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The JL Jeep Succumbs To Jeep's 'Death Wobble' Curse

The NHTSA is investigating the Jeep Wrangler JL for a problem with the steering that can cause it to experience a "death wobble."

2019 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

The Jeep Wrangler JL has reportedly succumbed to the infamous Jeep “death wobble” curse.

If you’re not a Jeep owner, then you have probably never heard of the problem of “death wobble” that plagues solid-axle Jeeps. The name describes a rapid oscillation of the steering wheel due to damaged or loose components in the steering or suspension. The steering oscillations are so violent that it literally feels like that Wrangler is going to tear itself apart.

The problem can affect any vehicle with a solid front axle but is particularly well known in the Wrangler community as it’s the most popular vehicle to still use solid axles.

As the name implies, the wobbling can become so violent that it poses a risk to the driver. And according to Autoblog, the NHTSA has received 11 complaints from new Wrangler JL owners to say that the current generation of Jeep still hasn’t fixed the problem.

The exact cause of “death wobble” is unknown, but believed to be due to issues with the front suspension and steering. Recently, Jeep was forced to recall 18,000 Wrangler JLs due to faulty welds on the track bar near where it meets the frame. An FCA spokesperson said that the issue of “death wobble” and the faulty welds are unrelated and instead blamed the problem on improperly performed suspension modifications.

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However, all the recent NHTSA complaints are for newly purchased Jeeps with zero modifications performed.

2019 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon
via FCA

So far the NHTSA is still investigating. The Jeep community recommends slowing down and even pulling over if you experience “death wobble” as it can be quite violent and unnerving. The problem typically goes away on its own and no injuries or accidents have been reported for the current JL Wrangler.

Fixing the issue can be a slow and laborious process of going over each and every suspension and steering component to eventually locate whatever is loose or damaged. Since it could be anything, with no clear pattern to follow, a recall of this nature would prove expensive and seriously cut into FCA’s profits for one of their most profitable brands.

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