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Chevrolet Cavalier Starting/Stalling Problems



  • Have a 97 Z24. Came out to the car after work, wouldn't start. Good battery, had headlights, windows, no radio, no signal lights. My brother is a mechanic. He met me at work and traced the wires. There is a gray wiring harness / connector on the driver side under the air intake tube.It must have 16-24 wires going in and out of it. He shook it and it started. Then while running he shook it, car would not die. I took it home, took the battery out, air box out, took the harness/connector apart. No corrosion, filled it with diletric grease and put back together. I drove it for about 4 months, no problems. This week on I-84 at 70 mph, car dies. Was able to coast of an exit ramp. Pulled over, opened the hood, shook the connector, it started right up. Drove it the rest of the week with no issue. Can't figure out what the deal is, but it is either a connection in the harness, or one of the wires is loose, but it is near impossible to tell. Will be ordering a new Pontiac G8 when available.
  • thank sfor the reply. it's funny you mention the gray wires in the harness located under the hood on driver's side - my mechanic said, the gray wires were the problem ( a loose connection). however, it's been an ongoing problem and they keep telling me they found the loose wire - but the car would continue to stall while driving. i finally brought it to the dealer and,he,too said the gray wires were the problem. what he did was, he grounded one gray wire to another so they couldn't come loose again. in addition, he did a recall on the cavalier and i got a free ignition switch installed. so far, no problems, but it is a cavalier, so i have my fingers crossed. i don't know if the problem has been finally fixed. if it is fixed, i don't know if it was the new ignition switch that did the trick or if it was the grounding of those gray wires. however, i still have a slight "put-put" when idling and that is symptomatic of the car stalling while idling. take care.
  • My Cav is a 2000 2.2 and I've been having some similar problems. I was driving home about a year ago and my gas gauge suddenly went 1/4 tank to zilch and I knew that was probably the sending unit. I read about the high sulfur content in the fuel that could be eating the windings so I just kept the fuel level up above 1/4 and all would be fine. It's a year later and the other day it just stalled out after I made a right turn off the freeway. It wouldn't start with the contents of 5 gallon of gas but after I put a total of 10 it started right up. I filled it to the top and made it home.
    After I located a reasonable fuel pump/sending unit. (had a little confusion regarding the colored plugs that were put on the lines after manufactured-once I figured out they could be removed) I installed the tank unit assembly and the fuel filter. Did the turn on test-Listened for the 'wheering' pump noise, checked for leaks. Car ran fine for almost a full tank. But I pulled off the freeway today made a left turn and it stalled out again. At exactly 300 miles and 1/4 tank of fuel. I still have the same problem evidently.
    I think I will check the fuel supply pressure next which may reveal either the pump will not run off the low fuel pressure signal that the fuel pressure regulator should be sending or something else.
    I found a good price for the fuel pump at
    I wish I would have replaced the harness while I was replacing the pump also.
  • my mechanic charged me $400 just for the fuel pump (not including labor). how much was the fuel pump u found online? anyway, i know nothing about cars but your problem sounds a lot like mine. perhaps, yours too, is the wiring located under the hood on driver's side. have your mechanic ground the wires. also,have your dealer do a recall - you will get a free ignition switch installed like i did. please, e-mail me about the fuel pump $$
  • cav4cav4 Posts: 3
    Has about 100,000 miles and for about 3 weeks stalls out after running about 10 miles Let set will run some more than stall out etc, etc.

    Catalytic convertor replaced the mass air (MAP) replaced (and oil sending unit for oil leak) ONE of the repair places writes on bill in ( ) Aternator v or a running low. (I dont think this is the problem)

    Cranks fine but will not fire till let set. Runs fine when running. Then after so many miles just dies out.

    Parked it just before it cut out , popped open hood and just listened to it slowly die out.

    Have forced the issue with it by stomping on the gas just before it died out when parked and there was some coughing / sputtering noises. ( one time the catylytic convertor turned super red glowing , then replaced)

    In checking the vin with dealer found all the possible maker defects for repair or recalls were done by previous owner,

  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    I had an Impala many years ago that would run for 10-15 minutes and then stall. After much frustration a mechanic discovered a clogged fuel filter as well as debris in the fuel tank clogging the fuel intake sock.

    The debris would build up as I drove to the point where hardly any fuel could get through. After it stalled and sat everything would settle back down and I could drive it again.

    Not sure if this is the problem with your Cavalier but it might be worth a look.
  • Car was running great. Cranks, but no start. I did start to notice that when I had about 1/4 tank of fuel left the car had a hard time starting, but eventually started. Could the theft deterrent system be an issue or should I assume the fuel pump as a possibility as well?

  • Hi, I've been having some problems with my 2005 Chevy Cavalier 2.2L automatic. It's at about 95,000 km. I was driving it down the 401 highway and I could feel it hesitate slightly occassionally. Then I hit a patch of really bad stop-and-go traffic and as I was idling in drive, the car stalled out on me twice. I had no trouble restarting it and then if I idled in neutral it did not stall again. After that incident I drove it again without any similar problems for about 3 months.
    Recently, however, I was driving to work along a two lane highway (about 100km/h...(55mph?)) and it started doing the hesitation thing again...this time it was very pronounced, even bucking occassionally. I got to work and when I went out to my car after work and started it (cold engine), the tachometer was going up and down like crazy and when I started to drive it was hesitating and bucking again. So I took it to a garage when I got home and they checked it out. They told me that when they test drove it, they couldn't find anything wrong but it "has a history code for random misfire and front O2 sensor. Spark plugs look good". They replaced the fuel filter which was very "gunky" (their word, not mine...) and added gas line antifreeze. Of course, driving home from the garage my car acted up for me...just slight hesitation and very intermittent.
    Soooo, wondering if this could be a problem with the O2 sensor after all? I've read that they can malfunction in such a way that they do function intermittently and don't cause any engine codes. And by the way, no warning lights ever came on at any time during these check engine light or any such thing. Thanks for your input! Cheers!
  • ok, I have been having the exact same problem with my 2005 auto cavalier. Its still under warranty and I took it back to my dealer and they replaced the same sensor as yours. They also could not find anything wrong with the car on test drive. But conveniently two days later it stalled on me. This has been happening for a year. It goes through periods of stalling everyday to periods when it stalls once every three weeks. I am at my wits end. The sensor has been replaced already once and reset twice.

    The first thing to go wrong was my timing chain... ya thats right, no lying... about 1 year after I had the car. Then the stalling began. This car has been nothing but a never ending hospital stay. Its like caring for a sick relative :sick:

    I do believe the 2005 cavalier is officially a :lemon:

    Please let me know i you have any other ideas... this seems to be a common problem with this model
  • Friend of mine has a cav that does the same thing to him about 1 time each year . His has problems with the ignition coil system . The location they are in allow water and dirt to get onto them and corrode them until they get hot and begin to short out.
    Let it sit a few minutes and would fire back up and run poorly for maybe 10 minutes and die again..
    Does yours have a ignition coil pack assy ? If so the coils will be mounted on a metal plate which is actually a module plate for the coils to fire. I would check here first if you are losing spark. Have your mechanic check it or Try to find a used coil pack assy to test it with
    Good Luck..
  • I have a '97 Cav with the 2.2 OHV. I have an engine code of #1 cylinder misfire I have replaced the plugs, wires, injectors, and fuel filter. The condition still exists and I am running out of options. The vehicles does run, but consumes a great deal of fuel because of it. At idle and while driving the misfire is present. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  • I had this problem for over a year. Every once in a while when I stopped at a red light or just have my car in park my engine would shut off. I have done everything to it from changing spark plugs, coil pack, CAT, sensor, Cleaning injectors and replacing fuel filter. It got to the point where it would start turning off at every single stop light. I was finally able to find the problem. I had a bad fuel pressure regulator. Since then my car doesn't have the rough idle and it stays on.
  • bcar03bcar03 Posts: 5
    Most likely a clugged up Catalic converter, I had the same problem with an old van with 350 engine.
  • Hi, I have a 2001 Cavalier with the 2.2L and 5 spd. Every so often when I go to start the car it won't want to start, and I'll have to hold the key for longer then normal as the car barely sputters to life. Today it did something similar, except that even holding the key for a while wouldn't start it, so I gave it some gas and it started, just like you might have to do with a carburated car. So, idk if it's the fuel injectors or what. And idk if it's even really a big problem if it only does it occasionally.
  • kumodckumodc Posts: 1
    i'm a car idiot, but I am an observant driver. my piece of junk cavalier recently starting bucking while driving. no specific speed, weather condition or road conditions. 1st noticed it about 3wks ago. bucked on highway driving at 60 MPH. RMP dial jerked w/ each buck. thought it may have been due to windy conditions- but there was no wind. did it a few more times. my husband filled the tank w/ premium fuel, put in dry gas and it appeared to run smoothly for a few days then the problem started again. I have taken in into the mechanic 2 times. the car does not buck when they test it and nothing turns up on the scanner. check engine light never came on. car continues to buck . before taking it back to the dealer i'd like to get some suggestions on things to try or recommend to the mechanic. Dealer repairs are too costly would like to avoid taking it to them. besides for every other issue I had it took the dealer ( the experts) 2-3 times to diagnose and or repair. I even left her one day w/ a broken sideview mirror! would appreciate any help given!
  • tommy24tommy24 Posts: 6
    like you, i don't know much about cars. my situation was a little different than yours. i was dealing with a "crank-no-start." as it turned out, my problem was fuel pump wiring problem. perhaps, you can try changing the fuel pump (should be changed every 15K miles). or perhaps, try getting the fuel injectors cleaned. good luck, wish i could have been more help.
  • innortalinnortal Posts: 2
    My car was running fine, but on my way home from work I lost power and couldn't keep it going. At first I thought it might have been bad gas. The last fill-up had been five days prior and only 4 gallons from a station I work at. I've added two bottles of gas treatment including one HEET, but no change. When it is warmer, it will start and idle before eventually puttering out. When it is cold, it won't even idle for a few seconds before the sputtering starts. When it started, I had no power to pull a hill, and the "Check Engine" light came on with what I think is the gas light (little handle with something on top and a nozzle) which is above it. I got it towed home, but we are still at a loss

    The fuel tank was changed a month ago, the fuel filter soon afterwards. From the idle, I think all sparkplugs are firing. I've been told everything from perhaps the fuel filter became wrecked from the possible water, I need to change the coil pack, Catalytic converter, put it on a scanner, to draining the tank and refilling with new gas, and a host of other ideas.

    I'm hoping someone here can help me, or eliminate more of what it isn't. Oil levels are fine and I checked all of the fluids the day before.
  • I have a 2000 Z24 the other day I was driving on the highway my car suddenly died out. I could not apply any gas as the car would no longer drive; fortunately I was able to steer to the side of the highway.

    I took the car to my mechanic hooked it up to the diagnostic machine and zero codes came up, He drove it all day (highway)ect and it didn’t die. Today the car did the same thing; He thinks it could be the fuel pump. Any suggestions??
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