Jeep Cherokee shakes and bounces uncontrollably

jeep
suspension
cherokee

#1

My 95 Jeep Cherokee appears to have some type of front suspension problem that no one can figure out. At highway speeds, if you hit a hard bump, usually where the road meets an overpass or bridge, the front of the vehicle starts to bounce and shake uncontrollably. The steering wheel also shakes violently, along with the dash and everything else. It will continue for probably 10 seconds or more and then settle down. The car remains straight during this time, but it’s pretty scary when it happens. It’s not every bump that causes it, so it’s hard to predict.

One shop replaced the steering stabilizer, but that didn’t work. Two shops did a front suspension evaluation and couldn’t find any problems, and none of them could recreate the problem when driving it. They didn’t find any problems with the shocks upon inspection, but they are pretty old.

Any suggestions, I’m running out of shops to take my truck to, and it’s not safe to keep driving the vehicle with this problem. Thanks.


#2

The entire front end is suspect in this case of classic Jeep “death wobble”, but the most frequent culprit is the track bar. Pay special attention to the connectors that link the tie rods to the track bar.

Ball joints are another possibility, but my money is on the track bar. While you are at it, I would suggest replacing those old shocks also.


#3

My brother had the same problem on a 96 model. If I remember correctly he replaced the tie rod ends and/or the track bar as VDC mentioned. I think he also replaced the steering box, someone told him this was the problem. He did all this at the same time, so it makes it hard to trouble shoot which one fixed it.

But VDC is right, this is the “death wobble.” His got so bad, you would lose control until you stopped the Jeep. So, fix it soon.


#4

The Jeep “death wobble” is legendary. General internet searches will give you a lot to go on, though VDC’s advice is a fine place to start.


#5

Thanks for the advice. I know the two shops that did the front end inspections checked the ball joints and the tie rod ends, but nobody has mentioned the track bar, and that’s the first time I’ve heard of it. Is it something that is easily overlooked? What are we looking at for replacement, is it a big job to replace the track bar? I appreciate the help, thanks.


#6

Most shops are not aware of how sensitive Jeeps are to worn components. They will not recognize a part that has enough wear for this to happen to a Jeep, because other cars have to have more wear.

I’d suggest you find someone who really knows Jeeps.


#7

I also had the death wobble with my 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee. After numerous evaluations with no help and lots of $$$ I was finally able to sell it to a dealer, for a whopping $1,500.
Oh, and I did take it to the Jeep dealer for repairs and they wanted $2,500 with no quaranties


#8

Also consider a faulty steering dampener which is a common Jeep problem. They’re simple to check and easy to replace.

(The steering dampener is in essence a shock absorber for the steering gear and the old VW Super Beetles were also equipped with this widget. The symptoms of a failed VW dampener are also the same.)