Dang Death Wobble!!!

Root Moose

Expedition Leader
I haven't read the entire thread...

What are the odds that sagging springs are causing enough of a caster change to create DW? I'd check the geometry before randomly spraying money at new parts - unless it is a convenient excuse for upgrades of course. :)


He loves Jeep!
Having built several XJ's over the last 10 years and tracking down DW.

8) Get a good alignment (google lifted XJ's specs if your lifted and take those numbers with you to the shop)

Hope that helps. Juice
If it's lifted you may need longer control arms. It fixed mine and made it drive better than stock.
I fought with death wobble and won.:smiley_drive:

You could'nt drive over 30mph without it dw'ing then would'nt stop till I did.
Ended up buying trackbar-nope, changing back to stock wheels/tires-helped but nope, steering stabilizer- helped but nope, longer control arms-FIXED.

Just my 2 cents. Let us know what fixes it.:victory:


Expedition Leader
Has anyone checked the ball-joints?

Jack it a few inches, throw a pipe under the tire and see if you have any movement of the outer knuckle.


Fred, I know your pain. I chased DW for a year. I had my tires balanced and
rotated a few times. I replaced everything in the front.. My daughter bought some new tires, so just for kicks, I put 2 on the front....DW was gone.
I dealt with death wobble for a month. Alignment helped some what (i.e. gave me a few more MPH before wobbl'n), and new tires cured it. Great excuse for new tires...

Black Dog

Makin' Beer.
...and new tires cured it. Great excuse for new tires...
True that! I knew mine was way out of alignment because my front tires were going bald along the outer edge, and they were bad enough that they needed replaced. The tires I had sucked offroad (medalist sport kings, before they looked like BFG ATs) and tires were on sale at my local shop, so I gave that a try. They couldn't do the alignment the same day they did the tires, but even with the new tires before alignment the drive home was better. Since then it hasn't done the full on death wobble, but once it kind of shimmied a little when I hit a bump at highway speed.

I was able to justify the $700 for new tires for my wife because I showed her forums like this one, and showed her the threads where guys list all the stuff that they did but didn't work, so when I tallied up the cost of replacing all those parts that may or may not fix the problem she agreed to the "expensive" tires. I got lucky that the tires and alignment fixed it, she would have seen that as $700 wasted.

Maximus Ram

Expedition Leader
"Max" the RE track bar nut holds the threads tight which are a part of the longer section which screws into the shorter section ( make sense?)

Explorer 1
Ahh, thats why it look weird. It is opposite of others I have seen and my garbage rustys tb..


"Lamontague" the RE reack bar has less than 5000 miles on it and we have checked out the bushing and it seems to be tight and not the cause of the problem.

LOL...geez, I even get my name wrong on forums now! :ylsmoke:

I fought DW with my old XJ and won too! If I remember correctly, I set the toe to 1/8" toe in, caster was stock (with the Jeep sitting on level ground you should be able to put an angle finder on the yoke of the front diff and it should read 90*, no more, no less).

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Americas Overland - The Driving Handbook
by Donald Greene
From $20
Overlanding the Americas: La Lucha
by Mr Graeme Robert Bell
From $20
Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide
by Tom Sheppard
From $115.7

Explorer 1

"Next verse, same as the first"

Well I went ahead and replaced the rather worn steering shaft assembly, and upgraded to a Borgeson. The shaft and u-joints were a bit loose and with all the other upgrades I've done, it was a worthy move.

I went and had the alignment checked again and the front tires balanced again (3rd time). This time on the test run there was a slight improvement but I'm still not cured and where the vehicle was 6 months ago.

Tomorrow I'll start by pulling some other part of the suspension apart and continue the search.

I think I've going to remove the front drive shaft and see if that makes any difference........

Thanks for all the advice, I'll let you know when and what finally fixes it.

Explorer 1


Well-known member
Death wobble is one of those hard to figure out a single cause and most of the time it is a combination of problems. In most cases worn part (i.e. anything with more than 75,000 miles on them) are the main problem but tires and alignment play a big part.

If you are running anything other than a stock offset wheel, this adds a lot of leverage to the spindles, unit bearing and ball joints. This will make an "iffy" part fail very quickly and add play into the system.

It tends to be hard to figure out what is really worn out because most of the parts are loaded up by the suspension or due to weight. It's hard to see a few hundredth inches of play in parts when you are wresling with a 80# wheel assembly.

It is also hard to pinpoint a single fix as everyone will have different issues based on age and wear. What works for one may not have any bearing on another persons problem. You can start with the common known items but ultimately it can be something completely different then where you started. Sometimes you get lucky and it's the first thing you try, other times it doesn't get solved until it seems like you replaced everything in the front end.

Good luck on your hunt.

Explorer 1

Thanks Mike!

Thanks Mike, it came at a time I needed the encouragement with this project.

Thanks again, :)

Explorer 1

Root Moose

Expedition Leader
If it were me... if here is enough adjustment left max out the caster - even set it a few degrees beyond stock. See if it makes a difference.


In your thread I can't find what size lift your running, but if your 4.5"es or better, get some RE drop Brackets. Do that, and DW will be gone for good. After the RE DB's on my XJ with 6.5"es of lift, No DW with, loose trac bar, bent tie-rod, bad SS, etc. Nothing would make the thing DW again, like it did before without them. With a lift, the Cherokees are prone to DW because the CA's end up at too steep of an angle. Most 4x4 solid axles will get DW when something changes with wear in the front end, but nothing seemed to bother the XJ after those DB's were added. The ride improved 100% too. Go LA or DB. My Grand had DW with stock lift. I added two steering stabilizers, and the thing worked fine. After changing out the bent front axle(didn't know that it was bent), DW was gone. I'm going to lift it soon, but will be on LA's.

Explorer 1

So far nothing needed attention........

Todays project was to start checking everything related to the front suspension. So far nothing showed any amount of wear that I would associate with the DW.

Did find a couple of "johnney joints" a bit dry and one that had some wear on the outside of the ball where the washer pressed against it. But even these were still tight and with no slop.

The ball joint joints, hub bearings, and u-joints also appear tight but I am still going to pull them apart and do an inspection.

Then it's back together and another alignment and the I'll also try some other rims and tires than the three I've alreday tested.

On the bright side I'm getting a real education on the front end of my XJ. :Mechanic:

Here is how I left it this evening:

Thanks for all the suggestions,

Explorer 1:Mechanic:

Maximus Ram

Expedition Leader
Fred, did you check to see if your track bar bracket is tight. At one point when we were checking everything , the bolts were a bit loose. Funny thing was it had never been removed.

On a side note...I picked up yesterday and installed today the RE 1660 track bar and drop bracket today on mine. Man the threaded section is so much more beefy than my other one using the tierod end.