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Old 05-09-2024, 12:07 PM   #1
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towing a trailer and death wobble

hello all our first trip is coming up, andwithin the last 6 months, my tow vehicle, a 2020 jeep gladiator, has developed the death wobble, and the (recalled) part is on indefinite (maybe? aug/sept 2024) back order through the dealer. I've done all the other required suggestions to help alleviate the death wobble.


I have a couple of questions, which I hope answer will relieve some of my 2024 camping season anxiety.


1) should I be concerned/is it safe to tow a travel trailer (2020 geopro 19qb) when the towing vehicle is know to have the death wobble?


2) any suggestions/tips on towing through the PA, WV mountains, like speed/rpm while driving up and down the mountains?


thanx for any info.


enjoy the camping season.


cheers,
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Old 05-09-2024, 12:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by nomadicdrave View Post
1) should I be concerned/is it safe to tow a travel trailer (2020 geopro 19qb) when the towing vehicle is know to have the death wobble?

2) any suggestions/tips on towing through the PA, WV mountains, like speed/rpm while driving up and down the mountains?
Death wobble?!? Holy bad decisions, Batman.

Anxiety is right. Gotta tell you, Dave – considering the forces at work – I can't imagine towing ANYTHING with the Death Wobble/bad suspension issue, let alone just driving the thing. Your 19qb (unloaded, about 75% of the weight of your tow vehicle) will be relying on the Gladiator's suspension, as will you and your passengers (and the people on the road around you). Attempting to do that with a known issue in your suspension would be - and this is as kindly as I can put it - foolish. Doing so in the mountains?

If you're going to go ahead and proceed with your trip(s), bite the bullet and beg/borrow/steal/rent yourself a replacement tow vehicle for the trip(s), reducing your anxiety and helping to ensure the safety for everyone's sake.

Take the time to get your Gladiator back in line (and, likely, back in spec if you've lifted it, replaced the wheels, redone the suspension, etc). That's the only way to know that your vehicle can tow to its specifications - cause those are only good as it came from the factory.

Everything after that is good practices - take it easy on the hills, slower than you think on grade, risk of trailer wag increases as speeds increase, and on downhill stretches. Watch your transmission and engine temps, don't ride the brakes. You'll get there. It'll take longer, but every second you slow down is time you'll get to spend.

Just my .02, I could be wrong (but don't think so on this one).
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Old 05-09-2024, 12:38 PM   #3
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I've owned numerous jeeps over the years (currently selling my 2000 XJ) and the saying goes, if you own one long enough you'll get to experience the noted death wobble. I don't necessarily agree with that but whatever.

How bad (extreme?) and how often is the wobble in your steering wheel? At what speeds? Does altering speeds make it stop? If it were me I would try and assess the relative risk of towing with a Gladiator by answering the questions above. Also, if it were me and I were in a financial position to do so, I'd consider trading it in on a different tow vehicle rather than changing my plans to pull a TT.

My .02
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Old 05-09-2024, 01:03 PM   #4
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Moved thread from the Rockwood sub-forum to the Towing, Tow Vehicles and Hitches sub-forum since the OP's questions are specific to that sub-forum.
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Old 05-09-2024, 01:57 PM   #5
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I pull with a 2021 JLURD with the diesel. My camper is a bit lighter but I bought in PA, about 8.5 hours from my home in RI. It handle those climbs beautiful and many of the speed limits was 70mph.. I do have a WD hitch and also installed rear airbags. Mine has 35” tires and fox shocks. The rest is stock. I never had death wobble myself. I also installed the Mopar break controller. I may ask over on the Jeep Gladiator forum if.there is anything that can be done while waiting for the recall parts. I have 55k on mine and enjoy it. Hopefully you can find a safer solution. Best of luck.
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Old 05-09-2024, 03:22 PM   #6
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Don't know exactly what is causing your death wobble, but I wouldn't be towing with it in the mountains, that's for sure.
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Old 05-09-2024, 03:41 PM   #7
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Depends on how bad the death wobble is. We have had several ford F350s on the farm with the death wobble. We never found a permanent fix for it. When it happened, we could tap the brakes or just slow down and it would stop, until the next time. We pulled lots of trailers while experiencing the death wobble, and once you knew to expect it occasionally, it wasn't that big a deal. But definitely unnerving the first time!!

So if your wobble doesn't cause steering problems until you get it calmed down, I would probably use your TV until the part comes in. Just hope that the part actually fixes it.
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Old 05-09-2024, 03:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HangDiver View Post
I've owned numerous jeeps over the years (currently selling my 2000 XJ) and the saying goes, if you own one long enough you'll get to experience the noted death wobble. I don't necessarily agree with that but whatever.

How bad (extreme?) and how often is the wobble in your steering wheel? At what speeds? Does altering speeds make it stop? If it were me I would try and assess the relative risk of towing with a Gladiator by answering the questions above. Also, if it were me and I were in a financial position to do so, I'd consider trading it in on a different tow vehicle rather than changing my plans to pull a TT.

My .02
thanx for responding.

usually at highway speeds of 65-70 mph, and it does calm down when slowed down to 55, even though speed limit is 65-70. I try to stay no more than 65mph when towing.


trading in is not an option at this time.
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Old 05-09-2024, 03:47 PM   #9
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Depends on how bad the death wobble is. We have had several ford F350s on the farm with the death wobble. We never found a permanent fix for it. When it happened, we could tap the brakes or just slow down and it would stop, until the next time. We pulled lots of trailers while experiencing the death wobble, and once you knew to expect it occasionally, it wasn't that big a deal. But definitely unnerving the first time!!

So if your wobble doesn't cause steering problems until you get it calmed down, I would probably use your TV until the part comes in. Just hope that the part actually fixes it.

I had a 2006 wrangler with death wobble, nobody could find it or fix it. hopefully this part that this on indefinite back order, actually comes in maybe. too bad it's at the end of camping season.
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Old 05-09-2024, 06:10 PM   #10
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What is wrong with FCA? First, RAM trucks with death wobble. Now Jeeps with death wobble? , sad day for Jeep. I remember when a Jeep was something you could depend on. One more thing that Chrysler ruined.
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Old 05-09-2024, 06:28 PM   #11
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What is wrong with FCA? First, RAM trucks with death wobble. Now Jeeps with death wobble? , sad day for Jeep. I remember when a Jeep was something you could depend on. One more thing that Chrysler ruined.
Back in the day Jeeps were built solid, including the suspension. Then people complained about solid/stiff ride and to retain market share a softer suspension was designed. That involved mote pieces with "rubber" bushings at their ends. In time these parts wear and allow what back in the day was called "shimmy".

It will be an issue whenever loose parts are present and ofyen it's not just one causing the problem. Usually it's the cumulative looseness.

All the above can combine with improper alignment settings to make for a scary event.

FWIW, jamming on brakes often stops the shimmy/wobble because the suspension parts are now solidly loaddd in one direction. Not fun but be prepared to do some extensive suspension work to eliminate the issue.
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Old 05-09-2024, 06:45 PM   #12
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What are they saying is causing the death wobble / the part on back order? Reason I ask is you can get death wobble from bed ball joints, worn out track bar and links. Have you looked at aftermarket parts as well not from stelantis?
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Old 05-09-2024, 06:49 PM   #13
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The only vehicle I’ve had that had a death wobble was a 1965 Rambler. lol. Unless you have some seriously worn parts I don’t see any reason a modern vehicle would.

Recall be damned I would bring it to a competent alignment specialist and get it fixed. I bet there are perfectly good quality aftermarket parts in stock to fix it.
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Old 05-09-2024, 06:51 PM   #14
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Unfortunately when parts wear on Jeeps they get death wobble or a poor lift kit setup can also cause the wobble
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Old 05-09-2024, 08:00 PM   #15
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I've done a lot of Jeeping over the years and the only Jeeps I've come across with the infamous death wobble were those that had been lifted or otherwise had their suspension modified. I left my suspension stock and never had death wobble. My initial assessment of the Gladiator when it first came out was it was too big for the trail and too underpowered for towing. Numerous reports I've heard since have borne that out to be the case in both instances.
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Old 05-09-2024, 08:01 PM   #16
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Unfortunately when parts wear on Jeeps they get death wobble or a poor lift kit setup can also cause the wobble
Add to the list the custom wheels with improper offset. Look great (perhaps) but can drastically upset steering geometry.
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Old 05-09-2024, 09:40 PM   #17
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Don’t think I would proceed with a so called death wobble. Doesn’t sound like a good idea.
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Old 05-09-2024, 09:45 PM   #18
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I've done a lot of Jeeping over the years and the only Jeeps I've come across with the infamous death wobble were those that had been lifted or otherwise had their suspension modified. I left my suspension stock and never had death wobble. My initial assessment of the Gladiator when it first came out was it was too big for the trail and too underpowered for towing. Numerous reports I've heard since have borne that out to be the case in both instances.
A couple of years ago I had a rental 4 door Wrangler from National. It had a little less than 12,000 miles on the odometer. I only drove it about 50 miles total, but on the way to return it passed over an expansion joint on a bridge at 65mph and was afraid that I would go over the side for a few moments. It felt like the right front wheel was shaking violently & it was all I could do to hold on to the steering wheel.

I had to slow to 45 before it stopped, and then was able to go right back to 65 like nothing had happened. Hate to think what might have happened if my wife had been driving - she's a panic-er.
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Old 05-09-2024, 10:22 PM   #19
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thanx for responding.

usually at highway speeds of 65-70 mph, and it does calm down when slowed down to 55, even though speed limit is 65-70. I try to stay no more than 65mph when towing.


trading in is not an option at this time.
We're all a little bit different with our level of comfort while towing. I'd be tempted to hitch up and go for 50 mile test drive under slower speeds. Bring the pucker meter.
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Old 05-10-2024, 07:43 AM   #20
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Jeeps are prone to "Death Wobble". Part of the geometry and parts that make them so good at what they do.
Factory steering stabilizers are ok. Till they aren't. That is probably the part that is backordered.
If you have larger than stock tires, then the factory steering stabilizer is going to be overworked due to increased weight and height of tires.
Forget about warranty work on the factory stabilizer is the best advice I can give.
My experience with Rancho stabilizers is NOT GOOD.
I found the Monroe stabilizers are MUCH better at being a stabilizer. Stabilizers work differently from a shock ( even though they look the same). Single heavy duty units work well with stock or a couple sizes up on tires. Dual stabilizers will fix about any issue with death wobble......
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