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Death wobbles revisited (AND THE FIX)

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Eric M., Aug 19, 2003.

  1. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    For the first time after 4 GM 4x4s, I am experiencing death wobbles (steering wheel shaking from left to right very violently) at about 35 MPH, with 33" BFGs on a 3/4 ton 10 bolt. I know this topic has been covered many times. I did a search and came up with only 2 posts. What other names does "death wobbles" go by ... I'm sure that isn't the official name.

    Thanks,

    Eric M.


    THE FIX 9/22/03

    So, the axle had new ball joints and tie rods already and I'd cleaned and inspected all the bearings and hubs. I looked for obvious play and installation problems with all the above and found nothing. I decided to replace the draglink. As I was replacing it, I noticed the rubber connector between the steering box and steering shaft was shot, and quite sloppy. I never even test drove the truck after installing the draglink, but instead went ahead and replaced the rubber connector. I took the truck out and guess what ... death wobbles ... still. Although the steering was much tighter and the wobbles were not as violent, I had obviously not corrected the problem, just eliminated some play which accentuated the problem. I then took the advise of one of the below posts and swapped the front tires with the rear. It's been 3 weeks now and not a single wobble. I have no idea what could be wrong with the tires, they work fine on the rear, they are balanced and in good shape with lots of tread. They're BFGs so you know they are well made. Anyways, wanted to post this so others doing a "search" for DW repairs will try swapping the tires before buying a new drag link .... anyone wanna but a draglink!? /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

    Eric M.
     
  2. Shaggy

    Shaggy 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    <font color="green"> "Death wobble" is the most common term, and the fix for D60s was found to be either new kingpin springs or adding a washer on the top of the spring as a spacer to increase the preload on the springs. Also you want to make sure that the caster is in spec, I beleive at 8 degrees. It could be lots of other stuff, but if everything is in good shape as far as steering equiipment then the spacer or caster is where to go next. Of course, hydro assist gets rid of it nicely as well. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif</font>
     
  3. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    Isn't this typically a problem only with kingpin axles like the D60 front?
     
  4. Shaggy

    Shaggy 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    <font color="green"> Yeah, I think that death wobble is usually referring to a 60, but people have complained about it happening on the 10b and 44 also. Obviously it wouldn't be a kingpin problem...

    Have the ball joints and all the TREs and DREs been replaced? Tires balanced? </font>
     
  5. Confedneck

    Confedneck 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    ive heard of death wobbles with all sorts of front ends, dana 30s too, balljoints could be worn to the point of causing it..check out the normal front end stuff that wears out..
     
  6. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    Ball joints and tierods are new. I'm thinking either drag link ends or steering box, although both seem to have no play. Tires are balanced.

    Eric M.
     
  7. cegusman

    cegusman 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    How about the steering stablizer? I had death wobble on my 44, swapped stabilizer and it went away. I notice it comes back with my tires not inflated evenlly.
     
  8. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    Steering stabilzer is new. I'll check the tire pressure.

    Thanks,

    Eric M.
     
  9. wrathORC

    wrathORC 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    Swap the tires to the back. The only time I've had a problem is with tires that wobbled/out of balance/out of round.

    I've run with worn out balljoints, sloppy draglink end near the steering box, and worn out center link ends and never had any wobble. Even when I ran for a year with a steering dampener that did nothing but look pretty.

    I've fixed everything but the draglink end near the steering box and the sloppy steering box. I still don't have a wobble unless I put bad tires on the front.
     
  10. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    I was thinking about swapping the tires front to back but thought that was a crazy idea. Glad to see someone else thinks like me too! I'll give that a try.

    Eric M.
     
  11. FWP

    FWP CRS

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    [ QUOTE ]
    I did a search and came up with only 2 posts. What other names does "death wobbles" go by

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Search for "death wobble" or "DW" here and on pirate. You'll be sick of reading about it after a couple hours /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  12. NightRider

    NightRider 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    I'm having same problem, but w/ a 10 bolt. And it does it rarely, ne other suggestions to try? I'll give my front end stuff a look @ and check my tire pressure.
     
  13. seattlek5

    seattlek5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    I had this too when I rotated tire my tires (front to back, 38SX's) It would shake the whole truck starting at about 30 and would get worse the faster you went. Even got pulled over when it went into a wobble taking off from a stoplight with a cop next to me, scared the crap out him. The front end is completely rebuilt and caster has been adjusted with a 4-degree shim (longer shackles on the front springs) and a new stabilizer installed. Still shook. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif I've spent more time reading death wobble post here and on POR than I want to admit. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif /forums/images/graemlins/1zhelp.gif

    The fix (in most cases): set the toe to 1/16" toe-in, some people run a little toe-out. You may have to play around a little to find what works the best for your rig. Toe-in helps with stability. I was running about 1/4 to 3/8" of toe. This fixed it and with the rear being welded it tracks absolutly straight down the freeway. Hope this helps
     
  14. thebigdaddyof2

    thebigdaddyof2 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    SeattleK5,
    Reading your reply sounds exactly how my D44 used to act. I believe I tried everything I (and everyone else) could think of. Of course, hydro assist is the only reason my truck was driveable.

    I have since installed a D60 with the same hydro assist setup. I can sometimes still "feel" the wobble just want to start @ about 30 mph but is quickly dampened out by the hydro.

    Glad to hear that toe in helped you but I tried at least a dozen different settings with no change. Tires did not matter as well- 40's or 31's!
     
  15. bigblock44k5

    bigblock44k5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    I used to get this problem with my old 86' bronco with the independant dana 44. it would start shaking at around 30, but if i hammered it to 40 and above it would stop. The problem was a cracked frame allowing play in the steering. Which makes sense, if you dont have any play in the steering there should be no reason for the tires to wobble if your holding the wheel straight. Just my opinion. I would have someone move the wheel back and forth and check the entire steering system for play, including the frame for movement.
     
  16. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    See top post for fix.

    Eric M.
     
  17. Confedneck

    Confedneck 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Death wobbles revisited

    i saw death wobble today, from the next lane over..some scary [darn]..one ton crew cab truck, bone stock beater...wish i could get my hands on that thing..
     
  18. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Eric,

    There is a difference between tires that are "balanced" and tires that are "round"....... /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

    My 38.5 Swampers balanced to "0.0 oz" on the machine, but that only means that they are balanced across the tread. They are still "eggshaped" for sure.....

    I don't have full-on death wobble with my current setup, but there's a constant vibe I'm stuggling to cure. Moving tires from corner to corner makes a difference, and the tires I've grooved seemed more smooth.

    Now that I've FINALLY located a place that does "truing" I'm going to get my tires made ROUND once-and-for-all....! Then a re-balance, and we'll see what the final outcome is.... /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif


    I'm hoping for the best.
     
  19. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    Greg,

    That's good to know. I thought balanced ment "balanced" even if tires were out of round. What's confusing is I've always thought BFGs to be one of the better brands out there, and 33" to be pretty small. I'd expect problems like this from a 36" Dick Cepek or Ground Hawg, but not a 33" BFG. I did buy these tires used from a friend. They were off a 2wd, so no damage, but the truck did sit a lot ... maybe they developed a flat spot.


    Eric M.
     
  20. 90blzr

    90blzr 1/2 ton status

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    Where did you find a place to true your tires? How much do they charge?
    Will they do it to used tires, or only new? /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     

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