feel any play there. Check both ends of trackbar. Trackbar mount. Draglink. Tie rod. Upper and lower balljoints. LCA and UCA mounts.

If indeed everythign is tight, which is unlikely if you have deathwobble, then rotate your tires and check out your shocks.. but that is a long shot.

yossarian19
October 24th, 2014, 22:08
Jam nuts tight on adjustable control arms & track bar?
Also - "new" doesn't mean "good". I've seen plenty (lots and lots) of chassis parts that were junk out of the box.
Do like Cal says and look / listen / feel for loose chassis parts while somebody moves the wheel. Couldn't hurt a thing to chock the rear wheels...

IdahoEagle
October 24th, 2014, 22:46
Also, have you had it aligned yet? If the toe is too far out of whack it can affect everything even if the rest is tight...

Cburb88XJ
October 25th, 2014, 08:19
I don't have adjustable control arms, I'm wondering if I need them though since every thing else seems good. I jacked front removed wheels and did just that shimmy steering wheel around side to side and checked joints and pried on anything I could all looked good. Most of the parts came from ruffstuff. This is why I'm wondering if my caster could be causing it. My toe was about an 1/8 inch in but I'm gonna check again here in few hours.

zachandandy
October 25th, 2014, 08:21
Pics are always a help in diagnosing things. Having adjustable uppers or lowers is definitely helpful in dialing in the front suspension.

cal
October 25th, 2014, 11:50
Doing the test with it on jacks and no tires is 100% invalid. You need stress on the parts to find bad parts - if you could see it without load, you would have deathwobble by 10mph.

Cburb88XJ
October 25th, 2014, 15:43
Insane after replacing box with another durango Cardone box it still feels wobbly as hell I can feel the shaft wiggle around, when I shake the tire while jacked you can feel it and hear it. Swear I'm bout to take it back again and buy a different one. This shaking is definitely steering related and I'm not trusting these boxes

yossarian19
October 25th, 2014, 15:47
Some rebuilds are re-seals with a paint job.
Others are new bearings & seals.
Some rare few will align, bore & hone before mashing a new OEM quality bearing in there & selling you a box that's better than factory. You can guess which price category these processes fall into.

Cburb88XJ
October 25th, 2014, 16:10
Yea I'm wanting to return this one. It says 3f on it fluid flush fill I think. 190 bucks Cardone box. Not sure where a better place to get one would be but I'm not comfortable with it.

cal
October 25th, 2014, 16:19
Cardone parts are *CRAP*

I've only bought performance boxes (PSC, Howe) so I have no better budget suggestion for you.. but don't expect anything quality out of a parts store box.

Cburb88XJ
October 25th, 2014, 16:55
Yea I don't trust it. The shaft wobbles when rocking wheel around and sounds like crap. Still not sure if caster could do it either. Everything else is tight with no movement. I had my dad shake the crap outta the tire by hand while I checked everything and the steering to pitman shaft was where all the wobble and noise seemed to come from. Anywhere sell quality built boxes besides cardone?

cal
October 25th, 2014, 17:05
Call these guys and see what their most budget OEM steering box rebuild is. It will be more than your parts house box, but it will be a lot less than the $550 entry level performance box or the $1200 boxes a lot of us are running now.

Howe Performance
12476 Julian Ave
Lakeside, CA 92040
(619) 561-7764


PSC Motorsports
6715 Corporation Parkway Suite D
Fort Worth, TX 76126
817.270.0102

Lee Manufacturing Company
11661 Pendleton St.
Sun Valley, CA 91352
Phone: 818-768-0371

Cburb88XJ
October 25th, 2014, 17:37
Alright sounds good, yea I don't know how but checking my caster by the top of the ball joint it's showing 15 degrees. Which sounds very bad not sure if that could be a big cause also.

cal
October 25th, 2014, 17:47
is it sitting on the ground on the tire, or on jacks?

Cburb88XJ
October 25th, 2014, 17:53
On the ground and I got the same both sides. Around 15

moparcyco
October 25th, 2014, 18:29
I know your leaning towards your steering box or castor.Are you sure everthing is tight?I did the same thing as you thinking it was ok.Turns out my drag link end at the pitman needed more tightening than spec.Did you ream your pitman or use a tapered insert?I chased my tail on this for two weeks.As a side note my castor was awful when I swapped also my steering box was wasted but when I got everything tight d/w went away.Just had to get everything else dialed with the swap now I freakin love it!

Cburb88XJ
October 25th, 2014, 18:47
Jeez, yea I had to ream knuckles and pitman arm for the drag link I checked the inserts and they haven't moved. I also get no movement out of them when I check them having someone else shake the crap outta the wheel. I know my caster isn't right but I am kinda on the fence if it's actually causing anything like this. All the rod ends were re torqued to 45 ft lbs the other day.

Jeepedo129
October 25th, 2014, 22:16
If the steering box doesn't fix your problem, then, as Cal was saying, most DW is caused by track bar issues. I had a very similar problem with my WJ set up, wiggled everything down, and I found the track bar was loose at the axle a very tiny bit. Fixed my issue. Thought I would chime in.

paddlernate
October 26th, 2014, 06:42
I had DW appear soon after my WJ swap- frame side TB bracket had wiggled loose.

cal
October 26th, 2014, 09:18
Yeah, it doesn't take much. I have Russ Pottengers jeep sitting in my yard now for death wobble problems. Turned out the rubber bushing at the axle end of his trackbar was worn and moved 1/8" or so under stress. That was enough..

Cburb88XJ
October 26th, 2014, 14:12
Well I tightened the drag link way more then it's supposed to be at pitman are just for heck of it. I removed track bar to look at it and noticed on the axle end of track bar the bushing hole size was bigger then the jks mount it fits into. So the bolt was too small for the bushing.

So I re drilled it to 7/16 like the track bar is and tightened to 90 ft lbs both ends with new 7/16 bolt.Was sure that was doing it but after test drive it still does it. I ordered a steering stabilizer that I'm gonna try to hook up onto my 1 ton steering just for hell of it. Specially with a crappy steering box it should help some.

Also ordered adjustable upper control arms since my caster seems crappy. It's so crappy that my trackbar fits into the mounts at a slight angle. Makes putting In bolts a pain.

I will also rotate tires front to back and see if that does anything. I swear this started to happen around when I lowered tire pressure they had these 35 mtrs at like 35-40 psi. Only the center was contacting road. I lowered to 30 then 27 for good road contact and around that time the shaking appeared not sure if related or not. I got them through Goodyear so if they are crap they should replace them. Other then that I'm clueless. Caster, tires or steering box is about the only possibilities I see.

Cburb88XJ
October 26th, 2014, 18:32
Just ordered Stuff from IRO as well, a new bushing for the axle side of my TB ( even though its not old the caster might have ruined it) heavy duty spring retainers since 1 side is stripped and their nice trackbar flex joint for the frame side. Also my steering setup.

http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z271/87HuskyWr430/20141026_171625.jpg (http://s191.photobucket.com/user/87HuskyWr430/media/20141026_171625.jpg.html)

Krawler_92
October 28th, 2014, 11:47
This was a fun read. Your stock upper arms are too short. Your caster is way off. I ran into the same exact problem when i added my 4.5 springs from clayton. I personally chose to build my own LA kit to realign everything as well as do the WJ brake/steering swap. You just need to get your adjustable arms on so you can rotate the axle back into position. If you look at a before/after comparison, it's pretty crazy how much 4.5" will rotate your axle.

Jeepxj412
October 28th, 2014, 12:22
I have the exact same set up as you but with ruffstuff's trackbar. I think I figured out that its a combination of my steering box plus one of ruffstuff's heims. and the DW hits at 50-55 mph as well. I ended up tightening the screw on the top of the steering gear AS A TEMP FIX ONLY. and it helped to a point. so im hoping the new box and heims will fix the issue. keep us updated.

Krawler_92
October 28th, 2014, 12:26
I can tell you that on ANY xj with 4.5"or more lift, your stock uppers are too short and they will cause wobble. The wobble will be different at lower psi's. You cannot raise an xj that much with the stock uppers. All it is, is the arms. Also that is not exactly a correct method for measuring caster, at the ball joint, like you did. you're better off removing the knuckle, centering a rod through the C, and measuring the angle of said rod. Also, measuring your pinion angle willl get you close.

Jeepxj412
October 28th, 2014, 12:36
maybe I shoulda added, I have IRO long arms

Krawler_92
October 28th, 2014, 12:40
maybe I shoulda added, I have IRO long arms

that is different, then. He has 4.5" lowers with not 4.5"uppers. That equals bottom of the axle streched, top pulls back, caster is out of whack, super fun death wobble engage.

Cburb88XJ
October 28th, 2014, 17:45
Yea thanks a bunch for the input, i have had stock uppers with 4.5 for few years but i guess after bigger tires and more axle work it made it do this, specially when i lowered tire psi i assume. I have adjustable uppers on the way that will work all the way for 8 inch lift. I figure loose steering box, caster and my track bar being slightly tweaked sideways is where my DW is at. I hope im right, ill have a new trackbar axle side bushing put in and a trackbar flex joint from iro also just incase the bushings got tweaked from my incorrect caster.

I knew the balljoint method of caster wasnt the best way but i knew it would get me a ballpark and 14-15 is horrible it should probably be like 5-8 when measured from there. Im kinda unsure what to do about steering box dilema. I dont wanna adjust it and void warranty i honestly wanna see if i can get a refund and maybe just suck it up and get an AGR or PSC, not sure if anywhere else sells ones that arent so crappy. Ill have a steering stabilizer possibly put on also to make up for this crappy box. Ill keep everyone posted.

Krawler_92
October 28th, 2014, 18:39
Yea thanks a bunch for the input, i have had stock uppers with 4.5 for few years but i guess after bigger tires and more axle work it made it do this, specially when i lowered tire psi i assume. I have adjustable uppers on the way that will work all the way for 8 inch lift. I figure loose steering box, caster and my track bar being slightly tweaked sideways is where my DW is at. I hope im right, ill have a new trackbar axle side bushing put in and a trackbar flex joint from iro also just incase the bushings got tweaked from my incorrect caster.

I knew the balljoint method of caster wasnt the best way but i knew it would get me a ballpark and 14-15 is horrible it should probably be like 5-8 when measured from there. Im kinda unsure what to do about steering box dilema. I dont wanna adjust it and void warranty i honestly wanna see if i can get a refund and maybe just suck it up and get an AGR or PSC, not sure if anywhere else sells ones that arent so crappy. Ill have a steering stabilizer possibly put on also to make up for this crappy box. Ill keep everyone posted.

What's up with the box? Is it just loose from the frame? Also your Trac bar is tweaked because your axle is rotated so much, unless I've got the wrong idea of what you're saying. Make sure you do your arms before you do the bar. It'll be easier.

Cburb88XJ
October 28th, 2014, 20:16
What's up with the box? Is it just loose from the frame? Also your Trac bar is tweaked because your axle is rotated so much, unless I've got the wrong idea of what you're saying. Make sure you do your arms before you do the bar. It'll be easier.

Yea thats what i was saying, my caster is so off it makes my trackbar tweaked some in the mounts. Both boxes ive had were durango cardone boxes and they both seem to have alot of slop, worse then my factory box and i know its not helping with my wobble probably. Id rather get a good box and be done with it then taking a gamble at these crappy boxes you get at bubba zone and whatnot. The mounting is solid though i have a winch bumper with unibody tie ins and a creepy fab steering box spacer that work well together.

Krawler_92
October 28th, 2014, 21:32
I would suggest getting a steering box brace as well. They're pretty cheap and they help a significant amount. Otherwise, I think you're on the right track with getting a reliable and good quality box. It's not like they're something that is high maintenance so 2 with slop sounds kinda cheap if that is the actual issue. Good luck with doing all the work. Let us know how it turns out or if you run into any snags.

Cburb88XJ
October 29th, 2014, 16:41
Yea thanks I have a spacer, piece that goes against frame. Unless you are talking about the actual brace that bridges across to other side of frame.

Krawler_92
October 29th, 2014, 16:55
Yea thanks I have a spacer, piece that goes against frame. Unless you are talking about the actual brace that bridges across to other side of frame.

Yes that's what I mean. Really held to keep that box from gradually twisting itself free.

Cburb88XJ
November 1st, 2014, 17:10
Well i got the new IRO coil spring retainers and track bar bushing with additional frame side flex joint, a stabilizer kit that ill mess with later if i cant get a better box soon and i got my crappy uppers from ebay that im probably going to return to them. I believe im going to get the serious long arms and just do it right and be done with it. its like 797 to the door with discount so thats not too bad i guess.

I would be able to adjust axle perfectly and itll ride and flex better with more stability so...someone help talk me into buying these, haha. Itll be probably a week or so before i buy them if i do so until i get that done i wont know for sure if i got the DW cured.

Krawler_92
November 1st, 2014, 17:45
I would be able to adjust axle perfectly and itll ride and flex better with more stability so...someone help talk me into buying these, haha. Itll be probably a week or so before i buy them if i do so until i get that done i wont know for sure if i got the DW cured.

I built long arms for my xj about 3 weeks ago and they're amazing. Buy some and throw em on on, man. They're great.

Jeepedo129
November 1st, 2014, 18:57
I would be able to adjust axle perfectly and itll ride and flex better with more stability so...someone help talk me into buying these, .

I (like everyone who owns long arms) have had zero regrets buying them. Even if you don't crawl that often, the on road handling and ride make it feel like a stock height jeep again.

Not saying this will fix your DW problem, but if you're sure everything else is tight, then I would say that would be your next move.

Seriously though, long arms rock!

Cburb88XJ
November 2nd, 2014, 16:06
Yea thats pretty much my thought on it, i need new uppers at minimum anyways to hopefully fix my DW and i need longarms regardless since ill be lifting another 1.5-2 inch later so might as well get it done and over with. Probably the single most expensive mod left to do to this thing, at least for a long time.

JTM
November 5th, 2014, 10:16
Just get a long arm and don't worry with fixing the short arm set up. So having your caster that far off will cause excessive wear to your Ball Joints and your track bar. How close are your track bar and tie rod in length?

Cburb88XJ
November 7th, 2014, 14:53
Just ordered the serious long arms. Trackbar is a good bit shorter as usual with these setups. I guess measuring by the top of balljoint i will try to get around 7 Degrees or so to get it close. Even though its not the best way to check caster.

Cburb88XJ
December 14th, 2014, 18:45
Well a little update i got the serious long arms and got the wheelbase to 101.5 then put upper arms on and i was way off at like 12 on caster went for a ride and ofcourse DW at around 55ish. Then i tryed to re adjust again and got it around 8ish caster it was slightly better but still started to DW at same speed. I then adjusted it to around 5-6 and drove it and it wouldnt DW but it would have a shimmy at that speed like it wanted to start DW but it didnt do it and i drove for quite a bit bumps in road wouldnt initiate it either.

Got a little fed up and checked toe-in and it was off by like 3/4 somehow i guess from adjusting caster so its now 1/8 and i installed a steering stabilizer that connects from my OTA trackbar bracket to my Drag link in hopes it would mask my shitty sloppy advance durango box but while after all this it felt a little better it still has that shimmy like the very beginning of DW and has me nervous as hell.

I am literally running out of ideas ALL steering and axle parts are new and have been removed checked and installed re torqued no bad weld on messed up inserts my trackbar and drag link angles are almost exact same. All i can think of next to do is take my jeep to goodyear dealer where i got tires and have them check them even though i have rotated them to no avail. Im at 26 psi now which has good road contact but i swear i didnt have this DW when they were over pressurized at 35. The only other thing i can think of is steering box still, it has more slop then i like and i can feel it drift left to right slightly when driving but im just not sure if its giving the issue i have... Sorry for novel just an update.

http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z271/87HuskyWr430/20141214_150454.jpg (http://s191.photobucket.com/user/87HuskyWr430/media/20141214_150454.jpg.html)

http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z271/87HuskyWr430/20141214_150438.jpg (http://s191.photobucket.com/user/87HuskyWr430/media/20141214_150438.jpg.html)

http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z271/87HuskyWr430/20141214_150425.jpg (http://s191.photobucket.com/user/87HuskyWr430/media/20141214_150425.jpg.html)

Serious Offroad
December 14th, 2014, 20:37
Lookin' FAWESOME!!!!!

Cburb88XJ
December 15th, 2014, 05:34
Yep! serious Longarms are badass.

paddlernate
December 15th, 2014, 14:02
I'll just chime in on your suspect steering box. I had some DW show up last week and found that my pitman arm nut had loosed some. It was probly at about 40 or 50 ft-lbs. The box is a reman with good splines on it and a new pitman arm. Tightened up the nut and no more DW. Significant slop in your box could easily cause this.

Cburb88XJ
December 15th, 2014, 15:10
Yea unsure if the box is causing anything but regardless i want a better box with a decent warranty and just call it a done deal. after adjusting everything and driving to work its just a shimmy still while at 55-65ish mainly. its like the very beginning of dw but doesnt get worse and going over bumps doesnt make it worse either.

My mtrs were at 26 psi and i just raised them to 30 psi to see if i can tell a difference. i wanted them at around 27 because it had pretty good road contact any higher and its wearing the center too much.

I really just want to take this advance box back and call PSC and see what price they could do on a box and maybe a pump while im at it.