I need a reliable Jeep specailist for tire shake

Hello all:

I am new to this group and would appreciate any recommendations for a reliable service technician to address tire shake on my Jeep. I installed 35" tires, 20 " rims, 2.5" JKS lift kit. I am growing tired of the random wheel shake. It comes and goes. Please forward some references so my wife can drive the Jeep without me having to hear the complaints about the handling and wheel shake.


Google “death wobble”.

Step 1 is to make sure tires are properly balanced. Step 1a is to make sure alignment (caster and toe) is within spec.

There are 1.5 million tech discussions related to this and I can assure you no single one will nail down your exact problem… That said, Check all you bushings and tie rods and basically any moving connection point between your front axle and frame for loose or worn components first. This is where the battle is won…

After that, you can align your Jeep and play with Toe and caster as Eric mentioned. Bad alignment doesn’t usually cause shake, but it is what causes the loose components in your rig to shake.

Last would be to add or swap components like compensators, trackbar relocations, pitman arm drops etc.

My 98 TJ was the same way and I spent a ton of “buying a fix”. In the end, I had a crack in the frame that allowed my axle to yaw under a big bump and my cheap lift kit bushings were giving almost 1/4" of play (control arms… not adjustable either, so no caster help…)

Any tech can check your alignment and inspect the health of the rod ends and bushings, but if you want to spend on hour to save $150, get the front end off the ground and start shaking the components to see if they are sound and then put someone in the driver seat to turn the wheel side to side and watch what moves before the wheels move.

my 2 cents on a place to start…

Thank you for your response Eric and JJ.

It is not a death wobble, but an annoying wobble. The thing that is weird is how it comes and goes. I will put it up and torque everything again and have the tires re-balanced. I cant do more than that myself so I was hoping for a JEEP specific type shop that may have some insight. We will see how it goes. Thanks again.

You are right, it doesn’t sound like “death wobble” because that would cause you to fear for your life. My 98TJ had what some call “death shake” which is basically a resonance in the suspension or steering components that cause the tires no over correct from the direction track. Realize that a small amount of play in a drag link could cause +/- 5 degrees of toe that could be applied to one wheel and not the other. If you consider factors like tire pressure, balance, size, toe alignment and bad caster along with just a few degrees of play, you can create all sorts of problems that will seem like a huge issue at 60 mph.

I would remind you that “come and go” problems are often associated with “come and go” environments. How many people are in the vehicle, how much fuel, pavement conditions, other variations of weight, wheel RPM, wind resistance effect of nose angle, ambient wind speed etc can all place your variables of the steering geometry in a different mode. It is possible only some of these factors can actually impact your shake, but that is why I suggest you start at the tire and work your way to the frame to identify anything that can move out of phase of your steering and front axle before you plan anything else including an alignment.

In the end, it is almost always “play” and/or caster. Caster is a more common factor for upsized tires. I would be willing to bet people assume larger tire caster (or lack of…) is the real issue, where it is actually the lift kit geometry (or lack of adjustment on the control arms) that is the root cause. With enough caster, you can smooth most wobbles and shakes, but I am not sure that is usually the only solution if you want a proper root cause fix.

Google “Jeep death shake” and you will find almost as many similar threads as “death wobble”.

As Eric already commented, after checking for play, pay the $150 for a balance and alignment and re-asses.

Check back in and let us know what you find during each phase. Any tech shop can check for play if you don’t want to and most tire places can do your alignment.

I can recommend Beacon Auto in Newport for both. He has a brand new laser alignment rack and can accommodate trucks with oversize tires, but there are probably 75 shops in RI that can do it too.

If it seems specific to one tire I would recommend swapping the tire in question with the spare or one of the other tires. Dont ignore checking the pressure of the tire as well. An over inflated tire can act very wonky.

I had something similar in my JK, got so I hated driving it, went through all the steps
jj and Jeff said, plus replacing tie rod ends and wheel bearings, not sure which one ended it but it over now. As an aside, when I put my 35’s on
it wasn’t as bad!! Go figure?

There is nothing weird about a vibration that comes and goes. That’s the nature of vibration; when a mechanical system is excited near one of its natural frequencies then the amplitude of vibration increases. What exactly triggers the vibration? If it only shows up at specific speeds and/or gears then something is almost certainly out of balance.

Were the tires dynamically balanced? Is a wheel out-of-round or warped? A bad reinforcement in one of the tires would not necessarily show up on a dynamic balancing machine but could show up when the tire it loaded and rolling down the road? Is the vibration coming from the front or rear? Could be a bent axle shaft. Could be brake pad material built up non-uniformly on a rotor.

I tourchered myself for YEARS with my TJ trying to do anything and everything. I’m convinced that in the end, my caster was too far out. I got it to about 8 degrees and can comfortably go 90 now.

Barrette Fab in Warwick ri 1077 toll gate road. 401-822-0860. Go their and have a talk with anyone that works there the owner is ricky