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Jeep Cherokee Grand Cherokee Steering Stability and Suspension

tebertsteberts Posts: 18
This is the 2nd Cherokee w/4 wd that I have had this problem with. At anytime on a highway the front end will go into a violent shake that sends me to the shoulder to slow down. Once I slow to about 30 mph it goes back to normal. It happened on my 1999 Chrokee 4 wheel and now on my 1997 Limited. If anyone has had this experience please help. Scarey to drive.
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Comments

  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    First off, are the tires balanced? Are these lifted? If they are lifted, it could be "death wobble." I've never experienced it myself, but I've been told it is a problem in lifted Jeeps and it is quite scary.

    If they aren't lifted and/or "death wobble" is not your problem, then I'd look at the steering/suspension. First off, check your tierod ends. If they are worn/loose, replace them. Make sure the drag link ends are not loose as well. Check for worn hubs and ball joints. Basically, jack up the front end and check for any movement in the front tires. To check for a worn hub or bad balls joins, grab the top and bottom of the tire and try to rock it up and down. If there is ANY movement at all, then the hub and/or ball joints need to be replaced. Next grab the left and rigt side of the tire and try to manually turn it. When you do this it is normal for there to be a little movement side to side. Just make sure the other front tire and steering wheel are moving with the tire you are turning. If the tire seems to move rather freely for just a little without the other tire or steering wheel moving with it, then you've got a bad tie-rod end/ends or drag link joint.

    You can grab the tie-rod itself and try to rotate it. It will rotate a small amount, less than 1/8 turn. If it seems to rotate freely, then the joints are bad. The same holds true for the drag link.

    Finally, check that track bar. Make sure it is absolutely tight. I do know of one situation on a late model lifted Cherokee where it came loose. The guy was driving down the road and did the "death wobble" shake. Once he got it straightened out, he hung his head out the window and got it up to speed again. This time he saw the front axle literally moving from side to side. When he got home, the track bar was ready to fall out. He recentered the axle and tightened the track bar down, with some LockTite this time, and he hasn't had any problems since.

    Good luck. I hope I helped.
  • tebertsteberts Posts: 18
    The tires and alignment have just been done. The vehicle has no lift package but I just put new shocks in it and had the alignment done at the same time. This is "death wobble" for sure. 2 cars same thing. I am taking it in this week. My mechanic says he has not heard of this. I am telling him to check:

    Track bar bushings

    Tie rod at the knucle

    Steering stabilizer

    Let me know what else. Thanks for the help. This is a bad wobble.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    You said you just had an alignment done?!? If your alignment shop rotated the axle forward, that could cause the problem. The steering knuckles are installed so that their vertical centerline is not perpendicular to the ground. It is slanted so that the top of the knuckle points "toward" the rear of the Jeep. This is known as "caster" and is a measure of the distance between two lines where they meet the ground. I'm not going to try to explain it here as I don't have pics and I don't feel like typing a novel.

    Caster is what makes the front end stable at high speeds and what makes the front end track straight when no other forces are acting upon it. If the axle were to be rotated forward, then the caster has been reduced or eliminated. This will cause the front end to lose their natural tendancy to "find" neutral and could cause them to wander rather violently.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    maybe I can explain it in a succinct manner.

    Imagine a vertical line drawn through the center of the axle. Next, imagine a line drawn through the center of the steering knuckle. The steering knuckle line will hit the ground in front of the point where the vertical line hits. The difference in these two lines can be measured in degrees of the angle or in inches between the two points and is referred to as caster. The greater the angle, or greater distance, the more stable it will be at high speeds.

    The tire, of course, will contact the ground where the vertical axle line hits the ground. It is the steering knuckle line that will "lead" the front tire. This is how you can pull a car around and the front tires will turn as the tow vehicle turns.

    The most obvious examples of this principle are two motorcycles. The first bike being a racing bike, while the second is a cruiser - such as a Harley. The racing bike's fork is nearly vertical while the Harley's fork is stuck way out in front. The racing bike is very agile and the Harley is rather heavy by comparison. However, the racing bike is not very stable at high speeds and requires the total attention of the rider while the Harley is very comfortable and stable at high speeds.

    I hope this helps. :confuse:
  • I have a 1997 Wrangler and I have the same problem. When I hit a small pot hole or bump at highway speed (50-60 mpg) the front end feels like it is going to fly right off the Jeep. I have to pull off the highway to make it stop. I took it to the shop for advice and they told me the ball joints are fine but the steering damper needs replacing...I had that done and there is no difference at all. I have been reluctant to drive it on the highway and only use it in town, and now I have to slum it in my Nissan 350Z if I want to go on the highway....hehe
  • tebertsteberts Posts: 18
    This is also the second time for me. I had a 99 Cherokee that got fixed and it seemed OK, but it was totaled 4 months later so not sure if it really was fixed. Anyway, I live in the mounatins of Colorado where there are tons of Jeeps and they seem to know the problem. I took my 97 in last week and the guy told me it was the Track bar. He put in a new one and we will see. One note is I put new shocks all the way around and after that the problem started. When you read these posts people with "lift kits" usually have this. I am wondering if the new shocks triggered the track bar?Anyway, my mechanic says it is a bad design flaw from Jeep. I also had 94 Cherokee 4WD and it had a different front end setup. That Jeep was a horse. I just sold it and it was still tight in the steering. The mechanic told me they changed the front end after the 95 year. My 97 Cherokee Limited was driven by an old guy in Florida and I knew him when he bought it. He took perfect care with it and probably never used the 4WD.

    The replacement of the track bar cost me about $375 including labor. If your mechanic wants to do other things that cost more tell him your friend has had the same problem with 2 different Jeeps and both times it was the track bar. Don't let them just start fixing stuff. Long story but I am becoming an expert with this problem. Good luck.
  • I own a 2001 Jeep Cherokee sport 2 wheel drive. I bought it used in 2002 with 30,000 miles on it. It seemed in perfect condition. The day i test drove it I noticed a slight shimmy on the steering wheel at around 50-55 mph. It drives smoothly at lower speeds and also gets smooth once you pass 55 mph. I thought it just needed a wheel balance so after purchasing the vehicle i took it to Discount tire for balancing. This did not correct the problem. The Dicount Tire mechanic told me I had bent rims so I bought a new set of aluminum wheels. This did not fix the problem either and he suggested new tires because the ones on the Jeep has a lot of cupping. I replaced the tires and this did make it better but over the course of 4 years since I have owned the Jeep I have continued to have this problem recur about every 3-4 months after I have the tires rotated and rebalanced. I have completely replaced all 4 tires 4 times in 4 years. Let me also say that during this time I have had the Jeep dealership check out my front end and they said everything was tight. I replaced the shocks myself and I have had the front end aligned several times as well. I have never had these kinds of problems with any other vehicle I have owned! Last week i had Discount Tires try to balance the tires on a new high tech machine and the steering wheel continued to wobble again around 55 mph again smoothing out after you pass 55 mph. They put yet another set of new tires on my Jeep and this time I took it directly over to Jeep to resolve the problem once and for all. The have had my Jeep 5 days. First they replaced all the tie rods and bushings and stabilizer bar etc, they said was worn. the cost was $600 as soon as I drove off their lot the wobble continued...the problem was still there! I did a U-turn and took it right back. Since then 4 days later they still cannot find the problem. The Service Manager is now involved and he has been on the phone with Chrysler. their suggestion was to replace the sway bars at a cost of around $300 more. I authorized them to do it but I get the feeling that they are just throwing darts at the wall. I have lost confidence in them to find the problem without replacing every part up there and costing me a fortune. If anyone else has had a problem like mine please let me know and how you solved it or not. It's quite frustrating to drive it this way on the highway and it is wearing out my tires much earlier than normal.
  • hi i have a 95 sport with a 2 in.lift and i also have a horrible front end shake. when i go over bumps on the hiway it feels like the whole front end wants to fall apart. also when i am going about 65mph on the hiway i get a vibration that makes me rear veiw mirror vibrate so bad i cant even see out of it. i had to take the rear swaybar out because it was rubbing the tires. could the shaking and stuff be from the lift and sway bar or something totally diffrent.i would appreciate any advice thanks :P
  • Hi...here is an update to my previous post titled "Vibration or wobble at 55 MPH" I finally got my 2001 Jeep Cherokee back from the Jeep dealership. Almost $1000 later (all tie rods, bushings,sway bars etc replaced) and the problem continues. I have done everything except switch out the axles and the to no avail. I have given up and I will dump this Jeep the first opportunity I get. I have a very strong suspicion that the problem is inherent in this model Jeep. Or at least in mine...very possibly a design flaw that Jeep has ignored. Wehn you have a wobble that always occurs at around 50-55 mph and you have replaced all 4 rims and tires, balanced them and had the fron end aligned, replaced all worn steering and front end stabilizers, bearings checked etc and the problem persists...what else could it possibly be? The dealership said it checked the driveshaft (it's fine) The jeep is not lifted and it's not a 4 wheel drive. You guys tell me....I'm at a complete loss.
  • Did the dealer put in a new track bar? I have put in new ones twice to repair the "death wobble". Not just a little wheel wobble. Anyway, track bar fixed both of mine.

    Tom
  • mac376mac376 Posts: 1
    I recently put a 1.5" Terralift suspension lift in my 2000 Cherokee Sport. I am noticing a slight vibration at about 30mph can anyone help me fix this problem?
  • It's funny as each lifted Jeep acts differently. Normally a 3" lift and above is when these issues happen. I would attack this problem with a 1" transfer case lowering kit. They don't cost a lot of money; somewhere around $35 or so.
    I think that will solve your problem. If it doesn't, a SYE might need to be installed but I really doubt it as a 1.5" lift *shouldn't* alter the driveline geometry much for that. But again, each Jeep acts differently to a lift kit.

    Also, I'd get a wheel alignment as the toe will be off a bit.
  • I did have work done on the "track bar" in fact here is what was done...they found slack in the track bar and inner tie rod, and dampner weak...replaced all three items and performed alignment to center toe and replaced sway bar. The following was also done... New tires, new rims, newly balanced tires.

    None of these repairs fixed the problem...my 2001 Cherokee Sport continues to vbrate/ wobble at between 50 to 58 mph.

    My Jeep is NOT lifted and I have not altered the original suspension in any way.
  • em9596em9596 Posts: 2
    i also have a 1.5 lift. i had to lower the trans case. i also had to get a whole new rear end ever since then i hadn't had a problem with that vibration. i just had to replace the steering damper and both front u joints.but that was a completely diff. vibration :shades:
  • I have a 94 Jeep grand cherokee that shakes violently at around 40mph. I Lifted it 4 inches and that might be the problem but WHERE? I have had mechanics check it but still no reason why it does that. Iv had it aligned, bought and put on a steering stableizer,and a few other parts but still didnot work. I cant even drive it over 35mph so i rarely use it. If u know anything PLEASE PLEASE let me know. Thanks alot.
  • tebertsteberts Posts: 18
    I have had this happen in 2 different Jeeps. By shake, I mean so violent you have to pull over. Anyway, both times it was fixed by putting in a new track bar. Try that.
  • I have a 99 JGC Laredo with 77K miles on it. I am experiencing a weird vibration from the front of the car when I make sharp left or right hand turns. The whole car shudders really bad! Is anyone else having the same problems, or know what is causing this?

    Thanks :)
  • I have a 2002 Jeep Cherokee Laredo that has a steering problem. Does anyone else have problems steering their Jeep when driving at highway speeds? I've heard that the problem could be my steering gear or tie rod ends. Anyone have the same problems?

    Thanks!
  • I am having problems steering my 2002 JGC at highway speeds. I have been told the problem could be the steering geear or the tie rods. Sounds like it could be an expensive problem. Anyone have similar experience/advice?

    Thanks!
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