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Again with the Death Wobble!

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 4x4Suburban, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. 4x4Suburban

    4x4Suburban Registered Member

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    Maybe someone can help me trouble shoot this problem further, since everyone local here doesn't have a clue...

    I'm the guy who has the Suburban that had major Death Wobble over 35MPH...Well, I changed the ball joints, replaced the steering stabilizer and bled the brakes...

    Hence, the wobble (about 80% of it) went away...That is, until TODAY! On our way in to Phoenix, the truck started to shake (mild at first, then it went away...). I stopped at a gas station to have a look and check everything out...Nothing seemed to change and everything still felt tight. Back on the road again, anything over 45 to 50 MPH and the shake became violent. Hitting the brakes shook the front wheels to an almost out of control rumble!

    An hour and a half later (and about 25 miles total), we get back home - 45 MPH the whole way, slowing down on occasion to knock the shake out of the wheels.

    WHAT GIVES? Everything is tight up front, the brakes are new, Ball Joints are new, Stabilizer is new and it drives straight as an arrow when I had it up speed...It didn't wobble or shake until about half way on my trip and it's stuck with it, now a consistant problem again!

    A friend had told me to check the transfer case, as if this were loose it would cause the symptoms I have...It's tight, no leaks and no twist. :confused:

    What else can I do with this thing to fix this problem, besides throwing my life savings at it!? Any advice on what to check or some ways to help me trouble shoot the exact problem area would be helpful...

    I'm taking the front drive shaft off the vehicle now to see if the transfer case is maybe messed up or the 4x4 hubs were put back together wrong when they repacked the bearings...Other than that, I'm totally out of ideas!

    Thanks...

    :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:

    Oh yeah, one more thing...I totally rebuilt the front brakes and it still pulls to the right when I hit them...I'm not sure if that helps, but it's there...
     
  2. readymix

    readymix 3/4 ton status

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    Here are the things you need to check.

    Ball joints: Check for play up/down and in/out. I know you replaced them, but check it anyways

    Tie Rod Ends: Check for play

    DRE's: Check for play

    Sector Shaft: Check for any not rotational movement of the sector shaft where it exits the gear box on the bottom. There is a bushing in there that could be wallowed out.

    Alignment: Be sure it has a little toe in.

    Wheel balance: Do it

    All the torques of everything on the front suspension. including hte spring bolts and wheel bearings
     
  3. xpndbl3

    xpndbl3 1/2 ton status

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    i'd guess the wheel alignment for toe adjustment is off.
     
  4. 4x4Suburban

    4x4Suburban Registered Member

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    I've done the following...

    Ok, of everything I've been doing with this truck for the past 3 weeks, here's what's been checked...(Hopefully someone can tell me what I've missed and maybe that's it...)

    • TRE's and DRE's all checked, no play and tight. Have not replaced...
    • Ball Joints, U/L replaced new, torqued to spec and tight.
    • Wheel Balance was done when I had the wheel bearings repacked and seals replaced.
    • Pitman Arm torqued to spec on a new Steering GearBox.
    • Wheel Alignment, not done yet. According to the local shop, Toe Adjustment was fine, a little off in the camber on the right wheel, but within spec.
    • Complete Front Brake rebuild (new rotors, which were a major pain), new calipers and new Carbon Metalic pads. Complete system was bled and balanced today.
    • New Stabilizer Shock (TrailMaster SSV Single - OEM Setup). I am considering adapting a Dual Stabilizer setup, but I'm not sure what that will do to the handling on-road (70% of our driving with this truck is on-road, not off...).
    Here's what I am working on now -

    • Removing the front drive shaft to see what happens to the wobble (The transfer case bolts feel tight, but I'm not sure if they are to spec...Taking the load off the transfer case during a test drive will eliminate that from my list of possible problems...).
    • Re-Inspection of the Pitman Arm (I checked it last time and the splines looked good...It doesn't teeter on the steering shaft, and I didn't notice any play side-to-side, but I'm re-looking at that anyway...).
    The problem cycles after 45 MPH, which is pointing me to harmonics...Something is loose and, at that speed, enough harmonic instability is present to cause the wobble. Hitting the brakes loads the wobble, intensifying it. Removing pressure off the brakes stabilizes the condition and keeps it controllable, but the wobble does not go away. Brakes pull slightly right when applied, even though the system is balanced.
    The problem went aay when I changed ball joints and the brakes (for a couple of days), then suddenly came back today, worse than ever.


    Out of all this, what have I missed with all of this? the wobble throws the front wheels side to side, as if they were loose and about to fall off. The new ball joints took some of this out, but it's only made the wobble harder now...

    Thanks!
     
  5. twoslo4five0

    twoslo4five0 3/4 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    this situation sounds filmilar to a buddy of mines...he had a 05 dodge crew cab with 4 inch lift and 35 bfgs...he would drive and it would be fine and then all the sudden he could hit a bump in the road and it would get the death wobble bad...he took it to the dealership they did everything and couldnt find out what it was...it had some bfg all terrians with about 75 percent remaning and wanted to put a mud terrian on..cahanged tires and voliah...his all terrians always balanced out and everything just something about them made the truck have the death wobble...and it came over time...
     
  6. Jason4x4

    Jason4x4 1/2 ton status

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    When mine did it, it was actually just some bad tires, bfg's AT's too, I had low tread, and when I got new ones, it never happened again, make sure to check u-bolts, and spring bushings, where are you at, maybe I can come look, and give another opinion. sometimes when you keep looking at the same thing over and over, you tend to overlook things.
     
  7. twoslo4five0

    twoslo4five0 3/4 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    there must be something up with bfg at's..i dunno...did yours balance out??
     
  8. Jason4x4

    Jason4x4 1/2 ton status

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    yea they were balanced, but they were old, and didn't have a lot of tread left on them, but they should've lasted longer.
     
  9. 4x4Suburban

    4x4Suburban Registered Member

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    The tires are Wally World Specials, about a year and a half old (65% tread left). The problem seems to dwindle off when I change something (IE, the Ball Joints took 80% of the Wobble out), but then it creeps back up...It Wobbles once on the way in to town, then it won't stop wobbling over 45 on the way back...I'm not exactly ready for tires on this yet (Everything I had in savings has gone into the front end on this thing), so if it is tires, it's going to be a while down before I get that fixed.

    I appreciate the offer to come up here and look at it... I live in Black Canyon City, so that might be a bit of a drive for you...So far, I've had a dozen people look this thing over and everyone scratches their head with it. But I'm certainly not against having it looked at again, if you want to take the drive...

    Tomorrow I'm breaking out the hose and degreaser to clean off the undercarriage (old gear box leaked like a faucet and the front engine seal drips a little, so it's a bit grimey...). Maybe some cleaning will help isolate something.

    Thanks!
     
  10. AZ79K5Project

    AZ79K5Project 1/2 ton status

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    Rotate the tires and see what happens. I would suspect you have a belt seperating or other tire defect. As the mass spins, things become unstabilized.

    It looks like you've checked everything else out.
     
  11. 4xcrazy

    4xcrazy 3/4 ton status

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    I know it sounds too simple, and you say everything up front is tight, but double check your lugnuts.

    Possibly wheel bearings as well.

    Did you have the front end jacked up when you say you checked everything for tightness?
     
  12. ssped

    ssped 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I was experiencing issues today and found after lowering the air pressure made a significant differece for me. I also have a tire that is not round. I am going to get her swaped out this week.
     
  13. 4x4Suburban

    4x4Suburban Registered Member

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    It's usually something simple, so I'm going to be under the truck today rechecking my list. Everything has been a process of elimination, including retightening the brake lines to make sure I don't have a pressure loss on one side that's making it pull when I hit the brakes.

    The front driveline is off, but I haven't had a chance to test it yet as it's raining up here and the last thing I need is wobble on a wet road! Maybe later it will dry up.

    If I can't eliminate the problem by tightening nuts and bolts, I'm just going to have to throw some more money under it and replace the TRE's and have it re-aligned when I'm done. Tires will be here in June, when I get my bonus, which may bring back the problem because I'm planning on putting 35X16.50 R18's under it (I think that's the tire size the shop gave me). The shop said they can get them to fit without a lift (not sure if I trust the shop, though, since they told me the front end was fine and it turned out the Ball Joints were crap...). Anyone know how the larger size tires will affect the suspension?

    Thanks!
     
  14. YZEATER

    YZEATER 1/2 ton status

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    u-bolts tight?
     
  15. AZ79K5Project

    AZ79K5Project 1/2 ton status

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    Someone jump in - I think 35's will be too tall without a lift. Before throwing money, take a look at the tires for anything obvious. Grab a - hold of the tie rods and check for movement.

    The DW is coming from excessive component movement (bearings, tie rods, ball joints etc), bad tires, or brakes, Take the weight off the front end support the rig the right way and begin moving stuff. Find anything that wiggles or has play. A couple of small things can create significant issues.

    EDIT: Spin the tires and look for out of round or bad mounting. Check to make sure you don't have movement from improperly torqued bearings (excessive play). Do a systematic approach.
     
  16. 4x4Suburban

    4x4Suburban Registered Member

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    Still in process with this, and with the rain today I didn't have much opportunity to check more out...I did get the front driveline off, though, which seemed to reduce the wobble a bit (not as strong, but still bad...). I'm putting it on a lift in the morning at a friends shop to see if I have any other issues (rechecking every single thing I've already checked and marking it on a list I made up...Hopefully some systematic organization will narrow it down.).

    At best, I can definately say it starts the DW from the passenger side (that's where I feel it start). The brakes pull a bit in that direction, even though the system is clean and bled; so maybe something on that side is loose and the additional looseness is causing the brake pull. UBolts are all tight (won't budge with a wrench, so they're fine). Lugnuts are tight and the wheels don't look out of round when I roll them over...

    As far as the tires go, I'm going to get a few more opinions before I commit to anything with this truck...Last thing I need is to cure this wobble, change tire size and find out it's come back! I also don't feel like including ball joints on my annual maintenance list! (That was a major pain in the ...)!

    I'll keep everyone posted...If anyone comes up with anything else to check, please post it here for me...I want to make sure I cover all the bases!

    Thanks!
     

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