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Jeep Cherokee Grand Cherokee Steering Stability and Suspension



  • cheapxjcheapxj Posts: 2
    I have driven Jeeps in one form or another for over 30 years i have yet to drive one that does not have the WOD. It is a problem that comes from a straight axle mounted to a vehicle with coil springs. You can decrease the amount of wobble with a trac bar and poly bushing and a good stablizer. If you want to get the least amount of wobble replace the trac bar with one that has hiem joints and use poly bushings on all the control arms. Even with this you could feel a small amount of wobble (like an out of balance tire). My 92 xj has poly control arm bushing and a trac bar with hiem joints and a double stablizer this combination has reduce to wobble to nothing. Just remember it is a jeep thing... If you don't like the quirks they have buy an SUV not a JEEP. The above mentioned mods will make the jeep a little harsh for ride but when you use it like a jeep you can't beat it. Most of all enjoy your Jeep it has a very proud heritage.
  • New here, thought maybe I can find the info I'm looking for here. I have tried other forums and did not get much help. I have a 95 xj sport 4.0 HO with a AX15 manual tranny and need to swap to a AW4 due to bad knees. I found that this is a fairly common swap and from the info I have gathered it does not seem to hard to do. What I could really use is a guide or write up on this swap. Anyone know of one? I think I have figured out all of the hardware I need (i.e. Transmission, Flex plate, Cooler and lines...) what is tripping me up is the electronics, do I need a ECU from a auto equipped xj or does mine already have the connections? Where is it located on mine? If I do need an ECU for the auto, what years can I salvage one from? Will the TCU have to be from the same year/year range as the auto tranny or the same year xj as the ECU? If anyone is knowledgeable on this swap I would love to pick your brain for info.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    While you're waiting for a reply here you will want to also try Got a Quick, Technical Question?. Good luck!

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • jeepag24jeepag24 Posts: 1
    My 2001 is doing the same thing (with the shaking) and the same thing with the AC/heat....I've had balance, allignment, bearing stuff, etc. worked on in the past year (dont remember exactly but its been over $800), took it to the dealership this morning and they said I needed 4 new tires and the steering damper replaced?? I don't know....I didn't realize until I starting looking up information about the steering damper thing, how many people's jeep had the same problem....Did you ever get your fixed?
  • tebertsteberts Posts: 18
    I do not know how many times I have to tell guys. TRAC BAR! Do not spend one more nickel until you get a new TRAC BAR! I have this 2 times in my own Jeeps and I know 3 other guys personally. ALL WERE TRAC BARS. It is relatively cheap to fix. Try it!
  • svotsvot Posts: 4
    I brought my 2000 jeep to a mechanic last week with the same problem. He could not figure out what was was wrong. He had suggested replacing the cv joint. I asked which one and he said guess. I told him that this was not a game I want to play. I then brought the vehicle to another mechanic today. He just called me and told me he too does not know what is causing the vibration. I will tell him tomorrow to replace the Trac Bar and let you know if it fixes the problem.

    What I stll do not understand is why does it shake sometimes and not others? Why is it difficult for mechanics to locate this issue? He looked at the trac bar today and did not see any sign of damage.
  • svotsvot Posts: 4
    When I stop at lights I notice that my driving lights shut off and turn on. My RPMS drop to 300-400 at the same time so I suspect it is a electrical drop due to lack of alternator spin. My mechanic replaced the spark plugs and now suggests a fuel injector cleaning. Between the mechanics within the shop they seem to disagree whather this will correct my problem. Has anyone else experinced this problem?
  • tuggajbtuggajb Posts: 646
    before i would spend upwords of 800.00 dollars to find the prob i would change the battery first
    most of the prob can be traced back to battery volts not stable jeeps like stable voltage
  • mikeyp53mikeyp53 Posts: 55
    Here's a good one for you Chrysler owners. My 2004 Grand Cherokee developed a clunking sound in the steering wheel and you could feel it in the wheel. Felt like it was comin up through the suspension. Took it to 3 different dealers over a 2 year period. The third dealer replaced the upper steering wheel head and U joint, cured the problem. Its a silent recall and they will fix if you [non-permissible content removed] enough. No charge as car was still under B to B warranty. One year later, still is OK. Anyone else experience this one?
  • svotsvot Posts: 4
    Okay, finally solved this mystery.... The answer does not lie in the Trac Bar. My story like others... I have taken my vehicle to two well known mechanics.... The last one was Fountain Tire; they diagnosed the two problems that I have; 1st stalling at low rpm when braking and number 2, the shaking at 80km. Number 1- The stalling is likely a misfire. Replaced spark plugs at $200. Number 2 - Shaking, the front end is solid, take it to Jeep to figure out. $100 Diagnostic Charge. Likely a warped rotor. (slightly rotor wobble at high speeds) Better than the previous mechanic Midas, they wanted to replace the cv joints one at a time till the problem fixed itself. I then brought the vehicle to a friends father who teaches mechanics, within five minutes he diagnosed the problems and fixed within the hour. Cost me $50 in parts. #1, rpm loss - throttle body build up, spray air intake cleaner in the throttle body. $5.00 #2, Death Wobble - Steering Stablelizer. Jeep uses a hydraulic stablelizer much like a shock. When it wears out it will have play. THe play allows the wheel to fall into a groove within the roadway and it will bounce back with the broken stablizer and continue to vibrate back and forth due to the fliud within the stablelizer cycling. A working stablizer will pull the vehicle out of the groove in the pavement. Simple removal of two bolts pulls out the stablelizer, if there is play it needs to be replaced. Fixed for $50 cdn.......... In addition the braking vibration was caused by the stablelizer not the roters, wrong again..

    Find yourself an experienced mechanic they are well worth the money....
  • svotsvot Posts: 4
    Yes, it is the stering dampner (or stablizer). Simple check. Pull it out and you will feel play, it should be tense like a shock.
  • imijjimiimijjimi Posts: 3
    my 2000 cheroke has a bad rattle in the front end, both front end brake callipers are loose and rattle only when going over certain bumps on the road when I go over those same bumps with the brakes on it doesn't make noise, how ever the amount of rattle seems like it would be more than just callipers but otherwise drives and handles excellent. I also recently had a problem with loss of rpm and running rough waiting at red lights and such but when driving it runs great, put it on the scanner it didn't show any codes no engine light ever came on to begin with but the 02 sensors would show lean rich and then go too center so I changed the 02 sensors 1 before the catalyctic coverter 1 after and it seemed to have fixed the problem. If anyone has the same problem or experience with the front end rattle, please enlighten me
  • imijjimiimijjimi Posts: 3
    my 2000 jeep cherokee sport 4x4 4.0L has been doing that very same thing lately except I haven't noticed any lights dimming or anything like that and hasn't actually stalled on me yet but starts running really rough. I changed the o2 sensors and it seemed to run better for a couple of days but then today again. should have stuck with my chev cause I just aint gettin this jeep thing. the dealer seen me coming I bought it used for 10,300.00 taxes included w/ 151960km on it put about 4000km on it and this happens not to mention the rattling coming from my front end front callipers are severely worn and rattling like crazy and theres definately something else rattling as well I can feel and hear when I go over certain bumps or cracks in the road any advice or experian
    lemonce in the matter would be greatly appreciated Marce
  • jsimjsim Posts: 6
    when driving my jeep at 80km or more when i touch the accelarater there is a pooping sound coming from the engine compartment.
  • I had the same problem on a 2000 and after replacing the damper and front breaks the problem went away.
  • ralphjralphj Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Jeep Cherokee Classic 4x4. Love the car. NO lift. 1st problem volt meter jumps all the way to the right, light fluctuates, check engine light comes on until volt meter returns to normal. I changed the battery 1st(cheapest fix) changed the altinator, now I am sending the ECM to be rebuilt. 2nd problem. front end shakes from around 58 to 70 MPH then smooths out and is fine. When I take a sharp right turn there is a single loud thump. Sometimes when I am going real slow with foot off brake there is a bumping noise in front which stops when I touch the brakes. I hope someone can geve me some advise. I have replaced one ball joint. Recently had new brakes on the front. The problem with the bumping noise at slow speed started after this. Also replaced the control arm bushings.
  • woody67woody67 Posts: 2
    I also replaced the dampener and found that 95% of the problem disappeared. If, after replacing the worn tires the problem does not completely disappear, I'll probably replace the trac bar which most have said will help.
  • dotcom012dotcom012 Posts: 5
    I recently put new CV shafts in my 1997 grand cherokee. Since then, if i am traveling down the raod i seem to have alot of play in my sterring wheel and when i hit the speed of 40 MPH or more the jeep starts to shake, sometimes it gets so bad i have to slam on the brakes to take control of my car or else it starts to shake so bad it swerves of the road. Is there something i can so. I have heard things about warped rotors, bad Steering stabalizers and more. Is there something that causes this and how to fix it. This is my only car and it just so happens the whole way to and from work is 45 MPH or more.


    1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    5.2L V8
    4 Wheel all wheel drive, i can't take it out of 4 wheel it is the one that just has 4 HI and 4 Lo
  • tuggajbtuggajb Posts: 646
    be sure to check all your work
    if it didn't shake before changeing shalfs aut not do it now
  • I Have a 1988 jeep cherokee and a 1999 cherokee and have had the problem with both vehicles. It was a little different for both but very similar. I drove the 88 until the track bar broke. Once it broke the problem was solved. The 99 was much more involved. I bought the jeep from a friend who brought it to the dealership and they told her the wobble was from the UV joints. That right away struck me funny. I know that there are u-joints and cv joints but I never heard of a uv joint, so I laughed when she told me. I though that I would need to were sunglasses because the only UV I have ever heard of was ultra violet light from the sun. Anyway they told her it would cost $1000 to fix, she bought a new car and since I have a press it cost me $30 to fix what they were going to do. the one joint was bad but it wasn't the problem. The track bar seemed fine but i replaced it anyway because i had the problem with it in the past. It got better for about 2 minutes and then was worse than ever. I tightend both ends and found that the end bolted to the axle was loose and I tightend the crap out of it and it got better for a little then went back to the original horrible shake. My friend is a great mechanic and he told me to replace the steering damper. No help. I got underneath and had a friend shake the steering wheel back and forth and found that the track bar end that is bolted to the axle was tight but still had play between the bushing and bolt. This is where I lost it. I pulled the track bar down and found that the factory bolt didn't fit in the metal insert properly. I fabricated a shim to take up the space between the bolt and the metal insert in the bushing that was sheet metal thin. Once I installed it i thought my problems were solved but the shim pushed out the back side of the axle housing bracket. That meant that the play was more than just between the bolt and the metal insert, the axle housing bracket had just as much play in it. I put the stock bolt in it and it confirmed that there was play in the bracket and the busing insert. I went to home depot and bought metric and standard bolts that were similar and larger in size than the original. My final plan was to use a larger bolt and drill out both the axle housing and the insert to a larger size to take up the slack. My concern was that if i drilled the axle housing bigger than stock I would have to do some serious welding to get it back to stock if needed. It was my last hope so I had planned on doing it anyway but to my surprise a fine threaded 7/16 bolt fit perfectly in the housing. No drilling in the housing made me very happy. I took a 7/16 drill bit and drilled out the bushing insert. It was very close, it didn't take much drilling at all to make the bolt fit. No more death wobble. I still have some shake in the wheel that can be attributed to 2 possible causes. 1.) I have driven it so long in this condition that the tires have become cupped (flat spots due to the prior condition) and 2.)the oem rubber bushing allows play because of the nature of rubber. I am going to do 2 things 1.)Replace and balance the front tires. 2.) Install a polyurathane bushing in the axle end of the track bar. I am sure that this will take care of any slight shimmy that is left. It is very drivable the way it is if you choose but I am a perfectionist. So what is the problem and why doesn't it show up when the car is new?
    The axle housing is drilled too large from the factory but the bolt is too small to fit properly. The stock bolt fits into the factory track bar busining sleeve perfectly but not into the axle housing. They tighten the bolt so tight that it doesn't show up right away. Once the bolt starts to loosen there is a little play in the axle end and you start to notice the shimmy, which wears out the other end of the track bar and once that happens the death wobble starts. The problem with replacing the track bar is that the bolt housing is wrong and the replacement rack bar doesn't fit to the original bolt like the original track bar does so you cant replicate oem tightness by overtightening the bolt. Once I figured this out the fix took me 15 minutes to fix. I know this message is long and complicated, if you don't understand it don't try to explain it to your mechaninc, print out this message and let him read it. Chrystler really messed this one up and they can't even tell people how to fix it. I have done a lot of research on this and found nothing except that a lot of people are spending a lot of money to fix this problem when it is so simple. I am a backyard mechanic and have never been employed as a mechanic, kinda scary to think that I solved the problem that mechanics and engineers cant seem to figure out. I hope that I have made your headache less than mine. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
  • I found what I think is one other post related to this. When I'm turning, the front right wheel acts like it's in a bind. At first I thought ball-joint. It was OK. Next we replaced the cv joint, no luck. Sometimes, when turning, the right front lifts up in the air and drops several times. Why I think it might be tranny related is once when it was doing it, I stopped and put it in park... It did it three more times while in park, but not as dramatic. Anyone else have this problem or know what it might be? It's a '94 JGC Limited.
  • slobecslobec Posts: 1
    My 93 Jeep does fine for short trips but when engine compartment gets hot after driving greater than 15 miles it is hard to park because the front wheels "stutter" and also makes noises. The wheels become hard to turn and then catches and turns a couple of inches at a time. Engine temperature does not run hot. Bought car new and am very happy with it with the exception of problem listed.
  • tuggajbtuggajb Posts: 646
    sound like your power stering pump is on way out don't pump enough pressure when hot
  • dotcom012dotcom012 Posts: 5
  • i am having a very similar problem with my track bar. the mount on the axle has been worn away over time and now shakes very violently especially with the lift. the metal insert inside the track bar bushing has not been worn away though and is extremely dificult to drill through. so my solution is i welded the right size washer to the front of the track bar mount but i havent decided what to do with the back side of the track bar mount. any suggestions?
  • Does anyone have any clue why this might happen. My Wife and I were going to pick soemthing up and we heard a noise like a flat tire. When I got out to inspect all the lug nuts on the driver front were loose and 2 on the passenger front were loose. I tightened them and then we went on our way we had only left the house like 5-10 min before this. Then after that the Jeep randomly at both acceleration and breaking shakes violently side to side, enough that it knocks sodas out of the cup holder. It is an 89 2dr Cherokee 4wd. it has a 2 inch budget booste and a 3 inch suspension Lift with 31 inch tires.
  • Ive read enough!!!...THE DEATH WOBBLE IS SOMETHING PPL THAT HAVENT EXPERIENCED IT HAVE NO IDEA!!!!! When it happens it will make u shyt ur pants and u MUST pull over immediately...regardless of how fast ur goin...I am having the same problem, if i hit a bump, it can be 30, 40, 50, or 70 mph...when it happens it is GAME OVER....just a lil wheel wobble at highway speeds is not what we are talking about, 2 separate issues.... DEATH WOBBLE IS UNBELIEVABLE....Thanks to this thread i will have my TRAC BAR replaced for starters....yes damper can be a issue for slight shaking at highway speeds i assume..shrug....but too many ppl are confusing DEATH WOBBLE with a slight shaking....they have no clue....thanks
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 887
    "Death Wobble?"

    It's caused by the large amount of caster specified for this vehicle. This makes the vehicle sensitive to any worn parts. It isn't always the steering damper, but those certainly help.

    So look for worn front end parts.
  • The bolt in the passenger lower control arm was gone
  • To DSmith or heirs,
    First of all, thanks for solving my problem. I had replaced the stabilizer, the track bar and the inner tie rod end without success. My problem was the enlarged axle mounting hole at the fixed end of the track bar as described here by dsmith2370. However, the bolt used here was a grade 10.9. If you replaced it with a home depot ungraded 7/16 fastener, you may be dead by now. RIP -Gary
  • Wow. I'm floored by how many people have experienced/are experiencing the so-called "Wobble of Death" and the descriptions are EXACTLY what I'm experiencing. I'm new to the area and a new owner of an old Jeep Cherokee (1986), so I was skeptical of my new mechanic's suggestion and was planning to get a second opinion. It seems this site IS my second opinion.

    My mechanic recommends: steering dampener (leaking), and Frontend Lateral Bar replacment. Is the Track Bar, that many here have described, the same as the Frontend Lateral Bar? I've got Chilton's out and it differentiates between Track Bar and Stabilizer Bar and Tie Rod (no Frontend Lateral Bar). I suppose I could ask my mechanic, but I'm on this site right now and would like your opinions.

    And thanks to all of you for helping me understand what this problem most likely is before I spent a fortune trying to figure it out. I was simply searching the web to find out what the ramifications of a malfunctioning steering dampener were and that led me to you.
  • My mechanic didn't know the track bar by name. Apparently this is a Jeep name. He called it "the front suspension link which restricts the side-to-side movement of the axle" You can check the track bar yourself as follows: Leave the car in park apply the parking brake and block the wheels. (Don't get run over!) Have an assistant start the car and rock the steering wheel side to side until the wheels just start to turn (about 1/8 of a revolution). Lay under the front of the car and watch the ends of track bar. The track bar has a ball joint on the drivers side which attaches to a bracket mounted to the frame. If there is play (i.e. slop) in the ball joint the track bar needs to be replaced. The passenger side end of the track bar attaches to the axle through a bracket. Watch the head of the through bolt. The bolt should not move in the bracket. If it does, this is the problem dsmith__ describes above. HTH -Gary
  • luvgcluvgc Posts: 1
    I bought a 2005 GC from a dealer in June. Dealer has been attempting to diagnose an intermittent rumbling that sounds like I am running over a rumble strip. This happens on interstates and side roads. So far dealer has replaced the powertrain control module, transmission control module, and front right and left hubs and bearings. It still rumbles...any ideas? Also, I am getting hesitation going up hills and in humid weather. Dealer suggested it was A/C cutting in and out, but it happens when A/C is off. Suggestions?
  • Thanks for posting this. I have a 2004 JGC and mine does the same thing. I will have to hastle the dealer about this since it is most annoying.
  • I have the same problem but not that bad.
    I own a '03 JGC and when I turn the steering wheel you can feel some tension on the wheel, but only on the left driver side and I can hear it. Is this what you heard?
  • Thanks for the posting. I have 04 JGC when turning left is like the power steering is gone. Makes whining noise.. Dealer wants to charge me 1400 for gear & pump that wasn't sure pump is gone but I should replace it, said there was no recall on steering and it's not covered by the warranty. Oh and he claims he's seen this problems on jeeps with less miles , I have 67,000. Any suggestions.
  • Hi all, Kinda new to this forum so I want to thank all for your great help and info. I have a 04 GC, 4 wd, 4.7l, with 66kmiles. The problem is when I turn the steering wheel to the left only at low speeds or stops it squeaks. There is no vibration or loss of power, just an annoying squeak or rubbing sound that seems to be coming from the steering wheel itself. Any comments or help would be greatly appreciated.

  • I disagree with it always being the track bar. I had mine replaced last Friday, and half an hour later it was shaking again.

    I wish I was lucky enough to have the problem solved, but I'm going to have to keep serching
  • Matt,
    Yes, this is consistent with the problem and resolution described here. Read message 60 and try the test described in message 70. -Gary
  • Thanks Gary. I'll give that a try and post my findings.
  • I am a owner of a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I am scared to death of this jeep. When I hit a bump at any rate of speed my passenger side tire shakes so violently that it feels like its going to come off. When I hit my brakes and slow down or straighten the wheel it stops. I have also noticed the shake when I am on uneven road. My husband has never felt this. It scares me to death. My mechanic says its the bearings in the 4WD because its never been used. That makes no sense to me. Could this be the death wobble (although I wouldnt call it a wobble, its like my wheel is hopping in and out of place). Please excuse me if this is in the wrong place or I explain it like a girl (I am one). I dont want to start at the front and replace everything. I love my jeep. It has over a hundered thousand on it and everything is perfect except my wheel feeling like its gonna fall off. Is it the trac bar I read about on here? Can someone help me, I am at a loss and very fustrated.
  • tuggajbtuggajb Posts: 646
    I would try new track bar first also have him check the upper and lower suspension bushings
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Could this be the death wobble ...

    The so-called death wobble usually only occurs above a certain speed (or within a speed range) but otherwise the symptoms you describe fit. It's a well-known problem and I would have it looked into right away by a good mechanic.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • I had the same problem with my GrandCherokee Laredo 2000. Reading this forum I decided to replace the steering damper with no success, I still got the violent shaking. Recently I replaced the power steering high pressure hose (which I purchased from Adv Auto Parts- $45.00), and problem disappeared, no more shaking.
  • 98 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4x4 auto.
    I am getting really bad spring wrap when I come to a stop. and them release my brakes.
    Is this a common problem?
    How do I stop it?
    It is really annoying!!!!!!!!!
  • mmelkimmelki Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 jeep cherokee. I just replaced the track bar last week and it made my problem worse. I never had the "death shake" before. I only experienced minor shake. I talked to a mechanic and he suggested the track bar. I am scared to drive my jeep now.
  • mmelkimmelki Posts: 4
    "Death Shake". I was experiencing minor shake problems. I was told by a mechanic to change the track bar. We changed it and now I am experiencing the "death shake". It only happens on uneven roads at higher speeds 60+. The unevenness has to be consitent, within a short distance of the next unevenness, for the "death shake" to occur. Do you have any advice? Oh I also have a steering stabilizer shock that is less than 1 year old.
  • It seems that most 'death rattles' are caused by loose or worn parts. From what I've read in here and my one experience it seems to be worn bolts or mounting areas.

    My 'death shake' was cured by replacing the steering stablizer (thing that looks like a shock absorber attatched to the steering). The rubber mount at the one end was worn, and I could easily shake it back & forth by hand. Even when I replaced it, I noticed the one mounting bolt was a bit worn.

    So, my recomendation, for what it's worth, is to get some replacement bolts (of proper grade steel) and change the mounting bolts for the stablizer bar & steering stablizer. At the same time, check for worn rubber mounts.

    This may or may not cure it, but it sure is the least expensive thing to try, and, again, after reading the other postings here, it seems to be the cure for many of the problems.

    Also, make sure you check the recommendations in here ( I believe it's posting #60 ) about how to check for a loose stablizer bar.

    Good luck!
  • Depending on what size of tires you are running, there should be little or no vibration, but if it is not a throw you off the road vibration, then live with it is the cheapest solution.

    Mine was solved for a few years by swapping out the trac bar. Then it came back, and it has been there for four years now, with absolutely no other issues other than an annoying vibration between 50-57 miles per hour, so I just ignore it now.

    Its a Jeep thing, and I have 2inches of lift on that model, and removed my limiters front and rear too fix it, no avail, just scary if I hit the brakes in a corner while trailering.....

    Keep the rubber side pointed down, or at least sideways.
  • Depending on what SIZE of tires you are running, there should be little or no vibration, but if it is not a throw you off the road vibration, then live with it is the cheapest solution. If like me, you are running oversized tires, YOU WIL GET VIBRATION no matter what you do, as the tires will be grabbing the pavement differently at chaning speeds.

    Secondly, why are you driving a Jeep, of all the vehicles out there, find one that is built for the road man. You don't seem like the off road type, so sell it already. It will give you many headaches, as it already has. I love Jeeps, especially XJ's and its hard to watch someone bashing them when mine has treated me extremely well considering how many trail miles I throw it quite regularly on almost no maintenance.

    Another thing, axle u joints, axle shaft defectiveness, steering arms slightly warped, front bearing having a slight warp will go unnoticed until highways speeds. If its that, it will continue to have those vibrations at several speeds you just aren't noticing them because they are not as noticeable.

    Mine was solved for a few years by swapping out the trac bar. Then it came back, and it has been there for four years now, with absolutely no other issues other than an annoying vibration between 50-57 miles per hour, so I just ignore it now. My register is now over 330,000, so .... The major portion of that is not highway either...

    Its a Jeep thing, and I have 2inches of lift on that model, and removed my limiters front and rear too fix it, no avail, just scary if I hit the brakes in a corner while trailering.....

    Keep the rubber side pointed down, or at least sideways.
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