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Thread: The '39's not-so Golden Years

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    Road Devil's National Officer LD39's Avatar
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    The '39's not-so Golden Years

    So as many of you know my truck has been on the road for a little while, 8 hard years to be exact. Lots of changes, reconfigurations, new parts and upgrades have been made along the way. I can honestly say that I've gotten my money's worth out of every bit and piece that I've ever thrown at this old beast. I guess like all of us, the older we get the harder we heal, especially after a life of playing rough.

    Last fall the front end of my truck began to develope a wobble. Over a few months it progressively became worse. It would act up at low speeds 10-20 mph and if I didn't stop or speed up immediately, it became violent. Undriveable! This came as a surprise because it had been on the road for so long without fail. When I first built the truck I threw an old Flaming River Vega box in it that was worn out and the same symptom occurred. Remembering this episode, I replaced the current vega box with a brand new one hoping this would fix it. Nothing! Consequently I went through practically every part replacing them one at a time trying to zero in on what's gone wrong. Since I installed the new Vega box I've replaced kingpins, rod ends, rotors, wheel bearings & races, front tires, quadruple checked the steering column U-joint and most recently I cleaned and rebuilt the front calipers and flushed all the brake fluid in the whole truck (the front brakes were dragging, not anymore). I realigned it with the same 1/8" of toe-in it's always had. And of course I've checked every square inch of the chassis for cracks, nothing.

    After all of this, I'm still having the same problem!! I'm at a total loss and it's making me crazier then I already am! I'm going to throw a steering damper on the thing for now and see what that does. I know it's just a bandaid but I want to drive and I cant think of anything else to fix.

    If any of you have suggestions, let's hear them.....
    Last edited by LD39; 07-20-2017 at 07:05 AM.
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  2. #2
    Road Devil's Member rabbit's Avatar
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    Did you check your caster angle? And maybe check your steering box mount very closely for cracks.

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    Road Devil's Member Wally's Avatar
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    well i was going to say maybe the weights came off your wheels but if you have new tires they would of check that.

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    Road Devil's Member flynpig's Avatar
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    You're feelin' this through the steering wheel correct? as you are accelerating from a stop? rolling slowly in a parking lot? braking? making tacos?
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    Road Devil's Member flynpig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flynpig View Post
    You're feelin' this through the steering wheel correct? as you are accelerating from a stop? rolling slowly in a parking lot? braking? making tacos?
    Make sure one of your bones is not bent causing setback issues, measure wheelbase side to side. I actually had a 40 ford at the shop a while back that had a bent axle and bone causing the right side caster and setback to be different which would develop a vibration at certain speeds. At that low of speed you are feeling it, seems either something is way out of alignment or bent. Your new tires are round?
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    Road Devil's National Officer LD39's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    Did you check your caster angle? And maybe check your steering box mount very closely for cracks.
    I've done both and the angle is good, 14 degrees. Cracks, i found a few behind the steering box mounting plate, fixed them.
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  7. #7
    Road Devil's National Officer LD39's Avatar
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    wheels/tires are now good
    Quote Originally Posted by Wally View Post
    well i was going to say maybe the weights came off your wheels but if you have new tires they would of check that.
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  8. #8
    Road Devil's National Officer LD39's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flynpig View Post
    Make sure one of your bones is not bent causing setback issues, measure wheelbase side to side. I actually had a 40 ford at the shop a while back that had a bent axle and bone causing the right side caster and setback to be different which would develop a vibration at certain speeds. At that low of speed you are feeling it, seems either something is way out of alignment or bent. Your new tires are round?
    Yes, its from a stop. It starts getting hairy around 15 especially if i hit a bump. The bones are straight, the caster is good.
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    Road Devil's Member mrjack55's Avatar
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    When I was into Jeeps, we used to call it Cherokee Death Wobble or just Jeep Death Wobble. It was due to a misalignment somewhere in the front suspension. It was a total bitch to cure, as finding the exact reason was next to impossible. I think you're on the right path. Did you check to make sure your frame isn't twisted. Or cracked anywhere else besides the steering box area? Twisted front axle? To be honest, I'm not even sure what front end you're running. Can you remember the last time it ran without the wobble? What happened between that point and now? Big pothole? Hard launch/burnout? Hard braking situation? Anything that may have caused a rift in the space time continuum?
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    Road Devil's National Officer LD39's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjack55 View Post
    When I was into Jeeps, we used to call it Cherokee Death Wobble or just Jeep Death Wobble. It was due to a misalignment somewhere in the front suspension. It was a total bitch to cure, as finding the exact reason was next to impossible. I think you're on the right path. Did you check to make sure your frame isn't twisted. Or cracked anywhere else besides the steering box area? Twisted front axle? To be honest, I'm not even sure what front end you're running. Can you remember the last time it ran without the wobble? What happened between that point and now? Big pothole? Hard launch/burnout? Hard braking situation? Anything that may have caused a rift in the space time continuum?


    I've had a few wranglers way back, I remeber the Jeep wobble well, scary shit on the highway. To my memory I never hit or hurt anything abruptly. This came on gradually as if something was wearing out or slowly breaking. I found some definite issues, bad tire, worn vega box. I replaced them and more but still NO fix. Burnouts?? don't do'em, I leave that to the rich fools who enjoy paying for tires.

    Yesterday I cranked down the adjustment screw on the Vega box and I really helped. It's tighter then it should be now and I'm sure the box will wear out sooner then later becuase of it.
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