1991 Chevy S10 Blazer Transmission Shutters When Shifting and Slowing Down?

Reader Question Hi, Austin,
I just read, with great interest as always, your explaination of the Cutlass stalling problem. I have had, for more than a year, a similar situation but not as severe. Vehicle does shudder, infrequently, when coming to a stop but never quite dies. The engine is not missing or running rough in any way. It is obviously trying to stay in gear.

The vehicle is a 1991 S-10 Blazer 4X4, 4.3L engine with OD. It has 165,000 miles and has been serviced very well from mile one. In spite of difficulties with transmission shops, I have had no repairs but the fluid and internal filter changed several times. At 90,000 miles, the AAMCO shop in Hudson Florida told me I am ” NUTS” for replacing perfectly good oil.

They did what I ask but over filled the transmission by nearly one gallon of new fluid. I removed the excess, myself, and still have it, displayed, on a shelf in my garage as a reminder to not trust anyone, completely, with my car.

At 150,000 miles I had it flushed, at a different shop, and a new filter installed. When removed, the transmission pan was very clean and free of any solids. I then drove it on a three week vacation through seven states without a problem. It has been very reliable to the present but that intermittent “shudder” is a worrisome thing.

Could you speculate or have an opinion on what is causing this? Could it be a precursor to a problem such as the Cutlass you wrote about? If worn that much, would it take this long to finally fail?

Great Web Site. Thank you.

Bob – Plant City Florida

Hey Bob,

Thanks for your email and your kind words. I am not really much of a transmission mechanic, but from what you are telling me I would concur that you probably have an internal solenoid problem like that mentioned in the article……the “lock up solenoid pack”

I have seen lots of these fail, but almost all of them in front wheel drive GM vehicle in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Whatever is happening……it’s probably internal and the transmission will need to come out….and with that many miles, an overhaul will probably be inevitable.

You do have a lot of miles on the transmission……in those days, GM did not really want the customer to drive that long in the same vehicle…..they wanted you to blow up the engine and the transmission at 100K mile and go buy another GM vehicle. Sooooo you are already a few miles ahead of what the “real” life expectancy was for your transmission.

I would do one of the following…..sell the vehicle and get a new car….maybe Japanese just to tick off the GM guys…..hahahah……joking, although I LOVE Japan made vehicle over US still. The Tundra is awesome.

OR….I would start saving your money for a transmission overhaul, and being a 4X4, it will cost you more than a regular 2 wheel drive transmission overhaul would.

So, if you like the vehicle and want to keep it….be prepared for an overhaul in the near future……maybe 10K mikes or maybe 1,000 miles away…..who knows.

Don’t get me wrong…..I love your vehicle, it’s a great truck, but is it going to be a good financial decision to put in $1700 or so into this truck??? What I see all the time is people don’t want to let go of their older car because they don’t want a new car payment…..right?

So they rebuild the transmission and spend $1700, then 3 months later the fuel pump dies, and they spend $400, then 3 months later the a/c goes out and they spend $ 600, then …….then then then….it’s ALWAYS something.

Selling the vehicle NOW, before the transmission is totally shot and putting that money AND the $1700 you would have spent on the transmission toward a new vehicle……with NO repairs needed for 2+ years…is probably a better financial move.

Or …sell the vehicle now, buy a new vehicle with no money down, and 0 interest financing or however low you can get, keep your $1700 in a mutual fund along with the money you get from the sale of your current truck.

BTW…….sell your vehicle to an individual NOT as a trade in at the dealership…..you will get hosed.

Austin C. Davis

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