My Jeep Has The Shakes!

I have a '98 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4Door, 4WD, 5-Speed Manual Trans, 4.0L Inline 6 cyl. mileage: 220,000+
At highway speed if I hit a bump the car will start to shake like to fall apart. The only thing that stops the shaking is to ease of on the gas and it slowly subsides. Any ideas on what is causing this? Suspension? Transmission? Steering? Incidentally, the steering is not specifically affected, other than the fact that the whole car is shaking like a jack-hammer.
Any insight greatly appreciated.

If you have already verified that the tires are balanced correctly, then there are two areas to consider.

If you have lifted the suspension and/or put massively oversized tires on the vehicle, that is a major cause of what is commonly called Jeep Death Wobble. Restoring the suspension and tire size to factory stock specs might just fix the problem in this case.

If you have not lifted the suspension or mounted monster tires, then you should look at components like the end links of the anti-sway bar. If they are excessively-worn, that would produce this type of problem. Also, make sure that the steering stabilizer isn’t in need of replacement. By 200k+ miles, the steering stabilizer (and likely everything else in the front end) is due for replacement.

You’ve obviously never heard of the notorious Death Wobble!

Front control arm bushings and the front track bar bushings likely need to be replaced. That is usually the problem and fix.

The solid front axle with a light vehicle makes this a big problem. It is dangerous and must be fixed. Good Luck!

It could be tie rod ends or a bad ball joint.

Either way I wouldn’t drive this on the highways until someone fixes it.


Thank you for the suggestions! Death Wobble!! Sounds about right.

Here is the list of all the things that can cause the death wobble:

My 1997 Grand Cherokee occasionally did this, usually on a long sweeping curve around 60 MPH. The dealer never figured out the problem, though. It was quite violent when it happened, so the name is appropriate.

I saw a Jeep CJ-5 do this at 70 mph. Bounced the front axle clear off the ground.

Maybe Poop Wobble is more appropriate… 'cause that’s what I’d do if it happened to me!

The problem is not confined to Jeeps…I have seen older Ford P/u’s do the same thing…

I’d consider this and it’s a common problem. Most vehicles do not use these; Jeep does.

Jeeps have a Wagon axle that have no Ackerman or towout on turns built in. any slight movement forward or rear will set up a shake and wobble. A good stabilizer is needed to prevent the deadly wobble. This is common on the old twin front beam axle on the older Ford pickups too. Lee

hmmm, I ve had two 1975 ford trucks with the twin I beams, never had a wobble…