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Death wobble - wheels, balance and balance again

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01 Dec 2018 20:43 #198503 by Stevie
Anyone trying to eliminate death wobble will know that correct wheel balance is a prerequisite before looking at worn components such as king pin bearings, wheel bearings and radius bushes, but it is worth bearing the following in mind.

I recently had my wheels refurbished and new tyres fitted, and at the same time I was doing other things such as new shocks and springs. All this was being done just after buying the vehicle and so I had done very little mileage. I took it out for the inaugural drive only to be hit by death wobble. There was some play in the king pin bearings, so I replaced these, but it made no difference. All the other bushes and ball joints seemed good, although it can be difficult to detect small amounts of wear. Ummm... where next? The first check is always wheel balance, but these had just been done, still, I thought let's start again from scratch. I took them back to the refurbishers and asked for them to be balanced again. Well, unlike the first time where I just picked up the wheels, I was there to see the balancing, or I should say, the attempt to balance them. The problem with the Jimny wheel is the large hole for the hub. While the rear of the wheel will sit against the metal cone on the balancing machine, the rubber thingy that goes up against the face of the Jimny wheel does not want to sit true due to the shape of the wheel. In the end the chap gave up and asked if I could come back another day when his colleague was in. This made me suspicious of how well they were originally balanced. I then went to a local specialist tyre fitter with a good reputation. Initially, they had the same problem mounting the wheel, but then bought out this disc with 5 protruding studs that held the wheel in place by the wheel nut holes.

Anyway, it now drives absolutely perfectly, without a hint of any wobble. Clearly, the wheels were originally balanced based on the wheel not being mounted true on the machine. So, for anyone trying to fix death wobble, don't assume that your newly balanced wheels have been done correctly, otherwise you could spend a lot of time (and possibly money) looking for it elsewhere.

Steve

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01 Dec 2018 21:02 #198504 by Busta
Good wheel balancing is very important, but if it fixes the wobble you probably didn't have death wobble in the first place! Death wobble is a violent oscillation of the wheels that forces you to slow down until it stop.

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01 Dec 2018 22:28 #198508 by Scimike
When I had my wheels refurbished they told me they could not balance them, as you say they did not have the correct fitting for the Jimny wheel hole, but they just told me which is fair enough. I had to take them to a local tyre fitting shop which had equipment and did them no problem for £10, which I thought was good value for the five wheels.
So the Jimny hole can be an issue for some, but they should have owned up..

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02 Dec 2018 08:18 - 02 Dec 2018 08:19 #198515 by Bosanek
Did you read this comprehensive wiki article about death wobble ?

Wheel balancing has a dedicated chapter there, where many aspects of proper wheel balancing are mentioned. I wrote that chapter, and some others too. The concept of proper wheel balancing for Jimny goes far beyond just having a proper seat for the wheel.

That detail about using a properly matching seat for Jimny wheels on a balancing machine is indeed important. I will now add that into the article to explicitly mention that factor (it was presumed that going to a reputable tyre workshop implies that they have proper tools or at least a professional etiquette to admit when they don't).
Last edit: 02 Dec 2018 08:19 by Bosanek.

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02 Dec 2018 12:32 #198521 by Stevie
The equipment often used is like the yellow rubber retainer show here




and, from what I saw, was near impossible to get it to sit true on the face of the Jimny wheels. The tighter it was done up, the worse it got. The second tyre fitters I went to also tried using this method, and then used something like this




To be fair, the original fitter might not have realised that it was not mounted true (doing dozens of wheels the same way every day), and was perfectly balanced for the less than perfect mounting.

Anyway, as Busta said, it wasn't what we know as death wobble, but I just wanted to highlight the issue I came across and not to dismiss wheel balance even though it might have already been done.

Steve
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Max Headroom

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02 Dec 2018 12:52 #198522 by Max Headroom
Superb info - thanks chaps.

Think I'll print these images off and show my tyre fitting workshop next time I get the job done - I have no idea if they used anything like this the first time around!


IF IT AINT BROKE, KEEP FIXING IT UNTIL IT IS

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02 Dec 2018 13:11 #198523 by paradox1001
They need balancing with the proper attachment because there studcentric not hubcentric wheels
Tyre fitters tend to just leave the cone on the machine to make life easy.

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03 Dec 2018 20:03 #198592 by jackonlyjack

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03 Dec 2018 21:41 - 03 Dec 2018 21:42 #198595 by Max Headroom
Jack, I've heard of those being used in vintage car wire-wheels but never found anyone that admits to using them!
I did wonder if they were snake-oil; I assume you like them from your comment, but how long have you been using them and how many do/should you apply?


IF IT AINT BROKE, KEEP FIXING IT UNTIL IT IS
Last edit: 03 Dec 2018 21:42 by Max Headroom.

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04 Dec 2018 06:44 #198604 by jackonlyjack
Had them in around 6 months
You get them from Devon 4x4
Just search on the website and look for your tyre size

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04 Dec 2018 09:55 #198607 by Max Headroom
Thank you Jack - I found the Devon 4x4 balancing beads info - very interesting but they're normally administered at the time of fitting the tyre, so would mean having to break the tyre-bead to get them in which is a bit of a pain - I did think they might be small enough to feed in through the valve stem.


IF IT AINT BROKE, KEEP FIXING IT UNTIL IT IS

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04 Dec 2018 10:37 #198610 by paradox1001
You can break the bead of a tyre using a jack between the tyre and the chassis of a vehicle max

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