HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It’s February of 2020, is it too late to say that? Probably but, oh well. We heard once that the best years get off to the worst start, here’s to hoping that, that’s the case with this one, cause man-oh-man did 2020 start off rough. But we’re here now, back to the grind and excited to share our story!
The Death Wobble threw our lives into a bit of a flat spin for a few months, but it also taught us an awful lot, and it’s information worth sharing, even if it only helps one person out there. This is a very serious issue that can be life-threatening, so if you or someone you know thinks they may be affected by this, be kind and share what you know. Who knows you might save a life.
WHAT IS A DEATH WOBBLE?
The textbook definition of a Death Wobble goes like this:
“A mechanical condition that exists in the front end of vehicles with a solid front axle. The result is a violent shaking or wobble that makes the vehicle hard to control.”
The non-textbook/ our personal definition goes a little something like this,
“A sudden and uncontrollable violent shaking of your truck that occurs at high rates of speed that will make you want to poop your pants.”
WHAT THE DEATH WOBBLE LOOKS LIKE
*This is NOT our truck, but a video from YouTube demo-ing exactly what a Death Wobble looks like*
HOW WILL YOU KNOW IF YOUR TRUCK HAS A DEATH WOBBLE
The short and simple answer is, you’ll know. The more complicated answer is that it will feel a lot like your tires are skipping across the pavement rather than gripping down on it.
Even if you’ve never experienced the Death Wobble in your truck that doesn’t mean that the steering components that cause this issue in the Super Duty line of Ford trucks aren’t installed in your vehicle.
Everything we have read, researched and experienced ourselves have pointed to the fact that the following three major contributing factors need to occur all at the same time in order for you to actually experience this hair raising event.
- 2017-2020 Ford Super Duty Trucks, seem to be the most affected by this- although keep in mind Death Wobbles happen frequently in older model vehicles, in fact, the term Death Wobble originated with older Jeeps that have had an alteration to the steering components (think lift kits).
- You need to be driving 55 MPH or faster
- Both front tires need to hit an uneven patch of pavement at the exact same time- this causes a rapid oscillation of the steering components, which is a fancy way of saying the Death Wobble.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU EXPERIENCE THE DEATH WOBBLE
As we said in the video we are by no means, mechanics or driving experts – so we are not telling you that this explicitly the way to survive a death wobble incident in your vehicle if it happens, but it did work for us.
If you experience the Death Wobble keep calm and hold on tight. From our research, and our own personal experiences what we’ve gleaned is that the Death Wobble only occurs at highway speeds (55mph+), when both front tires come in contact with an uneven surface at the same time, if it sounds terrifying that’s because it is. Keeping calm will help you keep it together in what will inevitably be a very, very stressful situation
Begin to rapidly slow your vehicle down. Slowing the rotation of the front tires helps them regain an even and predictable contact with the road. This is where caution and good judgment comes into play, be aware of your surroundings as you proceed, dropping from highway speeds down to school zone pace while everyone else around you is still trying to zip by is dangerous. Be safe and make smart decisions. Experiencing a death wobble is a scary life-threatening issue and not to be taken lightly.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. Once you’ve collected yourself and stopped shaking- the pucker effect is real with this one lady and gents- get yourself and your vehicle to the nearest Ford dealership ASAP, and tell them what’s going on. If your vehicle is still under factory warranty like ours was, with any luck, they will honor their commitment and you should be in the clear of any financial commitment to getting the repairs done. If your truck is outside of its warranty period you still need to have these repairs completed. There have been several claims of people having serious accidents as a result of this problem. Don’t let yourself or someone else gets hurt by driving an unsafe vehicle!
REPAIRING THE DEATH WOBBLE
If you saw our video then you already know that it took us a whopping 60 days from the day we dropped our truck off to the time we got it back. If you’ve ever been without your car for even a few days then you know how frustrating that can be- and even more so when you use it to move your home from point A to point B.
With any luck, by the time you’re reading this, if you are suffering from a Death Wobble issue, Ford will have corrected its manufacturing problems and there will be more than enough parts out there and available for a quick repair job.
In our case, the 60 days of waiting amounted to a replacement of the steering dampeners and track bar. We are super hopeful that this permanently fixes the situation, and the stress of this predicament is behind us, although we have heard from other Ford owners that it took several trips to the dealership and replacing the shims to fully repair the issue. We’ll just have to wait and see but fingers crossed, all is well that ends well!
A huge thanks to everyone who has reached out to us over the past few months with words of worry and of support! We feel so loved! We are so excited to be back sharing our adventures with all of you! And can’t wait to start rolling out our Alaska series soon!
If you have questions or comments as always please drop them in the comments box, send us an email, or pop by and say hello on our social pages. We’re so grateful that you’re here!