For those who drive Ford trucks, you may have heard of the dreaded “death wobble.” This is a terrifying phenomenon in which the truck shakes and vibrates while driving. It can be so violent that it feels as if your truck will tip over! But why does this happen? And how can you fix it?
The death wobble is a defect in many Ford F250 and Ford F350 Super Duty trucks. It occurs when the front end of these trucks loses traction, causing the vehicle to shake violently. Customers have reported that it usually happens at speeds between 60 and 70 miles per hour. Once it begins, the steering is dead, and the driver has no control over the vehicle unless the speed is reduced.
Read on to learn what causes the Ford death wobble and how you can fix it.
How to Fix Ford Death Wobble
Causes Your Steering Wheel to Shake Violently and Uncontrollably
Death wobble is a scary name for a scary problem. It’s a defect that causes your steering wheel to shake violently and uncontrollably, making it difficult to steer your vehicle. It can also cause your vehicle to swerve from side to side.
Check the Track Bar Joint for Excessive Play
Checking the track bar joint for excessive play and performing a general checkup on loose bolts and nuts are both examples of potential solutions. The bottom pivot joint and the outside tie rod bushings both need to be inspected and can be replaced as part of the minor repairs.
Other Things You Can Do to Fix Ford Death Wobble
- Install a dual Bilstein steering damper with a new set of shocks;
- Substitute new links for the suspension and steering (end link and drag link);
- Replace bushings on the upper ball joints; and
Even though the amount of toe and camber were satisfactory according to the manufacturer’s spec, you have to adjust the amount of caster. According to Ford, the caster should be between 1.8 and 4.4 degrees.
But others who decided with +5.7 on the right and +4.7 on the left said it made a huge difference! Although it became more difficult to maneuver at lower speeds, the trade-off significantly improved the vehicle’s stability at highway speeds.
So even if the root cause is discovered, fixing the problem could still be quite pricey. Ford upgraded the suspension and brakes on its most recent pickup trucks, but the automaker stopped short of updating the rest of the components.
As a result, these (relatively old) truck parts become worn out from carrying the weight of the newer parts.
Most Common Issue in Ford Super Duty F250 and F350
You may notice your truck shaking when you accelerate, brake quickly, or drive over rough terrain or uneven roads. The problem is mostly related to Ford’s Super Duty F250 and F350 trucks. It is caused by premature wear and tear of suspension and steering components.
This can be extremely dangerous for drivers, especially in cases where they are taking sharp turns or on narrow roads. Fixing the Ford death wobble usually depends on its causes upon diagnosis.
What Are the Causes of the Death Wobble?
According to the lawsuit, the Ford death wobble is caused by the premature wear or loosening of the:
- Track bar joint;
- Control arms;
- Shocks; or
- A picky steering dampener.
This is more like an overview of what might occur. And in the majority of cases, the cause is either one problem or a combination of one or more defects.
In addition to these problems, numerous mechanics have discovered other potential causes that contribute to the death wobble, and they include:
- Worn-out tie rod bushings of the control arms,
- Uneven tire wear,
- Improper alignment,
- Warped brake rotors, and
- Worn parts on the front end (i.e., suspension and steering linkages)
Ford Death Wobble Fix Kit
As a former off-road truck driver, I’ve experienced and seen death wobble firsthand. It is an extremely dangerous situation that can cause severe damage to your vehicle if not fixed quickly.
So if you’re experiencing the death wobble on your Ford truck, a Ford Powerstroke death wobble kit is a must-have. This kit has everything you need to fix your truck’s death wobble.
It comes with high-quality parts designed specifically for your particular vehicle and the manufacturer’s specifications.
Does Ford Have a Recall on the Death Wobble?
Ford Did Not Issue a Recall Despite Complaints
Certain Ford Super Truck models exhibit violent shaking when traveling at high speeds. However, no recall has been issued by Ford Motor Company to address this issue, despite many owners complaining about it.
What Did Ford Do Instead?
Because of this, customers are essentially left to fend for themselves when dealing with a potentially dangerous defect.
Even though Ford has not issued a recall for the vehicles in question, the automobile manufacturer has clarified that specific model years are eligible for free repairs.
Those who own qualified trucks for this repair should take advantage of it to eliminate any potential threat to their safety while behind the wheel.
The free repair includes the steering damper replacement, which customers can avail of in Ford dealerships. However, only trucks manufactured from 2017 to 2019 are eligible for this free repair.
2019 Class-action Lawsuit Against Ford
In 2019, Ford owners initiated a class-action lawsuit, alleging that the automaker deliberately sold trucks equipped with defective or substandard suspension systems.
But in September 2021, the court dismissed a portion of the complaint because some plaintiffs’ issues had been resolved entirely by the repairs. Despite this, the case will continue with the other plaintiffs.
As the questions of thousands of Ford owners remained unanswered, many began to question their trust in the Ford brand. According to claims made in a class-action lawsuit against Ford in 2019, the problem is related to worn-out steering and suspension system components.
In addition, the California Consumer Attorney highlights that Ford was aware of the components within the 2005-2019 F250 and F350 suspension systems being prone to failure. However, the manufacturer failed to address the issue properly or tell their customers about it.
Also, this issue has piqued the interest of various TV broadcasters and news networks. That’s why many have conducted interviews with some owners who have been through the horrifying experience.
Did Ford Offer to Buy Back Trucks Affected by the Death Wobble?
Buyback vehicles are those that the manufacturer has repurchased. The company buys back these vehicles because they were recalled or involved in a lawsuit for defects. In the case of the Ford trucks experiencing the death wobble, no buyback was offered.
Instead, Ford sent a letter offering to repair the trucks at no cost to the owner. It takes around half a day to complete the repair. Customers have given conflicting feedback on whether the problem has been permanently resolved after the repair.
Again, what caused the Ford death wobble? The Ford death wobble is a common issue in Ford F250 and F350 Super Duty Trucks. The death wobble causes shaking when you reach 50 mph or when passing by bumps on the roads. To stop the wobble, you have to slow down or stop the car.
Ford Super Duty Death Wobble
You are likely familiar with the term “death wobble” if you own a Ford truck or are simply a truck enthusiast. Did you know that Jeep came under criticism for this defect?
Ford customers have also reported experiencing the same problem with their Super Duty trucks, particularly the Ford F350 and Ford F250:
1. Ford F350
A quick search on the internet will turn up several videos and complaints from drivers claiming that the front end of their trucks are violently jostling and shaking them, giving them the impression that the vehicle is about to fall apart.
Here’s a YouTube video showing actual footage of the Ford F350 death wobble:
As seen in this YouTube video, the truck was peacefully cruising on the highway when suddenly, the truck began to shake violently.
According to a lawsuit, the most common cause of the “death wobble” is when the truck travels faster than 50 miles per hour and one of the tires hits a bump, dip, or groove in the road.
Wobbling can happen at any point along the route. And the only way to control the shaking is to come to a complete stop or significantly slow down. While it’s happening, there’s nothing else you can do.
Although this problem has been reported as far back as 2005, it appears that Ford has been unable to resolve it completely.
2. Ford F250
The Ford F250 is one of the most popular models of Super Duty Truck in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. The F250 is a high-performance off-roader that can handle any terrain you throw at it.
Ford has been making these trucks for decades, but recently there have been some problems with them, and they’re not affecting all models equally.
If you own a Ford F250, you might be at risk of experiencing death wobble, which is a shaking that occurs when your truck hits bumps or potholes while driving at high speeds. It’s especially dangerous if you’re traveling over 55 miles per hour.
3. Ford F150
Those who experience the dreaded “death wobble” are not limited to owners of Ford F250 and F350 pickup trucks. According to research findings, even the Ford F150 has been affected by this problem since at least 1995. The Jeep Wrangler is affected by the same issue as well.
What Year Jeep Wrangler Has Death Wobble?
Like the Ford Super Duty Trucks, the Jeep death wobble happens when the truck with worn-out front suspension components has inconsistencies in the road at highway speeds. The violent wobble can sometimes only be stopped by bringing the car to a complete stop.
Hundreds of Jeep owners complained, which led to the rapid development of a class-action lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer. Jeep, on the other hand, claims that replacing the steering damper with a new one eliminates the death wobbles.
The Jeep Wrangler has dealt with various problems in the past, including the death wobble. This is true for the off-roader going back to 1995.
What to Do When Your Ford Truck Starts to Death Wobble?
Dealing with this issue is unsettling and scary, so you should look for a remedy as soon as possible. It might be tough to figure out what to do, given that Ford has not yet issued a recall or provided an official solution to the problem.
If you’re driving and notice that your truck is shaking while you are behind the wheel, there are some things you can do to fix the issue on your own:
1. Pull Over If Possible
It is in everyone’s best interest to pull over at this point (if possible). Don’t let go of the steering wheel, but keep a light grip on it at all times.
You could injure your fingers if you have a tight grasp on the steering wheel and your hand is in the wrong spot. This is due to the abrupt and forceful movements of the steering wheel.
Stay in the Lane While Slowing Down
Try to stay in the lane while you are slowing down. In most cases, the wobbling will stop once you have slowed down. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have no choice but to stop completely.
Why? If you pull over while wobbling at a fast speed, you could put yourself in harm’s way and lose control of the vehicle.
Slow Down Carefully
Try to slow down in a controlled manner without applying excessive force to the brakes or making abrupt or strong movements with the steering wheel.
2. Check Lose Suspension Bolts
Whether you have brought a set of tools with you, you should check to see if any of the suspension bolts have become loose. Even if they weren’t the main problem, a bad case of the shakes could quickly upset things.
Sometimes, giving everything a good tightening can at least get you home to receive a proper diagnosis from the mechanic.
3. Report the Death Wobble Problem
If you have experienced the so-called “death wobble,” report it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA.
Over a thousand Ford drivers have already filed complaints with the NHTSA. The more these complaints are submitted to the NHTSA, the greater the chance Ford will issue a recall for the affected trucks.
4. Seek Out Repairs on Your Own
You might be eligible for free steering repairs if your truck model year falls between 2017 and 2019. You can call your local Ford dealership to make an appointment for this repair. When you do this, ensure to be specific about the issue you are having and whether your truck is still under warranty.
However, Ford truck drivers with other model years (either earlier or later) may have to foot the bill for necessary repairs.
Frequently Asked Questions – Ford Death Wobble Explained
What Is the Meaning of Death Wobble on Ford Trucks?
In many Ford F250 and F350 Super Duty trucks, the front end experiences a violent shaking known as the death wobble. In most cases, it happens at speeds more than 50 mph. It is also possible for it to occur after driving over grooves or bumps in the road.
What Caused the Ford Death Wobble?
The Ford death wobble is due to a defect linked to abnormal loosening and/or wear of the track bar bushing, ball joints, damper bracket, control arms, shocks, or struts.
What Year Ford Has the Death Wobble?
Ford Motor Company was sued for death wobble in 2019. The lawsuit covers F250 and F350 pickup trucks manufactured between 2005 and 2019.
Can You Drive with Death Wobble?
It is best to avoid driving while experiencing a death wobble. Reduce your speed and pull over to the side of the roadway. However, if circumstances need you to remain on the roadway, reduce your speed to below 45 miles per hour.
How Do You Fix a Death Wobble on a Ford F150?
Good solutions include checking the track bar joint for excessive play and a comprehensive checkup for loose bolts and nuts. The bottom pivot joint and the outside tie rod bushings need to be inspected and perhaps replaced as part of the minor repairs.
Conclusion – Death Wobble on Ford Trucks
The Ford death wobble is a terrifying experience for anyone who encounters it. The truck shakes and vibrates to the point where you can’t control it.
Some truck owners have taken their vehicles to Ford mechanics multiple times to replace various front-end components. Unfortunately, some report that the fixes for the individual components work for a while before the wobbling returns.
If you’re experiencing a death wobble problem, you should take your vehicle in for an inspection. The mechanic may be able to identify and repair any issues with your front end so you can get back on the road safely.