Witnessed the worst case of "death wobble" I have ever seen...

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I am currently on a road trip to YNP and on the way, just north of Idaho Falls, there was a white late model Dodge 3/4-ton 4x4 that passed me on north highway 20 at 70ish mph. Just as he came alongside, we crossed a short bridge that had a few chuck holes in it and his axle started bouncing to the point that he started losing control. He began braking hard and veered across in front of me. I immediately recognized what was happening and braked hard (luckily the car behind me saw it and braked as well) and he missed me by a couple of feet.

The axle was bouncing to the point that the tire was impacting the underside of the wheel well and parts of the plastic liner began breaking off. Steering control was completely lost but he eventually managed to stop the truck partially sideways on the shoulder. I am absolutely certain that he needed a shower and a fresh change of underwear. I wanted to stop and check on him, but the traffic was not forgiving on the curved part of the road.

I could see him throwing his arms up while trying to explain to his wife what had happened and it seemed like he had no idea what caused it. I recently changed all of the OEM steering equipment on my Rubicon (drag link, tie-rod and ends, trackbar, and steering stabilizer) to prevent death wobble from every having a chance to rear its head. I would guess that his trackbar bushings were toast and the crimped ends likely loosened. Scary stuff to be sure…
 
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That sounds more like lack of damping (bad shocks) as opposed to death wobble since the motion was up and down, as opposed to side to side. Worn steering components probably had a little something to do with it though if the shocks were that worn out, I'm sure the rest of the front end was as well.
 

CarbonSteel

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That sounds more like lack of damping (bad shocks) as opposed to death wobble since the motion was up and down, as opposed to side to side. Worn steering components probably had a little something to do with it though if the shocks were that worn out, I'm sure the rest of the front end was as well.
It was moving side to side as well--he was peppering the car that passed him as veered off the road with rocks and roadside debris.
 
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It's crazy how some of those things shake and don't just scatter parts everywhere. Would certainly give me pause buying a solid front axle vehicle.
 

CarbonSteel

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CarbonSteel,

Did you change out the OEM steering equipment on your Rubicon with stronger after-market stuff?
Indeed--I have a Metalcloak drag link, tie-rod with 1 ton ends, and trackbar with a Fox steering stabilizer. The Metalcloak stuff is massively heavier with thickwall tubing and welded or threaded ends versus the OEM thin wall with its crimped ends.
 
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Death wobble? Never heard that term...is a bad case of death wobble anything like a bad case of the speed wobbles? Because I’ve had those, and it always ends badly once that line is crossed.
 
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Was he lifted?

It’s always been my understanding that changing the geometry of suspension parts after a lift can cause this as well as worn parts.
 
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I am currently on a road trip to YNP and on the way, just north of Idaho Falls, there was a white late model Dodge 3/4-ton 4x4 that passed me on north highway 20 at 70ish mph. Just as he came alongside, we crossed a short bridge that had a few chuck holes in it and his axle started bouncing to the point that he started losing control. He began braking hard and veered across in front of me. I immediately recognized what was happening and braked hard (luckily the car behind me saw it and braked as well) and he missed me by a couple of feet.

The axle was bouncing to the point that the tire was impacting the underside of the wheel well and parts of the plastic liner began breaking off. Steering control was completely lost but he eventually managed to stop the truck partially sideways on the shoulder. I am absolutely certain that he needed a shower and a fresh change of underwear. I wanted to stop and check on him, but the traffic was not forgiving on the curved part of the road.

I could see him throwing his arms up while trying to explain to his wife what had happened and it seemed like he had no idea what caused it. I recently changed all of the OEM steering equipment on my Rubicon (drag link, tie-rod and ends, trackbar, and steering stabilizer) to prevent death wobble from every having a chance to rear its head. I would guess that his trackbar bushings were toast and the crimped ends likely loosened. Scary stuff to be sure…

The Fox 2.0 dampener took care of mine, but it wasn't full-on Death Wobble. Still, I'm looking at Metalcloak adjustable lower front control arms to increase castor angle to help a bit, too. I've also considered Rancho lower control arm relocation brackets. I think those would accomplish the same result, but also with some other improvements, as well, due to leveling the LCA's. Those would cost about an inch of clearance to the bottom of the LCA's.

I've got a Mopar lift, btw, running 315/70/17 AT tires. The V-41 recall (I think that's the #) replaces the dampener with a revised part #. My guess is that it is stiffer. But full-on death wobble is a bigger thing than just the dampener. The dampener will take care of some shake, which isn't as severe.
 
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CarbonSteel

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Was he lifted?

It’s always been my understanding that changing the geometry of suspension parts after a lift can cause this as well as worn parts.
Yes, I believe he was. I am not overly familiar with Dodge, but it did not appear to be the stock height. A worn trackbar is what usually starts it and as it happens more and more, the remainder of the steering components are stressed until they add to the issue.
 
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CarbonSteel

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The Fox 2.0 dampener took care of mine, but it wasn't full-on Death Wobble. Still, I'm looking at Metalcloak adjustable lower front control arms to increase castor angle to help a bit, too. I've also considered Rancho lower control arm relocation brackets. I think those would accomplish the same result, but also with some other improvements, as well, due to leveling the LCA's. Those would cost about an inch of clearance to the bottom of the LCA's.

I've got a Mopar lift, btw, running 315/70/17 AT tires. The V-41 recall (I think that's the #) replaces the dampener with a revised part #. My guess is that it is stiffer. But full-on death wobble is a bigger thing than just the dampener. The dampener will take care of some shake, which isn't as severe.
For $60 you can buy the Mopar longer lower control arms. They increased my caster from about 4.5° - 5° to 6.4° which made a huge difference in the steering. The V41 recall is not a big change, but is slightly stiffer. I skipped it and went with a Fox as you did.

Which 315/70/17 tires are you running? I am starting to look at tires as the next upgrade.
 

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It's crazy how some of those things shake and don't just scatter parts everywhere. Would certainly give me pause buying a solid front axle vehicle.
I owned a solid axle 4” lifted PowerWagon for 17 years … even with 36” mud tires it never did anything abnormal
Owned several IFS GM LT’s that were supposed to wobble, sorry none of them did that …
Currently have a 2020 Rubicon … no immediate plans to touch the steering linkage …
That guy likely had more than one or two problems under his Dodge …
 
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For $60 you can buy the Mopar longer lower control arms. They increased my caster from about 4.5° - 5° to 6.4° which made a huge difference in the steering. The V41 recall is not a big change, but is slightly stiffer. I skipped it and went with a Fox as you did.

Which 315/70/17 tires are you running? I am starting to look at tires as the next upgrade.

Already have them. They came with the Mopar lift. Unless they offer longer ones. Is that the case?
 
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For $60 you can buy the Mopar longer lower control arms. They increased my caster from about 4.5° - 5° to 6.4° which made a huge difference in the steering. The V41 recall is not a big change, but is slightly stiffer. I skipped it and went with a Fox as you did.

Which 315/70/17 tires are you running? I am starting to look at tires as the next upgrade.
KO2's. Love them. They are wearing very nicely at 35k miles and with a 5 tire rotation. They've performed well and even surprised me a little bit in the mud! They ride great and handle well, too.
 

CarbonSteel

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Already have them. They came with the Mopar lift. Unless they offer longer ones. Is that the case?
I am not sure about that, but the part numbers that I purchased were 68322798AA. Can you compare them with yours? I am assuming though that since they came with a lift kit that they are the longer ones.

What is your caster set at now?
 
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I am not sure about that, but the part numbers that I purchased were 68322798AA. Can you compare them with yours? I am assuming though that since they came with a lift kit that they are the longer ones.

What is your caster set at now?

I'm sure they are the longer ones. They were certainly longer than the original Rubi arms. I have not measured the castor yet on mine. I will see if that can be done tomorrow while at the dealership for the steering box upgrade.
 
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