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23/03/09 - Jimny "Death Wobble" - UPDATED
If you have owned a Jimny for any amount of time you will have come across the "Death Wobble". As you accelerate through 30-40 mph the steering wheel starts to wobble and this can rapidly become un-controllable to the pointÂ where it is dangerous. But it doesn't happen everytime and most of theÂ time you can accelerate through it. On the way back from Oxley's Shaw mine started to do it.Â The problem can be caused by a number of problems:
1. Front Kingpin Bearings worn
2. Front Wheel Bearings worn
3. Steering arm/axle bent.
Sure enough, when I got home and jackedÂ it up it looked like it was time for a new Kingpin bearing. As I also had a clicking CV joint, I decidedÂ toÂ stripÂ the lotÂ down. However when I got it apart the Kingpins were fine. Feeling with my fingers I could just detect a slight movement in the wheel bearing. I took the wheel bearing out (see my guide)Â and found out something really strange......
The wheel bearing is a double race bearing and one of the races had disintegrated. However the other race was fine, meaning that the bearing still revolved ok and appeared pretty smooth in its operation. My guess is that this is the cause of my "Death Wobble", its hard to detect by turning the front wheel as the good race still works but its a serious problemÂ never the less, so its out with my Wheel Bearing changing guide.
The CVÂ joint change is pretty straight forward. The new CV joint part number is ADK88915BÂ .
The CV joint fits on the end of the driveshaft using a small C-Clip. This fits in a groove at the end of the drive shaft. Getting the old joint off is hard but is worth the effort if the old joint is still in one piece as it can act as a spare. Following advice on the Internet I clamped the drive shaft in a vice and hit the bell section of the CV with a hammer to drive it off. I found it best to hold all the bits of the shaft/joint in a straight line.
When the joint is apart you replace the C-Clip with a new one and tap the joint back together again. Here is a quick guide to doing it - Changing a CV Joint
UPDATE - Completed the work rebuilding the bearing and hub today and all signs of wobble have gone. In fact the steering is really good now so I guess that dying wheel bearing has had a lot of influence on the steering over a long time despite not showing any direct syptoms when jacking up the wheel and trying to shake it.