If the adjective "death" was applied to any item, incident or location that had been involved in a single fatality, then we'd all be imbibing death drinks while driving death cars on death roads from our death jobs to our death homes to be with our death spouses, death kids and death pets. Yet when it comes to the wobble that's been reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by hundreds Jeep Wrangler owners, the report of one "fatality related to the suspected condition" has earned it the moniker "Death Wobble" on the television news.

In response to the newscast in question, Congressional representatives Anna G Eshoo and Henry A. Waxman sent a lengthy list of questions to NHTSA in order to find out more about the issue and requested an investigation. NHTSA declined to investigate, saying that the issue "does not result in a loss of control."

So now, according to a report in The Detroit News, Eshoo and Waxman have gone directly to Chrysler seeking "an outreach campaign to its customers, such as a Customer Satisfaction Campaign, to notify Jeep owners of the risk of the 'wobble' condition ... and the possible methods for repairing and preventing the problem." Chrysler has said that the Wrangler has an excellent safety record and reiterated its position that "most reported incidents – in all manufacturer vehicles equipped with or without a solid axle – are often linked to poorly installed or maintained after-market equipment, such as lifters, oversized tires, etc."

No one denies that a wobbling event has occurred for some Wrangler drivers when they hit something like a pothole at speeds beyond 45 mph, and the situation could probably be addressed by something better than a corporate statement that owner modifications or carelessness have caused it. While Chrysler also states that any vehicle with a solid front axle is prone to such wobbling, Automotive News' Larry Vellequette wrote a well reasoned piece that goes into detail about how the Wrangler has been caught in a bit of a bind: the same steering and front axle setup that make the Wrangler great for off-roading can lead to such wobbling on-road at speed, and the Wrangler's increasing popularity with the average driver unfamiliar with those kinds of compromises has led to everyone getting the short end of the stick.

It's unclear what will happen to resolve it, but it's clear that something will have to happen. Scroll down for the original newscast as well as videos showing some owners experiencing the wobble in question.









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  • 202 Comments
      ccdae5
      • 2 Years Ago
      Get the steering shock replaced and all of the front end parts checked. DUH! Dumbasses shouldn't be driving utility vehicles that they don't understand.
      js4024
      • 2 Years Ago
      First off only STOCK Jeeps should be addressed. If someone knowingly modifies the vehicle and god knows "NOBODY" does that to a jeep... then its THEIR issue. If this happens stock out of the box, then it is ofcourse CHRYSLERS issue. Lift kits, tire size changes all change the geometry and the handling characteristics. I wonder how many of the people complaining have stock jeeps?? They would be the only ones entitled to a repair by the manufacturer...
      gilead82
      • 2 Years Ago
      Part of the problem is salesman have been promoting that it "drives just like a car" for over 30 years to help make novice buyers more comfortable. And they don't. It's not a car, it's a small truck. This kind of stuff has been going on for years. For example AMC widened the track & made the wheel arches smaller all the way back with the last of the CJ7s because it was supposedly prone to roll over, especially if lifted to fit oversize tires. So they changed the design to make as hard as they could to make mods to it. Solid front axles don't drive the same was as independent suspensions. I've had quite a few solid axle 4x4s and if the steering linkage isn't properly designed they need a healthy steering stablilizer shock to overcome this tendency. Seems to me they need to take a look at the steering geometry & change it as well as add a quality steering stabilizer with a mandatory inspection & change interval. Even as civilized as it's become the Wrangler is an anachronism. It's 1940s technology updated for the modern world. Like many vehicles that are out of the mainstream there is a learning curve to operate it safely & properly and people need to keep that in mind.
        bobtrain
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gilead82
        You should only need a stabilizer when other things are out of specification (wheels, tires, inflation, ball joints, steering box, etc.) No good engineer would design a system that required a stabilizer to correct for a fault that only appears when things go out of spec unless he knew how the motoring public likes to change or let things go and then blame the company.
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bobtrain
          So what you're saying, this is trolling on the part of Chrysler's engineers?
      AtomicFire
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Wrangler is an off road vehicle that has been adjusted over the years to be sorta civilized. Too many people are buying it for the wrong reasons and have no clue what they have bought. I love the Wrangler, but I drive one knowing that it has certain handling issues due to its size and design. People need to start take responsibility for themselves and the vehicle choices they make.
        bobtrain
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AtomicFire
        It would help if they understood the vehicle as well and didn't indulge in aftermarket changes without knowing their effect.
      rkeeeballs
      • 2 Years Ago
      Most Jeep owners I know have installed many after market items to their vehicles....Owners are not engineers, they may be altering the stability of the vehicle. This condition will most likely occur with just a simple change of tires. Most Jeep Owners want maximum off-road capabilities at the expense of good road handling. That means higher ground clearance...wider stance ect...Something has to give ! Buy this vehicle for what it was designed for ...it's NOT a fashion accessory !
      Carma Racing
      • 2 Years Ago
      The phenomena is called gyroscopic precession. Play with a gyroscope and you will get some idea where the problem comes from. It is quite common with solid axles because one wheel easily excites the other. It can happen with independent suspension as well. Worn parts can exacerbate the problem. A steering damper is a common fix.
      Mr. Incredible
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just use the right tool for the job. I have a 2008 Rubicon Unlimited as a second car and I too experience this from time to time. Honestly, what do people expect? The mechanical workings of the Jeep have vitrually gone unchanged since the 1950's. If people did their reserch before they bought one they would have known It's an offroad vehical and performs horribly on the highway. If you drive on the highway don't use a jeep. Simple as that. The moment they make the Jeep more highway friendly the less of a Jeep is is going to become.
        BG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mr. Incredible
        Now you are being logical - stop that! Marketers cannot function with logic.
      dukeisduke
      • 2 Years Ago
      It looks like a lot of the problem could be cured by going back to leaf springs, or better controlling the movement of axle. Looks like there's way too much compliance, between the coil springs and all the bushings.
      Pauly WallNutz
      • 2 Years Ago
      anytime aftermarket parts are added, as with the middle video, you loose all claim to Chrysler. it doesn't matter who installed the kit, but the manufacturer of the kit is now to blame, maybe they didn't do enough testing. i had a '70 scout that barely did 60 mph, but it would wobble too. we traced it back to worn parts, so i replaced those and installed a stronger steering damper, fixed it
      Dallas
      • 2 Years Ago
      Big deal. It's an old problem that we knew about years ago but the kids running the vehicle manufacturers and after-market companies think they know more than the old guys do so screw'em, they'll just have to learn the hard way since thew won't listen to us. It's all written in the archives
      usmc1951
      • 2 Years Ago
      Been the same problem since the ww2 jeeps
      BG
      • 2 Years Ago
      " increasing popularity with the average driver unfamiliar with those kinds of compromises has led to everyone getting the short end of the stick" Have we heard this before? Remember the fiasco with the early-vintage Explorers? The Explorers were sound enough, but they were bought by untrained and ill-prepared casual users who drove them around suburbia like cars and did not understand basic concepts like center of gravity and tire maintenance. The manufacturers DO have some culpability in that they advertise their SUVs/jeeps as if they can be used by anyone and do not explain that special considerations apply.
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