Hot Rod Forum banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Its just metal,you're the boss
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my daily driver, 01 cavalier single cam, has been acting up. for the forth time it has left me sitting. this time at college 40 miles from home.

every now and then the car just wont start. it has spark and I believe I can hear the fuel pump kick on. i haven't found a schrader valve on the fuel rail any where so i don't know if it has fuel to the injectors. i don't want to just replace the fuel pump and see what happens because they are expensive, and im a poor college student so if im going to start throwing parts at it i would like to know for sure what parts to throw.

when this happens the check engine light comes on, today the check oil light came on as well. i've taken the car to a mechanic right after it acted up like this and he says it returned no codes but the fuel filter was plugged up badly so he replaced it. that was 2 weeks ago and it has worked fine since. this seems to be happening more and more as time goes on. does any one have any idea what this might be or even a good place to start? any help is very appreciated. thank you in advance.
 

·
Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
Joined
·
5,122 Posts
leldai73 said:
my daily driver, 01 cavalier single cam, has been acting up. for the forth time it has left me sitting. this time at college 40 miles from home.

every now and then the car just wont start. it has spark and I believe I can hear the fuel pump kick on. i haven't found a schrader valve on the fuel rail any where so i don't know if it has fuel to the injectors. i don't want to just replace the fuel pump and see what happens because they are expensive, and im a poor college student so if im going to start throwing parts at it i would like to know for sure what parts to throw.

when this happens the check engine light comes on, today the check oil light came on as well. i've taken the car to a mechanic right after it acted up like this and he says it returned no codes but the fuel filter was plugged up badly so he replaced it. that was 2 weeks ago and it has worked fine since. this seems to be happening more and more as time goes on. does any one have any idea what this might be or even a good place to start? any help is very appreciated. thank you in advance.
edited. You say you took it to a mechanic right after it happened. Did you tow it or did it start and drive there?

You say you get a light but no code. That is illogical.

First, you need to rule out another fuel filter.
If the pump is getting weak a lesser plugged filter will fail sooner. Which might explain the increasing frequency of your failures. (I have a spare in the trunk of each of my cars, easy to change on a Ford)

Did your mechanic check your fuel pressure, with and without the hose connected? That is how to check an electric fuel pump.

You could have a failing wiring connection in the fuel pump circuit, whereby it is not running to full capabilities, low voltage. It could also be an intermittent connection, causing the car to stop, then somehow jiggling back together enough to run when the mechanic checks the operation. (been there)

Another is a failing fuel pump relay. On most cars it is the same as the AC relay, and usually mounted adjacent to it. (hint, if you ever have a failure, there is your spare relay to get you home)

I have also seen a fuse that looked good, be bad internally and making an intermittent contact.
 

·
Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
Joined
·
5,122 Posts
Brainstorm=

The only logical conclusion between a code light that doesn't exist and a car that intermittently quits IS........ an intermittent battery connection, that makes the car quit, then erases the soft code because the battery current is disconnected.

An internally bad battery can cause this condition, and still be starting the car well.
 

·
Its just metal,you're the boss
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i started the car and drove it...the symptoms had gone away when i took it to him...so had the check engine light. i dont know if he checked the fuel pressure. but i will ask. what should the pressure be? i have already tried swapping around the relays,didnt work. how would i check for an internally bad battery?
 

·
Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
Joined
·
5,122 Posts
Unfortunately intermittent connections anywhere are just that, intermittent. When they work, they are impossible to detect. Sooner or later a total failure will occur..... if you can stand the aggravation that long. ;)

Wiring, oftentimes you can wiggle it and make it come and go. Battery..... eehh? Check all your battery wire connections and the grounds.

That thing is old enough to have corrosion problems, especially where you live.
 

·
Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
Joined
·
5,122 Posts
I recently had a good friend that had an intermittent start problem on a 94 Olds fwd for a month, stranding him at inopportune times. Sometimes perfect, sometimes slow, sometimes click, sometimes nothing. Wait 2-10 miinutes, perfect. Sometimes jumpers.

3 shops told him he needed a new starter at $200+. He asked me, I checked the alternator and battery and told him to go to WM and buy a new battery. He said all three shops checked the battery and said it was OK.

So, being my friend, :D I asked him, "So why ask me?".

He put a new battery in it 30 minutes later and it was instantly perfect and has worked ever since. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,205 Posts
xntrik said:
Brainstorm=

The only logical conclusion between a code light that doesn't exist and a car that intermittently quits IS........ an intermittent battery connection, that makes the car quit, then erases the soft code because the battery current is disconnected.

An internally bad battery can cause this condition, and still be starting the car well.
Welcome to no code drivability!!! I deal with it every day.

A 2001 is OBD 2 and will not clear the codes if the battery is disconnected.

Is the light on while cranking? If so this is normal (bulb check)

If the engine is cranking and just wont start, chances are its not the battery. I believe there is a TSB on water intrusion into the PCM on this car, (I will check for that in the morning when I go to work.) The PCM is located behind the fender well on the passenger side and takes a lot of debris and gunk from the roads.

There can be many reasons for a no start, you just need to weed through the diagnosis process to find it.

Steve
 

·
Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
Joined
·
5,122 Posts
DV8 said:
WM= Wal Mart :drool:

Commie WM

THE best place to buy batteries. period.

3 year free replacement.
4000+ stores in 48 states.
They have your battery on the shelf.

Hard to beat that. :thumbup:

(The first time you buy a "local" battery and are hauling *** across SD and it dies......uh huh, yep)
 

·
Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
Joined
·
5,122 Posts
1931 steve said:
Welcome to no code drivability!!! I deal with it every day.

A 2001 is OBD 2 and will not clear the codes if the battery is disconnected.

Is the light on while cranking? If so this is normal (bulb check)

If the engine is cranking and just wont start, chances are its not the battery. I believe there is a TSB on water intrusion into the PCM on this car, (I will check for that in the morning when I go to work.) The PCM is located behind the fender well on the passenger side and takes a lot of debris and gunk from the roads.

There can be many reasons for a no start, you just need to weed through the diagnosis process to find it.

Steve
Why would he have a malfunction light and then a NO CODE.??????? W>T>F is a flashy light for....... entertainment?

"Gee dealership, I have this flashy light on my panel. Can I make it keep time to the radio?"
 

·
Hates: Liver. Loves: Diesel
Joined
·
6,306 Posts
1931 steve said:
Welcome to no code drivability!!! I deal with it every day.

A 2001 is OBD 2 and will not clear the codes if the battery is disconnected.
Most cars you can. You just have to leave it disconnected for a few minutes. The way it works is that it clears the codes, but the misconception is that it doesn't because it won't pass smog. The computer will automatically fail since it doesn't have enough cycles to accurately plot an emissions history so it won't let it pass, but the codes themselves are gone.
 

·
Its just metal,you're the boss
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
well, went out to get the car off the trailer just now, and guess what it did. started right up :drunk: . no check engine light. i checked the battery terminals no corrosion. i sprayed them down with 2+2 battery terminal cleaner any way. i am going to check the connections on the starter tonight on the advice of a buddy at school. is it my imagination or do some auto parts stores "check battery's" im going to have to call around and find out. maybe they can tell me if the battery is good. i have never had any problems with it starting the car so it would be a waste to replace it if it was still fine. but i guess i have to do what i have to do to get back the peace of mind that i wont be stranded again.
 

·
Smile if you know Jesus
Joined
·
515 Posts
My wife had a Cavalier that developed a problem before we got married. It would sometimes die when driving and then wouldn't start. Give is a little while and it would start right up. Took it to Chevy and they said bad coils and close to $400 for the repair. I told them thanks for checking it, payed the $85, went to the Zone, bought a new coil/coils and wires (for under $150). When pulling the wires 2 came completely apart. I replaced the wires and no more problems. Took the coil back.

We traded the car in shortly there after and got a truely dependable vehicle, a Toyota.

Cheap cars (i.e. Fords, Chevys, Haundis, K.I.A.s, ...) are not dependable vehicles. Only dependable if you trade them in after 2 years.

I'm sure that will ruffle some feathers.

How many new Haundia's and KIA's have you seen on the side of the road? I see them fairly regularly. Yea, they'll fix it for free but you're still stuck on the side of the road.

Sorry so long.

My 2 cents.
 

·
Its just metal,you're the boss
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
im beginning to wonder myself how reliable it is.in 2 years nothing ever happened to my Monte Carlo that i couldn't fix along the road with what tools i had with me and a little creativity. this is the 3rd time in 5 months Ive had to have the cavalier towed or trailered home. and the4th or 5th time the little bastard wouldn't start. maybe i shoul trade it in and get my self an old chevette :D something with a carburetor and not so many wires. payments and insurance would be nex to nothing. not to mention im sure the ladies would be all over it.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top