1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 problems - won't start - left me stranded - EMERGENCY - please help!


Asked by Feb 06, 2013 at 11:49 AM about the 1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Coupe RWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I just found out I've been driving a few days on a bone dry radiator. (I bought the car a few days ago, and it was fluids were just fine.)
The car started to lose power, and died in the middle of the road while I was driving. I got it off of the road, (while pregnant), and got a jug out of the trunk to fill it with water at a nearby creek. I put the water in it until it was filled again. I attempted to restart the car. It would not start, as I had now flooded it, so I gave it some time.
A nice person asked if I needed help, so I agreed to let him give me a jump-start, (to aid in its starting), and it worked. It started, but after a couple of attempts, and pumping the gas. However; it had a BAD rattling which worried me. None-the-less, I put it in reverse to back into a space to turn around. The rattling got louder, and I heard a pop, then the engine died again.
I attempted to start the engine again, but all that was heard was a loud winding; as a cat getting frustrated, but no turning of the engine at all.
The above happened last night, and today the same sound is heard, but no turning of the engine. With the sound it made the last time it started, the it dying, and now nothing is heard but the fuel pump cutting on, (as the key is turned on), and the loud blowing sound with nothing else, I'm worried more damage has been done.
*I did get someone to put their hand on the starter to see if that was the problem from attempting to start it for so long, and it was where the noise was coming from, but the engine will still not turn, nor will it even attempt to make a noise at all.
I'm pregnant and already overwhelmed, so I'm not thinking as I should, and this is only stressing me more than  I need at this time. Please help me figure out what the problem is so I can rest easy.
Thanks. God bless. :)

19 Answers

wow. That's a lot to take in. Sounds like someone cooked the motor? How can this happen? there are lights to tell you this. The smell of someone fryin' chicken should have tipped you off as well as the plumes of steam. Why didn't someone pull over, rather then drive until it wouldn't drive N E more? Let's start with what we know. 1.) does the engine still turn over with the startermotor, or is it seized completely? 2,) there is no two, get yourself an enterprise rental for now, then a different car altogether. Seeing as though you are a mommy now, we are done with party-boots and dancin at the tavern for a while. Something nice and boring (and safe for your young'ns) you should start thinkin' about. 3.) if the engine still turns, there is still hope. See if it still holds radiator coolant. 4.) I'll be checkin to see if you've got a handle on this situation-

1 people found this helpful.

REPLY BY ASKER OF QUESTION: I'm gonna try to answer your follow-up questions in the order you asked them: 1. There was no steam when or before it died. When I opened the hood there was very little, but not enough to be seen outside of the hood. 2. The starter is making the noise, and the noise is felt on it, but the engine will not make any other sound at all, nor attempt to turn. 3. There is a leak after refilling the radiator, but the leak is coming from a hose, and not the radiator itself. Thanks for helping. :)

1 people found this helpful.

So in summation, the motor is cooked. Get ye self another car, sell the parts (windshield, seats) part it out for the money, if you're strapped or to the salvage yard (who probably will put another motor in it) for your new old car.

1 people found this helpful.

Well you need someone to get a socket and ratchet on the lower crank pulley and attempt to turn the motor by hand of it turns the motor maybe ok. However with the starter winning and nothing turning it sounds as if the teeth on it are sheared off which could point to the a bad starter. Find someone credible like a friend or family mechanic.

2 people found this helpful.

I agree with bob if it is cooked salvage the good parts and sell them via craigslist or ebay then junk the body for cash!

1 people found this helpful.

REPLY BY ASKER OF QUESTION: I'm actually a pretty good mechanic myself, but this baby is about ready to pop out, so I can't manually do anything myself, nor can I even think thoroughly myself these days. I'm so overwhelmed at small everyday things, and this one really upset me. I pray to God it is only the starter, as there's a pretty good chance it is. However; the only sound heard is a whining, or winding, if you will. Besides that sound, the only other one heard is the fuel pump cutting on as the key is first turned on. Nothing else is evident. Thanks for helping. :)

the scion has eleven airbags and looks like a frog.


Sounds like the engine is seized. A salvage yard will pay about $200 so you'll be better off parting it out if you can. Get a GM with the 3800 V6, they're bulletproof engines.

1 people found this helpful.

You're mechanically minded. Have someone pull the plugs and spin the engine by hand to see if it's seized. It sounds like the starter motor is bad and the solenoid is not making it engage.

1 people found this helpful.

REPLY BY ASKER OF QUESTION: I can agree with you about the V6s, Jonathan. I also have a mini truck with a V6 engine. The 4.3 Vortec is the hardest to work on because it is a V8 with two less cylinders, and everything is compacted into one small space. I needed a car for my soon coming baby though, and my truck don't do much good there, but I will never give her up. I wonder if a junk yard would take a trade or close to.. A non-working V8 for a decent, but working V6... None-the-less; I'm hoping with all I have in me that it's the starter, or equal, and not the motor, but that's what I've asked the question for; to find out. Thanks Jonathan. :)


REPLY BY ASKER OF QUESTION: I did not see your reply quick enough, tenspeed. I'm sorry.. I'm actually in the process of doing that right now. Thanks for helping. That was actually a super idea, and best to do - especially since my computer will only read a 1995 and above. :/


REPLY BY ASKER OF QUESTION: (WHAT THE CAR IS DOING SINCE IT FIRST DIED) 1. It died from lack of fluid in the radiator. 2. It overheated, as minimal steam (only seen after opening the hood) suggested, though the gauges showed the engine was still cold. 3. After putting water in the radiator, it started, but only after waiting an hour and giving it gas along with a jump. 4. It sounded like it normally sounded, but with ADDED sounds.. The added sounds were rattling or knocking quickly, which got faster with given gas. 5. After putting it in gear, it died. 6. When trying to restart it again, the engine did not make a sound. All that was heard were dings from the key, the fuel pump cutting on, (as usual for all vehicles when turning on the key), and a loud humming, or as the sound of letting out a breath while using your voice box. 7. It happened last night, and is making the same sound today. There is no evidence there's anything at all under the hood, as no sound is evident to that fact. 8. Removing the starter now, and hoping that's the problem, but with the above clues, perhaps I could have more advice on what the main problem could be. Thanks. :) 4. After starting,


From reading the above posts, all that can be said was said and it's now up to you to do some diagnosic work under the hood to see what the real issues are. Is it the starter/solenoid, or the engine/trans damaged?

2 people found this helpful.

REPLY BY ASKER OF QUESTION: I've narrowed it down that much, Tom, but I can do only so much from here from my end, in my situation. This is why I'm reaching out for more help, or advice, if you will. Thanks anyway for trying. It's good advice. :)


REPLY BY ASKER OF QUESTION: Okay; I just had the starter tested.. The teeth are worn, and it's not catching. This is GREAT news, but ONLY if it's not something else too. See; the radiator was bone dry, and that was the original problem, because before it died from that, the car started fine after giving it a bit of gas, so that's why I'm afraid it's something more. If it's not anything more, then thank God; but if it is, I'm wondering what.. I know the starter is making the noise, but I don't understand why the LOUD rattling came from the engine just before it quit and would not start again, and now, all of a sudden, it's the starter. Any further thoughts on the subject??


LAST REPLY BY ASKER OF QUESTION: I, against my better judgement, got under the front of my car after putting bricks under the tires, and turned the engine by hand. The engine turned, but I could hear something dropping inside... I threw a rod, and all it took was the one-time starting it after filling it with water. Problem solved. Thanks all for the advice, and what I WISH it had been. God bless.


Boy or girl? V-8 or 6? Wow, drop a rod and drop a kid, you have been busy. It's been 4 months now, put on your dancing boots lady and take a break. When your motor seized, it put an additional strain on your worn starter teeth, and the final straw was when you started it with a lot of additional resistance on hot rods, bearings, and crank shaft for resistance. Congratulation on the new little mechanic, let us know how it turned out.


Could also be some of the teeth on the flywheel are missing not letting the starter turn the engine over. When you attempt to start the engine you would just hear a faint spinning sound. I really do not believe your engine is shot.

If not willing to give up the car just yet along with everyone else check motor and see if it's not seized up, as for changing it to a v6 not good idea, gotta remember wiring harness is set up for v8 along with the engine control computer aka ecc or ecm just something to think about

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