Question about 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier

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Wouldn't stay running when put in gear.

I was having trouble with the cavalier dying as soon as I put in gear. I thought it was a vacuum problem but found no bad hoses. While working on the vacuum hoses I noticed that if I moved the wires attached to the side of the throttle body the car would die. It started just fine and idle great. I messed with the wires and found that there was a small plug with three wires attached that seem to be the trouble. I thought I would unplug this connection and try to start the car. That caused a new problem, the car started fine but now the cooling fan runs all the time and it won't shift right and won't down shift at all when driving until you come to a stop. This is still the trouble even after I re-hooked up the plug. Now this is the trouble and the check engine light and the ETS light stays on. Any ideas!!

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  • nikki50047 Dec 06, 2008

    My daughter recently purchased a 95 cavalier with, what I believe, may have been the same problem. It died when put in gear only when the engine was hot. For the first 20 minutes or so on the road, it ran fine.
    I took it to a mechanic who told me it was a bad valve in the torque converter in the transmission and quoted her $1,000 to replace the transmission. After some investigation, I discovered that you can bypass the problem by simply unplugging it from the tranny. Though, the gas mileage on the highway isn't as good as it was, this immediately and permanently stopped the problem.
    Google cavalier torque converter for more detailed info.



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When you unplugged the Throttle Position Sensor you made the computer go into panic mode and try to compensate for the loss. The fan might be thinking your engine is idling so it needs more fan. Even after plugging it in it probably will ignore it. I would try removing, without zapping yourself, the positive cable off your battery and let it sit for a bit to reset it's internal memory. If that don't work you might need a dealer to do the reset or it means the sensor was going and is now gone. Hope that helps.

Posted on Jan 05, 2009


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