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What was the single biggest factor in solving your death wobbles

  • King pin preload adjustment

    Votes: 26 28.6%
  • New panhard rod bushes

    Votes: 30 33.0%
  • Wheel bearing adjustment

    Votes: 10 11.0%
  • Caster bushes

    Votes: 1 1.1%
  • Wheel alignment

    Votes: 9 9.9%
  • Draglink ball joints

    Votes: 5 5.5%
  • Steering box adjustment

    Votes: 2 2.2%
  • Up grade of steering damper

    Votes: 4 4.4%
  • Replacement of shock rubbers and or shocks

    Votes: 3 3.3%
  • Wheel Offset Change

    Votes: 1 1.1%

  • Total voters
    91
1 - 20 of 90 Posts

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GUII ZD30DI Wgn
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Discussion Starter #1
What was the biggest single contributing factor in solving your DEATH WOBBLES???
 

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I have replace everything several times over in the front end of mine, but the lower panhard bush made the most immediately noticeable difference. Fixing the caster correction with Superior arms made a big difference as well, everything else wheel bearings, king pin bearings, tie rod ends and other bushes all just contribute to the front steering and suspension being loose but I do not think are the key cause or solution.

There is also the other big contributing factor of wheels and poor wheel balance, this is what kicks off the wobble, even before you ever start to feel it, it is beginning from wear on components.

I had tried two different sets of steel wheels, one set of 35" mud tyres and 33" aggressive ATs all of which were hard to get balanced well. I have now gone back to alloys and 33"ATs and I'm fussy about getting the balance right. I believe that the combined forces of larger tyres, wider offset wheels, out of balance and travelling long distances shaking the hell out of the front suspension is the major contributor to loosening up every part of the suspension and steering. But the root cause of the wobbles is the suspension geometry being a fine compromise between: lift/articulation and still wanting nice road manners all from the old fashioned solid axle, three link system.

Nissan have it well set up for standard height, standard wheels and tyres. I noticed how thin and light weight the factory tyres and wheels are now, even compared to the alloys and tyres that came out on the series III GU, the series IV and newer 17" alloys are very light, the 275/65x17 tyres are really light and balance well. They have made it much better for the road or should say street.

PS: woohoo, the poll says that 100% of the voters agree with me :D
Scrap that, some other cheeky bugger just voted for wheel bearings :(
 

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The Member Formerly Known as Lusty Dusty
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I know it's older tech, but the MK suffered vicious wobbles at around 80kph.
New wheel bearings and dumping the old 750x16's helped reduce the frequency. Still get them on occasion, but not as nasty. Oddly, still get a little shimmy at 80kph though. The car is in the process of being rebuilt [after 30 years, she is overdue for it]......lol, so all the steering components will get looked at.
 

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Master Coalroller
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Never had them in mine.
Sis'in'law's Pinky is a '92 and the swivel hub bearings were shot, wheel-bearings cactus, 2degree castor correction with a standard spring height, and half worn tyres all scalloped and out of balance were the main solve. Still pulls left with a positive camber issue on the LHS ATM.

Everyone should just get an '88 :cool:
 

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The Googlest, Apparently!
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Further from posts in other threads here is a breakdown of what I have been through to fix, or nearly fix, the issue on my 3 patrols.

First was my 2001 DX 4.2:
Tightened wheel bearings, this helped, then replace panhard. Still had some wobble, but very minor, so replaced or re-built everything but the shocks. However, this was my first attempt at curing this issue and never thought about the shocks being an issue. Probably was the culprit.

2006 ST 6.5 Chev:
Was bought at a 3lt grenade and handed over to Brunswick for the turbo'ed 6.5 Chev. As part of the conversion a new suspension with 2in lift was done, along with this came and new adjustable drag link. Vehicle still had slight wobble at 80kph.

Fitted new bearings, no change, rebuilt swivel hub with no change. Never did the panhard before I sold it, so this was the likely culprit.

2009 Ti 3lt.
117,000km on the clock when bought. Wobbles at 80-90kph. New wheel bearings, no change, new adjustable panhard gave much improvement but still had some wobble but had increased to 100-110kph.

Fitted adjustable drag link and tie rod. Almost there, but still getting some wobble when I hit a bump, would stop with slight turn of steering wheel or when going around a corner.

As I will be doing a Duramax conversion I got a GVM upgrade, new shocks and springs all around.

Vehicle is rock solid to 135kph (ok, ok, I was going down hill with a tail wind ...)

To me the preference, and in order as most likely the issue is as follows.

1. Get a good balance, preferably on vehicle, if not then the balance machine must have a finger plate.

2. Wheel bearings, make sure they are tight.

3. Panhard Bushings.

4. Swivel Hub rebuild (remove shims first as a check, wobble goes with no shims then it needs new bearings).

5. Replace drag link / tie rod ends.

6. Shock bushings, or new shocks if had some punishment.

7. Steering box over hall.

Patrols are very susceptible to wobble, so the first order is to ensure you have a good wheel balance and make sure there is no mud or crud build up on the inside. It may be as simple as that, especially if your vehicle has done nothing hard, tires wear, when they wear the can go out of balance.

From my perspective, wheel bearings are also up there as a major. Pre-load (aka starting force) is stated as 4.3ft-lbs, some make the mistake that this is the load on the bearing as applied to the lock nut. It is not, it is the resistance of the whole hub to any rotation.

The actual bearing pre-load is 43ft-lbs as applied via the bearing lock nut tool.

Shocks.
I have a good mate, he is a landcrab man, but none the less he knows a lot on vehicles, suspension, mechanics, electronics and off road. His house looks like a landcrab wreckers yard lol.

He was saying that even with the most expensive shocks the rubber bushings take a beating off road and his opinion was that if you're a full time bush basher you are doing well to get 20,000 kms out of them (the bushings) before they need replacing.

Anyway, that's my 2 bobs worth.
 

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Anyone with an '88-'89 have the death wobbles?
They didn't go fast enough to wobble or were so noisy rattly that you just did not notice.

But, on a serious note, I have to wonder if there was a steering and alignment difference in the older trucks that made them less prone to wobbles, more caster? Did the Nissan attempts to improve road manners for a new standard height vehicle making components lighter, lighter wheels and tyres did they compromise the system so it is more prone when the vehicle is lifted or has bigger tyres?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You need wheel balance in that list.
That's the big one making a difference for me.
All the other things made only slight improvements.
Wheel balance should be the very first port of call for any wheel wobble, that is why I didn't include it, this is more about the harder 'death wobbles'.
 

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I have a 89 gq. 3 inch lift and 35 km2 and absolutely no wobble! I do agree that Some causes must be a balance issue as when I put the pedes on they wobble at speed and you can't rely balance them!
 

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Master Coalroller
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'88-'89:
Faster steering box ratio
Tighter lock angle
Shorter pitman arm
Stabiliser to LHS chassis not panhard

That last point has some credence with handling I reckon...
 

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91 TD42 with a 2" lift. Has had all sorts of shimmys and shakes that gave been improved/worsened though wheel balances, new bearings, rod ends, etc over the years.

DEATH WOBBLE - an entirely different thing. How I've generally seen this described (and how I've experienced it) is when something like a bump in the road or reaching a certain speed triggers a big amplitude 'wobble' through the front end. Literally the steering wheel almost flies out of your hand and it feels like the front suspension is ripping itself apart. First time it happened I thought a wheel bearing had let go or something. Impossible to drive with and you have to immediately slow right down to make it stop. Your passengers will want to get out and hitch hike home.
In my case, replacing the panhard bushes fixed it immediately (thank god). I have heard of this as the most common death wobble fix. The old bushes only had the tiniest amount of play but sure enough that was the problem.

I feel like some of the wobbles people are talking about here aren't the actual dreaded "death wobble" which, as the name implies, feels like your front diff has come adrift and your about to die. Big difference...

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
 

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GUII ZD30DI Wgn
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Discussion Starter #13
91 TD42 with a 2" lift. Has had all sorts of shimmys and shakes that gave been improved/worsened though wheel balances, new bearings, rod ends, etc over the years.

DEATH WOBBLE - an entirely different thing. How I've generally seen this described (and how I've experienced it) is when something like a bump in the road or reaching a certain speed triggers a big amplitude 'wobble' through the front end. Literally the steering wheel almost flies out of your hand and it feels like the front suspension is ripping itself apart. First time it happened I thought a wheel bearing had let go or something. Impossible to drive with and you have to immediately slow right down to make it stop. Your passengers will want to get out and hitch hike home.
In my case, replacing the panhard bushes fixed it immediately (thank god). I have heard of this as the most common death wobble fix. The old bushes only had the tiniest amount of play but sure enough that was the problem.

I feel like some of the wobbles people are talking about here aren't the actual dreaded "death wobble" which, as the name implies, feels like your front diff has come adrift and your about to die. Big difference...

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
Agree, this is not about shimmy where a wheel balance usually fix's it, this is about the more serious side of 'Death Wobbles' as named.
 

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The Googlest, Apparently!
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Agree on wobbles.

The other is classed as 'shimmy', as Gee mentioned.

But there are degrees of wobble, from extremely violent through to the more benign where you can keep driving, and certain repairs can, and will, reduce it as you progress through them.

The extreme is caused when something is completely flogged out.

After a good wheel balance, and if your bearings are good, then the most common fix is panhard.
 

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The Googlest, Apparently!
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On any vehicle I have bought there are certain things I do, right off the bat.

And a wheel balance and alignment is the very first thing.

Most of all because tires are expensive and it will not take long to chew them out.

A certain person, who is a member here (though never contributes) did nothing and within 6 weeks of buying himself a second hand car needed new tires as he had scrubbed the edge off them.

Then comes:
New bearings.
Inspect steering linkage and suspension.

The above two is a prime concern, however, it is difficult sometimes to spot an issue when something is only very slightly worn. I would never have thought the shock bushings would cause anything till they were flogged out, but they made a huge difference on my current patrol.

You live and learn...

Then comes:

Change all oils.
Grease everything.
New brake pads, inspect rotors, skim if required.
Inspect coolant, brake and steering fluids, change if even slightly sus.
 

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I'm going through this atm and trying to sort it out is doing me head in. Anyone know where to get a decent dynamic (inner and outer) balance in perth? May have to rebuild 1 x shock, have just replaced panhard bushes. Adjusted wheel bearings. Will sort it but in the meantime... painful
 

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The Googlest, Apparently!
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Unfortunately, not in Perth at this time.

I use Mathew at Peel Tyres in Mandurah now.

He does truck and light truck stuff as well as passenger, and so has the right equipment.

So I would be looking for someone like that in your area. The chain store tyre shops should be avoided.

With the exception of Beaurepaires, you can go to one of their commercial centres in either Kewdale or Canning Vale, they do a lot of fleet, light truck, semi work in those areas.

I also used these blokes once, lost a few weights when up in the hills around Kalamunda and the vibration was really bad, was recommended to use them and they did a good job.

Drive Straight for Wheel Alignments Suspension Brakes for all Trucks Trailers Buses 4WD

They are in Welshpool, but it was some time ago.
 
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