Violent vibration in cherokee frontend

Twice now the front end of my 99 jeep cherokee has shook violently after hitting rough road. The first time happened when I went over a gravel washboard doing about 35 mph. I hit the brakes hard, stopped, got out to look and everything looked fine and it drove okay. Yesterday, traveling at 55mph on M-55 in Northern Michigan the road was frost heaved in a marsh area with dips and mounds of about 12+ inches in the pavement and it did it again. Again I hit the brakes and pulled off the road. As my speed dropped to around 20mph it felt fine and I continued to drive for another 4 hours with no problems. It feels like the wheels are bouncing back and forth (maybe against each other). There seems to be a lot of extra play in the steering wheel also. Is something wrong with my power steering?

The Front End Needs To Be Checked Out, However There Is A TSB On This Problem.

You could have other problems, however a Chrysler Technical Service Bulletin for 99-01 Cherokees pertains to “front end shimmy after striking bump or pot hole”. They call it a self-sustaining shimmy.

The bulletin advises replacing right and left upper and lower control arms (4 arms in all) and two axle suspension bushings. Part numbers are given. I can’t tell if these are “revised” parts. Sometimes that is the case. It looks like they did these replacements while vehicles were under warranty when this shimmy became a problem.

I would have it looked at by someone who knows front-ends and has access to TSBs.

It’s called “Death Wobble”, while not common, we see it posted here now and then… Personally, I think it’s caused by a combination of worn parts, shocks, steering parts, bushings, creating enough slop so the steering can go into self-oscillation. Sometimes simple things can cure it, like rotating the front tires side to side. Other times, NOTHING seems to cure it…The first step is having a good front-end man check your steering and suspension for worn parts.