11th Feb 2009, 09:34
Hey folks, just a note on something I've personally experienced.
1.) The Terrifying Death Wobble. At least one person has mentioned the proper fix, but I want to reiterate so that more people will catch this. Wobbling is caused by a number of things, including wheel/tire balance, tire wear, bad shock absorbers, but the most important thing to check and replace is the Steering Damper/Stabilizer. It mounts horizontally to the axle and the steering arm, and looks like a shock absorber... because it is one.
When your Jeep hits bumps on the road that send the wheels left or right, this absorber dampens the motion. If it is old and shot, it will not dampen, and instead the vibration goes out of control. The experience will amplify quickly, and at 60 mph, you are sure you're about to die! I replaced it myself with a couple wrenches and a borrowed "Pitman Arm Puller" which can be borrowed from any O'Reilly's or Autozone store. If you borrow the puller, you'll spend about half an hour under your car.
--Tires are more prone to cause a vibration or wobble at key speeds due to uneven wear or balance issues. The Death Wobble is different and is more than a vibration. You KNOW it when you FEEL it!
--To see if the damper is bad, check it for leaking oil. Some film around the seal is normal, but if the whole unit is wet/grimy and/or dripping, it's probably bad. Once you remove it, open and close it with your bare hands. If this is an easy motion, it's shot. If it requires great effort, it might be okay.
--Most importantly, get this fixed NOW. Of all the repairs out there, this one is cheap, easy, and can be done if you know which way to turn a wrench. Also, those violent motions are horrible to other parts on the car and exceedingly dangerous for you.
Best of luck and safe Jeeping!
18th Feb 2009, 21:10
The Chrysler death wobble is caused by only a few things, and fixed easily, if you know these things.
1. Bad steering dampener
2. Bad U-joints
3. Bad sway bar bushings
4. Bad wheel bearings
5. Bad balljoints or tie rod ends.
Or the most common part:
THE TRAC BAR (PanHard Bar)
The main reason the Jeeps shake, especially the Cherokee, the axle alignment is off. The Jeep has to be centered over the axle perfectly, otherwise it goes into the Death Wobble. People complain about this a lot, and most shops will not tell you this, because they want you to fix all of the above. It's the trac bar 80% of the time. I have learned this quick, after owning 3 Jeeps. I do not even have the problem with a CHEROKEE that is lifted 10.5 inches, with 35-12.50's on it. It is all about centering. For people that do not know where to start, Park your jeep, straighten out the tires, and measure from the inner wheel well ("the FRAME") which is the unibody frame. Measure to the outside of the tire sidewall. Do it to both sides. If it is off by more than 1/8 of an inch, you have a death wobble problem. Also check the tie rod end of the trac bar, if you can move the bar front to back, you have a bad end.
Remember, this is 80% of your problem, fix it, and get it aligned, less than a $200.00 fix. Hope it helps.
2nd Jun 2009, 19:16
Re: Rattle in console or behind radio when starting or shutting off Cherokee.
The rattle you talked about is coming from under the vehicle. It is the linkage from the transfer case shift lever back to the transfer case. It is a solid connection with brackets mounted to transmission and the transmission tunnel and rattles when the vehicle is started and shut off. It is this linkage rattling against the tunnel bracket that makes this noise. It will sound as if it is coming from the console or behind radio. Almost sounds as if there is something rattling in the plastic duct that runs through the console. I have tried to adjust the linkage with only moderate success. Next time you start or turn off the vehicle put pressure on the transfer case shift lever. Good luck.