Front end shake after camping trip - long drive thru mud - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-30-2016, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Front end shake after camping trip - long drive thru mud

Hello all. I'm not a prolific poster, this is my third or fourth post. I hope someone here can help me out. I own a 2006 Commander, base model with 4.7. Roughly a month ago I took her to my Jeep dealership and had the front end aligned and tires rotated and balanced. The service tech said that I also had "mud in my tires" and that had contributed to the front end shake that took me to the dealership to begin with. Afterwards she drove out like water on glass, so smooth. Two weeks ago I pulled my camper trailer to the lake. On the way home we had a gully washer of a rain and the three miles of dirt road leading to my home was a swamp. She did great, pulled the weight of the camper thru it and got us home just fine. Now tho, my front end has a shake that is so bad I can't go over 50mph or so. I suspected that I might have "mud in my tires" again. It can't possibly be needing aligned again, right? Also, it bears noting that right before the camping trip my neighbor wired a CB radio for me and he unhooked the battery to set the grounding wire and power cable. I read somewhere that anytime the battery is disconnected you must ( on some models ) recalibrate the on board computer. The implication was that there could be performance problems if you don't, including suspension and ride performance. That doesn't make sense to me, but I'm not an expert.

My question is, how can I find out for myself what the problem is? And if it's mud in my tires, can I take care of that myself? I can't imagine that I'll have to take her to the shop after every trip to re-align the front end. And this whole recalibrating thing just sounds wonky to me.

Before you laugh at me, please understand that I'm a jeep girl, very accustomed to garages and cars, but more on the auto/body side. I am a former recon girl - I painted cars for a living. I know a little about Jeeps, but not a lot. I'm learning and here's your chance to help.

Thanks so much!

2Jeeps

Electric Green '04 Wrangler soft top, Steel bumpers, winch, fog lights, 4" Rough Country lift, 33" Hankooks AT's, Hulk wheels, Uniden CB.
Flame red '06 Commander, Bull bar, 2.5" Rough Country lift and spacers, fog lights, Stock wheels and Hankook AT's. Pioneer deh3800ui deck, MTX 12" sub woofers, BOSS 1200 watt Riot Amp. Bearcat 990 CB.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 05:46 AM
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"Mud in the tires" simply means you had (and probably now have) a clump of mud inside the rim. Lay under the Jeep & look at the inner wheels, also look thru the spokes. Chances are, there's a mud ball causing a tire imbalance problem.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 07:44 AM
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Watch the Comedy, "My Cousin Vinny" a city guy visiting the deep south, one of his first experiences was dealing with the problems of all the mud in his wheels and it making the tires go out of balance.


You need thorough wash out the mud, like MuckSavage said, you have to get into the back side of the wheels, its probably built up on the inside diameter of the wheel, by the brakes and uneven, thus making the tires out of balance, once you wash it all out, the tires will return to their original balance.


Front End Alignments going out? It all depends, some vehicle don't need a re-alignment their whole life, others need them all the time. The alignment should hold the same, unless you make changes that change the alignment, or you do damage or impact knock the alignment out.


Basically in your case, I would suspect mud in the wheels way before the alignment being knocked out. Clean out the wheels first.


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Last edited by Mongo; 05-02-2016 at 07:49 AM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 09:05 PM
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I also bet it is a stone,stick or mud stuck somewhere within the wheels. Realignment is good to do every 3 months when you go a lot of offroad, but mainly precautionary.
In general the axles and stuff is strong enough to take a few bounces without getting unaligned or damaged.
The indication for that would be that the vehicle wants to got left or right or uneven tire wear. But mostly one dont even feel it, unlike unbalanced wheels which are really annoying.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-03-2016, 08:41 AM
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A note on Alignments, since I've seen a lot of posts and questions about them, that indicate a lot of folks just don't understand them.


The suspension on many cars is adjustable, adjustable in the sense you can change the relative angles of the wheels/tires to each other and the body of the car. i.e. align them. Not all cars, and often live axles (rear suspension of the Commander) have no alignment adjustments.


That is done by loosening bolts that hold the clamp the adjustment in place, then adjust the wheel/tire alignment using precision tools that measure its angles, then retightening the bolts that clamp those adjustments in place.


The purpose of this is to keep the wheel/tires closely aligned relative to each other and the body of the car. The vehicle will track/steer/handle better and the tires will wear slower and more evenly.


Knowing that, in an ideal world, once adjusted, the alignment would never need to be adjusted again. And its NOT that uncommon for mild duty of daily driving on smooth roads avoiding any accidents or jarring like pot holes or hitting curbs, a car can go its whole life without needing an alignment.


But some vehicles don't live in an ideal world and the suspension suffers a lot of jarring and shock from pot holes, running over obstacles, etc. The jarring and shock can overcome the clamp force of the bolts and move the adjustments, i.e. knock out the alignment. The suspension components can suffer damage, bend, the body/frame can suffer damage and bend/twist slightly, which then effects the relative angles of the wheels, etc....


The symptoms of the alignment "being out" regardless of how it got out, is like Sebaar said, the vehicle doesn't track straight, pulls to one side, the tires don't wear evenly or wear faster, vibration and shaking as well (just wheel balance can create vibe and shaking with a good alignment), poor handling, etc....


I can't say it is wrong to have a professional "check" or "align" your vehicle every couple of months. It certainly can't hurt. But it seems excessive to me. Of course, if you're doing some pretty abusive off-roading, that is excessive and perhaps checks every couple of months might be worth it.


Again, you can check the alignment yourself, cause if the alignment is knocked out, there is often clues. While don't have the precise tools to measure the angles yourself to make adjustments nearly as well as pro shop, simple tools can be used to measure well enough to tell if the angles are Definitely Out. As well, you could see it with the naked eye if its bad enough. Look for the symptoms while driving, the NOT tracking straight, pulling to one side, the steering wheel off center to track a straight line, uneven tire wire, etc.... If you see these clues, its time to get an alignment shop. If NOT, you keep an eye on tire wear, if it stays even, that is a good clue you have the alignment in.


Again, I really think you're getting a build up of mud on the back side of the wheel, where you can't see it unless you get on the ground and look up under the vehicle at the back side of the wheel. You get enough mud caked on there, unevenly, it will be enough weight to throw off the balance of the wheels and create the vibration you speak of.

You may also have worn out shocks that make the wheel imbalance impacts felt even worse within the car.

If I'm correct, you should only need to get a little wet using a high pressure water hose to wash all the mud out of the backside of the wheels and on the tires to fix the vibration.


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Last edited by Mongo; 05-03-2016 at 08:43 AM.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-03-2016, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoJeepsinKS View Post
...Also, it bears noting that right before the camping trip my neighbor wired a CB radio for me and he unhooked the battery to set the grounding wire and power cable. I read somewhere that anytime the battery is disconnected you must ( on some models ) recalibrate the on board computer. The implication was that there could be performance problems if you don't, including suspension and ride performance. That doesn't make sense to me, but I'm not an expert....
You've got the concept all wrong. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is the engine controller, it monitors the engine and makes adjustments to the tune of the engine, the calibration. It stores those adjustments in the volatile memory of the PCM.


So if you disconnect the battery to the PCM, it does have capacitors to maintain what is stored in the volatile memory, but they only last about a half-hour with the battery disconnected; but if you disconnect the battery more than a half-hour the PCM will dump everything stored in volatile memory.


BUT, this is nothing to worry about. The PCM calibrates the motor by itself, so all you do is make it start from scratch again. It only takes about 25-75 miles of driving to completely calibrate the PCM and engine if everything has been dumped from memory. Its possible the engine might be a bit "wonky" during that 25-75 miles of driving until its recalibrated, but usually the difference is so subtle you don't notice. The mileage of the engine might be down a tad during that time.


Dumping the memory in the PCM is a typical repair or troubleshooting step, its done all the time, there is NO reason to be concerned about disconnecting the battery of a Commander. Usually the worst thing that happens is the motor stalls on the first re-start after reconnecting the battery, and within a few miles of driving (often just a few minutes of idling) it calibrates itself enough that you can't notice a difference.


As far as On-Board computers being reset causing suspension and ride performance. Very few vehicles have some type of computer controlled active suspension. Definitely NOT the Commander, its purely a passive mechanical suspension only, like most vehicles. Even then the few vehicle that would apply, I'd imagine securing power to the electronic control units (ECU) would NOT require some sort of calibration to be done, that is just a really poor design. You're wheel balance problems have nothing to do with disconnecting the car battery.


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Last edited by Mongo; 05-03-2016 at 12:15 PM.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-31-2016, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply, and yes....I know you're right. I was just befuddled at the whole thing. Turns out indeed I had mud in my tires and a good power washing took care of it. Back out on the road again. Having an aftermarket stereo put in today and I'm super stoked. I wish I knew what it was about these vehicles that just makes you want to add on and add on and add on. By the time I'm finished I'll be in the poor house but I'll look good driving there, ha!!

Electric Green '04 Wrangler soft top, Steel bumpers, winch, fog lights, 4" Rough Country lift, 33" Hankooks AT's, Hulk wheels, Uniden CB.
Flame red '06 Commander, Bull bar, 2.5" Rough Country lift and spacers, fog lights, Stock wheels and Hankook AT's. Pioneer deh3800ui deck, MTX 12" sub woofers, BOSS 1200 watt Riot Amp. Bearcat 990 CB.
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