Shaking and terrible acceleration!! [Archive] - Forum


View Full Version : Shaking and terrible acceleration!!

05-16-2009, 09:09 PM
So, my transmission is messed up, I already know that; my reverse is out and my acceleration is weak. But lately, (the last weekish) my car has had even slower acceleration, like EXTREMELY SLOW, and my car shakes really bad until it's warmed up good, and even driving it still shakes a little and especially during the acceleration from a stop. Today my car was seriously acting up so I pulled over and popped the hood; it was extremely hot under there and I went to check the coolant. When I got the cap half off, all the coolant in the tank blasted out of the drain hose and I was right next to Napa, so I ran in and got a gallon of pre-mixed coolant and refilled it. I let the car sit for 20 minutes to cool down and after that it wasn't that bad. But my car has been getting really hot lately and the acceleration is getting just slower and slower... What's up? Also my SES light came on days ago, and occassionally flashes. I don't see any leaking from gaskets anywhere from quick looks I've done, but I don't know... I'm not a mechanic.

05-17-2009, 05:47 AM
Sounds like a blockage in the exhaust system.
Maybe your Cat.

Mike Jung
05-17-2009, 07:32 AM
Bring it to a mechanic ASAP.

Flashing SES light means you are having major mis-fires !!!
(& should not be driving it.)

PS: You are not suppose to open the radiator reservoir engine coolant tank cap when it is hot/under pressure.

05-17-2009, 09:18 AM
Bring it to a mechanic ASAP.

Flashing SES light means you are having major mis-fires !!!
(& should not be driving it.)

PS: You are not suppose to open the radiator reservoir engine cooling tank cap when it is hot/under pressure.


Malibu Glow
05-17-2009, 09:42 AM
get it to a SHOP, ASAP! Sounds like you're gonna have a few issues in the first place, clogged catalytic converter but something has CAUSED this to go bad which needs to be found and fixed!

04GrandAM SC/T
05-17-2009, 10:18 AM
DO NOT drive it! and besides you are not suppose to open radiator reservoir tank when its hot like Mike said.

05-17-2009, 03:01 PM
DONT DIRVE!!!! have it toed to
a mechanics shop asap

05-17-2009, 05:33 PM
sounds like a multitude of things.

exhaust problem, internal LIM leak, fouled plugs prbly, DEX COOL contamination with cheap coolant im assuming, etc etc

05-17-2009, 07:59 PM
okay thanks guys. I won't drive it anymore and until I drive it to a shop.

05-17-2009, 09:54 PM
People keep suggesting clogged catalytic converter. If you'd like to verify this yourself, just unbolt the downpipe and set it aside and start your engine. See if the idle is any different. You said it shakes and you have misfires, so maybe your head gasket is blown. It really could be anything. You may have even more than one problem. A head gasket definitely can cause all of the problems by itself. However, try taking out the oil dipstick and placing it on the hot exhaust manifold after the engine gets up to temperature. Just let a few drops of oil onto there and see if it bubbles at all. if it does, there is water in your oil which is no good. DEFINITELY do not drive it after that point until you're bringing it in.

I'm not sure how willing you are to perform your own tests before you bring it into shops. I always check all of my stuff first until I am baffled. If you are willing, I could give you any pointers you'd like. I'll check back tomorrow... good luck!

05-17-2009, 11:49 PM
ok can you tell me how to unbolt my downpipe i have no clue what that is or where it is or what i need to do it. also how can i check if its my head gasket or another gasket?

05-18-2009, 05:21 PM
okay so i was reading a lot these last couple hours.. to test if it's my cat i unbolt my downpipe correct? then if that solves it i can tear out the inside of it so its straight-through until i buy a new one? And if i get a new cat i want it to be an aftermarket/performance one, so will i be able to do this without replacing anything else, and still being able to upgrade the rest of my exhaust later??

gagt Mechanic
05-18-2009, 07:54 PM
yes you can, but your check eng light will still stay on. this will probly not solve most of your problems. a clogged cat will generally cause problems over 2500 rpm, depending on how bad it is. I would be more inclined to go with bad head over cat based on your description. you could also have a bad tcc silinoid, keeping your torque converter locked up.

Malibu Glow
05-18-2009, 07:58 PM
But something has CAUSED the CLOGGED cat, if this is the case, and if you DON'T get to the bottom of the caused cat failure you are not doing yourself any good and eventual replacement cat will suffer the same fate. You need to have someone check out the car and find out what all is wrong.

05-18-2009, 08:31 PM
but as a temporary fix so i can drive it a few more days until i get it looked at, will it work?

Malibu Glow
05-18-2009, 08:32 PM
As most have mentioned, DON'T DRIVE IT, get it towed to a shop and have it looked at. If you drive it you might damage it even more.

05-18-2009, 09:33 PM
ganna have to go with a head gasket...thats what made mine miss fire....this is just what is known from personal experience....if it is that your exhaust should have a very perculer smell to it....i beleave that smell is caused by burnt coolant.....somone correct me if i am wrong.

04GrandAM SC/T
05-18-2009, 09:39 PM
Sounds like a headgasket to me aswell. Could be wrong.
I'm tellin you, dont drive it until you get it to a mechanic, you will cause more problems then what you got and im sure many would agree with that.

05-18-2009, 10:52 PM
ok. so for a head gasket how hard is it if that ends up being the problem? is it something i could do myself with basic tools and basic engine knowledge?

05-19-2009, 06:11 PM
so i started my car and I let it get warm so i could try and diagnose it a little. anyways, it smells like burning coolant or something similar and there is a little smoke coming out of the spill hose thing coming out of the coolant reservoir. also when i took the oil dipstick out, even after like 5 tries, the oil goes like 6 inches up the stick or more. i was rubbing the oil off it a little too to feel it and see if i could see any metal in it; the oil looks pretty clean to me, but it seems a little runny. i dont know if thats because im being paranoid or there is a little bit of coolant in there or what...

05-19-2009, 07:37 PM
Gasket issues. If your Oil is high and hasnt been before, coolant is getting into your oil.

Money goes on the head gasket, coolant is getting into the cylinders and causing the engine to run real rough.

05-19-2009, 08:21 PM
Okay so it was driven when it was running bad for a couple days... I haven't screwed anything up have I? And how do I fix this??

05-19-2009, 08:34 PM
your oil will be milky if it has coolant in it. do the manifold test by dripping the oil on the exhaust manifold when its hot, if it bubbles you got water or coolant in their and if it just runs off your good.
plus when you check the oil you need to wipe it off then put it back in their, then take it out agian and look at it. not just take it out because when you run the motor it will splash it around so oil will be higher on the dipstick.

for the accelerating part is most likely 100% that your tranny is totally toast. even if it drives forward doesn't mean your torque convertor is working right, who knows it could be locked in making the car shake and have horrible acceleration.

now if the motor runs bad in park or neutral. i would try unbolting the cat and see if it runs better. if it does then that could be part of the problem. but to me it looks like you have multiple problems not just one. i would try to get the motor to run good during idleling to try to get one problem out of the way, then you will need a new tranny for any of us to tell you why the car doesn't accelerate.

05-19-2009, 10:46 PM
okay ill go warm it up in neutral to see. but it does that in park, so isnt that basically the same thing? and i need help on how to unbolt the cat. also when i checked the oil, ya i wiped it before i read it, and i did it like 5 times just in case maybe oil was splashing but no, i think the oil was actually that high.. are you sure its safe to start the engine though and warm it up to check the manifold thing??

05-19-2009, 11:40 PM
Personally I WOULD NOT run it if you suspect that there may be coolant in your oil. Since you say your oil level is extrememly high, I'd do an oil change now. This will accomplish 2 things. 1, you can view your oil out in the open to see if it has coolant in it, and 2, you will be able to refill your oil to the proper level.

Has your coolant level dropped? Did you or someone else change your oil recently?

05-19-2009, 11:52 PM
umm no my oil is probably past due date for being changed, thanks for reminding me ill get right on that.

05-20-2009, 08:03 PM
oh yeah i'm sorry shouldn't of told you to do the manifold test on your own manifold since you don't really know if your motor is still good, i don't know what i was thinking, but you still can drip your oil on somebodies elses manifold if you can or some other hot metal object.i dont get why your oil would be so high. but if it was me i would try not to run it. but your oil will be or should be milky if it has coolant in their. and are you checking the oil when the motor is running, because i check mine when its off. if your checking the oil with the motor on that would be why its giving you a high reading.

05-21-2009, 02:50 AM
I checked it when the engine was cold. I'm gonna change my oil within the next day or two and I'll get all the fluids to the right levels after I drain everything, and I'll run it and see if that helps at all. I still have the clogged cat though so it's still gonna run crappy though right? But if the coolant gets out will it stop shaking so bad?

05-21-2009, 07:04 AM
There is no gaurantee your cat is clogged. It's just a possibility that people have suggested that you may or may not want to check out before taking it into a shop.

Once you drain your oil and inspect it, if there is any light caramel/milky look to it(antifreeze mixed with oil) then the ONLY reason you will want to start your car is to drive it to the shop to be fixed. It's a fairly involved repair that if not done soon and correctly could completely ruin your engine.

NOTE: the antifreeze in your oil is also just a possibility...same as the clogged cat.

You need to drain your oil and tell us these things:
-what is the quality/color of the drained oil
-is your antifreeze level low

If you don't feel you have enough knowledge about engines to diagnose this, I suggest you take your car to a shop. The longer you wait, the more costly the repair(s) can be.

05-21-2009, 02:27 PM
well i'm not driving my car anymore till I do I fix it. So, I'll be changing my oil today most likely, just need to wait for my mom to get home with the supplies I need. when i had mentioned that all the coolant blew out of the spill hose thing, (what's the name for that hose??) I was 2 mins from the store so I just went and spent 12 bucks and put another whole gallon of mixed coolant in there, so it shouldn't be low. so, when i change my oil should i flush all my coolant and replace that too? and if i have coolant in my oil, does that mean for sure that I have a head gasket leak?

05-21-2009, 08:34 PM
if you have coolant in your oil it should be you lower intake manifold gasket which is a common problem on these cars. i don't think you should have to flush the coolant, i would only if their is oil in their.

05-22-2009, 01:40 AM
okay so soon im gonna attempt to to change all the gaskets in the engine following that how-to once i order the gasket set.

05-22-2009, 05:46 AM
Might you tell us why you plan on replacing all of the gaskets? Did you find out some new info or are you just doing it for fun?

05-22-2009, 01:05 PM
you don't have to replace the gaskets. did you even find out if you got coolant in the oil. are you leaking oil/coolant. I say find out what your real problem is then go from their. who knows you motor could have bad heads or something like that which then it would be pointless to put new gaskets in. since it seems like you have no idea what the problem is their is no point of replaceing parts which still might be good. you should probaly research somemore or go bring it in.

05-22-2009, 01:59 PM
you guys make it seem like it's definitely a head or lim gasket. im just going off what you're saying... well when i change the oil which will HOPEFULLY be today, ill know if there's coolant in it..

05-22-2009, 04:09 PM
Thats why we've been suggesting to change your oil and check your coolant level before you do anything else. Properly diagnosing the problem before you begin fixing things is always the best route to take.

05-22-2009, 06:57 PM
You should really do the oil test and let it drip on your exhaust manifold to see if it bubbles or not thats a for sure way to know.

Look into these gaskets from wot-tech im going to replace mine with these when i get enough change. By the looks of it they include the lower and upper intake gaskets i could be wrong thought. Someone correct me if im wrong :)

05-23-2009, 12:27 AM
this is the one i was looking at:

05-23-2009, 03:23 PM
okay so i changed the oil and put in probably too much coolant, haha. the oil was pretty nasty, it didn't have any white or anything in it though it was pretty dark with a litttttle bit of brown swirls in some parts. basically just nasty oil. I started my car and it doesn't have the terrible shake anymore, just every 10 seconds (maybe??) it jitters or coughs kind of like it's a sick kid. And also there's a little coolant leaking, not constantly, but that's because I put too much in I think... So I went to test drive it, the engine doesn't sound quite as deep as normal, and shakes a little accelerating but not nearly as bad as before... It's still pretty boggy though, and the SES light's still on and occasionally flashes. I'm gonna take off the cat/downpipe, whatever im supposed to do to test that, but can someone tell me what to take off, how to do it, and give me some insight on what the point is?

05-24-2009, 11:53 AM

05-24-2009, 01:11 PM
From the bottom just above the trans you just remove 3 nuts holding on the exhaust downpipe to the exhaust manifold. Just take off those and then pull the downpipe away from the manifold then start your car. What this does is checks to see if for some reason your catalytic converter is clogged. If it is then your exhaust isnt getting out and away from the engine causing problems. It would explain the crappy acceleration.

05-24-2009, 01:13 PM
should i unbolt the other side of the cat too and just take the whole thing off? or just unbolt the top part of the downpipe and let it run? Is it bad if I run the car with the downpipe/cat off??

05-24-2009, 06:40 PM
Just unbolt the top part and pull the downpipe away and start it up. It will be fine if you are just starting it up long enough to see if it makes a difference in the way the car runs

05-24-2009, 06:47 PM
Just remember to warn your neighbors...
This is going to be loud.
If you find that it runs really well now, then it is a blockage in your exhaust somewhere, probably your cat.
The question then becomes, why did it get blocked?

05-25-2009, 01:42 AM
How can I tell if it runs good without driving it around though?? And how do I take it off, I can't reach it??

05-26-2009, 12:32 AM
Use a couple of extensions and a deep socket. Thats how I got mine off. And even with it hanging down it wont go that far so you could drive around the block if needed.

05-28-2009, 06:10 PM
okay i havent taken off the downpipe yet, but ive driven my car for about 3 days since the oil and coolant change, and my SES light is no longer on and my car doesn't bog down quite as much. the engine still seems like it's not running totally right, cuz it seems a little louder than usual..

06-04-2009, 10:43 PM
okay back to being problematic. same thing as before, but even worse. I keep putting in more coolant but it leaks out somewhere every couple days. Also now when I'm driving it will randomly act like it's 100 years old and won't accelerate any faster and just stays a steady speed. It does this for a few minutes at a time and is becoming more and more frequent to the point that in a 15 minute drive somewhere it will do it twice on the way there for a couple minutes a piece.

06-04-2009, 11:46 PM
dude check your cat.

06-05-2009, 12:10 AM

I have an 01 GAGT. I'm not pretending to know anything about engines and such things, but last year i had to go get my intake manifold gasket replaced. My brother says its a common problems on the grand ams.(he is a mechanic) I don't know if this is relevant, but thought I'd just throw that in there. it cost me $1000 Canadian for parts and labour.

06-05-2009, 01:02 AM
I'm taking my cat off as soon as my friend's dad gets back in town he has a lot of tools for me to use. And when I was at his house i read my codes and I got a P0301 - Cylinder 1 Misfire. Forgot to mention that.

06-05-2009, 06:21 AM
If you are leaking coolant, that is not good. Where is the coolant going... Are there ever puddles under your car of coolant? How much have you had to add?

I'm afraid that if you keep trying to diagnose these problems over the net rather than getting them fixed they will lead to more serious problems....

06-06-2009, 01:51 PM
Dude, I'm no mechanic but at this point with everything that you've done and with everything that everyone here has chimed in I think it would be best if you took it to a shop. seriously, things could start to get confusing at this point and that could lead to serious damage and more serious bucks to fix. It seems to me this is more serious than changing your fluids and fixing your cat. 1 other thing, gaskets in general have a tendency to go early on this engine so get higher quality (metal?) replacements installed and since this is probably going to be a big job you might as well get as many of them as possible done now to eliminate possible future issues.

Malibu Glow
06-07-2009, 09:26 AM
I'm taking my cat off as soon as my friend's dad gets back in town he has a lot of tools for me to use. And when I was at his house i read my codes and I got a P0301 - Cylinder 1 Misfire. Forgot to mention that.

A cylinder misfire, wonder why. Well right off the bat this tells me that either a plug wire or the coil pack is bad. More than likely the coil pack is the problem, which will have caused the engine to run poorly and eventually ruin a cat. since you've also stated you have a coolant leak as well, my suggestion for you would be to take this to a shop instead of messing with it yourself, You are not doing your Grand Am any good running it the way you have.

06-07-2009, 11:17 AM
If a coil went bad, then usually the other cylinder sharing that coil would also be misfiring.

06-07-2009, 02:56 PM
could it be an injector?