What can be causing this?

I purchased a preowned 2003 Dodge Sprinter which has developed a “shudder” at acceleration. Typically this occurs enerting a freeway, climbing a hill, accelerating from a slow roll…any thoughts on what this is and what kind of repair is required?

Could be a lot of things, especially considering it’s a sprinter. Could be the transmission. Could be the engine is just doing what diesels do. And it could be that the crankshaft pulley is getting ready to fall off, which is actually not at all uncommon on Sprinters. I’d check that first, as if it does fall off you’re going to have an oil leak and your battery will no longer charge, which could strand you somewhere.

How a bout a little more information so we might make better guesses.

How many miles on you Dodge? When was the last time the:

  • Plugs were replaced
  • Plug wires were replaced
  • Air cleaner replaced
  • Fuel filter replaced
    * Transmission fluid replaced (I am assuming it is an automatic. Let us know if that is not true)
  • Is the CEL on (Check Engine Light)

Mlg 135,000
Diesel -glow plugs replaced about 10 days ago when glow plug code
All fliters replaced with last oil change in Nov ( at 10,0000 mi as reccommended)
Trans flushed and new fluid in June this year.
No codes coming up to indicate a problem.
Shudder annoying at 20-40 mph in construction zone locally, accompanied by
hollow, bass sound.
This is my first diesel so I am in deep water here.

Have the engine & transmission mounts checked along with all of the driveshaft joints.

Assuming it’s an automatic, the lock up feature of the torque converter may not be completely locking up when it should.

Places that worked on diesels were sometimes called fuel injection repair shops. OK, one I knew of was called that. I’m looking in the phone book right now. Done; hope your luck is better than mine.

Looks like you should type in diesel repair and see what comes up in your area.

You might also ask about this in Sprinter forums, google ‘Dodge Sprinter forum’, there are several.

There is a TSB (#21-007-05) that deals with a “shudder” and in the worst case involves a torque converter replacement. There is a diagnostic process detailed in this TSB that walks you through steps to come to a conclusion what is causing the shudder. The shudder may or may not set a code.

What is a ‘TSB’?

Technical Service Bulletin. These are information services that mechanics use on frequent repairs or known issues with vehicles.

If CarTalk could somehow setup a system to make available to our readers TSB information I would be very happy and I think our readers would be happy. I have no idea what the cost of doing this could be.

What I do know is my Community College offers the service (through the library and online) inclusive with the price paid to be considered a student.

This is very helpful, Thanks to All!