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Death Wobble with just minor lift?


NAXJA Forum User
I have a 99 XJ and last fall I put on the Rough Country 1.5" lift (I think the shocks are crap in this kit, btw). All the kit consists of is a Poly spring spacer for the front and shackles in the rear. I am still running the 235/70/15 street tires. Aside from the rough ride over bumps (feels like every crack in the road is felt in the unibody), there as been on issues with the truck.

Last night, while in a hurry (est 75-80mph) I was going around a bend and went over a bump in the road. The entire front end started the wobble. Slow down, and everything stopped.

Could this be associated with the 1.5" of lift? I know a new stabilizer could be added, but this would be a band-aid.
I would replace the track bar. Chrysler's stock track bar are crap on all there trucks that use them. Also I would check out the front end, tie rod ends upper and lower drag links, and posiable your streeing shock to. And double check all your bolts you had to undo to install your kit!
If you didn't relocate the trackbar mount on the axle end then your axle has shifted towards the passenger side. That will cause all kinds of driveability problems.
I did nothing with the track bar. The lift didn't say anything about that. Infact, I went with the 1.5" because I felt I wouldn't have any issues like this to deal with. This is my wife's daily driver, and I pushed the issue just getting 1.5's on it.
Check your control arm bushings. Mine was caused before by an upper control arm bushing on the drivers side that was shot. If you notice any popping or banging over bumps coming from underneath your feet over bumps that's what went out.
In the picture below which is the component that we commonly refer to as the track bar and which is the control arm?

Track Bar = Tir Rod?
Control Arm = Drag Link?

QuillsXJ, there has ALWAYS been banging under my feet with every crack/bump/change in pavement. So maybe this is all due to shot contol arm bushings.

I would love to quiet the ride down and soften the harshness of the ride. But I just can't have the death wobble happen to my wife. In fact, I haven't told her about it, because she would be afraid to drive it. And seeing that she doesn't go over 65mph, I doubt she will experience it at 80mph like I did.
In the picture below which is the component that we commonly refer to as the track bar and which is the control arm?

Track Bar = Tir Rod?
Control Arm = Drag Link?


Neither are shown in that pic.
While the vehicle is running and in park, have someone turn the steering from lock to lock while you look at all the front end componets for movement. You should be able to spot most movement like this. If you cannot see anything go over all the attachment hardware and make sure they are tight. My guess is your Tracbar is worn or loose!
I had DW on a stock XJ, did research on the net, found this forum, and replaced the steering damper. That was 4 years ago and that rig has not had another issue with DW. That rig, and two others (all lifted differently), now sit in front of my house DW free.
No doubt the dampener will help. But I am looking for an excuse to replace the control arm bushings due to the rough ride. Poly lift spacer and new shocks didn't cure the harsh ride.
I went back and read through your entire post. I missed the part about the stabilizer being a band-aid. I have heard as many opinions of the cause for DW as there are parts in the front suspension. Worn parts would be what I'd focus on, then I'd look at supension geometry and castor angle.

I was just giving you my account and was not suggesting you change your damper. Good luck with your solution and keep us informed of what worked. In retrospect, I may have gotten lucky.
OH, I will be upgrading the damper/stabilizer. I did it on my Ram 1500 and love the results. In addition, I will be replacing the control arm bushings and extend the track bar a little bit.

Now, if I can just figure out an easy way to do the bushings without having to buy and install a bench vise.
dont rull out the stabilizer...

at stock height, i knew mine was shot. hitting a bump dead on never yeilded any problems, but while turning, it was deadly. at speeds anywhere from 30-80 hitting a bump while turning would send me into a death wobble. as soon as it was replaced, i could take all the same turns/bumps with no consiquences.

not saying it couldnt be caused by anything else though.
If you get death wobble at all, there is something wrong besides just a worn steering stabilizer.

The XJ doesn't even need a steering stabilizer. I have been running without one for some time. As long as your steering/control arm/track bar components are not worn, you won't have any problems.

When I installed my first lift and still had a stabilizer, I got DW that was repaired by a new steering stabilizer. If you don't feel like replacing a bunch of components to fix DW the expensive way and a new stabilizer fixes your issue, then go for it.

Just keep in mind that your XJ is at least 9 years old and some of the other stuff could probably be looked at too (ball joints, tires, alignment, TREs, etc.) Good luck and I hope it works out.