1997 Chevy Cavalier Engine Stalling after running for 15-20

Tiny
GOLFDUDE
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 CHEVROLET CAVALIER
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 232,159 MILES
We have owned the car since it was new so there is really no mystery about a previous owner. It has been a GREAT car for the 11 years we have owned it. I keep up with all of the scheduled maintenance. So all in all it has been taken care of well.

Six months ago it stalled and would not start until after it sat for a while. I topped it off with fuel even though it already had ½ tank in it. I put gas treatment and injector cleaner in it and it did not give me any problems for about five months. I changed the fuel filter for the first time at 230,000 miles (boy did it need it) prior to this last trip. When traveling back from an assignment in Indiana to SC, it started stalling on me while driving at highway speeds. I could crank it and after it seemed to not run for about a minute or so it would start back up and go for a little bit longer then stall again. Sometimes it would run a few miles and sometimes 100 miles or so before it did it again. I removed the gas cap thinking it might have been vapor lock or something. No luck, it kept stalling. Put the gas cap back on. I topped it off and put 2 bottles of dri-gas in, no difference. I removed the air tunnel off of the throttle body and left it off. No difference. I took it to a shop and they replaced the air sensor, a vacuum hose, and reset the codes. All this in three trips and I’m done spending money with them. I took off the fuel line at the injector point and when I turn on the ignition it would pump fuel. I am now driving back and forth to work 16 miles each way. I leave at 5:30 in the morning (75 to 80 degrees) and the car runs fine. On my trip home (85 to 95 degrees), 15 or so miles into my trip home it starts stalling on me again. I have considered replacing the fuel pump but at $275 I hesitate to do so. The mechanics I took it to do not have the super duper computer to look at my computer so as I said, I’m done with them. It almost seems at this point that it is heat related, either in the engine or due to ambient temperature. Or there is something blocking the fuel intake or it is the fuel pump that is bad and just intermittent. The battery cranks it well, when it does start it has plenty of power. In the morning it has plenty of power. In the afternoon it has plenty of power until it starts stalling. When it gets started after stalling, it has plenty of power until it stalls again. Again, sounds like it is not getting fuel but I don’t know if that is the computer or the fuel pump.

We have had the car for so long it seems like part of the family is why it is so hard to give up. I use it for a commuter car back and forth to work to keep miles off of our other cars. At times I work out of town and the last thing I want is to be stuck in a town and I can’t get the car home or I can’t get to work. It would be no great loss to give it up but I hate to because it has been so good. Also don’t want to spend too much money on it because it is so old.

Any suggestions? A Chevrolet dealer for one last diagnostics test perhaps? But again, I don’t want to spend too much on it.
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Thursday, July 24th, 2008 AT 6:55 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
Definitly need to verify fuel pressure. When the pumps start to go they will work, then not work like you describe. At 230k I think you may have set a record for a GM fuel pump, especially if you didnt change the filter til over 200k. Dirty filters make the pump work harder.I would start with afuel pressure check, dealer or otherwise, they may need to drive the car to get it to act up, plan on leaving it there so they can drive it and let it run long enough to recreate the problem
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Thursday, July 24th, 2008 AT 7:48 AM
Tiny
GOLFDUDE
  • MEMBER
That's what I have kept thinking is that it would be the fuel pump because it seems to have all of the other parts for ignition. I had also discussed this problem with a friend who had replaced his fuel pump and he said his did what I decribed as well. Clean gas and good living may have been the key to the pump lasting as long as it did, if that turns out to be the problem. Are the pressure gauges expensive/worth buying for a one time use or should I let Chevy do it. At least that way I can check the pressure when it's doing its thing and not have to pay for a mechanic to drive it around at $75 an hour or whatever they charge now a days. I can change the pump if necessary but just don't want to throw money away on the pressure gauge if it's expensive. I just hate paying someone to do the work that I can do, I'd rather pay myself.
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Thursday, July 24th, 2008 AT 8:14 AM
Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
Your local parts house should have an inexpensive gauge. Do not run it into the interior of the car, it is high pressure and could be dangerous. When you do hook it up, just be sure there are no leaks
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Thursday, July 24th, 2008 AT 9:35 AM

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