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3rd Gen Front End Shimmy/Wobble

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Old 04-17-2006, 08:31 PM   #46  
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WOW! This site is fantastic! Thank you JOHN for all the info and everyone with their experiences. Saved me a lot of hassle! Will definitely have a well informed conversation with my dealership. Had to get new front tires anyways (cupping) thinking of tossing all new tires on the truck regardless.
again, thank everyone for their sharing of info and experiences!!!
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:20 PM   #47  
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Took my truck into the dealer ship this morning and told them i had the death wobble. They took one look at the truck and told me it was my tires, well bad news for them, the truck was in the shop a few months back for the same thing with the stock tires. It seems to me, that d/c dosnt want to deal with this problem, almost like its not a big deal to them because ive had a few people around here tell me about it. Im going to print out the long long list of things to do and show it to the tech and make him go through the whole thing with me watching. Im tired of my truck being in the shop, And one way or another it will get fixed right. Sorry about that
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Old 04-18-2006, 01:39 PM   #48  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03blkdrw
Took my truck into the dealer ship this morning and told them i had the death wobble. They took one look at the truck and told me it was my tires, well bad news for them, the truck was in the shop a few months back for the same thing with the stock tires. It seems to me, that d/c dosnt want to deal with this problem, almost like its not a big deal to them because ive had a few people around here tell me about it. Im going to print out the long long list of things to do and show it to the tech and make him go through the whole thing with me watching. Im tired of my truck being in the shop, And one way or another it will get fixed right. Sorry about that

Yep, same here. BUT Just to let anyone know D/C's opinion ; the design engineers do the right thing to specs and all that... then it goes to budget who says nooooo we can get that from mexico for way cheapo. the alloy casts and so forth are the worst! I have done about 300 Lemon Law cases , most of them D/C. the dealerships/manufacturer rep will tell you it is a "inherent characteristic" of that model. BS! cheap parts are cheap parts and I agree, no way I am wasting time out of service when I pay about 50 grand for a truck. I had them check the control arms specifically as mentioned here, they tried not to write it on the service form. be polite but PERSISTENT! make sure the service write up reflects what you want them to check, specifically. This is a part of any manufacturer claim, and the better for you to get it fixed right or paid for your hassle. Info here for your protection, not meant for solid legal counsel.
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Old 04-18-2006, 07:46 PM   #49  
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Justwannabeme:

Thanks for your nice comments and you are very welcome!

I appreciate your input on this as well as the input of all the other DTR Members. We need more DTR Members to post on this though. As you guys all know,....."the squeaky wheel gets the grease!" I feel we are making some progress, but more "evidence" is needed from our members and the thousands of Dodge 2500/3500 CTD CR owners all over the country. What is kind of troubling to me is the severity of the this shimmy/wobble on some of these trucks. It is BAD and IMO,.....I think an accident could happen because of this condition. And like the Firestone Tire debacle on the Ford SUV's a few years ago, THAT is when the proverbial "s*** will hit the fan" for D/C!! I would rather not see that happen. We all need to remember that "there is strength is numbers!"

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03blkdrw:

Sorry to hear of the problems you had with your your truck and the dealer!
If you think it will help, send me your address by P.M. and I will mail you a copy of this "Zone Bulletin" I have from my dealer.

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Old 05-19-2007, 01:08 PM   #50  
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Dw

Dear cowhand, I have taken the caster adjustment to maximum, to stop DW. 2 additional items of note. When I replace tires DW goes away. But they are not worn out, so I do not want to keep doing that. The inside edge of the tires keeps wearing out. When ever i turn right going down hill around a long sweeper curve DW can flare up. You can actually feel the loosness in the steering wheel as you fo around the corner, like something is unloading. Touching the brakes while going downhill to the right will set it off every time.
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Old 05-19-2007, 09:47 PM   #51  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironman View Post
Dear cowhand, I have taken the caster adjustment to maximum, to stop DW. 2 additional items of note. When I replace tires DW goes away. But they are not worn out, so I do not want to keep doing that. The inside edge of the tires keeps wearing out. When ever i turn right going down hill around a long sweeper curve DW can flare up. You can actually feel the loosness in the steering wheel as you fo around the corner, like something is unloading. Touching the brakes while going downhill to the right will set it off every time.
Inside edge can either be too much toe (toed out) or too much camber....if you've checked both take a good hard look at your ball joints. If the toe is out, chances are your tie rod ends are bad, if the camber is out the ball joints are probably shot.

You can check camber by taping a plumb bob to the top of each tire and jack the front end up. If there is a difference in the distance between the string and the sidewall before and after you jack it up, ball joints are bad.
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Old 07-20-2007, 12:58 PM   #52  
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hey guys im new to diesels my friends have them but i got my first one 4 days ago a 2001 2500 shortbed 6 speed with only 38,000 miles it has a 2 to 4 inch skyjacker lift on it not sure how big not real big and factory wheels and tires the truck does seem to need a alignment when im going straight the wheel is off a little but in 4 days time ive got the death wobble 3 times now and it was all at high speeds and when hitting bumbs today i was on a highway when it started and there were semis all around me i had to slam on the brakes and swerve off the road into the median and when i done this i smacked the guard rail scratching the corner of the bumper thank god thats all it done it was pretty scary i got this truck on friday from our dodge dealership i traded in my 2005 chrysler crossfire im pretty upset for paying $24k for a truck that i dont want to drive out of town now i have a appointment to take it in on wednesday and i hate to spend money on fixes that dont fix the problem i really hope some of these ideas help i plan on printing this whole section out and taking it with me hope something works or i want my car back
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Old 07-20-2007, 02:56 PM   #53  
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This death wobble or shimmy is an old problem that has occured on many vehicles. And as tight as some front end systems seem to be there is always a lot of flexing going on. I've found that we don't really have the absolute control of the wheels position that it may seem we do or would like to. If you look at the front wheel while driving over uneven surfaces or when four wheeling you can see the wheel turn right and left maybe 5 or 10 degrees while holding the steering wheel steady. That's all flex.

The DW is an oscillation with a natural frequency unique to each vehicle. This can be set off in a number of ways and stopped in a number of ways.

The attempts we're all trying here are ways to eliminate play in the system, but that only does so much when the whole system can flex anyway. Caster angle is a good way to dampen it out or prevent it, but it's not the cause. It's just a way for the system to resist it by making the tires skid back and forth instead of just pivot back and forth, or right to left.

The problem can start from out of balance tires, bent wheels, maybe wheels with too much offset and jarring bumps at the right speed.

Tire balance can be fixed easily and so can bent wheels, but bumps are a problem so we need to limit the affect as much as possible and dampen the wobble before it can get out of control. I have a feeling that the front end parts are just not stiff enough in general. Combine that with heavy, large diameter tires and it's a problem. And since there seems to be flex or play in every system I've seen, damping it out seems like the best bet.

One more thing about tire balance. It's not good to assume they are right just because the tire does not vibrate or jump at speed. Or that it's ok just because the balancer says so. I call the effect "tricycling". Where, as with the pedals on a tricycle, the heavy parts of a tire are rearward to the left or inside, and forward to the right or outside. This makes the wheel turn right left right left while rolling even though it's balanced. It sets up shimmy and becomes DW when the right speed is reached. My buddy had a problem with balance and finally tracked it down to a broken wheel stud and nut that had lodged in the ventilated disk. And I had a problem on my '87 Mercedes and finally found it when getting new tires. There was about two cups of water in the tire?! I cannot figure out how that happened but the balance was never right. I got my '81 Mercedes from a guy who experienced DW and sold the car with a stern warning about never getting on the freeway. I fixed it with a steering box adjustment and wheel balance.

So, if the front end parts are in good condition (tie rod ends, ball joints, steering box, track bar), the wheels are balanced corectly, not bent and the alignment is right, what's left? Upgrading the light duty parts, adding more caster and installing a heavy duty steering damper seem like the bottom line.

In some ways DW is just a fact of life. Wether it's a mids '80s Ford, an old VW, A Jeep Cherokee, a WW ll Power Wagon, a Samurai, an '81 Mercedes, and on and on. Especially if you have big tires and a flexible system, in other words, a modern Dodge.


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Old 07-24-2007, 07:02 PM   #54  
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i had this problem on my 03 and took it several times to the dealer and they never did fix it right and i put two different lifts on it then a two or three track bars ballenced the tires neww bushings and a duelly stablizer all of did not even help the problem. i was talking to a friend and he tol me totake and have it alinghed and to tell them to put the camber hard agenst the frame and have them square it up from there i did that and it has never done again until i put new tires on it and had it alinened again they put it back to dodges specks and it got the wobble again then i took it back and they did it how i told them too andits fine again try it maybe it will work for you call me if you need eny help 505 921 4013
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:25 PM   #55  
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To all:

Thanks for the input on all of this stuff. It's been educational, to say the least. I recently bought a used pickup that has this problem. Oh Joy! What a wonderful purchase huh? (j/k...it's the 7th Dodge, Cummins, dually that I've owned...I love 'em!)

Anyway, I noticed this problem on the way home from the previous owner! First thing I did was replace the steering stabilizer. No fix there. Next step was to take it to a buddy of mine. He told me the ball joints/tie rod ends etc. were all pretty worn. After a couple of phone calls to the previous owner, he was happy to pay for the parts and they were replaced. Pickup was much better, but could still feel a little shake when I'd hit a bump. Then, the other day as I'm mashin' the gas pretty good headed home (hey, it was quittin' time) I hit a bump and there she went to shakin' again.

So, here I am with this little predicament because I have learned a lot here over the past couple of weeks and I've been goin' through the steps to fix stuff, but what I don't know is exactly what was done to the pickup before I bought it. It was actually bought at an auction, so I don't know the owner that really did all the stuff to it. The "previous owner" that I mentioned earlier was a "broker" of sorts.

Best I can tell, it has a 2 inch levelling kit on the front. BUT it could have different springs too. The reason I say that is that it does sit level, but the back axle has some "aftermarket" shims under the springs. You know, the "flat strap cut with a blowtorch kinda shims." Bottom line...it sits higher, all the way around, that any other factory 4x4 Dodge dually around here. Problem is that I don't know what all's been done to it to make it that way, except what I can see with my "uneducated" eyes. Yes, I'm a 4x4 rookie. This one is my first.

It appears as though the front shocks are factory (78k miles) and if that's the case, then they're probably too short and may even be well worn. It looks like my next purchase will be a set of front shocks for a 2-4 inch lift. We'll see what happens after that.

As far as tires go, I am startin' to see some cupping on the front tires. I know this is being caused by this pickup because I took the tires and wheels (factory size...not factory tires) off of my previous pickup and put on this one. They were not wearing abnormally on my other pickup.

I know this is kind of a long read, but I'm just kinda tryin' to share what I'm goin' through and what I'm doing to try and fix it. As it is right now, it won't start the shake unless I'm really mashin' on it down a few of these small farm to market roads here in Texas. I know...I probably shouldn't be "really mashin' it" down those little roads, but sometimes it just feels right.

Thanks for your time and your input. I'll see what I can come up with and report back. I'm hopin' I can lay my hands on some front shocks this weekend. I'll probably have to order 'em though.
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:23 AM   #56  
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Les:

Welcome to the website and thanks for your input on your front end problems! As you have probably read, there are many factors that can contribute and cause this front end wobble/shimmy. In reading through your post I wanted to comment on a couple of things for you.

The front tire "cupping" you mention is very common on all of the Dodge CTD Pickups from the early 89's all the way to the new 2007's. If the tires are not regualrly rotated, that cupping will occur regardless of whether the truck has a stock suspension or not. I have owned almost all of the trucks (Ist Gen to
3rd Gen) and can tell you that all of my trucks have done it. In my opinion, the lift kits also can aggravate the situation IF there is improper installation or if the wrong or substituted parts are used.

It seems as though you are on the right track in correcting the problem though. One step at a time! Heck, I need new upper and lower control arms on my 1996 right now and can tell you they have gotten very expensive since the last time I bought them. From Dodge they are $208.00 a pair per side!

Anyway, welcome aboard and good luck to you.

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Old 07-29-2007, 07:51 AM   #57  
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Another thought

Just another thought is that the "stock" front end has a single bearing supporting each axle stub that is connected to the hub. I have not had any DW problems but I have converted over to the Dynatrac freespin which supports each wheel hubs with two Timken bearings. I'm not sure of the longevity of the stock bearing but as it wears I'm sure it gets play which then in turn leads to potential for vibration and hence DW.

L8r,............dogger
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:34 AM   #58  
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It amazes me that the tie rod part #'s for a 1 ton Ram and a 1/2 ton Ram are the same as per www.rockauto.com.

Is it possible that the tie rods flex under a load?
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:16 PM   #59  
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Question...
Where are you guys finding ball joints & tie rod ends for an 06 3500 4x4 other than the dealer?
Everywhere I've looked I've had no luck.
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Old 10-01-2007, 01:36 PM   #60  
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NAPA Auto Parts Stores handle them here in eastern N.C. They carry the "Moog" Brand of Front End Parts which seem much "beefier" than the any of the stock/OEM components.

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