Engine idles smoothly in park, when put in gear, a clunk is felt and excessive vibration occurs. Sometimes when slowing for a stop, the vibration worsens and the engine stalls. Putting the car in neutral it will start right up and idle, but when putting the car in gear, it will immediately stall again. Letting the car cool down for a while, it will be fine, until full warm-up then situation recurs. This is a 1994 chevy cavalier
The problem is the torque converter solenoid. I had it happen on my 94 Cavalier a few years back and was a cheap fix at the local car mechanic. What happens is the transmission warms up and hits a certain speed where the solenoid engages, but then it sticks and won't disengage until it cools down sufficiently. When it sticks, it causes the car to shake when slowing down and will snub out the engine if you come to a stop.
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if the car is running does it have the check engine light on? if yes what is the code if no then check to see if temp sensor is reading the right temp by plugging in a scanner that can read all data to give you an accurate reading... if it reads wrong temp it can cause running issues
First check your transmission fluid level before doing any test. Make certain this is not a speed vibration from the wheels by shifting the lever into 2 instead of D and reaching the speed you are having vibration at (as long as it is safe and you are not over reving the engine). While at that speed shift into D and let the transmission go into it's normal gear ranges and take note if the vibration occurs. I've seen (felt) this type of vibration many times on vehicles where the fluid is low. Adding fluid to the proper level solved this issue on some but on others there was existing transmission wear that this would not help. This doesn't mean the entire transmission is bad as the valve body inside the transmission fluid pan can sometimes cause this. Swapping out the valve body can be pricey but not as pricey as a new transmission and sometimes cheaper then having a used transmission installed.
If your engine is not misfiring but it vibrates too much while idling your motor mounts might be getting worn out. I had a Nissan with bad motor mounts. I was ok in park but when you put it in gear it vibrated a lot. It smoothed right out as soon as you started moving.
Did you recently replace the axles on the vehicle? This problem commonly occurs in Subarus when you replace the axles with non-OEM parts. The only fix seems to be to swap out the axles for OEM parts. Search the forums at subaruoutback.org for many stories of the same condition and some theories on why non-OEM axles cause the problem.
This sounds like one or more of your motor/powerplant mounts is broken. Here is an easy test:
Have someone sit in the driver's sear with engine running and trans. in Park.
You stand in front with the hood open. Have them shift from Park to Reverse, and then Drive and back to Reverse and Park, taking time to stay in each gear and give some throttle while holding the brake pedal tight. This will rock or move the engine a certain amount as they shift through the gears and apply power lightly. It will move alot more violently with broken mounts.
If you have a clunking noise on Reverse shifts, you should be able reproduce this with the hood up and pinpoint the noise and/or sight the faulty motor mount with a friend's help. Good luck, I hope this puts you on the right track to fixing this annoying noise.