TSB – Leak At Steering Damper Due To Orientation Of Damper Rod To Vehicle

NUMBER: 19-003-07 REV. A
GROUP: Steering
DATE: June 21, 2007

Leak At Steering Damper Due To Orientation Of Damper Rod To Vehicle

This bulletin involves replacement of the steering damper per latest orientation of the damper.

The customer may notice that there is a slow fluid leak at the steering damper seal. This condition may be due to the orientation (mounting) of the steering damper to the vehicle. If the rod end of the steering damper is attached to the axle bracket, then the rod may be more susceptible to rock/stone contact. Rock/stone contact may damage the surface of the
damper rod, which in turn, can damage the damper seal.

Mounting (orienting) the steering damper so that the damper rod is attached to the tie rod (versus the axle bracket), will better protect the damper rod from possible rock/stone damage.

TSB 19-003-07 REV. A


  1. I was in the dealership to have other work done and asked them to re-orient the damper prior to it leaking/failing. Just thought I’d be proactive due to having experienced a highway speed death wobble in a YJ some years back.
    This can be a critical safety issue in the wrong circumstance. They wouldn’t do the job even though it would save them the cost of replacing the cylinder due to the wording of the TSB.
    Most people would not know they are at risk because few ever look under their machines.I make a point of it now and am going to do the swich around myself AND let customer service know how I feel.

  2. My 07 jk 5 inch lift, stock tires death wobbled from new, replaced the stab with a rancho eliminated the prob, but when I added my lift it returned

  3. Hi Anthony,
    Let’s be clear about something here, when you say “death wobble”, I’m assuming that you are refering to the violent, uncontrolable shaking of your Jeep to the point where you are about to crash?? Or, are you really trying to say that you just had a bad shimmy in your steering wheel? Because, they are two very completely different things. And, if you really did have death wobble, there would have been something very wrong with your steering and or suspension components and your dealer should have fixed it under warranty. Regardless of what you had, the reason why your problem has returned is because you never really fixed the problem in the first place. Installing a steering stabilizer to fix DW or a shimmy in the wheel will only mask or hide your problem.


  4. I have a 2007 jk with 6″ lift and 36″tires, had the wobble once early on after hitting a group of potholes, thought it was the electronic stabilization program, ignored it.
    recently, has happened anytime i hit potholes- to the point of having to stop to regain control. has happened at various speeds, but the potholes trigger it.
    taking it to the dealership soon as i get off work, but that will be a month or two from now

  5. Any suggestions concerning the replacement of the steering stabilizer Mine is leaking, and has a few bumps and bangs on the cylinder.

  6. i have a 07 jk 2dr with 35-12.50 17 and a 4in lift i just started haveing a really bad wobble in the front to the point of having to stop is it a need for better steering stablizers or could it be a bent drag link.

  7. regarding the replacement of the steering stabilizer, all you need is an 18mm wrench and you’re in business. if you want to upgrade, i would recommend the one made by teraflex.

    as far as death wobble goes, 99% of the time, it is a problem caused by a loose front track bar. make sure that the bushings aren’t damaged or worn out and that everything gets tightend up to 125 ft. lbs. of torque. a steering stabilizer may help to hide DW but it will not fix it.

  8. 06 wrangler sport……….can’t drive the thing over 50 mph or the steering wheel shakes so darn bad it’s scary! Have to let my foot off the gas to go below 50 mph before it stops! Called the dealership and they just blew me off! It ain’t gonna be pretty!

  9. a speed related shake in the steering wheel like you described is almost always a tire balancing issue. even if you already had your tires balanced, you should have it done again.

  10. I had a major problem with my 07. everytime you would hit a bump you would get a death wobble from hell. The dealer replaced the steering damper under warranty. he said they have been having a lot of problems with the JK damper.

  11. if you really did have death wobble, adding a new steering dampener will NOT fix it – it will only mask it. the JK unfortunately have very weak track bar mounts and i have seen many fail especially if a track bar relocation bracket was attached to it.

  12. wow – im a first time 4dr 2007 wrangler owner – got a death wobble at 17K miles going 60 on the freeway – scared the s34t outta me – never heard of this took it to the dealer and they said i had a”leaky damper” which they replaced – evidently this is not the end according to the prior posts – is there a permanent fix?

  13. you need to check your track bar and make sure that they are tightend to 125 ft. lbs. of torque and that none of the mounts or bushings are failing.

  14. wayoflife, i am on the 2nd install damper on my ’06 wrangler, dealer installed. in only ten days! 40k miles on this ’06. can i take off the stock damper and fit an over-sized, up-grade one like teraflex?

  15. I had 2 dampers fail, each about 20000 miles and installed a teraflex and it has been less than 8000 miles and its already leaking but no death wobble yet like the stock ones had. Is there a warranty on teraflex?

  16. ive put 28K miles on mine configed with the stock steering stab, 2 ranchos, a pro comp and even no steering stab and have only had the dw twice. once on a graded dirt road and pulling out of a parking lot and hitting a pothole at 15mph. it seems like everyone expects it to be a jeep mustang, but in reality, its a jeep wrangler and they are meant for off roading. not smooth road handling.

  17. 2007 JK (Wrangler)4 door purchased ‘Jan 07’ with less than 50,000 kilometers – dealer replaced steering dampener under warranty
    2.5 years it was way past due for wheel alignment with the potholes on our northern roads I paid for that.

  18. got a Rubicon 2007 4 door, same thing hit a pot hole, the steering wheel was shaking as as the front end. I will say a death wobble and will pass on the comments above to the local dealer and workshop. Simply put should not happen and definitely not a shimmer……


  19. 2007 2 door jk 26,000 miles had a leaky steering stab and a dw three times on the third time the steering stab mounting braket broke off the axle housing dealer ship said it was due to the steering stab locking up. Had to get a new axle housing. many people i have talked to that own the jk say there steering stabs are leaking and are begining to get death wobbles

  20. I had a similar problem happen on my K10 1986 Suburban – and it came from the factory with a SS that is the same bore and diameter as the JK shock. I replaced it with a Rancho unit around 50k miles – and it help the bumped steer a bit…then the problems (15k miles later) became VERY severe. I would hit a bump and the truck would shack violently. The suspension on that truck is much more simplistic (pitman arm + draglink + turn buckle) – and very easy to diagnose issues. All the ball joints and ends were very solid. A little slop in the steering box, but it was within spec. I replaced the SS with another Rancho (still under warranty – btw, Rancho did NOT offer a lifetime warranty on SS). Problem solved. Same problem came back – this time, after 5 k miles. Took the SS off and noticed a ‘dead zone + spring’ action in the movement of the shock at dead center. It behaved like it was vapor locked…called Rancho, got no where. They thought I was crazy – and did not want the SS back. I replaced it with a Monroe HD SS and have never had a problem since…

    Based on that experience…SS can ABSOLUTELY screw with the behavior of the steering…

    My jeep is in the shop right now, and the dealer diagnosed it as a SS…I’ll see what I can find for a SS to replace it with. If it solves the problem, I am satisfied. If not, I will look elsewhere (and make sure the bar is tight!)

    My 2 cents…

  21. I meant to say – the SS was huge in comparison to the JK SS – the Chevy SS had that same bore & diameter as the suspension shocks on the jeep.

  22. I will also never purchase another Rancho product for a heavy vehicle – had the RS5000 & the stabilizers on my Suburban, and got tired of replacing shocks after 30k…glad they had the lifetime warranty, but that gets old quick! Maybe they worked better on lighter vehicles, not sure…

  23. my 07 rubicon unlimited with 3″ lift and 35’s has a wobble at about 30 mph,goes away after , stock ss still on and leaking badly. looking for replacement, any suggestions?

  24. I have a 07 jeep unlimited, all stock and the death wobble. I mean jerking, front tires squealing (sound is similar to the same if you slam on the brakes). Happens at speeds greater than 40 mph. Takes me hiting bumps unevenly or just one bump on either side. While it was under waranty I took it to a Jeep dealer, they rotated and balanced the tires and gave me an alignment. On the way home I had another wobble. Went to 4 Wheel parts paid $80.00 for an inspection that should tell me what to fix. They said leaking dampner, and bushings maybe need changed but didnt think it was enough to cause the problem. About to change both, but really? Thats it? This just seems to be a joke to fix what I experience. Any suggestion? I will look into any legit opinion.

  25. just to make sure we’re on the same page, when you get the wobbling, it’s so violent that the only way to make it stop is to come to a complete stop – right? if so, a new steering dampener will not fix your problem. at most, it will mask your problem but that’s about it. more than likely, you have a track bar mounting bolt that is not tighten to torque spec or, it’s possible you have some bad ball joints – not uncommon.

  26. Thank you for the posts….I “had? / have a cracking sound on my Jeep JK 2009 when I go around corners or simply just turning the steering wheel whilst stationary! Mentioned this to the dealer (was advised to bring it in if it gets worse). Went out for a 4×4 outing…reduced the tire pressure to 30PSI & drove slowly to next Servo. DW followed briefly after this…….yes it felt like it was the end of my car. Drove extras slow to Servo, inflated tires & appeared to be fine. Took vehicle to dealer & immediately identified it’s the steering damp causing the cracking noise. Hiding the issue, I know! Took the car for a drive the next day……..same noise!

  27. can you be more specific as to what you mean by “crackling”? do you hear it in the steering wheel or outside. have you had someone listen for it while you make it happen?

  28. Have had my Jeep JK 4 door for three years with 47K miles. Had a shimmy before the 2.5″ lift and uncontrollable “wobble” after the lift at 17K. Checked torque (OK) and found blown stock stabilizer. Dealer replaced under warranty and did not wand to discuss the problems with the tuning fork front end. Here I am 30K miles later, second heavy duty SS, out of warrenty and the shimmy is growing into the “wobble” again……. bushings are suspect however this is just parts replacement and not the source. $, time and reliability are huge factors here. I am not the only one as posted and am concerned because it even is occurring with stock JKs. The SS is not the solution and only a bandage. Any luck out there with something other than the SS? At this time it appears to me that this is a design flaw by Jeep and all I want is the fix……… thanks, ASH.

  29. No DW til installed Rusty’s 3.25″ lift with adjustment track bars. 58000 stock miles. After lift I hit a pothole and got it but it was only once and I thought it was just everything getting settled. Went for alignment after mounting 35s for Texas Spur Jamboree. Didn’t mention DW as it was only once. They pointed out bad ball joints. Went on the Jamboree as it was and at 30mph after disconnecting I got it for the second time. I broke a stub shaft on a climb and yesterday replaced both ball joints both sides. Both axle shafts. Inner seals and put outer seals. Has not been aligned since today is Easter but will be tomorrow. Still have DW at around 30mph. Will torque all bolts tomorrow as well. What about an off centered axle? Could that be possible? How do you check that and how exact does it need to be?. Thanks.

  30. I have had my 08 wrangler 4dr stearing dampner and bracket
    replaced twice and it still shakes and drives like crap.
    Contacted Jeep head quarters and put in a complaint.
    I’am supposed to be hearing from them tomorrow after my complaint
    is reviewed. I told them buy it back or give me new jeep, lemon laws
    come onto play here so look into it, or do I see a class action
    law suit? This should not be happening to new vehicles.

  31. robin, your problem isn’t being caused by your steering stabilizer or lack thereof. if you just have a shaking problem, you most likely have a tire balancing issue. if you are having an occasional violent shaking to the point where the only way you can stop problem, you most likely have a worn out, loose or failing suspension component. most likely, you have a problem with your track bar or ball joints.

  32. Just took my 05 Jeep in for DW, and yes it is DW not just some trembling. Very frightening and very difficult to control. Apparently I am too late to get the ss taken care of by warranty and the tech at the dealership is convinced its only going to be the ss, not the trac bar, which of course is still covered for a remaining brief time.

  33. Comment on “March 15th, 2010 10:34 am”. My applogies. It is more a creaking noise as appose to crackling. Correct, the noise can be heard whilst some one is in or outside the car. I’ve had the car with the dealer on 3 occasions already……taking the car in tmrw again! They though it was screw or nut on the side rails causing this..hmm, I think not! I’ve sat on the passenger side whilst some one else was driving….it only appears to be on the right hand side of the vehicle (right hand drive). I’ve had the car at suspension specialist (doing a spot check), no issues found. The noise occurs when:

    1.) when the steering wheel is (MOSTLY) turned to the left, when stationary or while turning.
    2.) After driving for a while, vehicle being stationary, when wheels are straitened…..you can here…click / creak …click / creak, (no constancy)!

    I must iterate that the noise is not consistent i.e. the nosie occurs when the vehicle is cold & during driving (turning).

  34. I have 2007 with 20k miles. Had true DW several times. Checked track bar bolts. Both tight at 125lbs. Still had DW. Had tires balanced, and it helped. I could still feel a shimmy in the wheel but no full blown DW when I hit bumps in curves. I bought a SS. After installing it my steering feels much tighter in curves,and I am getting more confident when hitting bumps. Jeep drives like new now ,but I wonder if my track bar,bushings,brackets are the cause of the DW. Should I check it or just enjoy my jk that seems to be fixed.

  35. 2007 Jeep wrangler Sahara Unlimited 45000 miles. Went into DW in construction area with my grandson and daughter. I am afraid to drive it. Just bought it 1 month ago. Had to rent a car and leave Jeep at the nearest Jeep dealer. They installed a steering shock at 300.00 plus the rental fee. They said I will need to replace upper and lower ball joints. Brought it back home and took it back to the Jeep dealer I bought it from they said it doen not need ball joints. I asked them if they ever had ever heard of the death wobble and they said no. Two days later it happened again on an off ramp. They told me to call Chrysler and make a complaint.

  36. My 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited did the DW a few days ago. I’ve totally lost confidence in her now. Bought the macdaddy warranty when I got her a year ago, and they’re telling me the problem = steering dampener, is NOT covered. This should NOT be happening to a Jeep that’s supposedly made for heavy duty terrain! I heard there was a RECALL for the steering dampener. Can someone tell me what year/model Jeep that was? I know it’s not 2007. *Jeep Wave* thanks…

  37. JeepGurl,

    Your 07 came with KYG gas charged “spring loaded struts”
    for front and rear shocks and a gas charged steering damper. If the design has been altered or mixed with after market parts you could have shimmy “DW” issues. You can purchase the identical orginal equipment “OEM” KYG struts on line but the steering damper will be harder to find. Bilstien makes an orginal equipment “OE” gas charged replacement. I had a new out of the box Pro@#49 damper leak on me whall I was installing it. You get what you pay for. The KYG struts should last 50k, however the damper will probably need replaceing every 30k depending on high speed pot hole hits. It takes an 18mm wrench and 15 minutes of my time every 2-years for me to replace the damper on “my” 2007 Unlimited-X.
    Your Jeep “is” designed for “heavy duty terrain” not high speed pot holes. Gas charged systems are made to react instantly so a sudden sharp impact (in a right hand curve) tends to work aginst its life expectance. If you have this work done, get a tire balance all arround and a front end alignment done as well.

  38. Hi guys,

    I own a JK 07 model completely stock standard. I experience death wobble to the point I cannot see properly. 🙁 I have replaced the front track bar with an Ironman adjustable heavy duty one, new ball joints upper & lower on both sides, new heavy duty rancho steering stabilizer, new rubicon express draglink, larger high-tensile bolts through all suspension components, new tyres all round plus various toe-in toe-out & alignment settings. I have new control arm bushings coming soon and after that there is nothing left to try!!! There is only minor movement where the diff & axle housing meets the control arms. Slight movement from left to right….. but this should happen slightly anyway am I right? The control arm bushings will hopefully eliminate excess movement.

    It has 70,000kms on it and has never been offroad or treated badly.

    One thing that helped (slightly) was to use the bigger bolts and ram them in. (from 14mm to 9/16ths, or the other way round….) Less play now which means it only does it every now and then, obviously masked the problem but hasn’t cured.

    If the control arm bushings do not work it WILL be “wobbled” off a cliff…………. 🙁 Such a shame that Jeep have let themselves down by creating a great car…….to look at.


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