Question: Ok, so i bought a 2000 Chevy Cavalier automatic 4-speed second hand in September and it ran excellent up until the end of December. I went to pull into a corner store one day and when i pushed the brake pedal in to come to a stop the car died in (D) lost the use of power steering and so i put it in park and shut the ignition off. I tried to start it up but it wouldn't go so I left it there overnight. The next day it was warm out and my friend jumped in and put it in (N) and gave her some gas and it fired up so i drove it around for about 2 hours and no problems until i shut it off.
I let it set for about a half hour and when i went to start it up again I couldn't start it without giving it gas but when it was going it had no problems unless I was stopped and barely had the gas pedal in then she would stall. After that spell it was good for about another month until it started dying on me when again when I would go to slow down for a hard turn or stop and a stop sign. I had to keep putting it in (N) pump the gas turn the ignition and she'd fire up, but i learned that i had to keep the gas pedal in even when braking so that the rpms wouldn't drop down to 0 and stall. Then one night it got really bad, it stalled about 12 times in one night so I forced it home and it sat there the rest of the night because it wouldn't start up and after a while the battery died. So the next day my father boosted the car with an eliminator and it ran strong for about an hour and a half not even the need to keep the gas pedal down to slow down or park until i stopped for gas and then it wanted to give me troubles again but i kept the gas pedal in and kept her rpms from hitting 0 as necessary.
We got the gas filter replaced and the fuel pump sounds to be working so since the car couldn't idle we figured we'd help her out. We put a clothes-pin on at the top of the throttle body to hold up the throttle cable so that she will start without pumping the gas pedal and it also tries not to stall out when slowing down or stopping but most times it does. I don't know much about cars but from what i can gather up my best guess was the fuel system but now leaning towards the IAC (idle air control valve or motor) or the possibility of a bad MAF sensor and also before I had the clothes-pin on I had no dash lights on while driving now my engine light as well as my no traction control light remains on. I live in a small town and not so many mechanics around so I'm hoping to get some professional advice. Thank-you. If you need more info just ask.
Answer: A good description of quite an odd problem! Reading it at first, I was leaning towards a bad torque converter clutch solenoid. When they are bad, the car will die out at stops after being driven for a while. But your stating of the continual stalling, cold start problems, etc, it could some other things. The check engine light really needs to be checked out, to see what codes are stored. That will aid greatly in understanding what all can be wrong with your car.
So, without knowing that, I'm left to just guess at the most logical solutions from what you describe. The IAC, or MAF can cause such issues, and are pretty easily replaceable if you want to try those first. Some basics should be checked as well, such as the air filter, etc. Maybe it's time for a tune up, etc. Things like that.
Even try taking a fuel sample if you can just to eliminate bad gas as the problem. You could possibly have a fuel pump that is on it's way out. Fuel pressure should be checked and make sure it doesn't drop off quickly. Your car should have around 45psi with the key on and engine running.
Get that engine light looked at, and that will lead you in the right direction.
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