Crysler sebring jumping

I have a 2003 Chrysler sebring 2.4L 4cyl DOHC. I have owned this car for 3 years and have had this same issue with it the whole time. The problem is that the car jumps when it is idle. Once I press on the gas it stops jumping. The first time it started to do it I changed the spark plugs. That took care of the problem and the car ran great, for about 5 months. Then it started to jump again and got worse as the time went by. I changed the sparks again and it fixed the problem again, for about 5 to 6 months. I have done this 3 times. This last time (4th set of sparks) it helped a bit but is is still jumping. I have had several mechanics tell me different things from fuel pump, fuel filter or censer. No one seems to know. They all agree on one things, they don’t know why changing the sparks temp. fixes it. I have spent a lot of time on the internet but can’t find anyone that has had the same issues. The car, other than the jumping, runs great, shifts fine and has a lot of power. Help. I am at a loss and don’t want to spend a fortune fixing what doesn’t need fixing. Thanks

When it jumps, how high does it jump?

I’ve never seen a car jump before except on the Dukes of Hazard.

I drove one that jumped - or I suppose more like hopped really. It needed new rear struts.

katsdream, what do the ends of the spark plugs look like after the 5-6 months? Has an experienced mechanic ever “read” them to see what they indicate? Have a look at this page and see if any of it looks familiar:

Is your check engine light on?

OK so maybe I shouldn’t have used the word jumping. Maybe stutter. Anyway it feels like it is going to die but when I push on the gas a little while I am at sitting in traffic, its stops jumping or stuttering or what ever you want to call it. Any ideas of what could be causing this.

From what I can see, the spark plugs look like normal wear. I didn’t take the plugs to a mechanic. Didn’t cross my mind to do that. My husband pulled the pvc valve from the vaccum side and the engine idled higher and smoother. They didn’t test drive it though. Don’t know what that means and if it has anything to do with what is going on.

My check engine light was on but it went off about a week ago.

Kat, I Ran Across A Chrysler TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) That Includes 2003 And 2004 Sebrings And Other Chrysler 2002 - 2004 Vehicles Equipped With A Non-Turbo 2.4L Engine.

Apparently a new style spark plug was being installed as a “running change” in the 2004 model-year run. The “new spark plugs” are more resistant to possible cold engine carbon fouling than the “old spark plugs” that came in the 03 Sebrings and some 04s from the factory. The new plugs are now recommended and preferred for 2004 and prior model-year vehicle with the 2.4L engine.

Old spark plugs were RE14MCC5.
New spark plugs are either RE16MC (or LZTR4A-11) .040" gap.

The bulletin goes on to advise installing new ignition cables / boots the first time the old style plugs are replaced with new style ones. The reason given is to eliminate concerns of a possible high secondary ignition voltage flashover, caused by a “thermal set” of the original cables / boots to the “old style” spark plugs.

I’d check this out and see which plugs you’ve installed and if the plugs are up to date, maybe try a new set of ignition cables. The Chrysler bulletin could be very helpful. You or a previous owner may have “updated” the plugs (new listings at parts suppliers) without knowing it and didn’t change igniton cables.

It sounds to me like the “jumping” could be carbon fouling or “high voltage flashover”.


Not sure what spark plugs my husband put in this last time. I will have him look at this when he gets home today. Thanks

Kat, You’re Welcome. It Looks Like The Newer Style Plugs Could Help And I’d Put Some In, But If They’ve Already Been Installed I’d Go For New Ignition Cables (Spark Plug Wires), Chrysler brand or another exact fit quality brand.

Once it’s really dark outside, away from lights, I’d look under the hood when the Sebring’s idling and “jumping”. I’ll bet you could see sparks or flashes on the wires that coincide with the “jumps” that are caused by the flashover.


Would this possibly fix the raw fuel smell that i get on start up sometimes?

It’s A Long Shot, But You Could Check For A Recall. There Were A Small Number Of Late 2003 And Early 2004 Sebrings That Were Subject To A Recall For Gas Leakage At The Fuel Pump Module.

The Sebrings involved were built from June 11, 2003 through September 11, 2003. I believe this catches the end of the 2003 model-year which probably ended about August 1, 2003. They switched to 2004s after that. A sticker on your car’s driver’s door or door opening should have a manufacture date, probably just month and year.

The best thing would be to contact a Chyrsler dealer and have them check and see if there are any open recalls on your car. The dealer will need your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) as only cars with certain VINs were recalled.


Did anyone ever scan the computer for codes when the check engine light was on?? If yes, what exactly were the codes that were set??


Did the mechanics check the throttle body (Throttle plate) for dirt?? A caked up throttle body would cause idle problems.


No because I didn’t get it in when the check engine light was on. I took it in about 2 days ago but with the engine light off, nothing came up.

Did check the throttle body and it is clean. Thanks

Will check with dealer on any recalls. We are going to go with the spark plugs you mentioned and change out the wires. Thanks for all your help.