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Chevrolet Cavalier



  • My 1997 Cavalier overheated. After it was towed, i was told the head gasket cracked, but subsequent damage to water pump and belt tensioner resulted. They had problems w/head gasket and covered it under warranty at dealer, but I was told water pump was my responsbility. After repairs were made, they noticed steering did not respond, and told me a gear is broken in steering column. I never had a problem w/steering and feel something may have happened during towing or while they did repairs. They are denying. Does anyone have info on if steering column may be connected in any way. Also, if dealer does not want to look further, can I talk to someone else at Chevrolet? Any help will be appreciated. Am without a car for one week now and don't know where to turn. Thanks.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    One is not related to the other, unless the serpentine belt had something to do with it as it also pulls the steering pump. It may be just coincidence. How many miles??
  • I just had a visit to the dealership for basic service, and the mechanic told me I need a lot of work done (which was quite upsetting being a poor college student). I was told that I need a new head gasket and water pump. From talking to people, I don't have the classic signs of needing a new head gasket (white smoke from the tail pipe, excess overheating). Are there other symptoms of either of these going? I haven't seen any leaks and my thermostat needle never gets over the half mark, even in bumper to bumper traffic. Just trying to make sure I don't get taken for a ride. Thanks.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    mepumpkin, see if the coolant level in the recovery tank stays constant. Check for coolant on the oil dipstick - see if the oil looks milky. Ask the mechanic to spell out exactly what makes him think you need a new gasket and water pump. I just don't trust dealerships. They tried to get my 1999 Cavalier in for a "routine checkup" and the going price was around $600+. You know...check this and that. The car had only done something like 10,000 miles at the time and there were no problems with it.
  • can anyone help in telling me how to get at changing the front parking light bulb in a 96 cavalier. It seems to be in the bumper and can't seem to get at it from behind with the hood up or from underneath. thanks!
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Remove the splash shield under the bumper below the light for access.Like 6 screws.
  • from one joe to another..thanks for tip on 96 lights.
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 408
    take it to a small mechanic and have him check the compression. If one or more cylinders are below spec and you are losing coolant (doesn't have to be burning, could be dripping in the oil or leaking externally), it's probably a bad head gasket.

    My wife blew her head gasket at 30,500 miles in a 1998 Acura (Honda) Integra, manufacturing defect, repaired under warranty. Head gaskets are a common problem with 2.2L Cavaliers, several years (92, 93, 96) have had recalls for it, although all 2.2's can experience it, like the 2.2L in my Mom's '95 Buick Century, which never got hot, just started leaking around the outside of the head and was caught before the coolant level went down much.
  • cool. thanks, i'll have to get that checked out.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Anyone know what happened to the J-BODY forum,its been off the net most of the week?
  • I have read many of the posts on the Cavalier, I bought a 99 4dr LS new, and I probably would not have if I checked these message boards first. Now I drive around waiting for something to break. On the other hand, I do have 27000 miles on it, and have had no problems so far, so maybe I am lucky.

    My question is this, when the car comes to a stop, it feels as if the wheels are not round, so I bring it in to the dealer, and after 27000 highway miles, they say I need front and rear brakes, rotors reground, that the engine needs to be chemicaaly cleaned because of sludge and all kinds of stuff I have never had done on a car before. The brakes do have a grinding noise, but they have since it was new, the Cav not being a luxury car and all. The noise has never changed or gotten worse, only the braking. Anyhow, they want 700 for the brake job and a total of 1550 for a complete service with all the cleaning and so forth that it apparently requres. I thought this car was basically no service for 100,000 miles except for oil, filter and repairs. What gives, does it need all this, what about the brakes, all highway miles, and I am not hard on the brakes. Am I about to get ripped off?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Take it to another dealer,the warped rotors are a warranty covered item.As for sludge no way, the 4cyl runs to hot to sludge,find another dealer.I have 11,000 on a 00 cav and no problems.This is also my 4th cav starting with 1985,so i know cavs.I do my own work after warranty.
  • Thanks for your response, I picked up the car from the dealer today, and took the car to a mechanic I trust to have the brake job done. He laughed when I told him about the sludge and said the dealer service guy works on Comission, and thats why for brakes, engine cleaining and stuff like that they wanted $1550 to fix a less than 2 year old car with 26550 miles on it.

    Never going to that dealer again. One thing my mechanic said that was interesting. He said the brake sytem for the cav is to light for the job, and he recommended just probably having the brakes done, leaving the rotors alone, because after six months the rotors, even if reground would warp again because they are not strong enough, and so I would be back to where I am today with the feeling like the front wheels are out of round. Could I actually have convinced another dealer that the rotors were warped, because you and my mechanic seem to say the same thing pretty much. My dealer in NYC charged me $100 just to tell me my brakes were shot and rotors were damaged, which I had to pay just to pick up the car. Was their a recall or anything on the rotors, or should I just have my mechanic fix the brakes and put all this behind me. By the way, the brakes made a grinding sound since new, I figured that is the way the brakes sound, I never heard any squeling or anything. The dealer, who is a lier at this point said I probably ground through the sensors, which is definitely wrong, no way I would knowingly ignore that and let it go. Thanks for your help.
  • Welp I am/was a avid bowtie person, up until I bought a 2001 Z-24, 5 gear. I've had a lot of Chevy's over my years, most of them muscle cars, but kids and wives have a way of making those go away for awhile.. Bah.. Anyway traded 95 Z-28, 6 Speed for 97 Z-24, 5 speed, good work car, but no Z-28 (license even reads WNBAZ 28).. hehe I put a lot of miles on a car now, and the 2001 Z's looked nice and had a decent incentive $2500.. So I picked up a loaded 2001, 5 gear.. After the first few hundred miles I noticed a LOT of virbration coming through the clutch. I do a lot of rush hour traffic driving (about 100 miles round trip a day).. Well by the time I got to work my left foot was totaly numb.. So being a old gear head, and having built quite a few muscle cars, I assumed it was the throw-out bearing or the clutch/pressure plate. Took it to my local dealer, and they replaced the throw-out bearing and pressure plate / disk. Same problem.. (This is with 400 miles on the car).. Took it back, this time they replaced the flywheel, and all the previous stuff (again).. Same problem. I drove a different new 2001, it drove fine.. Took it back to the dealer (with 900 miles this time).. The Area Zone Manager Ok'd a whole new tranny.. New tranny in.. .Same problem.. Now I was getting mad.. and worried that I'd get in a wreck in rush hour traffic since I could not feel my left foot.. The TAC center for Chevy never heard of this problem.. Finally the dealer got a call from a engineer at the factory, stated this was a "know issue with the new Getrag 5 speed" and that there was no fix for it at this time. GM decided to buy the car back for what I paid and refund all my money plus the tax that I paid. Have not picked out a new ride yet, but for sure it won't be a Z-24.. Watch out folks.. they are telling me 1-4 cars has this.. Hopefully this will give me a excuse for a "mid life crisis" and the wife will let me buy a Z-28 SS 6 gear... =()...
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Boy i didn't know there were dealers like that.The warranty covers everything but damage or normal wear items,rotors are not normal wear item.I brought a program car that sat a while and rusted the rotors badly,the rotors & pads were replaced under warranty.I have never paid for a warranty dealer inspection,i have read other posts that were charged for the inspection.I wonder if it depends who the dealer is,now i'm curious about GM'S policy.Your mech is right they are under braked,i just change pads.I put 104,000 on a set rotors never even turned them.
  • I was referred to this site from Chevrolet Customer Service, they answered some of my questions, but they thought the users and staff of this site might be able to fill in the gaps...

    Here's the deal - Around Christmas-time while visiting family 700 miles from home, we got pulled over in heavy traffic. The Police officer maintains we were going 89 mph, while our speedometer clearly stated 74 (speed limit 70 mph) as it had since we left home. We're fighting the ticket I/I even at 74 mph we were going with the flow of traffic, and we certainly weren't going 89 mph!

    Here are my questions - I hope the answers will assist in our defense.

    1. According to Chevrolet, 145, 229 cavaliers were sold in 1996. Does anyone know approx. how many there are on the road?

    2. When was the last significant body model change? (My 1996 and my sister's 1997 both look relatively similar to the new 2001 models) was it 1995?

    3. How many colors of green, blue or teal have been offered over the years (or since 1995)?

    4. Any other pertinent information that you believe would be helpful in this matter.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    There are alot of 1996 Cavaliers still on the road to this day. They are popular with younger people and those on a budget who are looking for a reasonably reliable small car.

    The last redesign/body style change was with the 1995 models.

    So how is this information going to help you with the speeding ticket? Just curious...
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    I think he's trying to prove that the cop radared another Cavalier just like his own...good luck on that one.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    brakeman1, I have a little theory I'm working on. Have you ever taken your Cavalier, ( I have the same model as you) to a carwash where you can wax the car with the high pressure wand? I've noticed that if I spray the wheels with the wand set to "wax" I get a pulsating braking action afterwards which is different to the ABS kicking in. My theory is that the wax gets on the rotors and causes certain areas on the rotor to be more sticky than other areas. I've since stopped spraying the wheels with wax.

    I wouldn't worry about those noises. My Cav brakes are also noisey when I first take off in the morning. I think the brake pads are hygroscopic and absorb moisture during the night. I've had all my wheels off and see no damage to any of the braking surfaces. If I were you I'd run away from any dealer services.

    So far I've had great service out of my car and am happy with it.
  • Actually, I am not great about caring for the outside of the car, and have cleaned it only twice since it was new, so no, I have never used the spray wax as you mentioned, so I guess that was not it.

    Having said that I got the car back from the mechanic, he replaced all four rotors because he got some deal as well as the pads, even though we originally agreed, just change the pads and leave it alone. The cost was $ 260, and I must say, the car brakes better than when I bought it new, not that it brakes any stronger or anything, just that it is quiet, like most cars, no grinding anymore. So I hope that is the end of it.

    I should say that outside of this problem, which really seems more dealer related, the car is driven hard and performs well with no other problems. Hopefully everything will continue...
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