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Old 08-31-2019, 07:21 AM   #1
29Cabriolet
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Default The dreaded death wobble

Yet another thread on the subject. I searched for previous postings but could not find what I was looking for. I am looking for suggestions on where to start. The wobble is not consistent. Typically only happens when breaking on a bumpy stretch of payment. I replaced the rubber insulator on the radius rod about 4 years/3000 miles ago. What is the life expectancy?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 08-31-2019, 07:46 AM   #2
Lefthander1930
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Smile Re: The dreaded death wobble

A steering stabilizer might work. Page 49 new Mac's Model A catalog.

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Old 08-31-2019, 08:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

Sadly, I would look for a bent front axle.

For the DIY mechanic, this means a complete tear down to axle beam, and then replacement after straightening the axle by means/methods given in the literature.

Some have advocated bring the Model A to a "Big Truck Shop" who are acquainted with solid beam front axles. Few and far between in today's age and you can be sure that they will get their piece of your wallet since you're occupying shop space normally devoted to better heeled clientele with a job to do and money to be made. You may find the antique interest in your favor here.

I would recommend you NOT use the 2-1/2" pipe method slipped over the end of the axle while on the car. You don't know against what defect you're pulling particularly, or where you want to go, and the results can be more irregular than the initial defect. And you may do damage to the rest of the car.

Replacement front axles is where I have gone. I now have (um) four in various stages of rework. ALL of them are bent to some degree or another - so one can conclude after 80 years or so most all axles are bent to some degree - usually the passenger side "pushed back" somewhat. Having a replacement is nice since you can work on that in your (ahem) "spare" time and have it ready to go when you feel particularly motivated to work under a car.

The steering stabilizer might be a temporary band-aid.

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Old 08-31-2019, 08:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

Not by the book,but the way I stop it is by tightening the ends of the drag link and tie rod just where you can get the cotter pin in. Tighten pitman arm, check sector shaft bushings. Adjust gear, and make sure your toe-in is correct. I don’t agree with all those springs in the system.
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

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Originally Posted by 29Cabriolet View Post
Yet another thread on the subject. I searched for previous postings but could not find what I was looking for. I am looking for suggestions on where to start. The wobble is not consistent. Typically only happens when breaking on a bumpy stretch of payment. I replaced the rubber insulator on the radius rod about 4 years/3000 miles ago. What is the life expectancy?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
More than likely your problem is due to worn out steering parts including the wishbone ball, steering arm/pitman balls and tie rods. I know the stabilizer is a popular item but in my opinion, just a band aid fix.

The July/August 2015 MAFCA Restorer has a very good article, "Causes and Fixes for Death Wobble in the Model A Ford"
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

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Check the easiest thing first. The condition of the tires & wheels is the easiest thing to check and also the most common cause of steering feed back. Feed back can get started easier if there is any looseness in king pins, tie rod ends, or radius rod attachments. A happy medium can be attained when all this stuff is maintained in good condition with minimum balance issues. It will come back whenever things deteriorate to an unacceptable condition.

I'm not a fan of the rubber ball socket pad. Ford never used them during manufacture of these cars.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

Most everyone on FB would agree, throw the rubber ball away and buy the upper and lower metal caps. Might check the 3 steel balls on spindles to see if they're wore out, I replaced all of mine. If the front spring shackles are wore out, they might contribute to the problem. On this forum there has been many posts about the installation of a panhard bar that goes from frame to front axle.
carry on
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

Solved mine by rebuilding the sloppy steering box.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

Please take the time to read my post from 2018. Go to search and look up steering box issues resolved. it's PDF and a long read but it will be worth your time.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

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Originally Posted by 29Cabriolet View Post
I replaced the rubber insulator on the radius rod about 4 years/3000 miles ago. What is the life expectancy?
!
What is meant by "the rubber insulator on the radius rod".

Are you referring to the rubber ball on the ball on the radius rod? If so, yes replace it as they get oil on them and degrade after time

OR reinstall the stock setup.

I may be off base but that is where I would start.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:43 AM   #11
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

Do the easy things first, do as JacksonIII suggests. All play must be removed from the drag ling and tie rod. Bent axle? I doubt that would cause wobble, tire wear yes.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:04 AM   #12
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

I would also include an inspection of the front wheel bearings. You are probably ready for repacking the bearings anyway. Jack up each front wheel and see if there is any play.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:20 AM   #13
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

my experience has been that improper toe in is the main cause of death wobble !!! any looseness in other front end parts will contribute after death wobble sets in . I set my toe in at 1/16 . I've had model A's with loose king pins and worn play in the steering that didn't have the death wobble as long as the toe in was correct . I also doubt that a slightly bent axle would cause shimmy . Probably most model A front axles are bent to some degree . In nearly fifty nine years I don't remember more that three model A front axles that were found to be not bent after disassembly .
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:22 AM   #14
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

Like the others have said, your wobble comes from looseness. Check everything from the wheel bearings all the way thru to the steering box adjustment including correct toe setting.

I wouldn't recommend the stabilizer, they are a band-aid.
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:01 PM   #15
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

I had the death wobble years ago. When I was new to this hobby. And my first model A! It was bad. I spent some time doing research reading supply houses catalogs. There wasn’t any internet or FB At that time. I saw that the stabilizer will fix the wobble ya! Bought one installed it no more wobble great!! Talking to model A friends they said find the problem please. That stabilizer doesn’t fix anything!! Well I ended up rebuilding the steering column and doing a front end alignment no more wobble!!
I did reinstall the stabilizer cuz it does steer better with it,doesn’t wonder or flow the cracks in the road
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:57 PM   #16
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Default Re: The dreaded death wobble

I agree fix the problem if you can but if you want a stabilizer I will ship you one for $80 plus shipping
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