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3rd Gen Front End Shimmy/Wobble

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Old 02-28-2006, 08:44 PM   #1  
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3rd Gen Front End Shimmy/Wobble

As many of you are aware, some owners of the 3rd Gen Dodge CTD CR Trucks have or are experiencing the dreaded "front end shimmy or wobble" after hitting a bump or pothole in the road. In many cases, the problem is directly related to bad tires or bad suspension parts such as ball joints, track bar, upper/lower control arms etc. Initially, I was not aware it was even an issue on the 3rd Gen trucks until my son, John Jr. (banshee) had it happen on his truck (with me in it) when were at WOT running down a two lane country road where I live. As many of you know, he is running the larger 315/75R/17 "B.F. Goodrich Radial All-Terrrain KO's". At the time it happened on his truck, the tires were worn, but not completely gone yet. They were "cupped out" on the edges of the front tires. We reported the shimmy/wobble to our Dodge dealership who told us they had several trucks doing the exact same thing, of which two of the trucks, still had the stock tires! My son ordered four (4) new tires and had our Dodge dealership install the new tires and do a thorough inspection of all the front end parts and components. Nothing in the front end was found to be defective and after the install of the four new tires the front end wobble/shimmy completely went away.

This problem with my son's truck got me to asking some questions and doing some research on this problem with the 3rd Gen trucks. I want to thank our Dodge Front End Technician, Mike Bryan, Sr. for all the help he has given me on this! Mike has been doing front end work for over thirty (30) years and is considered to be one of the best in our area here.

I want the members to know that as of today, we could find no specific Dodge TSB or related "bulletin" about this specific problem on the 3rd Gen Dodge CTD CR Trucks, 2003-2006. However, there is a Daimler/Chrysler TSB #02-003-03 out for all 1999-2003 Jeep Cherokees. The title of this TSB is: "Front End Shimmy After Striking A Bump or Pothole." Here are some excerpts from that bulletin:
SYMPTOM/CONDITION: The customer may experience a self-sustaining front end shimmy or vibration after the vehicle front suspension has struck a bump or pothole. The occurrence of this condition may be intermittent as it may be dependent upon the size of the bump or pothole that is struck.
REPAIR PROCEDURE: Replace the upper and lower front suspension control arms (total of four). Replace each respective axle suspension bushing as each upper control arm is replaced.

I realize that the front suspension on the Jeep Cherokee is somewhat different than the 3rd Gen Dodge CTD CR Trucks, however, there are also many similarities.

While talking more with Mike today about this, he told me they now have a customer with a 2004.5 Dodge CTD CR that cannot get rid of the problem in spite of changing out many of the front end components. This truck has stock tires too. Mike said he has talked with a Technical Rep. directly from D/C who also was a Dodge Technician and front end tech for several years before going to work as a Rep. Apparently D/C feels that there may be something called "frame rail frequency distortion" POSSIBLY contributing to this problem.

As most of you are probably aware, D/C now "hydroforms" their frames. Because of this design, it is felt that once the trucks tires begin wearing (cupping, uneven tread wear etc.) this vibration is then transferred into the frame and front end and apparently can actually get worse as it travels through the metal and components. This,... coupled with worn suspension parts etc. "aggravates" what is already there.

They feel that a possible way to combat this, is to fill the "hydroformed frame" with some type of foam, similar to what Ford does on the A-pillars in their new F-150. It apparently cuts vibration as well as noise. It sounds pretty wild I know,...... but I wanted the members here to know about it. Apparently the truck that our dealership is having that big front end problem with WILL get this treatment! Will it work??? I guess it is too early to tell right now, but I will keep you all posted.

Sorry about the length of this thread, but I thought maybe this was something the members would want to know about.

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Old 02-28-2006, 08:57 PM   #2  
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runs to basement..... yup two cans of foam in a can..... runs to driveway........ way too dark out there........
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Old 02-28-2006, 11:50 PM   #3  
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It's interesting that you have a mechanic that addresses the problem instead of runs from it, and thanks for sharing the info. Please let us know what happens with the foam and anything else in the future.

However, since the 2nd and 3rd gen trucks have the exact same front suspension setup, except for the small change on the track bar, I still stand by my statements that death wobble is caused exclusively because of worn steering parts. The track bar, track bar mounts and bolts, tie rod and tie rod ends, ball joints, hub assemblies, and control arm bushings and bolts are the only parts that can allow the front end to buck like it does when death wobble happens. The only way I can see the frame having anything to do with death wobble would be if the frame was cracked and allowing a lot of side to side movement.
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Old 03-01-2006, 01:42 AM   #4  
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http://www.sourceautomotive.biz/steeringsuspension.htm


Would a product like this possibly help in this situation? Seems like it would add some stability to the frame frails and steering.
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Old 03-01-2006, 09:40 AM   #5  
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djgaston:

Thanks alot for your input and comments!

I agree with what you said about the front suspension etc. on all the Dodge Trucks. And, I will definitely keep you guys updated on what happens with that problematic truck Mike is going to be working on.

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mikmaze:

Great analogy in your post! As I said above, I was thinking about the same thing when Mike told me what he did!

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Old 03-01-2006, 06:19 PM   #6  
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John, Good Post! When things get a little play going in them harmonics induced by a bump can cause catastrophic reverb. I remember in engineering school when they showed that video of a large suspension bridge vibrating in the wind and then the wind went a little harder the bridge started to oscillate up and down inches, feet, then yards then boom.
That steering box brace together with beefier front end components is looking much better. ks
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Old 03-01-2006, 07:01 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abc4yew
I remember in engineering school when they showed that video of a large suspension bridge vibrating in the wind and then the wind went a little harder the bridge started to oscillate up and down inches, feet, then yards then boom.
Tacoma Narrows!! The videos of the incident are always amazing to watch. The death wobble problem is pretty much the same idea as you say, though... an series of inputs that ignites the system (really a complicated mass spring setup) into resonance at its natural frequency. The idea that the frame is also acheiving resonnance is interesting and possible (although it shouldn't be an issue if it was designed correctly). The goal of frame/chassis design is to get it as stiff as possible and let the suspension work as a substantially less stiff unit to absorb impacts and dampen bumps. I'd imagine that DC engineers have done extensive testing/modeling/simulation to suggest this sort of solution, so it'll be interesting to see if this "fix" with the foam takes care of the problem. As John_P stated, changing tires fixed my issue (changing the input to the system), but it's defintely not to say it won't happen in the future as the new tires and suspension components continue to wear.

John
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Old 03-02-2006, 10:57 AM   #8  
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abc4yew and banshee:

My thanks to both of you for some "engineering input!"

I would sure like to hear more from our members on this problem. It has really surprised me that it is still there. I remember on the 2nd Gen Dodge CTD Trucks we all used to call it "The Death Wobble!" Sounds pretty funny,......... but if you are actually in a truck at a fairly high speed when it happens it can definitely be a little "unnerving!"

Thanks again to both of you.

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Old 03-08-2006, 09:25 AM   #9  
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BACK TO THE TOP!

I promised all of you I would give you updates on my research with Mike on this front end problem with the Third Generation 2003-2006 Dodge CTD CR Trucks.

First off, Mike finally got that real problematic truck into his dealership for the front end repairs. They replaced the upper and lower ball joints, upper and lower control arms, knuckles and also sprayed foam into the frame. The only thing they DID NOT do was to replace all the tires. RESULT: The truck still has the vibration/wobble and apparently it has not gotten any better.
Personally, after seeing what happened on my son's truck (2004) I feel the tires do need to be replaced as Mike said they were worn pretty good. I will keep you updated on this specific truck.

I also told the membership that in our early search on the Daimler/Chrysler TSB's we were unable to find a TSB SPECIFICALLY related to that problem on the 2003-2006 Dodge CTD CR Trucks. Well, after an exhaustive search a friend of mine was able to find a "reference TSB" to this problem. Apparently, there is or was a TSB on this at one point and the number is:

TSB K15782911

Title:Front End Shimmy/Wobble After Striking a Bump or Pothole

The TSB basically says about the same thing as the one on the Jeeps. However, the "fix" for the problem is laid out in three separate "steps" each step requiring more front end work and replacement of parts than the prior.
I will try to post this for you as soon as possible. I have given this TSB number to Mike and he told me he would do some checking on the D/C computer to see what he can find, since we were unable to locate anything when we checked it before.

More updates to follow............................................ ...

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Old 03-08-2006, 09:59 AM   #10  
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I did some research and found the TSB on BDS Suspension's website. Here it is....



2003-2005 Dodge DR Ram Pickup Technical Service Bulletin
TSB #K15782911

Vehicle Issue: Vibration, shudder, shimmy, wobble after hitting an imperfection in the road at upwards of 70 mph.

Symptom: Pulsation, Shimmy / Shake, Shudder, Vibration

Driver Input: After hitting bump

Vehicle Speed: Higher speeds/ Greater then 50 mph.

Road Surface / Condition: Bumpy / Uneven Road

Condition Verification: YES – Intermittent, YES – Continuously

Case Verification: The vehicle shakes and continues to shake; the shake does not stop until the vehicle is slowed down to a halt. This pertains to Heavy Duty (DR2500 and DR3500) vehicles.

Recommendation: After each step, evaluate the vehicle with the customer to determine if the issue has been resolved to their satisfaction. Typically, the issue will be solved in STEP ONE. In some cases the vehicle may require the STEP TWO solutions.

STEP ONE
1. Inspect and verify the presence of the anti-tilt seal and chrome plated washer between the tie rod and knuckle.
2. Set the vehicle to the following specification.
3. Toe to +0.15 degrees toe in per side (total +0.3 degrees)
4. Front tire pressure to 5.7L motor 40 psi (with no load) 60 psi (loaded to GVW)
Diesel motor 50 psi (with no load) 60 psi (loaded to GVW)
5. Rear tire pressure to 5.7L motor 40 psi (with no load) 70 psi (loaded to GVW)
Diesel motor 40 psi (with no load) 70 psi (loaded to GVW)
6. Balance the tires to 000 readings on a wheel balancer
7. Disassemble outer tie rod from knuckle and reassemble as follows…
a) Ensure that the taper in the knuckle and on the stub is clean and free from any grease, corrosion, etc. It must be a smooth clean surface.
b) Assemble new ball joint into knuckle to 50 ft.lbs. of torque, with a new nut. At this point turn the nut another 90 – 120 degrees and measure the torque. The torque should be upwards of 90 ft.lbs.
#K15782911 Page 1 of 2
8. Inspect engine mounts and transmission mount for damage tears etc.
9. Ensure that the torques are set as follows:
a) On the toe adjuster sleeve bolts is 40-45 ft.lbs.
b) On the outer tie rod ball joint to knuckle nut is 90-95 ft.lbs.
c) On the ball joint to pitman arm nut is 70-75 ft.lbs.
d) On the drag link to tie rod connection is 60-65 ft.lbs.
e) Steering damper to axle bracket is 75-80 ft.lbs.
f) Steering damper to linkage connection is 60-65 ft.lbs.
g) Track bar torque 160 ft.lbs.
10. Check and note the following track bar bushings condition.
11. Measure amount of tread left on tires.
12. Rotate / cross switch (left to right front)
13. Are the tires O.E.
14. Front shock part numbers / inspect for oil leaks.
15. Front coil spring part numbers.

STEP TWO
1. Inspect steering damper for leaks, binding, tube damage, shaft damage.
2. Disassemble damper from tie rod and stroke it in and out. The force
3. Required to compress should feel the same as the force required to extend.
4. Replace outer tie rods using the following procedure:
a) Ensure that the taper in the knuckle and on the stub is clean and free from any grease, corrosion, etc. It must be a smooth clean surface.
b) Assemble new ball joint into knuckle to 50 ft.lbs. of torque, with a new nut. At this point turn the nut another 90 – 120 degrees and measure the torque. The torque should be upwards of 90 ft.lbs.

STEP THREE
1. Replace knuckles and install tie rods using the same procedure as above.
2. Replace steering damper.
3. Loosen the following components, to drop the suspension then raise the suspension back up to ride height and re-torque all of the joints.
a. Upper / lower control arms at frame and axle
b. Linkage connections at the knuckle and pitman arm (remove studs from taper joint; inspect and clean ball stud taper and female taper from all grease, oil, rust, etc., that may be present.)
c. Track bar at frame and axle.
d. Stabilizer bar links at axle.
e. Steering damper at linkage and axle
4. Also, ensure that the torques are set as follows…
a. On ball joint to pitman arm nut is 70-75 ft.lbs.
b. On the drag link to tie rod connection is 60-65 ft.lbs.
c. Steering damper to axle bracket is 75-80 ft.lbs.
d. Steering damper to linkage connection is 60-65ft.lbs.
e. Track bar torque 160 ft.lbs.
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Old 03-08-2006, 11:35 AM   #11  
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Mike:

Hey buddy, thanks alot for your input! I was not aware it was on that website. You have saved me alot of work and I do appreciate your help!

I know this will help the members that are experiencing problems with this.

Thanks again!

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Old 03-08-2006, 03:24 PM   #12  
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I had the famous death wobble on my 04.5 at 80 mph. (scared the livin sh!!t out of me). My 06 has not had this problem yet (nock on wood). Allthough worn out parts mite be a problem. I don't think that was the case on mine with only 8000 miles on it. The one thing that I think is a problem with the death wobble is two things. 1= they need better shocks to stop the violent up and down motion of the death wobble. 2= make sure your tires are inflated properly. A tire that is running low pressure for a better ride, a leak etc. causes the tire to bounce more. I no every truck has it's reason. But if you look into this, It mite help the dreaded death wobble on your truck. Let's hear what everyone thinks.
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Old 03-08-2006, 05:40 PM   #13  
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This was a great conversation until goose2 posted. The axle doesn't go up and down during death wobble. It goes side to side.

Edited by Admin..Personal insults will NOT be tolerated on this site!
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Old 03-08-2006, 06:10 PM   #14  
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Thank you so much for posting the tsb on this, I was at the dealer monday and they said they knew of none conering death wobble conditons. I am printing and placing into my truck the tsb and will show the techs when I go in with the truck.
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Old 03-08-2006, 06:56 PM   #15  
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I want to continue to thank all the members that have posted on this thread!
I need as much input as I can, so Mike and I can maybe get something done with D/C about this problem.

As evidenced by what DTR Member "mikmaze" posted, a good number of Dodge Dealers are totally ignorant that this problem even exists! As I stated in my original post, which is now backed up my "mikmaze",... the D/C TSB computer files allegedly don't even show this TSB, but we all know now that it is there somewhere!

Keep the posts coming and my thanks to everyone!

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