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2002 Honda Odyssey "shuddering at around 57 mph & stopping at 60 mph

What could be causing this? I have one mechanic thinking transmission and another thinking it is probably not, but no clear answer.

No idea what these symptoms really are? What is shuddering? Is it the motor shaking, or the tires shaking, or what? What does stopping mean? The motor quits running, and you have to pull over to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or, the shuddering goes away at 60 mph?

Shaking that comes in at a certain speed and then stops shaking as the speed increases or decreases is often an out of balance tire. Check the tire pressures to be sure all are up to the correct pressure. Then have the tires balanced and rotated to see if the shaking is changed for the better. If not, a tire maybe defective and the belt inside the tire is coming apart.

Does the steering wheel vibrate when this happens? What happens if you lightly touch the brakes?

I haven’t posted a reply, because I have been visiting various possibilities, and wanted to wait to see if they panned-out. So here’s where we are. I have had a local Honda dealership do their thing (ie, run computer diagnostics, remove and inspect tires and check other engine possibilities). The diagnostics came out clean (tansmission looks good)and so did the tire stuff, but they did discover the right motor mount was damaged/cracked and suggested replacing at $356. I chose to have a mechanic approach that. At the mechanics suggestion, I next had our tire guys (Les Schwab)look at the tires more closely. They balanced all the tires, did an alignment and what they call a road force test, and determined that there were no deficiencies in the tires. The problem changed a little, so to revisit what is happening, here goes. When I am accelerating the car starts to vibrate/shudder at around 57 mph and at reaching 60 mph it discontinues. It doesn’t do this if I take my foot off the gas and pass through 57 mph coming back down. If I touch the brakes the vibration stops. It only occurs with acceleration. The steering wheel doesn’t vibrate either (the whole car does). After having the tire guys make their adjustments, it has now intermittently started doing the vibrating at around 50 mph and 65 mph, but not consistently. So my next step was a new highly recommended mechanic. He determined that it is definitely coming from the front passenger side, so he tried a new front axle on both the left and right, but it continued. So his next suggestion is to replace the damaged motor mount and possibly the very front motor mount which is moving some. He is not sure this will solve the problem but he is stumped. The transmission has been suggested but nobody seems comfortable with that one either. I definitely don’t want to spend $3400 dollars on a guess. I will be replacing the damaged motor mount as that seems like a no brainer for the general integrity of the engine, but am looking for any thoughts. Thank You!

So many details, but I missed one. When the latest mechanic tried shifting into third gear, the vibration doesn’t occur, so it only occurs in 4th.

Let us know if the new motor mount(s) helps. I own a 2002 Odyssey so I’m very interested. If it’s not a motor mount, I’m guessing tranny - but maybe something you can live with. When you touch the brakes, the torque converter lockup disengages, maybe this makes the vibration go away. Could this be a clue? How diligent have you been about servicing tranny? Fluid flushes, the external filter sitting on top of the tranny (driver’s side)? You use Honda tranny fluid? I wonder if Valvoline MaxLife would behave differently?

How many miles on the tires?

My first guess was a tire out of balance or out of round due to belt separation. You seem to have ruled out tires. Sometimes these vibrations are drive line issues, but you don’t have much of a driveline with a FWD van and you have ruled that out with replacing axles shafts.

That seems to me to leave the transmission, or a motor misfire at a particular speed. The motor is an unlikely cause, so that leaves the transmission. It could be a confused transmission controller, giving the transmission signals to shift into two gears at the same time. This might cause the clutches to engage for a few moments and cause the shutter. This event should cause an error code to be stored in the computer.

That leads me to the torque converter. It isn’t locking up and letting go smoothly. At certain times and speeds under low load conditions it will show up more as a shutter. Under heavy load (stronger acceleration) on very light loads you might not feel it. You maybe looking at a transmission overhaul and replacement.

Your choices are going to be drive on until the failure and shutter becomes so severe you have to replace the transmission, or replace it now. I’d choose to drive on, but I’d go for a fluid and filter change. Make sure the new fluid is Honda brand fluid. It is more expensive but these transmissions are finicky and off brand generic fluids can cause these types of problems.

Since we’re narrowing things down towards the transmission, we need TRANSMAN to weigh in here.

Calling transman618… What’s causing this and how can I prevent this happening to my Odyssey?

Repost your question with TRANSMISSION in the header so that Transman will resond.

That really sounds like it could be the torque converter clutch chattering (Slipping). When the dealer did the diagnostic, did they mention anything about the amount of TCC slip?? The scanner should read a slip RPM for the converter clutch. We really need to know whats happening with the TCC readings.


I have an Ody 2003 which just developed the exact same symptoms as the OP described (thanks to Google search). Have you fixed your problem and care to share? I hope it is not related to the transmission because that would be costly.


petabb, people very rarely drop by to provide updates so we may never know.

Look up several posts at transman’s post re: torque converter clutch shudder. That would be my best guess.

I am having the same problem with my 2003 odyssey. See tigerman comment under engine/motor mount. I will post the outcome after replacing the mount in about 1-2 weeks.