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Old 08-09-2017, 08:32 AM   #1
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How Much Wobble Is Tolerable?

We took our last "shake down cruise" over the weekend to make sure all systems were GO! before our big trip. This trip included the first time we were able to tow the '95 Jeep Wrangler we bought for the occasion.

While the DW drove, I was able to observe the Jeep out the back window while underway. I was watching for anything that may be unusual. Everything appeared to be fine, except I noticed the right front wheel was tracking perfectly, but the left front had a slight wobble. We were traveling 60 - 65MPH.

Last week I had a brand new set of 215/75R15 tires all mounted and balanced dynamically on the Jeep. Nothing was said about a bent wheel, and the bearings are OK. I have not noticed any shake or vibration in the steering wheel while driving on the old tires at the same 65MPH, and I have not noticed any unusual wear on the take-offs.

Is this something to worry about? I know I will probably see some unusual wear at some point, but should I have other concerns?
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Old 08-09-2017, 08:45 AM   #2
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If you have only one wheel wobbling at a certain speed, then I would say the problem is an improperly balanced tire, out of round tire or bent rim. Does it vibrate or wobble when driving it at the same speeds? There have been very few "death wobble" problems reported with Wranglers and would involve the whole front end and steering oscillating back and forth.
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Old 08-09-2017, 09:42 AM   #3
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Lt Dan wanted to know "Does it vibrate or wobble when driving it at the same speeds?"

I drove it around for about an hour on Saturday, mostly at highway speeds (60-65MPH), and didn't notice any feedback through the steering wheel. I don't know if the power steering would dampen any "feel", but I definitely didn't feel anything. Of course, I couldn't see it while running down the road.

I just made an appointment with Firestone to double check the balance and out-of-round Friday.

Good call, Lt Dan! I'll post a follow up.
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Old 08-09-2017, 10:41 AM   #4
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A wobble on one side sounds more like an alignment issue. When you are driving and in control of the steering wheel, you might not notice but when towing everything is free to seek its own Center.
I would have a good alignment shop check the tow in to make sure the tow in is correct and that both wheels are pointed forward, meaning perhaps the one that's showing the wobble is turned inward or outward slightly in relation to the other side.
A GOOD alignment shop can detect and correct this.

P/S, If you do not feel any vibration driving, that's a sign it's not a balance issue. Wheel balance will show up at 60-65 MPH.
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Old 08-09-2017, 06:39 PM   #5
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Yeah, I have to agree with everybody else, something is not right. I'd try to track it down. Sounds like something might be worn or out of adjustment.
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Old 08-09-2017, 06:52 PM   #6
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Jack up that wheel and give it a spin. It could very well be an out of round or bent wheel/rim and it has been ballanced to make it run smooth.
Are there lots of wheel weights on that wheel, and not the others? That would be an indication something is wrong.
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Old 08-10-2017, 04:47 AM   #7
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I just returned from a 11,500 mile Alaskan trip, towed my 1995 jeep wrangler. The jeep should track perfectly behind you, no wobble, vibration etc...
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:46 AM   #8
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We have a winner!

Turns out Unplanned had it right. The wheel is bent, but oh so slightly and could not be detected on the machine, even on the dynamic balancer. Even had two technicians, including the manager drive it around, watching it while driving. They apparently never hit the right speed. We dismounted the tire, removed all the weights and remounted it with new weights. It was then that we used an indicator to detect the bent wheel.

I ran out of time yesterday, so I'm going back over and we'll remove the new tire and install it on the spare wheel and making the bent wheel the new spare. I think I'l have it aligned at the same time.

I would have thought the Jeep wheel would have been more robust, considering their use, but maybe it got whacked harder than anyone thought.

Thanks Unplanned!
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:42 PM   #9
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Standard Jeep wheels can be had pretty cheap on Craigslist.
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