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Cause of Jeep Wrangler 'death wobble' found, automaker says, promising free fix

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Reptile, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. new guy

    new guy NES Member

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    I'm a little disappointed in Jeep's marketing department, frankly. Either come up with a special edition and charge more for it (and the associated thrill/excitement) or ditch the name entirely, but "death wobble" is a shitty name for standard equipment and is not helping sales.
     

  2. gokeeffe

    gokeeffe

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    I have an early 2019 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. It hasn't had any major steering issues yet, apart from a little wandering on the highway. I've been following the Jeep forums to identify any issues so that I can get them fixed before I lift it and the dealership blames every issue I have on the lift/tires.

    People have had major steering issues with the new Wrangler and Jeep has been replacing parts for people for months without a real fix. A lot of people had their steering boxes replaced, they've released a couple of different updated track bars (with stiffer bushings) and updated steering stabilizers. Some Jeeps were shipped out of spec and had to have their caster angle adjusted or had to have software updates applied for the steering (always reassuring to know steering components are somehow controlled by software). They also ship them with ridiculous tire pressures that make any issues more pronounced.

    Some people have had their issues resolved and others despite all the replacement parts, still have problems. I've just resigned myself to having to add adjustable lower control arms, an aftermarket steering stabilizer and the Yeti XD Steering components when I lift it. It just doesn't appear the stock components are up to the task and generally lack adjustment to be able to dial everything in after a lift.

    So I'm going to spend another $2k on this thing on parts that I shouldn't have to replace, and I don't even care if it drives perfectly on the road. I bought my Jeep to destroy it off road. I'll drive it stock for a year to make sure it's not a lemon, but after that, this will be a primarily off road rig. The Rubicon trail has been on my bucket list for a long time, so I'm finally going to go do it!

    If you're buying a daily driver that is going to spend 99% of its life on road, a Wrangler is a terrible idea. But it's not a decision you make with your head. Sometimes you just want what you want.
     
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  3. Sweeney

    Sweeney NES Member

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    You can build one from parts. Pretty much everything is still made.
    One of the family members...1946 chassis, 1952 body and a 1965 Buick 225 odd fire hooked to a T98 tranmission.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. mibro

    mibro NES Member

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    Large tires with side to side balance problems are definitely a contributory factor to death wobble but they aren't the cause.

    The root cause is a floating solid axle attached to the vehicle body by a track bar. The purpose of the track bar is to prevent the solid axle from moving side to side relative to the vehicle body. Years ago I owned a '98 Dodge Ram pickup that was susceptible to death wobble and one of the known fixes was a heavy duty aftermarket track bar, which I installed on my truck.

    I'm not 100% certain of this but I think what's happening with the death wobble is the front axle itself is moving rapidly side to side, maybe an inch total displacement, relative to the vehicle body. Because the steering gear is fixed to the frame this causes the front wheels to turn rapidly side to side. There are probably several sub-species of death wobble also.

    I would expect there's a permanent engineering fix for this but with every new vehicle the design of every steering component changes slightly and the whole process of chasing the death wobble starts over.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  5. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    Yes, so like 98% of the owners will use like maybe 1% of its capability in that capacity. [rofl] Let's face facts, most people buy them because they like the way it looks or cool factor/badge vanity, nothing wrong with that but that's the reality.

    For most people buying a jeep is about as smart as me buying a Case 590 Super N so I can remove 4 small stumps from my yard and plow my 30 something foot driveway with it. The cool factor is pretty high but the reasoning is flawed. [laugh]

    -Mike
     
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  6. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    Someone at chrysler/fiat also figured out how to only make enough jeeps to just barely meet the demand so they can keep the prices rapey, and there's a sort of unspoken market collusion among jeep owners to keep prices high- after all they need to rape, so they can get the next jeep. The price is also retarded because there's basically nothing else set up the way a wrangler is, so no comparables exist for that type of configuration.

    American safety fetish/garbage/etc also keeps the cool 15K thing you want out of the market. Basically the only way you can wallhack that shit is if
    you have some state that has loose regs and you can massage an offroad-only vehicle into being street legal. Or you buy some old clunker that's exempt and rehab it into what you want, because "our betters" don't want you buying something like that new.

    -Mike
     
  7. JayMcB

    JayMcB NES Member

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    Here I was thinking buying one of the mall crawlers was the first step in people coming out.... [devil2]
     
  8. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    You don't understand the branding power of Jeep. It's on par with brands like HD and Range Rover, etc. It literally does not matter.

    Half of these things could catch on fire within a week of purchase and none of that would matter, most people would still buy them, long as fiat covered it under warranty or something. These aren't vehicles people are indecisive about or compare against something else. (although it's arguable there are no comparables, for the way the jeep is set up, so that's part of it too. ) This isn't that kind of vehicle.

    ETA: the brand value even permeates into the lower models (which make the wrangler look 110% amazing in comparison). Things like the renegade, compass, etc, are 110% total dog meat ebola juice gutter trash, but people still buy those, too, because branding. The fact that people buy those things is mind numbing. The wrangler I can at least understand given its overall uniqueness/capability.

    -Mike
     
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  9. Broccoli Iglesias

    Broccoli Iglesias NES Member

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    I started shopping for parts to build one (price shopping and bookmarking URLs).

    There are parts you still need to pull from a junkyard or buy a donor. I wanted all new parts. Basically a brand new Willys built in my garage.

    For the tub, seems the best come from Thailand or somewhere around there and their fit is not perfect. Needs some adjusting. But no big deal.

    Frame and axles seem to be the biggest issue. Everything else can be found online.

    Then there is the issue ... how do you register that in this POS State?
     
  10. new guy

    new guy NES Member

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    I still think they should have a Death Wobble special edition. Maybe have it come out of the factory with the roof and one side all smashed up and a brown streak on the driver seat. Slap a tire cover on the back that says:


    NO PROBLEM
    ------------------------------------
    upload_2019-8-13_12-55-14.png
     
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  11. Broccoli Iglesias

    Broccoli Iglesias NES Member

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    You bought a 2019 Jeep Rubicon to lift it and destroy it offroad? [laugh]

    But you also worry that the dealership will blame issues on the lift kit?

    You are not the guy that bought the 2018 Corvette as an investment. Are you?
     
  12. LoginName

    LoginName NES Member

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    Experienced it myself for the first and last time with my 2001 Cherokee.
    On the interstate heading home from my moms, light traffic, doing about 55 - 60 or so, hit a bump in the road, next thing I know
    the whole front end is vibrating and shaking like there was a mini-earthquake under the hood.
    The whole event lasted maybe 5 seconds before it smoothed out, but it was 5 seconds of white knuckle terror.
    Easily one of my scariest driving experiences in 40+ years including more than a few
    'I'm lucky to be alive' situations.
     
  13. ThePreBanMan

    ThePreBanMan

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    /thread

    For Chrysler to claim it's a steering stabilizer is a farse. Eveny Jeep I havbe ever owned has had this issue. Every Jeep owner I know who has had a solid front axle has had this occur at some point - regardless of model. It's not just the wrangler. Older jeeps like the ZJs did it as well. It was always a combination of things, worn ball joints, worn tie rod ends, worn track bar bushing, tire balancing, alignment, etc. The steering stabilizer was the last thing we would go after.
     
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  14. M1911

    M1911 Moderator NES Member

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    I take my 2013 Land Cruiser off-road. It is my daily driver.
     
  15. Sweeney

    Sweeney NES Member

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    I suppose like any other kit car.

    The Willy's I posted was cobbled together by my brother. When he moved to San Diego and registered it the DMV didn't know what year to call it so they took the chassis (1946) and the tub (1952) and averaged them. They got 1948...yup. So it's registered here as a '48. Math is hard.
     
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  16. Greg

    Greg

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    The LC is a tank though,its not fair to the Rubicon to compare.
     
  17. Greg

    Greg

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    What is the attraction to Jeeps with girls,is it the Barbie thing ?

    What I see on the road is 60/40 girls driving Jeeps. Mostly fat middle aged lesbian looking women and a small percentage of insanely hot 20 somethings.
     
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  18. M1911

    M1911 Moderator NES Member

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    The Rubicon has much better angles, but the LC is quite capable off-road. The LC is a lot more expensive, but a Rubicon isn’t cheap — aren’t they like $50k now? As a daily driver, my LC is much more comfortable.
     
  19. gokeeffe

    gokeeffe

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    Ha! I’m well aware of the ridiculousness of what I’m doing. This will end up being an $80k rig when it’s done and I’d be as well off digging a whole in the desert and throwing my money in it. But I don’t care. A mans gotta live. And it’s probably still cheaper than a boat

    I’m only worried that I bought a lemon. There are quite a few lemons out there that FCA had to buy back. I don’t want to lift it too early and realize it’s a tub. If there are little issues early in its life that the dealer will fix under warranty then so be it. I don’t want issues getting TSBs done while Jeep resolves teething troubles with the JLs.

    Once I start throwing mods at it I’ll void all the warranties and I’ll be replacing anything I break out of my own pocket... and I plan to break everything. I figure a year/10k miles is long enough. I’ve had lemons before and the major issues made themselves known in the first year. Any car I’ve had that made it to 10k miles without any problems generally made it to 50k without much trouble. The Jeep will never make it past 50k miles, but they’ll be hard miles!
     
  20. gokeeffe

    gokeeffe

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    I had a stock LC that I took off road a few times. I wouldn’t say it compares to a Wrangler in off road ability, at least not the Rubicon. It will do absolutely fine in 90% of situations but it’s no crawler and it’s way too wide. Comfy as hell though! I got stuck in a field in my LC because of wet grass and a 10 degree inline. It was just too heavy to make it up the hill.

    I got my Rubi fully loaded. MSRP was $59,250. Discounts are good on them but it still cost $52k. Definitely too much for what you get, but right now it’s the only game in town. I’ll be interested to see what the new Bronco looks like when that comes out.
     
  21. ThePreBanMan

    ThePreBanMan

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    I'll take the LC 6 days a week and twice on Sunday. Newer Jeeps do nothing for me. Engines are junk. Suspension makes it feel like you're riding in a wagon down the road. No thanks.
     
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  22. M1911

    M1911 Moderator NES Member

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    As I said, it doesn't have the angles of a Wrangler. Yes, it is wider as well. Surprisingly it has a better turning circle than a 4-door Wrangler. It isn't a rock hopper and won't do the nastiest trails in Moab. But with tires and sliders, it will do quite well.

    Two summers in a row I drove out to Colorado to go off-roading in the mountains. I'd much rather make that drive in a LC than a Wrangler.

    Four of us at the top of Imogene Pass (elevation about 13,000'):

    [​IMG]

    The view in the other direction:

    [​IMG]

    My LC has tires and sliders, but is otherwise stock.
     
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  23. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson NES Member

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    Had an F250 that had the intermittent death wobble. Just the right bump at highway speed. After much trial and error including dual steering stabilizers, it finally turned out the big nut that holds the Pitman arm onto the steering gear was very slightly loose. Not flopping around loose, 1/16th of turn with a breaker bar type of thing.
     
  24. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson NES Member

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    Without a doubt the best beach buggy I ever had or for that matter rode in, and I've had a few , was an Isuzu Amigo. Got it for free and put some 12.5 x 33 BFG's I had on it. The CJ-5 I had for a fishing buggy a couple years was pretty good on the beach, but that stupid little POS Amigo was much better.
     
  25. gokeeffe

    gokeeffe

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    Couldn't agree more! A stock Wrangler is no fun on the freeway, and even with the unlimited, they're fairly cramped inside. Jacked up with 37s or 38s, if they're not built right, they can be borderline undrivable. I couldn't imagine trying to drive one half way across the country.

    My LC was super comfortable and did just about anything that I asked of it. I didn't buy it as an off roader so it was bone stock apart from all terrain tires. The angles weren't great, ground clearance wasn't great, but were generally good enough. I did tear up the front bumper once driving through mud. I drove into a rut left by a backhoe and didn't have enough ground clearance. Not having front/rear lockers is what killed it on wet grass I think. I was always afraid to do any real wheeling in it just because it was so expensive to fix, so I never found its limits. Full disclosure, I had mine in Ireland before I moved to the states, so it was European spec and a commercial (no rear seats or rear windows) that I used for construction work. I don't think they even sell them in Ireland anymore.

    When I first moved to Boston, I bought a Lexus GX470. I absolutely loved that thing. I liked my LC but never missed it. I do miss my GX. I've even looked into buying an identical one to the one I had, but they're hard to find these days. If there had been aftermarket support for off road accessories for the GX when I sold mine, I would have kept it forever. Getting rid of the huge plastic bumpers and integrated side steps would have given it fairly decent approach/departure/break over angles and the AWD system was very good off road. What kills me is, there is a guy that lives down the street from me that has a GX470 setup with steel bumpers and sliders. Maybe someday he'll sell it to me!
     
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  26. neum69

    neum69 NES Member

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    This makes logical sense. Even more of a concern in the case of owners of a new vehicle experiencing the wobble though. Would tend to indicate a design issue, because wear wouldnt yet be a factor.
     
  27. MisterHappy

    MisterHappy NES Member

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    On the 16 yard line, shootin' for the Lewis!
    Sounds like American Ingenuity at its best. [rofl]
     
  28. mcb

    mcb NES Member

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    My JK got the death wobble once I installed a 2" budget boost. Larger tires have masked it a bit but I know it's still there ... waiting for the right combination of speed / pot hole.
     
  29. Bernietech

    Bernietech NES Member

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    I assume all modern jeeps have some sort of coil spring get suspension. My two ihc scouts ( many moons ago) had leafs all the way around and a live get axle, never a prob. I did add a steering stable izer and "spring" tight eners at the steering knockles aka tie rod ends and a "front plate sway bar between the get spring shackles. All to stop sway from racking 3 canoes on top. Also ran Kevlar belted lt tires of original equipment size.

    My bill has a newish Wrangler and has the "wobble". Has replaced everything w oem stuff still has it...
     
  30. M1911

    M1911 Moderator NES Member

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    Yes, the current Jeeps have coil springs. I believe coils provide a better ride and more articulation than leaf springs.
     

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