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Ask Someone: 2002 Jeep Liberty #1572925510

Hey all,
New here! Had questions about a problem
With my car and needed some input since I can’t really get a clear answer from mechanics. All they’ve been telling me is watch and wait. To begin, I have a 2002 Jeep Liberty sport, 6 cylinder 3.7 liter engine. Has 133k miles, brought it used but previous owner put a lot of work into it (new tires, oxygen sensor, brakes, etc). Have had it for about 6 months now, no issues with it. But about a month ago I was driving (first time it happened) and when I stopped at a light to turn left, I felt like my whole Jeep shook, my mom was with me in the car and she looked at me like what was that, but I sort of brushed it off until it was my turn to go but my car would not go—it’s like it was stuck in drive. Best way I can describe it (didn’t realize then that my car was stalling). I’m not good with car jargon but I’m almost certain my car stalls when I stop. Any who, I did everything at that light to get my car to go
But NOTHING. I pushed the gas, pressed on the break, etc. Last resort was turning it off and then turning it back on again. And it was fine. Took it to mechanic that same day and they told me they couldn’t do anything since my car was running fine. Told me to watch and wait and bring it back if it got worst. Everything is ok for a few weeks. But, Fast forward, a few weeks and it does it again! I stop at a light, whole car trembled, Engine goes quiet but radio is still on and I’m like ugh. And It’s like when I’m driving I can feel when it’s going to do it—like I just know because acceleration seems laggy and slow almost and if I slightly push on the brake something seems off. This leads me To pull to the side and stop. However, I notice that as long as I don’t fully stop the car it won’t shut down on me. It’s only if I come to a full blown stop that it will “stall”.
Now it’s becoming more recent. This morning it stalled on me twice. I was driving down my street and I pressed in the brake and I felt my car shake a little so I pulled to the side, whole car shakes, and I press on the gas and car won’t go even though it’s in drive. Radio is still on but engine goes off. Not sure what’s going on, since I got the Jeep it’s been fine. Going down the road, push on the brake a little, and car feels strange—shaky, so I pull into a near by gas station and stop and it does the stalling again.
sighs I’ll be taking it to the mechanic tomorrow but I’m afraid they’ll say they can’t do anything since there’s no check engine light or if they test drive it and nothing happens. Any thoughts? Let me know if something isn’t clear or if more clarification is needed. What could it be? Any ideas?

It does indeed sound like it is stalling. That sort of problem is commonly cuased by

  • faulty idle air control actuator
  • vacuum leak making mixture too lean at low rpm
  • general engine malaise (engine needs a basic tune up, new plugs & wires, etc)

Given the brake relationship, ask your shop to verify the power brake booster is holding vacuum.

Beyond that if you want to do something on a flyer, replace the spark plugs, wires (if applicable), clean the throttle body and IAC.

Have you ever had the transmission serviced?

Thanks. I forgot to say that I went to auto zone for another opinion and they told me best best was to take it to mechanic and get a tune up since I haven’t had one in a while. It doesn’t stall all the time there are days when it’s fine. But what I’ve noticed is that it seems to do it more in the morning after I haven’t driven it in a few hours (e.g. first drive of the day). Any correlation?

This topic caught my eye because the Mrs. and I just traded in a 2003 Liberty with the same engine. My first thought was a torque converter lockup that’s getting flaky. Same thing happened to a Pontiac of mine. However, given that the brakes are apparently connected it sounds more like a vacuum leak.

Not since I’ve gotten it . Would it be a good idea to do so?

If it is recommended in the manual you should consider it.

That’s consistent with a faulty/sticking IAC, gunked-up throttle body, vacuum leak, or needing a tune up. The check engine light isn’t on, right? Have stored diagnostic codes been checked for?

No check engine light. Had a code check today/diagnostic code check on it before a test drive and after, no codes were found. Mechanic checked everything and all he found that could be correlated was that the vacuum hose had a crack in it and was pretty much coming off. Replaced it and took it for a test drive and car seemed ok but he told me to give it a week or two and see what happened.

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