High RPM / Low speed gain / Engine-Shifting issues?

Asked by Feb 18, 2014 at 04:54 PM about the 2001 Pontiac Grand Am SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Pontiac Grand Am SE - v6 Engine - Automatic Transmission

I am experiencing SERIOUS issues with my acceleration. When I try to accelerate from an idle position, my engine refuses to pick up speed. If I press down on the accelerator, the engine will rev and my RPM will kick up to 3,000-3,500. To pick up speed, I must press on the accelerator as LIGHTLY as possible. This is a very slow and tedious process (especially for the drivers behind my vehicle). If I press too hard, the engine will again just rev and kick up the RPM. The vehicle tops out at around 55-60 MPH. If I try to press any harder on the accelerator at this point, the RPM once again kicks up 3,000-3,500. In addition, when I do this, the vehicle will lose speed and drop to around 50 MPH. To obtain a constant speed of around 55 MPH, the vehicle is running a constant 2,500 RPM.

Not sure what the issue is. I am definitely not a "car guy." I took it to a transmission shop where they hooked the vehicle up to a computer. They informed me that the transmission was fine. They stated that the problem may lie with the fuel injector...yah-ta,yah-ta,yah-ta... Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thank you!

32 Answers


Sounds like the transmission is slipping. I'd suggest going to a different transmission shop or your local GM dealer for a second opinion. HTH. -Jim

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

Your transmission is probably okay. Sounds like the ECU has put you into "limp" mode. Did you get a check engine light at any time in the recent past? In "limp" mode the car will refuse to accelerate, will top out at about 50 mph and will not go past 3rd gear, leaving you at a high RPM. This is to protect the engine against mechanical damage. Check the OBD for trouble codes. If you don't have a reader, get the car to Pep Boys or AutoZone. Believe it or not, a bad injector CAN put the car in limp mode if emissions go off the chart.

22 out of 22 people think this is helpful.

my 04 grand am did this as well no matter how much i pressed on the gas and rpms would shoot up it would tug along my problem was the catalytic converter...

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

I am have the same problem 2001 grand am what was the problem

16 out of 16 people think this is helpful.

I am having the same exact problem please help I have been trying to fix this for awile now. What would be the best first step be?

16 out of 16 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2001 Pontiac grand am GT v6

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

I have the same problem with my Pontiac Grand Gt v6 but also noticed that the temp gage is going up as well when the rpms kick up

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

Pretty sure its the file pump, I'm in the process of changing it now. The reason it dose that when pushing gas pedal down is that it isn't sending enough gas to motor. Check the gas pressure. I think it should be in the 60s I will keep you posted as I get it done.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Vacuum leak. Check all hoses for cracks or holes. It will make the brakes screw up as well.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Every time I power shift my em2 my RPM goes to about 6-7k and stays there for a while untill I shift again the rpms bearly start going down really slowly..Why does it do this? Is my clutch slipping?

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

When I'm in higher gears it is fine but going from 0-45 it doesn't change gears till the rpm reaches at least 3000? Any anwers?

19 out of 19 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2001 grand am se. An it is doing the same thing as urs but not going over 40 mph. I had it on a computer an it says multiple misfire. I changed the plugs an it's still running the same except it starts up better now. That's it. It's burning a lot of gas I just have no idea what it could b. It's not my catalytic converter becuz there's pressure coming out of the tail pipe. I put injector cleaner in a rand full of premium gas an still no change. So I am at a stand still on what it may be :-( can anyone help ?

21 out of 21 people think this is helpful.

Had the same problem with a couple cars and everyone kept saying it was a cat! But it the MAF (mass air flow sensor) is dirty and buying a new one is the best way to go because I have had no luck cleaning them and having them work properly. Your all welcome!

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

I am having the same problem with me 2002 Pontiac grand am gt. Anyone know what could be causing it?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

If code doesn't read don't dispair pull ur censors first many time they can malfunction without sending code airflow ,evap and the like if that doesn't seem to be the problem check pressure changing fuel pump if original is probably suggested at this point any way finally if that isn't working take it to a real transmission specialist not a parts changer have fun love my 04 Grand Am GT


I have a cavalier when I'm driving the rpm goes up and it doesnt pull Like it's supposed to and it's a 5speed

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

My 2000 chevy camaro is doing the exact same thing. It has problems with shifting from 1-2 2-3 3-4. I and lucky if i can get it to 65 but doesnt go any faster i also got to maintain that speed for car not to start back at first 3 gears. Ive changed the plugs wires air filter tranny filter pcv valve oil change tranny flush. Its been giving.me problems.for.about a week already. Today check.engine light came.on. Im so upset

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

What was the answer to your problem Joshua? I am having the same issue...

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Check your Cadillac converter its probably clogged. Thats what my problem was.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

How did you check to see if it was clogged?

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

I had the same exact problem in issues in my 2002 Chevy Malibu as of recently. I finally cornered it to a clogged catalytic converter noticing that I had a split in the flex tubing from my exhaust pipe to my EGR valve it was a dead ringer but I have the same exact symptoms as you hope this helps.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

2001 Mitsubishi eclipse 5 speed Same exact problem I need to shift to 4th gear and then back down to 2nd to get it even running like it should be. Anyone know what it can be.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Only time i have this is between 30-40mph where i get a sluggish acceleration. It goes up but it's really slow. I seem to have this problem when the RPMs are around 2,200-3,000. I never had a problem at 5,000RPMs or higher.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Hey can anyone tell me what wrong with my car it drivin itself when I put it in drive it takes off and goes 40 mph byl itself without me giving it any gas at all

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

My 04 is accelerating fine but when u r on cruise and hit a hill it loses speed and pedal goes to floor. If I let off and nail it it takes off like a rocket, no stumble or anything. Just noticed if I take off real slow from dead stop and slowly push the accelerator to the floor it goes no where also, let off punch it and away it goes. Must be my TPS not sending the correct signal when baying it

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

i have 2000 Chevy Silverado runs fine slips at 25 to 35 mph i have to rev it up to about 3200 rpm and let it drop to get it to shift, it wont shift past that and the rpms go up from there 50 mph stays at 3000 rpms 60 mph goes to 4000 rpms please help

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I would like to no what is the cause of my rpm going up and does not want to go down

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Hey everyone. The first thing i would check is your Cadillac converter there's a good chance the insides have fallen apart and clogged your air flow. This was the problem with my Pontiac Grand Am Gt it was not the fule pump. Sorry for not updating this sooner. Good luck everyone


I had the same problem with my 2003 grand am v6 3.4 liter. The rpms would just go really high and not move very fast. After a while it stops completely. Luckily, I made it into my driveway. You can start it up and push the gas pedal as much as you want but it wont move. The rpms will go up though.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Would it be the transmission or catylitic converter or something else entirely? Please help, it has been sitting in my driveway for months until I figure this out. All help is appreciated, thanks.


I had approximately the same problem and finally solved Slow acceleration ( when you press on the gas pedal the rpm rise but acceleration is very slow ) The problem was a small crack in the pipe which connected from air filter to machine and this makes air leak. change the pipe and now big difference in acceleration. So, before changing any part first check all air pipes. I got this solution after changed many pieces such as air filter and oil filter .... but It did not make any difference.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

papasmurf74: did u get an answer? I am also having the same issue as yours.

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