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Old 08-13-2012, 02:49 AM   #1
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Death Wobble (Front end shimmy)

With about 40k on the coach it has developed a severe shimmy around 50 mph on certain roads. Tapping brake or changing speed clears it. Recently put my Jeep on a trailer instead of flat towing it. Could extra weight on hitch lighten the front enough to do this? I know short coaches have front end weight problems. Would not expect an extra 500 lbs or so to affect balance.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:00 AM   #2
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First thing I would do (just did it myself) is find a truck shop and get the front wheels balanced.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:25 AM   #3
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Does it do it without the trailer?

Tire(s), front end component (track bar bushing, etc.).
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:24 AM   #4
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Here is a couple things you can check.
Check your air perssure in the front tires.
I run mine at about 100 psi.
You can alse move jeep back on trailer so you get only about 150 pounds of tounge weight.
Check your tie rod ends, have some one turn steering wheel back and forth and look at tie rod end play.
This is easier to do if you put the jacks down in the front to lift some of the weight off the tires.
Make sure your track bar is tight.
Good luck.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:34 AM   #5
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Thats pretty serious and could be a symptom of a worsening problem. Take it too a shop and have the front end checked out. I would bet that there is something worn or wearing out.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:23 PM   #6
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Rick,

Two years ago I had a shimmy problem, and it was due to the front end slowly going out of alignment. It developed a toe in condition as the tie rod slowly loosened. A front end alignment and two new tires fixed it.

The mechanic saw clean threads on the tie rod ends, indicating it had moved. Hopefully not what is happening to you, but you might take a quick look at it.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:33 PM   #7
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Just MO. Have towed many trailers many miles over the years. Have had similiar front end shimmy issues as you described. Towing trailers never had anything to do with the underlying problem. The trailer is a sympton of the problem, not the problem. The issue is most likely somewhere in the front end of your coach. Tire imbalance and alignment usually eggagerates a steering linkage problem or looseness somewhere. Worn shocks/springs/bushings can do the same. A good truck store that services RV's regularly can find the real problem.

Please let us know how you make out....thanks!!
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:14 AM   #8
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Probably time for new shocks anyway. How old are the tires, and do they show a bad wear pattern? If yes (and regardless of wear if 6 years old) time for new front tires. Call Chris Cratch and find out what cured his; he had this also.

I agree that if 500# would do that, there's a problem anyway.
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:47 AM   #9
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In the Jeep world, death wobble vs. a shimmy are two differing things. Death wobble is characterized by a sudden severe shaking - that continues until speed is reduced. Often is caused by whatever horizontally locates the front axle having excessive play due to wear or damage.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:50 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the responses. I have a Jeep TJ and this is exactly like the death wobble it gets when the ball joints or a tie rod are worn. That is one of the reasons it is on a trailer now. Had the shocks replaced a couple of years ago when the steering bracket was reinforced at Redlands. Alignment done then too. Time to go back I guess.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:39 AM   #11
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All above advice good. Check tire pressure, Get balanced, Have alignment shop check ball joints, Tie Rods and such cause that is most likely where your problem lies...

FILL CHECKING ACCOUNT BEFORE VISITING SHOP cause those puppies in the size you need are going to set you back a few bucks.

By the way 40K is a bit early to have to replace those parts, but not completly out of line, 50-100K is normal.
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:18 PM   #12
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For shocks, both my 06 & 08 killed the OEM front shocks in about 12,000 miles.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:14 PM   #13
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Hello Rick; from trying to find the cause of Death Wobble in Jeepís I found an old article in JP Magazine, June 2009, they recommended that you check the following items witch can cause the Death Wobble. They include King Pins, Shocks, Drag Link and Tie Rod ends, Suspension Axle, Balance and True Tires, Alignment, Hubs Bearings. I have a copy of the article in PDF form if you want it PM me and I will send it to you.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:06 AM   #14
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Something is loose or worn. The trailer is not the cause. I adjusted the toe on my 04 last Sunday. It was set at neutral and caused the coach to wonder a bit.
In your case, I would look for a stabilizer bar attached parallel to the front axle. One end mounted to the frame and one end mounted to the axle.
As I mentioned, I was just under there but did not notice this type of stabilizer bar. I did have this on one of my 1 ton Ford 4x4 trucks and it came loose and I would get a violent shimmy once in a while.
Good Luck, but most of all, get it fixed and let us know what it was.

Dan
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