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Death Wobble: Causes And Cures

Track Bar
Sean P. Holman | Writer
Posted November 1, 2012

It Is Sudden, Scary, And Fixable

A controversial and highly debated topic in the 4x4 world is the subject of death wobble. Death wobble is a blanket term that is often used to describe a series of sudden and violent frontend vibrations exhibited by some solid axle suspensions. If you have it, there is no mistaking what it is. Death wobble, if ignored, can lead to serious damage to other components and even loss of vehicle control.

It is important to understand that there is no one problem that causes death wobble, but rather any combination of things, such as tire balance, loose hardware, damaged components, bad alignment, and improper installation of parts. All of these things can conspire together and start a domino effect that could ultimately lead to death wobble. Solving death wobble can be a slow process of elimination. If you experience death wobble, let off the gas and let the vehicle slow on its own until the vibration is gone, then proceed carefully and immediately to a place where the vehicle can be inspected. Even just one death wobble incident, can cause permanent damage to your rig.

Once death wobble is suspected, the first order of business is to rule out the simple things. Look for clues that might tell you something is wrong, such as uneven tire wear or play in the steering wheel. Next, crawl under the front of the rig and check for any obvious loose bolts, fresh rust, and wallowed-out holes, especially on the track bar bracket. Here is a list of components that can lead to death wobble and should be checked.


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