My 1998 cavalier will not turn over like it has a bad timing chain, why want it start.

William Dudley

Asked by May 28, 2015 at 06:09 PM about the 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier LS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

4 Answers


If you suspect a jumped timing chain, run a compression test. If all cylinders test very low or zero, it's jumped timing. But the first thing to do is check for spark and fuel. Spray a little starting fluid down the throttle body. It should run a few seconds. If it does, it's a fuel problem. If not, it's either an ignition problem (no spark) or a jumped timing chain. Remove one of the spark plug wires and insert a large screwdriver in the boot that plugs into the spark plug. While holding the plastic or wooden handle of the screwdriver position the metal part of the screwdriver close to something metal that's not painted. Have a helper crank the engine. You should see and hear a rhythmic sparking (snap snap snap) as the engine is cranking. If not, it's an ignition problem. If you have sparking check for fuel. Listen for the fuel pump at the gas tank. Have your helper turn the ignition on but don't try to start the engine. You should hear the fuel pump run for about 3 seconds. If not, get a rubber mallet and hit the bottom center of the gas tank. Then try to start it. If the fuel pump still won't run, check for power at the fuel pump relay. If you have power there, replace the relay. They're cheap. Once you determine you have spark and fuel and it still won't run, now run that compression test. HTH. -Jim

William Dudley

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1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I'm assuming that you're the guy stuck on the side of the road I saw in an earlier post? If you were driving and the car just quit it's probably going to be the fuel pump or, as you suspected, the timing chain. An ignition system failure usually isn't catastrophic but will present itself as a breaking down of say a coil pack. This will cause it to run poorly, but it'll still run. An ignition module can fail and leave you stranded but will usually start working once it cools down. HTH. -Jim


Also, a worn timing chain will give symptoms before it jumps as well. Running hot, boiling over, lack of power, and possibly late shifting of the transmission will usually occur before the chain jumps and the engine quits. HTH. -Jim

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