1998 Chevy Cavalier Check engine lite after difficult start

Tiny
DRAGSNGUNS
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 CHEVROLET CAVALIER
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 11,650 MILES
Hello!

When I try to start my 1998 Cavlier, it cranks but does not turn over easily. Sometimes. Sometimes it fires right up. We initially thought it had something to do with the security system's kill switch.

But this morning, it went thru the hard start routine, it turned over, the check engine lite came on steadily (not blinking). After I got the car warmed up it idled smoothly but the light remained on.

thoughts?
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Friday, December 12th, 2008 AT 10:46 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
Cant speculate on much until you get the code
http://www.2carpros.com/dia/how_to_scan_trouble_codes.htm
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Friday, December 12th, 2008 AT 10:56 AM
Tiny
DRAGSNGUNS
  • MEMBER
I have no idea if I am responding to my own question or the one response I got. But here goes.

Autozone just tried to read the codes. They got nothing. Absolutely nothing on the display. As soon as they unplugged the reader, the lite went off.

Probably not much help.
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Friday, December 12th, 2008 AT 4:47 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
The code would probably have helped. If their code reader had a blank screen it probably had a dead battery or was malfunctioning. There is a possibility that they did not actually clear the code and it is still in the computers memory. Maybe you could try again at a different store?

But even without the code we may get some ideas with a game of 50 questions.
Does it only happen when started when it’s cold.
Or wet weather conditions?

Does the engine sound like it turns over when you have the key in the START position at its normal speed?

When it is hard to start does the engine run smooth once it’s started.
Does it have normal amounts of power?
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Friday, December 12th, 2008 AT 4:53 PM
Tiny
DRAGSNGUNS
  • MEMBER
Does it only happen when started when it's cold.
Or wet weather conditions?
Hard to say. It's been both cold and snowy in Denver.

Does the engine sound like it turns over when you have the key in the START position at its normal speed?
Hmmm. Not sure exactly what this means.

When it is hard to start does the engine run smooth once it's started.
Not at first. If I keep the RPMs high for just a couple of minutes and get it on the road, it starts idling smoothly.

Does it have normal amounts of power?
I just started driving this little car instead of a 1972 Chevy Nova with a 396. So I don't have much to compare it to. But it has had no variance in power since the day I test drove it about 10 days ago.
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Friday, December 12th, 2008 AT 5:03 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
Here is what I recommend for now.
Go to a different parts store and buy a set of spark plugs.
(have them try to check the code while your there)

If they do get a code, i'm hoping it's a cylinder misfire.

If it is and if it says which cylinder number it is, pay close attention everything related to the ignition system while you are changing that plug.
Otherwise just keep a lookout for anything, cracked or dirty spark plug. Damage to the coils or wires.

Good luck
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Friday, December 12th, 2008 AT 5:18 PM

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