Torque converter or engine? - Maintenance and Repair Forum

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Torque converter or engine?
Tuesday, September 03, 2019 3:23 PM
So, I have a few symptoms and searching hasn't really yeilded any useful answers.

The symptoms

1.) Occasional power outage with no discernible cause - battery, alternator, starter all check out. One ground wire is a bit rusty but even so everything's getting sufficient flow. When this occurs it acts like it has a dead battery. I've noticed my key upon exiting the ignition is warm to the touch.

2.) Once in a blue moon, most noticeable during hot weather or high eng temperatures, the car upon acceleration lags. It's as if it doesn't want to move under it's own weight. It loses all power and moves at a snails pace. I can press on the pedal all I want and it struggles to move. Yet, no codes are present other than a P0507(not during the lack of power/moving under own weight occurrence). No odd smells. No whining, rattling, grinding or any strange noises at all. Oil fluid is in operating range. Trans fluid seems okay. Fuel filter is new.

I'm not really sure what to look for to address this out of nowhere power loss. I'm thinking it's transmission related but, again, nothing seems out of the ordinary.

It's a 96 cavalier with the 3spd

Re: Torque converter or engine?
Wednesday, September 04, 2019 5:26 AM
Check and clean all of the grounds. Even a little @!#$y on ground can cause big issues.




Re: Torque converter or engine?
Wednesday, September 04, 2019 9:42 PM
I know the overdrive solenoid can cause it to bog and stall, more so when its hot but if its bad enough itll run rough right from the start. Tps can also cause this


ReD RaiN
Re: Torque converter or engine?
Thursday, September 05, 2019 2:39 AM
Overdrive solenoid? Where would that be located?
Re: Torque converter or engine?
Thursday, September 05, 2019 2:10 PM
I don't think it is the Torque Converter Clutch Solenoid. When those fail, the engine will stall when coming to a stop. Just like a manual shift would do if you didn't push in the clutch when stopping in gear.
Re: Torque converter or engine?
Friday, September 06, 2019 5:30 AM
Here's an update - Went to start the car and the sane no power situation occured. I got the idea to hit the underside of the steering wheel near the ignition cylinder and boom, power flickered and I managed to start the car.

Sooo, turns it out might be wiring or the ignition cylinder itself. What exactly should I be on tbe lookout for aside from burnt/bad wiring? Are there any signs specific to tell a bad ignition cylinder or is it just one of those things where your only option is to replace it and hope for the best?
Re: Torque converter or engine?
Friday, September 06, 2019 8:53 PM
T!M8!T wrote:

I know the overdrive solenoid can cause it to bog and stall, more so when its hot but if its bad enough itll run rough right from the start. Tps can also cause this

Tbh im not sure whether these cars have a overdrive solenoid. My old 91 cav had one but im not sure with these. Someone else may be able to pitch in.


ReD RaiN
Re: Torque converter or engine?
Wednesday, October 02, 2019 3:34 AM
Update: I have the power situation fixed. Turned out to be the battery moving and ground wire. However, the car now shuts off completely like it's stalled when the temperature starts overheating. It's happened to me twice so far. Solution is to just pop the hoid and wait a good 5-10 mins to let the car cool off and then she starts right back up. That same sputtering/lack of power is present right before it just stalls/shuts off.

Again, it's the 3spd auto in a 96 cavalier. I'm about to put in a new thermostat to address the overheating at idle and will be working my way up from that in the hopes I can solve the idle overheat. Next step would be the temp sending unit, waterpump and so on

Anyone know if the 3rd gens have the overdrive solenoids? I mean, this issue literally only occurs when the car starts overheating so it has to be something to do with a sensor that deals with temperatures or is prone to failure at high heat, right?
Re: Torque converter or engine?
Wednesday, October 02, 2019 1:15 PM
Is your cooling fan actually working?
Re: Torque converter or engine?
Wednesday, October 02, 2019 7:47 PM
Kamui Storm wrote:


Anyone know if the 3rd gens have the overdrive solenoids? I mean, this issue literally only occurs when the car starts overheating so it has to be something to do with a sensor that deals with temperatures or is prone to failure at high heat, right?
Yes, they do. Looks like there are two different transaxles. The THM125C (3 speed) and the 4T40-E (4 speed). Both use a TCC solenoid but they are different, not the same design.
You could unhook the TCC on your THM125C. Just wait until the engine is cold and unplug the wire connector from the trans. It is on the front side of the trans. You'll see a wire connector going into the side of the trans facing the radiator. If unplugging it cures the problem, you'll know for sure the TCC has failed and needs to be replaced.

A failing ICM can cause some of the issues you are having. A bad fuel injector can too. The temperature sensor that reports to the ECM might too, since the computer might not be applying the correct air/fuel ratio.

It really isn't a good idea to throw new parts at a car when you don't know what is wrong with it. It can get very costly. Although, you'll have lots of spare parts that are still good.
Do you know anyone with an OBD2 scan tool? That might help to locate exactly what is wrong.
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