Question about 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier

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1996 chevy cavalier

Hi I have been having problems, where the car will start but not stay running in idle, also it will run really sluggish until you get over 35 mph and all the idiot lights have come on in the car including the theft light
please help, have already dumped over $2000 in car and I can't seem to get any answers?

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  • wizzard911 Jan 07, 2009

    yes and all other lights

  • wizzard911 Jan 08, 2009

    Could this also be the reason that the car won't start now, someone told us to disconnect the battery and let it sit for a half an hour and then reconnect it, and it may reset the computer in the car and hopely erase all the lights in the dash board and when my husband reconnected the battery and started the car, at first it didn't want to start but it did and the lights came back on, and then he drove it up to the laundry mat and brought it back home,got out and left it sit for approx. 3 hours and then went out and try to start the car, and the car started at first, but then stalled out and then when he try to start it again, it started to crank and then die, crank and then die, crank, crank, crank, crank and kills the battery, because he didn't have time, to mess with it, he jumped in my car and left until the next morning, went out and try to jump the car, and it would crank, but not start.

    And thank you for your help,

  • Tim Higgins
    Tim Higgins May 11, 2010

    is the check engine light on?

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  • 123 Answers

The reason it all goes circuslights could be that the alternator is overcharging.
The charge rate increases as the load and engine revs go up but only supposed to be a little, thats what the voltage regulator on the alternator is for.. when the regulator fails and alternator is overcharging eventually enough power is sent through the ground to light everything up and the computer cannot run properly.
High voltage levels cause sensors to read incorrectly so the computer cannot manage the engine.. Suggest you check out the charge cicuit at idle, at 2500 and at 3500 revs (briefly!)
Charge should be between 13.5 at idle, to 14.6 at 3500
Its a starting point for diagnosis.
Note that putting the alternator on a machine at Autozone will not necessarily pick up the fault - it needs to be checked ON the vehicle.
Hope this helps

Posted on Jan 07, 2009

  • Tim Higgins
    Tim Higgins Jan 08, 2009

    you need to go to an autodealer and find out what the code stored on the computer is....disconnecting the battery to get the light off is not a repair. Its as useful as removing the bulb from the dash....

    Once u get the code message me and I can tell you why your car wont run. If you know someone with a scan tool to plug into the computer socket under the dash you can get them to tell you.

    Autozone etc will do it for you, but you have to get the car there..

    Those codes stored on the vehicle computer (called DTC codes or "P" codes) are essential to diagnose modern cars (after 1996)

    See how you get on with that...



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