Question about 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier

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98 Cavalier starter disengaging immediately

When I go to start my Cavalier the starter motor engages and spins but almost instantly disengages from the engine with the starter still spinning.

It had started acting up occasionally a few weeks ago and I assumed it was starter developing a dead spot. Then it left me sit and a friend working on it with me noticed the starter disengaging.

I thought it was voltage drop on the battery because when I checked the battery it was low on water and had corrosion. I cleaned that up and charged it but still same issue.

Now I am seeing the theft system light on solid when the key is on. No clue if that is part of the issue or if it just lights up with the other lights at that point.

Any ideas?


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  • hrsfreedomte Feb 23, 2009

    Clarification...



    The engine starts to turn over but before it catches the starter retracts.

  • hrsfreedomte Feb 23, 2009

    Starter seems to engage the flywheel and start turning it. Then before the engine catches...the starter disengages and backs off.



    Solenoid switch maybe? I don't SEE a relay on it.

  • hrsfreedomte Feb 23, 2009

    Grrr I'm not doing something right on this site!!!

    I turn the key and the starter engages the flywheel and starts spinning. Engine turns for a moment or two but before it catches the starter retracts while still seeming to spin. Sometimes it just spins without engaging the flywheel.


  • Jason Guerrero May 11, 2010

    So do you mean that the engine will start to turn over, an then all of a sudden stop with the starter motor still spining?

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I think the bendix spring in your starter is weak. Replace spring or get new starter and problem should be solved. Looks easy to replace to.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009

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Your bendix is out of the starter need too replace the whole starter

Posted on Feb 23, 2009

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There maybe a problem with starter motor? Some of the national brand auto stores will test starter for you. Of course, you have to take it off and take it to them.


You could take the starter off, lay it on the ground, Hook up jumper cables properly from starter to battery. The starter should kick-out the drive gear and spin. If starter drive gear kicks out and in, something is wrong. Anymore I replace starter solenoid and starter motor as an assembly.

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