Shimmy in my suspension



Is there a diagnostic procedure to help me identify the faulty part(s) with my shimmying suspension.

While driving at hwy speeds, the slightest road irregularity (but almost always if I run over a pot hole) my front end starts shaking violently (worsened over time) until I slow the car down significantly. It used to go away with a 5-10 mph speed reduction, but today I had to reduce my speed by about 25-30 mph, as I pulled to the side, away from other vehicles.

This shimmying does NOT occur following break pedal pressure, as with warped rotors.

A service center recommended replacing some components (tie rod, upper/lower, L&R control arms, and track bar. They quoted a price of about $1400 to complete the work.

Nobody suggested anything about the stabilizer bars, and I’m only wondering about them based on their name; it seemed a logical component to consider.

Is there a diagnostic procedure for this shimmying problem without first spending so much money on ‘hit-&-miss’ repair remedies; perhaps some test to distinguish between these components mentioned?




This is called Death Wobble, and Jeeps are notorious for this.

This is usually caused from a combination of worn suspension/steering components. So a complete inspection of the components that can cause this should be done, and if any are found to be worn they should be replaced.



Thanks Tester. I’ll see if anything obvious shows wear as you’ve described. If I don’t see anything, is there a procedure that might help? I keep imagining that duplicating turbulent road conditions (someone turning the steering wheel while another feels and inspects the moving suspension parts) that something might show up as faulty. Any clues?


If your Jeep is equipped with a steering stabilizer that would be my first suspect. It’s a cheap easy fix. (part is about 30-40 bucks and the stabilizer is basically a small shock absorber for the steering gear)

The old VW Super Beetles were also equipped with steering stabilizers and a wobble after a bump or whatnot is the normal symptom, much like the Jeeps.


Thank you 4450,
I LOVE hearing news like that. $30-40 I can handle. Someone else also suggested checking the Ball Joints, and the Pitman Arm (also relatively inexpensive). This surely beats the $1400 quote from the last service center I went to.
Cheers to you.


If you are extreamly lucky, one of the top nuts on one of the front shock absorbers has come loose. That will cause this kind of problem and it the simplest thing in the world to fix. But, this would be part of the task that TESTER has already recommended, and he is the one best guy to ask, so consider yourself lucky that he chose to respond to your question, and follow his advice.


Have someone turn the wheel and look at the track bar ,the one that goes from the frame to the axle.