2001 Cavalier 2.2L, spark, compression, will not fire with starter fluid


Asked by Dec 21, 2014 at 11:20 AM about the Chevrolet Cavalier

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My sons car died right as his wife was getting home.  She thinks she knows a lot so she always intersperses her "symptoms" with things that make no sense.  According to her the engine made a single thump followed by a loss of power and some other metallic noises, but she was able to drive a few more miles to the house and the engine died right before she got to the driveway.

The next day when I went to the car, the engine would not turn over.  My son said they had left the key on overnight.  I checked he battery and it was at 9 volts.  I tried jumping the car with a spare battery I had and the engine seemed to crank real slow with no sign of firing.  I tried some starter fluid and still no sign of firing.  I removed the battery and brought it back to my house.  when I tried to charge it I found the battery was bad.  When I charged it the charger jumped from 9Vto over 12V quickly, and then when I removed the charger the battery voltage dropped down below 9V.  

I put a new battery in the car.  The engine cranks faster, and for the first revolution of the engine it sounds like it will fire but after that, nothing.  I pulled all the plugs and there was weak spark to all of them.  The plugs were old, so I replaced them all.  While I had the plugs out I had my son crank the engine so I could tell the crankshaft was turning and I had some compression.

So my current situation is, new battery, new plugs, crankshaft definitely turning, engine cranking at a "normal" speed, but no firing of any cylinder even with starter fluid.

The only thing left I can think of is a timing issue.  But I don't think there could be an issue on the timing chain side since last year the timing chain broke and I replaced both gears, the tensioner and the chain with new parts and there hasn't been any problem since.  The only work done in the last month prior to this was replacing the starter with a new  unit.

Any suggestions for troubleshooting/repair are welcome.  Thanks for reading this far!


3 Answers


Check coil http://www.ehow.com/how_7959727_test-12-volt-ignition-coils.html

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I neglected to mention that I tested the secondary side of the coils. Book says they should be between 5K and 10K and they were both around 5.5K. I couldn't check the primary side because I didn't have a small enough socket with me to remove them. I read somewhere that the bolts are 9/32" so I am bringing my small 1/4" set with me so I can check the primary side of the coils.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Get a compression tester and test the actual compression on each cylinder. If all cylinders test low it's jumped timing. If it won't run for at least a few seconds on starting fluid you either have no spark (an ignition problem) or no/low compression (jumped timing). HTH. -Jim

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions


Looking for a Used Cavalier in your area?

CarGurus has 1,618 nationwide Cavalier listings and the tools to find you a great deal.


Search Chevrolet Cavalier Questions

Chevrolet Cavalier Experts

#1 John Saffrahn
John Saffrahn
Reputation 2,670
#2 dandyoun
Reputation 1,220
#3 mbar1
Reputation 1,050
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Chevrolet Cobalt"
100 Great Deals out of 5,587 listings starting at $950
Used Honda Civic"
1,176 Great Deals out of 59,023 listings starting at $1,300
Used Ford Focus"
1,213 Great Deals out of 57,386 listings starting at $1,495
Used Chevrolet Malibu"
1,181 Great Deals out of 72,985 listings starting at $695
Used Honda Accord"
1,309 Great Deals out of 78,753 listings starting at $1,395
Used Chevrolet Impala"
938 Great Deals out of 35,894 listings starting at $700
Used Chevrolet Camaro"
826 Great Deals out of 39,076 listings starting at $2,650
Used Chevrolet Cruze"
1,163 Great Deals out of 74,740 listings starting at $3,997
Used Honda Civic Coupe"
331 Great Deals out of 16,368 listings starting at $799
Used Toyota Corolla"
1,489 Great Deals out of 67,842 listings starting at $1,295
Used Toyota Camry"
1,730 Great Deals out of 99,028 listings starting at $895
Used Ford Mustang"
728 Great Deals out of 41,504 listings starting at $900
Used Nissan Altima"
1,495 Great Deals out of 88,168 listings starting at $1,195
Used Chevrolet Tahoe"
1,146 Great Deals out of 36,619 listings starting at $1,995
Used Pontiac Sunfire"
560 listings starting at $1,700