Death wobble

After almost killing myself on the drive back from Houston it’s time to get the Jeep fixed. I’ve been fighting nasty death wobble for a while now, and it’s just getting worse. The tires are down to about 35% tread so there’s not much sense in doing maintenance on them (a wheel balance might clear this up). So I’ve decided to do a few of the upgrades I’d been planning on for a while. I’m dropping it off at Diamond Off-road on Thrusday to get a TeraFlex 3″ suspension lift, an inch of body lift, and 285/75R16 (about 33″) tires.

24 thoughts on “Death wobble

  1. What did you do to get your Death Wobble fixed? I have a SEVERE problem with the TeraFlex S4W 4″ lift kits on my WJ Grand Cherokees and am looking for ANY help and advice to make these vehicles safe to drive again.


  2. After the upgrades, which included a much stiffer steering stabilizer, it all but went away. But I did start getting a little bit of a wiggle after a couple thousand miles. It finally came to a head with a busted ball joint on one of my tie rod ends. I replaced that and did an exhaustive front end alignment and it’s really finally gone.

  3. I’ve got a 99 WJ with the same problem from adding only 2″ coil spacers (budget lift). The proper solution is supposedly to correct the caster angle that any lift added to a coil sprung jeep can effect. My castle angle (the rotation of the knuckles or axis of the axle) was only off about 1.5 degrees from factory specs. JKS makes a new product which is an adjustable pair of control arms good for lifts up to 6 inches. For my application, a pair of lowers should be enough to set the caster angle where it should be.

  4. I have a 1994 Jeep Cherokee which just recieved a 4 inch skyjacker lift. But Now i have an unbelievable case of the “Death Wobble” it seems to happen right at about 40-45 mph and feels like i was just thrown into a paint shaker. I work at an alignment shop and just had it aligned to factor caster, camber, and toe settings. I’ve heard that i moght need new lower control arms or a new steering stablizer. If you have any suggestions as to where i should go from here, please let me know! Thanx!

  5. Let’s see, there’s a few things I’d do. First, get those tires balanced. After that, upgrading the steering stabilizer would be a good thing. The stock one’s pretty much junk.

  6. I came across a really cool website displaying Jeep Wranglers with lifts, oversized tires, new custom alloy wheels and detailed to near new condition. Most of them have warranties. There is a video with an attractive young lady explaining their process. Worth checking out. Bob jones.

  7. I have experienced this chilling ride years apart. The first time my jeep started this I replaced the stablizer and did’t have any more trouble for about 3 years. It has recently started again and I replaced the trac bar witch got me from 40 miles a hour to 55. The stablizer looks wet and the tires are worn but I also would check your frame rails where the control arms are mounted to the frame. Mine was broken on the drivers side all the way around where it was welded from the factory and not noticable untill I got right directly up under it. I repaired that and it also helped. I guess it is time to retire it now.

  8. I’ve had Death Wobble on 2 different jeeps and have read every post I could find.I would start by replacing your track bar bushings if you are using your stock track bar.It is the cheapest thing you can do,and there is a decent chance that is it.($13.00-15.00)The bushings in my track bar didn’t look bad,but when I changed them it made a huge difference.I would go from cheapest to most expensive unless you can find something that is obviously wrong.I believe changing your steering stabalizer only calms Death Wobble down.I have read that tie rod ends, tires out of balance, and alignment are 3 of the other most frequentcauses. If you do change your track bar bushings with energy suspension replacements you have to cut the round piece of hardened steel out of the end of the track bar that connects to the axle.My tie rod ends were also bad. GOOD LUCK

  9. Well, this saga’s continued now for a year and then some. With the new tires it was pretty much gone but as they wore down it came back.

    I took it over to the great folks at Dallas Frame and Alignment who diagnosed the underlying problem. Both axle housings are bent. It’s being fixed now.

  10. Hi, i have a 96 XJ and installed a rough country 3″ lift on it on Saturday and immediatly experienced death wobble. I shook down the front end and found excessive play in the ball joint on my stock trackbar. I purchased a new one from my local parts store and installed it in about 3 hours, and my death wobble is gone. Check all your bushings in your track bar and make sure that where it meets the frame it isnt “eggholing” Any play in the track bar will throw your vehicle into Death Wobble. The whole purpose of the trackbar is to keep you axle from shifting left to right, which is what is happeneing during DW. Hope this helps, email me if you need more help,

  11. Ive been experiencing “death wobble” ever sense i got my jeep stuck in the woods a few months back….I have a 1990 jeep cherokee laredo..Im pretty sure my axle is broken on 1 side..and ive been told 2 of my balljoints are worn…could this be the cause? or should i try balancing tires,alignment,replacing shocks,replacing tracbar? im going to fix the balljoints and axle either way but im almost positive ill still have the “death wobble” and today when it happened I thought i was gunna die it was so bad…it usually happens at or around 55mph and stops at or around 60-65mph….i know jeeps are famous for this as i have 4 jeep sitting in my yard and 2 for sale…please help email me if need be

  12. I’m no mechanic so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I’d definitely see to your axle first. After that, replacing the ball joints, balancing, aligning, and replacing the steering stabilizer with a stiffer one will probably help…

  13. Hi,I’ve just encountered death wobble after a 3.5 litf.
    Today it definetly felt like the track bar was knockin from left to right at incredible speed.
    I feel more vibes on the driver side.
    After all this reading I think i will check the welds on the control arm mounts and the track bar mount.

  14. Yes,Ilove my jeep, and spend alot of money
    , including replacing every thing I could think of except balancing the tires.

    I’ll try that next.
    Keep my fingers crossed.

    94 jeep XJ

  15. Well. I checked my all my control arm and tracbar weld mount brackets and they are all solid.
    How ever I did find that the front driver side shock has sprung a leak,
    there is a small fraction of play on my tie rods;mostly on the passenger side;and the passenger side ball joint is bad.HOPEFULLY,this will end my death wobble.I’ll let you know in 2 weeks.Thanks guys for your help.

  16. I have insane death wobble with my 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, 10.5″ lift with 33″ Cepek Crushers, I dont know what to do, Help please I love my truck….

  17. ok it is ur track bar and ur rotors becaue my 97 jeep grand cherokree did that and now it is fixed

  18. I have a 96 cherokee with the Death
    Wobble. No lift, everything is stock.
    About 2 years ago I replaced the
    Stabilizer shock (Dampener?) and four
    new tire. It went away until the other
    day when I had my tires rotated and

    I read that the bolt hole in the frame
    where the Track Bar connects on the
    pass. side, wheel side is too large.
    It is suggested to drill out the
    track bar bushing to 7/16″ and use a
    7/16″ bolt (which fits the frame hole.

    I’m going to do that and replace the
    stabilizer shock with a better one. I
    hope it fixes it.


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  20. My everyday driver is a 2005 TJ Wrangler X, and I didn’t feel I needed a monster truck so I decided to go with 30-31″ tires instead of the 27″ that came on my TJ. To accommodate the larger tires, I was going to need to get a couple of inches more clearance for the tires. I ended up installing a set of 2 inch coil spring spacers to lift my ride height slightly. After I installed the spacers, I re-set the toe to 1/8″ and drove the jeep. It felt slightly unstable, but I knew I tightened everything back up. I did not rotate, or balance my tires. Nothing else was changed. I drove my Jeep locally for the next few days to work and back (only 4 miles per day round trip).

    The next weekend I drove to Sacramento to visit family. When I reached a crappy rough highway (HWY 80) the front end felt wobbly. As I approached 40-45 MPH and I hit a bump on the right front, I got the sensation I was driving on triangle shaped front tires that were out of sync. My garage door opener and other crap on the dash leapt off onto the floor and my butt puckered! Scared the hell out of me. I slowed and it went away as I came to a stop. Every time I tried to go over 40 MPH the wobble came back with a vengeance. I ended up taking surface streets (keeping the speed under 40), until I found a much smoother roadway to take home. Once I was on a new stretch of Highway (N/B 99), I was finally able to get up to 70 MPH w/o wobble. Drove the rest of the way home worried I might die, but it drove fairly normal.

    The next few days, I searched the internet as many of you have I’m sure. After reading all the posts available, I started inspecting my jeeps front end. After 2 days of intense scrutiny of all the components, I came to the conclusion, nothing was worn, loose or broken. What the hell???

    I decided to purchase a magnetic base angle gauge ($5.00). I used it to check the angle of my CASTER and found it was over 3 degrees above spec. (top ball joint farther back than lower ball joint total of almost 11 degrees from zero). I ended up re-setting my CASTER back to 7 degrees and re-set my toe again to 1/8″. Guess what? my wobble went away. Over the next few weeks, I put about 700 miles on it with everything in place as it was with the wobble. I even drove the same stretch of highway 80 several times to make sure the wobble was gone. I felt confident the disease was cured, so then I bought my new tires and rims. Now with an additional 600 miles on the new tires, I know I beat it.

    I’m not trying to say that all of you with Death Wobble (or what you think is DW) can decrease your CASTER and fix all your woes… What I am saying is it DID fix mine.

    I know that some of you will not believe this, but if you think about how a shopping cart with a bent caster wheel reacts when pushed forward, our DW does virtually the same thing. Think about how CASTER angle works, if you had lets say 45 degrees of positive Caster, your wheels would probably wobble at 10 MPH just by going over small pebbles. Anyhow, if anyone has questions, don’t hesitate to ask. For those skeptics out there, keep spending money on parts instead of thinking outside the box. I fixed my DW for about $10.00, how much have you spent trying to fix yours?

    Oh.. and before anyone asks…

    NO, I did not replace my steering stabilizer, shock, dampener or whatever you want to call it.

    As long as your alignment is set up right, there is NO NEED for one.

    No other parts were replaced or tightened. All I did was re-set the CASTER back to about +7 degrees.

  21. i too am having the dreaded problems, i purchased a used 99 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo a few months back, it has a factory installed lift, not after market, had the jeep about a month before it showed up, needless to say it freaked me out, have purchased the entire “death wobble kit” from Kevins offroad, still have the wobble, have had the tires a aligned, new rotors, new breaks and am now ready to just sell the dang thing, i have read all the comments and have run out of ideas, i have now spent about 1000.00 and refuse to tdo drive the jeep now as i do not trust it, after reading all the other comments, it appears to me that once you have it, you may resolve it only temporarily and it will always resurface, this is my 4th wj and by far the worst expeierence i have had, none of the others had any kind of lift on them, if i purchase another it will NOT have a lift.

  22. – Check all suspension bushings for wear and loose fasteners including
    control arms and track bar (MUST BE UBER TIGHT) Replace any bushings
    that are cracked or worn.

    – Check Track bar for looseness (re torque bolts) replace if worn out.

    – Check if Wheels are Bent

    – Check Steering Stabilizer, including bushings. Replace if low or no

    – Check all the tie rod ends for wear and replace as needed

    – Adjust toe-in to exactly zero. (A slight toe-in is preferred for
    stability, toe out will reduce steering shimmy).

    Caster prefer +6.35 Range +6.0/+7.5 Max R to L difference 0.5

    Note: With Up Country Suspension – Target caster at +6.5

    – Balance tires and put the best balanced tires in the front. Also
    consider running a lower PSI in the tires, like around 28 psi to absorb
    bumps better.

    – Check the steering box for wear and adjust or replace if needed.

    – Check the wheel bearings for wear.

    – Check the Ball joints for wear.

    – If nothing else helps, add a second steering stabilizer from the drag link to the track bar.

  23. @STJEANP


  24. @STEPH – I didn’t really get it fixed. New tires, better balancing, a MUCH stiffer dampener, and it’s mostly gone. Current tires are a little worn, so I get the occasional shimmy, but nothing bad.

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