Jeep Cherokee Talk banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
hi there! im new to this particular forum....and already have a question! lol

well, heres the thing (to make a long story short): I have a 98 Grand cherokee with 3-1/2" of lift, nothing much else. I bought it back in 05 and was dating a guy then who liked to do all my mechanical work for me, and even though i asked him to teach me so id know how to do it on my own later, he didnt really do that, just did it all for me...

Anyway! So now we're not together, and ive since learned alot of stuff on my own. But the Duck (nickname for the jeep) recently started acting up on me, and I thought it might have been the U-joints, but I took it to Sears and they told me i basically need an axle overhaul; meaning wheel bearing, rack and pinion, upper and lower ball joints, etc....I think they may be full of it, but we'll see.

So here are the symptoms:
its really loose. if the wind blows while im on the highway, it drifts in that direction, obviously. It shakes at random times, usually if im doing 55 or more. Once while i was doing about 70 on the highway it started the shaking and wouldnt let up until i was nearly stopped on the side of the road. Thing is, there is no noise coming from the axle at all. My husbands Grand (an 01) had severe axle noise and it ended up being the wheel bearing. And I was under the impression that if a new rack and pinion is needed, that the worn/broken one tends to leak (and thats how you know supposedly)...who is right here, me or the sears mechanics?! lol

So, its going to be snowing here soon, and I have a 30 minute drive to work on the highway and dont want this thing to give out on me...it needs to be fixed ASAP! But I just moved to this city and dont know if I can trust the judgement of the local mechanics word or not....Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I would GREATLY appreciate any help! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,363 Posts
Sounds like "Death Wobble or DW" sounds much worse than it is. Not too sure about Grands but in a XJ there is no rack and pinoin type steering and frankly I fail to see how that would work with a solid axle frontend. DW can be wheel bearings or ball joints or tierod ends or trackbar or controlarm bushings and last but certainly not least would be broken welds in the frame end cup where the control arms attach.
Nick n ii is the resident ZJ expert and if he will chime in he may be able to confirm the above stuff and/or give a better idea on your particular Grand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,805 Posts
Sounds like "Death Wobble or DW" sounds much worse than it is. Not too sure about Grands but in a XJ there is no rack and pinoin type steering and frankly I fail to see how that would work with a solid axle frontend. DW can be wheel bearings or ball joints or tierod ends or trackbar or controlarm bushings and last but certainly not least would be broken welds in the frame end cup where the control arms attach.
Nick n ii is the resident ZJ expert and if he will chime in he may be able to confirm the above stuff and/or give a better idea on your particular Grand.
:agree:

Do a search on "Death Wobble". Normally this sort of thing can be fixed either by replacing worn out bushings (Upgrade to urethane bushings if you're going to do this, if you haven't already) or sometimes adding a better steering stabilizer will eliminate the problem. If you have some jack stands, lift the front end up and start wiggling things around to see if you can find anything that is obviously loose, or look for any obvious wear in the front suspension components...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,178 Posts
:agree:

Do a search on "Death Wobble". Normally this sort of thing can be fixed either by replacing worn out bushings (Upgrade to urethane bushings if you're going to do this, if you haven't already) or sometimes adding a better steering stabilizer will eliminate the problem. If you have some jack stands, lift the front end up and start wiggling things around to see if you can find anything that is obviously loose, or look for any obvious wear in the front suspension components...
FWIW simply adding a new steering stabilizer is usually considered a band aid to the problem. It will work initially but once it wears out the problem will continue. As craig said, check bushings, alignment, angles, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Sounds like Death Wobble due to the trackbar being worn out.Take it to a knowledgable alignment shop and go from there.
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
7,287 Posts
Don't ZJ's have CV joints and not U-joints?

The speeds at which you describe your issues are very related to wheel balancing issues. Have you lost any weights off your rims? Unbalanced tires will give impressions of death wobble.

I'd also check the trackbar. Make sure its nice and tight. Sometimes the hole at the axle mount gets wallowed out and allows for a significant amount of play. This could be your culprit, regardless of how "tight" that bolt is. If the hole is wallowed out, you can cut a piece of steel to the shape of the mount and weld it in place, drill a hole through it, and put a new bolt in. Should help.

Check you Rod Ends. You may have something bent that is knocking your rig out of alignment.

Check your ball joints as someone described above with the jackstands.

Also, check your alignment. Nothing at all may be wrong with the rig, you may have just knocked your alignment off, in which case at increased speeds your two front tires are "fighting" to go straight (which turns into wobbling). Hitting bumps will also aggravate this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Death wobble is a cutely coined phase for what can be any number of serious issues.

The speeds at which you describe your issues are very related to wheel balancing issues. Have you lost any weights off your rims? Unbalanced tires will give impressions of death wobble.
:agree:

Start with you least invasive and go from there. Your job is to fix the issue, not treat the syptoms. Tell Sears that too.


First, advice anyone not sure should hear, buy a repair manual! Best $30 bucks you ever spend! (ps buy hanyes) Next if your not comfortable working on your DD, look up a local 4x4 repair shop, have them take a test drive with you, then leave if for a day or so to give them plenty of time to diagnose it.


If you want to take a swing at it, start here:
- Inspect your rims. Look for shiny spots where weights came off and look for mud stuck between the rim and rotor.
- Take your truck to another mainstream shop (ie pep boys) and have them check / rebalance the tries on the cheap.
- Jack up one tire at a time and shake it top to bottom. If it moves more then 0.1 of an inch then you have bad wheel bearings or ball joints. A helper can watch and tell you if the knuckle is moving the ball joints.
- If you have selectable hubs, unlock them, if not then jack up the front and put the truck in neutral. Crawl under and grab the front drive shaft, again looking for missing weights. Rotate it back and forth, do you see any joint play?
- Check the alignment and points of friction / wear after those basic steps.

my 2¢ :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
mine did something like that. would drive fine for a few days then it would DW all over the place out of nowhere. i did noticed my shock bushing was about gone. the shock wasnt even touching anything... after i replaced the bushing it drove like new again....

i guess its worth looking at anyway. good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
not sur on the zj's but the 93 xj i had started the "death wobble" and i relpaced the steering stabilzer, ball joints, u joints, and all bushings.. it ended up being the track bar. i'd have to agree with the find a good 4x4 shop
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top