RANCHO STEERING STABILIZER FOR JEEP JK: DEATH-WOBBLE DIY

Rancho RS5000 Series Performance Steering Stabilizer For ’07-’11 Jeep Wrangler JK  #RS5407

Pros: American made.  Heftier than original equipment.  Simple to install.  Cured instability with improved steering feel and handling.

Cons: The enclosed complimentary Rancho bumper sticker is yours for the asking.

In the world of legendary specialty vehicles, the words “Jeep Wrangler” and “Death-Wobble” will be forever linked.  Any time you mount two steerable wheels to either end of a heavy, solid axle, there’s the potential for shimmy and shudder.  Factors such as improper wheel balance and alignment can combine to cause a world of wobble, capable of scaring the be-Jeepers out of anyone behind the wheel.

Understanding this engineering bump-in-the-road, the peeps at Jeep have compensated by installing a steering damper to supplement the front suspension components. Basically a specialized shock absorber, the damper completes the connection between the solid axle and the sway bar to absorb all lateral motion – thus suppressing wheel-related wobble.

Case In Point

With my Jeep Wrangler JK, the initial need was subtle.  At speeds approaching 55 mph on smooth roads, a slight vibration would transfer through to the steering wheel. Larger wheels installed equals additional weight, but my optional 18s were properly balanced, so the problem lay elsewhere.

Of course, if one is a Jeep enthusiast who’s aware of what they’re driving, the solution is simple.  Upon inspection, the original equipment damper had blown a seal. Considering its wispy, broomstick-diameter structure and our rural road conditions, it’s amazing it lasted past the 80K mile mark.

Rancho vs. Wobble

Visually, the Rancho RS5000 Series Performance Steering Stabilizer is much more substantial than the factory part it replaced.  The specs bear this out – the new unit features a 5/8-in diameter piston rod and 1-3/8 diameter piston – plus “Ten-Stage Velocity Sensitive Valving”.  Not sure about that last part, but the proof is in the dampening.  How’s it all add up?

Phil vs. Rancho

Though a simple DIY fix, I folded it in with some routine maintenance.  Phil the mechanic had no trouble with removal and installation.  Having a lift surely helped, but with the JK’s voluminous ground clearance, any Jeeper with an 18mm wrench could handle this task easily.

The box contained a red protective boot for the rod and seal, the necessary fasteners and an illustrated torque-spec. sheet – not to mention the smokin’-red 3×6-inch Rancho bumper sticker.

On The Road Again

The overall improvements in stability and feedback had me wishing I had changed-out the offending part long before.  The wobble was history.  Bump steer was effectively dampened, resulting in a smoother and firmer road feel.  To most, the latest generation Wrangler is fun to drive.  Due to Rancho‘s input, it has also become a pleasure.

In reality, the Dreaded Wobble of lore is a factor only for those who neglect proper maintenance.  Periodic inspection of suspension and steering components will assure a safe and stable ride.

And don’t forget those hard-working shock absorbers.  Replacement at recommended intervals (regardless of appearance) will prevent your all-terrain tires from becoming basketballs at the local railroad crossing.

Monroe offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty on the Rancho RS5000 Series.

Made in USA

Tenneco Monroe

1 International Drive

Monroe, MI  48161

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