Author Topic: Death wobble  (Read 15195 times)

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Offline Surly

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Death wobble - a  common occurrence in lifted Samurais that are driven on the street, "death wobble" is a violent shaking of the front wheels at low speeds, especially after hitting bumps or potholes. Typically caused by loose or worn steering and suspension components, out-of-balance tires, improper caster angle or improper front end alignment. Items to check include:

Kingpin bearings and tie rod ends. Check for looseness in the TRE's, and check for proper kingpin bearing preload as per the factory service manual (FSM). Kingpin bearings serve as ball joints on a Samurai, and are commonly overlooked by mechanics with limited experience working on these small imported 4WDs. Kingpin bearings can and do go bad, and should be replaced in pairs (along with their races) just like ball joints in a fullsize rig whenever any looseness is detected.

Knuckle felts and seals. It's very important that the felts and seals be kept in good condition, as they are part of the factory-designed steering dampening system.

Wheel bearings. Check for proper wheel bearing adjustment as per the FSM.

Check for a bent tie rod (will affect toe-in).

Steering box (mounted to frame). Adjustable to eliminate free play.

Steering column and shaft. Check for looseness at the little u-joints and the rag joint.

Shocks, shock mounts, shock bushings. Check for looseness and breakage.

Leaf spring bushings. Check for looseness and deterioration.

Bent front leaf springs. Check and replace if necessary.

Front end alignment. 1/8" to 1/4"  toe-in and 2 to 4 degrees of positive castor is the norm.

Tire balance. Have the tires professionally balanced at a reputable shop with equipment designed to accomodate large tires.

Adding a panhard bar will sometimes eliminate death wobble, especially in rigs with front missing links. Adding a steering stabilizer may be helpful as well.


Related searches:
death wobble (example: http://bbs.zuwharrie.com/content/topic,45625.0.html )
ackerman angle
scrub angle or SAI


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« Last Edit: Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 08:26:06 PM by Surly »
I must admit I didn't want to hear what Surly had to say!