Now I have seen this on several Jeep Wranglers, Cherokee’s and Grand Cherokees. However, on this page, I am going to cover one specific vehicle that has this severe “Steering Shimmy” or “Death Wobble” that you may have encountered while driving at moderate to higher speeds.
2006 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4.0L
This is an uncontrollable shaking of the front end. Now I am not talking about a little vibration. This literally feels like the entire front end is starting to detach from the vehicle. This is a SEVERE vibration that occurs after hitting a small bump or pothole on the road. The first time I felt this “death wobble” I could not believe it. It was so bad I was mortified. This violent shaking did not stop until the vehicle slowed down to under 10 MPH or almost a complete stop. For this problem to start, the vehicle must be traveling at speeds in excess of 35 mph. The moment the vehicle hits a bump in the road, the shaking begins. It starts with the normal suspension “jounce” but from there, it actually gets worse and starts to amplify and does not stop until the vehicle just about comes to a complete stop.
Checking the Steering and Suspension Components
The first thing that needs to be done is verify that ALL front end parts and components are stock. This is very important. If there are any aftermarket parts on the suspension including oversized tires and rims, the factory size tires need to be put back on immediately. This alone can fix a death wobble concern if the vehicle has mud tires or oversized tires. The second most likely possible cause would be loose front end parts. Tie rods, ball joints, track bar or suspension component can also cause this “Steering Shimmy” or “Death wobble”. One overlooked suspension component causing this issue on Jeep Wranglers and Grand Cherokee’s is the Trackbar mounted on the frame rail. Check to ensure it is not bent or the bushings are not loose and are nice and tight. In short, be sure to verify all components are tight and have no slack or movement. Then comes the alignment. Even if the vehicle is not pulling when driving and the tires are wearing evenly, it is important to ensure the Caster, Camber and Toe readings are all within manufacturer specifications. On this 2006 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, this has gotten so bad and it is such a common problem that Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler issued a TSB or Technical Service Bulletin about this concern. It is TSB 02-003-10 (revised) which advises the technician to replace the Steering Stabilizer or Steering Damper and Damper Bracket with the updated part number to fix this Steering Shimmy or “Death Wobble” condition. Below is the information about this TSB.
Jeep TSB 02-003-10
The Customers concern: “Steering Shimmy” AKA “Death wobble”
This Bulletin involves the replacement of the Steering Stabilizer or Steering Damper and Steering Damper Bracket.
This TSB applies to 2007, 2008 and 2009 Jeep Wrangler’s that experience a Steering Shimmy. According to this TSB, here are the parts needed to fix this concern.
Steering damper (O.E. part number 52060058AF)
Steering damper bracket (O.E. part number 68066693AA Left-hand drive only)
Based on my experience, the information on this page will resolve any death wobble issue on this vehicle if you follow my steps and recommendations along with the parts listed in the TSB. However, keep in mind, while a TSB issued by the Manufacture is a very good place to start, (not only I personally think they should have issued a recall about this condition as I would think this would be a safety concern) and as a general rule of thumb it should be taken very seriously, TSB’s do not always resolve the issue as there are many things that can cause a “Steering Wheel Shimmy” or “Death Wobble” condition on as I explained above. Just be sure to use common sense and practice safe Techniques while diagnosing/fixing your Jeep.