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1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/08/2012 2:56 AM

i have a 1998 chevy cavalier it will turn over but wont start it has a new air filter, fuel filter,oil,starter and im about to replace the spark plugs and it is deffinatly geting a spark and im also going to reset he anti theft system but my check engine light is on but its been on for awhile before it even stopped running and i found out that the o2 sensor is actually not plugged in but i dont know if that could effect it if anyone could help me on this please do as im intrested in learning whas going on

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#1

Re: 1998 chevy cavalier wont start

11/08/2012 3:20 AM

CR4 is becoming Cavalier Resurrection 4ever? Hope not LOL

For the OP: Just search the archives. S.M

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#2

Re: 1998 chevy cavalier wont start

11/08/2012 4:10 AM
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#3

Re: 1998 chevy cavalier wont start

11/08/2012 8:05 AM

Take it to a good mechanic. You'll never fix it.

Is there any reason why you replaced the air filter, fuel filter,oil, starter?

What symptom caused you to replace the air filter, fuel filter,oil,starter?

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#4

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/08/2012 9:43 AM

sounds like it's time to buy a Harley

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#5

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/08/2012 2:45 PM

it's hard to say what is going on it is impossible to troubleshoot from here also your run-on sentence is making my eyes do things i didn't think possible goodbye now

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#6

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/08/2012 3:11 PM

OOPS.

<Snarky remark not intended for this thread.>

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#7

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/08/2012 4:59 PM

1. Anti-theft systems usually disengage the fuel system, not the spark.

2. Unplugging the O2 sensor causes the system to run rich (limp along mode). Your fuel economy will go down, but the vehicle will still run well.

If you are getting spark, then the question becomes are you getting fuel?

An easy test is to try to crank the car over and then pull a plug or two. If they are wet or have an oder of fuel you can assume that it is getting fuel. You may also try listening for the fuel pump.

A more sophisticated test would be to check the fuel line pressure and injectors, but this is out of the range for the average person. You need test gear.

Before you have it towed, there are a few things to check:

1. Check all the fuses in the fuse box and reseat the relays.

2. The DME relay is another source of no-start headaches. If the relay is not identified in the relay or fuse box you need to do an internet search to find its location.

These relays can go bad. Sometimes smacking them with the butt end of a screwdriver will free up the contacts with the ignition key in the ON position. If that works I would get a replacement ASAP. They are cheap. Some people carry a spare DME relay in the glove box as an insurance policy.

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#8

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/08/2012 9:21 PM

All it takes for your car to run is fuel, spark, compression, and clean air.

Which of these is missing? You stated you have spark. Where? at the coil, spark plug wire, or at the spark plug?

Have you tried an ounce of raw gasoline down the air inlet?

Is the engine turning over faster than normal? That is a sign of no compression.

Test before replacing parts. The stores have more parts to sell you than you want to buy.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/08/2012 10:46 PM

Foe Pete's sake, pay attention to Bob. Test without an air filter. Check plug. If wet, fuel is there, maybe not enough, but there, it will sputter. If you are real fine, put a few turns of wire around the spark plug wire. It will show spark plug action. No, it is not a new invention. The old rotary engines of the airplanes of yesteryears were monitored that way. The pilot knew, which cylinder needed new plug that way, when he landed.

So, all 3 factors are covered. Get cracking.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/08/2012 11:03 PM

1998. that is 14 years old, it's Tired Out. Buy a Motorcycle. Junk the old buck. Buy it some Flowers, put it on a raft and give it a good push into the ocean. Use it for Target practice.

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#11

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 3:10 AM

I normally refer these problems to actual mechanics...

Spark: Remove the plugs and while still connected to the distributor cap, check for spark while the starter is engaged (first lay the plugs on a dry insulating material eg cardboard, while you do this). If no spark at any/all plugs, check the distributor cap contacts & rotor for excessive carbon build-up or wear (build-up or too large a gap will not allow continuity from the rotor to the plug leads). Where those are not all OK, check the plug leads for continuity by swapping with one of the healthy ones...if the fault clears, you have a faulty lead. This is a fairly common malady, be the lead of whatever type. DO NOT CONFUSE THE FIRING ORDER OF THE PLUGS WHILE YOU DO THIS! Place the leads back exactly as you found them...but hold on, you changed the plugs already...could this have already happened ? The engine will definitely not start with the firing order cocked up....

If those all OK, clean the distributor cap and examine very closely for cracks. Had a VW Beetle once with that problem..If all the foregoing are good, and you know you have air and fuel, you need to check the coil itself by pulling the lead to the distributor cap, and holding it close to the cap contact, while the starter is engaged (do not be in ANY personal contact with the vehicle at this point! good possibility of HV electrical shock). If there is a healthy spark at that point, you need to start checking the fuel system.

Fuel: Ensure your tank is not empty by adding a gallon from a can. Fuel gauges can lie. Otherwise, see others' comments about fuel...it's covered.

Air: it's free

Good luck!

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#16
In reply to #11

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 9:17 AM

Hello. Some of the bad relations which have been occurring on these threads is stemming from members intentionally or unintentionally misleading others. Note that this vehicle does not have a distributor or distributor cap or rotor. Also note your directions for checking spark. "Spark: Remove the plugs and while still connected to the distributor cap, check for spark while the starter is engaged (first lay the plugs on a dry insulating material eg cardboard, while you do this)." If the post had followed your directions he would wasted time trying to discover why there is no spark. There is no spark because the spark plugs need a ground to fire. Your directions have them insulated !!!! People looking for answers can find bull crap all over the web. The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion should be above that. What do you think ?

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 9:35 AM

SOME of your post is well taken. You are correct about the spark plugs.

However what you fail to address is the incredibly poor description of symptoms given by MOST posters of automotive problems.

Cavalier owners seem to be even more ignorant about automotive terms than most. (Maybe it's just that we get ssooooooooooo many of these which say, "Cavalier won't start. What to do?"

mikemlhn35, I not specifically singling you out as ignorant of automotive terms any more than the vast majority of desperate Canalier owners who request help without giving any useful information.

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 11:29 AM

Hello Lyn. "However what you fail to address is the incredibly poor description of symptoms given by MOST posters of automotive problems." You are correct. Addressing an issue i can do nothing about is a waste of energy. However you and i (we) can change how we answer the posts with the incredibly poor description of symptoms. Example: Establish a trouble shooting chart requiring the blanks to be filled in. (This of course would require cooperation from the members. I cannot at this time see how members would be opposed to this as it would save considerable time and energy and possibly improve relations. You are the senior member on here so i will follow your lead. I would be willing to work with others to develop these charts or standard diagnostic questions ( simple easy to follow, requiring minimum equipment ) or any way the members feel would address this ongoing problem. A wise man once said "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. Peace.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 2:18 PM

I see another fine product coming to market from those fine folks at Lyn-Door industries.

It's the "Wheel of Failure"

"Just spin till we win!" What ever the wheel lands on, we sell you the part. (At a ridiculous discount, of course)

Just spin and shop till your wallet drops.

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 2:32 PM

First, I am not the most senior member here. Maybe the most vocal, but that's all.

There are many on here who have been here longer and frankly give much better answers than I do.

I accept that I am a long time member, but I have no more influence here than you do. (If I had my way, every new poster would have to cut and paste proof of having been to Wiki, or a search engine, before they could ask us to size their wires, ask us what they should do with the rest of their lives or ask us to do their homework for them.)

I think members rarely go out of their way to give incorrect information here. There are many, varied opinions, but let us hope the OP is intelligent enough to choose the correct path from among the choices.

I suppose you could make up your list and try posting it in response to the next 50 Cavalier posts that come in. Maybe it would become very popular, if broken Cavalier owners are the demographic we want to attract.

Cheers.

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#12

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 7:08 AM

i actually got it.It turned out to be the spark plugs i took them off and they were completely black! but they had gas on them now my only question left is im getting white smoke coming out of my coolent overflow cap its tightened all the way but the smoke still comes out? i also am not getting any heat in my car ill turn the heat on all the way on my defrosters and it doesnt warm up even after an hour of driving if you guys could help me on this please it would be great thanks for all your guys help!

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 7:14 AM

sorry to tell you but you need major engine work. you have a blown head gasket or a crack of some type in your cooling system...bummer

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 7:17 AM

Auto Zone and Advanced will pull the codes for you maybe you need to plug in the oxygen sensor. Do this before you pull the codes.

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#15
In reply to #12

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 7:23 AM

White smoke usually indicates steam in the exhaust. Steam is a normal by-product of the combustion process, but unless it is below +-30 degrees, the steam should become invisible shortly after startup. If it continues, there may be water entering the combustion chambers. Was there any signs of rust on the plugs that you removed? The fact that you mentioned White smoke from the coolant cap implies that the coolant is boiling, or is being pressurized by the combustion process.

Are you loosing coolant? If so, where is it going? Inside the engine, or is it just leaking out to the ground?

As for the "no heat" condition, if the cooling system is not filled with water, the air pockets may find their way to the heater, and then the system may become air bound. If there is no coolant flow through the heater core, there will be no heat. As the engine starts to warm up, test the temperature of the small heater hoses. Do they get warm. Did someone remove the thermostat from your car?

Congratulations on getting her running again, but you still have some testing to do. Good luck.

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#22
In reply to #12

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/10/2012 3:39 PM

The spark plugs are wet? All of them?

Noootttttt! Odds are this is very unlikely! Especially with todays high energy ignition systems. A single plug failure is rare. 4 plug failures at once, impossible!

Get the radiator/coolant system pressure tested at a rad. shop. they will advise you as to what the results mean. A head gasket failure would be the likely first guess. The cylinder with the "most failed" area of gasket will have a different spark plug from the others. Perhaps wetter? and not wet with gasoline. (wet with anti-freeze!)

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#18

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/09/2012 10:35 AM

had same car with distributorless ign and it had similar problem .15 dollar crankshaft sensor fixed it,good luck

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#23

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/11/2012 5:47 PM

Two thoughts:

Too much fuel - flooded is as bad as too little

A coil can be damaged such that it will spark a plug out of the cylinder but not under pressure in the cylinder. likewise ignition modules.

Check/replace both

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#24

Re: 1998 Chevy Cavalier Won't Start

11/13/2012 4:23 AM

if you say that air filter, fuel filter are new then check the spark it is definately going to work.

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