Question about 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier

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1990 Cavalier turns but won't start

1990 Cavalier Z24 died on my daughter the other day after driving about 3 miles. When I went to get the car, I noticed a burnt / melted wire smell inside the car (not under the hood). I checked all the fuses, none were blown. I loosed the panel at the bottom of the dash and check wires and didn't see anything melted. The motor will turn over, just won't fire. The fuel pump works (at least I can hear it) but it doesn't seem like it's getting any gas - at least I can't smell any when trying to start it - pumping the pedal or even holding it to the floor. I have a Haynes manual, but even that doesn't help too much. What should I be looking for? (Please don't say a new car ... )
Thanks for any assistance!

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  • Geri Emmelman
    Geri Emmelman May 24, 2008

    Not sure what an imobilser is .....
    An added note: my daughter smelled the burnt wire (or whatever it was) and then the car died. Don't know if that helps anyone diagnose the problem any better or not .....
    Thanks again

  • christa_kae Jan 02, 2009

    Problem # 1: As the car began to idle at a stop it would drop below
    1000 rpm and die. To stop it from dying I had to press the
    accelerator while I was breaking.

    problem # 2: The car dies after driving 2-3 miles and wont start again till the car is cooled off.

  • Anonymous Feb 03, 2009


  • Anonymous Feb 03, 2009




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For the 1990 Chevy cavaliar .might be the(crank shaft pasision sencer) its 20 bucks.i Have the same car. Same problums .might be .Thanxs

Posted on Oct 05, 2012

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If the smells is on the pass side check the computer and look at grond wires. did this happen while it was raining or after it rain if so check the computer

Posted on Apr 23, 2009


While trying to start the car, pull one of the spark plug wires from the coil pack. Hold it above the connection terminal enough to see or feel it arc. If it is getting fire, there is a pressure release valve on the engine for the fuel. The haynes manual you have should tell you where it is. Hook a pressure gauge to the valve and follow the instructions in the haynes manual which should also give you the pressure reading it should have. Sometimes you might smell a burnt wire because of something else malfunctioning and overheating the wire without melting it, I had a beretta that did the same thing. If it is not getting either fire or gas, let me know, that would narrow the possibilities for me to go through for you. If by some chance it is getting both and still not cranking, let me know and I will find the solution for you. Hope to help getting you going.

Posted on Jun 12, 2008

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Dose it have an imobilser ?
you said you smelt burning from the dash but then it dont start ?
i suspect 3 things the imobilser is at fault or the igniton is at fault or the ecu could have blown an inturnal fues the first too are easyer to fix then the last .
all still may need to be looked at by the garage
hope this points you in the way you need to go

Posted on May 23, 2008

  • andy felton
    andy felton May 24, 2008

    hi thanks for getting back to me the immobiliser is apart of the security sys sorry i did not put the correct wording in my tex to you.

    the problems with cars is that there maybe a number of things that can go wrong at the same time or like a chain reaction one thing gose then another and so on it very dificult to pin point what the problem may be with out looking at it with my own eyes.

    in your case with it being a wiring problem it can run anywere within the whole wiring loom and travel to places you may never know so sorry i cannot be anymore help to you but good look and all the best .

    the best thing for you if your not sure is take it to the garage it could be an easy fix you never know thanks


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