When it comes to vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks, there is no doubt that Ford is and will continue to be the finest in the automobile industry. Ford’s strong lineup of SUVs and pickup trucks, particularly the Ford F-150 and Ford SuperDuty, give customers the best available power, storage, and capability options. If you drive a Ford F-250 or F-350, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “death wobble.” Here’s a more in-depth look at everything you should know about this popular phrase.
However, the term death wobble has been associated with Ford for a few years now. The Death Wobble Ford refers to the intense shaking of the front end of numerous Ford F250 and F350 Super Duty trucks. It usually happens at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour that begins with a minor shudder or vibration. But before you know it, you are white-knuckled, clutching the steering wheel tightly, attempting to get the vehicle back under control before it loses it completely.
However, the term is inappropriately named. Death wobble is a strong and quick oscillation in the steering components of a truck that causes the steering wheel to whip from side to side. It often starts slowly and grows over time, and if you don’t understand what’s going on, it can feel as if someone is trying to yank the wheel from your grip. Thankfully, no one has died as a result of this.
What Is Death Wobble Ford?
Even if no victims have died out of death wobble, you must know and understand everything about it if you drive a Ford F-250/350 till now. This will aid you in avoiding mishaps and unpleasant circumstances. This article will go over everything you need to know about Death Wobble Ford in depth.
When your entire vehicle begins to shake violently and unpredictably, you can say that you have experienced the death wobble. In this incident, your vehicle will shake, and your steering wheel will move quickly from side to side. As a result, controlling the car will be extremely difficult, posing a major potential danger.
Many Ford F-250 and F-350 super duty trucks users are vehemently experiencing from 2005. Although no deaths have been reported as a result of this, if you experience the death wobble Ford, you should immediately slow down and pull over to avoid an accident.
Death Wobble Ford Lawsuit
Ford is regarded as one of the world’s best automobile manufacturers. However, many complaints and lawsuits have lately been made against them for the death wobble experienced by many Ford F-250 and F-350 truck owners. You can bring a lawsuit against them if you own one of these models and discover the manufacturing defect in your vehicle.
Many complaints have been filed against Ford, which includes F350 trucks and covers the model years 2005 through 2019. The complainers demanded a nationwide recall to solve the problem, as well as repair reimbursement and compensation for injured victims in the lawsuit. Despite the lawsuit and consumer complaints, the automobile manufacturer has refused to recall the automobiles.
It has also failed to come up with a viable solution to the situation. Some Ford F250 and F350 owners have complained that their warranties have been disregarded. Some of the Ford repair shops are attempting to blame truck owners for the problem by claiming that the vehicles were not properly maintained.
Death Wobble Ford: Compensation From The Lawsuit
In the 2019 lawsuit, Ford came up with some recompense if someone is wounded as a result of this manufacturing flaw. They include medical expenses after the incident up to the future. The compensation also includes wages lost due to time away from work.
The pain and suffering as a result of your physical injury and emotional distress from death wobble Ford will also be considered in the compensation. Also, compensation of damaged property and future income loss, if you are unable to work, is a part of compensation in this lawsuit.
Death Wobble Ford: Lawsuit Dismissal
Ford petitioned a federal court in California back on August 2, 2019, to dismiss the planned class-action lawsuit. It cited the state’s statute of limitations for breach of warranty claims in that petition. Regrettably, the lawsuit was partly dismissed in 2021. A judge dismissed it because more than one plaintiff who had their truck fixed has not had this problem since the repairs were performed.
Several other claims were furthermore denied because they were made by owners whose trucks were no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty when they were brought in for repairs.
So, if you are still a user of Ford F-250/350, you have little choice. Just learn about the causes and prevention of death wobble in Ford trucks. After all, not everyone can afford to replace an old model with a new car if it has flaws.
Death Wobble Ford: Technical Perspective
The term death wobble is made up, even if it is used as a technical word. It is a term that has been bandied around to describe a variety of steering, alignment, and balance concerns, including tramp and shimmy, that users are experiencing. Shimmy is a situation in which the front tires tremble or move in and out at different speeds. The steering wheel jerks left and right as a result of this.
The term tramp refers to a bouncing motion in which the front tires travel up and down. Vibration might be felt in the steering wheel as a result of this situation. The caster is another phrase that is sometimes misinterpreted when it comes to death wobble.
The three main alignment specifications are caster, camber, and toe. Unlike camber and toe, however, caster is employed to facilitate self-centering rather than contributing to tire wear.
Causes Behind Death Wobble Ford
The Death Wobble Ford is most commonly triggered by hitting a bump or pothole while traveling in your Ford at speeds of at least 60-70 miles per hour. Poorly placed suspension parts or loose or broken steering components are two of the most typical causes of Death Wobble Ford.
If you’ve changed the suspension or other components on your Ford F-250 and F-350, you may also face the death wobble. Although it is most frequently caused by a suspension or steering problem, there are a few other things to consider as well.
Anything bent or damaged on your car might become a problem and requires repair or replacement. Even if the parts are in good shape, incorrect installation can cause problems. While poor vehicle alignment might worsen problems, it cannot cause fatal wobble on its own. However, it can cause a slew of other troubles with your vehicle.
So, the first step in controlling death wobble Ford is to thoroughly understand every possible cause and reason behind it. Go through the points below to know about these causes in detail.
1. Pressure Of The Tire
The pressure of the tire is the first warning sign you should consider for death wobble in your Ford F-250 and F-350 trucks. Potential triggers include under-inflation, misaligned pressures, and over-inflation of the tire.
The harsh truth is that few adults know the tricks to correctly inspect the tire pressure, which is surprising. To be safe from facing death wobble, one should learn about how to check the tire pressure of your Ford.
2. Tire Balance
Another reason for death wobble is tire balance. The majority of individuals only balance tires once, when one is originally installed on the wheels. However, balancing tires regularly is a better strategy to avoid death wobble.
The more the tire wears out, the alteration to its weight and proportions occurs, generating a moderate imbalance state over time. Death wobble can occur even when a perfectly balanced tire loses all or most of its weight.
So, trying to rotate and balance your tires on a regular oil change basis can assist your Ford F-250 and F-350 avoid death wobble from the start. It will also significantly reduce the wear of tires.
3. Alignment Of Steering
Inappropriate alignment of your Ford F-250 or F-350 steering is another key cause of death wobble. Proper alignment ensures that you stay on the right track while reducing the chance of death wobble.
Another ignored reason for death wobble is a caster that is out-of-spec. The quantity of the present caster is altered by lift, leveling, and lowering kits. Nevertheless, proper alignment and insertion of the caster cams will usually bring your car back into specification. When installing a lift kit, this is one of the most usually ignored elements.
The vehicle’s steering damper absorbs undesired secondary vibrations that might cause fatal wobble. Although it isn’t a solution for death wobble, it is a crucial component of the steering system that should be examined on a routine basis. A stronger piece may be required as the factory damper wears out and larger tires and wheels are added.
While there are several alternatives, they are not all made equal. Make sure you get a damper that is built for steering, as some businesses provide shock absorbers that are designed to be fitted vertically. The problem with this setup is that when these devices are positioned horizontally, resistance can fluctuate throughout the stroke.
Nitrogen-charged dampers for Ford should also be avoided, as they can put undue strain on one side of the car. The resistance of a good steering damper is linear throughout the entire stroke.
5. Ball Joints
Ball joints are another most important part of any suspension or steering to consider for death wobble. This part handles the massive amount of stress and force that the vehicle encounters regularly along with serving as a pivot between the knuckles of steering and the suspension.
So, when it wears down, undesirable movement of the tires and wheels is transmitted to the base frame of a car. This results in vibration. The added weight with larger wheels and tires can easily surpass the limits of OEM ball joints. This causes rapid wear.
Consider ball joints that are heavy-duty, greaseable, and rebuildable as a replacement for OEM ones. These aren’t cheap, but they will spare you from a lot of unwanted death wobbles while driving the road. Lift a corner of your Ford F250 or F350 truck that you have, and grasp the tire at 6 to 12 o’clock to check for ball joint wear.
6. Track Bar
A worn-out track bar is usually to blame for Ford’s death wobble. A track bar prevents the vehicle’s suspension from sliding side to side, which could cause damage. A stiff bar that runs in the same plane as the axle makes up the track bar.
It can transfer vibrations and initiate the oscillations that eventually become death wobble if any of its parts are damaged. A customizable or improved track bar is advisable when adding any type of raise kit.
7. Control Arm Bushing
An outside metal sleeve, a robust rubber or polyurethane bushing, and an inner metal sleeve make up most Ford control arm bushings. Bushings for the control arms are crucial for driving comfort and handling. They’re supposed to offer a rubbery cushion for the suspension, absorbing some of the road vibrations.
Bushings wear out with time, which is to be expected. This is because they are constructed of rubber. The significant amount of impact absorption they deal with regularly might cause them to rip and shatter.
Regardless of whether you have stock rubber bushings, polyurethane, or spherical bearings, you should inspect them for wear or damage regularly. It’s because they’d let the control arm or leaf pack move around too much. Check for loose bolts and wallowed-out bolt holes, as both can cause excessive suspension movement. If your Ford’s control arm bushings are worn out, replace them.
8. Tie Rod
Another reason for the death wobble Ford is a faulty tie rod. It connects the knuckles of steering and relays drag link input along with the wheels. Tires with larger diameters may put more strain on the stock tie rod.
Worn rod ends and damaged tie rods can produce the possible symptoms of death wobble like the vibration of chassis, steering wheel, or wandering. A stable tie rod has enough rotational mobility to the joint.
9. Bearings For Wheels
The bearing for wheels connects the wheel to the axle. It’s a crucial component of the wheel assembly. It is a metal ring that holds tapers and a group of steel balls together. It allows the spinning of the wheel smoothly and with minimal friction.
Vibration, grinding, or screaming noise are all signs of worn bearings. On older vehicles with replaceable wheel bearings, they must be adjusted and oiled regularly. Unit bearings in newer vehicles should be checked on a routine basis.
So, whenever the wear signs are seen, the bearing of the wheels must be replaced. Pull a corner of your Ford and place the tire at 3 to 9 o’clock to inspect for bearing wear. Consider the back and forth movement of the tire. Watch out for any movement that isn’t normal.
10. Box Of Steering
When exploring all of the normal death wobble Ford suspects, it is found out that the problem is occasionally confirmed to be in the steering box. Internally worn parts usually cause steering slop.
Many steering boxes have adjustments built into them to lower the teeth on the sector shaft and the worm gear. Nevertheless, once the gears have been adjusted, they will wear out more quickly, requiring the box to be replaced.
Handling Death Wobble Ford
Do not take your hands off the steering wheel if your vehicle is shaking severely and going into a death wobble. To halt the fatal wobble, grip gently, pull over and slow down or pull over and stop the automobile completely. Avoid making rapid movements (like jerking into a new lane or slamming on the brakes) since they might cause the vehicle to turn over during the wobble, resulting in major accidents and even death.
In the event when you are confronted with a death wobble, you can take these necessary actions. Brake calipers will aid in the reduction of death wobble immediately. Then, begin by asking a person to look at the steering wheel back and forth while you examine underneath the vehicle for anything loose or worn beyond its limitations.
To make sure nothing is loose, tighten all of the suspension and steering components. Without spending a dime, these two items may be able to solve your death wobble problem. Inspect your car for any loose parts, such as tie rod ends, track bars, and so on. You should try to figure out if you’ll be able to drive the car home. If not, it should be towed.
Otherwise, you should be able to drive it but limit your speed below 45 to avoid death wobble or try speeding through the 45-55 trigger point. If you keep your speed above the trigger point, death wobble is unlikely to happen.
To Avoid Death Wobble Ford
Finding and addressing the source of the problem that led your Ford to go into a death wobble could be like fitting a puzzle together. This is because your vehicle’s suspension and steering are made up of a variety of large and small parts. So, when dead wobble happens, various regions of your F-250/350 must be examined.
Experts recommend starting with the front track bar, which is known for generating imbalances and fatal wobble. Following that, a professional with plenty of experience should thoroughly inspect a number of the other parts and attachment places. The list of relocation brackets, ball joints, and tie-rod ends is long.
Also, these are regions of the vehicle that can only be accessed and fixed with professional tools and knowledge. As a result, repairing your Ford might be difficult and expensive. However, you must do so to avoid death wobble Ford.
A Fort Wayne personal injury attorney shares their opinion: We are aware of the dangers associated with driving defective vehicles and the potential harm they can cause to drivers and passengers. We believe that automobile manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their vehicles, and it is unacceptable for them to ignore legitimate complaints and refuse to implement safety measures. Anyone who has suffered injuries or damages due to the Death Wobble phenomenon may be entitled to compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you have made it this far, you now know what causes the scary death wobble. So here are some suggestions for how to prevent it.
1. Examining The Suspension
It is already mentioned that the problem with your Ford F-250/350 suspension system is a major cause of death wobble. As a result, you should examine your Ford suspension system for any signs of damage regularly to avoid the dreaded death wobble. If any components are deformed or broken, have them replaced right away.
2. Upgraded Steering Boxes
Huge forces are applied to steering components when trying to turn large, heavy tires that have been blown down for trail use. When the vehicle is not moving, turning the tires puts additional strain on the tie rod ends, drag link ends, steering box, and steering shaft.
Tie rod ends have a ball-and-socket configuration that wears down with time, causing increased movement inside the sections. So, even if the steering boxes are expensive, upgrade them to avoid chances of death wobble.
3. Maintain Tire Pressure
Imbalanced tire pressures are common causes of the death wobble. So, to avoid it, check the tire pressure of your Ford regularly. Also, inflate or deflate the tires whenever needed.
4. Aligned Wheel
Ensure the proper alignment of your vehicle’s wheels. While mismatched wheels aren’t usually the source of the deadly wobble, they can intensify or even provoke it. So, it is safe to always check that your wheels are in perfect alignment.
5. Steering Stabilizer
While steering stabilizers can hide frontend problems, they aren’t a “solution” for death wobble. However, they remain a key component of the steering system. A properly installed and functioning stabilizer can aid in the absorption of impacts and reduce the strain on the steering system. This may contribute to preventing death wobble in the future.
6. Upgrade Or Replace Parts
While it is feasible to replace worn components with stock replacement parts, this does not guarantee that death wobble will not occur in the future. Almost every component discussed in the causes section of this article contributes to death wobble. But they all can be replaced with a stronger, longer-lasting aftermarket upgrade. So, to avoid a terrifying death wobble situation, upgrade or replace your parts.
Facts on Ford F250 and F350 Death Wobble Issue:
- The death wobble is a violent shaking that happens to the front end of many Ford F250 and F350 Super Duty trucks that typically occurs at speeds over 50 miles per hour or after going over bumps or grooves in the road.
- More than 1,200 Ford truck drivers have filed complaints about the issue to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- A 2019 class action lawsuit was filed against Ford Motor Company for F250 and F350 model years 2005 through 2019, alleging that the trucks have defects in their suspension and steering linkage systems that cause the vehicles to shake, and that the company concealed the problems from consumers.
- Ford has not issued a recall of the vehicles despite the lawsuit and consumer complaints, and repair costs are expensive.
- Some F250 and F350 owners have reported that their warranties were not being honored, and some Ford repair shops have allegedly tried to blame truck owners for the problem by saying owners did not properly maintain their vehicles.
- Ford truck owners in the class action suit are asking for a nationwide recall to fix the defect, reimbursement for repairs they’ve already made, and compensation for injuries suffered in accidents caused by the defect.
- Compensation in motor vehicle accident lawsuits can vary, depending upon the seriousness of the injuries and property damage.
- People considering purchasing 2020-2022 F250 or F350 trucks should be aware of this serious issue, as the death wobble may show up in some of these later vehicles until the company identifies and corrects the defect.
- Some owners of the trucks have made numerous visits to Ford mechanics to have various front-end parts replaced, but for some, the fix for each part lasts for a while, and then the wobble returns.
- It is the responsibility of Ford to recall their vehicles and put a permanent fix in place, and truck owners should not have to worry about potentially being injured or killed in an accident or harming someone else.
If you have made this far in the article, then you now know every detail of Death Wobble Ford. In summary, you must have your vehicle maintained and repaired regularly by an experienced mechanic.
While there are a few things you can do yourself to fix your car, suspension and steering repairs and changes should be left to the professionals. You can request that they install a steering stabilizer system, but that will only be a temporary fix. Aside from being a cautious driver, a constantly well-maintained vehicle is the key to avoiding Death Wobble Ford.