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18 comments
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 6

'96 Cavalier - Won't Start

01/15/2011 7:25 PM

1996 Chevy Cavalier won't start or turn over. Took starter in and had it bench tested, checked the safety switch with a multi meter and seemed fine, but car will still not start. Battery seems fine. Starter will engage by jumping across cylinoid, but still did not start it. Asked this earlier but was not registered.

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#1

Re: Cavalier won't start

01/15/2011 8:23 PM

Just got it started by jumping the clutch downhill,but it still won't start on its own

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#2

Re: JTucker

01/15/2011 8:39 PM

Chevy Cavalier/GM Camira's are the cars that CR4 gets the most request for information on. If you do a site search you may actually find your enquiry answered about tenfold. So another "guest " asking about their cavalier may not elicit a response like it used to.

That said, we need more information in order to give you a forward path..

Is there the appropriate level of oil in the motor?

Are the battery terminations clean and tight?

Manual or Automatic transmission?

Was the car running well before you parked it?

No misses or overheating?

When was the last time you started it?

Can you turn over the motor by hand? If you put a spanner on the harmonic balancer, can you turn the motor over?

Is your coolant at the proper level?

If it is a manual car, have you tried roll/bump starting it?

If the motor is locked up (you can't turn it by hand), remove the spark plugs and check for water/coolant ingress into the cylinders.

Should give you something to look for.

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#7
In reply to #2

Re: JTucker

01/16/2011 11:00 AM

Oil is fine

checking battery for negative cable

manual transmission

while son had car shifter cable came off while at stop sign, car of course had no gears, son said car tried to start with clutch without key turned, finally got it to move into parking lot but car has not started on its own since. Cable was fixed.

No misses or overheating last time I drove it.

son drove it last.

motor turns by hand and engine is free

coolant fine

got it started and running by rolling but will not start on its own.

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#3

Re: JTucker

01/15/2011 10:40 PM

You might check the ignition switch block. Not the key switch but the terminal block under the steering wheel. It's a multiple pin male-female terminal block and the pins have a tendency to corrode in this and 1997 models. One manifestation is driving along at speed and engine seems to hesitate, gauges go nuts, then the engine recovers and everything seems to return to normal. It ultimately results in the condition you describe.

Might take a look at users' forums. Somebody will likely have experienced this problem and can guide you further.

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#8
In reply to #3

Re: JTucker

01/16/2011 11:02 AM

going to check this too. Thanks

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#4

Re: JTucker

01/15/2011 11:19 PM

Do a search to the right on Cavalier, and there will be no question as to why GM needed a bailout.

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: JTucker

01/16/2011 11:05 AM

this car has 204,000 miles on it and this is the most problem we have had with it since 50,000 miles can most say that??? We are asking for help to find answers not negativity of chevys.

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#15
In reply to #9

Re: JTucker

01/17/2011 1:28 AM

I concur with JTucker

http://cr4.globalspec.com/comment/272059/Re-Recommend-a-Used-Car-for-a-Budget

I wonder if the reason CR 4 gets so many "hits" when someone searches for help with a cavalier is because of so many helpful people replying to earlier requests for help.

I assume search engines would search for frequency of a certain term (i just Googled "Cavalier wont start".... guess who shows up @ number 3?)

So, being inquisitive, I Googled "bath breaking technique"... Yeah baby!! Number One!!!!

My suspicion is a lot of posts from other cavalier owners were newbies - little to no previous posts... This would confirm my suspicion...

Sherlock ....errr.... Johnny B

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#5

Re: JTucker

01/16/2011 6:37 AM
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#6

Re: JTucker

01/16/2011 7:46 AM

Sounds like you have a poor connection somewhere. A good place to start would be the battery cables themselves which can be corroded internally and cannot be readily seen.

That would explain why when cranking there isn't enough voltage available to get the rest of the systems functioning and yet when you got it started going down hill there was enough voltage available since the starter wasn't drawing the supply down. Its worth looking into.

h

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: JTucker

01/16/2011 11:08 AM

Thanks we will be checking into this, that could explain alot the negative cable is questionable.

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#11

Re: JTucker

01/16/2011 11:58 AM

All modern vehicles have safety interlocks that will not allow the car to crank at all unless they are disengaged, or made safe, somehow.

I think it is connected, somehow, to the clutch on vehicles with manual transmissions so that the clutch must be depressed before the car will crank.

Maybe when the cable came off the interlock switch was damaged, or disconnected.

In auto trans cars this is called a neutral start safety switch.

I have NO experience with these particular vehicles.

Good luck.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: JTucker

01/16/2011 1:57 PM

I will never have any experience with these vehicles.

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#13

Re: JTucker

01/16/2011 11:03 PM

You may have a bad connection between the positive battery cable and the solinoid (?). If it were an old Ford, I would bet on it. That cable powers both the solinoid and a wire that goes to the ignition. You could jump the solinoid, but the ignition (headlights and everything else) would not be getting any juice. Do the headlights work normaly? If so, disregard.

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#14

Re: JTucker

01/17/2011 1:01 AM

check for an anti-theft relay. Chevrolet likes to hide them under the mat. Autozone has a lot of repair guides online.

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#16

Re: JTucker

01/17/2011 1:58 AM

Follow the path of power from the ignition switch, Purple wire to the clutch interrupt switch to the starter. The wire should be purple, or purple with a white tracer on it all the way. If you can reach the starter, attach a test light to the purple wire and try to start the car. If the test light is lit, you have a starter problem (or one of the battery cables) if not start at the easiest place to reach the purple wire, and then go in the direction needed from there. Good luck.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: JTucker

01/17/2011 6:38 AM

Check the negative lead to the engine block, it's the return path for the starter and many people over look that. Check the mechanical linkage between the key and switch block. If that rod gets bent it will not engage the start switch.

If that doesn't do it you'll need to trace the circuit with an volt meter.

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#18

Re: JTucker

01/17/2011 12:14 PM

Try replacing ground wire, of course making sure all contact points are clean. Is cheap and easy and finally ended an ordeal for me on an old Ford.

Alternatively my brother had a similar problem with his Silverado and it was the small wire to the solenoid.

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Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Poster (4); Bluestone (1); bob c (1); johnnybravo (1); JTucker (5); Kraemir (1); kramarat (2); lyn (1); Mech1 (1); Tobugrynbak (1)

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