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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
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Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

90 Chevy Lumina, Stalling Problem
Q: I have a Ď90 Chevy Lumina with 100,000 miles, auto tranny. I drive it for about 30 miles and it will then stall when I come to a stop sign. It will restart, but when I drop it into drive, it just dies. I let it sit for about 5 minutes and then I can restart and drive. However, after another 10-15 miles it dies again when I come to a stop. It restarts and dies once again when I drop it into drive. Please help this single mom who needs a dependable car. Thanks.

A: Well Mom it sounds as if you have the classic sticking lock-up torque converter solenoid problem. Your vehicle, like most with automatic transmissions today, has the ability to lock-up the torque converter. Of course the next question is what is a torque converter? The torque converter is the device that allows you, with the engine running, to select a reverse or forward gear without the vehicle moving or stalling (when working right).
Then when you accelerate the engine, the transmission fluid in the torque converter transfers the energy from the engine to the transmission. No parts are touching, itís just the moving oil that causes the vehicle to move.
It doesnít take a rock hunter to realize that the engine will always be spinning faster than the transmission to make the vehicle go. This is not too fuel inefficient at highway speed. So to get better gas mileage the inside parts that donít touch in a torque converter are locked together. Thus the name lock-up torque converter.
The lock-up of the converter is a computer based decision; "Yes a computer has to get into the act". The computer commands an electric solenoid in the transmission to lock-up or unlock the converter. The problem we see is with that solenoid, it sticks! When it sticks and youíre coming to a stop, the engine will start jerking and stall. The engine will start right up, but the moment you put it back in gear it will stall again. Let things set for a moment and off you go like nothing ever happened, until.
To prove that the solenoid is the culprit it can be disconnected electrically and the vehicle can be driven to see if the condition reoccurs. Youíll note a drop in gas mileage during this time. Replacing the lock-up solenoid is not a difficult or costly job and is the likely cure to your stalling problem.

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