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Landcruiser HZJ78R Deathwobble

steezoh

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Gday, thought id make an account to document my experience with death wobble in my HZJ78R. This issue is honestly pretty terrifying to encounter and can be a bastard to diagnose so im writing this to help anyone currently or in the future dealing with this issue.

So, to give you some context, I bought this Troopie about 4 months ago, its a 1999, Was originally owned by the SA Fire service as an admin vehicle and was then sold on to the old bloke that i got it off with about 15,000kms and hes had it all the way up to where it is now before i got it at about 290,xxx kms.

So, all this covid shit is winding down here in WA and camping is finally allowed again, so naturally i decide to head straight down south on the friday and about half and hour into the drive im hit with the most but clenching death wobble at about 90kms. I had to slow all the way down and pull over to the side of the road just to stop them.
Fast forward im home from the camp trip, and it happend three more times whilel i was down there and on the way back.

first thing on my list was to get the wheels re balanced,
got it done today and the front was out by 30 grams. Must say i can notice the front steering nicer all ready but ive not got it up to speed to see if it has resolved the issue.
if it hasnt im going to have a look at replacing the steering dampener. then take it from there.
It has a 2 inch old man emu lift, and the springs ect look to be in decent nick, so it might be bushings or some other shit.

ill keep this updated with developments in getting this shit solved,
cheers - Steezoh.
 

Tractionman

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Welcome Steezoh, sorry I can't shed any light on your frightening experience, apart from the balancing, I have no knowledge of lifts, etc .
I think we have all had that 'tank slapper ' , (biking jargon) experience at some point I am sure someone will be able to point you in the right direction.
 

Chris

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I've had similar death wobble at around 45mph. So violent that I thought I was going to lose control. I'd forget the steering damper, that's really just when you're wheeling and hit a rock with one wheel. I drove onthe road for months with no damper and couldn't tell the difference. Yes wheel balance is important but not usually the cause of wobble in such a violent way.

I'd suggest that it's most likely something to so with the front radius arms and bushes. If it's had a 2" lift, the castor angles will be out. Not by much and usually 2" doesn't need any correction. However, there are often funny things that creep in with lifts and it's possible that someone fitted castor correction bushes, which are the work of the devil and they're not aligned correctly or maybe there's just wear in the originals.

Front end bushes is where I'd start looking.
 

Rodger

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IMO death wobble is all about alignment and bushes - it was on my truck. Before you spend loads of money measure every thing including the X - front right to left rear, etc - and wheel base. Also check tracking wheel bearings.
I don't have standard 40 suspension and found that one radius arm bush (rear of the arm) was slightly crushed. Once renewed the problem went away.

Hope that helps.

Regards,

Rodger
 

Higgy

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Didnt some guy a long time ago post a video of his 80 with catastrophic Death wobble. I remember us all guessing, and trying to diagnose the Problem.. At the end i think it was down to his Tyres...Must still be on here somewhere .....
 
J

jibberjabber

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G'Day,

Death Wobble, wasn't that also a dance back in the 'Roaring Twenties', I had not herd of that on a car before, a bike yes but not a car.

Mr Google comes up with so many possible causes it'd hard to put your finger on the problem.

Good Luck, hope you get it sorted. :thumbup: :handgestures-finge:
 
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BobMurphy

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Years ago (1970s) I had a Ford Corsair that also had the occasional 'death wobble', it would almost tear the steering wheel out of my hands. The Macpherson Strut top mounts had been replaced, with plates welded in to the bodyshell. The wobble was all about suspension alignment.

I'd say Chris is on the right lines, its more fundamental than wheel balance and tracking in my opinion and probably needs more 'trail' to stop it behaving like a shopping trolley.

Bob.
 

mettisse

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I had this problem a long time ago and it turned out (after replacing the damper etc) to be the bushes in the panhard rod were shot, worth a look might save a bit of time, hard to see they were shot though, only when we put a huge crowbar on the joint was it revealed.
 

steezoh

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Alright so a little update,
finally got around to giving the old girl a service and here is what was found,
The main thing that i think was causing it is that the LHF Wheel bearing was loose, and had a significant amount of play in it.
Greased Uni Joints, Pivot points/Arms, and the rear shackle Bushes. - these were severely lacking grease to the point they had play in them, dont think previous owner had greased them in YEARS.
Tightened the Prop shaft bolts/ Diff u bolts. - Some were almost finger loose (and adjusted Tyre pressures )
as well as that just gave a general service swapping Engine, Diff, Transmission Oils and filters ect.

I think this has eliminated the wobble as she feels smooth as anything cruising at 100kms now, Will know for sure when i next get to go out camping and am driving for a prolonged period of time, Will let you all know then.

P.S thanks for all the replies and advice !

Regards - Steezoh
 

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Chris

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We like a happy ending. Yes those things are normally best tightened up.
 

steezoh

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Ok update part 2. Went out for a camp to Albany hour and half into drive down got wobbles, not fixed haha.
will have to get her up and looked at
 

Paddler Ed

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How old are the tyres? Have they got flat spots?

290,000 isn't that high on a 21 year old vehicle (about 14,000km/year) so the tyres could be a fair few years old.

Otherwise, get a tyre fitter to check that the rims are actually round and true, and are mounted up correctly - you may need to take it to a truck place as it looks like it's on split rims and most tyre places like to do those in a cage.

Keep an eye out for some wheels off of a GXL spec 70 with 5 studs, they do come along and would be a good swap over - they're also easier to get people to fit tyres to - if you end up needing new rims. Sometimes (esp if near mines) you can get take offs from the Toyota dealer - currently they're shipping 70s with 225/95R16s on one piece steel rims, instead of 235/85R16 on splits that they used to do.
 

Higgy

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:auto-swerve:Tyres me reckons...? Im sure this is the same guy that posted on the Land cruiser site a while ago now and im sure the conclusion was Tyres.... But cant find the old Post....... I could be wrong....
 

Kimbo

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On my troopy at 75-85kph it was tyres, wheel balance, and alignment. All sorted. But you've done that....
 
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