2013 2500 5.7 Hemi with Death Wobble

elsberndvoice

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Apologies if this has already been answered, but I have looked through the forums and have done pretty much everything that people have suggested. This is regarding an unsolved death wobble in a 2013 Ram 2500 Big Horn that I purchased for my daughter last November with only 72K miles on it last. Thought it was a great deal with the low mileage and great shape it was in at $28,900. My daughter, a Jr. Olympic equestrian, is the primary driver. We bought it to have enough power to pull a horse trailer, and installed a goose neck for the trailer she bought.

We drove it down to FL last January with no issues, and she had no issues with it in FL for the past 8 months. Before we left FL for the return to MN, a friend who is a mechanic down there replaced the rear shocks, front brake pads & calipers, and steering stabilizer bar. She also had a four wheel alignment done. On the drive back from FL to MN, we were all good until we got to Kentucky. We crossed a grate in the road on the interstate, and the truck started shaking violently. I pulled over immediately, thinking I had blown a tire on the truck or trailer. All were just fine. We now know that we experienced the dodge death wobble. Unfortunately, the mechanic we were towed to didn't recognize what we described happening as a death wobble (or had no experience with it), so he replaced the rear brakes, rotors, and calipers thinking the rear right caliper was jamming on us because the wheel did not spin freely when hoisted up and in neutral. All good for the next full day of driving, but it happened again two days later on I80 outside of Iowa City in horrible bumper to bumper semi traffic with very little shoulder. We pulled over both times, not knowing what it was. I was able to eventually get in to Iowa City, where we got ahold of a mechanic who mentioned the Death Wobble. I looked it up on YouTube and we had experienced exactly what the videos of a death wobble showed (truck in full on shakes, steering wheel shimmying violently). After doing the research, he got us in, and we looked at all of the usual suspects. Because of the looseness in so many connection points in the front, we ended up replacing damn near everything to ensure it wouldn't happen when we have a horse in the trailer:

Steering Linkage assembly,
drag bar assembly and joints,
track bar (T-type since its a 2013)
front shocks
tie rods
Four Wheel Alignment
wheel bearings and joints $4500 total (ouch!)


Got home to MN okay, and it happened again a week later even without a trailer attached, and not on rough road. As you might imagine, we are having PTSD driving the thing on any bumps. After taking it to our trusted mechanic here, he confirmed that all of the new parts were the correct parts and that they were all properly installed and tight. He suggested the only thing we hadn't yet tried that can cause it are tires.

The tires that are currently on the truck are oversized compared to what was stock. They are Goodyear Wranglers (size LT285/70/r17's instead of the OME 265/70R17s). Prior to seeing our mechanic, I had taken them in to have them evaluated by two different mechanics/tire stores and they said they were "a little off balance but nothing concerning." I have new Michelin LTX A/T 2's on the way in the original size (LT265/70/R17's). Another $1,000 investment, so we are now $7,000 into repairs with all new brakes, shocks, front end suspension and steering. Could this all have been solved with new tires to begin with or is this an everything combined thing? I am shocked that it happened again with all new parts up front, but could tires alone be the cause?

Any helpful suggestions appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Jerry in MN
 

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OC455

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Oversize tires are a contributing factor. But you have no lift, and replaced all the major components that would cause the wobble of death. So I would think you would be good with everything. Doubt the tires being balanced correctly would have been an issue in what you experienced.

Might consider a steering box stabilizer. Probably not needed, but wouldn't hurt. Looking into one of those for myself.


You would have to find one to fit your 2500 for 2013 MY.



 
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Burla

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I would have suspected some of the work the first mechanic did came loose, but maybe you replaced all that. I would have just road balanced the tires as the first thing to do, I'm not sure why nobody suggested that. I guess you will find out soon enough, and yes out of balance tires can cause death wobble.
 

Burla

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Look at the bright side, when you get new tires and no death wobble, you will have a new suspension.
 

elsberndvoice

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Thanks, @Burla. Yes, we have thought of that...should be good on brakes and suspension now (knock on wood!). We thought the same thing about some of the replaced components coming loose, but our mechanic and the second mechanic both said they were solid. The suggestion of a steering box stabilizer seems like good advice for added assurance. Looking into how much it might be to have installed.
 

huntergreen

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Slightly off balanced tires will not cause true death wobble. I would suggest posting this in the HD section to see what other folk with HD trucks who have experienced this have done. If this were a Jeep Wrangler, I would suggest removing each component and inspect attatchment point. In other words, when each bolt is removed look at the hole for out of roundness. Each occurrence can elongate the out of roundness thus multiplying the effect Of DW. Even the new parts need to be inspected and replaced if needed. Under no circumstances let anyone tell you to put on a double shock steering dampener as this will cover up a dangerous issue until the inevitable reoccurrence happens. My best advice is to find a local Jeep club or off-road club and talk to them first hand. Most clubs know of front end mechanics that have experience with death wobble. Good luck .
 

elsberndvoice

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Thanks, @CanRebel - I have seen this before, but doesn’t promise any remedy, which stinks. The class action suit was for RAMS through 2013, and dismissed by the judge with no remedy for owners.
 
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