1998 CHEVY CAVALIER ENGINE STARTS BUT STOPS IMMEDIATELY.

  • Tiny
  • Turblown
  • 1998 CHEVROLET CAVALIER

Engine Mechanical problem
1998 Chevy Cavalier 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 90,000 miles

I just replaced my headgasket and the car's engine will fully turn over and run for about 3 seconds and then it dies.

Here are the symptoms:

1.) Put the key to the ON position, I can hear a sound like the fuel pump is priming the lines. Start the car and it fires up beautiful and strong. After the engine fully turns over and runs for about 2 or 3 seconds it dies. It then makes another sound like the fuel pump is priming the lines, but it does not last as long as the initial prime.

2.) From here if I leave the key in the ignition and attempt to restart the car, the engine will not start at all. The engine will crank and I can get spark, but no start (won't turn over).

3.) Lastly, if I remove the key from the ignition and then startover at step number 1, the car will start and die all over again.

I have repeated these scenario's with the same results everytime.

Here's what I've checked:

Cylinder compression is within spec.
No oil or coolant leaks from the HG replacement.
Double checked that all sensor connectors have been plugged back in.
Ignition coil connections are good.
Spark plug wires are in the correct order.
Vacuum tested all vacuum lines.
Spark plug tester shows spark in all four cylinders.

How do I fix this problem? What other tests can I do to narrow down the solution?

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 AT 11:13 AM

7 Replies

  • Tiny
  • Rhall77
  • MEMBER

Im not sure if this has a theft system or not but, when it runs and dies see if the security light is flashing, leave the key on and let the light flash. When its done (this may take 30 min) turn the key off then restart.

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 AT 11:32 AM
  • Tiny
  • Rhall77
  • MEMBER

I just looked it up it should take 10 min. Sorry

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 AT 11:41 AM
  • Tiny
  • Turblown
  • MEMBER

I just found the same info on Clubcav. Com. I will test it out tonight after work and let you know what happens. Thanks!

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 AT 11:58 AM
  • Tiny
  • Rhall77
  • MEMBER

Let me know, I will see what I can do to help you if it doesnt work.

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 AT 12:27 PM
  • Tiny
  • Merlin2021
  • EXPERT
  • 17,581 POSTS

Might want to test fuel pressure, test with key on. If you follow the links in the top right corner, it will take you to a video on doing this test.

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 AT 2:14 PM
  • Tiny
  • Turblown
  • MEMBER

It worked and I have a running car again! It was the anti-theft system causing the engine to cut out after 2 seconds. I followed the steps for the Anti-theft Re-learn and it worked!

For anyone interested, here is my original thread about a blown head gasket:
http://www.2carpros.com/forum/1998-chevy-cavalier-blown-head-gasket-cause-a-no-start-vt115839.html?highlight=

Also, here are some pictures of the rebuild:
http://s162.photobucket.com/albums/t248/butherous/1998%20Chevrolet%20Cavalier/?albumview=slideshow

Thanks again for the help!

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Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 AT 9:05 AM
  • Tiny
  • Rhall77
  • MEMBER

Congrats, let me know if you need anything else.

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Friday, April 4th, 2008 AT 7:08 AM

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