Loss of power on WOT [Archive] - GrandAmGT.com Forum

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Upshift
07-21-2009, 10:19 AM
Im driving an oldsmobile alero, 2003 with a 3.4L. It has about 106 000 miles on it.

The other day i drove it particularly hard and when i was on my way back, on a highway onramp at about 25 mph i stomped it. Engine revved at about 4500 RPM for first gear, but there was practically no power. I saw the RPm climbing and same for the speed but really slowly, car felt like it was floating on air. I let go of the throttle and gave a bit of gas. All felt normal. Afterwards i tried stomping it at about 65 mph. same issue at similar rpm in 2nd gear. but when i go for a more casual throttle imput, i have normal power.

In my mind i was thinking either i had messed up the torque converter or the clutches. Or i had a clogged cat. but how could a cat get clogged suddenly right?

I tried the next day. my power was back and since then she's been purring like normal.

Anyone have any idea as to what may have been the issue?

SSRacer
07-21-2009, 12:56 PM
I'm thinking the tranny is starting to slip when it gets warm. Just a guess though.

AaronGTR
07-21-2009, 05:11 PM
^That could be it. A sudden full throttle input with the accompanying increase in torque and the downshift could cause the clutch plates to slip while the engine would pick up a lot of revs, making it seem to "not go anywhere". A more gradual throttle increase would make it downshift without as much torque and give the clutches a chance to grab before the power comes on. With that many miles it's a good chance the clutches are worn. It's not 100% certain that's the problem, but it's a possibility.

IanGT99
07-22-2009, 10:22 AM
^^ I think Aaron's explanation is the culprit. That happens to me sometimes in my GAGT. I have about 133k on mine with a stock original tranny. The tranny is showing noticeable signs of wear and tear (slipping, missing gears, shifting strangely at times). As I've said in many other threads, I'll be replacing the ol' girl in about a year, so I just need the thing to last me til then. As for your case, though, when was the last time you had your tranny fluid changed? If it's fairly old, the viscosity could be a little thick and cause the clutch plates to not engage quickly enough if you slam the gas pedal. They wouldn't engage until the revs came down enough for them to kick in, therefore explaining your problem. Like I said, it happens to me sometimes, too. The car just doesn't sound or feel right and it doesn't have the power you'd think it would. Try a fluid change, but there's nothing you can do other than swapping in a new tranny or getting yours rebuilt = $$$. The trannies in our cars are extremely tempermental. Sometimes they shift and pull beautifully. Other times they act like they're going to drop out from under the car.

[ChaosweaveR]
07-22-2009, 10:28 AM
Not so fast, this also could be the cat going bad. My GA behaved in a similar manner when it started to clog up. But don't hold me to that suggestion.

SSRacer
07-22-2009, 11:23 AM
If the cat was clogged though it would be constant and it wouldn't let the engine rev freely. When mine clogged the engine just about died when I got on it.

Upshift
07-22-2009, 11:38 AM
Yeah i doubt it's the cat, its running beautifully now. I was just particularly hard on it that day. and it was blistering hot out. As for tranny fluid, i think it's never been touched. It's my moms car and my parents are particularly bad at getting maintnance done on their cars. The car is still running on its original spark plugs and the fuel milage has taken a hit. Id do a lot of the maintnance myself but they are religiously addicted to the "safety" of dealerships

Upshift
07-22-2009, 11:46 AM
Thanks everyone for the input!

I hope its not the clutches going bad -_-

SSRacer
07-22-2009, 12:18 PM
106K...Get some new plugs, wires, fuel filter, air filter (if needed), front O2 (probably wouldn't hurt), tranny fluid/filter and oil change (if needed)...I bet it will run much better.

AaronGTR
07-22-2009, 12:20 PM
Yeah i doubt it's the cat, its running beautifully now. I was just particularly hard on it that day. and it was blistering hot out. As for tranny fluid, i think it's never been touched. It's my moms car and my parents are particularly bad at getting maintnance done on their cars. The car is still running on its original spark plugs and the fuel milage has taken a hit. Id do a lot of the maintnance myself but they are religiously addicted to the "safety" of dealerships


Sounds to me like the car just needs a regular tune up then. Especially if you're taking a hit in the power and fuel mileage. They aren't made to run forever without maintenance ya know. ;) Certain parts have to be replaced regularly. Sounds like you most definitely need a new fuel filter, and if they've never been changed you need new spark plugs and a new O2 sensor as well. And check the air filter. You'll be surprised how much better the car will run with all that stuff in good order.

Upshift
07-22-2009, 01:13 PM
Sounds to me like the car just needs a regular tune up then. Especially if you're taking a hit in the power and fuel mileage. They aren't made to run forever without maintenance ya know. ;) Certain parts have to be replaced regularly. Sounds like you most definitely need a new fuel filter, and if they've never been changed you need new spark plugs and a new O2 sensor as well. And check the air filter. You'll be surprised how much better the car will run with all that stuff in good order.

Oh trust me, i know how much a difference a good tuneup does! Im an enthousiast. I still lakc the experience but I love to learn and would like to learn to do most of these myself. Problem is, this being my moms car, she would rather shell out extra cash to get it done at the dealership. And everytime i bring up the topic of tuneup and maintnance, my parents cringe at the idea of spending money.

Ive noticed a few problems pop up over the cars lifetime and every time tehy were like"stop trying to get us to spend money, we dont notice anything wrong". Then i bring it to the mechanic to get it inspected and I end up being right. I spotted the head gasket leak while that was on recall. And a few months ago i noticed that the belt tensionner was loose, they still have yet to get that fixed.. sigh -_-. And for the spark plugs, I've been telling them to change those for a year. I also have to constantly remind them to change the oil after every 3000 miles(5000km) because if it were up to them, they would wait for the change oil light. Air filter wise, i'll have to check that, I know that in april it seemed fine but who knows.

But ill definately have them consider looking at the rest of the stuff you mentionned. Id shell out for all this myself but college is a pain to pay, so is fuel T_T

AaronGTR
07-22-2009, 07:13 PM
Oh trust me, i know how much a difference a good tuneup does! Im an enthousiast. I still lakc the experience but I love to learn and would like to learn to do most of these myself. Problem is, this being my moms car, she would rather shell out extra cash to get it done at the dealership. And everytime i bring up the topic of tuneup and maintnance, my parents cringe at the idea of spending money.

Ive noticed a few problems pop up over the cars lifetime and every time tehy were like"stop trying to get us to spend money, we dont notice anything wrong". Then i bring it to the mechanic to get it inspected and I end up being right. I spotted the head gasket leak while that was on recall. And a few months ago i noticed that the belt tensionner was loose, they still have yet to get that fixed.. sigh -_-. And for the spark plugs, I've been telling them to change those for a year. I also have to constantly remind them to change the oil after every 3000 miles(5000km) because if it were up to them, they would wait for the change oil light. Air filter wise, i'll have to check that, I know that in april it seemed fine but who knows.

But ill definately have them consider looking at the rest of the stuff you mentionned. Id shell out for all this myself but college is a pain to pay, so is fuel T_T



Put it to them like this... would they rather spend some money on maintenance and have the car last another 5 years? Or would they rather do nothing and have it break and need to do a major overhaul or buy a new car? Which is more expensive? All cars are machines and machines don't run forever without proper care.

Preventative maintenance is well worth the money as it can keep other problems from popping up down the road. You don't necessarily have to change the oil every 3000 miles, but only if you use good oil and a good oil filter. 5000 is the new 3000. ;) Use a good synthetic or a synthetic blend along with a quality filter and you can run the oil for 5000 miles, and the engine will still last longer. Stuff like the fuel filter though and the spark plugs and O2 sensor... that stuff just HAS to be done. I recommend every 30k for t he fuel filter. The other two at least at 100k.

Factory belt tensioners are known to crack where the spring comes out of the casing as well, so if it seems loose or bounces and rattles while the engine is running, you definitely want to get that checked out. Dayco makes a stronger tensioner you can get at advance auto parts. I just picked one up myself.

IanGT99
07-23-2009, 11:09 PM
Your parents are exactly the type of people that need to lease. They obviously don't have the time, patience, or willingness for upkeep to own a vehicle. No offense or anything, my man, but that's just flat out neglect. If they're ok with just buying a new vehicle every 3-4 years after they've destroyed their previous one, then more power to them. I take pride in knowing I have an 11 year old GAGT that still looks and runs as if it were new. Why? Because I take care of it. Pass along these words of wisdom from myself and from Aaron. It's not the 1950's anymore. Modern vehicles are very intricate pieces of machinery that need constant care and maintenance.... Not four wheels, sheet metal bodies, iron block engines, and carburators like they used to be.

Upshift
07-24-2009, 01:58 PM
Your parents are exactly the type of people that need to lease. They obviously don't have the time, patience, or willingness for upkeep to own a vehicle. No offense or anything, my man, but that's just flat out neglect. If they're ok with just buying a new vehicle every 3-4 years after they've destroyed their previous one, then more power to them. I take pride in knowing I have an 11 year old GAGT that still looks and runs as if it were new. Why? Because I take care of it. Pass along these words of wisdom from myself and from Aaron. It's not the 1950's anymore. Modern vehicles are very intricate pieces of machinery that need constant care and maintenance.... Not four wheels, sheet metal bodies, iron block engines, and carburators like they used to be.

LOL, I agree. Sad thing is my parents bought new specifically to have a car that will last them over a decade, but they fear spending money on maintnance -_-.

But yeah as aaron said, i'll tell them that maintnance is less expensive than repairs. I already told my dad that, he seems skeptical. Jokes on him when the belt tensioner goes and internal damage ensues.

IanGT99
07-27-2009, 10:07 AM
LOL, I agree. Sad thing is my parents bought new specifically to have a car that will last them over a decade, but they fear spending money on maintnance -_-.

But yeah as aaron said, i'll tell them that maintnance is less expensive than repairs. I already told my dad that, he seems skeptical. Jokes on him when the belt tensioner goes and internal damage ensues.

I just had my belt tensioner go on me about 3 months ago. I had heard a squeeking and grinding noise coming from the belt area, and I thought it was just a loose pulley. I was set to take it to my garage on the next Saturday, but the Thursday before on my way home from work, it snapped. The pulley seized, my steering locked up, and all sorts of lights came on. Luckily, I was able to get it off the road into a hotel parking lot in a few hundred feet and call a tow truck. No internal damage or anything. It's an easy and fairly inexpensive fix, but that just goes to show you that routine maintenance CANNOT wait. There was an article on msn.com a few weeks ago about keeping a vehicle for a long time. There's a guy in England who has 1.2 MILLION miles on his '68 Volvo station wagon. He said the trick was changing the oil and fluids regularly and keeping up with routine maintenance. If that's not an expert, then I don't know who is. Like I said, if your parents aren't willing to put up the money for routine maintenance, they should just lease.

lone_wolf025
07-27-2009, 11:10 AM
There's a little ol' lady with a 60 something car, original owner and over 540,000 miles. Same deal. Maintain the vehicle and it'll last.

IanGT99
07-28-2009, 10:13 AM
I just thought that the problem at WOT could be due to the old spark plugs, too. If they're that old, they're probably so corroded and caked with build-up that they can't provide anywhere near the amount of spark needed to properly burn the large amount of fuel going through the injectors at WOT. Therefore, the engine runs a little rich and the power will suck. Bottom line, put about $150 into the car total... do a tranny fluid change and replace your spark plugs and wires.

It couldn't hurt to do a SeaFoam treatment to the thing as well. It's in a white can and can be purchased at any auto parts store for about nine bucks. It's a really good cleaner that will get all of the crap out of your entire oil and fuel system from lifters to valves to injectors. A few days before your next oil change, dump half the can into the old engine oil and drive normally for 50-100 miles. When you change the oil, all the build-up and gunk comes out with the old oil. Then, when you go to get gas the next time, dump the other half of the can in the gas tank and fill with 6-8 gallons of gas (1oz. treats 1 gallon). SeaFoam is the best stuff I've ever used hands down. I believe it to be the sole reason why my engine still runs as good as the day the car was built. I also use Engine Restore that you can get at Walmart. That goes in the new oil right after it gets changed. It instantly restores compression and conditions the seals. It's a difference you can actually feel, and it's not just a gimmick product like so many are out there. Just doing these easy things will DRASTICALLY improve your car's performance.

AaronGTR
07-28-2009, 11:10 AM
^Fuel filter too. I'd say thats even more vital on a car with 100k+ miles, along with the O2 sensor.

IanGT99
07-29-2009, 10:06 AM
^^ You know, I thought of that a few minutes after I posted that, but I figured that was discussed in some of the previous posts, too. Fuel filter is definitely important. It's getting to be time for me to do mine, too.