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A good friend of mine has the aforementioned car, she doesn't know too much about diagnosing/fixing vehicles & can't afford a professional, so I do a good portion of her maintenance/repairs.

It all started a few months ago when she let her mom borrow her car. When she got it back it was stuttering and seemed to be slipping gears. Did a few ATF flushes, after each flush it would run oh so smooooth! But the next day the symptoms came back. Damnit!

We live in the mountains, up and down hills all the time, tranny is a likely suspect right? I'm getting the impression it's electrical/engine related becaaauuuuse:
Recently it broke down on the freeway. After having it towed to another friend's house, they changed the coil. It starts and runs again, but still ran rough.
Next theory was that the computer had gotten so used to running like crap it had trained itself to run like that all the time. So the battery was disconnected for 24 hrs to reset the brain.

The current problem: It only runs rough and stutters in lower elevations (home is around 4500ft but nearest city is around 300ft). It usually happens around 40MPH, uphill, downhill, flat ground, all of the above.

Could it be a bad connection with the computer? The distributor cap? Fuel filter? Fuel pump? A vacuum line? A sensor? Is it the tranny after all?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
 

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Is the check engine light on? If so, have the engine scanned for codes. Then start from there. From what you mentioned it could be the MAP sensor as you said it only does it when you are in low elevation.
 
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