I have an 03 Pontiac Grand Am.

About 9 months ago I had to put in a new motor, I've also put in a new starter and battery. For the last 5 months my car has not been able to go over 50 mph without my rpm going high...it won't shift into 3rd gear either.

I also noticed that when in stopped the rpm is low and it stutters like it's going to die but doesn't. When I put the car in park the engine speed rises to really high levels.

Now it won't start...The lights come on, but no noises....I've talked to 3 mechanics and had it tested and still can't figure out what's wrong!

  • Hi, It's not really clear what you are asking. So you can't go over 50mph, you can't shift into 3rd gear and now it won't start at all, even though the lights on the dashboard come on?
    – George
    Feb 29, 2016 at 22:01
  • What was tested the starter? The Battery?
    – Ben
    Feb 29, 2016 at 23:44

3 Answers 3


Is it the 2.2 Litre engine. Or the 3.4L? The transmissions they used on those aren't typically known for having a lot of problems. Ofcourse there is always going to be one bad seed, but for the most part they are okay. Are you going to diagnostic shops, or Transmission shops? Your average technician doesn't really know how to diagnose a transmission issue. I've been doing diagnostics for 10 years, and still really don't know as much the transmission shop guys do.

This however sounds like, you're having an issue with one the shifting solenoids inside the transmission. They're basically little actuators that block and allow flow of transmission fluid through channels that enable the gears to shift or move. If these channels, the oil pan, or actuators are compromised it will inhibit the transmission's ability to shift.

Unfortunately GM has limited transmission support for OBD. You could have the dealership use their in house scan tool to run diagnostics on it. If that fails, you may need to replace the transmission. It's essentially idiopathic at that point unless you remove the transmission and disassemble it to find the reason it malfunctioned.


There are a number of issues here. I will answer on the starting issue since it doesn't look like that has really been covered.

The main parts of your starter circuit are:
Battery Connections
Ignition Switch

You can check the voltage on the battery. If it is bad, the voltage will drop significantly when you turn the key. Make sure the connections are clean and tight. You can test the ignition switch by measuring the voltage at the 'signal' wire to the starter. this will be the smaller wire. Turn the key to start and see if you get 12v. Check the fuse box for possible fuses on the starter circuit. You can check wiring diagrams to see if there is a relay.


The first set of problems you describe sound very much like a disconnected vacuum pipe between the engine and the transmission.

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