2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive - Maintenance and Repair Forum

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2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 5:44 PM
I have been trying to diagnose this problem with my 2.2L 1998 Cavalier, and I have changed a million things on it with no fix. Nothing has even helped it.

Let me try and explain what it is doing. Whenever I start my car in the morning to go to work, it runs fine (Unless it floor it, then it does said problem at high RPMs) until it is warmed up. Once warmed up, the car has a hard time accelerating, especially from a stop. It spits and sputters, but it has NEVER died on me. It does this 95% of the time I press on the gas, and on rare occasions (5 it won't have a hard time accelerating from a stop, but a few minutes of having my foot on the gas, it starts sputtering and having a hard time accelerating. REMEMBER, THIS ONLY DOES IT IN DRIVE. If I put the car in reverse, hold on the brake and floor it, the car hits about 2500-3000 RPMs, and does not sputter. I can floor it in neutral as well as park with no hesitation (Obviously until I hit the limiter, which is 4000 RPMs), but if I put it in drive and hold the brake, as soon as I hit about 1100 RPMs, the car just falls a part. Car shakes and makes a low humming noise like it is trying to rev the engine, but can't.

Things I have replaced, tested or cleaned:

Replaced Spark Plugs
Replaced Spark Plug Wires (3 times)
Replaced Fuel Filter
Replaced Air Filter
Cleaned EGR Valve and Tested
Tested FPR Valve, no signs of issue
Replaced Ignition Control Module, didn't fix problem so returned part (Dealer told me that was the problem for 55$, faulty diagnosis)
Cleaned and Tested Coil Packs
Cleaned Throttle Body Hole
Changed Oil and Oil Filter
Removed and Cleaned Fuel Injectors

I am stumped as hell on this problem and have been to multiple multiple auto mechanics and dealers. Transmission specialists say the transmission is perfectly fine and running as normal (Tested by 3 ATS).

Got any ideas?

Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Thursday, September 12, 2013 6:37 AM
Fuel pump? Acceleration under load requires the most fuel, so maybe the pump is just going bad and needs replaced. Just because I know they go bad a lot, check the throttle positioning sensor too.



"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Thursday, September 12, 2013 12:22 PM
I have thought about the fuel pump, but since its a little more money than I have at the moment, I will check the Throttle Position Sensor and report back
Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Friday, September 13, 2013 3:59 AM
Are there any warning lights lit up in the dash? When the ABS wires going to the hubs get crappy the car can do all kinds of crazy stuff, like the limiter only kicking in randomly in drive.


JLP

04 LS Sport Sedan
Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Friday, September 13, 2013 5:33 AM
Holly Gilliland wrote:

I have thought about the fuel pump, but since its a little more money than I have at the moment, I will check the Throttle Position Sensor and report back

you'll be pretty disappointed when you price a new tps.



"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Friday, September 13, 2013 1:32 PM
Alright, I tested the Throttle Position Sensor, and it does not fix the problem when removing the plug, and causes my car to stall after hitting around 2k RPMs. I also tried disconnecting the Idle Air Control Sensor as well as the MAF Sensor, which did not fix the problem, only made the car idle worse.

I just ordered 4 fuel injectors to replace and see if this will fix the issue. I am starting to get very weary on buying parts since it could be something much more severe, and have hit the point where parts start getting pretty expensive.

Another thing I noticed, while in Park on an incline (Trunk lower than the front) my car idles at normal RPM's, but my whole car vibrates and I can physically hear noise coming from my exhaust. Even when I am on flat ground, I can push the front of my car and the RPM's will drop, but pushing from my trunk, this does not happen. I continue to think it is the torque converter inside my transmission, but being to multiple transmission specialists that have told me my transmission is running perfectly makes me trust it is an engine problem. Could the torque converter or anything else inside of the transmission cause this problem? Could the transmission be causing a CEL of misfire?

Speaking of CEL, I have 2 when I have it checked out at AutoZone, which I have had checked multiple times and reset. One of these is a repeating of P0200 random misfire and the other is a downstream O2 sensor (Because the Catalytic Converter is removed).
Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Friday, September 13, 2013 3:13 PM
I'd almost bet it's a bad coil.

I had a car one time that didn't misfire, but had no power. Replaced one of the three coil packs and power was instantly back, this was a 1991 oldsmobile cutlass, 3.1.


- Your not-so-local, untrained, uncertified, backyard mechanic. But my @!#$ runs
Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Friday, September 13, 2013 5:59 PM
I have replaced both coil packs and the ignition control module with no fix.

NEW INFO: I have noted that it accelerates MUCH nicer while going ~20 mph AND TURNING LEFT. What would cause this?
Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Saturday, September 14, 2013 12:12 AM
UPDATE #2: I have leveled my vehicle and pulled the test plug for the transmission (Above the oil drain plug) and the brownest transmission fluid I have ever seen poured out of that hole (I measured about 6 qts). I have put in a few bottles of ATF before doing this, so it's understandable that it drained 6 qts (I expected it to). I plan on getting a transmission flush today and having the filter changed out. I'm not sure if this is the actual problem but I'm hoping it will fix something. I believe I am running on the normal amount of transmission fluid at the moment.

It still does accelerate normal while turning left while at about 20 mph and above (Have extensively tested this), and it does this whether I have a full or almost empty tank of gas. I can't imagine the only reason the car is driving this horrible is only because the trnamsission, but we will see when I change out the transmission fluid.
Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Sunday, September 15, 2013 9:19 AM
UPDATE #3: Went to a professional to have my transmission flushed, filter replaced and the whole thing checked out. Not a single thing wrong with the transmission. The fluid was really really dark red, I just couldn't tell at 1 AM while checking it. After changing it and replacing the filter and flushing it, it did not change the way the car acted. I figured if it was the transmission, my car would act slightly different with new fluid in it.

I have 4 brand new fuel injectors on their way to my house, so I will make another update when I install them. Over here in Wisconsin, it's been pretty cold and the car seems to accelerate better than normal when the car is cool. I never really thought this to be a factor, because in the past few weeks, it's been really hot here. Could be the temperature difference regardless of the engine temp.

I have also noticed that when accelerating from a complete stop, it doesn't matter how hard I press on the gas petal, the car only builds in RPMs, and doesn't jolt up like usual when the car ran fine (It does jolt RIGHT away, but then kills in RPMs). It's like the car is in 2nd gear, and trying to pull itself from a stop, and in 2nd gear, I can only imagine how tough that is (The whole car shakes for a few seconds. I know it is not in 2nd gear (Or don't believe it to be) because the car does shift into 2nd, 3rd, and 4th and you can tell when you watch the RPM's as the car accelerates. I also don't believe this is a 'starting in the wrong gear' issue, because the car does it regardless if I am supposed to be in first, third or any other gear. It also seems the faster I am going, the higher I can get the RPM's to go, before the RPM's start to bounce and car start to stutter.

I am still noticing that it calms down when I am going ~20 mpg and turning left, and I am totally unsure why this is. I am trying to hold off on removing the fuel tank because I know it is a pain in the ass. If the fuel injectors do not fix the problem, I am probably going to do a compression test on the cylinders and if that comes back normal, I will be replacing the fuel pump.

Again, even if you have ideas, I would love to hear them, and see if I can debunk.
Re: 2.2L Cavalier 1998 ONLY bad acceleration in drive
Sunday, September 03, 2017 9:48 AM

Hi Holly,
I googled my problem and yours came up, so I joined this group, I see yours is a few years back,I just had my Cavalier's engine replaced (2001 2.2) by a friend not in a shop! and when I got it back the ABS and Brake light comes on and I was told it just maybe a loose sensor, it comes and goes. Two weeks later I started getting this very same issue's you have been getting (I guess you upgraded you car big time!)and with the help of your post and eliminating a lot of items, I also have been stumped what was your outcome, I was told most probably the pump!? thank you in advance for any information you can help me with.
Lee.

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