Asked by Sep 02, 2008 at 03:34 PM about the 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I was installing a radio into a 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier, when i was done, i went to start it and it wouldnt, it would just turn over, i think i may have had the key in accessory too long and the fuel pump went out, or the cullanoid(cant spell that word), but i was told, if the cullanoid was out, it wouldnt even turn over, i need help

32 Answers


Try youe alernator , if it is gone your car will just keep turning over because it wont charge your battery like it is suppsoed to.


You are WRONG!!!!!!! The car would start up and continue to run until the battery went dead.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

try the timing. your starter timing might be off. if thats the case, you'll need to get into the engine. another thing you can try...put the old radio back in just how it was. (if you still can) and see if it works. if not, again...try the timing. the fact that it turns over doesnt mean its NOT your starter solenoid. so dont try to check things off so fast. here (in order) is what you need to check... 1. Battery 2. Alternator 3. Starter Solanoid 4. Flywheel (see if the two are connecting) 5. Timing if its none of those, take it to a mechanic. if you have any more questions feel free to ask.


and again...youre wrong as well. the battery only STARTS the vehicle. the vehicle doesnt run off of the battery. or else you'd be replacing batteries every several months. the vehicle starts off the battery, then switches to the alternator for power. just a little lesson there.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

If the car is turning over, it is NOT the solenoid. I would check all fuses. Fuel pump would cause the issue, but the fuel pump is pronouncely loud in that car, so you should hear it whine when you first turn the key into the on position. If no noise - may be the ignition switch, fuel pump relay, or the pump. If you get noise it would be in the ignition side - may be ignition switch, coil, ecm, or the ignition module to name a few. With the key on while you were installing the radio (which was not the greatest of ideas) you may have caused damage to the ignition switch (which is different from the key switch!!!!). Given the information you have provided that would be my best guess.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

actually the car WILL run off the battery if the alternator isnt working until the battery is dead. The alternator only keeps the battery charged and doesnt run the car. thats why some cars have 2 batteries for more storage if the alternator goes out then it will run for a little longer until you can get it pulled off the side of the road.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

and again what the hell is starter timing. you dont have to "time" your starter when you replace it. Do you know how to work on cars?

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I will not even begin to explain how dumb you are making yourself look. First, the car will run off of just battery power, until batter operating voltage falls below 10.2 volts. Most fuel injected vehicles will shut off at that point to save the ecm. 2nd, the car would not turn over if the starter solenoid (which is the proper way to spell it) was bad. 3rd, the car is turning over therefore would not be the battery. 4th, I am assuming you referred to the flywheel, maybe for teeth problems, but again the car is turning over!!!! 5th, how would the timing get changed by installing a radio or leaving the key on????

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Amen!!! Thank you!!


Thank you for the lesson! Here is on for you....... The car will run off of just battery power, until battery operating voltage falls below 10.2 volts. Most fuel injected vehicles will shut off at that point to save the ecm. If you did suffer alternator failure, the battery's charge would last less then a day at normal driving, NOT SEVERAL MONTHS.


no matter how long the key was on it wouldnt burn up the pump unless it was already bad. your pump will only run for about 2 -4 seconds until the car is started. there should be a fuel pressure test port on the fuel rail so to see if its the pump, unscrew the fuel cap then put it back on. try and release all the pressure from the rail, then turn on the key and see if there is pressure there again, if there is then its not the pump. if its not the pump see if you have spark even. pull a wire and put a screw driver in the end of the wire and lay it with a SMALL gap against something metal and turn it over and see if theres spark. if theres fuel and spark my guess would be either to weak of spark to start it or injectors arent firing. if you can get a known good coil and put it on see if it starts. if it still doesnt then you probably fried your PCM having the key on and working with electrical components so you'll probably have to reaplace the pcm. good luck.


heres what i dont get. an experienced chevrolet mechanic such as myself gets online to help another person, and you two morons get on to badmouth me? if you dont know what youre talking about, and it seems like neither of you two do...dont get on and start talking like you do. grow the hell up.


I would say that if it ran fine before the installation, then have the battery tested or try jump starting it. if not then look at your wirinfg on the installation.


no master fuse


I dont understand why you all have to be a bunch of assholes.....this is for advice not to make your male egos better if you want to be a dickhead find somewhere else to do it......

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Well Michael, I know what I am talking about. Being ASE certified for the past 8 yrs with GM vehicles being my preferred vehicles of choice, I tend to know my way around them. I never bad mouthed you. I merely pointed out your errors, which you did not correct me on. We are all on here to help someone out. Chris stated his car was turning over, but not starting. THAT rules out the starter and the solenoid.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I'm not mentioning anything new, I think... I'm just going over it all again since there is a lot of bickering in this thread and I think the point got clouded a bit.... I'm trying to place the suggestions in order of easiest to check... Firstly check you fuses... It sounds like you were working on the electrical with the ignition on 'Run' not Accessory since your pump doesn't run on Accessory... If you pre-made your harnesses it should have just been a simple plug in, but most don't do radios right and I'm guessing you have crimp splices and/or electrical tape connecting your radio... Doing it this way you would have increased the possibility of shorting a wire out, hopefully just popping a fuse or two... Check battery... It is possible for the car to crank but not start if the battery isn't supplying enough amps due to low voltage (drained, bad cell, or internal short of the battery)... May not have enough amps to fully power ignition+starter... I doubt this is the problem though since generally a second or two of cranking and it will start and the car would be cranking over slower than normal, but it's not hard to pull out a multimeter and check the voltage drop across the battery... Check fuel pressure as someone above mentioned... You can listen for the pump but that just tells you it's running... The little shaft in 'em can break in which case you hear it but it does nothing, fairly rare but will annoy the hell out of you if you generally listen for the pump, guess how I know.... Check spark... I wouldn't use the screwdriver as mentioned above as the chrome vandium(spelling?) plating they put on them melts at a low temperature and they can, for lack of a better term, weld themselves to a metal object... Had a 1 Farad capacitor that was used to prank people in such a way... Instead I generally use a spark plug(if you don't have one lying around pull one of yours... Either ground the body of plug or place it so the threaded part is touching the engine block... Have someone crank it and you'll hopefully see sparking at the gap... So you've ruled out electrical issues... You have enough power and you have spark...Assuming ignition timing isn't off that about all you need... Fuel is about as good as you can check since you shouldn't have the tools to test your injection system... Past that it stops being a job for a backyard mechanic and you should take it somewhere... Hope that helps


Chris, During the install, did you spark anything? Did you use a harness connector kit or good ol' wire splices with butt connectors? I'm going to assume that you crossed (grounded) a wire and popped a fuse. It's possible that you crossed the ACC wire, which delivers a trigger voltage to the stereo; one wire is for constant (memory), and the other for acc on trigger. This ACC trigger wire connects to the bulk connector that could have been crossed and caused another component to fail. If you grounded out the constant wire, this could also have caused another lead to fail. Please look at the fuses and let me know if they're all good. Are you interior lights on? Dash lights on the cluster turn on when you activate the headlights? That's where we should start. Also, how reliable is your fuel gauge? Are you certain there is fuel in the tank?

check ur crank shaft position sensor because my friend just did that to his and he had the exact problem but he had to replace his so u might need a new one.


check your ignition fuse under your hood and all other related fuses in the cabin fuse box

could you please help me out with my question Micheal? Man i have a 1993 Cavalier and the other day I went out to my car and when I put my key in and turned it said nothing.I have a new battery that is fully charged,lights bright ,horn loud yet my engine does nothing.I turn the switch you hear the fan come on nothing else.I've checked the post and such little things,but to no avail.Please give me some ideal whats up!I wanna say my starter has went out.The very first few times that I had tried it you could hear my selanoid going..........clank.......clank...................clank.......clank.but after a while of trying my switch it now says nothing,but like I said ,you hear the fan come on.


I would pull the starter off and have it tested at your local auto parts store to see if it works... Then we can go from there..

Check the wires you cut for the radio. Some cars, not saying our cavaliers have it, but anyways, if you or someone cuts the wrong wire, you might have cut a ignition wire thinking it was something else. Ignore all the answers about the battery or alternator. Id just get back and check the wiring.


sorry to tell you this but you have antitheft on your previous radio and when you removed it the computer needs to be reset to your radio your anti theft is ( on ) making your car not start those cars are bad for this i suggest putting the old radio back in..

I would say you had the key on too long and run the battry down ,try a boost to start it


Look for a shorted wire


its the module maybe

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I have a 2001 Chevy Cavalier it turns over but it won't start check the fuel pump what else could be wrong

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

The radio you changed on your vehicle comes with anti theft .by removing the radio it wont allow you to start the vehicle because the antitheft is is still on the ON position thats what sucks about those cant change the radio.

Im having problems starting my 94 cavavlier lights and all comes on when I start my car I just hear some clicking noise help me

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Hello, I have a 98 Chevy cavalier, that has the same issues, the car comes factory equipped with a anti theft system, which works in conjunction with the cluster and the ignition switch, in my case it was my girlfriends car, I own a Z28 , to make the story short, if you replace the stereo unit for an aftermarket and you did not use a specially built harness adapter you are tricking the computer into thinking that you hot wired the car and steal it, this cars are very well known for failing starting switches and defective clusters, my best recommendation will be to get the proper wiring harness adapter, or install the original radio back on, or take it to a stereo shop and they will help you to reset the VATS, vehicle anti theft system to the current configuration of the head unit that you installed, if it's not done this way, your car will start to develop many problems that will make you want to junk it, I'm ASE certified technician with 18 years experience on the field, this system is very problematic and you can prevent much of that hassle by doing the right thing, I have replaced my gf's cavalier dash, ignition switch and vats module just because the previous owner decided to put a 50 dollar radio unit, think about it. If the anti theft is blinking just put the switch on and let it sit for a few minutes, when stops blinking you can start it. I hope my advise will help you.

You can also check your solenoid wire in the front of your car , if it's burnt, it can cause your altinator to drain your. Battery, plus gave lights will come on.

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