transmission shudder

Asked by Sep 07, 2009 at 10:54 AM about the 2001 Ford Escape

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

have a 2001 ford escape.had multiple misfire codes.replaced spark plugs & changed the fuel filter and dpfe. misfire cyl codes did not return but now have a transmission shudder,no power & codes for tcc are now present.
can"t imagine how the above would affect the transmission that didn't have issues before.

12 Answers


its a classic for transmission problem from that generation. its a problem with the torque converter. they make an "anti'shudder" fluid you can add in with a tranny fluid change. go get a system flush and add the fluid. it will take care of your problem.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

What feels like a transmission shudder is actually caused by faulty fuel injectors and ignition coils. Each cylinder has one of each and you are lucky if only one cylinder is misfiring. Just get it checked out and fixed right away before the catalytic converters get clogged. There are 3 cats on the Escape and once they are clogged by a misfiring engine the vehicle will not run at all until the cats are changed. All of this happened to my 05 Escape after 80,000 miles and it cost me over $5,000. - John D.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

I had the same thing in an f-150. I never got a check engine light or anything, but it was indeed engine related. I had no power and the truck shuddered like the trans was about to break. After compression check I found a dead cylinder that would not fire was causing the problem.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

If you have the 6 cylinder, I doubt that you have any problems with the transmission or the fuel injectors. Most likely, the problem is the ignition coils. Like an earlier post said, there is one coil per spark plug. Who replaced the plugs? It's not a hard job, but some guys don't really pay attention to what they are doing. The first time it happened to our Escape, I paid $300 to have 2 plugs and coils replaced. 6 months later, the same thing happens, and I did my own check, and found out which coil was bad. When I pulled the old plugs, they weren't gapped properly and they reused the old boots. I put in a new set of plugs, boots w/connector springs, and replaced the bad coil. She's run like a champ ever since. If you aren't up to doing this work yourself, get a good shop that knows these vehicles, and will do the job right.

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

How did you determine the coils were bad? Ed E

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

For those of you experiencing check engine light with rough idle and or lurching/jerking/Shuddering at highway speeds, which i did, this is what fixed mine. 3.0l V6 for the check engine light try the following. There is a black plastic sensor, not sure what its called, but it sits just behind and below the egr valve with two vac lines going to it. This sensor has been reported to go bad and cause the check engine light to come on. Cheap part like 3 bucks or something like that and easy for anyone to replace. If that doesn't work, the egr valve is next, about 60 bucks at autozone, and again easy to fix if you have the tools. Easy way to check this part, take it off and lightly blow/suck air into the valve, you should feel the diaphram inside moving. if not, its bad and needs replacement. There is a hose that connects at the back of the the upper intake manifold to a tube that goes to the pcv valve. That hose had collapsed and was not allowing air to flow. again, easy fix. 36 dollar part. Once i took care of these the check engine light went away! and it cost me less than 120 bucks. The surging, bucking and lurching at highway speeds was taken care of by a flush and fill of the transmission fluid, the minute it had new fluid in the tranny, it stopped lurching and shifted smooth at highway speeds. 149 bucks at jiffy lube. There is one last thing, this one requires an experienced mechanic that you trust. I kept getting bad coil indications with rough idle. Replaced two of the coils and idle smoothed out, but a couple of days later the rough idle came back. Mechanic thought it was a bad part, it happens, and replaced one of the new coils. Worked fine for a couple of days and rough idle came back. As he was tracing the wiring from the coil back to its source which is the big connector at the top of the firewall behind the engine, with the engine running, he grabbed the bundle of wires going to the connector and moved it around. In certain positions, the idle would immediately smooth out! He initially thought it was the connector or the main computer because pushing a certain way on the connector smoothed the idle also. I did a bit of research online and found several reports where the some of the wiring that leads to the coils inside that harness can be broken inside its covering and cause the coil affected not to fire giving a bad coil indication when in fact it is not the coil thats bad! So if you have any indication of a bad coil, before you go spending any money on replacing them, simply grab that black harness and wiggle it around to see if the idle smooths out. You'll save yourself money and frustration in the long run. The fix isn't easy since it requires finding the exact spot where the break in the one wire in that bundle. It then has to be cut, spliced correctly, and covered with heat shrink tubing properly. So this one requires an experienced hand at auto electrical work. Hope this helps everyone.

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.

I ran the codes. I have a reader, and anyone who does their own work should have one too. It'll save a lot of money. It told me exactly which cylinders were misfiring, and paid for itself the first time I used it. Make sure that you change the plug (use Motorcraft or Autolite), gap them properly, and use dielectric grease inside the new boots. Also, don't stretch the springs any more than you have to.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

My 2005 ford escape broke down a week ago. It had been misfiring and shuddering for months prior. Anyway it got towed away to dealership. They replaced 3 coil packs, plugs, and basically gave it a tune up? After driving it for a week, it nearly broke down tonight. Same problem. Transmission?

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

I have an '01 Escape. Did they replace 3 random coil packs, front three or back three? Once the coil packs begin to fail, you can't simply replace one or two because the rest will follow in quick succession. You're better off replacing all 6 at the same time to avoid paying the dealership or another mechanic tons more in labor costs. The dealership will not tell you this, but hopefully a good private mechanic would. I researched how to replace them myself on you tube. You can do the three in the front (4,5&6) easily yourself in about 5-10 minutes each. The ones in the rear (1,2&3) I would hire a mechanic to do if you don't have confidence in doing the job yourself. Another option is to pay for the three in back to be replaced and wait for each one to fail in the front and replace one at a time as needed since these are easy to do yourself. Be sure to have a new one on hand in the vehicle for when this happens so you're not stranded somewhere without access to an auto parts store.


Make sure the front three spark plug wires are on in the right order. The cable crosses the engine so the last coil on the cable is the passenger side. It will run backwards, but buck and shudder under load. Read this in a trade magazine. Put on backwards it looks right but it is not. There is a little clip the holds the wire harness cable when it crosses the engine. Look for it.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

WOW, I went down and bought a Coil Boot for the Plug! ONE Bolt, One Clip and fixed the studder I had at 40 - 70 MPH. Had to turn off OVERDRIVE to clear the studder. I looked at the side of the boot and it has a burned pin hole in the side.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have a '06 Mazda Tribute, which is the same thing as an Escape. Mazda dealer claimed tranny needed a new band for OD. They replaced it. Everything was fine for a few weeks. Then came what seemed like a slight miss on hills around 2K RPM. It got worse over the next few days. Cant use OD because its worse that way. Gotta try and keep the RPM above 2K on hills. This is a typical FORD problem that's been around for years. I've seen it many times. The only solution is to stop buying anything made by FORD. They shame the Japanese company Mazda. Their engines and trannies always did stink. Designed to fail workmanship as always. GM does the same. Our 300K mile Camry is a far better vehicle and without all the headaches of a domestic. Learn people. Stop buying FORD and MAZDA.

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