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Discussion Starter #1
Our 2016 JKUR has only 32,000 miles, with a small fraction of that off-road. It has started to exhibit the classic death wobble symptoms at around 47 MPH. Tires are good, and have been balanced, they were just slightly off. Specs on alignment are within parameters. The problem started recently and has been getting worse. I had a respected 4X4 shop take a look at it and they recommended a complete front end rebuild. Heavy duty tie rod ends, drag link and tie rod. They also recommended new ball-joints. I can see the tie rods maybe are worn, but has anyone had their ball joints go bad at this low of a mileage? Running 33.5 tires, wheels have 4.5" offset. Probably going to go ahead with the HD steering components, then if wobble persists I will do the ball-joints. :frown2:
 

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I haven't heard of a ball joint going bad with that mileage, not unless heavily wheeled and/or big tires. but I guess there is that one in a million which goes bad.
Here is how you can check them:
https://www.moog-suspension-parts.com/blog/how-to-check-ball-joints/


Why did the shop recommend a complete rebuild? did they found something wrong?, or do they want to change everything because they couldn't?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think that they figure if they replace everything they will fix the problem. Bill would be just over 2 grand for doing it all. They would use the Rubicon Express HD steering system, I am not a big fan of RE. I will probably go with either MetalCloak or Currie. I have the tools to do it all myself, just finding the time is tough.
 
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If you want a full HD steering kit then go for it. If you just want your DW fixed then get that addressed.
There are a million threads and posts across the internet about DW. Also a million claimed solutions.
I have dealt with DW with Jeeps and Rams. One of my best friends works at Ford and deals with this regularly. We have talked about this a lot.
DW is a common concern with any solid axle that has a multi link suspension.
The most common culprit is the Track Bar. Loose/Worn/Oblong mounting holes. Get someone to move the steering wheel back and forth while you look and touch the track bar. Is there play?
The second favorite culprit is the steering shock. A lot of smart people claim if your steering is tight you don't even need a steering shock. That is a false statement. Maybe if you had metal bushings in all your control arms and a narrow tolerance you could get away without but this is the real world. If your shock is original then replace it. You could take it off and move it back and forth but this doesn't always show it's bad.
Ball joints either have play or not. Side to side/ up and down. No play then they don't need replacing.
Daily driven Jeeps don't seem to use up ball joints.
I posted a couple pictures awhile back that showed the new axle seals. If they pull your axles to do ball joints then the seals can come apart. Prepare for some new seals.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Track bar is tight, fairly new MC Game changer lift has been installed, new steering stabilizer. When it starts shaking it is the most violent DW I have had. Our 93 Grand Cherokee, our 97 TJ, our 04 TJ, our 06 LJ and now this JK have all had it to some extent. Just got to find the cure for this one!
 

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.....Get someone to move the steering wheel back and forth while you look and touch the track bar. Is there play?....
Yes - do this check! Look for any play in any steering component. That 4x4 shop wants to throw parts at the problem (not a bad strategy for a shop to get you fixed and out the door with money in their pocket) which you could probably do yourself. The track bar might feel tight to your hand but that's not the ultimate test under load.
 

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Fairly new lift? I suspect something has come loose. Star tightening up everything you can get to.
DW is no fun.
 

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I know you said tires were OK, but rotate & balance them again after going through all of the retorquing of control arms and track bar. Put the two best tires on the front. Make sure all links are loosened and the bushings neutral (No twist or tension) retorque is done with tires on the ground and full vehicle weight on them with suspension bushings in neutral. Don't let them do it up on a lift.
 

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Update...As I stated, this JKUR had severe death wobble. Since it was still under warranty I took it in to the dealer. I left it with them and told them to drive it home a time or two so they could get a first hand sample of the wobble.

They started off by diagnosing an oil leak around the sector shaft on the steering gearbox. They ordered and installed a new gearbox. Jeep still wobbled. They installed a new drag link, Jeep still wobbled. I had tested the ball joints, the passenger side lower had about 1/8th inch up and down movement. They installed new ball joints, warranty on the passenger side, I paid for the drivers side. It had very little movement, I did not want to leave anything to chance.

The tires had been rotated and balanced twice, they have less than 6000 miles since new. The Jeep had been aligned--twice-everything was within specs. Still wobbled. The dealer stated that the tie rods needed to be changed out, everything else had already been changed so that had to be the culprit.

By this time I had gotten the MetalCloak HD steering system. I had wanted the wobble to be fixed before I put it on, didn't want it to be said that the non-stock parts were the cause of the problem. Anyway, I took the Jeep home and my son-in-law helped me install the system. Test drove it, all was good. Took it for a longer test drive the next day over a section of pavement that always started the wobble--all was good.

Took it on a 2 day trip, freeway, rough pavement and a little dirt--all was good. So, did the MC system cure it....The definitive answer is....maybe. When we put the system on I decided I was not going to pay for another alignment. All they can do is set the toe-in and center the steering wheel. The caster angle was good. Miraculously, we set the drag link to the right length the first time and the steering wheel was centered. We set the toe so that, with a tape measure, the front of the steering tires was approx 3/4" of an inch narrower than the back of them. This should equate to about 3/8" toe-in.

Measuring tape alignments are not the most accurate way to do it, but in this case it worked. 3/8th of an inch is a bit on the high side for toe-in, but I am not going to argue with success. I may reassess if the tires start to show abnormal wear. I am left wondering though, if I had set that amount of toe-in prior to everything else, would it have solved the problem? At no time during this ordeal was there any sign of looseness in any tie rod ends. We did the back and forth movement while feeling the joints for looseness, everything seemed tight.

The track bar was tight , the mounting holes are not wallered out, the only looseness of any kind was the passenger lower ball joint and that proved to not be the cause of the problem. We leave for Silverton the end of this month, about a 1400 mile round trip on pavement with a lot of wheeling while we are there, the damn thing better be fixed!!!:grin2:
 

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Congrats on getting the Jeep back running true. I am waiting on mine to be finished. took it to the shop for new gears and am coming out with new gears and chromoly axles lol. Guess I should just upgrade to 35s now ?.

I'll be in Silverton on the 31st as I start the Alpine Loop. If you'll be there on that day shoot me a message. It'll be my TJ and a stock 4Runner running the Alpine loop on the 31st then Black Bear Pass on the 1st.
 

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Silverton comment: Follow what passes are open, friend that lives there said they are having difficulty getting the passes open this year.

Hope the wobble issue is resolved.
 

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There's a good 4x4 shop in Montrose - Rockwerx if you are still having problems. Here's a comprehensive list of trail conditions in the entire San Juan mountain areas. We have friends working at Centennial campground (south of Montrose) and we get some pictures of the snow and trails. Animas Forks is closed due to an avalanche and debris. County road departments have their hands full this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Animas Forks is now open by way of Hurricane Pass, then over California Pass, down Placer Gulch past the Frisco Mill to the Forks. The road from Eureka to Animas Forks is still covered by several deep slides and debris, some of them 80 feet deep. Opening that may take a while. Stony Pass was open all the way until last week when someone lost their life attempting to ford Pole Creek. Still lots of snow in the high country, but many of the main trails are open or close to be opening. We will be there in late July, I expect that Black Bear may not be open until Aug 1 or so.
 

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Animas Forks is now open by way of Hurricane Pass, then over California Pass, down Placer Gulch past the Frisco Mill to the Forks. The road from Eureka to Animas Forks is still covered by several deep slides and debris, some of them 80 feet deep. Opening that may take a while. Stony Pass was open all the way until last week when someone lost their life attempting to ford Pole Creek. Still lots of snow in the high country, but many of the main trails are open or close to be opening. We will be there in late July, I expect that Black Bear may not be open until Aug 1 or so.
This is good information thanks. Where do you keep tabs on what passes and trails are open? Is there a central web site for this information?

If BBP opens Aug 1st that'll be perfect cause that's when we're hoping to do it. It'll probably be really busy too which doesn't bother me as it gives me plenty of opportunities to stop and take pictures haha.
 

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..... Stony Pass was open all the way until last week when someone lost their life attempting to ford Pole Creek..... .
Good grief! I imagine Pole Creek is really running fast and furious with the snow melt. We ran Stony Pass all the way years ago in our Jeep Liberty but there wasn't much water running.

Chris - I included a link to trail conditions in my post above this one. Here's another road condition link (San Miguel county - Telluride.) This website has link to other county road conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited by Moderator)
Well, our month long Silverton trip went pretty well, we did not have any issues on the 800 mile drive to Silverton and we Jeeped a lot while we were there. Preparing to leave, I aired up to 35 psi in hopes of getting decent mileage, and we left town headed south. Less than 5 miles from Silverton the Jeep went into death wobble. So we drove 800 miles home keeping it below 45 mph or over 65 mph. The 46 to 64 mph became the "danger zone".

I took it into a local alignment shop, this was a different shop than who has worked on it before and I thought I would give them a chance. They balanced the front tires (the fourth or fifth time this has been done) and put it on their alignment machine. I went in to pick it up and they showed me the results, camber was a bit off and they wanted to install offset ball joints. The technician also stated that the Jeep was toed out, not in. I asked them if they had adjusted this, they said no, because they would need to unhook the tie rods and do it individually. When I pointed out that the tie rod assembly had left and right hand threads and all they would have to do was loosen the lock nuts and turn the rod to adjust it, he got a glazed look in his eyes--I paid for the balance and left.

I had heard about a shop in Yuma AZ that did a lot of Jeep work, called them and made an appointment. I had a meeting in Yuma and left it for the day. What they found: The Jeep was not toed out, in fact it was toed in way too much, there were a couple of other things that needed adjustment and I ended up having them install the Fox HD steering stabilizer. ( I had put the MC stabilizer on, but had not rotated the clamp that goes on the tie rod far enough to the back and the stabilizer shock had hit the drag link, damaging the shock. They patiently explained to me all that they had done, how it should work and I headed out for the freeway trip home.

No wobble, I hit some rough pavement at danger zone speeds and....no wobble. Heartfelt thanks go out to Chad and Cody at Ultimate Offroad in Yuma. I was ready to get rid of this vehicle, my wife was afraid to drive it, and honestly I was too. It was great to find a shop that knows and understands Jeeps as well as Ultimate Offroad.
 

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Sounds like you found a bad shop (first one) and then found a good one (second business). The stabilizer should help; hopefully the toe adjustment was the main culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Aaaarrrrrgggghhh, as Charlie Brown would say. A couple of weeks ago the wobble was back, not as bad, but 2 instances of it over about 200 miles of highway driving. Back to Yuma it went. We discussed options with Chad, he recommended the Synergy steering brace. This is a nicely designed device that reinforces the track bar to frame attachment and also braces from the frame to the sector shaft. They also installed the JKS front control arm drop brackets, road-force balanced the tires. We drove to Temecula and back this weekend, over some of the same roads that had induced wobble before and.....no wobble! I am feeling more confident that the problem may be resolved. I did find a video on youtube showing the frame flexing when the steering wheel was moved back and forth on JL. You can actually see the gear box moving in the video. Was this my problem? Time will tell. Basically, every piece in the front end has now been replaced and/or upgraded, except for the axle housing itself. If, and its a big if, the problem raises its ugly head again, I plan on switching the Method wheels with 4.75 in. backspacing to a set of stock JK Moab style wheels with 6 inch backspacing to see if that could possibly be the culprit.
 
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