Death wobble AGAIN!?

Keith_J

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Back in 2012, my 1031 developed serious death wobble, the steering stabilizer was leaking oil and corroded so I replaced that along with the upper kingpin bushings and springs. This cured it.

Doing my annual service last week, I greased everything and suddenly DW returned. And the steering stabilizer is leaking oil.

I took the left king pin cap off, comparing bushing and spring with the original ones that had DW originally, no wear on the bushing and the new spring is still 1/4" longer. No play on the lower bearing.

the truck had 9009 miles on it in 2012, DW started about 12000 miles on the odometer. It now has 16800 miles on the odometer.

I will ill replace the stabilizer and look for heavier grease. All I have used is GAA, the original grease was red lithium.
 

cucvrus

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The leaking steering is stabilizer is probably the issue. I had one that had sticky calipers that would cause the wobble somewhat. I removed the calipers and polished the mounting areas on the knuckles and the caliper contact points. I greased them with silicone lube and put it back together. That resolved that issue.
 

dependable

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I don't know, the 'death wobble' is pretty hard on the stabilizer, might have wrecked it. Besides stabilizer, things I have found as contributers to death wobble, most common to least;

Drag link ends (the tie rod from steering gear).

Tie rod ends.

King pin bushing/spring.

Seized or failed steering u joint.

Worn steering gear.

Of course, it is the combination of loose parts that really get it going. Guess a sticking caliper would add to the mix.
 
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eme411

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pefferlaw ontario
take a look at your front shocks also (to make sure you have the correct ones up there, someone used my 1031 as a parts source for their 1/2 ton and just switched parts back and forth) and balance your front wheels, also take a look at your brake discs to make sure you do not have anything going on there that may add to a balance issue, due to the fact that this has returned you may only have covered up the problem last time,
 

Keith_J

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Pretty sure it isn't steering universal joint, I checked those for play last time the front wheels were off. There is no play anywhere in the steering system, other than the occasionional DW, it drives like a new 1980s one ton 4x4. Because it only had 9009 miles on it when purchased in 2012. Brake pedal cover looks new, came with intact floor mat and perfect bench seat upholstery.

I can rationalize the springs taking a set over time and the shocks and stabilizer wearing out but all three were replaced in 2012. I don't want to tear apart the lower King pin bearing yet.
 

dependable

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Well, please let us know what you find out. Have fixed 3 CUCVs with the wobble, and have encountered problems I listed above, no doubt there could be other factors.

The 1008 I've been driving this winter just got it bad a few days ago. The back is full of ice and a pallet of frozen compost (snow ballast) so I just switched to another truck until I get to this one. Got to fix it on the frozen slab outside or flood my shop with melted snow if I can't chip & shovel it out some. I'll let you know what I find out, plan to fix it this weekend.
 

SPECIALTYLC

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I had the wobble on mine, but would only happen during braking. I had a slightly warped rotor. I did a brake job on it and the death wobble is now gone.
 

Keith_J

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The stabilizer had a dead spot in travel where there was no damping. So far, the new damper has eliminated all instances, down hill going 35 mph with slight braking.
 

amgeneral72

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HOLLY SPRINGS GA
My M1031 gets the death wobble about once every 6 months. Nothing loose or leaking underneath. I will just be driving and it will start. I can stop and then proceed on and its gone. Its the craziest thing.
 

Keith_J

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Could it be weight? The ambulance my partner in FMVs had didn't do it as far as I know. But it also has a 208 transfer case and no Lima MAC generator. The air compressor is also a hundred with it's motor.

The full road test passed, if it does it again, I will slip the old bushing caps in between the spring and top for a little more preload.

Death wobble isn't fun.
 

Skinny

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Portsmouth, NH
It sounds like you have a potential issue in the steering system or possibly springs bushings. I agree that the stabilizer is suppose to keep wobble from happening but I've owned plenty of trucks with big wide offset tires with no stablizer and had no issues as well. Of course I've also had stock Jeeps get it bad due to a bad stablizer because they tend to have pretty soft bushings all around from the factory. I would look elsewhere to see what the cause is. I'd also maybe rotate the tires front to back or swap them with someone else to see what results you get. DW is scary and sometimes very tough to track down.

Good luck!
 

infidel got me

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st.cloud florida
I had a old power company truck with a death wobble years ago. It started shaking violently-- scarry at about 40 mph . I checked everything over, could not find anything wrong.

After about two days of diag. I tried a steering box---- no more wobble. The front end was tight- no excessive play etc. Best I can recall, that truck had low miles as well.

Hope this helps



WILL
 

CUCVLOVER

Active member
My old cj jeep had the worst case of death wobble at like 20 mph and driving it on the road was more or like herding it like cattle. So a few turns of the tensioner screw and all is good. Keep in mind though it is a 74 cj with no power anything.
 

acesneights1

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Where did you buy the new springs and upper bushings ? ORD ?? They sell junk.
The fact that they are longer than your old ones means nothing. Actual tension does. I never had death wobble in mine until I changed the front axle shaft u joints and figured..."I'll do the springs and upper bushings while I have it ripped down".
That is when my problems started. The aftermarket parts are garbage. 95% of the time death wobble is the upper king pin springs. Take the caps back off, put an 1/8 thick washer that is the same diameter of the spring between the spring and the cap and put the cap back on. I will bet your problem will be solved. These front ends are strong but the upper kingpin bushing is a piss poor design.
 

Keith_J

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Schertz TX
Yes, off road designs. The bushings aren't worn, the springs have not set compared to the originals. Installing the ORD set cured the problem, for a few years.

There isn't enough free length in the spring for a 1/4" spacer before the coils crash. I might try the old washers as they are 60 thousandths but no more than 1/8" of shimming is possible.

no, it isn't a poor design. It prevents lower bearing wear. Bushings and springs are much easier than pulling knuckles and swapping bearings. It just has its limits at resisting precessional oscillation, especially when larger tires are used.
 

acesneights1

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Their kit sucks. The springs look bigger but have no tension. I said 1/8 inch not 1/4.
Put the washers in and I bet your wobble is gone.
 

rlltide12

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Alabama
I went to a springless setup on mine when i did my crossover steering. Driven that way for a while now and no death wobble. Very pleased so far

Edit. You and i have talked about this before. But this may be a good suggestion for you at this point because of your setup. It solved my troubles and i havent had to adjust mine for a good while now. And thats after a good many bumps and bangs in the road
 
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dependable

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Just got this 1008 fixed, mostly. Goes down the road and no wobble. Now that it is tightened up, I detect an unbalanced feeling form right front tire, which is where shake originated. Maybe a ply let go or something, they are old tires. Have to deal with them soon anyway due to dry rot. Will rotate for now and see if any change.

There was a little play on drag link and tie rod ends. Damper was blown out. Replaced those, plus shocks all around since they needed it. The brakes may have been dragging a little, not surprising with the winter rust. I did wire brush and antisieze the slides.
 
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