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Ford Denies Suit Claims Super Duty Pickups Affected By ‘Wobble Of Death’

Ford has denied a recent lawsuit filed by a California truck owner that the Ford Super Duty series is plagued by an endemic 'wobble of death.'


You knew it had to happen, sooner or later. What, you may ask? Well, how about a class-action lawsuit over “the wobble of death” that affects some pickups including the Ford F150 and Ford Super Duty lines, as well as those from other carmakers. Torque News covered this issue some weeks ago in an analysis of the "wobble of death." It has occurred many times to many drivers, and it usually boils down to a problem with the suspension or parts of the suspension.

The Symptoms Remain the Same

The symptoms are usually the same, a complementary body vibration sets up a shimmy in the front end which then takes off on its own, and it gets worse. Studies of the vehicles’ suspensions and parts usually reveal heavy wear and tear to items like tie rod ends; bad bushings; bad control arms, and the like. It also includes worn shocks.

So, now, a new class-action suit has begun against Ford. The lawsuit claims that the Super Duty pickups “are equipped with defective suspension components and steering linkages,” reports the Ford Authority. These problems, in turn, cause the vehicles to vibrate and shake in “what the lawsuit has dubbed a ‘death wobble.’”

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The lawsuit covers vehicles built from 2005 to 2019. It includes current and former truck owners, as well as lessees. The pickups covered include the F250 and F350 Super Duties.

The plaintiff in this suit is from California. He said that his truck shook and wobbled, while it was still under warranty. The plaintiff further claimed that Ford failed to repair the truck, which left the owner a bill of more than $1,500. (Torque News believes this claim is a bit far-fetched as if the truck were still under warranty, there would be no cost for the repairs no matter how many times the truck shook and no matter how bad the shake was. The dealership is on the hook to make good, if, as is maintained, the vehicle is still under warranty.)

Class-Action Suit Cites Several Culprits

The class action has several culprits. It points to premature wear in the:

  • Shocks
  • Damper brackets
  • Struts
  • Control arms
  • Ball joints

The suit goes on to allege that safety regulators have received a list of previous complaints relating to the condition. It further states that there are 12 more reports which point to injuries caused by crashes that resulted from the “wobble of death.”

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, the suit, Lessin, et al. v Ford Motor Co., et al., was recently argued in front of a judge.

Ford Answers Complaints Quite Clearly

In its answer to the suit, the automaker points to poor maintenance as the cause of the issue. As it filed a motion to dismiss the action, Ford noted said that the plaintiff couldn’t back up the claims made. Further, the automaker pointed out that the plaintiff couldn’t make claims outside of California due to conflicts with state laws.

In an ironic point, Ford also pointed out filed the plaintiff filed his suit five years after the warranty ended. Further the automaker said, he drove the truck for eight years before seeking help. Ford maintained that since the Super Duty was working so long after the warranty period had ended it proved the vehicle was working as it intended, at all times.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer/columnist/editor/professional for more than 45 years. He began writing a weekly column “You Auto Know” in 1971 and continued writing it for 32 years. Now, semi-retired, Marc spends his time finding pieces for Torque News as the Volkswagen – and subsidiary – reporter, as well as pieces on pickups and SUVs. He has also been known to write a race report or two. Also, he covers more generalized auto news pieces as well. Marc has also written for the,, and others, including some smallish publications -- Popular Mechanics, Mechanics Illustrated, AutoWeek, Automotive News, and Automotive Age. You can follow Marc on Facebook and Twitter.


Paul Cahill (not verified)    August 29, 2019 - 9:32AM

Neighbor of mine has a 2015 F250 and it took him a couple of visits for the local dealer to finally admit there was a problem and take it in under a warranty claim. Don't remember what the dealer repaired but this is def a problem Ford is doing its best to ignore.

Jim manning (not verified)    August 30, 2019 - 12:28PM

In reply to by Paul Cahill (not verified)

I had a Ford F-250 bone stock and that death wobble happened to me several times. I can tell you when it happens at 55 mph it scared the hell out of me, it happens so quick and it gets worse with in seconds to the point of just about having to stop the vehicle in the middle of the road. It is something to do with the front suspension the springs. I will happen when you are driving on a paved road and hit a spot that is raised a little bit. A higher spot that runs across the whole lane, both tires hit it about the same time. I think it going to take some real research to prove that really exists. It will cause a deadly accident some day if it has not all ready. Jim

Chris (not verified)    August 30, 2019 - 9:16AM

I own a 2006 F-250 and have experienced this going over a bridge hit the bump at the start of the bridge then went into the wobble of death I lost control of my truck almost crashed! Extremely dangerous Ford has sent me ford sucks!!notifications saying fire pressure is critical there way of covering it up-

Marc Stern    September 3, 2019 - 11:18AM

In reply to by Chris (not verified)

Tire pressure -- that's a new one to me. Well, maybe if your tires are way overinflated and are bouncing along, but, I seriously doubt it. It's somewhere in the front suspension. I would put my money on worn bushings or worn bushings and control arms, amongst other things.

Daniel (not verified)    August 30, 2019 - 9:46AM

I've got a 2014 F-250 that after 80000 miles the front end has had to to replaced every year since. Common problem with these especially if you work them. This truck has 150k on it and it's on it's 4th brand new front end. $6000 invested into the front

Marc Stern    September 3, 2019 - 11:25AM

In reply to by Daniel (not verified)

If it's the fourth time you've put $6K into the front end of your F250, then it's time to go back at Ford and ask them to make good on it with either a special warranty for you or no-cost repairs. That said, if a front end goes and has to be repaired year, you have to wonder about the quality of the parts or design. Like you, I do like Ford products, but I am not super-supportive of their service, at times.

Jeff (not verified)    August 30, 2019 - 5:55PM

I've got a 2005 f250 never had a problem with that. Bit I maintain my vehicle. I check it every couple of months for anything that might be of. When the shocks and struts were going bad I fixed them. When the ball joints where going bad I fixed them. When the tie rods looked used I faxed them. I'm going to go with Ford on this one. Bad maintenance. And I already know that most everyone doesn't check their vehicle.

Marc Stern    September 3, 2019 - 11:35AM

In reply to by Jeff (not verified)

I think you have hit the issue squarely on the head. I have wondered about this myself and yes, I do answer differently to different people because of the conditions they set up in their comments. However, since you do maintain your Ford truck carefully and haven't run into any problems, then I can see why you go with Ford. Frankly, if you maintain your Ford vehicle carefully, I don't see why you would have problems. I maintain my Ford vehicle as you do and we've used it for nearly six years without a problem. To be fair to everyone, though, I have to read their issues and answer them. Whether they agree with Ford or not. And, I do give my opinion, as well.

Donald Lee (not verified)    August 30, 2019 - 9:47PM

I purchased a NEW Ford F250 just 2weeks ago. It now has 250 miles on the odometer. I already experienced something loose in the front of my truck. Going to call the dealer Monday. Come on , just 250 miles and steering problems

Marc Stern    September 3, 2019 - 11:39AM

In reply to by Donald Lee (not verified)

At least, you'll get the parts replaced for free. Here's a suggestion, try to bring the service manager into the issue right now and work with and through him to get it solved. If you have to contact the local Ford office and ask for the District Manager covering your dealership to also work with you. Don't back off, either. Also contact the owner; notify him or her of the problem and ask them to get involved. Many times, customer don't contact the owner(s) who have the most to lose if their service isn't up to par. They do have to know what's going on so they can see to it that it is fixed. Good luck and let me know what happens.

John D Kite (not verified)    November 10, 2019 - 10:04PM

I have a 2018 F350 that has 46k on it. It has been in the Ford shop 4 times, Ford has replaced the steering Damper 4 times. We are on the road exploring the USA pulling a 5th wheel (and let me tell you a death wobble is really scary when your towing). Yes Ford has fixed each time I've taken it in. But now I'm getting tired of every time I hit a bump wondering if the front is going to wobble. And yes we have contacted Ford.

Brian (not verified)    November 23, 2019 - 4:04PM

My 2019 F450 with 8,025 miles did it today going over a bridge. Bone stock truck with nothing changed. So now I’m concerned because I was under the conclusion that the issue was fixed now. Sadly it seem not. Sounds like a long road ahead.

Larry Laird (not verified)    January 6, 2020 - 4:28PM

very dangerous, i take my grankids in my truck and it started doing it. im afraid to drive a 50,000 dollar truck

Mike Kirkpatrick (not verified)    January 9, 2020 - 7:06PM

I purchased a 2017 F350 dually new in November of 2016 so the factory warranty expired mid November of 2019. It currently has 33,000 miles on it and had the death wobble for the first time today (09Jan2019). After it stopped I immediately called the local dealer and am waiting for a call back. I have the extended warranty so we'll see what they say.

Joe Villarreal (not verified)    February 26, 2020 - 7:37PM

I bought two 2019 F250 Super Duty trucks and both have experienced death wobble at 13,000 miles and 17,000 miles. Our local says the trucks are fixed, but they continue to experience the same issue.

Matt Dotson (not verified)    April 7, 2020 - 7:07PM

Hey Ford, I'll lend you my F250 with brand new stock tires, brand new track bar and ball joint, new tie rod ends, wheel bearings, new Bilstein shocks, new upper and lower ball joints and an impeccable maintenance history all documented. You can drive down CA HWY 4 and experience the "death wobble that doesn't exist" at least three times in a rather short 20 mile stretch, all while traveling at the prima facie speed. Enjoy it, you can spill your coffee, scare the sh** out of the other drivers on the freeway and reduce your speed to below 25mph during rush hour. Makes driving this truck after my 2004 F150 5.4 3Valve with the self destructing VCT dieseling effect on most 5.4s seem like a love affair. I've owned over 20 Ford's in my lifetime, this WILL be my last.