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Old 01/13/18, 12:11 AM   #16
Bronco Guru
Pa PITT's Avatar

Joined: Jul 05
Posts: 9,545

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I don't normally say something like this . BUT I'd say find another shop . & Ask many questions.
.. I'm going to say I always have a different answer from most of the other members .... WHEN IT COMES TO DEATH WOBBLE......
. now I also worked at Dodge stealership & We worked on many 4by4
when they 2 were having Death Wobble.
... Basically ... You replace every item under the BRONCO

..But I'd say replace the Track Bar & Bushings. 1ST .. THEN I SAY PUT ON A ''GOOD STEERING STABILIZER SHOCK''... I Believe in the shocks.
.....Then measure the toe end... Keep pinching it in . start at about 1/4 pinched in . If that's not enough Keep twisting it in to about 3/8's .. AND IF YOU GET TO A COMPLETE 1/2 INCH . THAT'S TOO MUCH .
................ Not really . a True 1/2 INCH WILL WEAR THE INSIDE OF YOUR TIRES ...
....... & Keep changing all the tie rod ends .
....... NOW I really should have said up above .. CHECK YOUR TIRES.
... Do you have street tires. or killer threadtires.
... Red Neck .. but find a good piece of very flat concrete... If your really serious .. SPRAY some water on it. Tells you if it's really flat..
Now roll your Bronco forward. 40 ft. Lay down in front of it & watch your tires See how they roll forward .. do they walk ... Have about 3 of your buddies push the BRONCO BY HAND. don't touch the steering wheel & don't touch the brakes... Yes it's a PITA. bUT LAY IN FRONT OF YOUR BRONCO ON A CREAPER & Slide back & fourth,, Watching to see if there is aNY BACK & FOURTH MOVEMENT .. & WATCH THE STEERING WHEEL . If it bunches back & fourth . Bad tires.
... & On that very flat concrete .. PUSH THE bronco forward about 6ft.Don't touch the brakes. THEN TAKE A CARPENTERS SQUARE & pLACE THE LONG END AGAINST THE TIRE . LONG END TO THE TOP OF THE TIRE.
...TOP Of tire should touch the square .. BOTTOM OF TIRE SHOULD ''NOT'' TOUCH THE TIRE.. 1/4 INCH about.
.... FRONT of tires pinched in & Bottom of pinched in.
At some point enough pinch will stop the Death Wobble.
.. a bunch will say they wont help the wobble.
... The Shop Foreman once had me set down with about 6 techs & Describe how I felt about DEATH WOBBLE.
I ask them to just listen to me. We were having about 1 a week come in. I think they were about 2005's . So They listensed . One told me later .. He fixed like he thought they needed to be fix. & Then he used some of my thoughts.
& Some where along the way it was fixed.
....... Yes your correct I DON'T THINK ANY 2 ARE ALIKE BUT THEY ALL NEED SOME NEW PARTS.. Sorry I have fixed more with trac bar 1st ... Shock 2nd ... & Tires 3rd .....Adjustments 4th... AND LOTS of new parts 5th.

............R. I. P. H. D. May 2nd 1999
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Old 01/13/18, 03:37 AM   #17
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DirtDonk's Avatar
San Jose, CA
Joined: Nov 03
Posts: 32,170
Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
I just got my truck back from a bronco builder, they removed my steering damper citing it causes more issues than it fixes
While I don't agree that they "cause more issues" they are not required for normal driving either. I'm guessing the shop doesn't like the way they hang when used with a dropped pitman arm.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
they then put a drop pitman bracket on and a drop pitarm.
Nothing wrong with that either. But why did you take the Bronco in to them in the first place?
And why didn't they give you the old pitman arm back? They're not inexpensive and you should have your old parts from any shop unless you tell them specifically that you don't want them.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
I have a 2,5 inch lift and a 1 inch body lift. Is my steering geometry going to be completely off, or am I safe?
No, of course not. You lifted your suspension 2.5" then your steering geometry was no longer stock. So it was already "completely off" at that point. The dropped arm and bracket merely brought them back to stock and then a little lower. This is not necessarily a bad thing and will normally not cause you any trouble.
Some people are fine without them, as has already been said. But many, many of us run drops with our 2.5" lifts as well, and love the way it makes the steering feel.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
Also I have severe death wobble and it looks like these failed bushing are the culprit, photos attached, I can't figure out the name of them (are they ball joints?), but I will be replacing them.
Like Justin, I only see rubber dust boots in your pictures and don't actually see damage either. They seem to be in pretty good shape unless the damage is out of the picture. The one on the driver's side looks like it might have a split, but not sure.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
When I turn the wheel back and forth the track bar moves and I can see the bushings are worn out.
That's bad and should be fixed. But that doesn't coincide with what you say later.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
Seems like the death wobble has been exacerbated since the drop pitarm and bracket where put on. There is also no washer on the track bar bushing, how big of a problem is that?
So is that why you took it in to the shop in the first place? Do you really have death-wobble, or do you just have tire shimmy?
Can you describe your death wobble experience in detail? If it's truly death wobble, then it can get worse as time goes by anyway. The addition of the drops may have given a bad tire a more linear target to push against, but their addition should not have "caused" any wobble. Might just be getting through to the steering wheel more efficiently.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
I have already spent so much, and donít want to spend more, but would this help solve problems with ball joints? Since I do not have a press to replace them?
No. Do not replace more steering stuff yet. Do another test I'll describe below.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
Lastly, I had a new steering column installed and a new rock crawler power steering box, the steering intermediate shaft has some wiggle, is it ok? Or should I be sending this back?
That is definitely NOT ok. In a new column that should be tight with zero side-to-side play. It should turn easily of course, but no play in new bushings and bearings.
And if they installed a new intermediate shaft too, I would ask them to confirm they used Loctite on the threads of the set-screws!

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
It has the nut, just not the washer in the bushing. If I donít need the drop pitarm and bracket, anyone have a stock pitarm? Iíd pay for it
Again, get your stock one back from the shop. I'm not recommending you install it yet, but at least have it. It's yours after all.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
Itís dark right now and I have no lights, so in the am I will. The ball joints are definitely all blown. I donít even know if I can change them myself.
Let's get some terminology straight here. Yes, in reality you could call those tie-rod ends "ball joints" but let's use the common terminology:

1. The bar running across from wheel to wheel is the tie-rod.
2. At each end of the bar is a tie-rod end. Or just rod-end.
3. The long bar that runs from the tie-rod up to the pitman arm is a drag-link.
4. At each end of it are the drag-link rod-ends, or again, just rod-ends.
5. The rubber boots sandwiched in between the components are just that. Dust boots to keep the grease inside and the dust out.
6. The long thick bar running between the axle and the frame near the steering box is the trackbar.
7. The four pivot points (1 top, 1 bottom near each wheel) of the wheels/steering knuckles are where the normal "ball joint" would be, but in your case you have a Dana 30 which uses king-pin bearings instead. So be careful in the use of the term "ball-joint" when discussing your front axle.

Sorry if you knew most of that already, but it seemed worth going over.
If your trackbar bushings are brand new, then your trackbar should not be moving. But if the drop bracket is not welded on, then it can flex and look like the bar is moving.
Or if the bolts are worn out, or not tight enough, or something with the mounts is otherwise compromised, you could get a loose trackbar.
And while it will not actually "cause" the death wobbles, it can certainly make it worse or even let it happen when it otherwise would not.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
Track rod bushings are tight, checked them earlier.
And you said the trackbar moved. Can you explain a little more detailed?

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
Are the dropped arms and bracket going to cause me issues?
They should not. But let's dial everything in first to make sure.

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
would replacing the the drag link and track bar basically solve the problem?
No. Or at least not from what you've described. And they sure look good from here. How old are they? I'm assuming you meant tie-rod rather than trackbar?

Originally Posted by mduenas View Post
I have all new power steering box, steering column, track bar bushings, pitman arm, dropped bracket. What else can be replaced or fixed? no broken welds either.
And you need to do this test first before heading into your next attempts to fix.
So was it the wobbles that got you to the shop in the first place then?

Try this test. With the vehicle on the ground completely, full weight on the tires in other words, have a helper rack the steering wheel back and forth while you lay under the front and check the little details.
The helper can just turn the wheel half a turn in each direction, so they don't have to turn it all the way each time. Have them do this until you say stop.

While they're doing that, you are to look at every component, from the steering column down to the wheels. Checking specifically the steering box for movement against the frame, and the trackbar for movement on it's mounts.
But look for any little movement in anything. Post up a video even if that helps. It actually does I think. Just like your video of the steering column play, run the camera up and down the linkage, and spend extra time on the trackbar mounts. Use a steady hand for this, so we can see any little bit of movement.

And last, but not least, if you are trying to track down a true Death Wobble rather than just a standard wobble, rotate your tires. At least front to back.
How old are the tires? What type and brand? What condition visually at the tread?
It's not really the visual clues that give it away for a wobble, but it doesn't hurt to know that stuff either.

Most Death Wobbles in my experience (including the one I saw yesterday on a ZJ Grand Cherokee that I thought was going to rip the passenger side wheel right off the rig!) is an internal defect/damage with at least one tire.
The good news is that if it's just one tire, rotating the tires front to back will usually get rid of it for awhile. But if it's more than one tire, as a buddy had with three of his Super Swampers, you're on your own!

Good luck.


'71 Wagon, 3.5" WH, F150 disc brakes and steering, 4.11 33x11.50 Thornbirds, Kayline soft top, Hanson bumpers. "Built, not bought"

'68 LUBR, 2.5 + 1 WH, 31x10.50, 4.56, Explorer and 4R70w by EFI Guy, WH disc brakes, Hanson front bumper, Warn winch. "Bought, not built"
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Old 01/13/18, 08:06 AM   #18
Bronco Guru
rjrobin2002's Avatar
75 bronco, 5.0 mass air, C4, 4.5" lift, 35" General X3s, 4.56 gears

Elm Grove, LA
Joined: Oct 07
Posts: 2,190
Any time death wobble is present with new bushings, decent tires, and good ball joints/tie rods. I have found 99% of the time your upper track bar bolt I no longer round and its frame mount have egged so even a new bolt does not fix it. I weld the damaged frame hole and redrill it true and buy a new bolt.
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