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What was the single biggest factor in solving your death wobbles

  • King pin preload adjustment

    Votes: 27 22.1%
  • New panhard rod bushes

    Votes: 45 36.9%
  • Wheel bearing adjustment

    Votes: 15 12.3%
  • Caster bushes

    Votes: 3 2.5%
  • Wheel alignment

    Votes: 14 11.5%
  • Draglink ball joints

    Votes: 5 4.1%
  • Steering box adjustment

    Votes: 2 1.6%
  • Up grade of steering damper

    Votes: 6 4.9%
  • Replacement of shock rubbers and or shocks

    Votes: 4 3.3%
  • Wheel Offset Change

    Votes: 1 0.8%
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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...

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I've got an 88 GQ. Leaf Springs. It's only the old farm ute, so doesn't go far. It would get a wobble sometimes when slowing down from 80k or so, and if you hit the breaks.
The front end was in pretty poor shape, so I rebuilt it. New set of leaves, new shocks, neoprene bushs throughout, new steering damper, new hub kits and bearings, wheel alignment.
It was good for a while, about 6 mths, then started doing it again. Once was that bad it turned the shackle up and bound up. Upon inspection, the new bushes in the springs had crumbled away. I replaced them again, and it has been good ever since.
 

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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 :(
Was the superior arms set with more castor than standard arms with normal offset castor set for say 4 inch lift.
 

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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
Tyrepower roadforce balsnce..belmont or ospark 35 bucks a wheel.definatly better than a chimp balance.
 

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2005 GU IV Patrol
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171 Posts
So i have this slight steering vibration, definetly not the death wobbles and I'm really trying to go down the route of not throwing money at it. Let me describe my symptoms and maybe someone can point me in the right direction. I have done the following, all of which have not helped (I've done this stuff because it was due and worn out, not chasing the wobble).
1. Shocks front and rear
2. Steering dampner
3. Track rod
4. Adjustable drag link
5. Wheel alignment
6. All new tyres/balances
7. Tightened wheel bearings (still looking if I did this correctly, whats the factory manual procedure) ?

I have not as yet had a proper inspection of any bushes, just haven't had the time to take a look, but would be supprised as the vehicles is only at 166,000KMs to be a bushing issue (2005 nissan patrol)

My steering wheel vibration is light and would not describe it as violent or what people refer to as the death wobbles. It usually happens around 85-95KPH. However it is intermittent, it does not always happen. It seems to happen more when the road is turning slightly left at speed and if put the wheel back to center quickly it stops, taking fast right turns seems to shake less, different road surfaces also affect it, usually smooth roads being worse, go figure. What I find interesting is that I get it the worst when I haven't driven the car for a couple of days, no idea why this makes it worse, but definetly it seems like there is more of a chance of happening if the vehicle has been sitting.

Wheel alignment was done by fulcrum so I trust there setup and front toe was set to 0.6 for front left and right.

The steering does feel very loose and I saw some suggestions about tightening the steering wheel box, any instructions on how to do this ?

Any other advice I would appreciate, I'm not going to tackle this problem by randomly throwing parts at it, not at this stage anyway.

Cheers,
Aleks
 

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Y2KGUII ZD Wgn
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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
So i have this slight steering vibration, definetly not the death wobbles and I'm really trying to go down the route of not throwing money at it. Let me describe my symptoms and maybe someone can point me in the right direction. I have done the following, all of which have not helped (I've done this stuff because it was due and worn out, not chasing the wobble).
1. Shocks front and rear
2. Steering dampner
3. Track rod
4. Adjustable drag link
5. Wheel alignment
6. All new tyres/balances
7. Tightened wheel bearings (still looking if I did this correctly, whats the factory manual procedure) ?

I have not as yet had a proper inspection of any bushes, just haven't had the time to take a look, but would be supprised as the vehicles is only at 166,000KMs to be a bushing issue (2005 nissan patrol)

My steering wheel vibration is light and would not describe it as violent or what people refer to as the death wobbles. It usually happens around 85-95KPH. However it is intermittent, it does not always happen. It seems to happen more when the road is turning slightly left at speed and if put the wheel back to center quickly it stops, taking fast right turns seems to shake less, different road surfaces also affect it, usually smooth roads being worse, go figure. What I find interesting is that I get it the worst when I haven't driven the car for a couple of days, no idea why this makes it worse, but definetly it seems like there is more of a chance of happening if the vehicle has been sitting.

Wheel alignment was done by fulcrum so I trust there setup and front toe was set to 0.6 for front left and right.

The steering does feel very loose and I saw some suggestions about tightening the steering wheel box, any instructions on how to do this ?

Any other advice I would appreciate, I'm not going to tackle this problem by randomly throwing parts at it, not at this stage anyway.

Cheers,
Aleks
What was caster? Download the manual via the link in my signature for full detail of bearing and pin adjustment.
 

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Y2KGUII ZD Wgn
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Discussion Starter · #109 ·
I'll upload the cster when i get home.

I downloaded your manual a while ago i tried looking for the wheek bearing part but couldnt find the section, where is it located ?
It is in there, just need to go through and check each section, take notes of each heading to make it easoer next time your looking for a section.
 

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Y2KGUII ZD Wgn
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Discussion Starter · #111 ·
Will have more of a look throught the books.

Caster left 3.94
Caster Right 3.61

Can caster even be adjusted, I thought you could only do toe ?

Cheers
Caster looks OK, from those numbers I can only assume you don't have a lift? No caster cannot be simply adjusted, offset bushes can be fited to give more caster or things like drop boxes or special arms, the last 2 being the most expensive options. But as said yours looks OK.
 

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2005 GU IV Patrol
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Caster looks OK, from those numbers I can only assume you don't have a lift? No caster cannot be simply adjusted, offset bushes can be fited to give more caster or things like drop boxes or special arms, the last 2 being the most expensive options. But as said yours looks OK.
Thanks for confirming, no not lifted, I assumed it would be fine as my vehicle is stock and you can't adjust it. I just feel like its something to do with the steering, because the vibration is only in the steering wheel, it's not felt anywhere else in the body.
 

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Y2KGUII ZD Wgn
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Discussion Starter · #113 ·
Check steering connections to box and pitman arm. Also panhard bushes can feel fine until loaded.
 

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Check steering connections to box and pitman arm. Also panhard bushes can feel fine until loaded.
Will do. What's the best way to check the panhard bushes ?

I tried wobbling the steering left and right quickly while stationary and it feels very loose and there is a sligh clunk, not sure if it's normal. I've never had a 4x4 before so it's hard for me to say how much loosness in a steering wheel is normal as all my other cars have been tight steering sport cars.
 

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Y2KGUII ZD Wgn
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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
Will do. What's the best way to check the panhard bushes ?

I tried wobbling the steering left and right quickly while stationary and it feels very loose and there is a sligh clunk, not sure if it's normal. I've never had a 4x4 before so it's hard for me to say how much loosness in a steering wheel is normal as all my other cars have been tight steering sport cars.
Lets check top part of steering first. With engine off how much freeplay is in the steering without wheels moving?
 

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2005 GU IV Patrol
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I've been under the car quickly today and this is what I found. The front radius arm bushes seem to have cracked around the bolt part:
Camera accessory Material property Automotive tire Gas Cylinder

So where I have marked it red you can definetly see it seperating and cracking all around there, but testing with a pry bar they still feel pretty tight.

The panhard arm bushes look ok to although i think its hard to diagnose them without taking the arm off, but they do feel tight.

The steering wheel freeplay is about 60mm so way above the manual stated 35mm or less (Thank you geeyoutoo for the manual). So I'll start with adjusting the steering wheel freeplay as that's free :D and see how we go from there. The steering has always felt a little too loose to me as in it kind of feels dangerous at high speeds so adjusting the steering box may fix several issues for me. Will advise if the steering box adjustment fixes my issue which is intermittent wheel shimney around 90kph.
 

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Y2KGUII ZD Wgn
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Discussion Starter · #118 ·
I've been under the car quickly today and this is what I found. The front radius arm bushes seem to have cracked around the bolt part:
View attachment 541871
So where I have marked it red you can definetly see it seperating and cracking all around there, but testing with a pry bar they still feel pretty tight.

The panhard arm bushes look ok to although i think its hard to diagnose them without taking the arm off, but they do feel tight.

The steering wheel freeplay is about 60mm so way above the manual stated 35mm or less (Thank you geeyoutoo for the manual). So I'll start with adjusting the steering wheel freeplay as that's free :D and see how we go from there. The steering has always felt a little too loose to me as in it kind of feels dangerous at high speeds so adjusting the steering box may fix several issues for me. Will advise if the steering box adjustment fixes my issue which is intermittent wheel shimney around 90kph.
Cool, I would replace those bushes, only do one thing at a time otherwise you won't know what fixed it. my old DI has around 25mm freeplay from centre so yours is right up there.
 

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Cool, I would replace those bushes, only do one thing at a time otherwise you won't know what fixed it. my old DI has around 25mm freeplay from centre so yours is right up there.
I will get to them when the workshop is sorted, in the process of being built, don't have a press yet as well.

I measured total free play not just from centre. It's probably more like 40mm to left and 20mm to the right from center. I moved the wheel to the left until it starts to move the wheel and then measured all the way to the right until again it starts to the move the wheels.
 

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I adjusted my steering box definetly much tigheter now, play is now between 20-25mm. I turned the adjustment screw just a little and it wouldnt budge anymore, so I'm not sure if it will get loose over time again and you can adjust it or if this might be the vehicles final adjustment and next time will need a new steering box.

I took the car for a quick drive, couldn't really notice a lot of difference, very little shimmy around 70KPH but my issue is intermittent. Vehicle is definetly better to drive with the tigheter steering. Will update when I've had it for a couple of drives if its fixed/reduced the shimmy.
 
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