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Old 07-03-2009, 01:40 PM   #1
Ripper1966
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Please help, Samurai front end zigzagging...

Hi everybody,

I find myself in a terrible predicament. I had a mechanic attempt to put an independent suspension on my Samurai. However, he blotched the job and I had to take it somewhere else. When this guy gave me the car back it was unstable and at a certain speed the front wheels would begin to zigzag or move back and forth and I would have to stop the vehicle. I brought the Samurai to another mechanic who is much better and he redid the independent suspension and put power steering on as well which is very nice. The ride is sweet now but I still have the zigzagging occurring and it is quite dangerous. Last night on the highway it happened for the first time since he gave me the car back. I was doing about 40 mph and hit a bump and the front wheels starting going back and forth, zigzagging in unison with the car shimmying. Of course I had to stop. The new mechanic is a pretty competent guy and keeps a neat shop but he is baffled as he has replaced most of the front end and steering.

There was something that the original mechanic did that really screwed up the steering. He put a bogus independent suspension on as well as wheel spacers, which in my opinion were way too heavy, and that is when the zigzagging began. It was very bad and occurred all the time right around 39 mph. I took it and had the tires balanced and that helped. It is much better now but still occurring. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. There is all this mud down here in Costa Rica during the rainy season and I have a 4x4 that is unsafe.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:01 PM   #2
PederY2K
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Re: Please help, Samurai front end zigzagging...

Wheel wobble described is also known as the "death wobble". When solid axle vehicles are lifted, they also need a 'drop pitman arm' on the steering gear to keep the steering linkage to the wheels in parallel. Not parallel linkage leads to 'bump steer' that starts the wobble at higher speed. At low speed an encountered bump will cause a very quick momentary slight turn of the front wheels only to re-center. All steering linkage must be parallel, or very close.
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