The problem has returned, i have put over 20k miles on it in the last year. Could the plugs be bad again that fast?
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I've had a similar stuttering problem with my Patriot off & on for the last 100,000 miles or so. There are good people who disagree with me but here's what I think I'm on to. I'm copying this from another recent post so anyone reading this who thinks they've read it before, you probably have.
I have no problem at idle or starting from a standing stop, but I have had what amounts to a break in the action when increasing speed (an on-ramp or toll gate) or when approaching a hill and the engine begins to rev higher for more power (I have the CVT). At first I thought the transmission was slipping -- right in the middle of the acceleration pattern there was a stagger and then it would catch again and continue accelerating. If it was a long hill it might do it again.
I think its related to better tires or oversize tires on the front and well-worn or undersized tires on the rear. My guess is that the difference in tire size is confusing the ECM. I just posted in yet another thread that this spring I took off the snow tires and put on an old set of summer tires; all the tires were worn, but the rear tires especially so. The stagger was back! It had run fine all winter and here it was nicer weather, so I ruled out the cold. I considered changing out my spark plugs prematurely, but I've coped with the stagger and as the front tires have worn down the stagger has diminished. A few days ago I was entering an on-ramp on a grade and thought "Hey, this is the perfect place for it to stagger, but its not staggering." I realized I haven't felt that stagger for the last couple thousand miles (month of driving). Since I'm just using up this old set of tires I'm seriously considering replacing two of the tires with new and they'll go on the front. I bet my stagger will be back. Next step will be to change the plugs and see if the stagger persists (I bet it will). If it does persist I've tested my theory to my satisfaction. If it goes away all bets are off.
One final note, there is someone else on the forum named Joriss who has a thread going on this subject. I don't think he ever arrived at a conclusion but you can research his postings.