Track bar and death wobble

Tiny
STEELERDYNASTY
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE
  • 4.0L
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 199,200 MILES
I'm trying to attack my death wobble component by component. I have replaced both front lower control arms, drag link bar and tie rod ends, and the track bar.I still wobble. Upon further inspection of the track bar, it still appears to have play. I have tightened the heck out of it on both sides (as much as I can without jacking it up). However, with a partner turning the wheel from lock to lock (and me under the vehicle), there is still clearly some play in the track bar when moving from each locked position back towards center (on both bolts). Is this normal? Do I just need more leverage? What are the torque specs for the two bolts?

Also, FYI:
1. Sway bar end links are next.
2. I still hear a clunking noise when making turns over some bumps.
3. Just got an alignment last week after replacing the drag link bar.
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Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 AT 7:18 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Welcome to 2CarPros.

First, here are the directions for removing and replacing the tracking bar. The torque specs are included. Also, it should be on the ground when torqued.

PROCEDURES
REMOVAL
1. Raise and support the vehicle.

Picture 1

2. Remove the nut and bolt from the frame rail bracket.

Picture 2

3. Remove the bolt from the axle shaft tube bracket. Remove the track bar.

INSTALLATION
1. Install the track bar to the axle tube bracket. Install the retaining bolt finger tight.
2. Install track bar to the frame rail bracket. Install the bolt and nut finger tight.

NOTE: It may be necessary to pry the axle assembly over to install the track bar to the frame rail bracket.

3. Remove the supports and lower the vehicle.
4. With the vehicle on the ground tighten the nut at the frame rail bracket and to the bolt at the axle bracket to 100 Nm (74 ft. Lbs.).
5. Check alignment specifications if a new track bar was installed.

______________________________

There are several things that can lead to this condition. You have replaced many parts already. Other components to check include the following.

Ball joints
steering knuckle
worn bushings

Those are things you didn't mentioned. Also, are the upper control arms tight?

One other thing you didn't mention is the lower suspension arm bushings. I attached a pic of them. Have you checked them for play? See picture 3

As far as the play in the tracking bar, can you explain where you see the play? I have seen situations where the tracking bar mounting bolt to the frame has ob-longed the mount and allowed play. Check for that.

Let me know if any of this helps or if you have other questions.

Take care,
joe
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Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 AT 10:05 PM
Tiny
STEELERDYNASTY
  • MEMBER
Thanks for your reply!
Pictures help a lot. Picture 3 looks a lot like the lower control arms which I replaced already, not just the bushings. I got whole new arms with the bushings already included when I did the repair. Is this what you meant when you called them lower suspension arm bushings? I am attaching some hopefully helpful video of the play I can see at both ends of the track bar. The first video is the frame rail side, video 2 is the axle tube side.
I'm willing to bet the ball joints are due, but is there a way to accurately check? Also not sure how to know if there's a problem with the knuckle itself. Is that something you might consider helping with? Which bushings in particular should I check? I'll be replacing the sway bar end links whole, not just the bushings.
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Wednesday, June 12th, 2019 AT 8:27 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Welcome back:

First, yes to what you said about picture 3. I watched your videos. I don't like the movement I'm seeing in the second one. If the tracking bar is new, I wouldn't expect that much. Video 1 looks normal.

As far as checking ball joints, you need to raise the vehicle and basically place your hands at 6 and 12 o'clock on the tire and pry back and forth to see if there is any lateral movement. At the same time, check to see if there is any play in the hub bearings. Also, you can lift one wheel at a time about three inches from the ground and place a long pry bar under the tire and check for up and down movement in the ball joints that way too. Just keep in mind, on this vehicle the lower ball joint is loaded when weight is on the axle. You can't properly check these if you lift the vehicle and allow the weight of the vehicle to remain on the axle, so don't lift it at the axle.

Now, they make a dial indicator to mic the movement of a ball joint, but if you note any movement, replace them.

I attached a picture of the steering knuckle. Both upper and lower ball joints tie into it. That is why I said there could be excessive play there.

Let me know if any of this helps.

Joe
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Wednesday, June 12th, 2019 AT 9:01 PM
Tiny
STEELERDYNASTY
  • MEMBER
Do you think the problem is the track bar itself or something else? If it's the bar, I can still return and replace it. If the problem is at the bolt locations, how could I address it? For instance, if it oblonged the hole at the frame rail, how would I fix that? Would I need to find a way to get a washer in there somehow?

I'll be testing the ball joints today. Is there a way to tell if the issue is the ball joint itself or a worn knuckle that needs replaced?

Also you mentioned the upper control arms. Is there a test for those?
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Friday, June 14th, 2019 AT 10:44 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Welcome back:

The upper are tested the same way and the lower. As far as the knuckle, that won't be the issue. Now, the tracking bar is a different story. Remove it and inspect where it mounts to see if that is the problem. If the bolt hole is worn, I have seen them fixed different ways. One is to go from the (I believe) 12mm metric standard bolt size to a 1/2". You need to then drill the center of the tracking bar mount to the same. If that doesn't work, others have actually fabricated plate steel to fit over the original locations, drill the hole in the new steel to the OEM size, and weld the plats on each side of the existing.

I realize neither way sounds like fun. I wish I had an easy answer. But before we go to that extreme, confirm it is even a problem.

Let me know.

Joe
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Friday, June 14th, 2019 AT 7:11 PM

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