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Discussion Starter #1
Two days ago (Sunday) I went wheeling and on the way there & back I had a very noticeable vibration in what appeared to be the passenger side front wheel. At one point on the trail my pass. side JKS disco had popped out & I lost the pin, but we could see no damage. The XJ got me back home okay, and yesterday I swapped on some 33" BFG AT's. We noticed a high pitched squeeking on the pass. side in the vicinity of the front axle/hub/wheel, but couldn't pinpoint it. It was dark by then but I took her out for a short spin ... less than a quarter mile, did the legal U-turn & headed home. That's when it happened.

My XJ shook so violently at about 40mph, that I thought the doors would pop open & fall off. I mean I'm sure the wheels left the ground it shook so hard. Good thing traffic was behind me waiting for the light to change (at the U-turn). I got her under control, hit the flashers & limped home.

Any ideas on what this might be & what to do? This is definitely new, and I'm now sure I broke something offroad.
 

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Two days ago (Sunday) I went wheeling and on the way there & back I had a very noticeable vibration in what appeared to be the passenger side front wheel. At one point on the trail my pass. side JKS disco had popped out & I lost the pin, but we could see no damage. The XJ got me back home okay, and yesterday I swapped on some 33" BFG AT's. We noticed a high pitched squeeking on the pass. side in the vicinity of the front axle/hub/wheel, but couldn't pinpoint it. It was dark by then but I took her out for a short spin ... less than a quarter mile, did the legal U-turn & headed home. That's when it happened.

My XJ shook so violently at about 40mph, that I thought the doors would pop open & fall off. I mean I'm sure the wheels left the ground it shook so hard. Good thing traffic was behind me waiting for the light to change (at the U-turn). I got her under control, hit the flashers & limped home.

Any ideas on what this might be & what to do? This is definitely new, and I'm now sure I broke something offroad.
So the "shake" was up and down not side to side? Only on the passenger side, or both sides?
 

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Hmmm, first, are you sure that the 33's are well-balanced?

If they're not, that could be your first problem. My 33's took a ridiculous amount of weight to balance, and I used to have the same shaking that you mention.

Also, check your alignment. It's possible that some of the hard bumps from your day of wheeling knocked your alignment off even just a bit, in which case your front tires are fighting to figure out in which direction to head.

Also, check your u-joints. If you damaged a cap somehow, then this can also lead to shaking. Don't ask me how I know.

Ball joints can fall on this list as well. Give those a look over. Although I think this would be lower on your list of common failures for what you described.
 

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Hmmm, first, are you sure that the 33's are well-balanced?

If they're not, that could be your first problem. My 33's took a ridiculous amount of weight to balance, and I used to have the same shaking that you mention.

Also, check your alignment. It's possible that some of the hard bumps from your day of wheeling knocked your alignment off even just a bit, in which case your front tires are fighting to figure out in which direction to head.

Also, check your u-joints. If you damaged a cap somehow, then this can also lead to shaking. Don't ask me how I know.

Ball joints can fall on this list as well. Give those a look over. Although I think this would be lower on your list of common failures for what you described.
You might try going back to the other tires and see if the problem persists.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
So the "shake" was up and down not side to side? Only on the passenger side, or both sides?
The entire vehicle shook ... violently. Had I been going faster I would have lost control.

The wheels are not yet balanced for my Jeep, but there are weights on the wheels. I was planning to get it done today, but I'm scared to drive it now. Here's what I'm thinking: The initial vibration on the way out & back, the squeeking and the disco popping out, all on the passenger side, indicate to me that there was a real problem. That could have been exacerbated by swapping on unbalanced wheels. But I doubt the shaking's due only to the wheels. And I'd hesitate to put the heavier and harder to control steelies/Swampers back on in this situation.

I will be checking the u-joints, balljoints & alignment, but I like to have a pretty good idea of what's going on before I let a shop touch my Jeep.
 

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The entire vehicle shook ... violently. Had I been going faster I would have lost control.

The wheels are not yet balanced for my Jeep, but there are weights on the wheels. I was planning to get it done today, but I'm scared to drive it now. Here's what I'm thinking: The initial vibration on the way out & back, the squeeking and the disco popping out, all on the passenger side, indicate to me that there was a real problem. That could have been exacerbated by swapping on unbalanced wheels. But I doubt the shaking's due only to the wheels. And I'd hesitate to put the heavier and harder to control steelies/Swampers back on in this situation.

I will be checking the u-joints, balljoints & alignment, but I like to have a pretty good idea of what's going on before I let a shop touch my Jeep.
That's interesting so the heavier tire didn't shake. When you say shake you mean up and down, or side to side?

If side to side, I wonder if you have a bad tie rod?
 

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The entire vehicle shook ... violently. Had I been going faster I would have lost control.

The wheels are not yet balanced for my Jeep, but there are weights on the wheels. I was planning to get it done today, but I'm scared to drive it now. Here's what I'm thinking: The initial vibration on the way out & back, the squeeking and the disco popping out, all on the passenger side, indicate to me that there was a real problem. That could have been exacerbated by swapping on unbalanced wheels. But I doubt the shaking's due only to the wheels. And I'd hesitate to put the heavier and harder to control steelies/Swampers back on in this situation.
Then continue on down the "checklist":

Also, check your alignment. It's possible that some of the hard bumps from your day of wheeling knocked your alignment off even just a bit, in which case your front tires are fighting to figure out in which direction to head.

Also, check your u-joints. If you damaged a cap somehow, then this can also lead to shaking. Don't ask me how I know.

Ball joints can fall on this list as well. Give those a look over. Although I think this would be lower on your list of common failures for what you described.
Have you also checked your control arms for any bends? (Uppers too)

Take some pics of the passenger side, maybe we'll see something that you may have missed. Kind of a "two heads are better than one" type thing.
 

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You may also want to reduce a variable by returning back to the tires that you had on on Sunday when this originally began to occur. I understand that you're weary of putting the swampers/steelies back on, but by introducing another set of tires you've expanded on what "could" be causing the problem - especially since the 33's are not yet balanced.

I'd put the 31's back on and take it for a spin around the proverbial block. See how it behaves. Chances are that it won't act any worse than it did on the 33's, and if for whatever reason it does, then it gives us yet another fact to toy around with in figuring this all out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You may also want to reduce a variable by returning back to the tires that you had on on Sunday when this originally began to occur. I understand that you're weary of putting the swampers/steelies back on, but by introducing another set of tires you've expanded on what "could" be causing the problem - especially since the 33's are not yet balanced.

I'd put the 31's back on and take it for a spin around the proverbial block. See how it behaves. Chances are that it won't act any worse than it did on the 33's, and if for whatever reason it does, then it gives us yet another fact to toy around with in figuring this all out.
It's not just about being weary. You see, the 32's are very difficult for me to mount alone due to the weight (skinny woman strength!). The 33's (AT's on aluminum) are a piece of cake. Also, I'm afraid that if the shaking started again, the XJ would be more difficult to control with the mudders on. Also (yeah, call me scaredy cat) the added weight of these might mess things up worse of something is actually broken.

2000XJ you are right & I do understand about introducing another "variable" so I just might crawl the Jeep to the shop for balancing tomorrow (too late now for today).

I'll take pics. Lower control arms are JKS and appear fine. Uppers are stock & seem okay. Bearing in mind my eyes are untrained, but I can see a break/bend in metal.

Mudderoy, this might have been progressive, could be that with enough driving I could have eventually got the DW even with the Swampers on. Who knows? But again, the vibes seemed to be on the passenger side front only. When things got nuts the whole XJ shook like it was in a bag with someone simply shaking the bag around. Hard to tell if it were up-down/side-to-side as it was so violent. Never felt something like this before.
 

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I also forgot an important one - the trackbar.

Check to see if it's loose at both the frame end and the axle end. Turn the key to the "on" position (without starting the rig, it's not necessary), and have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth while you look at the trackbar at both ends. If it's loose then at least you know that a.) you have to tighten it, b.) the hole at the axle side may be wallowed out so even tightening it won't matter (although if it's loose there, tighten anyway), and c.) you've found either the cause of or a contributing factor to the problem.
 

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Those are all good suggestions. I had a similar squeak and and squealing that would come and go. I was heading home down the highway after a day off being on the trail. All of a sudden, the passenger wheel felt like it was wobbling so bad, that it was going to come off the Cherokee. I put the flashers on, pulled over, checked for a bent rim and pulled out the torque wrench to check the lug nuts. Scratching my head, I headed back down the road and everything seemed fine. About 5 miles from home the violent shaking started, I slowed down to 40 mph and it disappeared. Hobbled home, jacked up the Cherokee and there was play in the tire. I borrowed the wife's Jeep, which she doesn't allow to go off-roading (what a shame) and went to Napa to purchase a hub assembly. I actually replaced both of them along with the u-joints, seeing as I had it a part and I had bought the Cherokee second hand and wasn't sure how old or long the ujoints would last anyways. I'm also running rims with a 4.5 inch backspace. This backspacing will cause stress on the hubs. I can look forward to replacing the hubs every several years, depending how hard I play, or I can go to a hub conversion kit. The advantage of manual locking hubs is that it will be easier and certainly cheaper to replace $12 wheel bearings every couple of years than replacing the hub assemblies at $150 each (cdn).

Hope this is helpful
 

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typical cherokee death wobble...check everything up front...replace as needed...get alignment...balnce tires....then u should be good to go.Its somtimes a combination of worn out parts,not just one part.I`m not sure if was mentioned in the above posts,but dont forget to check the steering box,they are known for coming loose and exibiting ridiculous amounts of play.Its never fun trying to track down the cause of death wobble...you may fix the problem,and still never no exactly what fixed the problem..if u know what i mean.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey, it's not our fault you're skinny and a girl. :p
Eat your heart out buddy :D !

Quick update: all 4 tires had far different pressure! (That's what I get for trusting the shop that mounted them. Shoulda checked myself.) Anyway, I fixed that, & drove yesterday to the tire shop to get them balanced but things are no better. So that possibility has been eliminated. I have pics now, just need time to upload them. The weather hasn't been accommodating enuff for me to do some more checking since I don't have a garage, but I did jack it up yesterday and tried wobbling the wheel back & forth. There is a small amount of play when I grab the tire top/bottom and move back & forth. Don't know if that's normal. I still saw nothing that looks out of place. U-joints seem to be intact and everything is greased up. Maybe tomorrow I can take it to my friend's driveway & check some more stuff. It's becoming undriveable with a strong vibration, and occasional pops (no more DW but I only drove 35 mph). I see AAA in my future. :(

Pics tomorrow hopefully.
 

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You might try going back to the other tires and see if the problem persists.
i would just to keep the variable factors to a minimum are the 33s rubbing the lca's?
 

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Eat your heart out buddy :D !

Quick update: all 4 tires had far different pressure! (That's what I get for trusting the shop that mounted them. Shoulda checked myself.) Anyway, I fixed that, & drove yesterday to the tire shop to get them balanced but things are no better. So that possibility has been eliminated. I have pics now, just need time to upload them. The weather hasn't been accommodating enuff for me to do some more checking since I don't have a garage, but I did jack it up yesterday and tried wobbling the wheel back & forth. There is a small amount of play when I grab the tire top/bottom and move back & forth. Don't know if that's normal. I still saw nothing that looks out of place. U-joints seem to be intact and everything is greased up. Maybe tomorrow I can take it to my friend's driveway & check some more stuff. It's becoming undriveable with a strong vibration, and occasional pops (no more DW but I only drove 35 mph). I see AAA in my future. :(

Pics tomorrow hopefully.
I think that "play" is a good indication of a bad wheel bearing, or tie rod end. Come on you guys that know this stuff jump in.

i would just to keep the variable factors to a minimum are the 33s rubbing the lca's?
She didn't have the problem with the other tires. So going back to the "wheels/tires" she was running before the problem would remove a variable.
 

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Inspect the front end for any slop in the moving assy, and get the tires balanced. That should fix it if there are no major issues. I've dealt with the DW before, and it can be a major PITA to track down!! HTH!!
 

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With the bigger tires, the DW is magnified. Also while running this size tire ANY slop in the steering or front end will cause DW. And I mean even the slightest of slop will cause this.
 

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When I had to change hub assembly, I jacked up the jeep and there was a small amount of play too. There should be absolutely zero play. Changing out the hub assembly isn't a big deal. Just make sure you use a torque wrench and tighten everything back to factory specs. If it is the hub assembly then you'll want to deal with it ASAP. You don't want the bearing to start messing up the axle too.
Hope this is helpful
Wilcko
 

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From what it sounds, it could be the ball joints or the hub assembly as others have mentioned. I still think that the 33's are magnifying the problem, and if you can, I'd either have someone help you change them back to the smaller tires or get them swapped out while you continue to hunt the problem down. If I lived closer I'd offer, but you're about 2.5-3 hours away.

The loud pops that you hear are common of bad u-joints and/or your swaybar endlinks that are getting bound up. My RE quicker disconnects pop all the time, and I've adjusted their angles several times already.
 
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