Death Wobble: Solved - FYI - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:49 PM
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Death Wobble: Solved - FYI

Just wanted to share my experience for those trolling the google for answers.

I've had a death wobble for a while now. I'll say a while, because if I say how long, I'll get flack! But it started the second I drove away from the tire shop after having them plug a hole in my tire..
I replaced the rotors and pads about 2-3 years ago. Checker/Kragen rotors, Raybestos Ceramic Red label something.. So I rulled out brakes...first thought is usually the right one....I forgot that part initially...
So my next thought was either of these:
Bearings
Ball-joints
or the fact my 40's are getting older, theyre slightly cupped and even when new, the shop couldnt get them balanced, even after sticking $30 worth of weights on each one. So many weights in fact, they hit the caliper (16" rims). Even when I went back after the plug, they tried to balance it again and same problem. So, after rotating them, the problem didnt change. So I ruled out tires.
That left me with ball joints or bearings. Neither of which is a cheap fix. More importantly, I had started to develop other more pressing issues, like a blow hpop, bad ficm, other injectors, etc. So in between break downs, I just held on tight and pressed harder on the brakes untill it stopped. Note: It only did it 75% of the time when braking. Sometimes at low speed, other times at high speed. No real patterns.
Cut forward to yesterday. I'm now a certified (through experience only) hpop ficm...You name it, master 6.0 tech Truck runs perfect so now I decide to make it stop perfect.

Jacked 1 wheel off the ground. Stuck a 1" sq steel tube under the wheel and lifted. From the front of the truck. I can see the BJ's move up and down about 1/16". Same on both sides, top and bottom. My understanding is that these should not move At ALL..? So bad bj's is my death wobble?

Pulled tires off and inspected brakes.
LF- inside pad had a clip with a busted leg on it. The pad looked like it may have popped out of the clip there and was worn more than the outside one. And at a slight angle? Plus, one of the shafts was really tight in the bore. Not frozen, like I've read about. Just real real tight.
RF- Pads looked fine. It did have 1 shaft sticking like the other side did though.

Rotors: Now we're getting somewhere..
LF - First one I inspected. Installed 2 lug nuts to hold the rotor to the hub. And spun it. First off, hub spun smooth. Felt tight. Not sure if that rules of hub axel bearings or not?? But whn the rotor spun, WOW, that was a wavy rotor! About as bad as I would expect one to be able to get..
Untill I saw the RF one! WOW WOW WOW, 3 times worse!!!

So off to get new rotors and pads. Cleaned the junk off the shaftes and from inside the bores. Re-lubed this time with caliper grease, not the bearing grease I used the first time. Take notes here!! Installed new rotors and pads. Same $60 cheapie rotors as before and some new Wagner Thermo Quiet pads. These pads have the shims built into the pad itself? Marketing? FYI: drive 60mi on em' including a romp through the desert, and they have a faint squeek that was there from the first time I hit the brakes.

So after putting it all back together. Death Wobble Destroyed. Yes, my bj's are loose or worn or moving 1/6".. I'm going to replace them. But they weren't the cause of my death wobble. Now, I wont deny, driving on the bad rotors and having death wobble may have very likely caused the bj's to go bad.. But then again, everything goes bad at some point right?

Lesson learned: Sometimes it's the worse case senario and sometimes is the best case senario. The exception or the rule? Sometimes Your hpop is blown, sometimes you're just out of fuel...
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:01 PM
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Great info Gary!!! Glad you fixed it, and really glad you shared it with us.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:46 AM
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Thanks. I just figured it was a story worth sharing. So many threads out there that start with an OP's issue, followed by advise and then no conclusions..
Maybe this will help someone fix their truck or sleep better if nothing else!
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:51 AM
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I know I'm going to sleep better because of it!
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:53 AM
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doing my part. Trying to give back.. lol
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