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This New Product From Roadmaster May Fix Your Jeep Death Wobble

This New Product From Roadmaster May Fix Your Jeep Death Wobble

You may be familiar with the long-standing issue with the suspension on some Jeeps that has led to the condition known as “death wobble.” It’s a real problem that can cause anything from heavy-duty white-knuckle driving to the risk of serious accidents. People have searched for a Jeep death wobble fix for years, many employing expensive measures to solve the problem on Jeeps, trucks, vans, and RVs.

In this post, we’re looking at the Roadmaster Exact Center, a product created to improve steering control that also addresses “death wobble”. Could the Exact Center be the answer to the problem once and for all?

What Is “Jeep Death Wobble”?

“Jeep death wobble” (or simply “death wobble” since the phenomenon isn’t limited to Jeeps), is a term originally coined by Jeep Wrangler owners to describe the uncontrollable violent shaking of the front end of the vehicle.

With death wobble the vehicle’s steering wheel moves quickly from side to side with the wheels vibrating similarly. This causes the entire vehicle to shake violently with the driver potentially experiencing loss of control. Roadmaster, a leader in the manufacture of RV towing equipment, refers to death wobble as “a harmonic oscillation, resulting in the front tires violently racking from side to side.”

Scared driver behind the wheel of their car

Being behind the wheel of a vehicle that’s experiencing “death wobble” can be terrifying!

Death wobble is most often experienced at speeds over 40 mph, but it can occur at any speed. It’s most alarming and most dangerous at highway speeds and can occur whether you’re driving the vehicle or flat-towing it behind your motorhome.

In addition to Jeeps, death wobble most often occurs in trucks and 4-wheel-drive vehicles, but it could conceivably happen in other cars & SUVs as well. Anything with a solid front axle MAY have the potential to be affected.

What Causes Death Wobble?

Any number of issues can cause death wobble in a vehicle. Generally speaking, these can be described as loose or damaged steering (or suspension) components. The following are the most likely:

  • Loose or poorly fitting track bar bolt
  • The modification of 4-wheel-drive vehicles with things like stronger springs and suspension components or lift kits
  • Loose, worn, or damaged steering components, suspension components, or a combination of both.
  • Improperly installed suspension components such as tie rods, tie rod ends, and wheel bearings
  • Steering components that are worn or out of alignment
  • Improper tire pressure and/or tire balance, especially the over-inflation or under-inflation of tires
  • Front track bar in poor condition
  • Improper or worn ball joints
  • Worn or damaged steering damper/stabilizer
  • Worn or damaged mounting bolts
A mechanic working on a car's suspension system

There are many different steering & suspension components that could be involved if your vehicle is experiencing front-end wobble.

You can read much more about all of the above causes of death wobble and how they contribute to the phenomenon in our full post on Jeep Death Wobble. In that post, we also tell you what to do if you experience death wobble on the road.

What Is the Roadmaster Exact Center?

Manufacturers, mechanics, Jeep enthusiasts, and DIY innovators have tried for years to address the issue of death wobble. Some products and mechanical alterations have seen some limited success, but it continues to plague drivers.

Roadmaster has developed a unique type of steering stabilizer that has shown promise in addressing the issue. What makes the Exact Center unique is that while other types of stabilizers are designed to react to wandering by returning the vehicle to its center, it takes a proactive approach to keeping your steering centered.

It’s designed to hold the car’s steering at its true center while resisting the external forces that push it away from center. This is very different from stabilizers that bring the steering back to center after the wandering has already occurred. For this reason, it has been shown to reduce or eliminate the experience of death wobble.

A breakdown of the Roadmaster Exact Center is shown

Roadmaster’s Exact Center Steering Stabilizer addresses death wobble in some vehicles by providing a tight, responsive feel to the steering without the experience of wandering. (Photo source: Roadmaster)

The Exact Center prevents wobble rather than reacting to it. It does this by providing a steady, consistent force on the steering components, preventing the development of any wander/wobble. The resulting driving experience is more pleasant and stable.

Another benefit of the Exact Center is that if it’s installed on a vehicle that you flat-tow behind your motorhome, it makes it so that you may be able to back up with your towed vehicle attached, at least for some limited distance (and ideally when the towed vehicle isn’t at too steep an angle in relation to the RV).

Normally when flat towing, you can’t back up at all while connected. That’s because the toad’s front tires tend to turn the wrong way, potentially reulting in damage to the tow bar or the car itself. However, with the Exact Center installed, some RVs can back up short distances with their towed vehicles connected without issue, as the centering force on the toad’s steering keeps the wheels straight.

Note that the Exact Center requires a vehicle-specific mounting bracket kit. The kit, along with the Exact Center unit itself can be purchased directly through Roadmaster. You can also check Roadmaster’s Fitmaster tool to find the correct match for your vehicle.

The Exact Center Steering Stabilizer can also be ordered through Amazon:

ROADMASTER 481200 Exact Center Steering Stabilizer 80F
  • Immediate and dramatic improvement in handling and control
  • Prevents rut-tracking, lane wander and fuzzy center

Does the Roadmaster Exact Center Fix Death Wobble?

Roadmaster notes that the Exact Center counteracts the forces that cause death wobble, greatly reducing the potential of it occurring. So, they’re not guaranteeing that death wobble is impossible while using it, only that it will dramatically reduce the potential for it to start.

As we noted above, many different factors can contribute to the onset death wobble and other types of wandering. If those issues aren’t properly addressed, even the Exact Center may not be able to resolve the resulting driving issues.

Here’s a good look at the Roadmaster Exact Center Steering Stabilizer in action:

If you’ve had the Exact Center installed, please let us know in the comments. We’d love to know how it’s working for you.

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scott

Monday 3rd of June 2024

Unfortunately, This device is only available for the Wrangler and Gladiator as far as Jeeps go. It will not work with the Grand Cherokee or anything that has Rack and Pinion steering. I got so excited when I read about this only to be utterly disappointed when the Roadmaster rep informed me they do not make them for the Grand Cherokee, and probably never will. Having the ability to back up with the Toad hooked up would have been a game changer.

Will

Monday 3rd of June 2024

I have towed a 2015 Jeep Cherokee for over 9 years and the first few years I would have this problem occasionally. I talked to the Jeep Dealership and they said that there is a Jeep wiring harness that stops this problem. I had them install the wiring harness and I have never had the problem again.

David Burrell

Monday 3rd of June 2024

This death wobble occurred while towing our 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee. For us it only happens occasionally while accelerating after making a sharp turn from a stop. The remedy in every case was to slow down to a stop and then resume normal driving. The fix for us is not to aggressively accelerate out of a sharp turn from a stop or near stop.

Ethan Bernstein

Monday 3rd of June 2024

In my recent experience, the “death wobble” of Jeep was attributed to low thread of tires on one side. After new tires were put in, the problem was solved.

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 5th of June 2024

Glad you were able to resolve it so (relatively) easily, Ethan!

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