2001 Chevy Malibu automatic transmission problems? [Archive] - Chevy Malibu Forum: Chevrolet Malibu Forums

: 2001 Chevy Malibu automatic transmission problems?


ciangu
06-04-2011, 02:41 AM
I own a 2001 Chevy Malibu LS.

The car has been having issues shifting. When I push down hard on the accelerator, the car will not go into second gear. The RPM meter shoots upward and gets stuck in 3,000 range. I have to quickly let off the gas and then accelerate so that it drops and is able to shift again. Sometimes I have to do it multiple times. This happens in all of the gears. If I do not let off the gas, the car will not shift. I can sometimes hear what sounds like the catalytic converter making a rattle from below the car.

When going uphill, my car does the same thing, but letting off the gas doesn't do anything. It chugs up the hill and will not shift. I tend to go very slow uphill because of this. Sometimes my check engine light will turn on when going uphill. Going down a hill I seem to have no problems shifting.

Any clues on what might be happening and what would you recommend I do?
Will an automatic transmission flush help or fix it?

DrivenDaily
06-04-2011, 04:23 AM
I moved this from the General Discussion area...

MalibuKen
06-04-2011, 06:17 AM
Sometimes my check engine light will turn on when going uphill.

Any clues on what might be happening and what would you recommend I do?
Will an automatic transmission flush help or fix it?

No, probably not......unless it's low on fluid for some reason.....which COULD be the cause of all the symptoms you describe. It also could be something as simple as a leaking vacume hose somewhere as engine vacume is one input to the computer. My guess is that you really have an engine problem and the computer has limited the engine speed to 3,000 RPM to prevent further damage.....and the transmission not shifting is just a by-product of that.

HOWEVER......what ever is causing the problem might be damaging the transmission at the same time, so you should get it checked out by a qualified shop ASAP. That advice applies pretty much any time the check engine light comes on......whether you notice a problem along with it or not.

P.S. Stomping down on the accelerator is probably NOT a good idea when you already know there is a problem.

Charles Kline
01-14-2012, 02:10 PM
My 2002 Malibu just started doing this a few days ago. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks,
-Charles

Rodents
01-14-2012, 05:09 PM
My 2002 Malibu just started doing this a few days ago. Does anyone have any suggestions?


A little more specific with exactly what the car does would be nice but let's start off with a few ideas. Did it start all of a sudden or gradually get worse? Is the check engine light on? If so, do you know what the codes are? If you're in Park and rev the engine, not WOT (wide open throttle) now, but snap the throttle quickly and enough to get at least 3,000 rpm, does the engine rev up quick or kind of bog down? You could have a trans issue or an engine issue. Assuming the engine doesn't rev freely, or you would notice a lack of power up hills that would be more than obvious compared to a normal running '02 Malibu, it could be a restricted catalytic converter. Does the enigine misfire? Get back to us and we'll go from there.

Charles Kline
01-14-2012, 08:00 PM
Sorry about that,

My symptoms equal the OP exactly.

I happened all of a sudden, the day after a drive up the mountains.

No CEL, The only code was a ABS signal not equal (or some such)

I just did the rev test and it was struggling, I could nearly floor it and it would barley go over 4k.


So does that sound like plugged cat?

Thanks for all your help.

-Charles

DrivenDaily
01-14-2012, 11:40 PM
A plugged cat is the first thing I'd look at. A quick and dirty test is to remove an O2 sensor between the engine and cat and go for a quick test drive. Make sure any exhaust that comes out of the hole won't cause a fire - the exhaust stream at that location is very hot. If that little hole lets the engine rev higher and you can now go uphill at a normal rate and the trans shifts more normally then the cat is likely plugged.

If that test doesn't change anything then the exhaust is not something to worry about for now.

Charles Kline
01-15-2012, 06:30 AM
Thanks, I'll give that a try!

Rodents
01-15-2012, 12:01 PM
Sure sounds like a restricted catalytic converter. You can pop out the O2 sensor in the manifold and see if there's any improvement. It may not run normally but should be able to see some improvement with the sensor out as now the exhaust has some way to escape. I wouldn't run it too far like that but none the less it's a quick and easy check. To do it right you'd need a backpressure gauge, old school vacuum/pressure gauge you can buy anywhere is all you need. There's a fitting you can buy that threads into the O2 sensor hole and the gauge gets hooked to that. Spec is 2psi max at 2,000 rpm. You would check at both O2 sensors, the second one is rearward of the converter. If the reading is above spec at only the front O2 sensor, you have a bad catalytic converter. If it's high at both sensor locations, your problem is rearward of the catalytic converter, collapsed pipe or restricted muffler.

Charles Kline
01-16-2012, 11:02 PM
Replacing the catalytic converter fixed the issues, thanks so much guys!!!

-Charles