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Old 03-07-2009, 04:42 PM
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Steering Wobble

I have a 03 F-250 7.3L 4x2. I have been experiencing what has been termed the "death wobble". When I first experienced the wobble, I was accelerating and at about 25 mph,I hit a small bump in the road... my steering wheel started oscillating +/- 5 degrees back and forth. i had to slow down to about 10 mph to get it to stop. I took it to a local shop and they said it was the brakes, so they replaced the brakes, rotors and calipers. The wobble still occurred after this, usually when traveling 40+ mph and hitting a bump/hole with the left front tire. I then took it back to the shop and they said it was the tie rod, so they replaced that. When I got it back, I got the same issues. When I called the shop to speak with the owner, he said it test drove fine to him. He then said he did notice the tires have about 5k left on the them and the front shocks need to be replaced. This went back and forth for about a month and $2k later.

This all occured about 5 months ago... and since then, the wobble is getting worse. It occurs from 35+ mph with a combination of a pebble in the road, and it takes either braking hard or a swift tug to the right (sometimes 2 or 3) to stop the wobble. It seems to be worse when I have a load in the bed or pulling a trailer.

Anyone have an ideas what I need to look at and how to go about it? I am tired of paying "morons" at the local shops for their so called "expertise".

Thanks is advance!
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:50 PM
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First find a different shop!!! Have you checked the BJ's?

NCH
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:55 PM
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I agree... that is why I closed my account with the local dealer and the shop I was going to. The current shop owner is the son of the original. Why is it that when the kid takes over, the shops go down hill?

As for the bj's, i jacked the truck up and with assistance, checked for play in the steering and suspension. Everything seemed tight, but I am no expert. Is there a way to check the bj's without taking them apart? What do I look for?

Last edited by mhazelton; 03-07-2009 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:04 PM
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Have the alignment checked by a shop that does alot of big trucks. I could only find one shop around my house that could ever do mine right.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:47 AM
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to check the BJ's jack the tire off the ground by the axle, take a 2x4 or other large pry bar under the tire and try and raise the tire straight up and down, if you see movement in the joints they are bad. You then take the tire at 3 and 9 o'clock and pull and push, if there is any play here or in and out you have bad wheel bearings. Are you running a steering stabilizer? Is it in good shape, pull it off and compress it and see how fast it returns open.

NCH
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:23 PM
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x2 on the stabilizer, if you got one replace it, if you dont install one.
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:47 PM
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I have never really heard of this being a common problem on the SD's, but my wife drives a Cherokee and I think they come from the factory with death wobble and get worse from there....

That being said, the MOST common thing on the Cherokee's is a bad track bar...although our's don't have the same type of joint on the end. A combination of relatively minor problems can all accumulate to create death wobble also. With the tires on the ground, start the truck and have someone wobble the steering back and forth just enough to barely moove the tires. Look/feel (CAREFULLY) at each joint on the steering linkage (tie rods, drag link, pitman arm) also check for excessive play in the track bar (should be no looseness in the steering linkage, but trackbar may flex some due to the rubber in the joint in the end.) Next jack up the front end and grab the tire at the top and bottom and try and rock it back and forth (push on the top and pull on the bottom and then switch back and forth) while doing this have someone look/feel the ball joints for any play, there shouldn't be any. Do the same thing side to side...if steering linkage was tight in previous check, any play should be from the wheel bearings, but you should also be able to feel wheel bearing while checking the ball joints. IF all of that is good, I would recommend checking the steering shaft, gearbox mount, cracks in frame around the steering gearbox, and if EVERYTHING is good, try a steering stabilizer. I would hate to see a stabilizer cover up a more serious problem. I have 37's and notice no difference on road with or without my steering stabilizer. (Off road is another story)

BTW, Knowing mods to your truck might help a bit with some diagnoses of problems. Track bar angles in relation to drag link angle can cause some weird problems with bump steer, wobble, etc. on lifted vehicles too.

Hope this wasn't too complicated, feel free to ask for clarification if it is. I have a hard time translating actions into words.
-Aaron
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Old 03-08-2009, 02:53 PM
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Excellent write-up Aaron.
You don't seem to have any problems Komuunacatin'.

Bill.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:42 PM
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Thanks NCH. I will check tomorrow and post the results.

As for the stabilizer, don't have one. I am planning on installing one, is there any brand in particular you would recommend?

Thanks again.
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