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sprinkles08
sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 22288
Experience:  ASE Master & Advanced level certified, Chrysler Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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I have a 2009 PT Cruiser that has a shudder that starts at

Customer Question

I have a 2009 PT Cruiser that has a shudder that starts at 15- 20 mph. The transmission was just rebuilt because at trans shop said the shudder was from the transmission , it still does the same exact thing. Both drive axles have been replaced, new front wheel bearings. new brake calipers on front. 2 Firestone tires replaced. 2 Firestone tires were rebalanced because they are visibly out of round. All this was done prior to the transmission rebuild. Also, both motor mounts appear to be intact. I have replaced the lower one twice. No MIL codes
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

If the shudder was in the trans then it would happen only at a shift point. it's definitely possible that you could be feeling clutch chatter at the 1-2 shift but it would be gone after the shift completed.

Do you get a shudder only at the shift point or does it happen before and after that?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
After it shifts into second gear. If you gradually accelerate up to 20 miles an hour you start to feel it at 15 miles an hour. If you accelerate quickly you don't feel it. Valve body solenoid speed sensors were all replaced at time of rrebuild. The transmission shop had to go in a second time because after the first rebuild it was still shuttering. Could there possibly be a non code in the engine or ABS or traction control?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The drive axle on the passenger side that was replaced was one quarter inch longer than the original
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The two tires that were rebalanced where is visibly out of round when they were put on a balancing machine
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The car has 99000 miles on it right now and the timing belt was changed before 90000
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

Balancing tires that are out of round will not cure the condition. If one is out of round the tire needs to be replaced.

If you aren't experiencing a shudder at a shift point then there is no reason to suspect the trans.

Is it more of a lower frequency shake that is throttle sensitive?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Higher freq, like driving over washboard. About the tires, that's what I told Firestone, once they are out of round, balancing wouldn't help.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

That does sound like it could be clutch chatter.

Can you leave the shifter in manual first gear and see if the condition is present? You could also remove the EATX relay to put the trans in limp in and give only second gear, that would allow you a little more vehicle speed.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I test drove the car strictly in first gear and it seems as it heats up the shutter gets worse
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Does not seem to be related to shifting. It seems as the car warms up it gets worse
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.
Is it actually running poorly?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Could there be a misfire or a bad plug or bad injectors without the check engine light or trouble codes
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

Yes, the problem may be that the engine is running poorly.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I don't know where to start then. I'm into this almost $3,000 still not solved. A mechanic and the transmission shop told me that I needed to do something else obviously that's not what it was
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

That depends on whether it's something you're going to repair yourself or not. The first step in diagnosing the problem is going to be to determine what the actual symptoms are. Whether it's actually an engine issue, transmission, drivetrain, tires, etc determines where to go next. If you're not able to identify the general system by feel then it may be better to allow a shop to diagnose it. It sounds as if you may have wasted quite a bit of money due to others' guesswork, a dealer would without a doubt be the best place to go if you're not able to diagnose it on your own. A trans shop is going to start by overhauling the transmission no matter what the issue is, if the symptoms are the same then they've either completely misdiagnosed the problem or have done the repair improperly.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The engine runs great. As far as I can tell. The car was put on a scanner no codes. I've already spent a lot of money so I'm trying to troubleshoot the rest myself. It was a top-of-the-line Snap-on scanner diagnostic scanner the transmission shop was Aamco said that it had ABS codes. The mechanic was Rick Johnson's which is a change here in Florida maybe elsewhere I don't know. I'm sure the dealer would have told me the same thing that the transmission needed to be rebuilt.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

A dealer would have diagnosed the problem rather than starting with a trans rebuild and worrying about diagnosing it later.

If you're going to try and diagnose it yourself from here you're going to need to be able to differentiate whether the problem is drivetrain, tires, the transmission or engine performance.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Engine does idle a little rough when the AC is on
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

That may be related or it may be normal depending on what you're feeling. If it's actually an idle fluctuation or undershoot it's most likely an inoperative cooling fan.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Had that problem about two months ago with the cooling fan was under warranty with Advanced Auto so I replaced it with another one
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

If the fan is currently working then you should be able to rule that out then.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Besides going to the dealer do you have any other ideas or suggestions of things I can check have you ever heard of a car doing this I've had the dealer do other work on the car and they are very expensive they're all ASE certified mechanics and they all tend to be just Parts throwers parts exchangers. The brake lights went out and it cost me $900 to have the brake lights fixed by the dealer
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

You're going to have to determine what system the problem is coming from to be able to proceed. You or someone else experienced enough to do so is going to need to determine whether the problem is coming from the transmission, drivetrain, tires, or the engine, and then you can proceed from there.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Does the traction control only work through the braking system?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
If the drive is the drive axle is one quarter inch longer than the original can that affect anything
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

Traction control is a function of the ABS system.

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

If a CV shaft isn't the correct length when compressed it can cause a throttle sensitive shake and CV joint failure.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Do you know if there's a difference between the engine with a turbo and just a regular engine as far as drive axle length
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
This is a non turbo motor
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The drive axles been replaced twice once by myself and once by Rick Johnson's but it still seems like it might be the wrong drive axle
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

On the CV shafts? The inner joints are different but the length is the same as the car is the same width. Turbo axles were routinely installed to repair throttle sensitive CV joint shake on non turbo cars.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
you're saying that the drive axles compressed too much it could cause a problem?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
if I was to order another drive axle get one specifically for a turbo
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

No, if the axle isn't the correct length when compressed it can cause damage. You can't compare the length of the shafts if you just set them together on the bench.

It's not going to hurt anything to get a shaft for a turbo car.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I guess if I thought about it again it's actually like a high-frequency wobble more than a washboard feeling which probably means to me that the drive axles not the right one
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

If it's a throttle sensitive low frequency shake then it's most likely a CV joint issue.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
In your opinion what do you mean low frequency like how many pulses per minute or second
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Because if the car is doing 15 to 20 miles an hour the drive axle is spinning a lot faster than that is that correct
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

Frequency is how often something happens. If something is higher frequency it happens more in a given period of time.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
should I order a axle for a turbo motor?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

You can, as I mentioned I've installed many of them to repair a CV joint shake.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Should I go OEM or doesn't matter?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

I wouldn't use anything remanufactured for sure. IF you can find a new aftermarket shaft it may be ok, I've had so/so luck with new build aftermarket shafts. Mopar would be the best quality and exact fit but would be about double the price of a new aftermarket shaft.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
you have seen this specifically with PT Cruisers? Or does that apply to all front wheel drive cars
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

I don't know exactly what your condition is so I can't say that I've seen the specific issue you're dealing with. If it's a shake from a bad CV joint then yes, I've seen it happen.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Have you replace the drive axle on a PT Cruiser that had the wrong drive axle in it and fix the problem replacing it with a drive axle for a turbo?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

I've never had a case where someone knowingly installed an incorrect CV shaft and attempted to drive the vehicle.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
How was it determined then that a turbo drive axle with sticks a problem like this?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

There was an internal document back when these cars were in production for replacing the CV shafts with those from a turbo car to repair a specific issue.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Good enough, I'm going to give this a shot if this doesn't fix the problem I'll probably end up taking it to the dealer. I will let you know the outcome thanks for your time. Hopefully I can work on it Monday
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 months ago.

You're welcome and good luck with it!

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Looked on autozone.com for the drive axle the passenger side for a non-turbo is 37 7/16 inches the drive axle for a turbo motor is 20 5/8 inches passenger side. Can you recommend another shop
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 7 months ago.

That's because there is a carrier bearing and intermediate shaft on that side that yours must not be equipped with. You can install a turbo shaft on the left side.