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Old 08-16-2018, 08:28 PM   #1
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Death Wobble

I am sending this post regarding many posts that I have read concerning the Death Wobble effect. After buying our motorhome, my wife and I purchased a 2013 Equinox 4 cylinder in 2015 for a toad. We too, experienced this misfortune that resulted in a violent force that ripped our Equinox (receiver hitch and all) from our MH. The Equinox ended up in the driveway of a nearby house after traveling across the opposite lane, down a ditch, hitting a culvert and almost turning over. So, I am now very nervous when driving alongside an RV with a toad, realizing these things happen even under the safest condition one can be in.

However, we now have a motorhome without a hitch and seemingly impossible to sell at a reasonable price. Therefore, the road is calling again and I want to purchase another receiver and try again. After the insurance company totaled the Equinox, we purchased a 2012 Jeep Cherokee Overlander Quad Trac V8 (but not with the intention at that time of flat towing it).

Can this vehicle be safely flat towed behind a motorhome? I have seen where someone else posted a video of a similar jeep experiencing this 'Death Wobble' phenomenon.

John
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Old 08-16-2018, 08:43 PM   #2
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There are hundreds and hundreds (if not over 1,000) individual postings on this lack of a phenomenon on the toads and towing forum.



If anything tore the entire hitch assembly from the coach, I would be looking much harder at the hitch assembly and hardware than the toad.
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:29 PM   #3
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The "violent shaking" (I don't like the term "death wobble" because it's not accurate) in a Jeep Cherokee only affects the KL models produced from 2014 through 2018 since they have electric power steering.

Your 2012 Cherokee has hydraulic steering and is therefore not subject to the "violent shaking" while being towed.

PS - FCA has supposedly fixed the "violent shaking" in the 2019 Cherokees, but I have yet to see or hear what change they actually made, and remain skeptical.

I just happened to see THIS thread that accurately describes the term "Death Wobble". It occurs when the front suspension of the vehicle you're driving goes into a wobble state. The term originated with some older Wranglers that had been lifted and fitted with larger tires started having problems with the front suspension components. This was a true potential "Death Wobble" situation as you could lose control of the vehicle while driving it.

What happens when a towed vehicle goes into a "violent shaking" state is not a "death wobble" until and unless it completely disconnects from the towed vehicle and runs into another vehicle.
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Old 08-16-2018, 10:06 PM   #4
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I love it.... death wobble.... the steering suspension is oscillating right to left, meaning your steering wheel is turning right to left and back again. the only way to stop it is to stop the vehicle. any vehicle can be towed, but first and most important.... the tow bar as to be dead flat at ride height when moving. This keeps the moho from picking up the front end of your toad every time you accelerate which takes the weight off the front axle of your toad.....2nd, some vehicles must have a steering damper (shock) installed to prevent the oscillation. Others already have one installed but it needs to be heavier to prevent the oscillation. Had a problem with my 91 2 wheel drive tracker, I welded a steering damper (shock) between the frame and the tie rod. Solved the problem. Ok, I welded a bracket onto the frame and bolted a bracket on to the tie rod, then put the shock between them. Yes, it was harder to steer but no "death wobble"....
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Old 08-16-2018, 10:25 PM   #5
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I have heard of this and it makes you wonder as to what is actually causing that. I have towed many tow vehicles and never had such a wobble. First I towed a 2002 Ford Ranger all over the country, a Honda Pilot 4wd, Honda CRV 2013, GMC Terrain sle 2017, Buick Envision 2017, and now a Buick Envision Essence. The last four I know had electric steering and they all towed pretty good. I always have used Blue Ox equipment as to base plates and the Aventa II which is a ten thousand rated tow bar.

I believe these death wobbles are caused by something that is done wrong in preparation for towing. Like maybe they are not leaving the switch on acc or maybe they are pulling the wrong fuse.

I never pull any fuses off, but I do have a wire that keeps the tow vehicles battery charged from the coach, and it keeps all the computers working on the toad and you do not have to worry about dead batteries.
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:58 PM   #6
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That Death Wobble effect may very well be the result of the Jeep's front end geometry.

The serious off-road vehicles have a more vertical kingpin than you will find in most passenger vehicles. That, coupled with reduced caster results in steering that does not self-center as much as we expect. If road conditions cause the Jeep to move too far off line, it cannot realign itself with the coach quickly enough.

After that, the corrections are out of phase and the error gets increasing larger and larger. A damper (like a shock absorber) on the tow bar will snub the oscillations to prevent that.

I wonder if a steering damper like a Safe-T-Plus added to the Jeep's steering would help that.

Most cars and trucks do not have that problem.

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Old 08-17-2018, 02:00 PM   #7
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43' Ventana, Ready Brute Elite towbar and 2013 Honda CRV- no 'death wobble'. (knocks on wood!)

Surprised to hear that the OP's vehicle traveled that far after disconnecting. Didn't the breakaway cable activate the brakes?- Paul
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:10 PM   #8
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43' Ventana, Ready Brute Elite towbar and 2013 Honda CRV- no 'death wobble'. (knocks on wood!)

Surprised to hear that the OP's vehicle traveled that far after disconnecting. Didn't the breakaway cable activate the brakes?- Paul
Quote from the OP: "We too, experienced this misfortune that resulted in a violent force that ripped our Equinox (receiver hitch and all) from our MH."

If the receiver is not attached to the coach then the breakaway switch isn't going to be activated.
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:10 PM   #9
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Here is the Toad Guide for 2012. I would call the manufacturer. If you give them the VIN#, they will give you a better answer.

http://webcontent.goodsam.com/DinghyGuide2012.pdf
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:24 PM   #10
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Here is the Toad Guide for 2012. I would call the manufacturer. If you give them the VIN#, they will give you a better answer.

http://webcontent.goodsam.com/DinghyGuide2012.pdf
Actually I think you have posted the answer, and I need to correct myself. FCA did not produce a Cherokee in 2012, but they did produce the GRAND Cherokee.

If the OP has the Grand Cherokee V8 model with the Quadra Drive II system, then it can be towed four down. If it's the V6 then it would have to have the Quadra Trac II system
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobGed View Post
Quote from the OP: "We too, experienced this misfortune that resulted in a violent force that ripped our Equinox (receiver hitch and all) from our MH."

If the receiver is not attached to the coach then the breakaway switch isn't going to be activated.

HOLY COW! I missed that part.


Seems as though something wasn't installed correctly or had loosened over time in the hitch.-Paul
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Old 08-18-2018, 05:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by BobGed View Post
Actually I think you have posted the answer, and I need to correct myself. FCA did not produce a Cherokee in 2012, but they did produce the GRAND Cherokee.

If the OP has the Grand Cherokee V8 model with the Quadra Drive II system, then it can be towed four down. If it's the V6 then it would have to have the Quadra Trac II system
Yes, we now have the Grand Cherokee V8 Ouadra II Select System. I have reviewed the manual again and it can be flat towed. Now, the issue is its weight as it is about 1000 lbs too much for our Intruder motorhome (using Gross capacities of the MH and the car). I suppose limiting the amount of fluids carried in the MH (and car) and the amount of cargo, might get me into Allowable Safe Weight Tolerances.
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobGed View Post
Quote from the OP: "We too, experienced this misfortune that resulted in a violent force that ripped our Equinox (receiver hitch and all) from our MH."

If the receiver is not attached to the coach then the breakaway switch isn't going to be activated.
Although, my original post referred to the Death Wobble phenomenon we were constantly plagued with during our first MH trip, I only once experienced a slight Wobble months later after our initial 5000 mile journey out West. This accident happened about a year later, several trips later.

Last October, my wife purchased a set of new front tires in TN for the Equinox, rear tires were in good condition. I had discovered that both front tires had worn to the wires on the inside corners.

After installation in TN, I had the tire alignment re-checked by another garage in AR. This shop performed an All Wheel Alignment. They stated that they could not get one of the back tires aligned properly. As we were intending to travel 300 miles to home in a few days, I planned to follow up on this issue at home.

Unfortunately, this particular right rear tire blew out about 3 miles from our house. I was traveling less than the 45 mph speed limit and around a slight curve in the road. My wife was driving another vehicle separately behind me. I believe that the violent, swaying that followed from the tire blowout caused the Brake Stop to engage which caused an even more erratic behavior. (The Brake Stop cable snapped into).The car did a 90 deg swing hitting the rear corner of the MH before snapping two 3/8 inch Class 3 receiver plates longitudinally (not at any weld). These two plates were part of the receiver that allowed it to bolt up to the MH.

It was a very frightening event and I am very thankful to my Lord that no one was injured.
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:15 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by lonfu View Post
I love it.... death wobble.... the steering suspension is oscillating right to left, meaning your steering wheel is turning right to left and back again. the only way to stop it is to stop the vehicle. any vehicle can be towed, but first and most important.... the tow bar as to be dead flat at ride height when moving. This keeps the moho from picking up the front end of your toad every time you accelerate which takes the weight off the front axle of your toad.....2nd, some vehicles must have a steering damper (shock) installed to prevent the oscillation. Others already have one installed but it needs to be heavier to prevent the oscillation. Had a problem with my 91 2 wheel drive tracker, I welded a steering damper (shock) between the frame and the tie rod. Solved the problem. Ok, I welded a bracket onto the frame and bolted a bracket on to the tie rod, then put the shock between them. Yes, it was harder to steer but no "death wobble"....
You're explanation seems very logical. I had installed a drop in order to correctly align the connection of the two vehicles. But, as you stated, the MH may have been lifting the front end of the 'little' car, causing the Wobbling effect when I would hit a very rough spot on a road. This MH has a long overhang behind the rear wheels. Incidentally, I did replace the shocks later to reduce the top end swaying effect. So, the worn out shocks were probably allowing too much bounce on the rear end of the MH, thus lifting the car slightly on its front end.

Wow! Thanks for your great input!
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