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Dems To Chrysler: Talk To Owners About Jeep Wrangler 'Death Wobble'

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2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

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Two Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have asked Chrysler to address an issue that hundreds of Jeep Wrangler owners have complained about.

The problem is known colloquially as the "Jeep Death Wobble", and according to a report in Detroit News, it's been associated with Wrangler vehicles from the 2005-2010 model years. It tends to appear at speeds above 45 miles per hour, often after the Wrangler has hit some kind of obstruction, like a pothole or bump in the road, which causes the Wrangler to "shimmy". Chrysler has confirmed that at least one death has been linked to the problem.

But while National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 402 complaints about the issue -- including two crashes possibly related to it -- the agency has refused to launch a formal investigation. NHTSA's David Strickland insists that the agency is monitoring the situation, but he also says that the "death wobble" doesn't cause a loss of control for drivers.

Chrysler rep Michael Palese admits that there could be a "wobbling" problem with the Wrangler, but points out that all vehicles with solid axles can experience the same issue. He blames the wobble on improperly installed tires and aftermarket equipment.

Now, two elected officials have formally asked Chrysler to talk to Jeep Owners about fixing it. Anna Eshoo and Henry Waxman -- both Democrats from California -- sent a letter to Chrysler's Sergio Marchionne earlier this week, encouraging the CEO to launch an outreach campaign. Both complain that Chrysler has failed to give owners consistent guidance about fixing the problem.

So far, Marchionne has not formally responded to the Representatives' letter.

Do you drive a Jeep Wrangler? If so, have you experienced the "Death Wobble"? Has it gotten worse over time (as many complaints allege)? And what, if anything, have you done to fix it? Share your tips with us via email or in the comments below.

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Comments (25)
  1. He is right. I had plenty of these cases. Old tires and loose tie rod ends can be part of the steering resonance problem. Unfortunately, new young engineers don't have the experience to anticipate that solid-axle phenomenom.

    Chrysler rep Michael Palese admits that there could be a "wobbling" problem with the Wrangler, but points out that all vehicles with solid axles can experience the same issue. He blames the wobble on improperly installed tires and aftermarket equipment.[replacement tires and/or tie rod ends.]
     
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  2. I have a Wrangler, I've had death wobble before. I installed a heavy duty steering stabilizer and it's never happened again since. Not really a big deal and I have no clue why the house of representatives is sticking their nose into this.
     
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  3. 97 TJ at 55. Either have to drop it into 4th and get up to 60+ or come to a complete stop. Such a hassle..
     
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  4. Leave to the politicians to ruin it for everyone. The "Death Wobble" is well documented in Wrangler owner circles and it is pretty well understood to be caused in most cases by owner modifications --e.g., wheel spacers improperly torqued, extreme suspension lifts, improperly mounted oversize tires, etc.

    Part of the success of the Jeep Wrangler over the years is how easily it can be modified. Now we have politicians trying to regulate this too. If they succeed, another icon will bite the dust
     
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  5. Well documented. Not just Wranglers. I had it on a Cherokee XJ. Replacing the track bar solved it. It's a solid axle thing. Politicians don't understand it. Butt out.
     
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  6. The Democraps should stick to what they know best, destroying the Country and killing unborn babies!
     
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  7. And the republicans should do what? The GOP is controlled by the right wingers and Tea Partiers (The right wingers want to legislate morality so they can tell those of us who disagee with them how we should live and the Tea Partiers have a "My way or else mentality and refuse to compromise). All the problems facing this country aren't/isn't the fault of the democrats as the GOP has had a hand (many hands) in helping the U.S. get in the mess it's currently in. Plenty of blame to go around!
     
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  8. I see that intelligent thoughtful commenting is not required at TCC. Your narrow minded and hateful comment gives us all a glimpse into your character. That has always been the problem with these types of open systems trolls and other persons of low integrity can spew ignorant hate at will.
     
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  9. Just to clarify, folks: the pols weren't asking the *NHTSA* to launch an investigation of the matter. They were asking *Chrysler* to educate owners about the problem and suggest possible remedies. Some of you already know about the issue and how to fix it, but many drivers don't.
     
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  10. Jeeps take tremendous abuse and are often modified by owners. I doubt under normal and even extreme normal conditions Jeeps would exhibit a death wobble. Wish these representatives would worry more about out of control taxes and spending and less about out of control claims by a handfull of people. BOGUS!!
     
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  11. All due respect, Bill, NHTSA has received at least 402 complaints about this. So at least a few hundred Wranglers are exhibiting the "death wobble".
     
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  12. Mr. Burke: You are "dead wrong". I own a 2009 Wrangler, I've made NO modifications, I've performed "NO Extreme Abuse", or any activity, that could be construed as "abuse". The wrangler is a 4-wheel drive vehicle. I bought it because I expected to do "some off road" driving.
    I have done that, because it is an off-road vehicle. I have experienced "the wobble". I just paid, on January 6, 2014, $100.00+ to have the problem fixed, at a certified Chrysler dealer. Guess what, the problem re-appeared today, January 9, 2014. Rest assured, I'll get to the bottom of this. Chrysler owes me. They didn't tell me that this could happen, when I bought the Wrangler in 2009.
     
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  13. 2007 JK Unlimited here....no death wobble until I jack it up and put 37in tires on it. quickly and cheaply resolved by dual stearing stablizers. not sure if you can install without a lift kit due to clearence of the stablizer....if it happens before any mods then Jeep should say soemthing...its on the Modified jeep community to call this one out in my opinion.
     
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  14. Well, I have an '09 Rubicon. No "death wobble" yet....
     
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  15. What about the cracked windshield?
    I've seen so many last generation Wrangles with a cracked windshield that I start to wonder if it is not caused by the vehicle torsion movement and may be a safety issue.
    Isn't this related?
     
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  16. I am a Chrysler parts professional. The death wobble issue was resolved by Chrysler nearly 3 years ago. Because of the solid axle and lifts and big tires all this telegraphs directly from the ground to the steering wheel. TSB# 002-003-10 Rev A dated October 2010 corrects the problem. It involves replacing the steering dampner and dampner bracket with new hardware. I am in Colorado and of the hundreds of repairs that we did NONE have returned with the same problem. Come to the source instead of forums and get real engineered fixes. For those idiots who condemn the Dem politicans they are doing what the republiCONs dont work for the people. They are the ones that saved Chrysler and GM.
     
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  17. Not likly mine was fixed in La and had to get it fixed a second time
     
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  18. Will they pay for the repair??
    Why not. My stock 2006 wrangler has had this problem, causing my young daughter to almost wreck.This vehicle only has 48k miles on it. Chrysler should pay for the solution for the sake of the reputation of the vehicle... although I do agree the government(both partys) should stay out at this point.
     
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  19. I have a 2008 Wrangler with no modifications or change of tires and I have experienced the wobbling many times going over a bump and it is easy to lose control which is frighting.
     
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  20. We have a 1996 and a 1998 Grand Cherokee and both of them have had the "death wobble". In both vehicles the STEERING DAMPENER just needed to be replaced. They seem to go after about 60K miles.

    It is a simple $60-90 replacement job including parts and labor. If you bring it to the dealer they will claim that it's because you didn't use OEM tires or some other BS. Trust me it is just the steering dampener.
     
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  21. I have an 04 Wrangler X that I bought in 06 from a Jeep Dealership. Ive had the problems since I bought this vehicle. In the past 6 years, Ive replaced 2 track bars, steering stabilizer, countless alignements, countless wheel balancings, new shocks, and 3 brand new sets of tires. I am exhausted at trying to find the problem to this very dangerous and violent shaking of my jeep. SOMEONE HELP! WHY wont Chrysler help????
     
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  22. I am sorry but I bought a brand new 2007 Jeep Wrangler X Unlimited in 2007, 2 wheel drive, no mods on it, and a week later going down the road at 70mph I hit a bump and it wobbled until I stoped. I took the jeep to a dealer they said nothing could be done to fix it. After taking it back a bunch of times they replace the stablizer on it which was installed upsidedown from the factory. That was what I was told about it anyway. Will I buy another one yes now that I know what it was. I have had to replace the stablizer again this year due to it leaking. But the first time it did it I had to go change my shorts........
     
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  23. I own a jeep wrangler 2009 that has a death wobble. it began when the vehichle was fairly new about 50,000 miles. The dealership and head mechanic have not thoroughly investigated or offered a solution, they tend to ignore my complaints. At one point a bushing was replaced which helped for approximately 3 months. I am so frustrated with this and would just like to be able to drive a safe car.
     
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  24. My stock 2006 wrangler has had this problem, causing my young daughter to almost wreck.This vehicle only has 48k miles on it. Chrysler should pay for the solution for the sake of the reputation of the vehicle... although I do agree the government should stay out at this point.
     
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  25. I have a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee, that has the death wobble, I am an older woman that is scared to death to drive and cannot in good conscience see it to someone else. Has Jeep ever done anything constructive to help people with this issue?
     
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