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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My jeep was running like crud. Shuttering, shaking and just an embarrassment to drive all granny style to minimize my issues. My jeep finally threw a code for spark plugs. Changed them today and my jeep is now puring along. Two of them don't look great, but I've seen plugs worse than this. What do you guys think?
94005
 

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Looks like the ceramic area is damaged a bit, and the copper conductor is pretty worn. If those are the plugs it rolled out of Belvedere with, then anything past about 30,000 miles would have had it acting funny because copper plugs wear out faster and Patriots are sensitive to bad plugs(I personally wouldn't be surprised if half the "my CVT is crap" posts were actually due to plugs or throttle body). I run Champion double-platinum plugs in mine these days. They work great when properly gapped, and I don't need to change them as often.
 

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Looks like the ceramic area is damaged a bit, and the copper conductor is pretty worn. If those are the plugs it rolled out of Belvedere with, then anything past about 30,000 miles would have had it acting funny because copper plugs wear out faster and Patriots are sensitive to bad plugs(I personally wouldn't be surprised if half the "my CVT is crap" posts were actually due to plugs or throttle body). I run Champion double-platinum plugs in mine these days. They work great when properly gapped, and I don't need to change them as often.
I just noticed this post and I think you're right about the CVT being blamed for symptoms that were caused by something else. I wonder how many people have shelled out $4 Grand for a new tranny, or even dumped a perfectly good Patriot, when all it needed was $20 worth of spark plugs. Cynically, I wonder how many dealers or other mechanics made a tidy profit off work that didn't need to be done?

Anecdotal I realize, but my Patriot was staggering on hills and I thought the CVT was slipping. Turned out to be some lousy undersized tires I was running on one axle that confused my ECM.
 

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Lol, yeah, it was a side note, but I think I remember seeing a few posts here and on facebook before getting rid of it about "this piece of crap CVT has been nothing but trouble....I even had the whole thing replaced twice and it's still jerking and stuttering" and NOBODY thinks to check the stupid plugs or throttle body, or they can't imagine it being anything but this imagined demon of a CVT, so they send the whole perfectly good vehicle to the scrapyard or find some other way to just get rid of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I really don't know how old my plug were. It's a 2012 patriot. It had 30k miles on it when I bought it. I've added 37k in the 3 years & change I've owned it. This is the first "critical" part I've had to replace.

Also... I totally thought it was my cvt acting up when it first started. The shuttering was kind of violent at first. So I was very concerned my transmission was going out. Most of my miles are on a crowded two lane highway which requires a bit of aggressive driving to prevent from getting stuck 5 cars back behind someone doing 45. So I thought I'd broken my transmission.

When I first was looking up possibilities for what could be wrong, I found over 20 different possible diagnosis. 😱 When I learned how easy (relatively speaking) some of the possible fixes were, I just planned on doing as much as I could on my own. I'm glad it was just my plugs cause I was prepared to replace the coils, fuel injectors, throttle body, and multiple sensors myself to resolve this issue.
 

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I really don't know how old my plug were. It's a 2012 patriot. It had 30k miles on it when I bought it. I've added 37k in the 3 years & change I've owned it. This is the first "critical" part I've had to replace.

Also... I totally thought it was my cvt acting up when it first started. The shuttering was kind of violent at first. So I was very concerned my transmission was going out. Most of my miles are on a crowded two lane highway which requires a bit of aggressive driving to prevent from getting stuck 5 cars back behind someone doing 45. So I thought I'd broken my transmission.

When I first was looking up possibilities for what could be wrong, I found over 20 different possible diagnosis. 😱 When I learned how easy (relatively speaking) some of the possible fixes were, I just planned on doing as much as I could on my own. I'm glad it was just my plugs cause I was prepared to replace the coils, fuel injectors, throttle body, and multiple sensors myself to resolve this issue.
I'm glad it wasn't your tranny. :) However, since you have the CVT (and if I haven't mentioned it to you before), the CVT fluid and filters (there are two) should be changed about twice as often as the owners manual recommends, i.e., at least every 50,000 miles. If you're at 67,000 you're actually overdue.
 

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Actually, I've thought about it a bit lately, and since the engine is a 4-cylinder designed to be revved a bit, and the CVT is just a belt with a couple pulleys that rely on tension and pressure, maybe kinda aggressive driving is better for the Patriot than babying it? Either way, sounds like OEM plugs that had been changed once and that's it. You were a little overdue on them, so it makes complete sense that's what it was.
 

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The plug gaps look wide, but it's hard to determine on the pictures. Otherwise, they look like your engine is igniting the fuel correctly (no deposits, etc.). Two plugs seem to be quite oily. Did you notice oil in the plug well? It is not uncommon for the o-ring seals on the plug wells to start leaking on older engines. They are replaced as part of a valve cover replacement job.

Unusual for OCD me, I studied the subject matter ad-nauseam and my last plug change was done with NGK Rutheniums. No performance improvement should be expected with plugs, but the literature suggests that the Rutheniums provide a "better" spark, which "might" be slightly better efficiency, gas burn, whatever. Maybe help the cat converter last longer? They run fine and will double or triple the change interval. Member Croat is a big advocate of precious metal plugs in our engines.

I have personal experience (previous Caravans) that with today's computerized engines, numerous things can create "bad tranny" symptoms. In my case intermittent plug wire misfire and a bad throttle speed sensor caused me to think my tranny was going out. Both repairs were under $50.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ignatz...

I tried to get a transmission guy to service it when I was just over 50k. He turned me away saying cvts barely need any work. He said come back at 75k and I'll check your filters. 🤷🏻‍♂️ I bought a few things (dipstick, laser temp) so I could finally monitor that on my own. I added about an ounce of fluid a month ago.

Rosso...

I've always had a slightly aggressive driving style anyways. Kind of a theory of mine that you're better off being slightly aggressive on the road. A convoys of cars bunched up is not safe.... My jeep has handled this well. My dodge intrepid did not like this style of driving. 🤷🏻‍♂️😆

Tree...

All of them had evidence of an oil looking substance on them. There was also a ring of it on my ignition coils.. about 1/8". I was thinking of replacing the ignition coils if I needed to, but it sounds like I might need new gaskets 🤔... looking it up, it seems easy enough to do on my own.
 

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Ignatz...

I tried to get a transmission guy to service it when I was just over 50k. He turned me away saying cvts barely need any work. He said come back at 75k and I'll check your filters. 🤷🏻‍♂️ I bought a few things (dipstick, laser temp) so I could finally monitor that on my own. I added about an ounce of fluid a month ago.
It's true that CVTs are pretty simple mechanically, but I disagree on the service interval. I say 50,000, but our class conservative (@Sandstone) says the first service should be done around 35,000. Not knowing any better I intended to follow the recommendation in the owner's manual and my CVT never made it that far. Thankfully I was covered under the lifetime warranty. A clue might be FCA's definition of 'severe service' that includes overnight temperatures below freezing. There aren't many places in the USA where temps don't drop below freezing for significant periods. I'd say follow the recommendations for severe service and you'll probably be OK. Only a retired grandma in the Florida keys qualifies for what FCA considers typical service!

In my experience, the major symptom of worn fluid is a when the tranny screams after a long highway drive. It really is a scream -- a very high-pitched raspy whine.

As for driving aggressively, only a diesel gets to run at full speed full load for long periods. My Patriot with the CVT is gone now, but if I had it to do over again I would not put a load on the engine/tranny using autostick. I'd leave it in drive and let it rev. I think it's happier that way.

I'd be curious to know if any Patriot/Compass/Caliber owners who didn't have autostick got more miles out of their CVTs.
 

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I use E3 plugs, I replaced the plugs when I got my 2014 Pat 2 years ago, (it had 130,000 miles on it) and I run about 1,400 miles a month. I just looked and its now got just over 189,000 miles on it. It still runs great. With the E3's you don't have to gap the plugs! Just put them n and go. I know they cost a little more than the copper plugs, but I think its worth the extra cost, and it's the only plug I use.
 

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My jeep was running like crud. Shuttering, shaking and just an embarrassment to drive all granny style to minimize my issues. My jeep finally threw a code for spark plugs. Changed them today and my jeep is now puring along. Two of them don't look great, but I've seen plugs worse than this. What do you guys think?
View attachment 94005
Definitely the plugs bad . My wife’s Patriot did the same thing at 36,000. She called me saying the tranny went, I drove it and sure seemed like tranny problem but I added strong mix of fuel injector cleaner and it actually run a bit better. I then changed the spark plugs (gapped them ar 42) the old ones were so worn they had a gap of 55) and now it runs like it did when it was new. I really think a lot of people think it’s the tranny when it’s just the plugs.
 

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My jeep was running like crud. Shuttering, shaking and just an embarrassment to drive all granny style to minimize my issues. My jeep finally threw a code for spark plugs. Changed them today and my jeep is now puring along. Two of them don't look great, but I've seen plugs worse than this. What do you guys think?
View attachment 94005
#1 &3 were replaced somewhat recently. # 4 looks older than that. #2 is concerning to me! seen # 2 plug in cars with 80k on the clock. why did someone change 2 but not all 4? im concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ignatz...

Definitely thinking about draining and dropping my pan now to check things out. I came across a youtube video of a guy who drained his fluid and changed his filters. It looks utterly doable... But I might have to find some shop space to do it in. Nebraska is to windy this time of the year for me to be doing it outside. Either way, that Patriot was at 130k and after changing the fluid and filters, it was quite and smooth. My growls a bit at 67k so I'm sure I'm due.

Stryker...

The odd thing is how different the jerking and shuttering can be. When it first started, it was like a bucking animal. It's what made me fear it was my transmission. It also seemed to correspond to shifting points as I was accelerating. I put two bottles of deep cleaning fuel injector cleaner in it and it went from the hard bucking to a gentle bucking. A couple weeks later... It became more like an electric shutter. It"s just crazy that bad spark plugs in my Jeep could cause it to behave in 3 different ways!
 
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