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Chevrolet Cavalier



  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Actually guys, I have to agree with Teo to some degree on this "out dated" issue. We have a leased 99 Cavalier and while it's totally dependable and fine, it's simply dated compared with most other small cars on the road. I suspect that the 2.2L Ecotec available this year will make things much better, but unfortunately that's an option and 90% of the Cavaliers have the old 2.2L which is noisy and not particularly fuel efficient in the city. Cavalier was the #1 selling car in Canada for 7 years, but lost the title to Civic 2-3 years ago. It came close to loosing second place this past year also. I think most people agree that there are better small car choice out there. Parts are cheap, but lets face it, most people don't buy a small car for that reason.

    In the end, a replacement is overdue and hopefully Bob and the boys will make it a priority. Until then people who want a Cavalier can enjoy cheap cars with big rebates. I know our lease rate is 0.9%. Don't think you will find many cars offering that kind of deal.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Well said Dindak.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I agree totally with you Dindak. However, can't you do alot to update or modernize a car without changing the platform?

    Interior materials, fit and finish, engine (as you mentioned)...even ride characteristics can be revised without a change in platform.

    Don't misunderstand me, I think it's past time for GM to remake this car, I just am still trying to fully understand this platform issue.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Again, the basic architecture of the J-body cars hasn't changed since 1981. You can perform one thousand updates to the car over the same basic platform, change the body, add safety systems, change the interior, tweak the suspension, drop a different engine, etc.

    But the car deep down is still a 1981 product. Just think about it. A 2002 Cavalier/Sunfire still ride on a platform that was developed in the late 1970's! Ouch!
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    No matter how much you tweak a platform, it's still not going to "feel" the same or perform the same in crash tests. The IIHS results are proof of that.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    No point in updating the rest of the car if it's sitting on a 10+ year old platform. GM needs a new car all around. That's why improvements to the Cavalier have been small. I also think the name Cavalier should be dumped when the replacement comes so people know it's an all new car.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    A company had to go through alot of copyrighting stuff (from what I have heard) and legal stuff to start a new car name. That's one of the reasons Chevy brought back the Malibu and Impala names. They saved alot of money reincarnating the names from the past. Also, they drew in people who, back in the day, had the same car and got intrigued by its name appearing again.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    now thats a real up to date car,rear drum brakes.
  • Focus is still one of the quickest 60-0 stops in it's class. Small, FWD cars really need the braking power up front. And you can still get rear discs on the Focus if you want.

    I'm still looking forward to see what GM brings out with the new Vauxhall/Opel based Cavalier replacement. Hope they make a 5-door hatch available.
  • isseyvooisseyvoo Posts: 121
    My '92 Cav. has 94K miles on it, and though primitive, I still enjoy driving it at times. I prefer its steering feel to my 2001 Alero with variable asist (though of course the Cav. doesn't corner well at all), and the braking feel is also more linear and predictable than my Alero. The engine burns no oil, and strangely, I am fond of its clackety engine sound. My partner keeps telling me to get rid of it, but I drive it to the train station every day, while the Alero is driven only on weekends. My Cavalier's big failing has been the finish. I was relatively good at keeping the salt washed off it and waxing it a few times a year, but the paint is completely oxidized on the top surfaces. The sides still look okay.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    The paint is messed up on the sides because of the cheap paint GM and Ford used in the early 90s to finish their cars with. My friend's 1994 Mercury Cougar had the same problem before it was repainted, on the roof, hood, and trunk the paint basically came off. So no matter how good care you take of it, it always seems to mess up and oxidize.
  • 3871338713 Posts: 26
    I heard that when the Cavalier is redesigned, there will be no Pontiac Sunfire twin. However, one of the news stories at is a preview of the Chicago Auto Show. It says a 2003 Pontiac Sunfire is going to debut at the show. Does this mean the Cavalier is in its last year of its current form, and the new model may be introduced late this year?
  • is good for people who 1)wants a car to travel from point A to point B (going to the supermarket etc.) and 2) factors in the ownership costs. The VWs/Hondas are nice alternatives but you have to look at the $$$ to own the vehicle (mainly insurance, cost of regular maintenance and repairs).
    The negative thing about this car is the reliability. You'll have a higher chance of getting a lemon (you can thank GM's quality control for that), which would lead to lost of sleep and newfound grey hair.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I will defend Cavalier on that issue. Most magazines have the car rated at average reliability which has been my experience after 2 of them. There are lemons with every brand.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I started with an 85 and now a 00, so i consider my self an expert on them.Have never left me stranded and very few problems.I do know that you need a loan to buy a part for a Japanese car.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    OK, you may not need a loan, but overall they cost a bunch more. I have a friend who drove (beat the crap out of)cavaliers for 10 years...he bought 2 used ones and never had trouble.

    Wasn't there a magazine that used to publish costs to rebuild a car with replacement parts? I remember hearing teasers on the news every year or so that would list the cost for one vehicle as an example.
  • it's the 60's and you're trying to get parts for a Subaru 360 if you own an import. Prices are pretty reasonable now for most of the mainstream imports. I'm sure Mercedes and some low production (ie Maserati) are still expensive imports for parts, but getting a part for a Honda or Toyota is hardly bank account busting anymore.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    of a Honda that needed a alternator regulator brush assy and it was $125.That is just one part of many in an alternator.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Saw in the Chi-town Auto Show news that the 03 Sunfire is getting a makeover (inside and out) and both the Cavalier and Sunfire will get the Ecotec standard next year. Anyone know if the Cavalier is getting a cosmetic makeover also? 03 Sunfire definitely looks better.
  • Is the 1981 era 2.2 pushrod motor really dying? I know the 03 Sunfire is EcoTec standard, but what about the Cavy? If so, it was a mercy killing!

    Also, when will we get the "Delta platform" based Chevy/Pontiacs?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I read that both cars will get the Ecotec standard next year. The old 2.2L is dead.

    No word on a new car, but the Sunfire upgrade list was impressive. I think it's a stop gap until they have a new car in 2 years.
  • I recently replaced my two remotes for my 97 Sunfire. I scoured the net looking for instructions to program them with no luck. So I paid the dealer. Here's how they did it. I expect this will also relate to the 97 Cavaliers.

    Both remotes must be programmed at the same time. It is possible to program just 1 remote but a second cannot be added later.
    A 2 remote maximum for each vehicle.
    In the trunk over the rear drivers side wheel well is the receiver.
    It has a 2 pin connector wired to it.

    1) With a small screw driver or paper clip ground/short these pins together and keep them connected during programming.
    Once grounded, the power locks will cycle lock-unlock. This indicates that the system is in ‘program mode’.

    2)On the first remote hold down both the lock and unlock buttons for 15 seconds until the locks cycle lock/unlock. This remote is done.

    3)Repeat step #2 for 2nd remote.

    4) Remove the screwdriver or paper clip from the 2 pin connector.

    5)Test the remotes (be sure not to lock them in the trunk when done).

    Hope this helps!
  • It can pay to back-up "keyless entry devices" with several cheap (Wal-Mart, etc.) keys. I always carry such a spare in my wallet and it has come in handy often!
  • I've read through alot of these posts and have found a really interesting common thread. Most people who say the Cavalier is crap bought a used one.... I own a 96 2.2L Coupe, 4 speed auto from day one. I drive it hard, and I treat it right. If something is leaking I fix it. I don't consider a valve cover gasket leak a defect. I mean it's a piece of rubber. That's like saying in 30 years the faucets in your house are never going to leak.
    I don't particulary care much about all these whiny people saying buy a Honda/Toyota. I like use to like Toyotas, now they are just getting cheap. A Honda is going to last you just as long as a Chevy. My girlfriends 91 Honda Accord LX with 70k on it burns oil and runs rough. And it was USED. My 96 Cavalier with 75k on it runs a little rough and doesn't burn any oil. A car will last you as long as you take care of it. And I don't know where all these 200k mile Hondas are. They don't exsit in North Carolina. You see lots of 94+ Hondas, a few early ones. But you see tons of late 80's Chevys (Cavalier's and Beretta's). People seem to think a used car is a great buy, why? Cause it's cheap? Cause you run the risk of buying something someone else has severly neglected? Cause it has a good chance of turning into a nightmare?
    I'm not going to call the Cavalier a great car. But I can say I love mine. Even if it goes up in a ball of fire and smoke, I'd still love it. And what is this about being loud? (Well I guess the modified air intake on mine isn't helping any) I love the way it sounds (wish it sounded more like the old Beretta's). It has it's fair share of problems. My favorite the intermitent power loss/skipping. It's like it is loosing a fuel injector or something. It has low power somedays and occasionaly it studders and skips real bad. If anyone knows what that is let me know. And the dash rattle, you could try removing the central air vent, and tightening down the two screws there, it might help.


    BTW, I know the EGR, IAC, and most simple things are not wrong with the engine. It is something more complex, or a system of complex stuff. My feeling is the problem stems from a poor fuel pump or a bad computer (have had the abs/trac system disable it's self 3 times)
  • klohiqklohiq Posts: 1
    I think your problem lies in the spark plug wires and possibly the spark plugs themselves. I had the same problem (if I get what you mean) on my Cavalier. I have a 98 Cavalier 5-speed with almost 200k miles on it. Before replacing these wires and plugs I had never replaced them since I got the car; how's that for reliability? I love the car and hope to give it a body kit and some performance mods soon.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    expect to be attacked for even mentioning perfomance mods and body kits!!!!
    The problem with this board is that too many people want to post misinformation about these cars because they think their own choices are superior to yours.
    The only remaining part of the 81 Cavalier is the COWL as has been reported in a previous post. The Cavalier became based on the N platform in 94, The same base as the Skylark, Grand Am etc.I have seen this same ignorant claim several times on this board.The last 81 based Cavalier was the 88 to 94 version.
    BTW,comparing a Golf to a Cavalier is laughable. No one in their right mind shops both those vehicles. By the time you'd add CD,air,
    ABS auto etc. the VW is in the 18-20,000 range.With the exception of the automatic all the items mentioned are standard on the Cavalier and would be 3 to 5000 less and more with the 2002 rebate.Why not compare to the Mercedes Hatch, then? Why even post such an absurd comparison???
    Klohiq, enjoy your Cavalier. Have you checked Canuk's Cavalier Club on Yahoo??? Very enthusiastic [and informed ] members.
    Bcsizemo: I'm with you.Unlike many detractors, I actually OWN a Cavalier, a 99 2.2 with the 4 speed auto. Great mileage, with 27,000 miles, the engine keeps getting smoother and has a pleasant sound. Hitting the on ramp I'm already up to speed by the time I hit the lane, so power is not a concern.May trade for the 4door 4speed auto. w/EcoTech.Haven't had any problems , no rubber timing belt to change at $200 to $300, plus replacement of the water pump ["just in case,while we're in there"]at 60,000 miles.An honest vehicle. I like the fact that the 95 looks pretty much like the 2002 also. It's a good design and has worn well. Not something you can say about a lot of GM's newer designs.
    Accident investigators claim the insurance institute test "results" are meaningless. These are the true experts as they study actual accidents. What you get in a laboratory situation will never be recreated on the road in a million years as each incident has it's own dynamics, so to shriek "death trap" and "the crash ratings say" only marks one as being unable to absorb data with anything close to critical thought.
    There's nothing wrong with these cars.Their purpose has been consistent all these years: a lot of value for a fair price.And with additional rebates??? That's some sort of indicator that they're unsalable??? What sort of logic is THAT??? ALL of the automakers are doing rebates!I can go out today and get a Mitsubishi with no down,no payments for a year. Using the same lack of logic that I have been exposed to here, that would mean Mitsubishi makes a POS????????
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    They said in their April auto issue that the Cavalier's reliablility has improved to average. Figures, GM just gets the car right and it's going to change platforms in about a year! :)
  • rbb2rbb2 Posts: 70
    I picked up a 2002 LS sedan with the Ecotech engine. It's silver with chrome wheels. It stickered at $17,875. After the rebate, GM discount and $500 dealer incentive they passed on to me I got over $4100 off sticker plus I got the 5.9% financing. To me that's a great deal for a car w/ traction control, abs, auto. power windows, locks, alarm, remote entry, rds radio w/ cd and cassette. It was too hard to pass on. I had a 96 Z24 coupe w/ 100,000 miles on it and it ran great, I was just ready for something newer.

    Now although I think it was a great deal ther are a few issues with it: seat is not the most comfortable. I 'adjusted' it to allow more leg room. Also, they moved the radio above the heater controls but they moved them too far back and now you have to lean forward and around the shift knob to get to them. That means I have to take my eyes off the road. It was better the other way imo.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    LS 4 door: 4speed auto. spoiler, power everything $13,999. This is one of the LA dealers in the valley. Brand new.
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