Picked up my 1st gen cavalier - First Generation Forum

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Picked up my 1st gen cavalier
Sunday, June 03, 2018 8:56 AM
Well I finally found me a 1st generation Cavalier. I learned how to drive on an 84 CS wagon, and used that to get to and from work until I bought my first car. I went to a car show in August and saw a 1983 there and it made me want one. I let the feeling pass but got to thinking about it again, and did something about it. Looked at a trashy 84 sedan, missed out on a pair of 87 sedans, and forgot to call a guy about an 86 sedan. I saw the ad on Craigslist for the 87 sedan and jumped on it. Towed the car home from Maryland last night.

The car is a 1987 Cavalier base model, and when I say base I mean BASE. No a/c, cruise, tilt, wiper delay, full wheel hubcaps, passenger mirror, manual driver mirror, and has the analog AM radio. The car was a 1 owner car with only 116k. Only rust was a crease on the fender, and quarter sized spot on the driver door. Underneath is flawless, besides a rusted out muffler. Typical 80s paint issues on the hood, edge of decklid, and one spot on the roof.

Inside it needs some TLC, including new carpet, driver seat, and headliner. Those are simple enough. Well, finding a driver seat might be difficult but we'll see.

The car was owned by the stereotypical old lady, who kept it in a garage all the time, and didn't drive it too often. Even came with original warranty book and other books. Also had maintenance receipts. Tires will need done due to age. Two are no less than 4 years old and the other two are nine years old.

I'd post pictures but can't figure how.

Re: Picked up my 1st gen cavalier
Monday, June 04, 2018 1:18 PM
congrats on the find.

a seat will be easy...finding a "correct" seat might be difficult.

many GM cars will work, even 3rd gen seats will fit, but you have to use the original seat tracks.
Re: Picked up my 1st gen cavalier
Tuesday, June 05, 2018 5:45 PM
Wayne Schiff wrote:

congrats on the find.

a seat will be easy...finding a "correct" seat might be difficult.

many GM cars will work, even 3rd gen seats will fit, but you have to use the original seat tracks.


Thanks, I'm not too worried about the seat at the moment. I was going to take the car to get new tires installed and noticed it wouldn't accelerate above 35 very well. Kept miss firing so I pulled the plug wires and checked spark. It's there but weak. Blue and orange, instead of the bright blue it would be if all was well. The coils tested well, and the wires say "delco-packard" on them. The spark plugs also had the font on them from before 1994, and beyond worn out probably .060" gap, so they are probably original. I have already installed new spark plugs, and have new AC Delco plug wires and a Delphi ignition module set to be delivered tomorrow. It should run much better with the new parts.
Re: Picked up my 1st gen cavalier
Thursday, June 07, 2018 8:35 AM
Yep - sounds like you have the coil-pack blues. At least they are cheap if not especially easy to get to . Why GM decided it was a good idea to place the packs underneath the intake man. will always be a mystery. Even the early Distributor fired OHV engines had the coils buried underneath the intake too.

It has been my experience playing around over the years with these cars to expect about 3 years to get most of the bugs worked out and repairs made before you can relax and enjoy some easy miles. Body and rust are the big issues - everything else can be worked out with time and money = chicken soup.... Take yout time and enjoy the progress. You just might luck out somewhere down the road and find a well appointed model you can get all the better parts out of and put in your base sedan.. I myself have added tilt steering and powers seats along the way. Managed to get some leather Cimirron Seats for the wagon and swapped in Firenza seats in the Sunbird. It is kinda fun starting out base and moving up! I ripped out the A/C in mine because I wanted great cooling and airflow across the radiators - so at least you can appreciate having that advantage up front. A cool engine is a happy one!

The possibilities are endless with the old machines. Most parts are cheap and easy to replace - especially compared to the new stuff out there. And remember if it isn't on there it can't possibly break!! No Air Bags, Antilock Breaks, Cam Phasors, Inteference Engines,Traction Control, Tire Pressure Monitors, Anti-theft Systems and NO Limp Mode to kick in out of nowhere and ruin your day!!.......that's a lot of stuff you don't have to ever worry about breaking down and laying you up!

Welcome to the forum and hope you enjoy your journey withyour J!!


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Re: Picked up my 1st gen cavalier
Saturday, June 09, 2018 9:21 PM
Thanks, so far I am. It's not the 84 wagon my Dad owned but I like it. I did find the module was shot on the car, and a new one fixed it right up. Add some new plugs and wires for good measure, as well as a new fuel filter and it's good to go. I drove it to my Dad's house today and showed the car to him and he was impressed how clean it was. The paint is dull and flaking in areas like most GMs of that era, and interior needs a little work but other than that a good car.

I did today get a radio from a local salvage yard for $20. Cassette with 5 equalizer. Found out it came from a 1986-87 Cadillac. Unfortunately I need to run the 12 volt power lead to the radio, since the old AM analog radio didn't have that option. That will happen tomorrow some time.
Re: Picked up my 1st gen cavalier
Tuesday, June 12, 2018 7:39 PM
Well the radio I got was bad, and I blew out the muffler the rest of the way. The bottom literally blew out lol. I got a new muffler but then found the pipe was also rotted at the end. Bought a new pipe and installed it. While I had the car in the air I removed the wheels and greasy the brakes were. So it will be new shoes, wheel cylinders, and hardware. According to the receipts I have the brakes were adjusted in 2007 but don't see where they were replaced. Fronts, yes. Rears, no. With 117k on the clock they had to have been changed. At least that explains why I had issues stopping the other day.
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