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Violent shake in the front end

1995 Chrysler LHS

I have a shake in the front end. It is similar to driving on a rocky surface and it shakes the whole vehicle. It occurs between 40 and 55 MPH and when I’m climbing a hill. At other speeds it is fine. If I let off the gas then it is fine as it coasts, even at those defined speeds.

I’ve replaced the struts and the wheel bearings and an outer tie rod. I had the front end aligned and balanced the two front tires. I’m approaching $500 and I still haven’t fixed the problem. I’m still driving it to and from work and I’m concerned that I’m just doing more damage. I love this car and I’d like to have this resolved.

Anybody have a suggestion of what I could look at next?

Probably one of the CV joints in the front drive asles.

I won’t guess. It needs to be looked at by a competant shop. It could be a CV joint, as EllyEllis said, or another worn out bushing or joint. Or even a bad engine mount. You could go bankrupt before we guess the right part.

If you let up on the gas and it goes away, that would certainly point to an engine issue or drive train like the CV but certainly not struts, tires or tie rods.

I agree with same, esp. on the motor mount issue that could be hard for a tire shop to detect or deal with.

Chrysler Technical service Buletin # 21-05-97 applies to your vehicle & symptom. Symptom as described in the TSB: “Transaxle shudder during a 3rd gear to 3rd gear partial EMCC (Electronically Modulated Converter Clutch) engagement, 3rd gear partial EMCC to 4th gear partial EMCC engagement, or 4th gear to 4th gear EMCC engagement. Vehicle speed will be above 40 mph to obtain these shift points. This condition can be the result of worn out automatic transaxle fluid, using additives in the transaxle fluid, or from using the wrong type fluid (Dexron II, III, or Mercon) in the transaxle.”

A lot of technical language, but if you experience the vibration as trans shifts from 3rd to 4th, esp going uphill, I bet this TSB is the answer.

I have driven many Chrysler vehicles that had this symptom. It often happens over 40 MPH & often while going uphill. The whole car shudders.

The procedure for this TSB is to merely do a “normal” transmission service (dropping the transmission pan, changing the filter, sealing pan & refilling transmission)–w/Chrysler ATF+2 7176 transmission fluid (No other brand should be used) & a genuine Chrysler transmission filter.

This will probably solve your problem & if no, then at least it’s not an arm & a leg & maybe you’re due for a trans service.

Please post back!!!

This shaking sounds like the very same symptoms I encountered in an older Dodge Caravan 3.3L V6 on a 5000 mile road trip. Yours may be a very similar drivetrain. Two mechanics told me it was definitely not the axle (failing CV joint). A third solved the problem with a new axle.

Usually, a failed CV joint makes a diagnostic clicking, but none of my failed axles on that van (there have been several) ever clicked, though the shaking was pretty severe that one time. I don’t know how to diagnose this, but that’s what happened to me. I have heard that with these vehicles, there’s something to do with alignment of the engine with respect to axle position, meaning that if the motor mounts are not holding the engine in precisely the right spot, it tears up CV joints. Evidently, there are some measurements to be made and the mounts loosened so the engine can be moved to precisely the right position. I know no further details, have not bothered yet to investigate, so this may be bogus, but it’s what I was told at a reputable parts store which has sold me several axles. I suspect that mine has an issue with that, but since it’s nearing retirement, I may not bother to solve that.

Thanks Karl. I did what you suggested last night. Dropped the pan and replaced the filter and refilled with ATF+2. Didn’t make a change last night. I drove it again to work this morning. Maybe it takes a trip or two for the fluid to work through the whole system? I’ll keep an eye on it for the next day or two, obvioulsy. Ha. Thanks for the help!

Success! Yesterday I swapped out the CV axle on the passenger’s side and that fixed it. I’ve got my smooth ride back.
Thank you all for your inputs and assistance. I appreciate it!

Congratulations on a job well done.
And sincere thinks for the followup post.

ATF-2 is no longer around or 3 its all now atf-4