'02 Cavalier Z24 shudder on hard acceleration

Hi All,

I have an '02 Chevy Cavalier Z24, with about 107k miles on it. For the last 3 or 4 months, I’ve had an issue with accelerating hard, when the engine is warm/hot. Usually it occurs in the 4th or 5th gear. If I’m doing about 50mph in 5th, and push hard, the car seems to shudder a bit, and seem to lose power, then suddenly pick up. It’s not limited to 50mph, I can be doing 40, 50, 60, etc.

If the engine is still relatively cold (ie <10 mins after starting driving) I have no issues. If I accelerate gently (ie a slow depression of the accelerator), I appear to have no issues either. I’ve not had my CEL come.

Any ideas what might be going on?


~ Jon

Slipping, worn out clutch.


That was one of the things I was thinking, except I’d not seen any other signs of clutch issues, such as trouble/issues gear shifting, or stiff clutch peddle.

Dirty fuel filter.
Failing fuel pump.
Old plugs & wires.

Issues gear shifting or stiff clutch pedals are symptoms of other types of clutch assembly problems. A simple worn out clutchplate manifests itself as exactly what you describe.

NOTE: a clutch job means that the entire kit needs doing, the clutchplate, the pressure plate assembly, and the release bearing (also called a throwout bearing). A shop would check the flywheel surface for problems also, and resurface it of necessary, but your symtoms aren’t serious enough to suggest that that will likely be necessary.

Add to cigroller’s list:

Dirty MAF sensor
Dirty fuelinjectors
Bad ignition coil(s)

Try pouring a bottle of Techron in the gas tank.

Techron is certainly a cheaper option than a clutch replacement… I’ll give this a shot, whilst finding out the costs for the clutch.

Thanks all for the feedback, and ideas. I’ll drop a note when it’s all fixed.

Put it in 4th gear and try and start like you normally would in 1st. It it stalls quickly it’s not the clutch, but if it doesn’t stall or takes a few seconds to stall it is. I went through this with my s10, it wasn’t that expensive to replace the whole clutch kit. I think I paid $760 including a tranny oil change with the GM synchromesh expensive stuff. Good luck.

Do the RPMs rise when it acts up?

No, just the same rate of increase inline with the speed, albeit jumpy when I have this issue, but nothing massive.