1986 Chevy El Camino – engine “lugs” at low acceleration

Dear Doctor: I have a 1986 Chevy El Camino with a 305 engine with the TH 200-4R transmission. The engine “lugs” at low acceleration when it shifts. It seems the torque converter is locking up when it shifts out of 1st gear. If I step on the brake pedal lightly it unlocks and the car shifts normally and the engine rpm goes up. I would like the lockup to work correctly to get better gas mileage. William

Dear William: GM did have many problems with the lockup torque converter in the 1980s. There are some aftermarket companies that offer a later converter lockup valve assembly. Check with the local speed shop for a list of aftermarket performance transmission parts that will solve your problem. You can disconnect the lockup wire on the transmission and not do anything or upgrade the transmission with the aftermarket parts.

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