How do I identify if my Jimny really has a death wobble?

Why does my Jimny have this potential problem

The Jimny has a live axle and ladder chassis set-up, which is ideal for four-wheel driving but is a compromise for on-road comfort.
In extreme cases, the King Pin / Shim preload is the main cause of the death wobble, and if the kingpin bearing preload is not correct and cannot be set correctly, new shims need to be fitted and torqued correctly (to correct preload) to resolve this problem. Worst case scenario, complete new King Pin bearings, and shims need to be fitted to rectify this phenomenon. Many live axle and ladder chassis vehicles have a death wobble speed range, with the Jimny it is between 80 to 85km/h.

If your Jimny has done a high mileage (in excess of 120,000 kilometres) without having King Pin Bearings replaced or a lot of off-road work there is a strong possibility that your King Pin Bearings will need replacing.

What can I do to check if my kingpin bearings are a problem

In many cases, your king pin bearings and shim preload settings maybe 100%. In order to rule out this costly exercise below is a list of what you can do in the following in order of cost priority:

  • Check your tyre pressures. The Jimny performs best at an on-road tyre pressure of 1.6 bar all round.
  • If you have recently been off-road in muddy clay conditions you might have mud stuck inside your rims.
  • Get your tyres balanced. Make sure that your tyres are balanced using s stud balancing machine and not a spigot balancer. When your tyres have been balanced make sure that the wheel nuts are re-tightened while the vehicle is off the ground ensuring perfect central location.
  • Check your tyres for wear / flat spots by spinning and monitoring the outer circumference of your tyre against a fixed point.
  • If you have recently put new higher-spec tyres on like 215/75 or 235/75 (Gen3 Jimny) or 215/80 or 235/75 (Gen4 Jimny) and they are muddies expect a small amount of wheel wobble occasionally but make sure you rotate your tyres regularly as the wear pattern on these tyres is not uniform.
  • Check your front Panhard Bar bushings. If these are worn this will emulate a King Pin Bearing failure problem.

What is a Panhard bar

A Panhard rod (also called Panhard bar, track bar, or track rod) is a suspension link that provides the lateral location of the axle. Originally invented by the Panhard automobile company of France in the early twentieth century, this device has been widely used ever since. Click on the image below to see the full video of how the Panhard Bar works.

What else can I do if the problem is still not resolved?

You have covered all the points laid out above and you have fitted new King Pin Bearings and Shims but you still have a wobble. Try looking at each of these additional points below in isolation:

  • Front Track Bar and bushings (as above video)
  • Ball Joints
  • Drag Link/Tie Rod Ends
  • Suspension Bushings
  • Steering Knuckles

Please note that fitting larger tyres like 215/75 (Gen3 Jimny) or 235/75 (Gen4 Jimny) especially if muddies, expect a small amount of wheel wobble occasionally. To completely resolve this problem we recommend fitting our Des-Sol Steering Dampers.

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