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Tackling a mysterious 'shudder' in a 2014 Scion tC

Monday, February 26, 2018 - 09:00
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I’ve been working on my own vehicles since I first started turning a wrench. Not because I wanted to — it was a simple matter of economics. I couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do it for me. For the last 20-odd years, I’ve had to work in the dirt driveway of my current place of residence but was blessed a year or so ago with the chance to build a real garage next to my house, complete with two-post lift (a gift from a very good friend)!

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I refer to my shop as the “Motor Age Garage” in honor of the column that has been a staple of this magazine for as long as I can remember. Writing for that column was my first role as a new contributor to the magazine, and it’s where we start our newbies to this day. By the way, we’ve got some great young talent to introduce you to!

The birth of the shop — where all the magic happens!

In addition to making life easier maintaining my own cars, it also provides me with the means to produce the videos you see on our YouTube channel and has opened up a variety of opportunities to share topics that I couldn’t before. On the other side of the coin, it opens me up to a lot of requests for help from my youngest son and his friends. I’ve done everything from oil changes to evaporator core replacements (Ford F-150, full dash removal) and soon, I’ll have his Chevy truck in for a valve “tick” that I suspect may be a wiped camshaft. Oh, the joy…

I’ll admit, there are times when I don’t feel like working on a car but I then find myself enjoying the work, getting greasy and beat up again. And I’m keenly aware that, in order for me to do my job here, I have to stay “in the trenches” as much as I can. After all, I can’t tell you guys to continue your education and skill development if I don’t!

Anyway, I recently had a project in the shop that I thought might be of interest to you. It starts with my very favorite customer – my wife.

The shuddering Scion

My better half owns a 2014 Scion tC that is her pride and joy. She’s gone full tilt with it; installing a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) exhaust, leather interior, custom lighting and more. When she cleans it up, she’ll spend a solid 3-4 hours making it look as good as it did when it first rolled off of the showroom floor. And she is just as picky when it comes to maintaining it mechanically.

My wife’s 2014 Scion tC, with a little TRD added

The car has just over 37,000 miles on it and recently displayed a new behavior that my beloved finds truly annoying. She works at the local hospital and leaves the house when it’s still dark. One recent (and also our first “cold”) morning, she headed off to work as she normally does but on the way there, experienced a severe “shudder” when she came to a full stop. The vibration was enough to cause a loud “tapping” noise that could be heard in the cabin and was strongly felt in the steering wheel. Whatever was causing the condition, it wasn’t something the ECM was concerned with – the MIL light remained off.

When she returned home later that day, I met her in the garage to see what the car was doing. Of course, I couldn’t duplicate the problem and after reviewing the scan tool data, could find no clues as to what the problem might be. So I told my spouse I would check it the next morning and she could take my vehicle to work instead.

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