58 Jeep Willy steering issue

Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
4
Location
San Diego
First Name
Walter
Willys Model
CJ
Willys Year:
1958
#1
Hello,
I’m a new 1958 Jeep willys cj5 owner and I’m in need of some help. I getting “death wobbles” in my front end and would like some advice on how to fix this.
The previous owner put a 1974 Ford 302 in and had to add power steering. I’m also running Dana 44’s (I believe they are1975) front and rear. It seems to me that the previous owner custom made the drag linkage because all the not so good welds all over it and different angles they are welded.
My question is can I put any ‘58 cj5 bushings in ,because they are bad, or is there an easy replacement Drag bar for this that I can put in?
So here I what I have
‘74 Ford 302
‘75 Dana 44
‘75 GM power steering pump (mounted on the back of the front number)
And a very questionable drag link made by someone.

Any help is appreciated!! And thank you in advance!! B3BE91FA-92EA-4062-9802-A4501B906EE0.jpeg 010FC8E1-3EAA-4742-BD7D-F9A836CB37A5.jpeg
 

scoutingranch

Bigger Hammer
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
Messages
90
Location
Encinitas Ca/Wickenburg Az
First Name
Mike
Willys Model
Other
Willys Year:
1950
#2
Where to start...
The problem with people and their ideas, is the problem. Unless teams of engineers calculated all of these modifications there will always be issues. Having written that, I would start with a new steering dampener. Your engine appears to be sitting on an angle (high side driver), the welds don't look bad, giant rims/tires on a tiny vehicle, looks to be lifted.
And that is just what I can see. I like my vehicles stock and my women straight.
 
Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
4
Location
San Diego
First Name
Walter
Willys Model
CJ
Willys Year:
1958
#3
Yeah those welds broke yesterday while I was driving! Death wobble real bad then no steering!! I shot off the road and ended up on the sidewalk barely missing a light pole..... needless to say I’m redoing the front end
 

Stakebed

Well Oiled
All-Star
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
1,696
Location
Northern California
First Name
Joseph
Willys Model
Pickup
Willys Year:
1957
#4
The Heim joint on the driver's side is bad. Supposed to have a tapered tie rod end in there. Also, an OE solution to the height difference between the steering box and drag link would be a dropped pitman arm.
 

diggerG

Well Oiled
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
4,249
Location
Wrentham Ma.
First Name
Greg
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1963
#6
Everything about your steering effects the handling and "death wobble" from wearing out parts and design modifications. This includes (in my humble opinion) vehicle and component design. This is the big unmentionable.
My point:
1. WHY is it only 4wd vehicles that wobble all over the highway? Back in the day guys drove shitbox 4 wd jeeps and trucks with mis matched tires, loose front ends, no power steering no steering dampeners etc. and on high speed highways with no to little "death wobble"? I did it and most others did as well. WHY? What changed?
2. Are the engineers designing looser front axles and steering parts? I don't think so. And the wobble seems to happen at a particular speed as well. WHY? I've experienced the 'death wobble" in Jeeps, Dodge and Chevy pickups and 1 tonners. Because that is what I have driven. I've seen posts where people say their new Dodge pickups have done that, WHY?
3. It's not a Jeep thing, or a Dodge thing, or a Chevy thing, it's a 4wd thing. WHY?
4. I've done lots of things on my 4wds to eliminate the "death wobble" with moderate success after a lot of work, and found different problems every time.
WHY?
5. I believe a common denominator is tire technology. Today's tires put different stresses on the handling of 4wd front axles. Automotive engineers big secret! They are part of the problem.
6. That is WHY in 1971 my piece of junk 46 CJ2A with mismatched and unbalanced tires, tired front axle parts and a fearless fool of a driver (me) didn't wobble all over the road but 10 years later my V6 CJ5 with power steering tight front axle parts a steering dampener 11' tires (same driver) did wobble at 32 mph? And every 4wd I drove after that wobbled .
7. A big factor of course is vehicle modifications. That's pretty obvious.
That's my rant. Tire technology is a big hidden factor (not the only one of course) in this issue.
THOUGHTS?
diggerG
 

rocket

Sharpest Tool
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
461
Location
Sierra Mtns
First Name
Rodney
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1963
#7
When I was 15 with a learners permit, I had a 56 2wd Ford Pick Up with the worst Death Wobble I had ever felt. Turned out to be a bent tie rod causing too much toe in, and loose tie rod ends. At the time, that truck was only 11 years old. My Daily driver truck now is a 1996 Ram 3500 4x4 Diesel and it's 24 years old, my WIllys is 53, and my 55 Olds is 65 years old. Ben Franklin said "All things mechanical will fail. the main variable it TIME".

Wood workers say "Measure twice, cut once" When doing any modifications on a Jeep, WIllys or any 4x4. I would say "Research, research, research." With the advent of the internet, even us old farts can find out how to do things correctly.

Most 4x4 trucks and Willys, and Jeep used a forward to rear swinging drag link from the Pittman arm to the front knuckle, which was fine with 3" of travel and stock lift. With the gear box back by the fire wall like early Jeeps and Willys, you could get away with a spring over conversion and still use the stock gearbox and drag link. Some of the 70's to 80's 4x4 trucks used a forward mounted power steering gearbox with a short drag link swinging forwards and back that did not lend well to any lift. The angle of the drag link became so steep that massive Bump Steer was the result..

Some people tried to mount the drag link across to the passenger side of the tie rod like on Walters rig. which causes even more issues. As the drag link moves, it caused the tie rod to rotate within it joints causing excessive play in the steering wheel and if the tire rod is not straight it will cause a death wobble.

Crossover steering was the answer. Some passenger side front knuckles had a flat top which allowed the use of a High Steer Arm, moving the Drag Link from the Driver side, across the top of the springs to the Passenger side. Now as the suspension moves the geometry doesn't change as radically and Bump Steer is eliminated. There are kits available to just change the Passenger side knuckle to a High Steer position and leave the tie rod below. And also kits to change both knuckles to Mount both the drag link and tie rod above the springs.

I agree with Greg that any number of problems can cause a Death Wobble, But it is not strictly a 4x4 problem older 2wd trucks especially with straight front axles were prone to wobble. Loose tie rod ends, ball joints, king pins, too much toe in or toe out, and one or more tires with low air pressure can cause a wobble. My wife's 2006 Chrysler Pacifica AWD developed a wobble when an aftermarket front rotor warped. (China Junk).

There is nothing wrong with spring over conversions and suspension lifts, IF they are well engineered and properly carried out.
Rodney . Here is one of many kits on the market.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/GM-CHEVY-JEEP-DANA-44-COMPLETE-1-TON-CROSSOVER-HIGH-STEER-KIT-W-KNUCKLE-WARRANTY/263476526978?_trkparms=ispr=1&hash=item3d586cbf82:g:2RAAAOSwE7Jad0Cd&enc=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&checksum=263476526978bbc976bb473a4f5daaaef32406e67ea2 Picture of crossover steering and high steer link. 1591214557822.png
 
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