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Undiagnosed 04’ Jeep Cherokee Mechanical problem

Hi, I just purchased a used 2004 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4.0 2WD two weeks in it started jerking left and right. I thought it was a tire(still may be) and took it to a local tire center they looked and said not a tire but sent a technician to ride with me. He said well your tire isn’t right first of all. What! Y’all just looked at them and said no. But after riding said I needed a steering stabilizer. I bought and replaced it with no success. He said it was “death wobble” I don’t think it is. I’ve had that In past truck. My steering wheel is not affected by whatever is causing this to occur. When I accelerate, slow down, go over uneven pavement, it jerks from right to the left in quick swift smooth movements. The faster I go it gets worse but not if I keep steady speed without stopping on even pavement it’s smooth until I have to brake. I’ve since noticed the rotors are bad grinding and shaking when I hit the brakes. I’m gonna to turn or replace them ASAP. Oh and when I let off the gas it always jerks left and when I push the gas it always jerks right. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Is returning the Jeep an option?

But seriously… I’ve heard of a “death wobble” with Jeep Wranglers, but not for Cherokees.

Sadly, you may have discovered why the previous owner sold it. Sorry.

3 Likes

Could be the vehicle was in an accident and the frame/unibody/suspension parts are bent. I owned a truck that was in an accident and repaired. You had to steer to one side to correct each time you hit an expansion joint. It became second nature, and when we bought better vehicles, my wife thought I was nuts when I’d steer left every time I hit a bump!

Talk to the dealer you bought this from. If individual you have no recourse . A dealer might have a small time period where they will take it back after you pay a user fee or let you make a deal on another vehicle . Other wise you need to put this in the hands of a good front end shop and not a tire dealer .

+1

It may be you have suspension links worn to the point where axles move as they wish and if wear is not symmetrical left to right, it would explain what you observe.

Unless you can return the car, get some competent mechanic to look at it and get your wallet prepared

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I’m thinking worn control arm bushings. Has anyone put your Jeep on a lift and pushed here, pried there, checking for play in the steering, suspension, and wheel bearings? If not that’s the first task. Next is to check the wheel alignment. As long as this isn’t wreck-caused problem, probably won’t be overly expensive to repair, especially since your Jeep is 2WD. You’ll probably get better results by asking an experience shop to fix the problem, rather than them telling you their theory what part is broken and you replacing it. It’s pretty likely there is more than one problem, so the repair will be iterative.

This sounds like an obvious mess of an issue… one that any real mechanic should be able to spot a mile away.

If you have rotor grinding and brake issues that would be a failed wheel bearing… a very failed bearing actually. You could also have hollowed out control arm bushings AND either bad wheel bearings (which basically will apply the brake) or you have a locked up caliper (which is applying the brakes)

When power forward with the accelerator… you preload the suspension and spindle forward… when you let off the accelerator (if you have a stuck caliper or bearing behaving as a stuck cal) the entire assy will be thrown rearward taking up the slack in the control arm etc.

Sounds like you have very serious suspension and or brake and or bearing issues… and they should be clear as day to any mechanic.

Of course I am sitting at my computer desk and cannot see, hear, or smell the vehicle in question. I was just giving you a real scenario that can and would produce those issues. Like i said… my scenario should be blatantly obvious.

Have someone look at your front wheels as you roll forward and pump the brakes… does the entire front wheel visibly move front to rear?

You say the brakes are grinding. Haven’t you considered that maybe that is the cause of the problem; a worn pad digging into the rotor along with the possibility of a sticking caliper?

Would it be a constant issue if that was the case? It’s better early in the day when I start driving and when it rains it’s better. And gets worse when I go faster, increase or decrease speed or over uneven pavement. Thanks for responding!!

You need to take this to a real mechanic, not a tire shop. Tell him what it is doing and let him diagnose it. This car could have structural defects due to rust or an accident, just plain wear after 15 years or could be a salvage car, pieced together from 2 or more wrecks.