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Cavalier Starting in the 1980s. the Cavalier made a name for itself by offering an affordable 2 and 4 door compact.
Platform: J-body

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  #1  
Old 02-02-2012, 04:39 AM
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Default weird problems with 97 cavalier after small accident

first off, let me start by saying i am new to this forum. im not big on forums cause i usally am able to solve problems with google. but i look forward to contributing to this online community. about 2 weeks ago, it was snowing, and i really needed some ciggs. so like an idiot, i drove out in the snow. might have played with the e-brake a little... either way, that was stupid. but i slid down a hill and over a divider. blowing the drivers side tire, breaking the plastic plate underneath, and messing up the allignment a bit. and about a day later, the car started overheating strangely. like after 5-10 mins of driving, the needle would pin to hot, and "check gauges" light comes on. and i checked the coolant level, and it is leaking somewhere, but not on the ground. the coolant is a orange-ish brown with tons of bubbles and smoke. and there are some sharp metal shards in it, and the shards appear to be round-ish. the oil is also dissapearing, and is very dirty looking, like black dirt. and it smells like pure gasoline. and if i remove the dip stick after i just use the car, it smokes out of the oil filler *** well... if i rev the engine a bit, the temp comes back down to normal. yesterday, i was on my way to work, and i was at a stop light, and the lights all started dimming, and the car started to die down and idle very rough. then i drove away, but the car wouldn't really go anywhere. it would hesitate, and rev a bit, a kick back alot. and it would backfire if i pushed the pedal to the floor. and there is a banging/clicking sound on the left passenger side when this happens. then after taking about 20 seconds to get to 20mph, it finally started moving better. but with a big loss of power. i checked the plugs, and they are black. so i changed them, with only a little improvement. the car doesn't start doing this till it warms up, usually. but im afraid to drive it, but i need to get to work. im calling off 2morrow, and hopefully going to be able to fix the problem. but i cant afford to miss much work, and mechanic is out of the question, cause i take pride in doing my own work on my car, and i cant really afford one lol. im thinking mabye the tranny? or the head gasket or intake? or none of the above? the symptoms fit a million different problems, so im at a complete loss.... any help would be very appreciated. thanks.
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2012, 09:51 PM
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I guess I don't get the logic. It sounds like the vehicle hasn't been maintained (dare I say neglected?). Even if you somehow get it running again, it's probably going to strand you in the near future. How much work can you afford to miss? Consider getting it repaired professionally if you're going to keep it. Or, trade it in for something more reliable.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:46 PM
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Sounds like it is dead.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:51 AM
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to say the least about work... i cant afford much considering im getting fired today for calling off yesterday... lol. and today it had code for bad temp sensor. i cant afford a mechanic, and tbh, it has been neglected horribly, because it was my mothers car, and she has a horrible track record for destroying cars with neglect (9 in 11 years to be exact). but i need this car to last me at least a little longer.. at least through income tax for a new vehicle. today when i drove it to get engine light checked, the gauges for temp. pinned to cold, lights all dimmed, and it stalled out. and sever loss in power. can barely make it over 45. does anyone have atleast any insight at all to what it could be??
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:29 AM
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Jeez, I don't know what to say about your work situation without sounding like a jackass. The temperature gauge is probably registering cold because the coolant is low in the engine block. Based on what you posted, I don't think the engine is salvageable.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:34 PM
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damn.. i guess i should call the local junkyards for the best scrap price then.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:22 PM
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The bubbles, smoke and discolored coolant indicates a blown head gasket. Rough idle, gas in the oil, and some of the other symptoms also say head gasket. Head gaskets are easy to blow if you have overheated the engine, but you say that the gauge may be bad. You can check if it is really overheating by putting your finger on the head while it indicates a hot engine - if you can leave it there for nearly a second without too much pain, the engine is not overheating. When cold, fill the radiator and leave the cap off. Start the car and if the gasket is blown, the coolant will appear to boil even when it is cold. Changing the head gasket takes me two days.

A couple other things to try are to be sure you have a good chassis ground - use a jumper cable to connect the Neg battery terminal to the chassis. Good Luck!
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:29 PM
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Overheating rarely kills an engine, I've seen engines boiling constantly in desert mountains but keeping at least the minimum level of coolant keeps them alive. On the other hand even if there is no apparent overheating low coolant will kill the engine due to local overheating which will warp and/or crack your heads, use your imagination for what happens next inside of that engine.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:36 AM
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im almost certain its the head gasket now. i started it up, and whitish/ brown colored smoke poured out of the exhaust. leaving a puddle, and a misty spot. and it kinda smelled like oil. but not gasoline. and when i revved it, it became a thick cloud of smoke behind my car. and the idle is so rough that it dies out a lot. and its definitly overheating lol. im 150% sure of that. after 5 minutes of running, that finger trick you said would burn my finger if i touched it.

Last edited by bmx6454; 02-04-2012 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:48 AM
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well, im replacing the head gasket, water pump, thermostat, temp sensor, and all fluids with a thorough flush. hopefully it goes well. cause now my engine wont start cause the water pump is falling apart and air is escaping, so the engine is losing pressure.(atleast that's what my mechanic friend told me after he inspected it.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:48 AM
 
 
 
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