Question about 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier

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Rough Idle - 1997 Cavalier RS 2.2L SFI-OHV 4-134

Vehicle: 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier RS
Engine: 2.2L 4-cylinder SFI-OHV 4-134
Transmission: Automatic
VIN Code: "4"

When I got the car, it ran fine (like most of them do from a used car lot). Shortly after, when colder weather began to set in, I noticed an idle so rough that it shook the entire car, plus the CHECK ENGINE light began flashing.

I had it looked at by a GM shop and they said it was the number 1 Injector. The injector was replaced and it began running a bit better. Along with the injector, I had the plugs, wires, air filter and fuel filter replaced. Still to no avail. But the situation is slightly better.

I still get the rough idle, but not as rough. Now, whenever I use the brake to slow down, the car will stall within a few seconds, and the first warning is the Oil Pressure warning light. And only a second after that, the Battery light will ignite. No other lights, save for the Check Engine light, will be on. To remedy this on the run, I have to shift my AT into neutral and alternate between the gas and brake to keep it running.

However, when the car slows to a complete stop, no matter how hard I press on the brake, the car will NOT stall. It'll just idle rough. But as soon as I put it back into gear, it will attempt to stall.

To compound it, when I try to start the car after it sits for about 10 or so hours, I have to try cranking it multiple times. The battery is good, and so is the alternator, otherwise the battery would be dead after multiple starting attempts.

Had the battery checked. It was good. Checked the alternator. Also good. Voltage regulator was also good. I think I've found the culprit, but I'm not sure.

The Idle Air Control Valve, or Idle Air Actuator. That MIGHT be it. Anyone else want to add to this? I'd love to hear some suggestions. Thanks a lot!


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  • Bullitt_B Jan 12, 2009

    Thanks for the response. I'm going to take it to a shop to give it a look. I talked to a friend of mine who removed their vacuum line to their fuel pressure regulator and they said the pressure was so high that the fuel in the line shot out and literally ripped the flesh off of their exposed finger.

    I'll let you know the details as soon as I can, and leave feedback appropriately. Thanks, work4it1 !

  • Bullitt_B Jan 15, 2009

    That did it! It was a double whammy! The Idle Air Valve AND the Fuel Pressure Regulator were both malfunctioning! Thanks a lot!



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WEll it is possible it could be the idle air control. one the most comon problems is the fuel pressure regulator. To check it find the fuel rail the fuel regulator will have one vacuum hose on it remove the hose and check to see if it is wet with fuel if not have some one trun the key on or start the car if it leaks fuel out the regulator is bad. This would explain why its hard to start when it sits because it floods out the motor

Posted on Jan 11, 2009

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I used to buy 97 cavalier's to drive myself to job, cause we have a good 2008 minivan for serious runs. I can tell all of you that these old crapaliers are not for driving your family safely across the country, even if you spend 1000$ or more on it.

Now my way to resolve most of my cavalier missfiring is to replace fuel injectors (that I've previously removed from other same cars sent to the junkyard). Also have a look to your fuel lines. Engine seems to be very sensible to lose of pressure. You can replace them yourself for 50 bucks and an afternoon on your back under your vehicule. Also if you ear fuel pump crying few seconds before stall, there will probably be the issue. Rough idle will always be, as stall problems, with these crapaliers. But you know that you always can start it back and run, as these engines are strong. Dont rely on these cars, just make them run from point A to a close point B. Don't EVER let your wife drive it alone or with the kids.
NEVER waste your money on these replacing any sensor our wires, plugs, etc. Your going to spend as much of money as if you buy a 2010 car. Buy 2-3 cavalier's from the same year and interchange parts... Think about savings and buy a new car as soon as possible. That's my advise.

Posted on Oct 30, 2010


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here you go, all the specs for your motor

Posted on Sep 10, 2011

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