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my 98 Cavalier rattles, stalls, etc, need help or suggestion

kingofcomputerkingofcomputer Posts: 8
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
My 98 Cavalier (AT, under 50K) rattles and shakes when stopping even at N gear, sometimes stalls.
When I want to go, it doesn't get into the gear well, it's almost not moving for about 2 seconds, then suddenly goes.

Should I bring it to dealer for check-up and repair? I afraid it'll cost a lot to fix the problems. Or should I get rid of it asap?

Thank you.


  • paulo3paulo3 Posts: 113
    I would recommend you to unload the vehicle ASAP. The Cavalier has a history of being a very unreliable vehicle.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Have a dealer check out the lock-up torque convertor solenoid. It looks as if it's not disengaging. It's something like having a manual transmission and you don't disengage the clutch when you come to a stop. It should not be too expensive to have repaired. I've had good service out of my Cavalier and if I had the same problem I'd have it repaired.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I've thought about it again and I think you really should have it repaired. The reason I say this is because if you trade it in, the dealer will deduct the cost of the repair. So you lose anyway. However, if you repair it you might well be happy with it and be able to use it without any further expense. Just take it to a reputable dealer though as I still think the repair should not be too expensive. Please don't take it to one of those chain type of transmission repair shops.
  • Do you have an extended warranty? If so, I would fix it and then sell it. Either way, I guess it is in your best interests to get rid of the car.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Do you sell every car you own that breaks down?
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I have an 87 Cavalier LS sedan. My wife is driving it and I've moved over to an 01 Elantra. Moving to a more modern platform makes me see how crude the Cavalier is, you really notice in moving back and forth.

    Despite that, we've gotten pretty good service out of the car-- only an alternator and an ignition switch in almost 70K.

    The Cavalier is an inexpensive car full of parts which can be quite cheap to fix. Just about anybody can work on them. I think those people who tell you to unload the car are GM haters who are jumping the gun. It can be relatively reliable transportation.
  • If it has a history of problems I would in a heartbeat. GM has a history of phasing out problematic cars and the Cavalier is next.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Boy that was a real fast phase out,the first one built in 1982,let see that's 20 yrs.
  • I've brought the car to dealer to have checkup on that 2 problem.

    Dealer advises:
    spark plug and spark wire $262
    gasoline seal $64
    clean injector $99
    transmission gasket leaking $139
    flush transmission $139
    oil pan leaking $266
    30K service $399 (will include flush transmission)

    Should I have them to repair all?

    If I don't let them to repair some, need to pay $136 for checkup.

  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I'd take it to an independent shop with a good reputation, just about anybody can handle a Cavalier. If it was buy something off the list or give us $136 for the checkup I'd take the $99 injector cleaning and get the hell out of there.
  • It looks to me that your car hasn't been taken care of according to the owners manual on a regular basis. If it has, Mr. Goodwrench isn't doing his job at the dealership.

    I would definitely get a "second oppinion" from another dealership or garage.
  • correction:
    it should be
    spark plug and spark wire $262
    fuel filter $64
    flush injector $99
    transmission filter/gasket service $139
    flush transmission $139
    oil pan leaking $266
    30K service $399 (include flush transmission, transmission filter/gasket service, spark plug only)

    Actually, this is my girlfriend's car,
    we decided to have fuel filter, flush injector, transmission service, flush transmission - total about $420+tax. (if just do the transmission stuff, need to pay the checkup for the idling problem - $68)
    Her bro-in-law says he can do the spark plug and wire, spark plug is just $1 each, spark wire set is about $30, total will be under $40. (Dealer wants to sell these parts for $80 if I want to do it myself.) For the oil pan, he says just forget about it.

    We bought this car as an used car from a dealer in 1/2000, it was a lease car before, only had oil changes. We only do oil changes too, by her bro-in-law. Is it because this car never has major service done causing the problem?

    Thanks again for the responds.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Take the car and get out of there. $262 for spark plug wires and plugs!!! I priced AC Delco wires part #12192093 a direct GM replacement and they were $46 from the local parts store. As far as I know GM has a recall on the plug wires anyway for your car. I got a letter from GM saying that if I ever had any trouble with the plug wires they would be replaced free of charge. Mine is a 99 model.

    I don't think that they've addressed your problem as described in your first posting. If your description is correct then there is something wrong with the lock-up torque convertor solenoid. I may be wrong but that's how I feel. Keep us posted.
  • I would have thought that GM had fixed the mid 80'to mid 90's tranny lock up solonoid. In any case that is what it sounds like to me. It could be some other things as well.




    Special Policy 00032 - Spark Plug Wire Failure #00032

    00032 -- Special Policy Adjustment -- Spark Plug Wire Failure

    1998 and 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire Cars; Chevrolet S10 and GMC Sonoma Trucks

    Equipped with 2.2L L4 (RPO LN2 -- VIN Code 4) Engine


    Some customers of 1998 and 1999 model year Chevrolet Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire cars and Chevrolet S10, GMC Sonoma trucks, equipped with 2.2L L4 (RPO LN2 -- VIN Code 4) engine, may experience
    illumination of the Service Engine Soon (SES) light and code P0300 (general misfire), with driveability complaints of engine misfire, rough idle and hesitation. The cause of this condition may be improperly
    seated boots or loose spark plug wire terminals as a result of spark plug wire side loading, especially at the #2 and #3 wire connections.

    Special Policy Adjustment

    This special policy covers the spark plug wire failure condition described above for a period of 7 years or 70,000 miles (112,000 km), whichever occurs first, from the date the vehicle was originally placed in
    service, regardless of ownership. The repairs will be made at no charge to the customer.

    Both above items are recalls, but only if the customer complains about it. Don't ask why but that's the way they run it.
  • Yes, the dealer says #2,3 cylinders misfire.
    Also, SES light comes up oftenly sometimes ago.
    All match the recall you mentioned.

    Where can I get an official recall info so I can bring it to the dealer and ask them to fix it at no charge?

  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Just print out the posting by jgmilberg and show it to the dealer. At least he will know that you are aware of the customer satisfaction campaign.

    I've just checked up on AllData and have come up with this. GM dealers who replace plug wire sets for your vehicle - Charge $52.28 Time 0.2hrs. I don't know where that dealer is coming from with his $262!
  • I called chevrolet 1800 number,
    the customer service representative confirmed my car's vin is in the special policy adjustment #00032 list.
    I told the service manager about that, he said he'll verify the code tomorrow and get the wire fixed at no charge if it's.

    $262 is replacement for spark plugs and wire together, I know this is a rip-off since one ac delco plug is just $0.99 and the wire set is around $30, as said by my bro-in-law. Before, the service manager offered to sell me these parts for $80 if I want to do it myself, so I think they want to charge at least 2 hours labor for doing that.

    Thanks a lot again.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    GM uses platinum plugs in the Cavalier,can't buy for $.99 each.The last ones i priced 2yrs ago at Advance Auto Parts was $6.00 each.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I'm using Autolight platinum tipped which is claimed to be a direct replacement and they were under $2. Can't remember the exact figure. I can't say how good they are or how long they will last but they seem to work ok. In any case I check my plugs every 20k miles so I'm not too concerned about how long they will last. Leaving them in untouched for 100k miles is looking for trouble - they tend to freeze in an aluminum head. I hope the dealer spoken about above was going to put expensive plugs in to justify his price.
  • I think they are to replace all 4 wires, not just for cyl.2 & 3. See if the are going to replace the whole wire set. The plugs are easy as hell to get to on that car should only take 15 min to change them. Make sure to use antisieze compound on the plugs and don't overtighten them, it is an aluminium head and can strip easily. I got Bosch Plats for $1.99 at Murray's Auto Parts on Thursday, the $6 each are now the Splitfire, and Bosch Plat +4.

    As far as the info, you can cut it and paste it into a word processing program and print it like that, or paste it into an email to yourself then print it. I got it from the service manual on the computer at work.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Matter of fact, I've printed it out directly from this page by highlighting it and choosing print selection. I've lost my original letter from GM so your posting came in handy for my file. Thanks for that.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Autolite & Bosch sell a cheap platinum,problem is no platinum on the ground electrode,only half a plug,check it out.The Bosch after 30,000 mi has half the grd electrode missing.

    The AC platinum is on the center electrode & the ground also.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    That might be so but in my case I'm not really worried about long life because I check my plugs on a regular basis anyway. The reason I changed the original AC Delco plugs was because I developed a miss and on inspection of the plugs I discoverd a cracked inner insulator that was causing it. When I went to the auto parts store for a repacement set the Autolites were the only thing they could offer me. I'm reading from the box now and the Autolites are guaranteed for 3 years with an unlimited mileage. So they can't be too bad. Maybe you might have to regap them more often though as the ground electrode will burn away faster. I'd just throw them away and put new ones in. I must say that there is no difference in performance when compared to the AC Delco's.

    If anybody is interested the Autolites are type AP104 and they seem to work ok for a late model 2.2L Cavalier and are much cheaper than the AC Delco's. I'm been on long trips with the Autolites although my driving is mostly city and short distances. No problems in 10k miles with them.

    It strikes me in all of this that the dealer must surely have been aware of the recall on the plug wire set and yet he was prepared to charge $262 for plugs, wires, and labor. The plugs and wires are easy and quick to change. Was he then still going to claim back from GM a warranty repair?
  • the receipt says:

    customer states vehicle is idling rough check and advise
    casue: faulty spark plug wires
    inspected vehicle operation to verify complaint, engine running rough, scanned for dtc's found engine misfire present in cylinder #1 and #3 inspected secondary ignition found faulty wire, replaced faulty wires as per california emission warranty P00043 rechecked vehicle ok

    customer states vehicle feels like it does not want to go from take off, it takes couple of seconds to engage from take off check and advise
    NWP no work performed

    recommend to replace oil pan gasket leaking $266
    recommend to perform 30000 miles service
    customer declined at this time

    automatic transmission flush
    CP $81.99
    Trans-kit $24.91
    ATF-QT $32
    CWAST $2

    transmission service
    CP $92.32
    Fltr kit $28.05

    fuel flush
    CP $84.14
    fuel flush $15.86

    replaced fuel filter
    CP $34.00
    fuel fltr $18.70

    labor amount: $294.45
    parts amount: $119.52
    sales tax: $9.56
    total: 423.53
  • ATF-QT is Automatic Transmission Fluid-Quart containers.
    Trans-Kit is the transmission flushing kit.
    CWASTE is recycling/waste disposal fee.
    Fltrkit is your replacement trans fluid filter and trans pan gasket.

    I'm not sure about the trans service thing, if they are flushing out the trans and changing the fluid I don't think they should have charged you another 92 bucks to install a new filter, it's only 2 screws. The trans pan was off already so all they did was put in a new filter. I would strongly recommend going back and talking to the service manager about the apparent double charging. 92 dollars is the price of a trans filter replacement and refill w/o the flush, when they flushed it they drained the fluid already and had to refill the trans, so all you should have been charged for was the filter kit no additional labor.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    Uh, you got charged for the trans filter and servicing twice.

    automatic transmission flush
    CP $81.99
    Trans-kit $24.91
    ATF-QT $32
    CWAST $2

    transmission service
    CP $92.32
    Fltr kit $28.05

    Trans service and trans flush, with filter are the same thing. Pay for one or the other, NOT BOTH
    If they argue, ask them where the 2 filters are in the transmission.
  • To make myself happy, I think of it this way:
    the transmission service includes replacing filter, gasket, seal, etc, the labor charge for it could be already discounted for having transmission flush together. If I didn't let them do both, I could be charged more for the labor on just one. They quote the price for whatever amount they want.

    Someone mentioned to get a second opinion. If I find out another dealer or an independent place charges less than this one and I let them do it, I'd have to pay $138 for the problem diagnosis at this dealer. I think the money I'd save from a cheaper place may not be enough to cover this. Moreover, if the second opinion is not better than this one, I'd have to pay diagnosis charge for the second opinion.

    Anyway, thank you guys for all the opinions and especially the special policy adjustment. The car is running pretty good now.
  • adc100adc100 Posts: 1,521
    Cavalier is a good reliable vehicle. I would suggest that the Chevy/Cavalier bashers here worry more about the Focus build quality. There's something to worry about.

    AC Delco Packard wires have been junk since I have been tinkering with cars (35 years). I (believe it or not)like the Ford Autolite wires. I can't begin to tell you how many failures I have had on OEM Delco wires.

    Plugs-Consider the Bosh+4's I replaced in my son's Cavalier ($6 each). Make sure engine is perfectly cool before removing plugs. Take your time-after you break one loose work it clockwise/counterclockwise getting it out. Don't know why but they are ugly to get out. With all due respect-I used ant-sieze for years and years in the electric power industry and after its in a couple of years in a hot environment the lubricant dries and does very little. I've been using synthetic oil on the threads and they come out easier. Torque is 11 ft lbs for the plug.

    I would call the dealer on the filter(s)
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    From the stuff you posted the dealer charged you twice for service that was 95% done by the flush! Do you think they flushed it filled it and drained it to change the filter and fill it again?!! You still got the shaft man! I know you are happy with the work and you stated that they were going to charge you $138 for the diagnosis if you didn't have them do anything, but you really only saved $46. They still got you to pay for most of the diagnosis by double charging you for the filter change and flush labor.

    I asked my dealer service manager and he said that the trans flush comes with a mandatory filter change, they WILL NOT flush w/o a new filter going on. He said it added just the cost of the filter to the flush with no additional labor involved. He said to flush the trans properly the filter had to be removed anyway.

    Just some helpful info, in the event you want to get some cash back from the dealer, and to keep a shop from jamming you up in the future.
  • jgmilberg, thanks for the follow up. so how much would your dealer charge for trans flush and service together?

    this dealer charges $399 for 30K service, that's even much more than the opposite street honda dealer. does chevrolet car really need to cost more to do 30K service?
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    They charge $160 for the flush and filter change.

    What exactly does the 30K service come with? If it a bunch of inspections, with a belt, air filter, oil change and trans filter and fluid change I would save the money and have a good mechanic do it for you. I figure the parts to do the changing is in the $60-$80 range. The dealer will mark up the parts, and labor runs around $80 an hour so 3 hours plus parts. In my opinion if you have a good trusted mechanic then take it there, the dealer markup is crazy high.

    Do you do your own oil change? If you take it in to have it done make sure they CHANGE the filter!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A lot of quickie oil change shops DO NOT change the filter on the Cavalier and Sunfire cars because of the location of the filter. It is high on the back of the engine and the only way I found to get it out is to bring it out next to the exhaust pipe. It is a messy and oil filled adventure in engineering, and if your not careful burning. I don't know what it was but it is sure to be one of the greatest GM blunders to have it there. If you have been to a 20 min oil change place look from the top passenger side at the rear of the engine, right next to the power steering fluid res. if the oil filter is AC Delco (body is royal blue w/ a sticker) and the dealer didn't do the oil change the quickie lube didn't change the filter. I recently did an oil change on a family members car, always done at the same oil change shop, for 60K the punks NEVER CHANGED THE FILTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the dealer installed AC Delco filter from the free 3000 mile oil change, all crusty looking with quite a few rust spots! I have since asked a a few shops and most say they don't change the filter because of the hot exhaust pipe, I only found 2 shops that did, hey said they had heat resistant pads, and long arm length welders gloves that they put on and over the pipe to keep from burning themselves, one shop let me watch down in the pit while they did an oil change on a Sunfire.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    A sure sign that they've changed the filter is the smell of spilled oil coming off the exhaust pipe. I would think if its not stinking, it's not being changed.

    I also try to have them swap filters back and forth between Super Tech and AC (no Fram please!). I have asked to go down "into the pit" for inspections and think that's a good idea to make sure the filter is being changed.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I change my oil filter all the time from the top not the bottom and its easy.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    How do you get it out from the top, the one I worked on was a 97 with 2.2L auto.
  • adc100adc100 Posts: 1,521
    Use a new filter to experiment and fiddle aroung with it a little. Make sure you don't get dirt in it. My son has '97- its easy.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    After a few practice runs it's easy to change the oil filter on the 2.2 Cavalier. I use a Ritefit filter wrench and I filed the short end of a large allenwrench to fit snugly into the hole of the Ritefit. From the top, reach down carefully between the power steering flexible pipes and fit the wrench over the end of the filter and screw it off. Turn filter upward to prevent oil spills and carefully lift it out. It's a good idea to stuff some paper towels down there over the exhaust pipe to prevent oil from spilling onto it. Just remember to remove them when you are finished.

    Next, thread the new filter through the same path you took to remove the old one and screw it into place. I give it a half turn or so with my trusty filter wrench after it has seated on the rubber gasket. No matter how hard you try, you'll always spill oil onto the flexible section of the exhaust pipe and will smell hot oil for some days afterwards. The flexible section catches the oil and you can't wipe it off. If you don't smell that smell after going to some quick lube joint then they haven't changed the filter!
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    has the drill down pat,I let the filter drain in to pan before I pull it out.Like he said no smell no filter change.
This discussion has been closed.