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Unhappy Jeep newbie with a shaky Unlimited


 
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Valkaru
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Joined: 22 Jun 2006
Location: Concord, NH

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:22 pm    Post subject: Unhappy Jeep newbie with a shaky Unlimited Reply with quote

New to the board, desperate for finding knowledgable help out there. We picked up a 2004-1/2 Unlimited almost 2 years ago as it was my wife's dream to own a Jeep since High School (longer out of school than in it at this point). She loves the vehicle, although convincing her to go more than in soft grass has not happened yet:(. At about 12,000 miles, I noticed the front tires were starting to cup, and shaking at speed as if there was a balance issue. We rotated off the worst cup tire, put the other to the rear, and had all 4 wheels balanced and front end aligned. No, I had not rotated the tires yet, although rotation (in my eyes) would hide any problems by evenly distributing uneven tire wear.
Here we are just shy of 16K miles and the front end shaking has begun again. It is slowly getting worse, although I cannot feel any cupping of the tires. Pressures are held at 32-35 PSI (I may go +1-2 PSI over the label), but the shaking is just like something out of balance.
Any body have any ideas? Please
Thanks & Speed Safely,
David
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ehirner
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Joined: 01 Jan 2004
Location: Eastern PA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When does it shake? What modifications have you made? How much factory warranty is left?
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04 Unlimited
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Valkaru
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Joined: 22 Jun 2006
Location: Concord, NH

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I knew I should have said more, but we really are the exceptions:(
The shaking starts lightly about 45 MPH, is worst at ~52, and is gone over 60. I can let my hand off the wheel over 65 and it tracks smoothly on the highway. Hit the brakes and decelerate quickly through 55 MPH and it shakes enough to spill a coffee cup, but stops shaking below ~42 MPH
No modifications of any kind except for a Safari rack and stick on 3-M paint protection. My better half teases me about lift kits, bigger tires and flares, but she really has not major interest in modifying her Jeep (yet).
Did not look at the warranty paperwork yet, I assume 20,000 miles more (3 yr 36K if I remember correctly).
I am hoping to have some idea what to watch for from the dealership, as I am 50-50 about having others work on my 'stuff'. When I mentioned the tire feathering at first, the service advisor said it was because of no rotation and acted like I was an idiot. Too many years as a mechanical engineer, participating in SCCA racing programs and repairing/rebuilding cars since a child makes me challenged by someone like that.
Thanks for your help.
David
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quadna71
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Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Location: Delaware

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

with that low of mileage i'd have a hard time seeing it being a problem from ball joints or tie-rod ends. but there is always the chance that your trackbar's lower mount has loosened up slightly. the lower (axle mounted) bolt gets a torque of 40lbs while the upper (frame mounted) gets 80lbs. these numbers are right out of the factory service manual in case your curious. also consider that the problem may be just the tires in themselves. its sucks to admit, but stock tires just aren't all that great on a jeep. once you get some feathering they'll go downhill in a hurry. so maybe try and replace the front two for a brand new set (different flavor though) and see if that helps things? one thing is for sure - somehow you need to get the problem solved as the continuous shaking/oscillating will eventually start killing the rest of your front suspension components.
good luck with it,
chris
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ehirner
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Joined: 01 Jan 2004
Location: Eastern PA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm guessing warped rotors. Honestly though, it's hard to diagnose vibes over the internet.

From experience with my Jeep, warped rotors on mine did the exact same thing. The intensity of the shake when you hit the brakes reinforces this for me. The minor vibe on acceleration, unfortunately, is kinda common on Jeeps.

Try replacing your front brake rotors and throw on some new pads up front or you could try having your rotors cut. However, they will warp more easily if you have them turned than if you just replace.
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gtrsnax
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Joined: 10 Oct 2005

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wont be a TON of help, but I do know this.....some things you can rule OUT are transmission issues for instance. Otherwise it'd shimmy at the same rpm in each gear. Driveshafts and all that too. So it's less drivetrain than it is possibly the steering assembly or the wheels/tires. Sometimes just narrowing the field helps out a bit.
Good luck.
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Valkaru
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Joined: 22 Jun 2006
Location: Concord, NH

PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 12:01 pm    Post subject: Update (sort of) Reply with quote

The dealership charged me $39.95 for 4 wheel balance (not a high speed balance though) and said the 2 fronts and one rear were out. The wheel weights were moved abot 1-2" on each wheel, by space covered they were nearly the same, but I do not know how much the weights actually changed. The one that did not need rebalancing was the recently swapped in spare that came from the factory. The speed affected shaking is virtually gone, no issues with braking at all. There is an overall chunky kind of feeling, I suspect the slight tire feathering is causing that and hopefully will go away.
My suspicion is that once the tires began feathering, they are virtually history for ever feeling smooth while driving again. Understanding a little about vehicles, my suspicion is the tie rod ends need to be tightened, but they did not even look at that:(
I still take issue with the concept that you HAVE to rotate tires every 300-5000 miles to avoid uneven wear, it just does not make sense to me. I do believe rotatin is good to get uniform wear on all 4 (5) tires, but uneven wear indicates a PROBLEM. Maybe the way the differentials operate on the Jeep are less forgiving driving around corners (IE: differen wheel rotational velocity, etc...) than I would like. I know my Subaru Outback tires are only rotated every 10K or so, and there has been no issue for 117K miles in 4 years (I drive a little;)). 92K on a Dodge Dakota, 105K on a VW Jetta, each vehicle getting ~30K per year of pretty hard driving and never had tires do this.
We love the Jeep. My suspicion still rests on the tires and suspension not playing nice together. I will hold out on this 'repair' and see if it gets worse in 3-5K. Worst case, I buy new tires and beat up the dealer to try and work things out.
Thanks all for your input, I will let folks know if anything changes.
Speed Safely, David
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quadna71
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Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Location: Delaware

PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just check into walmart - most of them that have auto sections offer lifetime balancing for around $25. i wouldn't trust them for oil changes...but have them balance every 5k miles and then just check your lugnuts yourself afterwards. much cheaper than the raking your dealer provided you.
chris (rotates his tires with every oil change - 5K miles)
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WhatWasIThinkin
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Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Location: Epping New Hampsha

PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check for excessive brake pad wear. My Rube had brake problems right from the start, well after the first time I got it muddy. Dirt can and will pack into the dust seals around the caliper piston and cause some binding. Mine did this. I have read on a few other sites about this being an occasional problem for others.

The binding would cause vibes and would happen without any warning. And it was always start at @43 mph.....then go away after stepping on the gas.

It may not be the problem, buts its another possibilty.
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Valkaru
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Joined: 22 Jun 2006
Location: Concord, NH

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:59 am    Post subject: Final Answer Reply with quote

The speed sensitive shaking came back in about 400 miles, this time at 60 down to 55, but nowhere else in the speed range.
All is better now, lessons learned as well. First, the Service Manager at the dealer was able to explain a little better about why rotation is so important. The blocky tread of the off-road tire is much more susceptible to scalloping and uneven wear, and can easily result from over/under pressure. By rotating frequently, the scallops get worn back down on the rear, and you just keep from ruining the tires. If you let the wear go too long, it may not be possible to save the tire by rotation, which is what appeared to happen for me.
The most recent visit they swapped out wheels and tires from a brand new Unlimited and proved to themselves the tires were 99% of the cause of vibration. They did check runout on the front rotors and found some uneven wear, and he was able to get the rotors replaced under warranty (4500 miles AFTER the written warranty states)
He then conference called me in to Goodyear when the local Goodyear shop said "premature wear due to vehicle problems" without even looking at the Jeep. They sent me to Sears, the gentleman there checked tread depth, called Goodyear, and I received 71% credit on four tires:) Switched over to the Wrangler Silent Armor as they are quieter on road and were actually less expensive (GS-A is $169 each, Silent Armor is $140 each). Only driven about 100 miles on the new tires, they are quieter and actually look a bit more aggresive than the GS-A's.
The Dealership wins big points for taking the extra step of proving what was causing the problem and then working with me to take care of the tires. Sears wins points because the service people BOTH said "Thank you for letting us help with your problems" and actually seemed to mean it:) This could have been much more painful, but there are still some folks out there that truly want to do their jobs well. Now I need to write thank you letters to the two companies, as they could have both just blown me off but did not.
Speed Safely! David
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JCA
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Joined: 05 Jun 2006
Location: Southeastern Massachusetts

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a note on service, I have two Chrysler/Jeep dealers close to me and looking for different things I have been to both. I don't think I have ever known a dealership to have the positive attitude these places seem to. About two weeks after being on one (when I was looking for my TJ) the salesman that tried to help me walked up to me as I entered the building and commented that I had found what I was looking for (he remembered me from looking at what he had had on the lot). Then even though I hadn't bought from there, he helped me get the accessories book and showed me some stuff near the parts dept.. The other dealership closer to home has actually helped with stuff (directions for setup and finding odd parts) and spent a good amount of time just helping get what I want... I haven't been real happy with Sears service over the years but it's good to hear at least some places are still trying... I'm glad that in buying my new toy that the service didn't end when I signed the papers like it has at a number of other comanies over the years.
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Joe in MA.
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Mix1980
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Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey,
I had the same problem with my 05 unlimited. When my wife and I bought it, it seemed as though anything in the 52 mph mark would shake you out of the jeep. The dealership whom I'll give major props to ordered a new set of Yokohama HT-S tires to replace the GS-A's that were not in good shape at all. The Yoko's have done a superb job for almost 25,000 miles for me for the daily driving that I need to do. I will upgrade to an A/T tire next time, but the Yoko's were free and have served me well. I have gotten the occasional shimmy. I had one tire rebalanced in the front and the problem seems to have ceased.
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