Question about Jeep Wrangler

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I have a 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. My front end began rattling back and forth very badly when I would hit approximately 50mph but the problem would alleviate itself when i braked, then eased over 65mph. I had two near bald tires, had them replaced with used tires that were about 60% tread, and had them balanced, and the problem ceased for two weeks before the problem re-arose worse than ever. I took my Jeep to my mechanic to attempt to fix the problem. He took my Jeep to one of the best front-end/suspension places in the area. They found a loose nut near one of the bearings, and proceeded with an alignment, figuring the problem was solved. It was not. I then proceeded to have all four tires mounted and balanced. Upon completion of this, my Jeep now drives worse than ever, the second I approach 45mph, my Jeep rattles beyond control, with the front-end shaking immensely and the steering wheel shaking extremely bad as well. My mechanic swears up and down that the only solution is four brand new tires. I have 3 used tires on there now with about 50% tread and one of my original tires that was previously a spare. I am perplexed as to why we can't find out if only one of the tires is bad, i.e. a bad belt, or is it mandatory I replace all four immediately. I really don't have the money to buy 4 new tires, let alone buy them, and have the rattle and shaking still persist. Please help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Master
  • 1,654 Answers

I have to admit this does sound like a tire issue, but if rotating them doesn't help then you may need 4 tires. I also believe there is something els the matter causing the tires to wear like this. either the ball joints or suspension. Since the problem went away with two newer tires for awile tells me new tires fixed the problem but it came back due to sometnig worn out and causing the issue. Before getting new tires have your mechanic garuntee there is no other hidden isse in the suspension causing the break down of your tires.

Posted on Mar 23, 2011

  • 5 more comments 
  • jameymccormi Mar 23, 2011

    I think you misread, my tread on the tires is not wearing rapidly, I was just stating I bought used tires.

  • Dcramer531
    Dcramer531 Mar 23, 2011

    No I understood the question, but I am not talking about tread wear. If your tires are causing the car to shake like you said, then they are wearing on the inside and getting the belts out of whack. They are getting worn in an unbalanced way, causing the shaking. A tire may look brand new on the outside and be junk on the inside. An I apoligize for my sloppy typing and miss spelling, I try to look at the screen and type but I can't.

  • jameymccormi Mar 25, 2011

    It's not the tires, I further researched the Death Wobble, and it goes away when I put the jeep in 4 wheel drive...does this help? Thanks!

  • Dcramer531
    Dcramer531 Mar 26, 2011

    Did you do any coil spring replacements or modifications? This is what causes the death Wobble on the jeep

  • Dcramer531
    Dcramer531 Mar 26, 2011

    The reason they discovered for the Death Wobble is that the drag link on Wranglers comes from the pitman arm down to the left front hub and then from the left front hub straight over to the right front hub. This is a strong link geometrically. Unfortunately on the Grand Cherokee's and Cherokee's they used a different link system... the drag link drops from the pitman arm straight down to the front left hub, but instead of the second arm attaching at the left hub and going to the right hub they attached the second arm in the middle of the first arm so you have this triangular type figure created. The problem with this setup is when you start lifting the Jeep with a Budget Boost the front axle is pushed down and since the trailing arms arent replaced the axle is actually pushed backwards. This change to the axle position changes the geometry of the actual steering setup and starts allowing for more and more play. This is why it seems that GC's with budget boosts are more susceptible to DW. This is also the reason why guys with taller lifts will many times never see DW on their Jeeps. If you get taller lifts that come with drop pitman arms then many times you wont have DW because you have returned the geometry on the drag link back to an angle that will not allow for very much play in the steering.

    Other reasons that DW can be formed are:

    The Steering Stabilizer is shot and causes the steering not to be tight enough

    The Track Bar is bent which allows for a little bit of movement in the axle

    The tires are warped or the alignment is messed up

    There are some bushings on the front end somewhere that is allowing for some play.

    **The things listed above can happen with or without lifting the vehicle. **



    Now for some Solutions:

    Everyone should start with the steering stabilizer I would say. It is only around $60 bucks for a good one from Rancho or Old Man Emu. If that does not cure the problem then I would IMMEDIATELY go to an Offroad Equipment shop. Tell them what your experiancing, they should already know what you will need. Once you find a shop that knows what Death Wobble is then you need to talk to them and they will tell you a lot of what I have told you here. Then ask them where they have taken their trucks to get aligned after they are lifted. Most alignment shops don't have a clue except for "factory specs"... if you can find a shop that knows how suspension really works then they know all the tricks for maxing out every centimeter to get your vehicle fully aligned. Normally the alignment shops that do the alignments for offroad shops will know exactly what DW is and be able to check everything for you. Many times... find the problem.

    Now as far as specifics go... if you have a 2" budget boost then you need to make sure they roll the caster back to around -6.00 to -9.00. Since your axle has been pushed down and slightly backwards then you need to get it pushed forwards at least as far as the factory position or even further forward. This should be possible with a 2" budget boost, but if you have something taller then you might need even more caster. Anyways... a good alignment shop should be able to tell this... a lot of "normal" alignment shops just try and move it back to the factory spec when you are going to need more than that to compensate for the lift.

    Basically... if you Believe you have DW, it can be fixed. It is normally a combination of several of the things I mentioned.

  • jameymccormi Mar 26, 2011

    I have never done any lifts or modifications ever!

  • Dcramer531
    Dcramer531 Mar 26, 2011

    I did some research on this and there are just so many issue that can lead into this condition. If your sure your tires are not the issue. No lift or front end component changes, then I will supply a link to a manufacture that explains in detail the death wobble effect and cause, along with his fix to this issue. Now of course he is trying to sell parts, but you can read this and determine what all you have checked, replaced and so forth. My gut feeling is your track bar or steering box might aslo have play but you can read this and decide what steps you what to proceed with. Good luck on this. Just cut and past this in your browser http://kevinsoffroad.com/death-wobble-cu...

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