2002 Chevy Cavalier 2.2 SFI engine just spins and no start


2002 Chevy Cavalier 2.2 SFI 60,000 mi. Engine just turns over and over and will not start. Its not the battery or starter and it does have spark. Any ideas before I call it a blown motor?

Do you
have the same problem?
Saturday, April 28th, 2007 AT 6:10 PM

1 Reply


There are usually only two kinds of blown motors: blown motors that don't turn over at all (seized up) and blown motors that make all kinds of awful clunking and banging noises when turned over. 60,000 miles? If you've been changing the oil semi-regularly, you should have nothing to worry about.

I'll go ahead and assume that the engine is fully assembled and you haven't taken it apart.

The old adage goes that all you need is fuel and spark (air is assumed). If you KNOW you have spark, then lets talk about the fuel.

How's your fuel pump? You should be able to hear it run for a few second when you first turn the ignition to the run position. The noise will be faint without the door open. It will be coming from under the back seat. If your fuel filter is clogged, you wouldn't be getting fuel, but it would have to be TOTALLY gummed up to not even kick over.

If you had a shop, you'd get your fuel pressure guage and look for about 40 psi at the fuel rail (the metal tube where all the injectors connect to. In your driveway, you could take a screwdriver and press on the small inner tip of the test port on the fuel rail. WATCH YOUR EYES. It is a good idea to loosely cover the thing with a rag and feel for pressure through the rag when you press with the screwdriver. It should squirt pretty good, enough to be dangerous if not covered. But I'd say if it squirts at all, the motor should at least start.

If you have no pressure at the rail, check your fuel pump fuse and relay, maybe replace your fuel pump. Sometimes they still make noise when they are dead, but it will be a higher pitch noise then usual. I replaced my 2001 Cavalier's fuel pump at 70,000 miles. Not a lot of fun.

So, you have pressure at the fuel rail. Lets talk about gatting it into the cylinders. Are the injectors firing? They are controlled by the PCM (computer). Does it have power? Does the check engine light come on when you turn the key to on? Maybe the fuse going to the PCM is blown. Some of these cars have this fuse in with the other fuses, but it is sometimes all by itself on a wire coming from the battery or starter going to the PCM. On these cars, the PCM is in a terrible spot, behind the passenger side from bumper, maybe 8 inches below the headlight. You will need to scour the engine bay looking for a wire with a little plastic lump on it, encasing a fuse.

If the PCM has power, and it thinks the engine is turning, it will fire the injectors. Your crank sensor could be screwed up or not connected (not likely), or your PCM could be trashed (not likely, unless you had an accident involving that front passenger corner of the car). The wires going from the injectors to the PCM could be fouled up (not likely), or hot wires feeding the injectors could be fouled up (not likely). The hot wires go right from the injector fuse to the injectors, and the PCM controls them by completing the circuit on the ground side, grounding the wires coming from the injectors. Are the injectors plugged in? And then theres the injector fuse. It is fairly likely that it could be blown.

So, lets summarize:

Assuming you haven't been ripping the car apart:

99% Likely: Bad fuel pump fuse or relay, bad fuel pump, bad injector fuse (in with the other fuses), bad PCM fuse.

1% Bad or unplugged PCM, Clogged fuel filter, climped fuel line, damaged wiring all around, bad injectors, unplugged injectors.

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Monday, April 30th, 2007 AT 5:37 PM

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