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Make: Chevy
Model: Cavalier (4 cyl.) Automatic
Year: 1993
Miles: 230K

Normally my Cavalier drives just fine without problems. However, if I drive for 45+ minutes then it will sputter and stall out on me as I come to a stop. If I put it in park the car will start just fine, but the minute I put it into drive it will stall out again.

The only way to get it running again is to A.) Let it sit for 20-30 minutes or B.) Rev the engine and throw it into drive and then punch the gas really hard.

The funny thing about the second option is that once I get it started again it will typically drive without stalling again for a while.

If I do it just right, I can keep it from dying by giving it some gas while breaking at a stop, and once it makes it past the sputters, it is idles just fine.

Steps Already Taken:

  • Cleaned Throttle Body
  • Replaced IAC

I'm an amateur at best, so I'm pretty much at a total loss as to where to look next.

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+1 good formatting and detailed question –  Larry Apr 5 '12 at 3:36
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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sounds like you TCC (Torque Converter Clutch) Solenoid is not releasing. It's a common problem for GM cars around those years.

Basically your Torque converter is fluid coupler between the engine and transmission where your clutch would be in a manual transmission. Once you get up to speed the TCC locks up so that there is a one to one connection inside the converter. It's supposed to release when you are coming to a stop if it doesn't it's like coming to a stop without pushing the clutch in on a manual transmission.

It's a relatively easy fix, once get the transmission side cover off, just two bolts and a few wires that plugs in.

I will update my answer tomorrow with more details in the mean time you can confirm this is the problem by un-pluging the TCC connector. It's usually a 4 wire connector that goes in the side of the transmission near the shift linkage. Removing this plug will prevent the TCC from going into lockup, it won't hurt anything but your gas mileage.

Here is what the plug may look like, I can't remember if this is the style on your transmission or not. enter image description here

Here is a picture with the cover off.

enter image description here

Source

Here is the part (yours may be slightly different)

enter image description here

Source

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When you say I can confirm this by unplugging it, do you mean I can drive it around and see if the problem persists? I will be trying this out very soon and let you know what the results are. Thanks for the very detailed response. –  Josh Apr 5 '12 at 13:43
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@Josh Yes, it will never go into lockup if it's unpluged. The problem is once it goes into lockup it won't release. –  Larry Apr 5 '12 at 16:31
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