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Old 07-24-2016, 10:55 AM   #1
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Severe Shimmy

2012 Ford F-250, 4 wheel drive, 6.7 diesel, 85,000 miles.
Just started on this trip in June. Very occasionally when we hit a rough bump, the front end will begin to shimmy. I slow down and turn the wheel left and right to stop the shimmy. Occurs when towing and truck only.
Had new front shocks and steering damper replaced last week. Has occurred before and after having tires rotated. Otherwise truck rides smooth and straight down the road. Yesterday with truck only we had a violent shimmy after hitting some rough road. Almost scary.

Going to a Ford dealer tomorrow. Any ideas what may be the cause?

Thanks.


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Old 07-24-2016, 11:14 AM   #2
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It's a common problem on diesel trucks due to the heavy front end. You can google death wobble and find lots of information. I've posted one link below.

The "Death Wobble" - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

Good luck
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Old 07-24-2016, 12:22 PM   #3
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It is usually caused by a worn or loose front end part, bad steering stabilizer, or even a bad tire. Also if you have ever put any kind of "fix a flat" in your tires it can cause it as well. Steering stabilizer is the most common.


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Old 07-24-2016, 01:04 PM   #4
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Hmmmm......thought that only occurred on Dodge trucks mostly. I agree with above post. Most likely a worn part. The only thing you haven't mentioned is tie rod ends, drag link ball joints etc. Have they been checked? All front end parts on these trucks need to be tight with little tolerance for wear before something starts happening ie; abnormal tire wear including "cupping", shimmy, vibrations, excessive steering wheel play etc.

Although I wasn't getting any "death wobble", at 85,000 miles, I was experiencing cupping on my front tires and thought it was alignment. Had tires rotated and aligned and tires started cupping again. All tie rods & other related "steering parts" were checked and found good & tight. Finally after a visit to a good friend (mechanic) he said that in his experience it's the ball joints (upper). Sure enough, that's what it was. When he showed me, I could barely see any play but, we replaced all 4 ball joints anyway. Guess what....no more cupping and my tire wear is all even again!
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:47 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the info. I think problem is resolved. A new track bar ball joint was installed today. Mechanic did a before and after test drive. Had the shimmy before the repair and no shimmy after. Fingers crossed.

If you are in the area (Minot, ND) and need Ford truck service, Westlie Ford is excellent. They have a separate Super Duty facility that only works on trucks, and I am a very satisfied customer. We stayed at a local RV park and the dealer had a shuttle van.


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Old 07-25-2016, 12:55 PM   #6
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A worn out suspension component would seem to have problems either all the time, or completely random. I can't imagine why a worn out component would cause this behavior only when hitting a decent bump, and seem to get worse based on the severity of the bump, and would then correct itself with simple steering.


It sounds like something is loose, and may or may not be worn. Tight enough when it's smooth, but not enough clamp load to resist a pothole, etc.
Even though you mentioned it happens before and after a tire rotation, I would check the lugnuts yourself all around.
Then either check all suspension points yourself, or take it to a trusted mechanic who won't try to sell you everything before taking a good look and feel with a prybar. Paying for an hour of labor might save you a lot of money.
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rracer5 View Post
Hmmmm......thought that only occurred on Dodge trucks mostly. I agree with above post. Most likely a worn part. The only thing you haven't mentioned is tie rod ends, drag link ball joints etc. Have they been checked? All front end parts on these trucks need to be tight with little tolerance for wear before something starts happening ie; abnormal tire wear including "cupping", shimmy, vibrations, excessive steering wheel play etc.

Although I wasn't getting any "death wobble", at 85,000 miles, I was experiencing cupping on my front tires and thought it was alignment. Had tires rotated and aligned and tires started cupping again. All tie rods & other related "steering parts" were checked and found good & tight. Finally after a visit to a good friend (mechanic) he said that in his experience it's the ball joints (upper). Sure enough, that's what it was. When he showed me, I could barely see any play but, we replaced all 4 ball joints anyway. Guess what....no more cupping and my tire wear is all even again!
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Old 07-26-2016, 03:05 PM   #8
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Google: Ford death wobble caster


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Old 07-26-2016, 08:13 PM   #9
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Towed from Minot, ND to Sioux Falls, SD today. A full day of towing and no issues. The truck front end felt the same as the day I bought it.
So, I am a happy camper!


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Old 07-26-2016, 08:26 PM   #10
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Thank you for the follow up. Glad you got it figured out. Happy travels.
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