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Thread: Death wobble on Dodge 2500

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    Death wobble on Dodge 2500

    Troubleshooting an issue for a local guy I know. His truck gets the death wobble sporadically, typically when going around 70 mph on the interstate and hitting just the right bump. I paint marked most of the bolts in the front suspension last night and got it to act up pretty bad this morning driving into work. Looking for any advice or experience on this. The guy had it to a couple different mechanics and of course they can't find anything "wrong".

    2006 Dodge 2500 4x4
    Cummins, front leveling kit (2"?), 315/70R17 BFG AT's on stock wheels
    66,000 miles

    Tires are fairly new and have been balanced and rotated a couple of times recently, but it's obviously not a tire issue. Just had new shocks installed on the front.

    Has NOT had an alignment anytime recently...if I don't find anything obviously loose tonight will take it in to a shop and see what the numbers are. Think this guy bought the truck with the leveling kit already installed and who knows if the alignment was checked and/or adjusted afterwards. It will be interesting to see what the caster is.
    Brad
    '90 Blazer - 6.2 diesel, 700r4, Dana 60, 14 bolt, locked, 39.5" Super Swamper TSLs, winch, rollcage, yada, yada, yada......

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    Brad,

    Obviously, you mentioned caster... Here is what I would check and in what order I would do it:

    1. Caster ( Muy Importante!!! )

    2. Steering gear/ shocks/ steering dampner (I had a buddy with a 3500 Chebby who had changed out his COMPLETE front end AND new tires with no change in DW....I tightened up the steering gear and it was fine)(btw...I know you shouldn't NEED a dampner, but sometimes something is just not quite perfect in your setup and this keeps the DW from happening)

    3. Tie rod's/drag link wore or even loose nuts(don't laugh...A friend had it one time and we got underneath and noticed a loose tie rod nut that had a cotter pin ABOVE the nut that the nut backed off to...no more DW)

    4. Runout on Rotors (In other words, warped rotors...If you can feel the pedal pulse when you apply the brakes...this may be the issue or part of a combination of issues giving you DW)

    5. Bent rim/tire out of balance/tire out of round (check runout to make sure rim is not out of shape from a curb hit, etc....you can usually jack up that corner and spin it by hand and notice if it has even a slight wobble to it)

    Nitpicky...100 to 1 odds , but need checked if none of the above solves the problem ****************

    6. Cracked front brake pads (not likely, but if everything else isn't super tight in the front end and caster is off slightly these can bring on a mild case of it)

    7. Bad set of tires. I have read of one guy on pirate a while back who bought a new set of tires and ended up with DW on the way home, went through a lot of money on the front end, rebalanced tires multiple times, and ultimately went to a different tire and the problem was solved. HIGHLY UNLIKELY....but if you have a buddy where you can swap out rims and tires to go for a quick test ride if all the above doesn't work....you may want to consider this option.

    There is my .02 cents worth.

    Steve
    Steve Stroud
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    I've had my '03 Dodge 2500 truck (same truck, different engine) since March of '08. It has stock tires. It has had 70 psi in the tires 99% of the time sice I bought it because I don't drive it that often. A couple years ago, I dropped the tire pressure to 40-ish psi in all four and drove it to work--basically to see if it rode significantly smoother. With the cruise set at 70 mph on the interstate, I hit a bump on the right side (big pot hole on interstate) and hello Death Wobble. I aired the tires back up to 70 psi later that day and I believe that it did it one more time. Lambert stopped by the house a few days later and noted that the steering stabilizer was leaking. I replaced that (about $20) and it has never done it again.

    Just to note: Last winter I had a set of stock sized P-rated studded snow tires on it, and I only ran them at 40 psi---I believe 44 psi was their max pressure. Anyway, while they were on there, I had no death wobble issues.

    Unless the steering stabilizer is new, I'd replace it first.
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    Looked at it some more yesterday evening at my parent's house (we are in the process of moving so all of my tools are there). However, my dad had decided to go to my nephew's basketball game in Columbus so he wasn't there to move the steering back and forth while I looked at it under the truck, and had locked the shop up and had the extra keys with him.

    Did round up enough tools to add a little bit of positive caster but was able to induce DW on the test drive. Couldn't get to any tire gauges (one locked in the shop and the other in my truck sitting at his guy's house 30 minutes away) to check the air pressure, but the BFG's on this truck are D-rated so a little "softer". They don't LOOK low but would like to play with them.

    Probably see if I can get it in a shop for alignment and see what the numbers are.
    Brad
    '90 Blazer - 6.2 diesel, 700r4, Dana 60, 14 bolt, locked, 39.5" Super Swamper TSLs, winch, rollcage, yada, yada, yada......

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    My guess is a loose track/panhard bar or loose unit bearings. Usually though with the bearings you get the annoying growling sound while at speed.
    -Andy
    Suburbans, K5 Blazers and pickups. And other random junk.

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    Could not see any play in unit bearings. Both lower ball joints have play, pass side the worse. Draglink at steering box has little pop when you grab it. Decided not to bother with alignment until replacing some parts. Will do some other checks on the track bar.
    Brad
    '90 Blazer - 6.2 diesel, 700r4, Dana 60, 14 bolt, locked, 39.5" Super Swamper TSLs, winch, rollcage, yada, yada, yada......

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    Thought I would update this. Had them replace the balljoints and put new bushings in the track bar while they were at it. The guy has driven the truck on a couple of multi-state trips, including one while pulling a trailer, with no issues.
    Brad
    '90 Blazer - 6.2 diesel, 700r4, Dana 60, 14 bolt, locked, 39.5" Super Swamper TSLs, winch, rollcage, yada, yada, yada......

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