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Discussion Starter #1
We experienced Death Wobble yesterday after hitting a rough bridge transition at 65 mph towing a 9400 lb. fifth wheel camping trailer. I had to slow to less than 30 mph before it would stop. Luckily I was on a straight section of Interstate and no one hit me in the rear. Truck is stock 2012 F-350 6.7 CCSB SRW except for shocks (Bilstein 5100) and steering stabilizer (Rancho 5415) that I had changed out at 62K miles in an effort to prevent this problem—truck now has 80K miles.
Questions:
1. Being my first experience, all I knew was to brake and get slowed down (instinctive mostly). If there is room to move will a slight turn to the side and back to center break the oscillation?
2. The 4 Wheel Parts store talked me out the Bilstein stabilizer that I wanted saying that it was pressurized, and would pull to the side all the time. They suggested the Rancho 5415. After the work the steering didn’t feel a bit tighter. Is that a junk stabilizer? Should I just go back to a Ford Stabilizer if I put the truck into the Ford shop for work?
3. I’m more inclined to find and fix loose parts than go to a dual stabilizer--good approach?
4. From reading it sounds like the track bar is a likely suspect—thoughts? I do plan on having the whole front end checked out but am un-sure whether to go to Ford or independent. One independent I know will recommend replacing with Moog parts which usually means a grease zerk. Is this better and more likely to last a long time than the Ford parts?
5. I don’t do my own work—anyone know a good suspension/alignment shop in central Indiana?

Len
 

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Oh man. U said death wobble!!!! Some folks on here don?t like that term. Lol

It happens on 4X4s.
I took my truck in a couple of months ago. They put a new steering stabilizer on and it seems better
 

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Oh man. U said death wobble!!!! Some folks on here don?t like that term. Lol

It happens on 4X4s.
I took my truck in a couple of months ago. They put a new steering stabilizer on and it seems better
Has anyone ever died as a result of the "Death Wobble"?

According to Google, it looks like Dodge, Jeep, Ford, Harley....are all prone to the Death Wobble.

Doesn't Motorcraft now sell Ball Joints with zerks?
 

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I run the Bilstein unit with no issues to report with "pulling to the side". Sure the road crown will cause this on any vehicle. I can hit some sections of roadway, let go of the wheel, and it runs straight and true with NO pulling.

I would get an alignment done to see how much castor you have right now. I know they may say it's in spec but it seems the more castor the better.

If you are a good study of geometry I think you can find a solution easier using math plus a dash of physics. Just consider all the angles and influences involved with the front suspension from the arms to the tires contacting the ground.

I wouldn't go to shop until you have exhausted your own efforts to find a solution.
 

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I experienced this same oscillation & thought I needed to replace the steering stabilizer. As it turns out, I had 3 ball joints and a drag link go bad. These parts were replaced along with a new Monroe steering stabilizer & a front end alignment. I was concerned because the truck has only 47,000 miles on the clock, but the shop guy said that these big trucks are hard on front end parts. 'Just my luck.
 

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I experienced this same oscillation & thought I needed to replace the steering stabilizer. As it turns out, I had 3 ball joints and a drag link go bad. These parts were replaced along with a new Monroe steering stabilizer & a front end alignment. I was concerned because the truck has only 47,000 miles on the clock, but the shop guy said that these big trucks are hard on front end parts. 'Just my luck.
it's been beat to death on all the forums, a new stabilizer only dampens the problem, piviot points wearing out are the issue, the most expensive "fix" is to upgrade, like my 97 should upgrade to superduty grade balljoints, superduty upgrade to f450/550 parts, honestly the balljoints and links aren't strong enough to hold up to the front end weights and wear issues imposed by our trucks shear mass, upgrade and it cuts down drastically on wear since it's spread over larger areas

or just replace all BJ's and wear components every 50k miles

kinda odd tho, ive never had death wobble on 2wd trucks... even ones that were so wore out the tires had an inch of movement side-to-side... it's always been on my 4x4s
 

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I run the Bilstein unit with no issues to report with "pulling to the side".
Ditto - Did have one go bad - leaked all the fluid out, but Bilstein warrantied it for me.

it's been beat to death on all the forums, a new stabilizer only dampens the problem, piviot points wearing out are the issue,
True.

Doesn't Motorcraft now sell Ball Joints with zerks?
That may not help either, once the ball joints are worn.
I made the mistake of greasing the front end components on my first Model A. Displaced the nicely hardened grease that was holding the alignment. Thought I'd take it for a run to see how it did, and HOLY CRAP! it wobbled so bad that it slowed itself down. I was able to get it under control with a slight turn. Took it back and adjusted things (the tie-rod ends had spring loaded cups, so tightening them just a bit took care of things.)

A '12 with 80k miles shouldn't be significantly worn unless maintenance has been neglected. It could likely to be an alignment problem rather than worn components. He didn't say whether it was 4x4. I don't think either 4WD or 2WD are immune to "death wobble".
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, folks for the comments. I've been reading on line and talking to some service shops around town. I'm leaning toward an evaluation at an independent shop, fixing everything that they find worn plus a new heavier, after-market, track bar and new steering stabilizer (of course followed by alignment). I'd like to put the next episode off for another 80K miles.
 

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The independent shop replaced the drag link and tie rod end that they found to be worn. They found no problem with the track bar, so I'll put off replacement for now. May go with heavier after market bar when the bushing and ball joint need replacement from wear. I wanted to dump the Rancho steering dampener so we went back with Ford. Shop found that the Ford dampener was WAY stiffer than the Rancho that came off, so their theory is that it might have been the biggest art of the problem. Time will tell as we travel Indiana's tax cutting lack of repair roads.

Thanks for all of the information along the way.
 

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Thanks for closing the loop on this.

Hope that you're good for another long while. :thumbsup:
 

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Hey all!

Having the same problem. I would hit a bump in the road, the front end would "hop" and shake violently. I though I was going to slam into the concrete barrier. The steering wheel would also shake at speed when taking a long sweeping curve on the interstate.

Mentioned it to the dealer when I was in for service. Said couldn't find anything except my tires needed balancing. That was $80 and continued to 'shake'. Took it to the dealer where I purchased for the next service and told them about the problem. They replaced the trac bar under warranty and did an alignment. They said the tires needed to be balanced. I passed on that and took the truck to Les Schwab for a balance. They told me they were in balance.

Just got back from a 1,200 miles round trip and had the same issues.

Truck is going in for 50k mile service this Friday. What could still be the issue? What should I tell me service advisor to do? It's under extended warranty.

Thanks!
 

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redneckinsac, since no one else has answered in several days i will give you my opinion.

these trucks don't come with enough caster from the factory. seems like the trucks with lift kits that have adjustable trac bars and adjustable radius arms don't have this problem. my "band aid" for death wobble was icon caster/camber sleeves, pro comp double steering stabilizer with fox dampeners, and a heavy duty adjustable trac bar. full disclosure i added a leveling kit which takes away even more caster, so adding caster bushings got me back up to factory spec.

so my truck still wants to do the death wobble, but i can feel the dampeners not letting it happen. cary towery at CT Performance helped me. good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Long term follow up: Almost 2 years and 32,407 miles later, we have not experienced any more wobble. And, we've been across the same bridge transition, many times. So, stock cures on a stock truck seem to have taken care of things. I'll probably get a check up soon.
 

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Just curious why so many low mileage trucks experience this. I have 184K on mine and have never had any front end problems other than a bad wheel hub at around 150K miles.
 

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Just curious why so many low mileage trucks experience this. I have 184K on mine and have never had any front end problems other than a bad wheel hub at around 150K miles.

Don't know, but would like to find out. I have a new to me 2012 F350 KR. While it doesn't have "Death Wobble", it is close enough to it that I feel the front end shaking through the steering wheel. Truck has nearly all new components on it, only thing not replaced were the ball joints and they have checked out as tight. It has the OEM dampener installed, but I am replacing it with a Bilstien. Hopefully that will help tame it. Next year I will take it to a good truck alignment shop and have them get as much caster set in as they can which will help.



My one thought is that the trucks are fairly level to start with, and when a load is put in the bed, or the tail with a trailer, it raises the front a bit, combined with the rear going down, it changes the caster to a negative value and increases the potential for a wobble, and any part that has wear will get it started. So if in spec is 1*, and a load removes 1.5*, now it is sitting at -.5* caster, and that can really get the wheels shaking. Going to see if they can get 3* caster set and that should take care of it, but the side effect is that the return to center will be faster and turning won't be as easy, so will need to be prepared for that after it is done.
 

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Quick update. Replaced the Motorcraft OEM dampener with a Bilstien and found a quite noticeable improvement in the front end. While it can't cure the wobbles, it dampens them to the point where I no longer feel hard hits in the steering wheel and tamed the wobble on a rough road. This will help until I can get the caster reset to 3* and fix it once and for all.
 

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Quick update. Replaced the Motorcraft OEM dampener with a Bilstien and found a quite noticeable improvement in the front end.
It may be more accurate to say:
Replaced old worn out damper with a new damper and found a quite noticeable improvement.

?
 

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It may be more accurate to say:
Replaced old worn out damper with a new damper and found a quite noticeable improvement.

?

Nope, far from accurate. The Motorcraft dampener is practically brand new. It hardly has any dust on it. Looks like the previous owner threw a lot of new parts at it to solve the shaky shake when hitting bumps. It didn't fix the issue, it is still there, just not has harsh and more stable now. I will be getting new tires soon, which may also help diminish the issue, but the only real fix is to get a little more angle on the caster.
 

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It may be more accurate to say:
Replaced old worn out damper with a new damper and found a quite noticeable improvement.

?

Nope, far from accurate. The Motorcraft dampener is practically brand new. It hardly has any dust on it. Looks like the previous owner threw a lot of new parts at it to solve the shaky shake when hitting bumps. It didn't fix the issue, it is still there, just not has harsh and more stable now. I will be getting new tires soon, which may also help diminish the issue, but the only real fix is to get a little more angle on the caster.
Well thats why I said “it may be”...Lol

No, usually guys brag up their new shocks ride quality when they are replacing shocks that are 10 years old. Ofcourse any new shock is going to improve the ride.

But its interesting you find the new Bilstein so superior to a new Motorcraft. Thats a useful comparison.
 
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