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03 Cavalier won't start


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Esredlak
Novice

Jul 28, 2012, 3:02 AM

Post #1 of 14 (7153 views)
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2003
Chevrolet
Cavalier LS
2.2 Ecotec
111,xxx miles

A couple of days ago I made the mistake of leaving my lights on when I got home from work. When I woke up my car wouldn't start. Tried to jump the battery and that didn't work. Took the battery to O'Reilley's and they OK'd it and charged it for me. It still didn't work so I took it back and returned it and got a brand new battery. Still won't start. The car will turn the motor over but won't "catch" and start (the starter isn't just clicking, it's engaging enough to turn it over and rock the car a little). My gas tank is 3 quarters full so I'm not out of gas. I plan on taking my starter out and taking it to O'Reilleys to have it inspected soon. Possibly my alternator as well.

In short - My car will turn over but won't start with a brand new battery after I left the lights on all night.
I'm no genius, and am stumped. What could the problem(s?) be and how can I diagnose/fix them? Thanks ahead of time


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 28, 2012, 4:57 AM

Post #2 of 14 (7122 views)
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Re: 03 Cavalier won't start [In reply to] Sign In

From the read the engine cranks but wont start so why are you concerned with starter or alternator? It's lacking spark or fuel delivery or some anti theft or aftermarket remote start or something that didn't like a totally dead battery. Just disconnecting them without a memory saver causes enough troubles on several.

You need to check for spark and fuel delivered yes or no and find out which then chase down why,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


Esredlak
Novice

Jul 28, 2012, 8:18 PM

Post #3 of 14 (7101 views)
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To test for a spark I'll need to remove one of the spark plugs and plug a tester into the spark plug wire, correct?
How can I test for fuel delivery? I can hear the whirring of the fuel pump when the key is turned to the ON position.

EDIT:
Thank you for your help.


(This post was edited by Esredlak on Jul 28, 2012, 8:19 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 28, 2012, 8:30 PM

Post #4 of 14 (7095 views)
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 All "crank, no start" conditions are approached in the same way. Every engine requires certain functions to be able to run. Some of these functions rely on specific components to work and some components are part of more than one function so it is important to see the whole picture to be able to conclude anything about what may have failed. Also, these functions can ONLY be tested during the failure. Any other time and they will simply test good because the problem isn't present at the moment.
If you approach this in any other way, you are merely guessing and that only serves to replace unnecessary parts and wastes money.



Every engine requires spark, fuel and compression to run. That's what we have to look for.

These are the basics that need to be tested and will give us the info required to isolate a cause.

1) Test for spark at the plug end of the wire using a spark tester. If none found, check for power supply on the + terminal of the coil with the key on.


2) Test for injector pulse using a small bulb called a noid light. If none found, check for power supply at one side of the injector with the key on.


3) Use a fuel pressure gauge to test for correct fuel pressure, also noticing if the pressure holds when key is shut off.

4) If all of these things check good, then you would need to do a complete compression test.

Once you have determined which of these functions has dropped out,
you will know which system is having the problem.




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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 28, 2012, 10:35 PM

Post #5 of 14 (7083 views)
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Esredlak - to add: Check for spark between plug wire and plug. There are testers that will just light up with each jolt of spark or ones that show how far it will jump a gap. With this issue I'd just want to know if spark or not without worrying about power of spark just yet.

Fuel pump noise is good but not conclusive that enough pressure is available OR that injectors are being triggered to add fuel. You could try just spraying carb cleaner or starting fluid into throttle body (re-assemble parts first after if you try that) and if it fires up for a couple seconds it probably is a fuel issue and can focus on that instead of spark just gets it narrowed down.

Why this all happened just as it did isn't clear to me. If equipped with anti-theft devices I would hope it wouldn't crank at all but can't venture a guess on how all those things work of assorted designs. Aftermarket stuff if applicable seems to cause the most problems for owners!

Test away,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


Esredlak
Novice

Jul 29, 2012, 1:26 AM

Post #6 of 14 (7073 views)
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Alright, will do when I get home from work.
It could possibly be the spark plugs themselves, I bought the car at 108k miles and took it on word that the 60k maintenance was performed, but I don't know why a power loss would inflame their situation.
It may be an anti-theft feature as every time I open the door the car alarm starts to go off and stops when I turn the key. I had not even thought that this could be the problem. It had a Theftloc radio (OEM) that would go into it's Theftloc mode after power loss or disconnection of the battery but I replaced it with a Pioneer. I'm researching the possibility now, but like you said I didn't think it would crank at all. Maybe it just kills power to the plugs.

Hammer Time - Thank you sir.

EDIT: I found this in my manual...
Your vehicle is equipped with the Passlock theft-deterrent system. Passlock is a passive theft-deterrent system. Passlock enables fuel if the ignition lock cylinder is turned with a valid key. If a correct key is not used or the ignition lock cylinder is tampered with, fuel is disabled.

Maybe Passlock thinks my key is invalid or the ignition has been tampered with. As of this point I have NOT disconnected or removed anything from my car. This would be apparent if the starter fluid worked in the intake and I was getting a spark - correct?


(This post was edited by Esredlak on Jul 29, 2012, 1:43 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 29, 2012, 5:46 AM

Post #7 of 14 (7066 views)
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You just said ">>As of this point I have NOT disconnected or removed anything from my car. This would be apparent if the starter fluid worked in the intake and I was getting a spark - correct?<<"

If you removed than replaced the battery how did you do that without disconnecting it? If this was enough and no memory saver used OR battery was dead enough the car thought (likly) that it was being tampered with and is on the list now. Memory would be lost and may no longer recognise the correct key.

Sparks plugs? All at once would be highly unlikely unless somehow they were seriously flooded out but spark test would still work if tested plug wire to plug or just grounded.

About now I think this passlock is the problem. Now with replacement radio it could be tricky if so to re-aquaint car with the key. Hammer Time may know what the next best step is.............

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


Esredlak
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Jul 29, 2012, 7:24 AM

Post #8 of 14 (7059 views)
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Ahh, you are correct I misspoke. I did remove the battery, but have not tampered with anything else. I did some reading online about the passlock system and I may be able to "reteach" the system. I'll update later.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 29, 2012, 8:13 AM

Post #9 of 14 (7055 views)
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If security light is lit and would think so and have to guess as I don't see every vehicle out there then there was a problem solved at this site with this procedure and suggest trying it...........

Link to that thread.........

http://autoforums.carjunky.com/...T_START...._P102268/

Seriously - I would be hunting down procedures and "knock on wood" haven't needed to as I always use memory savers if only to save radio presets, clock and lots more.

Important for decades of models more than just radio and clock even if just annoying to set non essential things. If O'Reillys is the parts outlet you choose then just ask them about memory savers. You should use one if only to clean battery cable connections or replace them as needed.

Hammer may be hitting and posting as I type but try that process at that thread as I can't see it hurting anything,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 29, 2012, 8:38 AM

Post #10 of 14 (7049 views)
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If you have a Passlock issue you will have a security light on or flashing when you try to start it. The usual symptom of Passlock interruption is "start and stall".




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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Esredlak
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Jul 29, 2012, 8:56 AM

Post #11 of 14 (7044 views)
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Thanks for the help guys! I feel like an idiot for not seeing the Anti-Theft in the beginning. Mine didn't quite start and stall but didn't start at all.
Before I even saw your posts I had found this trick hunting in Google and when I got home from work I tried it. It worked like a charm. Another Cavalier owner mentioned Passlock engaging in their post and I posted the steps that I took to get her running again. I just joined these forums and posted my problem but I'm definitely keeping this in my favorites in case I can help with issues I have already encountered.
I am so glad to hear the engine start.
P.S. Do you happen to know off the top of your head if any other manufacturers have a system that doesn't supply fuel in case of "theft"? Just curious.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 29, 2012, 9:00 AM

Post #12 of 14 (7039 views)
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Quote
Do you happen to know off the top of your head if any other manufacturers have a system that doesn't supply fuel in case of "theft"? Just curious.


Yep, most all of them. GM Passlock is the only one that you can do any owner programming though.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Esredlak
Novice

Jul 29, 2012, 9:13 AM

Post #13 of 14 (7034 views)
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Well as slightly miffed as I was with GM for the Passlock I am actually kind of grateful that it DID allow for owner programming.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 29, 2012, 9:16 AM

Post #14 of 14 (7031 views)
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Yep, anyone else's security system fails and you're on your way to the dealer.




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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.





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