Dogde Spirit shuddering when braking Question

We have a 1993 Dogde Spirit, V6. When applying the brakes, the front right of the car begins to shudder and shake. Sometimes the engine shuts itself off and the car stalls, other times it doesn’t. This is a random event and of course didn’t happen when we drove with the mechanic; it happened again today.

He put it on the lift and ran the computer, but nothing turned up. The brakes are fine, and everything appears normal.

Any ideas will be appreciated.


The usual cause of shaking while breaking is a warped rotor or something wrong in the brakes, but that doesn’t cause the engine to stall. What I think is going on (and I should put one of those IANAMechanic disclaimers here) is that your car has what is called a lock-up torque converter, and it’s not unlocking when it should.

The torque converter is the part of the transmission that is kinda like two fan blades facing each other with fluid in between. As one blade turns it sloshes the fluid around and makes the other blade turn. The nice thing about a torque converter is that if you stop, the one side can turn and the other is stopped, so it does the job of a clutch. The bad thing is that there is always fluid just sloshing around in there, so you don’t have the solid mechanical grip (and better effeciency) that you get with a clutch.

A lock-up torque converter is kinda the best of both worlds. It still has a torque converter, so you don’t need to know how to drive a stick shift, but what it does is when the car gets moving, it locks up the torque converter so that you don’t have all of this fluid sloshing around, but instead you have a solid connection like you get with a clutch. When you press on the brake and slow down, the torque converter is supposed to unlock and go back to the normal sloshy torque converter type mode of operation. If it doesn’t unlock, it is bascically like stopping a car with a stick shift and forgetting to let the clutch out. The car is going to shake and sputter and probably stall the engine. I think yours isn’t reliably unlocking.

That’s my guess.

That sounds like the perfect answer. I just wanted to add that if it were warped rotors, you’d really feel it in the steering wheel. The steering wheel would shake a lot as you apply the brakes. Also, if it’s rotors, it would be most pronounced when you first hit the brakes. But if it’s a locked-up transmission, I would think it would start shaking more and more as the car slows and gets closer to a full stop.

But like he said, warped rotors wouldn’t explain the stalling.