Why Club Car Jerks and Shakes When Taking Off?

club car shakes when accelerating

Why does my Club Car golf cart jerk when taking off?

Your Club Car golf cart jerks when taking off, because of a faulty MCOR or low battery charge. Wiper arms that are adjusted incorrectly can also cause a golf cart to jerk.

  • Faulty MCOR.
  • Low battery charge.
  • Wiper arms and contact out of adjustment.
  • Clutch problem.
  • Melted contacts on the F/R switch.
  • Stuck solenoid.
  • Worn out or out of alignment drive belt.


Faulty MCOR

Get the Club Car checked for a faulty MCOR and have it replaced. This should address the jerking issue. The MCOR is a black box and is housed below the passenger seat with two electrical connections.

If it’s corroded on the track, pressing the accelerator pedal rapidly about 20 times can get the track cleaned.


Low battery charge

Check the overall battery pack charge and also the charge of each battery separately. Sometimes, low charge batteries can cause the cart to jerk. Charging the pack or the concerned battery/batteries to full voltage is likely to help.


Wiper arms and contact out of adjustment

If the golf cart is a speed switch/multiple limit style, check for proper engaging action of the wiper arm and contacts and take the necessary action for this to happen if they don’t.


Clutch problem

Inspect the Club Car for a faulty clutch. One indication for this is that the engine revs up when it has a certain RPM. Getting the clutch overhauled or replaced will stop the jerking.


Melted contacts on the F/R switch

Check the contacts of the F/R switch to ensure that they are in good condition. If they are corroded or melted, get the switch substituted with a new one.


Solenoid is stuck

Look out for a stuck high-speed solenoid that sticks when it’s in the closed position. Getting this released will stop the jerking. If the solenoid has an internal connection in the ON/OFF position, it must be replaced.


Worn-out or drive belt that is out of alignment

Check the drive belt to see if it’s worn out or out of alignment. If it’s worn out, get it changed. On the other hand, if the belt is out of alignment, getting it aligned should do the trick. This is a good chance to ensure that the iso-mount on the engine plate is in good condition.


Troubleshooting jerky acceleration on a Club Car golf cart

One way to fix the jerky acceleration on a Club Car golf cart is to check if the battery charge is dropping and the battery is nearly dead under load. A load test will help you determine this. If recharging the batteries doesn’t help, getting a new battery or new batteries fitted should work.

There are chances that the jerking action is because the MCOR is defective and has to be changed. To check if it’s faulty, you can do a simple bench test after removing it. One of the rheostats has a 0 to 7.5 Ohms reading while the other reads 7.5 to 0 Ohms. Also, make sure that the three-wire plug is neither dirty nor dusty.

You will sometimes need to use a high-end penetrating spray on it overnight to get it off easily. If this doesn’t work, use a thin wafer tool and small-angle head grinder to make a slot on the head and insert a flathead screwdriver to remove the screw of the MCOR.

Check the resistor coil assembly near the back of the battery compartment. This assembly can be identified as a set of metal coils that are hooked together. Inspect this assembly for burned, corroded, or loose areas. You can tighten loose areas while burned or corroded areas call for replacement. The replacement can be done for just the affected areas or the entire coil section.


How to fix a Club Car Precedent that jerks when taking off

You can fix a Club Car Precedent that jerks when taking off by checking and fixing the MCOR and batteries. These are the two key parts that often cause the jerking action.

  1. If you have a 2006 Club Car Precedent that has jerky movements, you can remove the MCOR as mentioned in the “Troubleshooting fix jerky acceleration on a Club Car golf cart” section and do a bench test to check if it’s defective. If it’s just corroded, pumping hard on the gas pedal around 20 times with the key OFF will help to remove the corrosion. If it recurs, repeat the pumping action. This is faster and cheaper than an MCOR replacement. In case, you’re getting a new MCOR, you should buy the Generation 1 Pedal Group.
  2. On a 2013 Club Car Precedent or any other model Club Car, the jerking can happen if your battery pack isn’t fully charged. One bad cell or battery can trigger the jerk. A battery load test will help you determine this. Make sure that both the battery pack and the batteries individually have a full charge.
  3. Check for corroded or loose battery cables. Loose cables can be tightened while corroded ones must be replaced.
  4. Consider resetting the OBC of your Precedent if you have one on your golf cart. You can alternatively think of getting an aftermarket smart charger such as Lester or DPI if you can’t get hold of a good OBC.
  5. Check all the cable connections and ensure that they are clean and tight. Removing the accumulated dust from dirty cables and tightening loose ones may help address the jerking issue.
  6. If the jerking happens when the Precedent is going uphill, check the gear and alternator of the golf cart to make sure they function properly. If required, do a replacement.


How to fix a Club Car DS that jerks when taking off

You can fix a Club Car DS that jerks when taking off by correcting the oil level.

The following steps help to solve the jerking in 1988 lifted Club Car DS.

  1. Check the oil level of the golf cart and do a refill if needed. There is no need to overfill the oil. It’s enough if you fill it to just the required level.
  2. Check if there is a mismatched drive-clutch combination and set it right. This is a common problem as Club Cars prior to 1987 and later have two different styles of clutches. If there is a mismatch, the belt fails to run true-center inside the clutch sheaves as it should. There will be an offset by half an inch as the old clutches have a narrow belt while the belt is wider in newer ones. It’s also worth noting that the internal springs of the clutches are directional.
  3. Consider using a stock belt on the clutch if your golf cart has a severe-duty belt as this can sometimes cause a jerking action.


Why Club Car golf cart jerks in forward and reverse

Your Club Car golf cart jerks in forward and reverse due to a sticky drive clutch or a high gear solenoid problem. A missing cable between the resistor and the forward/reverse selector can also cause the jerking in both directions.

You can try the tips given below to fix this problem.

  1. In a 1994 gas Club Car DS, check out for a sticky drive clutch that causes the jerking in both directions. A simple rebuilding of the drive clutch will stop the jerks.
  2. Make sure that the drive clutch belt closes completely and there is no gap between the sheaves that prevent the closing action. The gap makes the belt loose and remains at a lower level than it actually should be and slips off the clutch. Adjusting the belt tension may help.
  3. If you have a 1985 Club Car, the jerk can be curbed by doing a high gear solenoid replacement. The solenoid will be in ON position when the cart moves both in forward and reverse directions. This solenoid is present on the passenger side of the golf cart.
  4. Check for a missing cable connection between the forward/reverse selector and the resistor and do this connection at the earliest.


2015 Club Car jerks when accelerating

Your 2015 Club Car golf cart jerks when accelerating because of a battery issue or a defective MCOR. A faulty speed sensor could also be the reason for the jerk.

The steps that are given here can help you eliminate the jerk in your golf cart.

  1. Do a load test on the batteries using a battery load tester. This tester helps to diagnose the complete charging system of the golf cart. Remember to do the load test for each battery individually for close to 10 seconds. The voltage drop in each battery should not be less than 0.5 to 1 volt. If you have a dip of more than this range for any battery, that battery is faulty and has to be changed.

You can alternatively make use of a multimeter that comes fitted with alligator clips to check the voltage of each battery and the battery pack while you drive the cart.

  1. Look out for a faulty MCOR and do a replacement if it’s defective. To check for a defect, ensure that the batteries are connected, the Run/Tow switch is in tow mode, and the key is in OFF position. Keep the black and red probes of the multimeter on the main negative post of the battery pack and the yellow wire of the three-pin connector of the MCOR respectively. Press the accelerator pedal fully so that the reading increases to nearly 4.65VDC. If you get an erratic reading, the MCOR potentiometer is at fault and the entire unit should be changed.
  2. Check the speed sensor for proper functioning. Set the cart in Run mode and push the cart. If the backup alarm doesn’t beep, the speed sensor may be malfunctioning or the backup buzzer is likely to be disconnected.


Why does my Club Car DS shake when accelerating?

Your Club Car DS may shake when accelerating because of an overly tight drive belt or a clutch issue. Sometimes, this problem happens when the carburetor fails to mix the fuel properly.

The following tips can help to address these issues in a 1988 gas Club Car DS.

  1. Adjust the drive belt so that it can be slid off easily. If the belt is too tight, it can get worn out. The belt should ideally be adjusted so that the center-to-center distance between the front and rear clutches is 9-5/8 inches.
  2. Look out for a malfunctioning clutch. To do this, set the motor to spin in neutral and observe the clutches. The drive belt must rise and fall into the drive/front clutch and driven/rear clutch respectively.
  3. The fuel may not be getting mixed properly in the carburetor because of accumulated dirt. Cleaning it will allow free flow of fuel and stop the shaking.


What causes the Club Car Precedent to Vibrate?

Vibration in a Club Car Precedent may be due to a malfunctioning MCOR, a damaged commutator, a blown-up motor, or out-of-round tires.

A combination of these problems can also result in vibration in a 2006 Club Car Precedent with a stock controller.

  1. Check for a faulty MCOR by ensuring that the battery pack has a full charge, the key is in OFF position and pumping the gas pedal down completely 25 to 30 times. If it doesn’t get better, do an MCOR replacement.
  2. If the cart has high-speed gears, look out for a damaged commutator in the motor. It could be due to the amp/heat load because of the gears. Sometimes, the motor itself may have blown up and has to be replaced.
  3. Look out for tires that are not perfectly round any longer as these can upset the balance of the tires and cause vibration. Get new tires fitted as soon as possible.


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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