Something is Really Wrong! Death Wobble Breakdown | Full-time RV Life
(beeping) – Okay, something’s really wrong. That feels really wrong. – Something’s really wrong. – So, happy five year nomadaversary to us. – Sure, yeah. – This is, as of today June 19, and here we are stranded
on the side of the road of a rainy highway here in New York. With a coach that was driving, but I don’t think it
wants to drive very far. (upbeat music) – Well, we recently had a
really interesting experience driving through New York where
we had a mechanical breakdown which left us and our tow
vehicle on the side of the road. We didn’t quite figure
out what was wrong with it at the time and then figured
out later that evening. But, let’s take you back
to when it happened. – This is never a sign to get excited about seeing driving in an RV is a sign pointing to New York. I know that would be
exciting to a lot of people but it just feels like a stressful drive. Don’t you? – It sounds stressful as a
driver of a big coach, yes. – How do you feel about driving through New Jersey/New York in a coach, a 40 foot motor home? – Mostly it’s fine. You’ve just gotta be on top of it. You gotta be engaged. – Less than five minutes
after crossing the border into New York the coach
started shaking violently and we ended up on the side of the road. Welcome to New York, honey! – Thanks. (laughs) (beeping) – At least this shoulder’s big enough. – You okay? – This shoulder’s big enough.
– Okay. – Okay, something’s really wrong. – Something’s really wrong. – We’re just driving along and it felt like the road, didn’t it hun? It felt like the road was weird and then all of a sudden like, how would you describe it? As going it’s tweaking.
– Well, it’s shaking. – It’s tweaking, like this,
it’s going du-du, du-du. We’ve just crossed the
state line into New York and it’s raining and the coach feels like there’s something seriously wrong. Like majorly wrong, like chassis wrong. – Something’s very wrong. – Very wrong.
– Yeah. ‘Cause it’s just shaking and wobbling. It’s almost like there’s no tire, but none of my tires are showing bad so… – It felt like more than a tire to me. – Yeah, it feels like the
wheel’s wobbling or… – Yeah, it felt,
everything’s right with that. That screaming noise is
just the hazard lights. (upbeat music) (cars whooshing) – You’re not seeing
anything obvious, are you? – No. Went outside, don’t see anything obvious, but the coach just is wobbling, I mean… – Show how it was doing? – Cause it’s making a big thumping sound and it’s rocking a little bit. It’s like there was
something with suspension. At first I thought it was just,
like, a tire that was bad. But, you know, when I look at my tire pressure monitoring system and all of them are still showing fine. So, they’re all still
showing their normal PSI so it doesn’t make any sense to me so far. – So, we have to work out a plan right now because this is not a safe
area where we are right now. Marc’s got on safety gear. He put all the safety cones out. We’re in the coach. We probably should get out of the coach. There’s a lot of semis going by which is very reminiscent of
the time we broke down with Rocky in Phoenix. We probably need to call
roadside assistance. But, I’m thinking maybe what we should do is look at the map and see, is there another off ramp
or something very close by. – I’m sitting in this wider
shoulder right now, then I’ll, I can be, take my time, be calm. Look at the GPS and see if there’s a space that’s very close by that I can limp off of the interstate
so it’d be a safer place to hook up a tow and to be able to look at this a little bit more thoroughly. – Unhook the tow. – Unhook our tow.
– Yeah, yeah. Oh hook up a tow, hook
us up to a tow truck. – Potentially hook up. I see what you mean, sorry. – So, we’ll see. We’ll have a look at some GPS and see if there’s something nearby. – Bow, bow. – Just gotta get off at this next exit. There’s a nice, big parking lot. Look at how big that parking lot is. Huge. We’ll limp over there
and see what happens. – Hopefully, it still keeps driving. – Yeah, hopefully it keeps driving. At least it’s still running. I’ll go grab my cones and
we’ll limp along now that I have a plan to get off of the highway because this is really unsafe right here in the rain on the side of the highway with lots of traffic. So, let’s do it. (upbeat music) – It’s shaking bad. – It’s just the rumble strips. – Oh is it, okay? (yelps) – It’s just the rumble strips.
(laughs) – I thought it was the coach! Yeah, rumble strips are bad. Seems okay at this speed. – It seems fine right now. – Maybe it was the road. – Could be, ’cause it happened when I got on that overpass and it seemed so awful. – New York freeway 87. So this could be a false
alarm, and we hope so. – It’s totally fine. – Really? – Yeah, I’m getting off. But it feels totally fine right now. – Talk about a stressful moment, like, I was really stressed. – Yep. – Marc was stressed, but calm. (upbeat music) – Great parking lot. Do you want to go do
some more turns again, see if you can get the
noise happening again? (whooshing) – Being in a safer environment in the parking lot we’re
able to take our time and really have look at the
coach and the tow vehicle and see if we could find
anything at all that was wrong. – Here for a drive now and see
if this is happening again. – Doesn’t seem to be anything wrong. Seems totally fine. That’s really weird. That was really freaky on the highway. I mean, my only thought is
that the expansion joints on that off, on that ramp,
set it into a pattern and it was wobbling and it was
having trouble breaking free of the pattern, but I don’t know. I guess we’ll…
– Onward. – Onward and forward. It was good practice
for being calm under… – Pressure.
– Problems. – Now let’s see if we can get back on the road without dealing with that. – Yeah, there’s a lot of traffic. – We weren’t able to find anything so we jumped back onto the road. And we actually stayed on the highway for a couple hundred more
miles, another three hours, and everything seemed fine. And then once we got to
our final destination, we were able to figure out
what we think went wrong. Whatever, as long as it’s working again. That’s my philosophy on this coach. As long as it works, we’ll
just keep crossing our fingers and driving.
(laughs) Super nice bridge. Much nicer than the one
we passed a few miles ago that sent our coach into a hissy fit. – The coach seemed to
continue driving just fine, but the delay meant that we
ended up in peak hour traffic. Five year anniversary on the road. (laughs) We really should’ve
thought about a better way – To celebrate.
– To celebrate. Check out the boats. Not that I’m interested in getting a boat. We made it to our
destination for the night, a Walmart parking lot,
to take another look. – So, once we got settled at the Walmart and I went to go disconnect
the Jeep from the motor home, that’s when I was really able to put two and two together of what went wrong. Our Jeep is a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and has been known to have something called a “Death Wobble”. Basically, a “Death Wobble” is
– It sounds pretty scary. – It sounds scary.
– Well, it’s scary when you’re feeling and doing it. – It is scary when you’re experiencing it. What happens is the steering starts to turn back and forth and then it starts to go faster and faster which then makes the Jeep wobble back and forth. And it can get so violent
that it actually starts to make the motor home, or other vehicle that’s towing the jeep,
start to wobble as well. And it hit just the right angle to start that “Death Wobble”. The Jeep started wobbling which, in turn started the coach wobbling and that’s what caused the issue. – I jumped onto YouTube and found a video of somebody towing a
Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and both of them are
shaking with the wobble. Take a look at this. The footage isn’t great quality, but it will give you an idea of what this actually looks like and feels like. – And this “Death Wobble”
is something we knew about before we bought the Jeep, but we also were
comfortable buying the Jeep because we knew there was
an aftermarket fix for it. We didn’t actually install that
aftermarket fix right away. We bought the Jeep up in
the Pacific Northwest, I think near Portland, Oregon, and we drove all the way
down to Denver, Colorado to get that installed, without an issue. We had the aftermarket installation and it was about 500 bucks
and then we proceeded to drive another 17,000
miles towing that Jeep and still no problem.
– No problem. – This was the one occurrence
we’ve had in 20,000 miles of travel in 20 months.
– In 20 months. – So, it’s not like it’s something that happens all the time. It’s just kind of the perfect storm of events that created it. What happened that day though, we were in a lot of stop and go traffic in New York/New Jersey area. This Jeep is notorious for
draining batteries quickly. And with all that stop and go
it would drain it even faster. And so what eventually
happened was the battery in the Jeep had died so that
aftermarket installation that prevents the “Death
Wobble” was no longer able to function because the battery was dead. – It felt so scary, it was awful. I’m actually glad we’ve experienced it now because now we know what to expect and we can speak to it from experience. – Right. – But I sure hope it doesn’t happen again. – Yeah, I definitely would like to avoid having that happen again but if it ever does happen again and for those of you, if you
ever have it happen to you, basically all you need to
do is stop your vehicles. Come to a complete stop and when you start driving
again it should be fine. I would recommend continuing
to somewhere that’s safe to stop and maybe even
consider disconnecting the Jeep and drive it separately for a bit to charge the battery back up. – If you’re thinking about
getting a Jeep, don’t panic. This shouldn’t have to be a reason for you not to get one as a tow vehicle. We still love this car and we
have no plans on changing it, despite the fact we had this experience because we know what happened. That the aftermarket mod that was supposed to stop that from
happening wasn’t activated because of the dead battery in the Jeep. – And speaking of that dead battery, I was also really glad I had
my NOCO battery jump starter because I’ve used that
quite a bit actually ’cause I’ve had the battery die a number of times since then. – Right, so it’s five years
old now, the Jeep battery. We really need to replace that. – Yeah, it’s time. – If you’ve had an experience
with the “Death Wobble” or you’re concerned about it, feel free to put your questions
and comments down below. So, whether you tow a Jeep
or are planning to tow a Jeep or not we hope you still got
something out of this video because breakdowns, real or false alarms, as we had can happen to anyone and how you deal with it is what matters. So we’ve got a lot more detail about this situation over
at the blog, rvlove.com. We’ll put at link down
below in the description. Check that out. We’ve also got a free safety checklist that we created last time
we had three breakdowns in a month with our previous RV. We’re gonna put the link
to that down below as well. – All right, well thanks
so much for watching today. Until next time, we’ll see you on the road and hopefully not on the side of the road.
(laughs) – Catch you later guys. (upbeat music) Hopefully not.