My GM car jerks and dies at a stop.

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Two different letters . . .same problem.

I have a 88 Chevy Baretta with 123,000 miles. It`s in great shape & has been well taken care of. Occasionally, after the motor is good & warmed up, I come to a stop & the tranny doesn`t shift back into low gear. It won`t shift manually either. It doesn`t give any warning at all. I have to put it in neutral, rev the engine, then slam it into drive to get it going. I know that’s not good for it but it leaves me stuck in the middle of traffic. I let it sit & cool down for 30 minutes or so & it runs fine. After that it may not do it again for another 5 or 6 months. Do I have a serious problem or is it something minor? I hate to take it to a shop when it just does it on occasion, but I don`t want to get stranded when I least expect it....Steve

My late wife's 1990 Pontiac Sunbird ( 2.2L 4, 3 speed automatic, 115K miles) has suddenly developed a nasty habit of stalling when coming to a stop (first occurrence yesterday). It's not that the engine dies from some apparent electrical or fuel related problem but from the fact that it appears to still be in gear. It's almost the same feeling I'd get if I didn't put in the clutch on my own car (Mitsu Eclipse turbo) when coming to a stop.

If I shift into neutral when coming to a stop the engine will drop to a smooth idle. The problem arises when I put it into drive - it immediately dies. If I rev the engine then slam it into low (I hated having to do that!) and floor the accelerator pedal the car will start to move, albeit very slowly with the engine struggling and within a few seconds come up to normal speed where I can then shift back into drive. However at the next red light or stop sign it does the same thing all over. I had to do this only to get home from where the problem first occurred yesterday, a trip of some 6 miles and what seemed like a million red lights and stop signs.

I rarely take the car on the interstate, and if I do it's only for a few miles - less than 5. If this is the case, is there a "simple" solution to the problem?  ...Fred

Both have the same common GM problem. Both have a bad torque converter clutch (TCC) solenoid inside the transmission which should cost $300-450 to fix as long as the solenoid isn’t contaminated by metal shavings created by the transmission coming apart inside.

Notice how different their two stories are. Notice how much better the second description of the problem is than the first. The more information you give your shop and the better you describe the symptoms, the cheaper the diagnostic charges.

Notice how Fred says, "It's almost the same feeling I'd get if I didn't put in the clutch on my own car (Mitsu Eclipse turbo) when coming to a stop." When Techs hear that they say "BINGO!"

Steve would have probably been charged for some testing and test driving.  Fred did such a good job describing the problem, his problem maybe could have been diagnosed without testing or cost.

Remember, the better the road map, the cheaper the testing or diagnostic fees. 

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