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Chevrolet Cavalier Starting/Stalling Problems



  • 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??
  • kerri42kerri42 Posts: 2
    My car is great for about 15 miles or so. When I go to stop the car bucks then the engine shuts off. I'll let cool down then it's fine. I was told by a mechanic that it had something to do with the cylinoid in the transmission was too hot, so the safety sensor would shut the engine off. Is this mechanic right? And how do I resolve this issue?

    Thank you,

  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Common problem, you need the TCC solenoid replaced, it is sticking. The good part is you just need to take the side cover off.

    It is caused by not replacing the transmission fluid every 30K, it gums up the valves.
  • kerri42kerri42 Posts: 2
    Thank you gonogo ! When I have this repaired I'll let you know how it rides.

    Thank you again!

  • lvd77lvd77 Posts: 1
    I just picked up a 98 convertable Z24 and on the hour drive home it did the same thing...just quit. My dad was driving it home for me thank god!! On the way from his house to mine, it did it again for me, just quit, no warning, no nothing. Started right back up, no engine light nothing!
    If someone knows why this happens i would really appreciate a heads up before i dump a load of cash into it trying to find the problem!! I cant put 2 kids in a car that decides it wants to stop going 60 on the highway!!
  • innortalinnortal Posts: 2
    Here's how I got it confirmed.

    A friend who had a similar car had the same problem: ran fine then lost power and eventually couldn't keep running. He took a jack bad and knocked the base of the fuel tank a bit (7 times were the fuel pump would be) and it started fine and ran fine.

    Does the fuel pump make more noise than it used to? If it does, and what I described above fixes it, then it is the fuel pump, and it should be changed as soon as possible. The intake filter itself sounds like it may be clogged. Even when driving, a sudden jolt might shake some of the gunk loose, but it will be sucked back up and kill the engine, which it sounds like what is happening to you.

    If not the fuel pump, then sorry, no clue.
  • neenersneeners Posts: 2
    i've googled this so many times and can't find anyone with this problem....

    i have an 04 manual cavalier that stalls out in low speeds only if my AC is on. If the AC is off, i'm fine even though it appears the engine revs a bit on it's own.... but if the AC is on, i have to keep giving it gas to prevent it from stalling out.

    The first time it happened was about a year ago, in rush hour traffic, then didn't do it again for about 3 months. happened again twice in a week then nothing for about a month, now it's consistent; AC on = car stalling out.

    I got a diagnostics check that came back saying I have a fuel pressure regulator leak and a recommendation of cleaning my fuel injectors. I replaced the pressure regulator, ran with AC on for about 3 minutes, then stalled out.

    I'm going friggen NUTS over here!!!!!!!
  • samsung3samsung3 Posts: 2
    Hi everyone I got a 96 cav with 2.4l engine and auto trans. At a cold start the car starts fine. However after the car is warmed/hot and shut off for around 15 mins and restarted it stalls, and misfires/backfires. Sometimes after stalling it won't even restart until the engine has cooled down a bit. Then runs ok but once in while sputters while sitting in traffic. I've gotten all kinds of answers from mechanics from fuel pumps, crank sensors, etc. I don't wanna throw parts at the car so your help is appreciated. I've recently cleaned the throttle body and plugs were changed 20k ago. I've had the problem for about 3 months and its getting worse with the warmer weather!! Thanks for any help/advice!!!
  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    I've recently cleaned the throttle body and plugs were changed 20k ago. I've had the problem for about 3 months and its getting worse with the warmer weather!!

    How about the plug wires? Heat increases the resistance and the problem will be magnified with plug wires that are going bad. The fact that it acts up in warmer weather or after the engine has warmed up has me focused on this possible cause.
  • I have a 1994 Cavalier VL 2.2 L that's got all kinds of issues and all kinds of different parts replaced on it. Recently, it started sputtering like it wants to die when you are sitting at a stop light or sign. I just recently installed new plugs and wires, new fuel filter, air filter, pcv valve, oil, oil filter, installed new head gasket due to leaks, etc, etc.
    The only way I've keeping it running is to shift to neutral or park. I'm beginning to think this problem is transmission related because I went through a similar issue with another 94 Cavalier I had and it turned out to be the shift solenoid on the side of the transmission. I had no more problems with that car when I replaced the solenoid. The problem could also be fuel pressure related. Any suggestions would be helpful as this problem is getting annoying. Thank you. :confuse: :sick:
  • I bought my car with 40,000 miles, it now has 45,000 miles, and then I realized it still has the stock fuel filter. After having a mechanic, and a haynes service manual tell me the fuel filter should be changed at 30,000 miles, I checked the owners manual, and noticed that it didn't mention it. So I was wondering how many of you guys have changed your fuel filters? If you have a higher mileage car and haven't changed it, maybe that's what's causing some of these problems?
  • Your fuel filter is way past due for a change. Depending on your model, they are not hard to change yourself. You will save yourself some problems in the future if you change it now. The Haynes manual is correct, you should change every 30,000 miles, if you want to keep it running at it's peak. :shades:
  • yazmanyazman Posts: 1
    I'm wondering if someone out here can advise on what I should look for. When I take to my garage, we have cooler days, and they cannot duplicate the problem, and the car works fine. Apparently nothing comes up on their diagnostic:

    On days where it’s 80 degrees of more, the car often registers hotter than normal
    Normally, Temp gauge needle never exceeds past ¼ of the dial.

    Of the times that I’ve experienced problems, the gauge needle is at the ½ area. (It never registers anywhere near the hot half of gauge, but certainly beyond the normal ¼ position)

    I will drive, and then will loose all acceleration at once. The car does not stall, unless I try to give it gas. If I try to give too much gas, it will stall.

    If I turn the car off (even if for a couple seconds) , when I re-start, it will act normally, and I can drive. (albeit for a short distance)
    If I don’t turn the car off, this “no-acceleration condition” does not improve, (even after ten-twenty minutes.)

    THe engine does not seem overly hot, and I am able to remove the anti-freeze overflow tank, with no problem, or seemingly excessive heat)

    Could there be some sensor or related item that when it senses too high a temperature, it restricts gas flow?
    When the car is turned off, perhaps it “resets” whatever this might be? Which is why the car acts normally when turned off and then turned back on?

    Perhaps the thermostat is not working properly, and does not adjust adequately on hotter days to cool the car properly

    The Cavalier's cooling system requires a special brand of anti-freeze. As far as I know, it has this particular brand of anti-freeze, if it has been mixed with regular anti-freeze, might it not cool the car as it should on hotter days?

    Could probably be a combination of these options.

    I was hoping someone reading might be able to point me in the right direction on fixing this.
  • You are on the right track. For the cooling system, I had a similar problem with my 94 cavalier, although it didn't affect the way it ran, but the temp. started out the same way.. normally it would stay in the 1/4 position, then as the temp. outside went up, the temp. gauge would go up to the 1/2 position or a little past it and it stayed that way for awhile then the temp. gauge started going to the 3/4 position then it started overtemping. My radiator was full, my water pump was new, and my thermostat was new. I pulled off the radiator and found that it was about 75% plugged. I replaced it and the temp. gauge stays in the 1/4 position now. It would be a good idea to have your radiator, thermostat and water pump checked. Also have your cooling system flushed if there are no issues there and refill with the right special brand of antifreeze that it requires, do not mix different antifreeze types. For the acceleration problem, it could be a number of things. First, change your fuel filter. Check your cat. converter. Try running injector cleaner through your injectors. Replace your O2 sensor if it's never been replaced. Check your fuel pump & fuel pressure regulator for proper pressure. Check EGR valve. Replace air filter if it looks dirty. Check PCV valve & replace if plugged. Have your sensors checked (MAP sensor, TP sensor, Air Charge/temp sensor, IAC solenoid, EGR solenoid,etc,etc) for any fault codes. Check your spark plugs & replace if fouled (excess carbon buildup) Check your plug wires & replace if they are starting to arc. An issue with any of the above can cause the problem you describe. Note: just because a diagnostic was run on your car & nothing showed up doesn't mean that there isn't a fault, any decent mechanic knows this. Hope this helps. :shades:
  • larryj54larryj54 Posts: 1
    I have a 94 Cavalier RS convertible; 2.2l Auto. I have had many of the heat and sputtering problems I've read here. This is a reply 1st to the
    1. stalling at a stop unless you shift to park or neutral.

    Solution: Most likely it is your lock up torque converter not releasing. This happened to me and I feared big $ but the easy fix was FREE!!! Simply disconnect the electrical connection to the tranny. It does not need this feature to work, and I have now put 40,000mi on mine this way. (still get 32-34mpg on the highway too)

    2. Overheating!

    Solution: Check your radiator for clogging. Mine was 100% clogged and could not be acid cleaned!!! I had to put in a new radiator. The good news is that the darn car still ran awesome even with a fully clogged radiator!!! The scarey over heating was only at a stop or in slow traffic.

    3. Bucking, and general cantankerous running:

    Solution: Probably plug wires. Mine was very sensitive to this. Would runs awful in wetter weather. New (expensive) plug wires.. runs like a champ.

    Cavaliers were such great little cars. Chevy BLEW it when they opted to kill it for the Cobalt.

    Hope this helps
  • Ok, here's a little update

    1, The cooling system was repaired last year by replacing the radiator. Temp now stays normal

    2. As for my transmission, the problem was the TCC (shift) solenoid ($44 dollar part) on the side of the transmission. It now shifts like a new transmission.

    3. The plug wires and plugs are brand new. I took a closer look and found a fuel leak (small leak) coming from the num. 3 injector leaking into the cylinder from the lower injector gasket, and my fuel pressure regulator is faulty, & my fuel pump is starting to whine, so it's getting ready to go out soon.

    Before this car started having these problems it ran like a champ for a car that has over 217,000 original miles on it. :shades:
  • joachjoach Posts: 2
    When I got my car at 60k miles. I had it for about two weeks and my starter would not turn over the engine. So I thought maybe I needed a new starter. I got one and it worked fine........................for about 4 to 5 months then it would sometimes work it sounded like the sprocket gear (what ever it is called i cant remember the actual name) would just spin and not connect to the flywheel. then even after i let go of the key it would still spin. so i started popping the clutch to start the car until i could afford the $200 to get yet a new starter. I just got a new starter about 4 months ago and it has worked fine until tonight it started doing the same thing.
    Now i thought i just got a bad starter the first time i bought one, but now i am thinking something is wrong with something else that is causing my starter to fail.
    If anyone can help me out on this it would be very helpful.
    my car is a 2.2liter and a five speed manual transmission with about 97k miles on it. Thank you for any help
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    All I can say is the chain store rebuilts are of poor quality. If you do your own work get life time rebuilts.
  • neenersneeners Posts: 2
    yeahhh so i took my POS in and was told it was the fuel pressure regulator. so i replace it.doesn't do [non-permissible content removed]. take it back and am told i need some AC fuse [non-permissible content removed]. replace it, works fine for about 2 weeks until my bf is driving us to dinner and my clutch goes to the floor. check the reservoir and it's empty. fill it with clutch/brake fluid. doesn't do [non-permissible content removed]. have car towed to friend's shop.

    friend says i need a need reservoir and tubes. calls a buddy and finds out it only comes in a $500 kit that includes the slave cylinder (which i don't need). friend's buddy talks it down to $130. awesome. replaces reservoir and tubes, keeps it an extra day to be sure. runs great for 1 day then breaks down 1 block from the shop.

    friend does more investigating and finds out i DO need to replace the slave cylinder. but guess what? cavaliers' slave cylinder is bolted inside the transmission which means this lucky guy has to pull my transmission. thank GOD he only charges $60/hr for labor.

    oh yeah and thanks to the leaking fluid, my clutch is worn but can withstand about 1 more year.

    my next buy will be a honda or toyota :mad:
  • joachjoach Posts: 2
  • jdrockerjdrocker Posts: 1
    Any help here would be appreciated. I have a 2003 Cavalier, manual 5 spd tranny, which intermittently will cause my engine RPMS to stay around 2000-3000 RPM's when I take it out of gear to stop. Shortly after this, it'll start to stall when I take it out of gear or just slow down even. It doesn't do it consistently, but every now and then I'll have problems with starting it back up. If I let it sit for a few minutes it'll start back up and act normal again for a while before it does it again. I've already replaced the spark plugs, ignition module and control and I had the catalytic converter replaced as well due to failure. There are no codes, so I'm looking for any help before I have to take it in to someone to start guessing and randomly throwing parts at it. :confuse:
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