Shuddering or unnatural vibration is a bit of a common problem for jeep users. Shuddering is like a universal symptom for a bunch of issues in jeeps.
This can happen when accelerating, applying brakes, turning as well as only when driving in specific gears. Because of that, to identify the exact cause for shuddering, we have to do a careful inspection in our jeeps.
In this guide I will go through a step by step process to identify the cause of unnecessary jeep vibration and look for some ways to fix them.
Why jeep shudders when accelerating
Jeep shuddering while accelerating can happen due to a couple of reasons like misfiring of the engine or due to transmission problems.
If your engine has a rough idle and/or throws an error code of misfire [P0300 / P030X (X= misfiring cylinder number)], you can suspect an engine misfire.
Misfiring can occur commonly due to failing ignition components like spark plugs, coil packs (or distributor and coil in older wrangler models) or plug wires. So we have to find and replace the failing components.
Apart from ignition system issues, misfiring can occur due to below reasons also.
- Faults of the fuel injection system
- Lack of air entering to the combustion chambers
- Poor quality fuels
- Timing issues
Because of that, the exact cause of engine misfiring is difficult to identify at once. Some sources to diagnose.
How to fix engine misfiring
As I mentioned earlier, there are many reasons for an engine misfiring. So correct diagnosis is most important.
If I get an engine misfiring I start by checking spark plugs. Because fouled spark plugs are responsible for most of the engine misfiring not only in jeeps but in other vehicles also.
If that doesn’t solve my problem then I check for other causes. I have written a separate guide on diagnosing and fixing wrangler misfiring. You can check that guide by clicking here.
If you don't feel unnatural vibration in idle, it may not be a misfire.
Your jeep may shudder in specific gears like 1st gear or 3rd gear or may be at a specific speed (ex:45kmph). Then we can suspect an issue in the transmission system.
But keep in mind there are many other reasons that could show this kind of symptoms apart from transmission problems. We’ll talk about them later in this guide.
Issues in the transmission can differ according to the type of transmission.
Diagnosing transmission problems.
Mainly automatic transmissions have torque converter issues while manual transmissions get issues with the clutch system.
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If you feel intermittent vibrations, only at specific speeds or at specific gears, that is one sign of a torque converter or clutch system issue.
Sometimes gears can pop out to neutral while driving due to transmission issues.
How to fix jeep shudder on acceleration by transmission issues.
A torque converter/ clutch plate replacement is the possible fix for this kind of situation.
But keep in mind to put a clutch plate/ torque converter from a good manufacturer that matches your jeep model. Otherwise the problem will continue even after the clutch plate/torque converter replacement.
LuK 05-065 Clutch Kit is one of the best problem solvers in the market according to my experiences.
Shuddering due to drive shaft issues.
Both transmission types can get shudders due to shaking of worn out drive shafts under the jeep. I have written a separate guide on jeep drive shaft vibration issues. You can read that by clicking here.
Shuddering due to Motor mounts, transmission mounts issues.
Damaged motor mounts and/or transmission mounts are also a possible cause for unnecessary vibrations in jeep wranglers.
Rubber components of these mounts are responsible for absorbing vibrations coming from the engine.
Because of these mounts passengers inside the cabin don’t feel discomfort due to engine vibrations.
But due to various reasons like accidents, driving on harsh off-road trails, excessive heat/cold or may be due to some modifications of the jeep, these rubber mounts can be damaged.
Even in newer jeeps with low mileage, mount damages can happen.
Some damages aren’t even noticeable to the naked eye at the earlier stages.
So you have to do a proper check up on your motor mounts and transmission mounts, if you feel unnatural vibration in your jeep.
Symptoms of a bad transmission mount.
If your transmission mounts are bad, you may feel
- Heavy vibration when shifting gears/ after putting to a gear from neutral
- difficulties to put to a gear
- Noise when changing gears
When replacing these rubber mounts, make sure to put the correct mount from a good manufacturer. Otherwise you may end up with the same issue even after the replacement.
Shuddering due to harmonic balancer issues
Harmonic balancer is a wheel connected to the crankshaft of the engine. Most of the time this works as a pulley to some belts of the engine.
But mainly harmonic balancer is there to reduce the engine vibration
Because of that a bad harmonic balancer can be a reason for unnecessary vibrations/shuddering of your wrangler.
Why jeep shudders when braking
If you feel the jeep shudder or shake when applying brakes, check your brake rotors. Uneven wearing of brake rotors/brake discs cause this issue.
When you apply brakes at low speeds your brake pads will not contact constantly with the brake disk due to these uneven wearing. So you may feel a shaking of the Jeep when you apply brakes at low speed.
But at higher speeds you will feel a shuddering or even noticeable due to higher frequency of vibration.
To fix your wrangler shudder on braking, check your brake rotors and replace the bad rotors.
Jeep shudders when reversing
Wrangler shudders in reversing also happen due to various reasons. Below are a couple of common reasons.
- Due to bad motor mounts
- Due to bad transmission mounts
- Due to bad transmission fluids
- Could be it’s normal and may go away after giving some more gas.
Other causes for wrangler vibration issues.
Apart from the above mentioned causes there can be many other reasons for wranglers unnecessary vibrations.
Shaking drivelines, bad u-joints, bad struts are pretty common.
Use this guide as a general guide and try to identify the source of vibration according to your symptoms. I hope this guide may be helpful for that.
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