'92 Lumina dies at lights

My old Lumina has started dying when I stop. It dies instantly. No sputtering, just OFF like I turned the switch. It always starts right back up. It may not die again for a day, or it may die at the next light. It will sometimes sputter on the road, but doesn’t die. There is no MIL or ?check engine? light. I have tried jiggling the key to see if the switch is going bad. It made no difference.

What do you think is going on?

If you have an automatic transmission - 4 speeds, put the selector out of overdrive (put on 2 or 3 ) and do a test drive to see if dies ( do it a couple of times in overdrive and not overdrive ), if does not dies your problem is inside the transmission, the TCC solenoid is not releasing to neutral and that kills the engine.

I probably wasn’t clear on one count. The car will be sitting at idle at a light for some time before it dies. I’ve never heard of a TCC solenoid going BACK into lockup mode a while after a stop. Have you?

I have experienced the torque converter not coming out of lockup before on another GM product. That is as though I stopped a standard transmission car without pushing in the clutch. It died instantly. This one isn’t that way. It also has that sputter going down the road.

EGR? Does it have one?

I think the 3.1L does have an EGR. I’ll look tomorrow.

Yes it has an EGR valve. Is that the culprit? I don’t know how it works or how it could make the car die.

The EGR recirculates some exhaust thru the intake. It should not be open at idle, but if it does end up open at idle it basically produces something akin to a vacuum leak/lean condition. If it often idles a while before it dies this is not a likely suspect.

The things to get out of the way first are the basics - spark plugs, wires, air filter, fuel filter. If any of those are even close to being due they should be dealt with.

Another thing to do is clean and check the idle air control (IAC) motor, though that wouldn’t account for sputtering while not at idle - of course, you may have more than one issue.

"If it often idles a while before it dies this is not a likely suspect.

It ALWAYS idles a while before it dies. Darn, I thought we were onto something.