Transmission troubleshooting

What is wrong, when my buick 3.3 is driven about ten miles and then turns a city corner at low speed it bucks lie crazy and kills. Will not restart for a half hour. When bucking it feels like my automatic is a manul in third gear but I’m going ten mph??

What year is your vehicle? It sounds like a common problem associated with carburated engines. A weak float would sink and cause a flooding condition. The engine would sputter and miss until it died. It took time for the gas to evaporate and allow the engine to start again.

Forget the transmission. You are most likely have a very basic problem with the engine - such as lack of spark, fuel, or air.

Start with the year (as missileman noted) so that we can rule out a carb, and tack on number of miles.

Then you need to start by dealing with the basics - how are the plugs and wires? Fuel and air filters? Have all basic maintenance items been kept up to date?

Is the check engine light on?

This is why I am thinking trannie probs. It’s a '92 buick centuy. When I said, “will not restart” I meant will not drive. After it kills it starts rights back up and idles fine, but as soon as i drop it in drive (or any gear) it immediately kills without moving the car. When this first happens it feels like the car is not downshifting as speed drops. When I say “bucking” that is just what it is doing. After I leave it alone for half an hour I drove it home with no problems

Sounds like the converter clutch solenoid sticking. I would let a transmission shop confirm this though. Being a 3.3l I assume you have the 4 speed transmission (440T4) rather than the 3 speed (125C). Let a trans shop hook up a scanner and monitor the TCC solenoid to confirm this. Post back with what they say.


Really don’t want to put much money into the car. I forgot to mention that before this happened the car had a high pitched whistling sound. Why won’t it move until it sits for awhile after this happens. Is there a sensor that kills the engine when engaging the trany?. Is something overheating?

I’d say find out if the TCC is sticking as transman suggested. If you have an O/D Off button, turn the O/D off and drive around that way for a while. That should just keep the TCC off and if that is the problem your problem should go away. If you have no O/D Off button just try driving around in “3” instead of “D.” That should also leave the TCC out of the picture.

Do any of the dash warning lights come on at this point? A check engine light? Or even transmission-type light?

The converter clutch is still going to lockup in 3rd gear. When this problem occurs, you say that the engine will start up normally but when you put the gear selector back down in “D”, it cuts off immediately?? A lockup solenoid is not a very expensive part. You can spend $200 now and fix it or pay a tow truck later after you get stranded. The problem is just going to get worse and can do permanent damage to the torque converter if left the way it is.


Transman…Finally going to have time this week to take a look at it. Yes, after lugging and dying the engine will start right back up but will kill immediately upon putting it in gear. After sitting alongside the road for an hour it started up fine and took right off for home. This is the part that has me puzzled. Why would a cooldown enable it to do this?

I’m also wondering if I could unplug the wiring to the solenoid and run it like that to see if the problem is gone???