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3rd Gen Front End Shimmy/Wobble

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Old 03-15-2006, 06:36 PM   #31  
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mikmaze:

Thanks so very much for your great post! This is what we are going to need from all the members here to take this thing to D/C. FWIW,.....my dealers here say the same thing that your dealer told you,....namely,.....that the TSB we have posted is "not in their system!" It is really funny to me the way these problems seem to get "lost" by the dealers. I will look into this and see if I can get you the "concrete proof" so you can take it to your dealer. Thanks again for your input "mikmaze." Keep checking back here with us!

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TO ALL DTR MEMBERS:

If you own a 2003-2006 Dodge CTD CR Pickup and have experienced this "shimmy/wobble" problem PLEASE POST YOUR EXPERIENCES HERE!
Thanks!

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Old 03-15-2006, 09:16 PM   #32  
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I'm posting on all threads related to this problem

I'm posting on all threads related to this problem , search words were 'DEATH WOBBLE'
Track bar & Death wobble.
Well the Thuren track bar is on. It was a little slow getting to me , Not Donís fault, but more so UPS. Iím here to give it to you straight because of several reasons. First I have no affiliation with ANY company that produces parts or advertises here. I am not an ASE certified tech or any type of auto mechanic for that matter, and certainly not a Physics major that understands the harmonics of frame design. I have been working on 73-87 Chevy trucks for over 20 years as my side hobby and I , at one time, had Nuclear certification as a welder.. I worked in a heavy steel fab shop and I have fabricated my share of parts and probably have a few inventions for those year GM trucks that I should market, but I donít. Anyway the bar comes unfinished so the first order was to tape off the ends and spray it with chassis epoxy so it wonít rust.. The one end comes with polyurethane bushing installed and the right side end comes with an adjustable heim end in it and two special spacer/bushings. I parked the truck with wheels straight and both bolts are tight!, And are locktited from the factory. It took a breaker bar to break them loose and then the impact gun would finally spin them. My Impact gun is 25 years old , but trust me those bolts were tight. The bolt heads are 18 MM. The right side bolt has some clearance issues getting at the head and then coming out and it takes a few trips back up to the steering wheel to get the tie rods positioned just right where that bolt will come out. If you get the front wheels off the ground safely and leave the key on then you can move the wheels from below or use a helper behind the wheel!. I then measured the center to center on the factory bar and came up with 38-13/16 and thatís where I tried to set the new bar. Do not tighten the jam nut on the adjustable end yet. Dry fit the bar up in place and make sure the bolts pass through easily. On the last dry fit I marked the position of the heim end in accordance with the bar itself with a sharpie pen. Unfortunately the jam nut is not accessible when the bar is up in place so it has to be removed to tighten. Make sure the heim and fixed end are at the same mounting angles or the heim may be twisted when it is installed. The custom bushings allow for a little imperfection here, but I pulled mine back down a few times and adjusted it before I was happy. Mount the bar in a vice and dog that jam nut down good. I loctited it, because like I said, if it backs off you cannot tighten it while in place. DONE. Another 15 minute job that took 2 hours!! Remember there is nothing associated with the steering or suspension here so nothing will pop out at you or fall down. No Lift, jack stands or special tools needed. ***NOTE*** the nut on the backside of both bolts is fabbed up from the factory with a locking arm on it. Itís like a 3Ē long wing welded to the nut. It jams against whatever it can and allows you NOT have to use a wrench on the nut. If you are using an impact gun DO NOT get your hand up in that area or youíll be missing a finger when that wing comes back around to jam in the other direction.

TestDrive- As a note the truck has been feeling worse than ever before I installed this bar. Truck has 9,000 miles on it. I instantly felt something different. Not sure how to explain it, but it seemed stiffer and steering feedback seemed sharper. I took a ride down several side roads that are in bad shape and purposely hit every road repair I could fid and a lot of the Ďflutterí is gone. Iím still not 100% pleased that I am feeling any of that at all ,especially considering that a friends 11 year old Ford F350 4x4 with solid front axle still doesnít have that Ďflutterí although it truly does ride like brick. I was determined to try a few high speed roads that caused great lumps in my throat before, and I tried one in particular on the way to and from work and the rig is a lot better. I Ďpowered oní across a few of the bad sections and it never started the death wobble, but was a little unstable, maybe just due to stiffness. Iíll purposely try another road it didnít like this week. I will come back and comment more when I get the front end aligned and have the caster set at Donís recommended 5* of Caster.

Iím not here to bash or promote, but I disagree with one of the opening statements to this thread that the bar is much heavier than the stock one. Itís only 1/8Ē heavier. I believe the difference in ride is because the new bar is constructed of heavy wall tubing and not a solid rod. I donít build race car roll bars, but the theory there has always been that the round tubing is lighter, yet stronger, than an equal diameter solid bar. I also think that the solid bar may be one of the things that contribute to the Ďflutterí feel that you get up in the steering wheel. Maybe the tubing helps to absorb the harmonics. Regardless it has helped.
Am I happy, YES & NO.
GOOD=$300( actually $280 with shipping right now) is a small price to pay if you are one of those guys that parked your rig already because it shimmys so bad. $300 is a small price if you paid $35K ++ for a rig you are not happy with or canít feel safe driving(ARE YOU LISTENING DODGE??). Don Thuren was indeed a good man to deal with. Heís willing to talk to you directly and sent UPS tracking number upon request. The new track bar is a quality piece of steel with good craftsmanship. I wouldnít have spent $180 for two front shocks if I would have tried this first. I know the stock shocks are lousy, but they worked fine and I felt no difference in ride at all with the new ones. The rear shocks are another story altogether, Iím glad theyíre gone.
BAD= Another $300 spent trying to correct something that Dodge has darn sure known about for years and something that should never stop a person from driving their new truck. I CAN still feel something that I donít like, but it does not scare me like before.
**ANOTHER NOTE*** If you think you are one of the lucky ones that does not have this problem you may be right, but you may also just be a lightfoot. This problem with mine is a LOT worse when I am hard on torque pedal and hitting bumps at the same time. TRY YOURS to be sure so it doesnít catch you by surprise when you least expect it.

STORY TIME- You finally get 200 yards of road to pass grandma & grandpa in their 1976 Plymouth Volare that still has the original air in the bias ply tires. You know you can make it on power level #5 so you kick her up and wait for that last car in the line coming the other way, youíve been following them for 3 miles and that was 2.5 too many. You anticipated the turbo lag and are already at FULL PULL and then you whip out seeing an 18 wheeler is headed straight at you, but you knew that and thought you had plenty of room. ALL of a sudden the washboard in the road, that you are going against the grain on, starts your truck into a violent front end shimmy and you donít know whether it will stop or not, you have to hammer the brakes and dive back behind the Volare as the Peterbuilt roars by blaring itís horn and shooting you the bird. It will ruin your day and maybe your boxer shorts! Plus you also took a few years off grandpas life. (based on a true life story!)
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:20 AM   #33  
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Back to the Top............................................... .............

I have an update for all the members on this Front End Shimmy/Wobble Problem with the 3rd Generation Dodge CTD CR Trucks:

On Thursday of this past week, my friend Mike gave me a "D/C Zone Bulletin"
from their Zone Tech. Our area is in the "Atlanta Zone Region", so other areas throughout the country may or may not have gotten this bulletin on this problem. I wanted to share with all of you what this bulletin says:
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Title: 2003-2006 MY 4X4 Dodge Ram 2500/3500 Shimmy Diagnosis and Repair Procedure

DIAGNOSIS: While driving over an imperfection in the road (such as an expansion joint, pot hole, bump etc.) at highway speeds typically upwards of 65 MPH:
1.) The front of the vehicle shakes and continues to shake after the bump.
2.) The shake does not subside until the vehicle is slowed to a halt or to approximately 30 MPH.

If all of the above conditions are exhibited, then perform the following procedure to correct the issue.

REPAIR PROCEDURE: (Use the attached checklist to document the repair.)

1.) Ensure the steering damper is operating properly throughout the entire stroke. There should be some resistance to motion in both directions.

2.) Alignment (Toe Only):
Set the front toe of the vehicle to +0.15 degrees (toe in) per side for a total of +0.3 degrees.

3.) Tires: Inspect front and rear tires for abnormal wear. If tires are abnormally worn, recommend purchase of new tires to customer.

Set the front and rear tire pressures according to the recommended tire pressures for the vehicle configuration and load being carried at the time. Please refer to the specific tire inflation chart included in the owners manual or the tire placard sticker installed on the vehicle body.

4.) Knuckles: Replace the left and right steering knuckles on the front axle with new MOPAR units.

Follow the knuckle replacement procedure in the Service Manual using the correct torques required for all mating components to the knuckle.

For the tie rod end to knuckle:
a.) Ensure that the taper on the tie rod end stud is clean and free from any grease, corrosion etc. It must be a smooth clean surface before assembly into the knuckle.
b.) Using a new nut, assemble the tie rod end into the knuckle using a torque wrench set to 65 ft.lbs. (88Nm). After achieving the above torque point, turn the nut another 1/4 turn (90 degrees).

5.) Test drive the vehicle to verify the condition has been fixed.

Attached to this front page is a "checklist" for the Dodge Front End Tech. to compete and then place in the customers vehicle history file.

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Although D/C seems to be slow in addressing this problem, maybe some progress is being made in light of this recent zone bulletin. My continued thanks to Mike B. for all of his help and assistance on this problem.

We still need more input from any DTR Member with a 2003 -2006 Dodge 2500/3500 CTD CR that has experienced this front end shimmy/wobble problem.

I will continue to update everyone on this as I receive information on it.

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Old 04-01-2006, 11:03 AM   #34  
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nice J P..... I just crawled out from under the truck after "kickin the front axle forward" thus lengthening the lower controll arm, I lengthened each side about 1/2 inch, had to come in a clean up before driving, who knows, I might be the rest of the day at the alingment shop had to do it with the tires off, dang jackstands were too short , but the 3 ton floor jack put 'er in the air
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Old 04-01-2006, 04:21 PM   #35  
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mikmaze:

Again, thanks for all your input. Has any of this helped solve the problem on your truck?

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Old 04-01-2006, 05:49 PM   #36  
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initial thought from one trip out, about 15 miles of 60 mph driving, just a normal solid axle bounce, thought hey this is great........ however return trip same speeds, different bump and there it reared its ugly head, DW, not as severe a shake but a DW. might see if I can get another half inch out of the adjustment, looks like I might be able to..... as for a why try this idea? it was recomended by a very competent shop that builds the most popular track bar to fix this problem, it was listed as an included thing to do to fix it.

EDIT: well found one more thing they neglected to fix, they left my passenger side shock loose, somebody in a thread mentioned that if they weren't tight to 200 ft lbs it would rattle, well it was rattlin, I chalked it up to wear until I read about the ft lbs........ tightened tonight and all quiet Now if I could only figure out what they did to my brake pads to make them click when you first touch the brakes???
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Old 04-06-2006, 01:43 PM   #37  
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John P,

Here is what I have experienced with Death Wobble. The first fix that was tried was ball joints replaced for $1400. On the way home from the shop it did it again. Next replaced steering stabalizer. Still there. Took it to Dodge, they had it for two days and could find nothing wrong with any of the components. Then I found a thread with someone mentioning that it was all about the camber of the axle. I took this information to Dodge and asked them to adjust to the angle suggested. That was about one year ago today and it has not happened again. That does not mean that at every large bump in the road I still do not cringe and look for a possible out to the side of the road so that I don't injure someone innocent person that happens to be in my way if it does wobble. If you have any other questions about my experience feel free to ask.
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Old 04-06-2006, 03:45 PM   #38  
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Okay....I can't stand it anymore. After reading the last two DW threads I'm almost dizzy

DJ, don't get them Arkansas overalls in a twist here 'cause I fixin' to disagree with you on one point.

The primary cause of DW is caster angle.The technical term for DW, coined several years ago, is "Caster Shimmy". It's exactly what the term implies, shimmy caused by inadequate caster in the front axle. That's why Don recommends 5*, which sounds like alot, but that's what it takes to get rid of it in some trucks. If you still have DW with 5*, something drastic is definitely wrong.

I can illustrate this point using my experience prior to ditching everything DC put in my front end except the axle.

My third or fourth experience with DW came with about 180K on the original front end components (TRE's, ball joints and track bar), a severely cupped and out of balance set of 37" swampers and a Skyjunker 4.5 kit with shot out heims and bad bushings. I had run these components with no smaller than a 36" swamper for over 130K miles. My DW would set up at 35-40 MPH and shake bad enough to knock change out of the ashtray. By putting 3.5* of caster back in the front end (it would slip to 2.7-2.9 over about 4-5K) I could eliminate the DW completely until the caster slipped again. With caster alone.

After the next episode of DW, I decided to throw money at it. I replaced the OEM tie rod assembly with Moog OEM style parts, replaced the ball joints and the control arm bushings. Put new tires on the front and had them balanced. Got it aligned and two months later, DW again. Put it back on the rack and big surprise, caster had slipped to 2.9* again. Set it back at 3.5* and DW was gone. Funny thing is 2.9* is within factory spec's.

I might also mention that I had SJ's brilliantly designed track bar since before I replaced the TRE's and ball joints.

Bottom line is the only thing that ever got rid of the DW was caster. Too little caster is what sets up the DW, worn front end components effect the magnitude of the vibration, hence the different speeds and severity from truck to truck.

The only reason I can think of for variation in the amount of caster it takes from truck to truck would be the axle manufacturing QC or process, i.e., variation in base caster from side to side between the axle C's and the CA mounts.

Upgrading from factory parts to aftermarket parts like Thuren, DT or SS won't "cure" the DW, but they will last longer than the OEM stuff and reduce the severity of the shaking.

I do agree with the statement made in a previous post....DC is using the scattergun approach to addressing this problem. Throw parts and time at it and hope one of 'em fixes the problem long enough to get the customer through the warrenty period.
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Old 04-06-2006, 04:03 PM   #39  
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Then I found a thread with someone mentioning that it was all about the camber of the axle. I took this information to Dodge and asked them to adjust to the angle suggested.
I hope you mean "Caster" not "Camber".

It is well known to alignment specialist that positive caster angle promotes high speed stability and steering wheel returnability. However too much positive caster angle can cause shimmy. Not low caster angle as stated above.

These truck do specify a large amount of positive caster. Perhaps that's part of the problem. I'm just happy my DW's disappeared when the 315 BFG's disappeared. YMMV.
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Old 04-06-2006, 04:11 PM   #40  
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Funny thing is 2.9* is within factory spec's.
I'm looking at my service manual and it say 4.5 degrees for SWB and 4.7 degrees for LWB. Tolerance +/- .75.

Ooops. I didn't read your signature. '96 models used the "ride height" measurement to calculate the required caster angle. Could be anywhere from 3.8* to 6.2* +/- 1.
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Old 04-06-2006, 04:20 PM   #41  
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Bigdave160,

Yes, I did mean Caster and from what I recall they said to adjust as far possitive as possible. This is what they did and it has worked for me. I am running the 315's with the pucks in the front and have not had it happen for a year. Before there were roads that I could make it happen if needed for demonstration purposes and I can't make it wobble anymore. Just trying to provide what has worked for me, but I know there are alot of others that have said that something else has fixed the problem. I know that at the time that I was at the Dealer having them try to fix this, they told me that they had a totally stock newer truck with 7000 or 8000 miles on it that they couldn't get rid of the problem
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Old 04-06-2006, 06:48 PM   #42  
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Brutus2003, bigdav160 and Cowhand:

I want to thank all of you for your input! As I said at the beginning of this thread, we are going to need alot of input from members just like yourselves to get this problem solved! "Cowhand", I didn't mean to make you "dizzy" by reading everything I wrote, ( ),.........only to try and pass on to all of you what D/C is coming up with in the field to actually try and solve this problem which we all know DOES EXIST! As I also stated in my most recent post on the new "Zone Bulletin", IMO, if this type of paperwork is coming down to the dealers, then we are making some progress guys!

Keep up the good work and ask around to other Dodge CTD owners to see if they have or are expereincing this front end shimmy/wobble issue. If so, tell them to join DTR and give us their story of what has happened to them.

Thanks again for everyones input!

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Old 04-07-2006, 09:26 AM   #43  
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Originally Posted by John_P
Brutus2003, bigdav160 and Cowhand:

I want to thank all of you for your input! As I said at the beginning of this thread, we are going to need alot of input from members just like yourselves to get this problem solved! "Cowhand", I didn't mean to make you "dizzy" by reading everything I wrote, ( ),.........only to try and pass on to all of you what D/C is coming up with in the field to actually try and solve this problem which we all know DOES EXIST! As I also stated in my most recent post on the new "Zone Bulletin", IMO, if this type of paperwork is coming down to the dealers, then we are making some progress guys!

Keep up the good work and ask around to other Dodge CTD owners to see if they have or are expereincing this front end shimmy/wobble issue. If so, tell them to join DTR and give us their story of what has happened to them.

Thanks again for everyones input!

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John_P
I have experienced 5 episodes of death -wobble. the first one occurred at 70K ,with total stock truck,with original General Amer-trac tires.i was towing about 8k at the time.,all episodes have occurred while towing. I took the truck to the dealer and they checked the front -end.,the steering damper/stabilizer had a small leak.no other problems found. The tech believed the worn tires were the problem. He was correct. I replaced the worn tires with the same as original tires. NO MORE DEATH_WOBBLE.I did replace the steering damper/stabilizer with a tuff- country unit at a later date.I have no idea or theories what cases it and I doubt anyone else does,from the wide variety of opinions on this subject. Tires fixed the problem on my truck.

Last edited by John_P; 10-02-2007 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Insult of another Members Post
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:17 PM   #44  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_P
Brutus2003, bigdav160 and Cowhand:

I want to thank all of you for your input! As I said at the beginning of this thread, we are going to need alot of input from members just like yourselves to get this problem solved! "Cowhand", I didn't mean to make you "dizzy" by reading everything I wrote, ( ),.........only to try and pass on to all of you what D/C is coming up with in the field to actually try and solve this problem which we all know DOES EXIST! As I also stated in my most recent post on the new "Zone Bulletin", IMO, if this type of paperwork is coming down to the dealers, then we are making some progress guys!

Keep up the good work and ask around to other Dodge CTD owners to see if they have or are expereincing this front end shimmy/wobble issue. If so, tell them to join DTR and give us their story of what has happened to them.

Thanks again for everyones input!

--------
John_P
John, it wasn't you that was making me dizzy

It's all good info. What I think is remarkable about the whole thing is that for a long time, everybody thought that the track bar was the exclusive cause of death wobble, and that elimination of the ball joint in the 3rd gen track bar would fix it once and for all. Then it was ball joints and TRE's. I was able to prove, at least in my case, that even with bad tires and a front end full of shot components that I could get rid of the DW by simply putting caster back into the axle. Conversely, after I replaced all the bad components I still got the death wobble and caster was the only thing that fixed it. The only problem I had that wasn't fixed with caster was when I found out that both my front wheels were out of round.
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:37 PM   #45  
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hammajamma:

I appreciate your input on the DW problem on your 2005! I don't know if you have read all my posts in this thread, but FWIW,.... my son was able to solve the DW on his 2004 with new tires also. I wanted to let you know that the TSB that had been posted awhile back was an error I believe. In no way was it meant to confuse you guys or make anything up here, I can assure everyone of that. I have personally looked at the D/C computers with my friend Mike and nowhere have we found ANY TSB that applies to the 2003-2006 Dodge CTD 2500/3500 CR Trucks concerning the DW issue. However, the one I posted on the Jeeps is in their computers. Also, I have the "hard copy" from my dealer and friend (Mike) on that Zone Bulletin I posted to all of you. I am still trying to find out if that "bulletin" went out to ALL zones or just the Atlanta region. Anyway, thanks again for your help and I am glad to hear the DW problem on your truck has been solved!

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Cowhand:

Thanks for your "follow-up" reply! You have brought up some excellent points in your posts to this thread and I agree with everything you are saying. What baffles me though "Cowhand" is how some of the trucks like my son's or "hammajamma's" get new tires and the problem goes away. Then you get another truck that gets new tires and the problem is still there?? Some guys (like yourself) have thrown alot of things at the problem (track bar,ball joints etc.) and not had any luck. However, you are about the third person I have talked with that has found success with the problem by adjusting the caster. It has definitely been a "mixed bag" to say the least! But, I know we are on the right track, and together I know we can get D/C to help the members out with this. I will stay on it!
Thanks again.

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John_P
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