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“Death wobble” tech bulletin issued

by Bill Cawthon on

In response to charges made by two Washington politicians, U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA14), and Henry Waxman (D-CA30) over the so-called “Jeep Death Wobble,” Chrysler has issued a technical service bulletin to authorized dealers as well as posting a summary on Jeep-releated blogs and sending a copy to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Reps. Ashoo and Waxman praised the Chrysler action.

Summary of Technical Service Bulletin 19-002-12 Steering System Maintenance

It is important that the steering system be kept in good working condition. Having your vehicle inspected regularly to ensure it meets proper factory specifications, and promptly repairing the steering system when it is out of factory specifications, helps ensure the vehicle maintains its intended ride, handling and steering characteristics.

Vehicles equipped with a solid front axle may exhibit steering system vibration if the steering system is damaged or not properly maintained. This condition is not unique to Chrysler Group vehicles; any manufacturer’s vehicle equipped with a solid front axle has the potential to exhibit steering system vibration.

To ensure that Chrysler Group customers have the most relevant information to enhance their vehicle enjoyment — and that customers receive the best service from repair facilities diagnosing and addressing steering system vibration — the Company has issued Technical Service Bulletin 19-002-12 to assist dealers and repair facilities in the diagnosis and repair of this condition.

The following is a summary of the steering and suspension system elements that can potentially contribute to steering system vibration. Chrysler recommends having your authorized Chrysler dealer inspect these elements should you experience steering system vibration:

• Is the vehicle equipped with aftermarket components or other modifications (e.g. lift kits, wheels, suspension components or tires) that can affect the performance of or wear upon steering components?*

• Check the air pressure in the tires and ensure they are inflated to the recommended pressure. This value can be found on the tire placard located on the driver’s front door enclosure.

• Inspect the tires for signs of unusual or uneven wear, cupping or other damage.

• Ensure that the tires/wheels are balanced within specification

• Inspect the steering damper for excessive wear or damage.**

• Inspect the track bar for excessive wear or damage.**

• Inspect the tie rods for excessive wear or damage.**

• Inspect the drag link for excessive wear or damage.**

• Inspect the ball joints for excessive wear or damage.**

* Installation of aftermarket steering and suspension components or wheel and tire assemblies that are either not compatible with your vehicle or not designed for on-road use is most often the cause of steering system vibration, in which case you may consult your aftermarket equipment manufacturer or vehicle modifier for repair suggestions

** If any of the steering or suspension components are replaced, a front end wheel alignment is required.
If you have questions regarding your vehicle, its ride and handling or steering characteristics as they may relate to steering system vibration, please consult with your authorized Chrysler Group dealer to have your vehicle inspected.

(Note: the image posted above is courtesy of Bob Sheaves and is not part of Chrysler’s response.)

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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