Jeep Death Wobble – Causes, Fix & Repair Cost

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One of the most common questions we get asked concerns Jeep’s death wobble, and how to prevent and eliminate all the causes that might be causing the death wobble.

Because this is a common question we get asked a lot, we have decided to write an informative post regarding Jeep death wobble and is our belief by the end of this article you will be able to troubleshoot why you are getting death wobble and be able to fix it.

Jeep death wobble is common on stock & custom build Jeeps, but it’s more prominent on customized Jeeps, because of the aftermarket front suspension systems installed.

For additional causes on why yur Jeeps is shaking when accelerating, read our post on Jeep Wrangler vibration at highway speeds (Troubleshooting Guide)

What is Jeep’s Death Wobble?

Jeep death wobble is when your Jeep shakes in the steering and front suspension system due to worn suspension parts such as track bars, control arms, ball joints, etc, the occurrence of death wobble in Jeeps is mainly caused by a loose track bar bolt on the axle side.

Here is a Jeep death wobble video showing the impacts of death wobble and how it affects your steering and suspension parts:

Jeep Death Wobble Video

Jeep Death Wobble Model Years

Jeep death wobble is a terrifying experience that is caused by play in the steering and the front suspension system. There are certain Jeeps experiencing death wobble more than others, and we have dug deep into Jeep forums and found the following Jeeps being commonly reported to experience a death wobble at speeds above 30 miles per hour:

1984-2001Jeep Cherokee XJ
1993-1998 Grand Cherokee ZJ1993-1998 Grand Cherokee ZJ
1999-2004 Grand Cherokee WJ1999-2004 Grand Cherokee WJ
1997-20061997-2006 Wrangler TJ
1997-20061997-2006 Wrangler LJ
2007-PresentJK Wranglers

What Causes The Death Wobble?

As stated in the introductory section of this post, a Jeep death wobble is mainly common in customized Jeeps because of the alteration of the front suspension systems.

As stated in the introductory section of this post, a Jeep death wobble is mainly common in customized Jeeps because of the alteration of the front suspension systems.

The main reason for Jeep death wobble is cheap aftermarket suspension systems that include a low control arm that is fixed and during installation of the front suspension system you have to re-use the upper control arm, this causes your transfer angle to limit adjustment of the suspension system.

The track bar can also cause your Jeep to have a death wobble, during the installation of the aftermarket suspension system some suspension kits don’t include a trackbar and for this reason, you will have to use your existing factory track bar impacting your suspension angles. A loose track bar bolt is also a common cause of Jeep’s death wobble and it’s the number one cause of Jeep death wobble reported by our readers.

Another cause of the death wobble is the toe angle of your front suspension system, this is when your Jeep wheels are pointing to the right or the left side at an asymmetric angle. To is one of the major alignment configuration parameters of your Jeep suspension.

Your Jeep’s caster angle is also a common cause of death wobble, installation of an aftermarket front suspension system is a candidate for throwing off your caster angle and this might result in the shaking of your steering and front suspension system when speeding.

Another cause of death wobble in Jeeps is loose or worn-out tie rod ends, this will cause your front suspension to shake and get worse when your turn around the corners, your steering will also tend to play a lot because the tie rods control the steering angles of your Jeep. The clamps connecting the inner and outer tie rods are used to adjust the steering angles of your Jeep. This is why after the installation of suspension systems you will need a wheel alignment to make sure the steering and suspension are back to their factory specifications.

Jeep Death Wobble Fix

Diagnosing and fixing a Jep death wobble is a puzzle since its mainly caused by loose or worn-out parts of your steering and front suspension system, there are several large and small parts of the front steering and suspension system and each one of them might be the cause of the death wobble you are experiencing, this means that there are a lot of parts you will need to check in the steering and front suspension system.

Jeep Front Suspension system showing the sway bar link, Pitman's arm, Sway bar link, Upper control arm, Track Bar, Tie Rod, Lower control arms, and Drag Link
Jeep Front Suspension system (Image By: Quadratec)

However, experts recommend first checking the bolt that holds the trackbar and axle together and tightening it as much as possible, this is the number one cause and causes almost 99% of death wobbles in Jeeps.

You should also check for toe angles, caster angles, and transfer angles. Other steering parts to inspect for looseness or inappropriate movement include the following:

  • Rope Tie Ends (all four, plus the upper track bar end)

We recommend replacing your Jeep’s track bar & track bar ends if you have to turn your steering wheel further in order to turn your Jeep if your Jeep is hard to turn, and also if it has been previously pulled to one side before the heavy shaking (Jeep Death Wobble) began. You can also inspect your track bar for signs of wear and damage, or looseness which can happen slowly over time, some of the things to look for include cracks, bends, or worn-out ends.

We recommend heavy-duty track bars, over standard or adjustable track bars because they provide additional support to key areas where stress is likely to break the part apart, and also reduce the rolling resistance, and improve shock absorption s for better handling.

  • Bolts for track bar mounting bracket
  • Steering Box Brace
  • Steering Stabilizer (tighten up the entire steering system)

Jeep Death Wobble Repair Cost

Repairing your toe angles, caster angles, and transfer angles requires wheel alignments and will cost you around $100 to $250 and the costs may vary depending on your mechanic and the parts replacement costs.

If the tie rods are the cause of death wobble on your Jeep, you will need to replace the worn-out tie rods for $300-$500 because it’s hard to get tie rod ends, and the labor costs of replacements are $50-$80. The cost may also vary depending on the brand and quality of the tie rods.

Worn-out ball joints may also cause a death wobble and cost between $200-400 depending on the brand and quality, labour costs are estimated to be between $100-$250 depending on your mechanic.

You may also need to replace your Jeep’s track bar to fix the death wobble, the cost of a Jeep trackbar is between $300 to $500 depending on the brand and quality, and the labor costs are estimated to be between $50 to $100. If you only need to replace the brackets the costs of track bar brackets are between $20-$50.

You will need a professional mechanic to fix the death wobble in your Jeep, while most Jeepers normally like repairing the parts themselves we highly recommend a professional mechanic handling your suspension system since these are vital parts of your Jeep and might affect your handling and control of your Jeep.

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Last update on 2024-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

James Ndungu - Jeep Runner Writer

Author: James Ndungu

James is an Automotive Service Writer, I4WDA certified trainer, Jeep enthusiast, and shop owner specializing in Jeep parts, accessories, and Electric Vehicles Charging Station Installation services. His interest and first-hand experience in electric vehicle charging technology motivated him to achieve certification through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP).

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