Diagnostic: Losing power, rough idle, won't rev above 2k rpm.


Asked by Sep 28, 2015 at 08:44 PM about the 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

2003 Chevy Cavalier, 2.2L EcoTec.

The car began losing power -- wouldn't accelerate, even in low gear, going
up the slightest hill. About 50-75 miles later, the crap hit the fan and I lost
95% of my power. Runs rough anywhere now. Even idling in neutral, it
starts sputtering around 2,000 rpm, and won't go any higher than that.

I replaced the fuel filter and the entire throttle body assembly (with attached
sensors). The fuel pump seems to be working fine, and fuel pressure is
around 55 psi.

The longer this problem persists, the worse it's getting. After replacing the
TBA and sensors, the car idles around 400-500rpm, almost stalling itself
out. When I give it gas now, it revs slightly (maybe to 1250-1500 rpm), then  
stalls itself, and is difficult to restart.

Any ideas on what the problem could be? After browsing through others'
similar problems, I'm considering that it might be and o2 sensor, a fuel
injector, or the fuel pressure regulator. Any thoughts?

4 Answers


OBD2 returns no codes. Replaced ICM and coil packs. Tested resistance in all 4 fuel injector terminals... all read in normal range (13.5). I'm out of ideas.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Sounds like you are in what is called 'limp mode'. It's when there is a serious malfunction within your engine or sensors...it's the cars way of letting you know there is a problem, and will prevent the engine from reving too high of an rpm, and going too fast...it will still run and drive, but will only let you 'limp' home, til it is repaired.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

It ended up being a clogged catalytic converter caused by bad o2 sensors.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I had the same problem. I changed the coil pack, plugs and wires. Didn't change anything. However I was just checking things out, unplugging this and that to see if any change. I unplugged the air intake temp sensor and I'll be damned as soon as I did it purred like a kitten again. I'm not saying that is your problem but I would suggest you trying it. Start the car and unplug that sensor and see if your engine calms down. Please let me know if it worked out for you... mrtwain@yahoo.com

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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