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death wobble


Jun 15, 2011
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ill take any ones experience on this terrible affliction....it seems as if i have it on my 85 k-30....please give me what you know from YOUR experience dont tell me what u herd,read,or think if you have done it i want to hear from you even and as equally important, the things that didnt work as much as what has worked if you havnt in all respect please just move along....im not down with hypothesis
death wobble is where the vehicle shakes violently at high speeds unexpectedly.

i have seen it on jeeps mostly with worn out track bars (kinda a tie rod running from the frame to the front axle.) replacing that seemed to work.
My kids truck was darty (if thats a word.) Turns out the steering box was sloppy. We tightened the screw and it got alot better. Maybe that will help? It's an 87 Chevy P/u on a Blazer frame. Thanks for the info...Kevin
If you have a wheel weight fall off is that considered death wobble too? Normally that is more annoying than violent. Just curious cause I have never heard that term before. For shaking I would consider violent, usually from personal experience its always been some sort of worn out suspension part like bushings, tie rods, and stuff like that.
whn it happened to me i tapped the brakes and out of nowhere the steering wheel shoock and it was hard to control to steer.... a wheel weight falling off MIGHT cause a vibration at best.
I`ve had two Jeep cherokees do this, first one a 91, took it back to the dealer four times in which they said it was fixed, each time it wasn`t, they had even replaced the axle ends thinking that was causing the issue, one thing I had noted that it only happened after the jeep was warmed up, so with that thinking one day got out my own wrenches, the tracking bar in the socket kind of a up side down pyramid affair, after it was warmed up the under hood heat would expand it enough that it became loose in the socket, so crawled under there and with box end wrenchs and a cheater bar locked it down tight, no more issues, but ten years later another new cherokee...and guess what.......so I contacted the Jeep dealership after I tightened down that one myself.
Sounds like it could be the upper and/or lower ball joint. Years ago the steering wheel on my Dodge D300 would shake violently back and forth after hitting a bump. The faster I was going, the bigger the bump and the heavier loaded it was, especially behind the rear axle that lightened the front end, the worse it was. The only way to stop the osscilation was to stomp on the brakes and slow way down. Replacing both joints on both sides fixed it. The truck didn't have that many miles, but most of those miles were very heavily loaded (actually way overloaded) which I'm sure was the reason the joints wore. I say overloaded because when loaded with grain, the front axle rated at 4,000 lbs was supporting 7,000 lbs and the 6,900lb rear was supporting 12,000 lbs.

Play in the ball joints can be tough to detect because when on the ground or jacked up bu the A arms, truck weight keeps the suspension under compression and play from being noticable. When jacked up under the frame, the spring keeps the joints under tension with the same result. I had to jack the wheel up off the ground by the frame and then use a small bottle jack under the A arm to push the arm up in small increments. There is a certain point where the spring resistance is overcome just enough that the ball joints are neither under compression or tension. A pry bar under the wheel will then make play noticable.