Question about 1998 Land Rover Discovery

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HELP! Discovery Vibration Problem.

Hi Everyone. Can anyone help with this problem.? My 1994 Discovery TDI300 has developed an alarming problem, at around 60+ mph if a small bump is hit it sends a massive shudder through the vehicle. It is so bad you have to nearly stop, then increase your speed again. This rarely happens below 50mph, although it can still send a shudder through the steering wheel. I took it to my local independent LandRover garage, where it frightened them half to death. They checked the steering box, damper, suspension, bushes, bearings, wheels, tyres, and propshafts they can find nothing wrong at all and are completely mystified. Its due to go back in next week for another look, meanwhile if anyone has experienced anything like this, or has any ideas, your input would be gratefully appreciated. Thanking you in advance Regards Bob I have the same problem with a 1998 Discovery 300TDI, it is not caused by the following: Tyres, Wheels, Wheel Balancing, Dampers (Shock absorber) front or rear, Wheel bearings, Steering Box, Steering Ball joints, Steering Damper, Any rubber suspension bushes. How do I know? I have changed all of the above in my quest to rectify this problem and all to no avail. The problem is no better at all. This has cost me a small fortune, and I will never buy another Land Rover, I also recommend to my friends and family never to buy one. I have read all sorts on the internet to do with this problem and none of the information has come close to resolving it. I can only imagine it is a fault with the steering geometry that causes a resonance in the suspension at certain speeds when the wheel impacts a bump. Maybe changing springs would resolve it? It is not simple vibration but is extreme resonance of the what appears to be the whole front axle. It starts at about 100km if you hit a bump (although strangely not all the time) and feels like the front axle is going to be torn off if you do not slow down. It has scared my wife half to death and she is no longer happy to drive the car. I am an engineer and have worked on cars for 30yrs and have never come across anything like this. I just can not find anything wrong, so I am stuck with a poor design problem I think! I am sure Land Rover know the answer but do not wish to inform the public as with the Gearbox/Transfer box splined shaft problem and other issues with these cars. Please let me know the fix if you find one.

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  • magnustampa May 17, 2009

    I have that problem with mine as well, a 98 LR Disco I v8i. I found that strangely it just stops happening at 70 mph and above! Very strange. Mine was far worse when I bought it (at 59,000 miles in early 2009), but I bought new tires and had an alignment done and it became much less, but still happened. I can't imagine that any real Rover dealer or mechanic would be "scared" by this problem. In my research, it is VERY common, although strangely few people have posted actual known remedies, just suggested steering dampers, tie rod ends or, well, I forget the third offhand.


    I did have the suggestion (though have not tried it yet) to take it to a 4x4 shop and have a proper 4wheel alignment done on it, preferably on a machine that can also balance all 4 tires on the car.


    Also, as a note to compare, once I had my new tires balanced, I noticed that they had 4 balance weights on 2 of the tires, 3 weights on another, and *7* weights on the tire opposite the 3.

  • snowman01 Aug 05, 2009

    I have finally found the solution to the problem with the steering vibration on my 1998 Land rover TDI. (I have found that the problem is known as the Death Wobble in Land rover circles, and is not uncommon to other 4 wheel drives). The fix is a two pronged approach; 1) Adjust the steering box to take out virtually all backlash (play) leave about 1cm (3/8inch) play measured at steering wheel, and ensure adjustment carried out in the straight ahead position. Do not make it too tight, or you will lose self centering and damage the steering box. 2) Adjust swilvel pin bearings on the hubs or better still replace them, which is the best option as they are worn or you would not have play! These swivel pins are the top and bottom swivel points for the hubs, (other vehichles have king pins or ball joints to do the same job) when they wear is is virtually undetectable due to the large grease/oil seal on the hub which prevents the movement/play being felt, when you try to find any play in the hubs or bearings. The bearing replacement is a big job as you have to remove the hub and replace the top and lower bearing and then re-shim. It is best to completely inspect and rebuild the hubs at the same time and then no more problems for a long time!

    This is how the problem occurs, the car hits a pothole or bump, the seal is deflected and the hub can swivel freely only controlled by the steering mechanism, (with good swivel pins there is friction on the pivot action which prevents play in the steering allowing the wheel to shimmy) due to the design of the 4 wheel drive hubs and steering they are very prone to wheel shimmy, (rapid oscillation of the wheel from side to side) and once it starts it gets worse untill you slow down, it is so bad that it translates into a vertical force and feels like the shock absorbers have gone and the axle is going to detach! This is why people such as myself have looked in the wrong place for the cure. Any play in the steering obviously makes the problem worse, which is why you should check/replace all the steering ball joints and adjust the steering to start with.

    Note: Not all Garages are happy to tackle this problem, and it can be clearly seen from all the related problems on the internet that I have reviewed, that they do not understand the issue and some have carried out completlely incorrect remedial action. The favourite being to change the steering damper which is only there to absorb forces applied to the steering when off roading and knocking the wheels. The problem of wheel shimmy can be caused by other items on the steering system (steering ball joints worn, steering box play) or by wheel bearing play, you can however detect this but the swivel pin play is virtually undetectable! I hope this helps all you people out there with the death wobble.My final comment is that these four whel drive vehicles are poorly designed and buyers beware, do not buy 4 wheel drive unless you need its off road or towing capabilities!

  • Terasa615 Nov 26, 2009

    I just had 4 new tires put on my 2001 Landrover discovery. When I drive it vibrates badly, then it stops and start again. Also my engine light is on.

  • snowman01 Nov 26, 2009

    OK, its me again with some follow up advice on this pathetic Discovery. Yes, I still have the death wobble Discovery.My wife begged me to burn it, but after all the work I have done on it could not face it! After finally changing the swivel pin bearings and adjusting the steering box play, the problem went away for a while! However, it has started to return! This time it has started to shimmy when I go round long bends and hit a bump. It appears that the play in the straight ahead position of the steering box is OK, but once off center, as occurrs on long bends in the road, there is still play in the steering box.I have already dismantled and resealed the steering box when trying out earlier remedies and did not find anything abnormal. However I did not have any specifications to go by. I have been working on Hydraulic components in my job for years though and did not see any wear on any component that appeared to be more than a couple of thou. Now I am wondering if I should pull off the box and dismantle it again, or just get an exchange unit.? They are not cheap and the problem is not so bad at the moment, so still considering the best way to go. I am lucky in having access to any machining rebuilding and plating facilities I may need, so I can carry out necessary rework, I just do not have any technical data to go by for wear limits and tolerances. Maybe I can just wing it, I will update you in the future if I can keep my wife and the matches away from the car!

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I come across this many years ago as an apprentice on "our" 109" series 3 LR.The description at the beginning fits exactly.The steering box was adjusted just as you mentioned and more pre load added to the steering swivels-problem solved-but basically it only covered the problem up.If you have your steering geometry checked you will probably find that you do not have enough castor angle.With leaf springs you would have to fit wedges betweem axle and spring,i`m not sure how it could be adjusted on a coil sprung vehicle,is there adjustment on the axle location?As a comparism,if you have ridden a motorcycle and got into a tank slapper this would be similar,easier to achieve on a competition bike with less rake/castor.Another similarity would be a knackered trolley at Tesco with one of the wheels "flapping",that would mean the pivot is bent on that wheel/truckle and doesnt have enough castor.The LR i spoke of was involved in an accident,while towing a trailer with another vehicle loaded,the driver lost control and the whole outfit went over on its side,bending the LR chassis as a result.The insurance was claimed and approved although the new chassis was never fitted,obviously the guys in charged had the money and didnt bother with the work.As a result the L/H/R tyre always used to war out!!!!!In my opinion here lied the problem.Geometry check would be the answer.

Posted on Jan 28, 2010

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Wow. I have the EXACT same problem on a nissan Patrol. I've always had some trouble trying to descibe it online, because the car actually shakes violently, all over, in an increasing manner, and the only possible reaction is to hit the brakes hard! I have also replaced many parts in quest of the damaged piece, with no luck. Also managed to baffle a whole lot of mechanics here in Portugal. Mine acts up at 90 km/h, anything below that is fine. I changed the tires to heavier ones and the problem got soothed a bit, but still happens once in a while. I've been told it's a very common problem with old Nissan Patrol, and I've had several friends reporting the same thing. This is the first time I've ever heard of it happenning to a land rover.

Although I don't have a direct solution for you, (and I gave up trying to find out what was wrong with mine a few years ago - cause this keeps me below 90 km/h, witch is good, now I just cruise around, no hurry) I offer you the comfort of knowing you're not the only one :) and I would suggest you search in Nissan Patrol forums, because it happens more often with their models from '90 to 96. (search for Nissan patrol 2.8 turbo)

hope this helps.

Posted on Jun 12, 2009

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Ok, I took mine to The Rover Shop down in Fort Lauderdale and they showed me the problem (fix about $300). It was the shock bushings on mine. With he hood open, find the large bolt on either side of the engine compartment, roughly over top of the shock springs. Mine looked like it was packed with tar in a depression around either bolt. Now, watching those, push down on the front of the car and release. If you see a wide space between the bell-shaped washer (?) at the top of each bolt, then your shock bushings are bad. Cheap parts but fair amount of labor to install. Sorry I have no photos, that is the best description I can offer. And if it is a bad steering damper, that is the sideways shock absorber under the car. Again, best way I can describe it in laymens terms (which is what I am).

Posted on Jul 20, 2009

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Sorry but i have tried everything, I have replaced the swivels, re-bushed the whole vehicle, changed very track rod and ball joint on the vehicle, changed every road spring, every shock and damper, wheels, tyres adjusted the steering box,

Posted on Apr 29, 2012

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Hi there mate i know what your problem is with your patrol, land rovers its called caster angle. it tricky to describe but il try . basicly you have your two swivel hub bearings that swivel the wheel left to right if the caster angle of those bearing is straight up and down you will get the wobble problem to fix it you need to adjust the caster angle of the front differential by putting shims between the diff and leaf spring. normally if the front of the car is higher than the bak this problem will occur to try a quick fix put a heap of wieght over the front and try that. good luck buddy i had the same problem

Posted on Sep 16, 2010

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