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Old 07-01-2019, 07:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Joys of Deathwobble...

Hey guys just joined up and hoping for some help as I'm at my wits end...

Sorry for the long read but I want to provide as MUCH information as possible.

04 WJ 3" IRO spring lift. IRO rubber adjustable control arms upper and lower up front, adjustable rear lower control arms and upper ball joint spacer. JKS track bar. Lift has been on for roughly 4 years. I had to put the jeep down for awhile to cut out and weld in steel tubes for the rockers. While it was down I replaced my front axle with a variloc one put in new Spicer ball joints and moog wheel bearings. On my maiden voyage after the rocker repair and axle swap I got DW.... figured no biggie probably needs aligned... had firestone align it (big mistake they left everything lose) took it back had them redo it, still got death wobble.

So from there I replaced anything that looked questionable.
JKS Track bar got a KOR bushing on one side IRO rod joint on the body side
both drilled out using 9/16s bolts.
Moog upper control arm bushings on both axle and arm.
Lower control arms shows zero issues so I left them alone.

Steering box, moog SSD107 trail boss steering stabilizer, and moog TREs and bars maybe 8 months old, zero play, still so tight the bar doesn't even rotate back and forth yet.

Everything is tight, I had it verified and looked over my myself, my friend who owns a shop and 4WD parts as well. The only thing we notice is a clunk inside the box that I swear was there on my original box, the 1st replacement box (which was leaking from the pitman arm) and replaced again (so Im on the 3rd box, all of which I recall having this same clunk felt in the pitman arm shaft).

So per 4WD recommendation I replaced the TREs, Steering stabilizer and the Steering box AGAIN and let them align it... Still have DW.

Happens on both my stock 16" wheels running Cooper AT3s and 17" JK take offs with BF Goody ATs.

Alignment specs from 4WD print out are as follows.

LF
Camber -0.7
Caster 7.5
Toe .11

RF
Camber -0.7
Caster 7.5
Toe .08

Total Toe .19
Steer Ahead .01

LR
Camber -0.4
Toe 0.05

RR
Camber -0.1
Toe 0.14

Total Toe .20
Thrust Angle -0.04


After I had DW again I called 4WD and per them my LCAs are as short as they can go. I didn't want to argue as at this point it sounds like they too have no clue they don't want to tell me that and they don't want to be responsible for it anymore. HOWEVER Im already running 7.5 deg caster... stock WJ is 4-6, shortening them would INCREASE caster more.

Basically Im at my wits end... Everything that I understand to cause DW was replaced or addressed and I still have it. Please help.
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Old 07-01-2019, 07:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Tires balanced , and even pressures?

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Old 07-01-2019, 08:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Tires balanced , and even pressures?

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Redsand thanks for the reply

No I can say I have not had either sets balanced recently. However both sets produce death wobble on the same bump in the road. I can verify I have tired both sets aired up to 35 lbs, down to 30 lbs, and again no change in the occurrence.

I guess my last thought would be to maybe reduce caster? But doing my research I don't understand how that would help the issue, especially when the general consensus is MORE is better to stop it.
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Old 07-01-2019, 08:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Have the tires balanced. Make sure a good job is done.

Out of balance tires have caused DW on rigs of mine in the past...
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Old 07-01-2019, 08:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Have the tires balanced. Make sure a good job is done.

Out of balance tires have caused DW on rigs of mine in the past...
Sure thing I will try that. In my head I figured that with 2 sets of tires doing it in the same place with no change it eliminated the tires as the issue.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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7.5* caster is a lot. Shoot for 5*. Sometimes too much caster can be a problem.

Secondly .2" toe is a lot also. 1/8" is a good value.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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And one more thing. Do the alignment yourself. Its super easy to do with an angle finder for caster and tape measure for toe.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I think your confused on caster. If you shorten your LCA it would reduce positive caster. If your LCA are already as short as they would go I would lengthen your UCA to get caster around 5-5:5 and try that. Too much positive caster can create too much camber as the wheels turn which can contribute to DW also. (Positive caster has the upper BJ rearward of lower BJ when looking from the side)
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think your confused on caster. If you shorten your LCA it would reduce positive caster. If your LCA are already as short as they would go I would lengthen your UCA to get caster around 5-5:5 and try that. Too much positive caster can create too much camber as the wheels turn which can contribute to DW also. (Positive caster has the upper BJ rearward of lower BJ when looking from the side)

Hey Ghostman

No I understand it, Im saying 4WD told me they couldn't INCREASE caster any more since my upper control arms (IRO) are as short as possible. I could LENGTHEN my lowers to in turn increase caster although not as dramatically as adjusting uppers would, agreed? I guess my direct question would of been that increasing caster even more would that help, or all things being in good shape would TOO MUCH caster be the cause?

Death wobble has occurred mostly on a straight road, I don't recall the wheels being turned at all when its occurred.

Thanks!

Last edited by 04WJSE; 07-02-2019 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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7.5* caster is a lot. Shoot for 5*. Sometimes too much caster can be a problem.

Secondly .2" toe is a lot also. 1/8" is a good value.

Thanks for your reply PitchIt

At this point it seems backing off the caster would be a good step to try, its free at least. Toe on a WJ should be around .2 from what Ive seen for a factory spec.
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Old 07-02-2019, 06:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Well balanced the tires and no dice. DW 3 times today on the way to work all 45-55 mph.

I guess the next step will be to reduce caster but I see no logic why that would help considering I haven't done anything that should effect it from when I didn't have dw to when I do now.
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Old 07-02-2019, 07:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Two things I can think of.

First, did you try switching position of the wheels/tires from F to R?

Second, where does your steering stabilizer mount to? I'm not saying the stab is causing it, just that it should hide it. But some mount to the drag link at a weird angle and don't really help. If it's mounted from the axle to the tierod, then I would be looking where you are. I've seen caster cause DW on a shopping cart, never heard of it on a truck. Real hard to believe 7.5 degrees is the cause. Any chance it's more than that?
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Old 07-02-2019, 07:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
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These wheels are stock offset yes?

If so throw on a set of 1”-1.5” spacers. I had a brand new JK at work that would DW after a lift that reused his stock wheels. Alignment specs were all on the money, no loose frontend parts. I ended up swapping wheels just to see. Sure enough the wider track width and increase scrub radius of the wider wheels fixed it. Guy was hell bent on keeping his factory Rubi wheels so a set of hub centric 1” spacers were ordered and put on and the issue never came back.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:05 AM   #14 (permalink)
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These wheels are stock offset yes?

If so throw on a set of 1-1.5 spacers. I had a brand new JK at work that would DW after a lift that reused his stock wheels. Alignment specs were all on the money, no loose frontend parts. I ended up swapping wheels just to see. Sure enough the wider track width and increase scrub radius of the wider wheels fixed it. Guy was hell bent on keeping his factory Rubi wheels so a set of hub centric 1 spacers were ordered and put on and the issue never came back.
That's interesting. I would have thought more scrub might increase the chance of DW. But I suppose it would slow it down and once it's out of frequency, it stops.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:09 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Two things I can think of.

First, did you try switching position of the wheels/tires from F to R?

Second, where does your steering stabilizer mount to? I'm not saying the stab is causing it, just that it should hide it. But some mount to the drag link at a weird angle and don't really help. If it's mounted from the axle to the tierod, then I would be looking where you are. I've seen caster cause DW on a shopping cart, never heard of it on a truck. Real hard to believe 7.5 degrees is the cause. Any chance it's more than that?
Hey Waterhorse thanks for the reply

First off the SS is mounted stock location from the D30 axle to the lower drag link connecting the two spindles used for setting toe.

I agree hard to believe but Im out of options and Ive done everything reasonable I can think of at this point. Its no understatement at this point when I say EVERYTHING is new the only old stuff would be the D30 Variloc full axle I swapped in and the cvs. New spring hats were welded in from IRO, new moog bushings were pressed in, new spicer ball joints and moog hub bearings were installed.

I would assume its correct. When firestone aligned it, it was at 8 degrees, replacing the upper control arm bushings on the arm side no amount of prying could get the axle to shift back to reconnect so I lengthened them slightly by putting the bolts through the second hole on them (used to make quick caster adjustments) which would reduce caster.

Last edited by 04WJSE; 07-02-2019 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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These wheels are stock offset yes?

If so throw on a set of 1-1.5 spacers. I had a brand new JK at work that would DW after a lift that reused his stock wheels. Alignment specs were all on the money, no loose frontend parts. I ended up swapping wheels just to see. Sure enough the wider track width and increase scrub radius of the wider wheels fixed it. Guy was hell bent on keeping his factory Rubi wheels so a set of hub centric 1 spacers were ordered and put on and the issue never came back.
Byro thanks for the reply

Yes I have used both the 16" wheels that came on my WJ with 245/70/16s and JK take offs with 265/65/17s and both have presented death wobble, unchanged in its frequency or occurrence with BOTH sets of wheels. No bends in either sets.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:12 AM   #17 (permalink)
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That's interesting. I would have thought more scrub might increase the chance of DW. But I suppose it would slow it down and once it's out of frequency, it stops.
Ive done more Jeep lifts than I care to even count and that one always sticks out to me. Everything was new and tight, 9.5/10 its a blown out track bar bushing, the other 0.5 times its mis-adjusted caster. That one had me stumped.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:57 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Ive done more Jeep lifts than I care to even count and that one always sticks out to me. Everything was new and tight, 9.5/10 its a blown out track bar bushing, the other 0.5 times its mis-adjusted caster. That one had me stumped.
Was that due to too LITTLE caster or too much?
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:12 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Post a pic of the front end detail
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Was that due to too LITTLE caster or too much?
Not enough positive caster (lower arms longer) I always set maximum factory positive caster and factory max toe-in. It really helps with alleviate DW/wandering. I will do this with any solid axle vehicle, the Ford and Dodge trucks are the least susceptible, but it does help drivability with a lifted vehicle.

In your instance I would see what your specs are for caster and try a set of wheel spacers. At this point with everything new it has to be one or a combination of those two things.
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:00 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Not enough positive caster (lower arms longer) I always set maximum factory positive caster and factory max toe-in. It really helps with alleviate DW/wandering. I will do this with any solid axle vehicle, the Ford and Dodge trucks are the least susceptible, but it does help drivability with a lifted vehicle.

In your instance I would see what your specs are for caster and try a set of wheel spacers. At this point with everything new it has to be one or a combination of those two things.
Caster is currently 7.5 degrees stock WJ is 4-6.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:40 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I feel for you. I chased DW in my '00 WJ for about two years - replaced everything at least twice and had it in for alignment twice also to no avail. Every time I thought I finally licked the problem the damned thing would shake again. That was 5 years ago. How did I fix it? I cut the axles out and built custom long arm 3-link front and 4-link rear suspensions riding on Ford Super Duty axles (D50/10.5).

Good luck!
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:21 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Small update...

Control arms (lower) have been shortened to adjust (reduce) caster.

Still have DW.

At this point all components have been replaced, retorqued and death wobble still persists... no clue what the issue is. 4 Wheel Parts wiped their hands of it which is lovely.

Any last thoughts before I perform the Buy a WK2 mod?

Last edited by 04WJSE; 07-12-2019 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:42 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I know you keep saying everything is new at tight but did you have a buddy cycle the steering back and fourth while you look at each joint? Make sure jeep is has full weight on front tires (not lifted up). Check every joint from steering box to tie rods, all suspension joints, balljoints, even steering box mounting and sector shaft play. I have had brand new TREs move while doing this. I have also had suspension joints move when they appear good. If you find one (or more) that moves its your culprit.

Also, could you post a pic of your front end?


Edit: even check steering gear slop. How much do you have to turn before the wheels turn?

Edit 2: look for cracks around the steering box mount, track bar frame mount and track bar axle mount.

Last edited by pitchitpitchit; 07-12-2019 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:52 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Put. Spacers. On. It.
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