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1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 7:02 AM

My mother has a 1995 Chevy Cavalier with aprox 40,000 miles on it. She drove the car home and shut it off. Came out a hour later to use the car and said it would not start. The car has no power... no lights, nothing. Tried to jump it and still nothing. Battery cables look fine. Put a "spare" battery in and still nothing. The main fuses under the hood near the battery are OK. Any suggestion?

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#1

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier no power

08/02/2012 7:35 AM

Battery grounding strap. Check continuity from the battery negative terminal to the engine block.

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#2

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 9:09 AM

Welcome to the insanity.

As posted, check the ground strap well. Do you have a test light, or meter? If so, put the one lead on the engine block, and test the pos side of the battery. If that shows power, have an assistant try the starter, while watching the light-meter. If it goes out, the connections at the battery, starter solenoid, or ground strap are bad. Physically clean and tighten them all.

If the light-meter continues to show power, you will need to check the small purple wire on the starter solenoid for power when turning the key to the start position. If that wire does not get power, it could be the ignition switch (which is connected to the key by a small rod), the neutral safety switch or clutch safety switch, or a piece of fusible link that protects the starter solenoid circuit from shorts. That fusible link should be attached at either the battery "pos" connection, or the alternator "bat" connection. To test, give a light pull on the loose small wires attached at those points. A burned link will stretch like a rubber band. The entire starter solenoid circuit is purple in color, and runs from the ignition switch to the neutral safety to the clutch safety through the firewall to the starter solenoid. The car will only have one of the safety switches, depending on weather it is an automatic trans or not.

Try working under the hood, and let us know how you do. From there, we can direct you closer to the problem if still not starting. Good luck.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 9:49 AM

Bob,

Thanks for your quick response. The problem is, I am not that close to my mother's house, so everything that has been done to this point has been instruction from me to my nephew. I am not a mechanic, but know enough about cars. I understand it may be the battery ground is loose or broken. My nephew did not have a meter or test light with him last night, but I did ask him if the battery cables were tight and looked OK. He said yes, but it may have been hard to see the ground at the block. If it is the ground to the block, that will be easy to determine with a meter. If ground is OK, that is where I need some info. My real question is, if it does not have power to the interior lights, headlights, etc... wouldn't that rule our the starter, solenoid, ignition. Shouldn't I have power to the interior lights without even trying the starter? Again, thanks for your input.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 9:58 AM

Yes. Absolutely. The "no start" is then a result, not a cause. All power from the battery goes through the wires on it. There should be a double ground, and possibly 1,2,3, or 4 wires on the pos. All have their function. Have him turn the headlights on. Then try moving the 2 large battery cables. If the cables are not making good connection, the movement should cause the lights to come on as the contact is made. Once the bad connection is discovered, have him remove the cables ( neg first) brush away any corrosion, and replace the cables. (pos first). Try using one of the jumper cables to connect from the engine ground to the battery neg post.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 10:10 AM

Bob,

My nephew is at work, so I will continue my troubleshooting tonight. I'll keep you informed of the progress. Thanks.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 10:40 AM

AAAAAArgh! URGENT - make a note of the security code in the in-car entertainment unit before doing anything with the battery!

Been there, done it, and the T-shirt cost £25.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 10:51 AM

How is that done?

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 11:06 AM

It's not likely that the radio is password protected, even though this feature is present, most people don't bother...The steering wheel is probably out of position...tell them to turn the steering wheel one way or the other while trying to start....

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 11:12 AM

Did that. Remember, it's not "won't start", but "no power". Thanks.

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 2:08 PM

Then this troubleshooting guide may help...

http://autorepair.about.com/od/troubleshooting/a/ts_no-start.htm

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 12:14 PM

If they changed the battery already, the cat is already out of the bag, so to speak.

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#13
In reply to #6

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 2:46 AM

That was a feature in 1995?

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#12

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/02/2012 11:07 PM

Had this happen a few years back when we swapped motors in a nova there is also a body ground, some times an extension of the battery to motor ground then it also goes on to the body and or frame. and some times not, just a separate cable from motor to body

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#14

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 2:49 AM

Get your Mom to sit in the car with her hand hard on the horn button while your nephew jiggles around with all the battery cabling under the hood.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 6:07 AM

That should make him jump and bang his head on the hood!!!

Seriously, some Japanese cars have "fusible" links instead of cables from the battery, even after fusing they "look" the same......and they look like normal heavy battery cables. The OP will need an Ohm Meter to see if there is one and its open.

Got fooled years ago on a Mitsubishi.......I took it out and put a normal cable in its place.

They always rupture when least expected.....

I must admit that I do not know if they are still in use today or not....

Certainly there is an open, probably in an earth cable or at a battery terminal. Sometimes the bad connection gets hot when trying to start the engine, but if no lights come on, it is a true "open" and that will probably not happen....

The fault will probably be within the first meter from either the "+" or "-" poles.....eg. easy to find.....

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#16

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 8:13 AM

Take the negative side of a Jumper Cable.... NEGATIVE ONLY!

connect it between the Negative side of the battery to the Frame...

If the lights come back on, it's a frame ground issue...

if not, disconnect the battery (Both ends) and read continuity along the positive cable....

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#17

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 8:22 AM

Sitting here and rereading this post I was just thinking about this a little bit.Has anyone thought to check the battery and make sure it has not internally shorted and is drawing all the current and wont let it start while trying to jump it. That would leave you with a totally dead system. Sometimes it is the simplest things that get us when we are not looking.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 9:05 AM

OP stated that it went dead shortly after using the car. Then they replaced the battery with the spare. We would hope at some point in time they were working with a live battery.

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#20
In reply to #17

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 1:31 PM

The battery was jumped and also replaced according to the OP.....but whether the new battery was good or not was not mentioned....

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#19

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 9:43 AM

It's easy to forget the original statement after reading all the threads and suggestions so lets listen...read in this case....and pay close attention to the original statement:

It's a 1995 model wiht 40,000 miles...this is impressive in itself and tells me it doesnt get driven much unless of course your mother is a new owner of the car. Usually not a lot of issues with connections on a car with 40,000 miles.

No problems with the car then hour later nothing. An almost sure sign of a shorted battery, and I will add that it is uncommon for a battery to completely short all cells but it can happen and (if a battery problem) had to happen for there to be no lights, dings with key in ignition or nothing.

Tried to jump it an nothing....this is not good...if there is a direct short then all the current from the other vehicle is now shorted and most likely messed up the other vehicle....it would be like clamping the two jumper cable ends together (pos to neg)...DANGEROUS...not kid or mom should be doing this. If there were no sparks then it is an indication that the short burnt itself open which is what usually happens with a good battery gone bad...problem with this theory is the lights and dinging should have come on with the jumper cable hooked up if there is an open in the battery.....assuming the jumper cables are good.

Spare battery? Where did it come from? They have a shelf life is just one of the reasons you never see a recommendation to keep a spare car battery. How do you know this battery is good? Now if you changed the battery out then you messed with the connections at the battery enough that you should have at least got headlights or radio lights or a dinging with key in the ignition....doesnt take much of a connection to get the annoying dinnging....

If the ignition switch or connection is bad then you should still get headlights and dome lights even if dim.

A complete open on the ground would be the next check....and if there is a pigtail off the ground going to the body then they would both have to be bad to get nothing...

It sounds like you have done the obious using someone that knows nothing about cars....for safety sake..I really suggest you get someone with at minimum a general knowledge of electricity even if just automotive related electric (DC). Maybe a neighbor? An acid burn from an exploded battery is lethal and very very painful...usually for the rest of your life to some extent.....

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#21

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 4:34 PM

To try what you are doing without a voltmeter is a waste of yours and everyone elses' time and efforts.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/03/2012 11:56 PM

I would have to differ with you.

The car's headlights can be used as an effective tester for the problems that the OP has. He has a complete loss of power in the car. When the headlights return to life, he will likely have found the problem.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/04/2012 12:03 AM

Horn is good too.

Makes for more drama and laughs......

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/04/2012 12:17 AM

What tools will be needed for this repair?

Pliers, jumper cables, and Depends.

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#25

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/04/2012 9:29 PM

I would suggest to check the main fuse. I reciently had a vehicle that had no power & like yours the vehicle was parked & then nothing worked when they went to restart it. I looked at the main fuse but it appeared ok but it was the main fuse it was totally unexplained with no reason & no fault to cause the fuse to blow. All I can put it down to was a faulty manufactured fuse maybe the vibration while driving caused it to fail when the fuse was replaced every thing worked perfectly & there was no faults. When I looked at the fuse it had not blown in the normal way it was broken where the internal link attached to the metal terminals so it looked more like an mechanical failure from faulty manufacturing

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/07/2012 6:23 AM

OK, I wanted to let you all know that my Mom's car is fixed. It was hard troubleshooting through another person, so I drove to my Mom's to investigate. It turns out it was a bad ground going to the battery. The negative battery cable connects to the battery tray and daisy-chains to the engine block. The ground connections at all three places were corroded, so I cleaned them, put some dielectric grease on them and reinstalled. The positive side of the battery cable was also corroded, so it was taken care of while I had the battery out. By the way, the easiest and quickest analysis was using the jumper cable as the battery ground. My nephew said "funny" things happened, so I believed I was on the right track, with my nephew's help. Thanks for everyone's input. This is a great site.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/07/2012 9:42 AM

....put some dielectric grease on them...

You mean conductive grease (jointing paste) don't you?

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/07/2012 10:04 AM

Good news on two fronts.

1) The car is fixed with little money spent.

2) Lyn-Door industries is embarking on a new program of mobile mechanics to serve the world. Please have your nephew apply as soon as possible.

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#29

Re: 1995 Chevy Cavalier No Power

08/07/2012 11:52 AM

The more Cavalier posts that show up on CR4 the more of these "terminal" cases are going to show up here.

Googling: chevy cavalier won't ________

Google: Hit1: CR4, Hit2: CR4, Hit3: CR4, etc., etc., etc.

(Terminal cases...get it? It's a battery joke!)

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