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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Gentlemen,
I could really use some help, if you don't mind.
My 2001 P38 has a death wobble that is giving me cold sweat, it feels like the front axle is about to come out from under the car.
the movement feels like it is sideways very violently, but the panhard bushings have just been replaced.
I have read a number of comments relating to this here, that were very helpful.
So far I have replaced:
-steering damper
-front shocks
-steering rod and tracking rod
-all bushings connecting to the front axle (the panhard arm , the leading arms, the torsion bar...)
-re alignment of the front wheels, after replacing the steering and tracking rod
-re balancing the front wheels

if I take off the front wheels ,I cannot feel any play in the bearings ,or the pivoting points (which I guess does not nescessarily mean it is not there, just that I cannot feel it)

I thought the new wheelbalancing, and reducing the tyre pressure to 2.4, done last week, would finally fix the problem, but today on the highway, it was there with a vengeance again..

I am running out of options and this is besides dangerous, taking the fun out of driving for real. It needs to get fixed.
IF anybody has any ideas or input on other causes, besides what I have done so far, I would really appreciate hearing about it...

Thanks a lot for your input!
Rinse
 

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Hello Gentlemen,
I could really use some help, if you don't mind.
My 2001 P38 has a death wobble that is giving me cold sweat, it feels like the front axle is about to come out from under the car.
the movement feels like it is sideways very violently, but the panhard bushings have just been replaced.
I have read a number of comments relating to this here, that were very helpful.
So far I have replaced:
-steering damper
-front shocks
-steering rod and tracking rod
-all bushings connecting to the front axle (the panhard arm , the leading arms, the torsion bar...)
-re alignment of the front wheels, after replacing the steering and tracking rod
-re balancing the front wheels

if I take off the front wheels ,I cannot feel any play in the bearings ,or the pivoting points (which I guess does not nescessarily mean it is not there, just that I cannot feel it)

I thought the new wheelbalancing, and reducing the tyre pressure to 2.4, done last week, would finally fix the problem, but today on the highway, it was there with a vengeance again..

I am running out of options and this is besides dangerous, taking the fun out of driving for real. It needs to get fixed.
IF anybody has any ideas or input on other causes, besides what I have done so far, I would really appreciate hearing about it...

Thanks a lot for your input!
Rinse
Death wobble is difficult to fix without changing a fundamental part of the geometry (to change the resonant frequency). When I bought larger tires for my 99P38, I noticed it was less likely to do death wobble. Previously, I had two different Jeep grand Cherokee’s that both had almost incurable death wobble. Yet, both had the same Pirelli Scorpion tires. Now I realize that could have been a factor. Also, check away bar links, very very important for death wobble.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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1,426 Posts
What wheels and tyres are you using? Original spec or from another Landrover model?
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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44 Posts
I also replaced all of my front suspension wear items. Check the torque specs on all the fasteners. I had a severe wobble after I replaced some bushings, and it turned out my torque wrench was broken and not going to specifications. After a new torque wrench and checking them all again, several were off. That fixed it for me.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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wheel shimming is a tyre issue. all the worn parts just add to the problem , try swoping front to rear to see if that helps . or buy new tyres they are worn wrong dew to being unbalanced in the first place.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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14 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
HI Jurssen,
Thanks for the feedback! appreciated. I am wondering if I should get new tyres. Just got some only 40.000KM ago ,but with all the wobble et all, it may be smart to just replace with different type. will consider this. The bar links where replaced with new ones. That should not be it..
Rinse
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Bob,
Thanks for the feedback! That is interesting. I never thought that this would be so sensitive, fixed is fixed.. I am running out of options so will definetely get the book out and retighten them! Thanks!
I love this car, don't get me wrong, but for a solid off road car, she sure is sensitive to the drivetrain.. not very impressive.
Rinse
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #8
Hello mr Mad :)
thanks for the feedback, appreciated! I think you are correct. I had new tyres 40.000KM ago and they are not looking good. This will definetely not help with vibrations with these big wheels. Thank you! the car is getting realigned today and I will order new tyres with them.
In the meantime, until they arrive I will do the front/back switch that you suggest. That makes sense. Thanks, Rinse
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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+1 on the tyres.
Are they the stock tyres or larger / from a different LR? (asked earlier)
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #10
+1 on the tyres.
Are they the stock tyres or larger / from a different LR? (asked earlier)
Hello Bolt,
No, they are normal all season tyres from Goodyear, on the original 16" rim, (not 17" as I mistakenly mentioned before) I have just ordered a new set 255/65R16 for them.
we just had a look underneath on the bridge and I adjusted all the bushing related parts with proper Torque. 6 out of 8 had the right torque already but one of the lead arms on the axle side needed a bit more tightening to reach proper torque....
thanks,
Rinse
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #11
Gents, thanks for your input. I got a few pointers to try out and will let you know how it goes.
For now I have properly torqued the pan hard rod and radius arms nuts and bolts and will be putting on new tyres and will refit OEM bushings on the panhard rod and the radius arms, since it may be that the Yellow Polyuretan bushes I fitted from britparts, may be too soft... anybody have that experience? When the car was on the bridge this afternoon, we did another check on the kingpins and the wheel bearings, and they seem to be in order indeed. I ordered Goodyear M+S 255/65R16 tyres all round. Will update in a week ,when the parts have been changed. Thanks for now! Rinse. PS: I noticed I am no longer a "newbie" but have been promoted to "freshman rover"... I am blushing... :)
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Aloha,
Ahhhhhh, Yellow poly bushes from BP....What could possibly go wrong?
Glad you mentioned this detail.
I had installed the poly bushes on mine, and was very sorry I did so..
For whatever reason, they actually disintegrated into gooey powder. (4 years and only 22k miles) No wobble, but one heck of a racket, and wrecked the alignment.
I cannot recall anyone on this forum ever singing their praises?? "They are easier to install".......That seems to be the best I could say.
Got a hunch that between the new sneakers, and the stock bushes, you may just get your ride back.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover Classic
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1,413 Posts
Gents, thanks for your input. I got a few pointers to try out and will let you know how it goes.
For now I have properly torqued the pan hard rod and radius arms nuts and bolts and will be putting on new tyres and will refit OEM bushings on the panhard rod and the radius arms, since it may be that the Yellow Polyuretan bushes I fitted from britparts, may be too soft... anybody have that experience? When the car was on the bridge this afternoon, we did another check on the kingpins and the wheel bearings, and they seem to be in order indeed. I ordered Goodyear M+S 255/65R16 tyres all round. Will update in a week ,when the parts have been changed. Thanks for now! Rinse. PS: I noticed I am no longer a "newbie" but have been promoted to "freshman rover"... I am blushing... :)
yes on the bushings, my 95 classic developed odd handling behaviours after installing yellow bushings.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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+1 on the bushes. I would always stay with OEM. I have also had bad experiences with a classic on poly bushes.
To check out the bushes properly, the car really needs to be lifted up on a car lift and then use a big pry bar to check for play.
I still think the wheels and tyres have a big affect. I don't like large diameter, low profile tyres on a p38. I would always stay with 16" wheels.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #15
Hmmm.. and I was so happy to have put the new bushes on.. :( anyway, I guess we learn as we go. Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I just ordered the OEM bushes for the panhard and the radius arms. Will keep you posted.
 

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lot of misinformation in the replies... shimmy in the front end is rarely caused by tires. It is usual caused by P38 owners "upgrading" to rims from other LR model rims with too large of inner hubs WITHOUT using proper centering rings. They are NOT optional.

As far as alignment goes, there is ONLY one option... toe-out...at 0.02"- 0.07" that is the only spec for solid axles.

Caster and Camber did not come into Range Rover universe until the L322 in 2002 in the US and 2001 in the rest of the world.
 

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A bit more info:
- as said before, replace the brittpart with OEM. Even though those are hard to install without the dedicated tool. Not impossible though, we always manage by giving one side some chamfer with the grinder.
- when checking for play in bearings or balljoints, leave the wheels on. That way you have better grip and more leverage to load the bearings.
- lower your tire pressure, 2.4 is rather high for standard tires. New tires will rule out problems with wear, swapping front to rear would have been the easier way to check.
- don't forget to check the rear axle, play and vibrations can affect the steering

Filip
 

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Had a death wobble on my 2002 P38, and tried everything I could to fix the problem with no luck. Read post after post and still no luck fixing the issue, changed steering dampener, panhard bushings, then rod itself, ball joints, etc., was just about to change the tires which were practically new to begin with, when I decided to change out Panhard bushings again after just replacing them with poly urethane ones, thought it would be easier and cheaper than switching out tires. After doing so, no more wobble ever, it’s been three years and all is still good. Replaced them with the stiffest ones I could get. I have no idea why the previous new ones didn’t work, but this fixed my problem for good. Hope this helps.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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I spent 10 years trying to fix my Gems 4.0SE, then last year after spending a further "P38money" for a full overhawl of every single suspension bit.... the bloody wobble was still there but at least the car now was driving in a straght line so I was somehow happy (-er).

Then I had the brilliant idea of fitting snowtyres which were more easily available in 16" size....and the wobble disappeared the day I had the original 16" rims back on it.

I do not call myself expert but I have been playing with cars (mostly vintage) most of my live and I could not, for the love of live, understand how the 18" Land Rover L322 rims could be responsible for the wobble of death until the moment I listed them on ebay and a chap kindly asked about the spigot rings...

I replied.... "what spigot rings???"...... that is when I had an epiphany... bloody hell... not one single garage in 13 years ever spotted the issue....

the difference in the rims is barely noticeable by eye and also the tyres looked perfect affter 40Kmiles, but at a certain speed that tiny difference is more than enough to cause the wobble.
 

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+1 on wheels/tires and centering rings. I changed out most of the suspension like you and also did the upper and lower ball joints even though they looked good. Most things helped a little but did not solve it. I would still get the wobble between 55-70 mph. Someone (I believe on this forum) suggested the centering rings since I have the larger rims (19) off of a newer RR. Put the centering rings on and new tires and viola, death wobble gone. So am not sure if the tires helped or not, but I was just happy it was fixed.
BTW, along the way I went the Orange Polybush (Not from Atlantic British) and am very happy with them. You get much better road feel with them without being overly stiff.
 
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