View Full Version : Death Wobble Help

August 5th, 2017, 20:42
So I bought my XJ a few months ago knowing I needed to adjust or change the steering setup. It has an aftermarket trackbar and bracket, along with an old Rusty's steering setup with a drop pitman arm. The trackbar and drag link were both too short for the amount of lift, so when I got it the front axle was pulled too far to the driver side. I just put new heim joints on both the track bar and drag link to try and remedy the problem, but now that I've adjusted everything I get serious death wobble. Whenever I hit certain bumps or uneven pavement the front end violently shakes until I slow down to almost a stop. My alignment is off at the moment which I'm sure can contribute to it, and I'm not running a steering stabilizer (I've read posts of people having no death wobble without one). I'll straighten my alignment and see if it helps, but it almost feels like the play or shaking is coming from the box. I've checked all of the joints and none of them are bad (except my passenger upper ballpoint has very slight vertical play when I put a huge pry bar under the tire when the truck is on jack stands). I have a Pismo trip planned for a week from now so I need to fix this as soon as I can. I'd definitely appreciate any help or tips with fixing this. Also, I'll try and put a picture of my setup once I figure it out. Thanks :)

August 5th, 2017, 21:01
How's the track bar to drag link relationship? They should be paralell.mines a little off and makes it wobble till almost a stop as well. That's why it's in the garage and I'm riding my motorcycle. Check the box for play. There's the little u joints on the input to the steering box that can sometimes go bad but I think you'd need a new steering shaft to get those.

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August 5th, 2017, 21:34
Both bars are fairly parallel, but my trackbar does have a weird bend in it. I'm really not sure how to describe it. I'll try and post a picture too. My track bar bushing does feel like it's worn, but I still think it's a steering issue. My steering shaft doesn't have any play in the joint, I do want to try and adjust the steering box.

August 5th, 2017, 21:37
Bends don't mean anything, it's only the joint center-line locations that matter!

August 5th, 2017, 21:51

August 5th, 2017, 21:54
Here is a link to the photo. Since I'm not a member I don't think I can upload pictures directly. Good to know about the bends, I wasn't really sure.


August 5th, 2017, 22:45
I've checked all of the joints and none of them are bad (except my passenger upper ballpoint has very slight vertical play when I put a huge pry bar under the tire when the truck is on jack stands).
This. Slight play at a ball joint can cause death wobble. Might not be THE problem, but got to start with the known bad first. I would do all four ball joints then recheck it before chasing anything else.

ps, a huge pry bar is exactly how you should check it (like you did). Any play noticed should be addressed.

August 6th, 2017, 00:03
Thanks! I already have two new upper ball joints I was going to put in, but I might as well get the lowers too. That along with the alignment and steering box tightening will hopefully be it. :)

August 6th, 2017, 01:39
The upper ball joint is designed to move up and down. It's basically a spring loaded pin. I would double check your lowers. Spicer kits are the most affordable and longest lasting unless you have special needs. Buy them on Amazon or wherever you prefer.

No steering stabilizer will cause wobbles hitting pot holes and things like that. No necessarily death wobble, but the stabilizer is there for a reason.

A loose box will contribute to wobbles.

The design of the Jeep front end and similar track bar setups with live axles mean pretty much anything that's loose can cause you grief. The slightest amount of tie rod end play can cause a cup of coffee to vibrate out of your hand hitting a crack in the road.

August 8th, 2017, 01:44
I replaced the upper and lower ball joints on both sides and the death wobble is still there. It seems like as soon as I started correcting the steering the wobble has only gotten worse and worse. Could everything being on a bind have masked play in the steering box? I'm going to tighten it tomorrow and see if that helps, I do have a dead spot in the steering regardless and its not the shaft. Today I got death wobble at 15mph :( I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. Thanks for the input md21722! :)

August 8th, 2017, 19:59
Tightened up the steering box today and the steering and handling down the road is much better, but the death wobble is still there... I've been using the same speed bump by my house as my test and now it will only do it at about 30mph and above, about 25mph and slower its good. I'm going to order a steering stabilizer and see if that does the trick. Also thinking about having my tires rebalanced, they have weights on them but I'm not sure if they really are balanced or not since I only got this truck a few months ago. I just want to get this fixed and get back to wheeling it ;)

August 8th, 2017, 20:17
Have you had someone move the steering wheel back and forth while the Jeep is on the ground and you check for movement in anything? Track bar bracket at the frame is also common for loosening up and causing death wobble.

August 9th, 2017, 09:02
I'm going to order a steering stabilizer and see if that does the trick.

A steering damper isn't even needed, so it would be just a band-aid.

August 12th, 2017, 02:00
So today I adjusted and tightened both the track bar and drag link him joints I put on and replaced the lower track bar bushing. All of those things tightened up the steering even further, but didn't completely get rid of my death wobble :bs: Then I added a steering stabilizer and now it is completely gone. Im not sure if it is a combination of poor track bar/drag link angles or older parts that has caused my DW, but Ive tried everything before the stabilizer to fix it. Even before putting it on I had someone turn the wheel while I looked at all the bushings/joints and nothing had any noticeable play. At least now it is fixed and I can take my Jeep wheeling in the dunes next week! When I eventually upgrade my steering/track bar setup I will try and go without the stabilizer and see how it goes. I honestly didn't want to run one, but I tried everything I could find aside from rebalancing the wheels and getting a professional alignment. Maybe thats my problem, but the toe is set correctly and the truck tracks well :patriot: