Judder

  #1  
Old 05-11-2005, 08:56 PM
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 12
Default Judder

Hi Guys,
I have been experiencing some "judder", of late, while pulling away, in first or reverse gears.
On the move, I can keep things smooth, with careful clutch operation, but I'm embarrassingly slow getting away at the lights, and even then the whole engine will do a couple of shakes, before the drive to the wheels is fully established.
My first thought is the clutch plate, which has done about 80k miles. Has it worn unevenly? Or are there other possibilities?
Any thoughts, and suggestions you might give me will be appreciated.
Thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 05-12-2005, 01:17 PM
2nd Gear
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Swamplands of NJ
Posts: 761
Default RE: Judder

How long have you been driving manual? Trying to beat everybody at the traffic light will shorten the life of the clutch. There are a few factors that can give you jerky clutch engagement. One is your driving style. The other factor is how the car is geared or the 1st gear ratio. A lower ratio will help you get you moving quickly and smoothly but limits your speed requiring you to shift into the next gear sooner. I tend to shift at low rpm so I get a bit more engine vibration. You may want to increase your rpm's a bit and don't release the clutch too quickly. It's all in the feel and being in tune with you car. Driving clutch takes some skill and plenty of practice. Don't race your engine too high or "ride the clutch", you will glaze and burn the friction material, the heat generated will groove the pressure plate and flywheel as well as cause surface cracks.

I was once told that way back (50's or 60's) in the UK, a new driver’s skill was tested by stopping on a slightly steep hill facing up. While idling one had to release the break and engage the clutch quickly enough to prevent the car from rolling back without staling and keeping it motionless for a few seconds then drive forward.
 
  #3  
Old 05-15-2005, 04:03 PM
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 12
Default RE: Judder

Hello again, Offramp,
Thanks for your tips about using the clutch. But I think you misjudge me.
My last car was a 2L 5 cyl Passat Hatchback (Great Car). I changed the cluth plate at 116k (miles) and sold it at 206k, the clutch plate still good. Previous to that, I had an 1974 1.5 LAudi 80 saloon (Great Car), which had a new clutch plate at 72k, and that lasted 'til it was disposed of at 226k! The car was still going well, but looking a bit ropey, so it gave way to the Passat, which had only 79k on the clock, at the time. This Audi 80 had done 106k when I acquired it nearly six years ago, and has just started to judder at 166k. I expect you will agree, that's not the record of someone who abuses his transmission. In fact, I passed my driving test, including the "hill start" as it was called, in Bristol (very steep hills), in 1960, so can we please eliminate the "boy racer" image! (You're forgiven, of course.)
Now, how old this clutch plate is I do not know, it may be the original, in which case the first owner and I have had good service from it. He had a big rebuild at 85k, due to a snapped cam-belt, and the engineers may have thought it prudent to put a new plate in at the time, if the engine was out. This I can check with Audi, tomorrow.
I suppose what I was hoping, was that there is life left in the plate, whether it's original or not, and that someone who has experienced the dreaded judder, might say, "Don't go to all the trouble of taking the gearbox off, with limited facilities, because I did and the cause turned out to be something much simpler." (Perhaps an engine/gearbox mounting..?)
I'm open to any suggestions, which are easy to follow up, while postponing the probable inevitability of the big split. I will be checking the mountings, of course, but that in itself is a bit daunting with only a trolley jack, and axle stands.
In the end I expect you are right. It is probably a distorted plate, or uneven wear (despite the gentle care it has enjoyed over the last six years).
Whatever, thanks again for your input.
Bryan.
PS. The replacement "black bomb" is working well.
 
  #4  
Old 05-16-2005, 01:39 PM
2nd Gear
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Swamplands of NJ
Posts: 761
Default RE: Judder

"It's not what you say but how you say it!" Certainly applies in this case, I am sorry for misjudging your driving skills, the phrasing of your initial question gave me the impression that you were a new driver driving a manual for the first time?

With this out of the way, there could be couple of problems that could be causing the problem besides a bad clutch/flywheel/pressure plate. If you get oil or a grease leak on the friction material it will give you problems of jerky clutch. Worn or seized throw-out or pilot bearing can do the same. Master/slave cylinder or worn cable could also prevent you from a smooth clutch engagement. Bent input shaft or broken/bent “release levers” or “fingers” during installation or a clutch replacement will get worse with time. And lets not forget the engine itself if it is running weak it will only magnify the problem. Also worn engine or transmission mounts could also cause a problem.

Is the "hill start" still part of the UK driving test?
 
  #5  
Old 05-23-2005, 04:39 PM
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 12
Default RE: Judder

Hi Offramp,
Thanks for your guidance. Your list of likely causes is most illuminating, but I suppose there is not much one can do to pinpoint the problem without taking the machine apart, which is a prospect somewhat daunting. However, I'll note all your suggested possibilities, and will eventually let you know which it turns out to be!

Since getting down from my high horse, I've been extremely gentle with the clutch, keeping the revs up while slipping (as advised...[sm=devilangel.gif]), and even took a full complement of passengers on a one hundred mile round trip last week. The fellow next to me was not aware of any judder, and this week the problem seems to have got better. Of course, there are lots of possibilities for this apparent improvement, but one of them must be that my very careful (self conscious?) use of the clutch has somehow straightenend things out. Maybe I just needed a good ticking off, to remind me to treat the mechanism with more consideration.

I do actually realize that this may be just another phase in the inevitable demise of the clutch, but while I can drive it without judder, squealing, smelling or slipping, and avoid the task of separating engine and gearbox, I will.

I must confess I'm not au faix with the current testing procedure in th UK. I will make enquiries.

In the meantime, thanks again for your help.
Bryan.
 
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