Best known for its versatility and durability, the Jeep Wrangler is the lord of rides, mostly when it comes to rough terrains. However, the Wrangler riders are not very satisfied with the driveline vibration issue.
Many describe driveline vibration or driveshaft vibration as a normal “Jeep-thing”. Well, I was told so. But I didn’t like that “normal” part of my Wrangler so I went on to find the cause and finally got it fixed.
A vibration in the Wrangler can be caused by several factors and components in the vehicle.
However, it has been noticed that the imbalance in the drive shafts, generally, is the main cause of the vibration. Besides it, the other causes of vibration could be due to problems with wheels, steering, or engine.
What causes Jeep driveline vibration?
Worn U-joints and out-of-balance components mostly cause driveline vibration, though there can be other factors and conditions that too might have contributed to the tremble.
If the problem does not lie with the universal joints (popularly known as U-joints), you might want to check the yokes too.
Usually, when the yokes aren’t aligned well or are out of phase, that can result in driveline vibration.
Modifications on the vehicle such as lifting also may result in a tremble. Furthermore, when you approach a critical speed range in the wrangler, you may feel the vibration in the driveline.
Considering how many shakes or bumps a driveshaft makes per revolution, there are three driveshaft vibration orders.
Types of Drive line vibrations
A first-order driveshaft vibration will cause one bump per revolution. In another word, for each revolution of the driveshaft, you can feel a shake or disturbance.
This is generally caused by an out-of-balance component. A problem in the drive axle can also cause first-order driveshaft vibration.
In a second-order driveshaft vibration, two bumps or shakes can be felt for each revolution of the driveshaft.
Usually, this order of vibration is caused when U-joints are wearing out or due to problems in powertrain mounting.
An incorrect trim height, twisted driveshaft, and drive axle problems also result in a second-order driveshaft vibration.
Likewise, a third-order driveshaft vibration will cause three bumps per revolution of the driveshaft.
Problems in CV joints mostly lead to this kind of vibration. However, a third-order driveshaft vibration is quite rare.
Why does the Jeep shake uncontrollably at more than 55 mph?
You might have experienced a violent vibration, especially at the front end of your Wrangler, when the speed of the vehicle is over 55 mph.
This is also commonly referred to as Death Wobble, which seems to occur due to a misaligned drive shaft when your Jeep is lifted more than three inches.
There are many other common causes for death wobble. Especially worn out steering components is a common reason for jeep death wobble. Apart from them misaligned drive shafts also liable for death wobbles.
An excessive stain is created on the U-joints due to the increased angle of the driveshaft between the transfer case and the front axle, which in turn creates the Death Wobble.
Though not a single person has been known to be killed by this violent shaking, it can lead to a serious action nevertheless.
What are the symptoms of Jeep driveline vibration?
If you have felt a tremble or an intense shaking coming from underneath your Jeep, there is a high chance that there is some problem with the driveline or driveshaft.
Usually, jeep owners notice two vibrations, one occurring between 30-35 mph and another between 55-60 mph. The latter is more annoying.
Driveline vibration can be felt on your foot on a pedal. Furthermore, you may also notice some strange sounds. If you hear there is clunking or squeaking or clicking kinds of sound they are mostly associated with driveline issues.
Jeep Wrangler front driveshaft vibration
The front driveshaft in a Jeep Wrangler develops vibration when the driveshaft loses balance. This produces a loud and irritating clattering sound.
The balance in the front driveshaft should be re-established in order to cut away the vibration. The shaft can be detached and taken to a proper mechanic for doing so.
What causes a wrangler driveshaft break?
A Jeep driveshaft break can occur when the driveshaft and the shaft’s components are not big enough for the application.
Some modification on the vehicle such as lifting a little too much also causes the driveshaft break as the shaft is not at a perfect angle. Axle wrap is also one of the common reasons behind the problem.
How to fix the wrangler driveline vibration issue?
Driveline vibration is caused by an excitation torque that is generated as a result of acceleration or deceleration of U-joint connected to the driveshaft through a full rotation while the driveshaft’s speed increases and decreases during each revolution.
The torque can be canceled by using the U-joint in pairs and phases, and then adjusting the angle between the driveshaft and the U-joint.
The driveshaft can be detached and its balance can be readjusted. A twisted or damaged driveshaft might have to be replaced too.
What is the cost to replace a driveshaft?
A driveshaft part can cost between $300 to $1000. The price of the part depends on what brand you are purchasing. Regarding labor, it costs around $150 to $200.
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