Should I buy a Cavalier? - General Forum

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Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 1:04 AM
Hi all,

I am considering buying a late model Cavalier 2-door coupe (used) as a daily driver commuter car. It needs to be very dependable and reliable, so I'm not going to modify it or anything like that. I was wondering if anyone could tell me a few things about the Cavalier first.

1) What kind of induction system do the 2000 to 2005 Cavaliers come with stock from the factory with? Is it multi-port fuel injection, tuned-port fuel injection, electronic fuel injection of some kind, throttle body carbueretor, regular carbueretor or ??? I've never looked under the air cleaner of one before, so I don't know. Hopefully someone can fill me in. Is there a difference in induction systems between models (base, LS, LS Sport, Z24) Is there a difference in induction systems between engines or are they the same on every engine?

2) What are some of the more common problems encountered with these cars? Any special problem areas to watch out for?

3) What kind of longevity can I expect to get from one if I were to buy one? 100,000 miles? 125,000 miles? 150,000 miles? 175,000 miles? 200,000 miles or more? Hopefully someone out there with a higher mileage Cavalier in the 2000 to 2005 years range can tip me off on how much trouble it was to get their high mileage.

4) What are the different kinds of engines availible in the 2000 to 2005 years? Is there a better one to watch out for or are they all the same?

Any help would be greatly appreciated....

Many thanks,
Scott

Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 6:18 AM
well, if you are not going to modify it, your first question does not matter. For the rest, 2000-2005 have 3 different engines, 2000-2002 should have the Z24, 2200, and after 2002 the Z24 became the 2200-Eco. the 2200 should be the most reliable, after that is 2200 Eco, if you want power, go with 2200 Eco and if you don't mind power, 2200 will be good. About the mileage and things, if this cars goes over 100,000 miles, don't expect too less of problems to show up. Some might be better, but every car is different.



Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 6:41 AM
What decade are you living in, "throttle body carbueretor, regular carbueretor", maybe in the 80s.

Anyways it is injected via fuel injectors, EFI

With how long you expect it to go, let me ask you a question. How much maitnance do you do to your cars? If you do an oil change just whenever you got a spare $20 lying around, dont due tune ups, dont get problems looked into, ignore CELS, than I doubt it will last very long.

If you maintain it and fix the problems, than I see no reason it wouldnt hit 150,000 at least.

The newer Cavailers have the 2.2 Ecotec, pretty good engine from what I get.

I have an 04 Cavailer it has been great.






- 2004 Cavalier - 124k, owned since new



Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 10:06 AM
Actually the Cavalier have SFI, Sequential fuel injection. The 03-05 all have the ecotec engine, I personally would look for those(says ecotec on top of the engine). The induction system is the same on all the 00-05 I believe, and from 00-02 the 2200, 2.4, and at the end of 02 the ecotec were available. I have a 98 so I can't help you with longevity since I also only have 78k miles, but my only problem is I need to change the timing chain, and it's not so much a problem as general maintenance.
Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 10:35 AM
carbueretor. god even my 88 Firebird Formula 350 had FI, ( TPI ) But the new eco's need no maintenance for 100,000 miles. NO spark plugs, wires, timming, oil................. the oil part was a joke.



Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 11:59 AM
I got TBI

I wasnt thinking the other day, had some engine issues, my dad scared me...he's like "you got some gasoline here on top of your engine" and Im like "OMG what???? Ohhhh, thats supposed to be there...thats where the fuel injector is "



Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 1:18 PM
My current vehicle is a 2003 GMC Sonoma pickup truck with a Vortec 4.3L V6 and I just discovered yesterday that it has a throttle body carburetor! So apparently I'm still living in the 1980's with my 2003 Sonoma.
Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 1:47 PM
The 4.3L is an old engine.


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Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 1:49 PM
wtf? could have sworn the 4.3L was SFI as well.




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Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 1:55 PM
It is SFI, I don't think that guy knows what he's talking about.


]
Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 2:14 PM
If you are looking for a late model as a commuter buy a base '03 - '05.

They all have the latest 140HP "Eco" engine and "Getrag" manual transmission design (The same drivetrain as a new base Cobalt)

03 - 05 base all received improved suspension bits and a front swaybar (FE1 suspension, one step down from LS Sport/Z24).

03-05 base all received larger rear brake drums.

03-05 all received improved crash protection via different windshield pillars. (This is per member GM Goodwrench).

03 - 05's all received stainless steel exhaust systems (earlier cars may have received these as well).

03 - 05's all have a long lasting timing chain (not a timing belt). 2.4L cars also had these, I'm not sure about the 2.2L engine that was used up to 2002.

The advantage to buying a Cavalier besides the low initial cost is the cost and availabity of parts and service and the virtual lack of scheduled maintenance besides oil changes and tire rotations, at least on the 03 and newer. Coolant is due after five years or so. Auto tranny requires more mtce than the manual shift, is quite a bit slower, and burns more gas.

Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 3:17 PM
The 4.3 engines are fuel injected, it's the "Vortec" motor. And while it may look like it has throttle body fuel injection (TBI) it has 6 individual injectors, one for each cylinder. It just looks like TBI because of the design.




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Currently 6th quickest Ecotec on the .org -12.453 @ 116.45 MPH!!!

Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 8:24 PM
Scott Fike wrote:

My current vehicle is a 2003 GMC Sonoma pickup truck with a Vortec 4.3L V6 and I just discovered yesterday that it has a throttle body carburetor! So apparently I'm still living in the 1980's with my 2003 Sonoma.


Actually what is apparent is you arent an auto mechanic, and know nothing about cars.

http://www.pickuptruck.com/html/2002/gmc/sonoma/guide.html

That is for an 02 with a 4.3, under engine type,. SFI injection, sequential fuel injection. Not no TB injection, like I said befoe that was in the 80s.

Once again spending 20 seconds on Google saved me the possibilty of looking like a total dumbass.

Get a clue before you go speak such nonsense.




- 2004 Cavalier - 124k, owned since new



Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 9:39 PM
Rob S wrote:

Scott Fike wrote:

My current vehicle is a 2003 GMC Sonoma pickup truck with a Vortec 4.3L V6 and I just discovered yesterday that it has a throttle body carburetor! So apparently I'm still living in the 1980's with my 2003 Sonoma.


Actually what is apparent is you arent an auto mechanic, and know nothing about cars.

http://www.pickuptruck.com/html/2002/gmc/sonoma/guide.html

That is for an 02 with a 4.3, under engine type,. SFI injection, sequential fuel injection. Not no TB injection, like I said befoe that was in the 80s.

Once again spending 20 seconds on Google saved me the possibilty of looking like a total dumbass.

Get a clue before you go speak such nonsense.


Man he obviously doesn't have much mechanical knowledge. You just looked like a total dumbass for your little outburst.

Cut the guy a little slack and answer his questions, no need to come on here and insult him.



Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Sunday, July 24, 2005 9:54 PM
anyway...cavies are very reliable cars....as are sunfires...my personal choice



Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 2:48 AM
well i have a 1999 base model cavalier (pretty close to your date range) with the 2200 in it. i currently am at just above 136k on it. i have owned it for a lil over a year. i got it with 114k on it. had to replace the power steeering pump (twice), thermostat, fan relay switch, and head gasket. if my thermostat and fan relay switch hadn't have taken a @!#$ then most likely i wouldn't have needed a new head gasket. car over heated and blew all the anti freeze out a couple times. i must say compared to my old car (96 neon) this car has been a blessing. my neon i had to replace every seal at least twice in the year i owned it.




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Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 5:45 AM
deflux wrote:

Rob S wrote:

Scott Fike wrote:

My current vehicle is a 2003 GMC Sonoma pickup truck with a Vortec 4.3L V6 and I just discovered yesterday that it has a throttle body carburetor! So apparently I'm still living in the 1980's with my 2003 Sonoma.


Actually what is apparent is you arent an auto mechanic, and know nothing about cars.

http://www.pickuptruck.com/html/2002/gmc/sonoma/guide.html

That is for an 02 with a 4.3, under engine type,. SFI injection, sequential fuel injection. Not no TB injection, like I said befoe that was in the 80s.

Once again spending 20 seconds on Google saved me the possibilty of looking like a total dumbass.

Get a clue before you go speak such nonsense.


Man he obviously doesn't have much mechanical knowledge. You just looked like a total dumbass for your little outburst.

Cut the guy a little slack and answer his questions, no need to come on here and insult him.


I did if you read a few post above answer his questions. Hes the one who said his truck was a TB, even I said they havent been around since the 80s.




- 2004 Cavalier - 124k, owned since new



Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 7:17 AM
Well, I dodn't want to waste a post (getting low an premium is STILL not activated), but I really have to say something.

There is no such thing as a trottle body carburator. TBI (trottle body injection) looks like a carburator but it doesn't use a venturi, it has 2 fuel injectors in it and they inject atomozed fuel into the intake manifold. Most trucks and some cars w/ V8-s used them until the early 90's. There was a computer controled carburator for a short time, but all the computer did, was control the minor adjustments and was pretty well useless. Also if you look under the air cleaner of any post carb J-body, all your going to see is the inside of the intake piping and resonator.

I know that 98% of the people on this site know this, but people that don't know the difference between a carb and TBI, should have it explained to them so they can learn. There's nothing wrong with not noing things like that, and I'm not bashing anyone, or think anyone is stupid, I just felt (for some crazy reason) that it should be said.

By the way, Ive got a 93, and the only thing I "HAD" to replace on it was the water pump, valve cover gasket, and more than a few alternators. It has 110K on it and it still runs like new, since I keep very good care of it. The newer cars are probably desinged to last longer so as long as you take care of it, the thing should be fine.

Sorry for the ran't....bash away





Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 10:14 AM
^^^ well said. MY 87 monte was TBI but i converted it over to carburated because TBI is very restrictive.



Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 10:24 AM
Well as far as mileage goes, if you don't beat on the cars and just do regular maintenance in my family we have had Cavaliers go over 300K. Right now we have a 2001 with a 2200 motor that is passed the 100K mark and still on the original clutch still with out any noticeable problems. The new ECOTEC seems to be alright but I haven't put any real mileage on it and the 2.4 TWINCAM that we have seems to require some maintenance here and there to keep it alive but in the end I would say with out trying to purposly kill it the motor should last. If you can find an 03-05 in your price range by all means do it, otherwise if you want reliability go with an 00-02 with the 2200 motor. It won't be fast but it gets you from point A to point B, shoudl last as long as nobody as been pinning the red line on it, and should be realitively inexpensive compared to the other models available.





Asta La Vista OHV!! Defined Parts
Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 1:32 PM
It's a good car. Go for it.



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Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 5:08 PM
The Cavalier is a very good commuter car if you can find a well maintained example.

Since you are going to be putting a considerable amount of miles on the car, don't go with the 2.4 Twin Cam engine. They are nothing but problems as the miles rack up, especially the waterpump and crank bearings. If you want a reliable commuter car, go with either the 2200 engine or the Ecotec.

As far as the 2200 goes, its practically bulletproof. They can easily run to 180,000 miles, with nothing but regular maintenance. They use a dual timing chain, which never needs to be replaced for the life of the vehicle. However, the 2200 is a pretty weak engine power wise, and struggles to maintain interstate speeds of 70 or more. Therefore fuel mileage suffers, since you have to floor it all the time, especially with the A/C on.

If you want a reliable engine that is smoother and more powerful than the 2200, go with the Ecotec. They have plenty of power in both automatic and manual versions, and can easily keep pace at 80MPH on the highway, A/C or not. Fuel mileage on the highway is low 30's with the auto, mid 30's with the stick. So far its proven to be a very reliable engine, guys have put over 100,000 miles on them without any issues to speak of.

Hopefully that gives you some insight as to which engine would be the best choice for you.





My CarDomain Page
Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 5:27 PM
wesmanw02 wrote:

The Cavalier is a very good commuter car if you can find a well maintained example.

Since you are going to be putting a considerable amount of miles on the car, don't go with the 2.4 Twin Cam engine. They are nothing but problems as the miles rack up, especially the waterpump and crank bearings. If you want a reliable commuter car, go with either the 2200 engine or the Ecotec.

As far as the 2200 goes, its practically bulletproof. They can easily run to 180,000 miles, with nothing but regular maintenance. They use a dual timing chain, which never needs to be replaced for the life of the vehicle. However, the 2200 is a pretty weak engine power wise, and struggles to maintain interstate speeds of 70 or more. Therefore fuel mileage suffers, since you have to floor it all the time, especially with the A/C on.



!!!!

Could you post any less of an unbiased opinion? Here's the other side of that argument..

The 2.4L water pump is NOT as big an issue as "you all" make it out to be. I know a small handful of people who have ever had to change it, out of hundreds of people who own 2.4L's. I've had three 2.4L's now, and never changed one out of "need". I've changed 1 because I was in there, and replaced everything I could so that everything was brand new.

Crank bearings have less to do with mileage as they do oiling. If you run low on oil and beat on the car, then it's gonna go. I've seen them go at 8,000 miles, and I've seen them never go. I've never turned one, but I know of one guys car who has gone thru three (I call that an oil maintenance issue, but that's just my opinion).

Timing chains do need to be replaced. If you think you can run it for the life of the car.. then that will certainly be the cause of death for it.



Biased opinions aside, the 2200 may be a slug, but it's going to be cheaper to run. You won't have to shell out an arm and a leg for a Z24, and can pretty much pick and choose on your options since 9/10 cars out there have this engine anyway.




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Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 5:59 PM
wesmanw02 wrote:

However, the 2200 is a pretty weak engine power wise, and struggles to maintain interstate speeds of 70 or more. Therefore fuel mileage suffers, since you have to floor it all the time, especially with the A/C on.


i have a 2200 and i have no problem getting up to 70mph or more. most of my driving is on the interstate where i do 75-80 without a problem. and i don't lose any mpg either. no matter how fast i drive, i always get 28-30 mpg.




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Re: Should I buy a Cavalier?
Monday, July 25, 2005 6:22 PM
if you care nothing about performance, and only gas millage and relaiblity then get a 2000-2002 with the 2200 in it, the engines are die-hard as hell, but are slow as hell

only gets good gas millage with the 4spd auto, or 5spd manual, the 3spd auto is horrible



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