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Author Topic: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?  (Read 1365 times)

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Online bannerd

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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2021, 01:36:51 PM »
Typically happens when you have worn suspension items.  When they went to coil overs it seems to be more common because the bushing in the lateral links would fail.  The older trucks that had leaf springs had the issue but it was very uncommon because the bushing in the leaf springs took for ever to wear out.  The old dodges/fords had this nailed with the single cross bar and the steering off the knuckle (danas).  As long as the crossover was tight it virtually killed DW.

For a new truck it's under warranty I would think?  They heavy duty trucks should be coming with dual dampers so that is odd it is happening in that.  Unless the brought back that stupid track bar design that ends up going to a knuckle at the other side of the vehicle and running a single damper in between.
These are seemingly in newer trucks though? Im assuming the front end just wants to go its own way due to slop , whether that be from worn bushings, bearings or just bad design resulting in prematurely worn bearings/bushings. Front end ends up trying to compensate for that and jumps
If you look at the old truck design there was a leaf spring that would take up the forward motion.  The big tractor trailers still run the leaf springs in a parabolic form.  The old chevy CK/K would get them too and toyota would get them as well.  It was rare with the leaf springs that it happen and if it did you could isolate it very quick because the suspension components are minimal.  Sometimes the only issue back then was a ball joint or a king pin/bearing.
The trucks these days are missing front support which the leaf provided.  To compensate this you have lower and upper control arms, links, torsion bars.. entire pitman arm and bars.. the list goes on.  Not to mention the large coil over and bushing/bearings there.
If you take a tractor trailer front end suspension and you put the type of suspension in a common heavy duty truck... now apply the forces when slowing down (loaded) and accelerating.  There is a massive stress here... I couldn't imagine a full load on the back of a semi-truck.  If you slammed the brakes loaded all that suspension would literally be destroyed or worse.. snap off.  Big rigs still use leafs and air bags to keep the rid smooth and can be compensated with a liquid spring.

I believe this is why it happens so frequently and parts are getting dumped into newer trucks.  We had the same issue in the 2005 Dodge cummins trucks in our fleet.

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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2021, 03:38:37 PM »
It felt like it hit a harmonic where once it started it wouldn't stop until I brought the truck to a stop.  
thats basically what it is.  the wheel has mass and is spinning fast.  its a big gyroscope held tight to a spindle constrained by numerous other parts.  when any of them get sloppy the spindle isnt held so rigid anymore and the forces flying around that gyroscope bouncing down the road start transmitting that energy into frame components.  


shocks are a damper.. dampers attenuate frequencies and dissipate them as fluid heat.  if the damper cant do that the harmonic continues and if its able to achieve its resonant frequency, it amplifies continually.   its a lot like a a driveshaft thats unbalanced.  youve got first order harmonic, then cancellation.  then 2nd order harmonic, then cancellation as the rpm increases so thats why a driveshaft shimmies at several speeds.


with deathwobble, the right bump at the right mph will get it started and often that light wobble will amplify into its 1st order harmonic.. resonant frequency whatever.  if slow down enough it falls out of that zone and stops, or if youre cowboy/stupid enough to hang on and gas it out, it will also clear up.  though i dont recommend it.  deathwobble can pull a balljoint or steering tie rod apart pretty quick.  

i suspect when a circle saw goes wonky, its basically doing what death wobble is.
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2021, 06:46:42 PM »
First time it happened in my '97 Dodge dually I had never heard of it and was certain that the front axle had broken loose from the frame as I didn't recall running over a small passenger car that may have been stuck under the wheel. 
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2021, 07:01:14 PM »
I had heard of it but never experienced it, until it happened to me.  My first thought was, "this is death wobble".  I thought at the time that I had blown a tire.  I got the truck stopped on the shoulder and went to go look at the flat tire and found nothing.  After that I googled it and assumed it was only a Ford thing and the first couple hits I got on it were about Dodge.  In no way would I decide never to get another Ford because of it.
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Offline dgdrls

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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2021, 07:07:25 PM »
Never in a Ford Truck,  once in a '66 390CI Fairlane,  front end was worn out,  rebuilt, all good.

Numerous times in the Service Station Jeep Commando.  Learned to not exceed 45 MPH in that buggy.

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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2021, 07:12:49 PM »
Well I’m glad I’m aware of it now, I’m pretty good at being quick to replace worn components, especially bearings ball joints bushings tie rod ends anything to do with the rolling chassis or steering. This even further confirms why I should be on the up keep. That would scare the absolute crap out of me no kidding.

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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2021, 07:24:18 PM »
Mike is correct about powering out of it, if you want to do 80+mph. On all of the vehicles that its occurred in that were mine, tire balance was the solution. Be sure that they spin balance the tire/wheel assembly (dynamic). BUT, when the tech operator sets up the machine he has to do it in the proper manner. If all of the weights are on the inside, thats the same as the old school bubble balance (static). When the machine is setup properly you will have weights in AND out, but not necessarily in matching locations. BUT, some of the newer wheels dont allow for this to happen because of the way that they are made (no outside lip for wheel weights. Aesthetics). Thats one of the reasons that I like old school steel wheels.
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2021, 07:30:46 PM »
They have wheel weights that stick right on the rim now, no lip needed, Im seeing the lip weights less and less 

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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2021, 07:52:03 PM »
Hemlock King, even if it didn't scare the crap out of you, it may shake it out of you, no kidding😁  
In some instances one might be able to power out of it, in mine I don't think so. Once it started it only increased in magnitude until I got the truck stopped. I'm talking at 5 mph, you're barely moving but the truck is still thrashing violently. Come to a complete stop and take back off, like it never even happened. Until the next 65 mph bump. 
  Death wobble is not a "brand" thing, it's a solid front axle issue, especially with coil springs. Anything out of whack can contribute- worn out tires, ball joints, tie rods, track bar bushing, and in the case of my last "ride", simply a shot steering damper. I was a bit out of ideas, everything on my front end was tight, tires were good. Nothing out of order. I went to the local Buffalo, Wyoming NAPA, where the parts guy (probably half of his customers have solid front axle pickups 😁) said "try this first" and sold me a steering stabilizer instead of the ball joints I was trying to buy😁 That's all it was🤷🏽‍♂️
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2021, 08:15:47 PM »
Barbender, I know Buffalo quite well. Still have my banking there. Nice town. 
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2021, 08:45:20 PM »
Really?! It's pretty amazing really, all of the people I run into that know that little town quite well! My Mom grew up out there, all my family on her side is out there still. I was born in Sheridan, but we've lived in MN since I was 2. I asked my Mom why I was born in Sheridan when they lived in Buffalo, I thought maybe it would be an epic story about a storm blowing off the Bighorns keeping them from getting to Buffalo or something..."they had a nicer OB department in Sheridan" was her answer😂 Oh well, it's my story, I can tell it how I want😊 I still almost tear up every time I smell sagebrush, lots of memories of traipsing over the hills behind my Grandma on all the hikes she used to take me on. Spent a lot of time out on the Kendrick Cattle Company ranch where my uncle worked when I was a kid. When the ranch was broke up and sold off in the late 80's early 90's iirc, my uncle was able to buy one of the small outlying ranch stations called Cabin Crick. Dainty little spread of about 3500 acres😊 (it's really not much out there). Gosh, you got me rambling about Wyoming...not hard for me to do. If life situations changed and I were forced to take up residence in Wyoming, I would not be unduly distressed😁 So do bank at, is it First National? I can't remember the name, I just know it from the steel buffalo sculpture. My Aunt retired from there after about 15 years, after she moved into town after Kendrick sold. 
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2021, 10:39:41 PM »
My first DW was 20 odd yr ago i guess.  in an 89 F350 idi 4wd srw.  I was in the center lane of a packed 3 lane highway going all of 58mph to the floor with people pouring around me on both sides. 

Bam.. Expansion joint. Apocolypse now.  Full blown 100% as bad as it gets wobble.  The nose rose up, tires were off the ground and i was certain the pitman arm was gonna shear any second.  Boy did i get some finger salutes stopping in the center lane.  
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2021, 11:01:41 PM »
Yup - First Northern Bank of Wyoming.  Travis has called me at 07:00 eastern to discuss things at times.  What other bank does that?  I will never leave.  I would move there tomorrow, drag the sawmill, the cows, the dogs, and be happy.  Notice I didn't say the wife.  She won't go, we have discussed it.  

Is that ranch still in the family? 
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2021, 11:03:36 PM »
I smoked a transmission in my third gen in a nice busy spot like that. Locked it up tight, skidded to a stop. I didn't even dare to get out and look at what the problem was, I thought about just jumping and running for it!😂 Thankfully a couple guys came pulling up in two pickups that did pilot car work, onepulled behind me with the beacon on and the other one threw me a chain from his F350 and drug me off the road. Good times🤦🏻‍♂️ I learned at that time that a NV5600 transmission will lose the rear seal, and pump all of its oil into the transfer case. No leak until the t-case starts to spit it out the vent, which is probably already too late. Fun fun. Sometime I will share how I learned that 3rd gen 4wd driveline are engaged at all times. I may save it for my book, "Time Me and My 3rd Gen Were On The Side Of the Road"😁
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2021, 11:10:01 PM »
Ahh - don't forget that Dodge built in a "safety feature" to prevent the death wobble.  It was the 5th gear drop off.  You know - manual transmission, nobody thought to use a reverse thread to hold on the tail stock in the transmission so 5th gear would just no longer be there....  No 5th gear and that dually was not getting above 60, no sir, no way that was happening with both feet on the pedal and the 5.9 on the red line - thus no death wobble to worry about.  See - it was a safety feature...... >:(
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2021, 11:13:04 PM »
Yep Southside, the ranch is still in the family. Actually, they were able to buy another small adjoining ranch (Squaw Crick) when a neighbor passed away, I think that got them in the area of 5500 acres. They used to run between 100-150 head of Angus, now uncle is a "gentleman rancher" he just runs feeder calves over the summer😊 And a small herd (about 6 I think) of Texas Longhorns that are just pets. They have an outfitting business that is most of their bread and butter, they have an exclusive lease on the Padlock Ranch (that's who bought Kendrick out) and some other surrounding acreage. I don't remember, it was in the area of 300,000 acres they have exclusive hunting rights on. It sits on both sides of the Wyoming/Montana border. Very good Mule deer, the elk are ridiculous. I think they are taking around 10 bulls a year (that's what the ranch limits them to) there's always several 350+ and a few over 400 over the years. The Powder River country out there is a hidden gem!
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2021, 11:15:10 PM »
Haha I was only listing 3rd Gen issues🥴 I had a 97 as well, actually that truck treated me way better! "Why does this one break so much?"-my wife, regarding the 03😂
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2021, 11:29:52 PM »
Oh - the Powder River.....wife / Wyoming, wife / Wyoming.....ugh!!!   :D
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2021, 11:48:51 PM »
Would you like me to share some Powder River elk pictures?😁 
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Re: How many of you have experienced the death wobble in fords?
« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2021, 11:51:36 PM »
Absolutely
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