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Old 15 May 2008, 11:12 pm
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Default 2001 Civic Shudders intermittently while driving...only has 55k. Please help?

It started a few months after I got new (Walmart) tires. At first the shudder was so rare that I attributed it to bad gas, but once it started shuddering more often I started making the rounds to mechanics. The shudder is similar to someone walking across your grave if that makes sense (I can feel it in the steering wheel, the seats, the floor, etc). So we did another rotate, balance, oil change, transmission flush, and other basic maintenance stuff over the year, while the shuddering continued. This past year it has gotten much worse so I've started getting worried. Walmart said the tires were fine but I needed an alignment (and they seemed so freaking clueless and unhelpful that I decided to have all work done elsewhere even if I had to pay for it). Mechanic 1 saw a flat spot on my rear passenger tire and advised new tires (which his shop didn't sell). He also thought Walmart did a crappy balancing job (seemed like there was a lot of extra weight on one tire).

Mechanic 2 said that didn't make sense since the shudder was not constant, and thought it was the engine (busted manifold maybe...but he wanted a few hundred in diagnostic fees so I didn't go back). I finally took in into the Honda dealership and paid for their diagnostic. They came up with $3K worth of things, including new brakes, new timing belt, flushes of various fluids, and they said the shudder was an almost broken tie rod/ball joint on the front passenger side.

The next mechanic said the tie rods are showing no movement and that at most I have some dry rot of the boot. Those guys were convinced it was the flat spot on the rear tire. Today's mechanic said they didn't think either of these made sense, and "after 15 years of selling tires, he had never seen a flat spot like that on just one tire". They were stumped, but felt the shudder and are worried that they can't find it. Oh yeah, and I'm supposed to drive cross country in 2 weeks. Can anyone please give me advice?
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