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Track bar and death wobble


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I know this topic has been discussed plenty and I HAVE read previous posts but I wanted some advice. I bought a 96 cherokee with a 3" rancho lift on it with a pre-existing death wobble. Super clean truck for 1200 because the p.o had no idea what the shaking was :) I had a rocky road adj. tb left over from my manche that I threw on last night to replace stock and it was too long by about a 1/4 inch. I had to jack the suspension up to get it in :roll: big no no? Anyways, the death wobble continued after the install same as before... starts at about 55 mph and stops when I get it down to around 45. I checked the holes for the tb and everything else attached to the front axle without any major red flags. It all looks 13 years old but nothing completely shot out. My tires are completely worn unevenly and bald, outside of tires worn more, so I thought it might be an alignment, balance, toe in, axle camber issue more than anything. I am adding a 2" spacer to the front today and replacing the sway bar mounts and bushings then i was just going to take it in for new tires and an alignment. I guess my question is can this "death wobble" *explative* bee caused and solved by tires and alignment alone? It is a very violent shake but only happens at highway speeds. Thanks

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Causes as listed by Genovast from a thread on the first page.

 

Wheel balance

Wheel bearings

Ball joints

U-joints

Trackbar bushing or TRE

Steering TREs

Control Arm Bushings

Control Arm themselves

Very bad toe alignment

Bad tires(not necessarily unbalance) from a horrible toe in alignment

I've even seen out of balance front driveshafts on NON-CAD axles cause a bit of shaking.

 

 

Many reasons can cause this. Look into all of it.

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If your tires are really that bad, and nothing else looks visibly shot, that's where I would start.

 

How are they worn? Is it much worse on the outside of the tire than the inside? That would indicated a bad toe in, which is what would happen if someone did a lift and didn't do a toe alignment. I speak from experience. I now know better.

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If your tires are really that bad, and nothing else looks visibly shot, that's where I would start.

 

How are they worn? Is it much worse on the outside of the tire than the inside? That would indicated a bad toe in, which is what would happen if someone did a lift and didn't do a toe alignment. I speak from experience. I now know better.

 

They are indeed worn much more on the outside. I just don't know how long ago the wobble started or when the p.o put the lift on. I have a feeling it drove fine for a whiole and then progressively got worse. I guess we will see tomorrow if that fixes her up...

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You said it was adjustable... I'm assuming you've got it adjusted to its shortest length?

 

It might cause some problems, but I don't think it'd cause DW unless it put the axle so far to the side that you could visibly see it just by looking at the truck.

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Track bar 1/4 too long will shift the axle over not quite 1/4" too far to the passenger side.

 

Alignment will center steering wheel. You adjust the length of the drag link for that. Adjusting the length of the tie rod adjusts toe. Caster angle is adjusted by shims behind lower control arms, or adjustable/non stock length control arms. There is no way to adjust caster without also affecting pinon angle, and to a degree camber. Camber is not adjustable.

 

With a lift, and stock spec. caster, your pinion angle will be off. Correct pinion angle will throw the caster way off. You're going to have to find a happy median yourself. Toe in should be 0".

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Anyways, the death wobble continued after the install same as before... starts at about 55 mph and stops when I get it down to around 45.

You don't have death wobble.

 

If it goes away by the time you slow to 45, it isn't death wobble. Once death wobble sets in, you basically have to come to a complete stop to end it. This shake you have -- can you drive the vehicle while it shakes? With death wobble, it feels like a demented djini has grabbed the front of your vehicle and is trying to fling it off the road. You can't control the vehicle, all you can do is slam on the brakes and hope you can stop it before you die. That's why it's called "death wobble" -- because when it shows up, you KNOW you are going to die.

 

I think your tires need to be balanced.

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Yeah, happened 200 miles from home too.

 

Luckily when I travel that far I carry a fair amount of tools with me. So a bit of trivia is the nut for the steering stabilizer into the draglink is the same size and thread for the TB. Popped that onto the Trackbar and limped it the next exit which was about 1/8 of a mile away and had a huge hardware store right off the exit. They didn't have castle nuts, but I got two regular ones and double nuted the TB, and it's still like that.

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So I installed the 2" spacers with some brand new 30" all terrains along with new bushing and sway bar relocation mounts and the severe wobble went away. I can now drive safely at highway speeds with only slight vibrations and a little play in the steering wheel. The next step is an alignment which I hope will tighten everything up. Will most shops center my steering wheel with an alignment? like i said it is like a quarter turn off center.

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They should re-center the wheel since it is easy enough. If they don't you can re-center yourself using by loosening the two bolts on the turnbuckle. They are 15mm if I recall correctly. Rotate the buckle until the wheel is centered and then tighten bolts. Done.

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They should re-center the wheel since it is easy enough. If they don't you can re-center yourself using by loosening the two bolts on the turnbuckle. They are 15mm if I recall correctly. Rotate the buckle until the wheel is centered and then tighten bolts. Done.

 

turnbuckle? where and what is that?

 

Also, for LCA's...what would be a good recommendation (cheap :yes: ) I have the 3" rancho lift with an added 2" spacer in the front.

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They should re-center the wheel since it is easy enough. If they don't you can re-center yourself using by loosening the two bolts on the turnbuckle. They are 15mm if I recall correctly. Rotate the buckle until the wheel is centered and then tighten bolts. Done.

 

turnbuckle? where and what is that?.

The sleeve on the draglink.

 

The draglink is the bar from the pitman arm (on the steering box) that runs diagonally downward to the opposite side of the vehicle and connects to the right side steering knuckle. On the upper end, near the steering box, there is a sleeve about 3" long with a clamp around each end. Loosen the clamps and turn the sleeve. This adjusts the length of the drag link to center the steering wheel. Do it when the ROAD wheels are pointed straight and the steering wheel is not locked, and you can just turn the sleeve until the steering wheel is straight.

 

Note that if the drag link has not been adjusted in a long while, it may require large amounts of PB Blaster before you can turn it. There's a special tool for the purpose, but a pipe wrench can be used (and may be necessary if it's really rusted solid).

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I thought I'd experienced DW in my first Cherokees until the trackbar on my 2.5 MJ decided to fall out of the frame bracket at 70 mph.

YIKE!!!!

oddly enough, the trackbar fell out of my MJ at 55 with no warnin or wobbles... i simply couldn't turn

 

as far as your wobble, the trackbar being off 1/4" doesn't seem like a big deal considering you can run 2-3 inches of lift without changing it at all.

 

get back to us after the alignment and balance.

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