Dodge "Death Wobble" Finally Makes National News

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
739
Location
central ga
"I'm looking at it and seeing oversized, non factory tires, and then looking at tie rod failures. Tell me again why this should have been warrantied?" hmmm.I see an upgrade from 32 inch to 35 inch.No big deal.If the manufacturer has not designed a stout enough component to handle a small upgrade like that on a truck.Well,they are idiots and deserve any bad publicity they get.I could understand a failure if the guy had upgraded to 38's or 44's.That is a big tire upsize. On my Bronco 4x4 I upsized to 30's over the factory 27's. On my Scout 4x4 I upsized to 31's over the 28's. On my Sidekick 4x4 I upsized to 215's over the factory size. On my 82 Dodge 150 I upsized to 225's over the factory 195's On my 86 Dodge 100 I upsized to 235's over the factory 195's On my 78 Dodge 4x4 I ran 31's and 33's over the factory size. No problems at any time with these vehicles. I'm a dodge guy,i've owned 5 of their trucks and 2 of their cars.But Ma Mopar does have a reputation for cheaping out whenever possible.I work with a guy who has with a newer dodge truck he has already had front end work done and is waiting to do more.His truck has almost all highway miles on it and factory size tires.When he mentioned this I was surprised.My 86 went till 2003 before it needed front end work. I, for one would be real unhappy if my truck needed repair like that before my payments ended.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
998
Location
Lexington, SC
Hey, what's the matter with you? Just as Chrysler is trying to make a come back, you try to make a big deal out of a little front end shake! If they made good on all those front end rebuilds on Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, Jeep Wranglers, and Cherokees, they would be back in the hole. Let's give the Chrysler folks a break.
 

rpn453

Thread starter
Joined
Nov 6, 2002
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
Originally Posted By: Jim Spahr
For Dodge, is the death wobble happening only to Four wheel drive versions or both 4 & 2 wheel versions? Is it happening only to 2500 and 3500 Rams or are the 1500 also having this problem? For Jeep vehicles, is it only Wranglers or Wranglers and four wheel drive Cherokees?
I don't think any of the 1500 models would have the problem from 2002 and up since they have an independent front suspension. I believe the 2WD 2500 and 3500 of the same period are also IFS, so they should be fine.
 

rpn453

Thread starter
Joined
Nov 6, 2002
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
Originally Posted By: urrlord
hmmm.I see an upgrade from 32 inch to 35 inch.No big deal . . .
That's the way I see it. The 2004 I mentioned was purchased new with dealer-installed 35" BFG All-Terrains. The 2500 Power Wagon has the same front end and it comes from the factory with 33" tires (285/70R17). All these tires fit without any wheel, suspension, or steering modifications. It's pretty much the norm up here to put larger tires on new 3/4-ton and 1-ton trucks, no matter what the manufacturer. The wheel gaps seem to want bigger tires, and dealerships never have a problem doing it.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2002
Messages
5,414
Location
Lakeville, MN
Show me the stock version with 35's (not dealer applied) and that suspension and I'd accept that it should handle it under the same expectations as stock. Going from 32's to 35's adds unsprung weight and pushes any component at the edge of its design out of it. Tires at that size add pounds fast with small changes in size. The 33's you mention generally run 50 lbs a tire (only the tire), while the 35's are pushing 65 lbs in most cases. Doesn't sound like a lot, but an additional 30lbs per axle there makes a big difference in trying to control things. The days of components being way overdesigned and tolerant of changes are less and less as things are cut closer to the edges. I say all that, and I too have upsized tires on two of my current vehicles, and did so on my last F150 as well. In all three cases (Jeep Cherokee, '99 F150, and '04 F150) I'm still smaller than the biggest factory fitted tire, but I also accept that component wear will be increased from where I was.
 

rpn453

Thread starter
Joined
Nov 6, 2002
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
While I agree that bigger tires would likely make the truck more susceptible to wobble and would certainly increase the rate of wear of suspension components, this is a common problem even with stock tires. A quick search shows that many owners report problems even with low mileage trucks on stock tires. I just have no personal experience with heavy duty trucks on the stock tire size.
 

rpn453

Thread starter
Joined
Nov 6, 2002
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
Time for a long-overdue update. This problem was resolved a couple years ago with a new steering stabilizer. It was simply an under-damped system. Even with the rest of the front end worn out, the problem went away with that new OEM part. He replaced the rest of the worn-out front end parts after that and it's been fine since. He neglected to replace the steering stabilizer because the one on the truck was an OEM unit that he had installed only a couple years prior. When this problem occurred with his previous Dodge 3500, he replaced the shocks and the problem mostly went away. This time, the shocks alone weren't enough. So the key seems to keep the damping units in good shape. The condition of the rest of the front end components is apparently irrelevant. If he gets even a hint of it again, he'll immediately replace the shocks and steering stabilizer before it ruins the whole front end.
 

rpn453

Thread starter
Joined
Nov 6, 2002
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
Look at what arrived in his mailbox this week:
Originally Posted By: Chrysler Canada Inc.
Safety Recall N62 Left Outer Tie Rod Assembly Dear Chrysler Canada Vehicle Owner: Chrysler has decided that a defect, which relates to motor vehicle safety, exists in some 2003 through 2008 model year Dodge RAM 1500/2500/3500 series Trucks that had the steering linkage replaced with MOPAR service parts. The problem is: The left tie rod ball stud may fracture under certain driving conditions. This could cause a loss of directional control and/or crash without warning. ...
It's about time!
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
19,707
Location
Sunny Florida
Originally Posted By: rpn453
Time for a long-overdue update. This problem was resolved a couple years ago with a new steering stabilizer. It was simply an under-damped system. Even with the rest of the front end worn out, the problem went away with that new OEM part. He replaced the rest of the worn-out front end parts after that and it's been fine since. He neglected to replace the steering stabilizer because the one on the truck was an OEM unit that he had installed only a couple years prior. When this problem occurred with his previous Dodge 3500, he replaced the shocks and the problem mostly went away. This time, the shocks alone weren't enough. So the key seems to keep the damping units in good shape. The condition of the rest of the front end components is apparently irrelevant. If he gets even a hint of it again, he'll immediately replace the shocks and steering stabilizer before it ruins the whole front end.
This is a key point. As the damping fails the entire front end is placed under severe stresses that are normally greatly absorbed. I have mixed feelings about these long term issues. IMO the mfgr should not be held liable after warranty period. It is the owner's responsibility to maintain the vehicle. FWIW I have experienced this on everything from a 55 Desoto Firedome to a 63 Pontiac long ago. It doesn't sound 'defective' to me unless the mileage was 50k or under...
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
7,809
Location
Connecticut
Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
What the heck?!? There's NOTHING new about any of this. So-called "Death wobble" is an instability that can arise in 4-link leading-arm solid-axle suspension that dates all the way back to AT LEAST 1984, when that suspension design was first used on the Jeep Cherokee! Its always a worn part, wrong adjustment, or something flat-out broken that causes it, and mechanics that understand the suspension can always fix it quickly.Its almost always related to either a trackbar problem, a steering problem, or leading-arm bushing problem. Its only a "mystery" when passenger-car mechanics or DIYers who aren't familiar with that design or don't understand what causes the wobble start playing around throwing parts at it and trying to get a fix, IMO.
This. Death wobble is always caused by loose or worn parts. Putting on heavier tires only exposes the problem sooner. If the tie rod snapped, it sounds like the steering was not adequate for the tire size. In the Jeep world, larger tires require major steering modifications to be safe. I'm talking heavy duty track bars, tie rods, etc, as well as making sure all other components are in good condition. Your buddy is lucky he didn't kill anyone with his truck.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2011
Messages
6,170
Location
North Coast
Originally Posted By: jeepman3071
In the Jeep world, larger tires require major steering modifications to be safe.
Unfortunately, too ,many yahoos just put a lift kit and big tires on and think they are the Dukes of Hazzard. All of those off road trucks should be banned from the highways.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
Messages
15,866
Location
Central NY
The steering stabilizer is to dampen bump steer and stop the steering wheel from slight wobble caused by imbalanced tires. It is NOT a cure for death wobble! Sure, it will mask the symptoms, but thats like putting a band aid on a severe laceration; it won't work for long. Technically, you do not need a stabilizer. I try to keep up on my Cherokee so my steering and front suspension are at 100%. My steering stabilizer is dead. I don't have death wobble because everything else is in excellent shape. Also, there are numerous steering setups over the years on these solid axle Jeeps and dodge trucks. Some are more prone to others. The type on my Cherokee is not as susceptible as others.
 

rpn453

Thread starter
Joined
Nov 6, 2002
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
Originally Posted By: jeepman3071
Death wobble is always caused by loose or worn parts. Putting on heavier tires only exposes the problem sooner. If the tie rod snapped, it sounds like the steering was not adequate for the tire size. In the Jeep world, larger tires require major steering modifications to be safe. I'm talking heavy duty track bars, tie rods, etc, as well as making sure all other components are in good condition. Your buddy is lucky he didn't kill anyone with his truck.
FCA is just as lucky. As stated before, the tie rods were recalled because they were defective and failing even on stock trucks. FCA simply refused to admit guilt until the liability calculations told them to send him a recall notice of his own.
 

rpn453

Thread starter
Joined
Nov 6, 2002
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
Originally Posted By: Miller88
The steering stabilizer is to dampen bump steer and stop the steering wheel from slight wobble caused by imbalanced tires. It is NOT a cure for death wobble! Sure, it will mask the symptoms, but thats like putting a band aid on a severe laceration; it won't work for long.
It was for him. The rest of the front end was new, and he had no problems after changing that. Bump steer is the result of wacky steering/suspension geometry. That was never an issue on these Dodges with the stock suspension.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2005
Messages
488
Location
CT
Originally Posted By: jeepman3071
Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
What the heck?!? There's NOTHING new about any of this. So-called "Death wobble" is an instability that can arise in 4-link leading-arm solid-axle suspension that dates all the way back to AT LEAST 1984, when that suspension design was first used on the Jeep Cherokee! Its always a worn part, wrong adjustment, or something flat-out broken that causes it, and mechanics that understand the suspension can always fix it quickly.Its almost always related to either a trackbar problem, a steering problem, or leading-arm bushing problem. Its only a "mystery" when passenger-car mechanics or DIYers who aren't familiar with that design or don't understand what causes the wobble start playing around throwing parts at it and trying to get a fix, IMO.
This. Death wobble is always caused by loose or worn parts. Putting on heavier tires only exposes the problem sooner. If the tie rod snapped, it sounds like the steering was not adequate for the tire size. In the Jeep world, larger tires require major steering modifications to be safe. I'm talking heavy duty track bars, tie rods, etc, as well as making sure all other components are in good condition. Your buddy is lucky he didn't kill anyone with his truck.
Ive had it happen on my XJ with just slightly oversized tires and just a hair of play in the track bar. Its a constant battle for the guys who upsize tires and liftkits. Just one worn out component or mismatched item and you got big problems.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
19,707
Location
Sunny Florida
Originally Posted By: Doog
Originally Posted By: jeepman3071
In the Jeep world, larger tires require major steering modifications to be safe.
Unfortunately, too ,many yahoos just put a lift kit and big tires on and think they are the Dukes of Hazzard. All of those off road trucks should be banned from the highways.
Exactly. I have also heard they can face suits after accidents for additional damages. Nothing more ridiculous than a giant lifted truck with the largest tires available whipping through traffic like a sports car. Some of these idiots even tailgate in the rain!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top