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Wicked Shimmy Starting Off

I have a 2005 Toyota Corolla 5spd manual that recently is having an issue when starting off in first gear. In cold weather, I get a really bad shimmy, or shake, when I’m switching from clutch to gas. The shimmy is pretty bad only when I’m at rest going into first gear, but then subtle from first to second. I feel nothing while I’m driving in the other gears. Many theories come to mind what is causing this, but I’m not sure what it could be. I must confess I’ve never had the transmission oil changed, but am going to ASAP. Another suggestion was that it could either be the clutch plate going bad or the throttle body. Would anyone know?

Is the shimmy in the vehicle, in the gas pedal, the steering wheel, or in the clutch pedal?
How many miles are on the car, and are you in a place where there is a ton of snow building up on your car?

If you are in a snow area, you might want to look under the car, and see if snow and ice has built up under the car, inside the wheels, and in the wheel wells.

If its in the clutch pedal, then you have a clutch related issue developing.
If its in the gas pedal, or chassis of the car, it could be engine/transmission mount, warped brake rotor, sticky caliper, or a host of other things.


Well, the car has 126K miles on it. It usually happens in cold weather when I’m starting off at rest, going uphill. The shimmy happens when I’m letting off the clutch and using the gas. It’s been suggested to me that this might be a fuel flow issue and that the vehicle might be in some need of a tune-up, or TLC really. I’m just not sure what, though.

I had this problem once when I had a bad flywheel that needed to be turned or replaced.

But given your fuzzy note about maintenance items (tune-up/TLC) you should probably just start there. Maintenance items aren’t things that you ignore and then start making guesses about once you have a problem. They’re things that you just do on a schedule - before they start giving problems. So check out the maintenance schedule for the car and do whatever should have been done up to this point - whether you think it will solve a problem or not. Maintenance isn’t done to solve a problem. Its supposed to avoid them.

the vehicle might be in some need of a tune-up, or TLC really.

 I might be a good idea to start there.  Getting all the recommended maintenance up to date, is a good way to eliminate a lot of possibilities and to eliminate a lot of things that interact and by themselves may not cause a problem but in connection with a few other marginal things could cause the problem.   In any case you should have all those regular maintenance items done anyway.

I believe your experiencing ‘Clutch Chatter’. This is an indication of uneven wear on the clutch components, and is only solved with a clutch replacement and maybe flywheel resurfacing if bad enough.

i have a 2002 Ford escape with exactly same issue. the first time the mechanic resurfaced the flywheel and problem came back after a couple weeks, he then replaced the fly wheel and replaced the clutch and after right after couple weeks same problem. have you resolved the problem?

Possibly a motor mount. How experienced are you with manual transmissions?

I definitely am going to replace the engine mount (bottom one), i’ve been driving the vehicle for 8 years now. Funny thing is when they resurfaced the flywheel problem was not so apparent until couple weeks later and same situation after replacing flywheel and clutch. I’m very interested if original person in thread resolved the problem!