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Car won't start unless I give it gas ... if it starts at all.

AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero Registered User regular
edited January 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So I recently had the flywheel and started replaced on my 97 Chevrolet Cavalier and now it has a new problem... go figure. I've asked the mechanic who did the work to look at it but he's reluctant for one reason or another... I kinda get the feeling he thinks I'm full of shit.

I can't get the car to start unless I hammer on the gas pedal. Then, when it does start, I have to keep giving it gas for a couple minutes because if I just let it idle the engine dies. Temperatures have been below freezing here for some time and that is only making the process more excruciating. Today I couldn't get it to start at all and gave up on it for fear of killing the battery.

If I can get the car running and drive around for a while getting the car to start up again is fairly easy, so long as the car isn't left to sit for more than 3-4 hours. It also will idle fine for me too after a good 15 minute drive or so.

So what's wrong with it? Searching around the intertubes leaves me to believe it could be a problem with the idle air control and could need replacing. But I don't really know... my car knowledge is quite limited and I just got my wallet cleaned out from getting the damn flywheel and started replaced.

Any thoughts?

AbsoluteZero on
3DS Friend Code: 0817-5033-8184 // Nintendo Network ID: AbsoluteZero

Posts

  • MushiwulfMushiwulf Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Sounds like a choke problem, except your car is fuel injected... I don't know what, if anything, replaces the choke in an injector system or how they mitigate cold weather starting.

    ETA: Maybe dirty injectors?

    derrick stokes
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    It sounds like there might be something wrong with your idle air control valve. Does your exhaust smell excessively of gasoline?

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
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  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2010
    Okay, what you want to do is find a phone at eleven o'clock Saturday morning and call car talk. Yes, you could get perfectly good advice elsewhere, but where's the fun in that?

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    It sounds like there might be something wrong with your idle air control valve. Does your exhaust smell excessively of gasoline?

    Sounds like this is the problem. Is the check engine light on?

    steam_sig.png
  • TexiKenTexiKen Oh, no. And that's that.Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Possibly the throttle body (especially if the check engine light shows up)?

    ohno_zpsdb826db6.jpg
  • Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    TexiKen wrote: »
    Possibly the throttle body (especially if the check engine light shows up)?
    I had a similar problem once. And this was what most people said the problem probably was.
    When I took it in it was my injectors or some such (Blazer, Spider injector, $texas).

    The younger mechanic at the place asked me if I had filled up at a Wawa recently (I had) he went on to say something about how when they fill up the stations (something to do with the time of the month... something, sorry this was years ago).

    Long story short he said fill up on super premium and get some octane booster and floor it down Route 1.
    Totally cured the problem.

    Disclaimer: I am not a mechanic

  • eternalbleternalbl Registered User
    edited January 2010
    I dunno if all fuel injected cars have it, but in the throttle body usually there's a cold start injector which could be plugged. I had a similar problem and it was fairly easy to remove it and clean it up a bit.

    Spoiler:
  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    It sounds like there might be something wrong with your idle air control valve. Does your exhaust smell excessively of gasoline?

    Sounds like this is the problem. Is the check engine light on?

    I have at least 2 bad sensors that I know of that have caused that light to stay on for ages... so it's not a helpful indicator anymore.

    3DS Friend Code: 0817-5033-8184 // Nintendo Network ID: AbsoluteZero
  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Mushiwulf wrote: »
    Sounds like a choke problem, except your car is fuel injected... I don't know what, if anything, replaces the choke in an injector system or how they mitigate cold weather starting.

    ETA: Maybe dirty injectors?

    Before the car stopped starting period, I did put fuel system cleaner in the gas and took it on a nice long drive but no dice.

    I'm afraid to even try starting the car now as the starter was cranking slower and slower and the lights on the dash would fade with every crank... so I'm pretty sure I'll kill the battery before it ever starts again.

    3DS Friend Code: 0817-5033-8184 // Nintendo Network ID: AbsoluteZero
  • BoGsBoGs Registered User
    edited January 2010
    I have to agree with that I had a 1997 Nissan Maxima that did the same in cold weather... Got some throttle body cleaner and a shammy - I did not take out the throttle body as recommended (but did take out the air intake). Opened the flap as much as possible and cleaned the little flap that controls the amount of air going into the engine.

    Fixed it all up

    First I would say find the throttle body and take a look if it has alot of sut if so do above if not then its not the tb.
    TexiKen wrote: »
    Possibly the throttle body (especially if the check engine light shows up)?

    "It is the mark of an educated man to teach without a thought." - Aristotle

    "Thoughts are a persons imagination going rampid…" - ME :)
  • Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    It sounds like there might be something wrong with your idle air control valve. Does your exhaust smell excessively of gasoline?

    Sounds like this is the problem. Is the check engine light on?

    I have at least 2 bad sensors that I know of that have caused that light to stay on for ages... so it's not a helpful indicator anymore.

    Take it in and have the codes pulled. The computer will keep all current codes in memory until the problems go away, so if any new ones show up (such as, say, the idle air control valve or IACV) you'll have a clue about what to look at. Also it's a good idea to get those other two sensors fixed.

    Edit: Doing as the above poster suggests can result in damage to a very expensive part of your car, don't do it unless you know very well what you are getting yourself into.

    steam_sig.png
  • EeveelutionEeveelution Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Cold weather, use heet for one, that will also help. Are you keeping yourself above a quater of a tank? If not the gasoline in the line tends to freeze which also might be your problem. Do you keep it inside or outside? Is it sheltered by wind.

    PS3 Tag: cryptzicle Cryptzicle the DK
  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I can't get the car to start unless I hammer on the gas pedal. Then, when it does start, I have to keep giving it gas for a couple minutes because if I just let it idle the engine dies.

    If I can get the car running and drive around for a while getting the car to start up again is fairly easy, so long as the car isn't left to sit for more than 3-4 hours. It also will idle fine for me too after a good 15 minute drive or so.

    I'm not really familiar with your cars fuel injection system but these two statements make me think it's simply an air/fuel flow rate problem. It's possible that your starter motor also isn't getting enough power or something, but the dying while idling is almost always because there isn't enough fuel or air. Since it was running fine after it warmed up a bit it leads me to believe that you don't have a plugged up idle jet. If you do have some sort of cold start jet then that could certainly be plugged.

    Other than that it could simply be that the idle jet is set to low for the cold weather. I know for my old Porsche you basically have to live with it dying until it gets warm, or turn the idle up and have it idle at like 2500 rpms when it's warm.

    Cleaning out the jets is not super hard and a good place to start. Although if you don't have much experience it is best to just take it to a mechanic. There are some very bad things that can happen, like getting a piece of junk in a piston that scores the piston/heads/cylinders. That being said it is pretty easy, and I've only destroyed one piston chamber since I started working on my car 4 or 5 years ago ;).

    "The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it" - Dr Horrible
  • Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    I can't get the car to start unless I hammer on the gas pedal. Then, when it does start, I have to keep giving it gas for a couple minutes because if I just let it idle the engine dies.

    If I can get the car running and drive around for a while getting the car to start up again is fairly easy, so long as the car isn't left to sit for more than 3-4 hours. It also will idle fine for me too after a good 15 minute drive or so.

    I'm not really familiar with your cars fuel injection system but these two statements make me think it's simply an air/fuel flow rate problem. It's possible that your starter motor also isn't getting enough power or something, but the dying while idling is almost always because there isn't enough fuel or air. Since it was running fine after it warmed up a bit it leads me to believe that you don't have a plugged up idle jet. If you do have some sort of cold start jet then that could certainly be plugged.

    Other than that it could simply be that the idle jet is set to low for the cold weather. I know for my old Porsche you basically have to live with it dying until it gets warm, or turn the idle up and have it idle at like 2500 rpms when it's warm.

    Cleaning out the jets is not super hard and a good place to start. Although if you don't have much experience it is best to just take it to a mechanic. There are some very bad things that can happen, like getting a piece of junk in a piston that scores the piston/heads/cylinders. That being said it is pretty easy, and I've only destroyed one piston chamber since I started working on my car 4 or 5 years ago ;).

    This car doesn't really have 'jets' per se, it has an electrically-actuated air bleed near the throttle body called an idle air control motor. When it's warm, it lets in a predetermined amount of air, and when it's cold it closes that port off, allowing less air into the motor and thereby richening the mixture by a bit.

    OP, odd question perhaps, but have you checked your coolant level? I can't recall off-hand but on a lot of cars (Hondas in particular) low coolant level can lead to problems like this because the IAC won't be reading the temp correctly.

    steam_sig.png
  • badpoetbadpoet Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    If it's not idling properly that could be a number of things, such as the Air Idle Speed motor, clogged fuel filter or injectors, partially clogged catalytic converter, or messed up Mass Airflow Sensor. Since the flywheel was just replaced, I was thinking the crank sensor can cause stalls, but that's usually a suddenly car dies intermittently kind of problem, not a idle issue.

    Some auto part stores sell cheap OBDII scanners you can check the codes with. Otherwise, take it in.

  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    I can't get the car to start unless I hammer on the gas pedal. Then, when it does start, I have to keep giving it gas for a couple minutes because if I just let it idle the engine dies.

    If I can get the car running and drive around for a while getting the car to start up again is fairly easy, so long as the car isn't left to sit for more than 3-4 hours. It also will idle fine for me too after a good 15 minute drive or so.

    I'm not really familiar with your cars fuel injection system but these two statements make me think it's simply an air/fuel flow rate problem. It's possible that your starter motor also isn't getting enough power or something, but the dying while idling is almost always because there isn't enough fuel or air. Since it was running fine after it warmed up a bit it leads me to believe that you don't have a plugged up idle jet. If you do have some sort of cold start jet then that could certainly be plugged.

    Other than that it could simply be that the idle jet is set to low for the cold weather. I know for my old Porsche you basically have to live with it dying until it gets warm, or turn the idle up and have it idle at like 2500 rpms when it's warm.

    Cleaning out the jets is not super hard and a good place to start. Although if you don't have much experience it is best to just take it to a mechanic. There are some very bad things that can happen, like getting a piece of junk in a piston that scores the piston/heads/cylinders. That being said it is pretty easy, and I've only destroyed one piston chamber since I started working on my car 4 or 5 years ago ;).

    This car doesn't really have 'jets' per se, it has an electrically-actuated air bleed near the throttle body called an idle air control motor. When it's warm, it lets in a predetermined amount of air, and when it's cold it closes that port off, allowing less air into the motor and thereby richening the mixture by a bit.

    OP, odd question perhaps, but have you checked your coolant level? I can't recall off-hand but on a lot of cars (Hondas in particular) low coolant level can lead to problems like this because the IAC won't be reading the temp correctly.

    The engine temp sensor in my car is dead. The other one that's dead is the coolant level sensor. I have well more than enough coolant in the car, I can tell this just by looking in the reservoir. Could the dead sensors be causing all this trouble?

    The mechanic that replaced the flywheel has the car now, we got it to start by spraying some of that magical start your car shit into the air intake. He said he's going to clean the throttle body and I asked him to check the idle air control ...

    So in the case that the sensors are causing this trouble.... how the hell much does it cost to have THOSE replaced?

    3DS Friend Code: 0817-5033-8184 // Nintendo Network ID: AbsoluteZero
  • Count FunkulaCount Funkula Registered User
    edited January 2010
    Found this Googling for "cavalier engine temp sensor":

    Try replacing the temp. sensor, usually it's screwed into the engine block by the thermostat, look into a Chilton guide book for exact placing. Very easy to replace and inexpensive.

    Googling for "cavalier coolant level sensor" turned up:


    It's in the coolant reservoir (the white plastic tank where the coolant is stored). It only activates when the tank is almost empty, so they put it down in the bottom (in the side near the bottom). You will probably have to remove the tank from the car to replace the sensor. Just make sure the car is cooled off and that there is no pressure in the tank when you start to work. There are a couple of screws holding it in and the hose and that's it. It might take a little time, and you might have to move something else to get the tank out far enough to get at the sensor, but it's a pretty easy job.

    So, seems pretty easy and cheap to replace those. Just get a Chilton's manual from your local library (or see if your mechanic has one to borrow) and head over to Napa/Advance/O'Reilly's/Checker/Car Quest/wherever and pick up some parts.

  • Road_RunnaRoad_Runna Registered User
    edited January 2010
    I have a 2002 Liberty with the same problem, It feels like it happens in really cold weather.
    Anyways, I don't have to mash the pedal, as long as I give it some gas, it's good.
    I've tried an OBD II code reader 3 times with no codes pulled.

    What a pain.

  • Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    I can't get the car to start unless I hammer on the gas pedal. Then, when it does start, I have to keep giving it gas for a couple minutes because if I just let it idle the engine dies.

    If I can get the car running and drive around for a while getting the car to start up again is fairly easy, so long as the car isn't left to sit for more than 3-4 hours. It also will idle fine for me too after a good 15 minute drive or so.

    I'm not really familiar with your cars fuel injection system but these two statements make me think it's simply an air/fuel flow rate problem. It's possible that your starter motor also isn't getting enough power or something, but the dying while idling is almost always because there isn't enough fuel or air. Since it was running fine after it warmed up a bit it leads me to believe that you don't have a plugged up idle jet. If you do have some sort of cold start jet then that could certainly be plugged.

    Other than that it could simply be that the idle jet is set to low for the cold weather. I know for my old Porsche you basically have to live with it dying until it gets warm, or turn the idle up and have it idle at like 2500 rpms when it's warm.

    Cleaning out the jets is not super hard and a good place to start. Although if you don't have much experience it is best to just take it to a mechanic. There are some very bad things that can happen, like getting a piece of junk in a piston that scores the piston/heads/cylinders. That being said it is pretty easy, and I've only destroyed one piston chamber since I started working on my car 4 or 5 years ago ;).

    This car doesn't really have 'jets' per se, it has an electrically-actuated air bleed near the throttle body called an idle air control motor. When it's warm, it lets in a predetermined amount of air, and when it's cold it closes that port off, allowing less air into the motor and thereby richening the mixture by a bit.

    OP, odd question perhaps, but have you checked your coolant level? I can't recall off-hand but on a lot of cars (Hondas in particular) low coolant level can lead to problems like this because the IAC won't be reading the temp correctly.

    The engine temp sensor in my car is dead. The other one that's dead is the coolant level sensor. I have well more than enough coolant in the car, I can tell this just by looking in the reservoir. Could the dead sensors be causing all this trouble?

    The mechanic that replaced the flywheel has the car now, we got it to start by spraying some of that magical start your car shit into the air intake. He said he's going to clean the throttle body and I asked him to check the idle air control ...

    So in the case that the sensors are causing this trouble.... how the hell much does it cost to have THOSE replaced?

    The coolant temp sensor is damn easy to change yourself. The part probably will run around $40 I would guess, but I could be wrong. Just go to your local parts store and ask them. The level sensor, if it's just the sensor, is also very easy to change, but if it's a problem with the reservoir that's a bigger issue. Both of these could cause issues with the idle speed, but probably wouldn't cause the car to not start. I'm guessing that since it started happening as soon as you got it back from the mechanic that he did something to cause this.

    steam_sig.png
  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    My sister's car has a similar problem (you need to be pressing the gas for the car to turn on) and the mechanic we took it to identified the problem (I dont remember what it was) and said that not fixing it isnt actually damaging anything and the repair was kinda expensive (couple hundred) .

    She drives a 1995 Nissan Maxmia.

    camo_sig2.png
  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    emp123 wrote: »
    My sister's car has a similar problem (you need to be pressing the gas for the car to turn on) and the mechanic we took it to identified the problem (I dont remember what it was) and said that not fixing it isnt actually damaging anything and the repair was kinda expensive (couple hundred) .

    She drives a 1995 Nissan Maxmia.

    I don't think it's hurting anything either, I just don't want to get stranded.

    Well I got the car back from the mechanic yet again, he cleaned the throttle body and apparently charged the battery which seems to have helped but it is still a complete bitch to get the car to start. I don't think he looked at the IAC despite my asking him to. Guess I'll have to take it somewhere else as soon as I have the $ again... or just try to ride it out until I've got enough cash to put a down payment on a new vehicle...

    3DS Friend Code: 0817-5033-8184 // Nintendo Network ID: AbsoluteZero
  • Road_RunnaRoad_Runna Registered User
    edited January 2010
    I just tried cleaning the throttle body myself, mind you the car seems to start pretty good if it's warm (which it was)

    After cleaning, it hesitated to start again. So I did the same trick of giving it some gas, held it at 1k rpms for about 15 seconds, let go of the gas, and it was idling on it's own @600 rpms. Im pin pointing the problem to the AIC needing more cleaning, don't know if this will work on your cavalier?
    -Again this is a 02 liberty im working on.

  • underground420underground420 Registered User
    Hey it is you coolant temp sensor it will run u around 60 bucks and u can put it in ur self just take off ur intake tube and itll be right underneath

This discussion has been closed.