1997 Chevy Cavalier 1997 Chev Cavalier engine dies, poss fe

Tiny
TJFREEMANJR
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 CHEVROLET CAVALIER
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 135,000 MILES
My 97 Cav has been a great running vehicle, have had very few issues over the past 11+ years we've owned it. The problem I have is that there is a medium-high pitched whine/vibration sound coming from the back of the car. It happens about 80% of the time and when the engine is going to die, the pitch of the sound increases and then stops and the car conks out about 5 seconds later. It almost always happens if I have to stop and go a few too many times, sit idling at red lights, or go thru the drive thru. It just doesn't like sitting still :). I'm not sure if the fuel pump is getting hot and stops pumping fuel or what. Most times I can let the car sit in the off position for a couple minutes and it will restart and I can head on home, sometimes it stops repeatedly and I just want to drive it into the lake.

I replaced the fuel filter at about 90-100k just to see if that was the problem and it made no difference. Anything I can try or test to see if that is the problem before I start ripping out the fuel tank and getting into this repair? I'm not the most proficient mechanic but I think I can do this repair. I have replaced my entire AC system and several simple repairs like alternator and serpentine belt in the past.
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Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 AT 9:21 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
First, don't drive it into a lake. (LOL) But I do know what you mean.

It sounds like the fuel pump is bad. A way to test it is to check pressure. If the car dies when at an idle, view the "How To" video and check it in your drive way. My guess is you will have pressure then it will drop.

Here is the video:

http://www.2carpros.com/dia/test_fuel_pressure.htm

If you need the gauge, many parts stores will rent it. If you can't find one, they sell them at the "Test Equipment Store" site on this page. Also, the pressure should be between 41 and 47PSI

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 AT 10:11 PM
Tiny
TJFREEMANJR
  • MEMBER
Ok I watched the video and it made perfect sense to check the pressure first. However, I searched and searched and can't locate any place to connect a pressure tester on the fuel rail. I poked around on the internet and asked in a Cavalier forum and it appears that you can remove the fuel filter and connect the tester inline? I remember that when I replaced the filter I had a really hard time getting it off and back on again. Do you think it is a better use of my time and money to just purchase a new filter and pump and install them both at the same time? I know replacing the pump is going to be the harder of the 2 tasks but I think the fuel filter might have to be taken out in the process of dropping the fuel tank anyway?

Thanks for your time in reviewing my questions!
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Saturday, March 14th, 2009 AT 5:37 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Because of the cost of the pump, I would recommend identifying that it is bad first. I know it has to be near 200 dollars. And, the tank can be a pain, so if we can avoid that, I would recommend it. And yes, you can check the pressure as you mentioned.
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Saturday, March 14th, 2009 AT 7:13 PM

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