I have a 1992 Cavalier that I have owned since 1999. It now has 138,000 miles on it and up till now has been pretty reliable.
About 2 months ago the car began to take longer to start in the morning than usual. Just a few more spins of the starter, then ran ok. I then notice a few drivability problems, stumbling, a low speed miss sometimes, and a miss under load in the higher gears. My first thought was that the fuel pump might be getting weak as it is original. I had thought that I had replaced the fuel filter last year when I changed the rest of the fleet.(Note, this car only gets about 5000 miles of use a year). However when I got underneath the car to see how bad the pump change would be, I saw that the filter was rusty and nasty looking. Checking my records I realized that it had been 4 years and 30,000 mile since a change. So the filter was changed and the starting got a little easier and it began to run better for a time.
Now that the weather here is getting colder the starting and also driving issues returned and were worse. I checked the computer for codes and only found one, about the air conditioning sensor not working. Since the Air had been removed several years ago I felt I could discount that. So I began to think of what could cause both hard starting and bad driving. So far I have replaced the water temp sensor, Air intake Temp Sensor, plugs, burned out muffler, Throttle position sensor, and cleaned and re oiled the air filter. I checked the spark jump with one of the gap gauges. All four plugs had a hot blue spark that jumped to 30 on the scale(millimeters I suppose) Misting the wires did not cause a problem(they only had about 30,000 miles on them anyway and are top level Napa wires). I checked the coils for corrosion and found none although they are original as is the module. Yesterday I replaced the Crank shaft sensor and low and behold that seemed to solve the drivablilty problems at least so far. But at 25 degree today the car still didn't want to start right off. Turns over fast, acts like no spark or fuel. If I turn it over a few times, stop and try again it will fire, usually sputtering a couple of times and then starting or needing one more try and then it starts and last night and today then ran well. I have tried turning on the key to build up fuel pressure and that doesn't seem to make any difference. I also tried holding the pedal to the floor in case it was flooded but that really doesn't work. Note the car no longer has a converter as cars here older that 1995 are not smog tested. I have also ran Tehcron through the engine twice and no improvement.
I am out of Ideas and would be grateful for any Ideas that anyone else would have.
I also listened to the injectors with a stethoscope and all were clicking regularly. Three are original and one is about 5 years old.
I haven't checked the ohms on the injectors yet as it is a pain to get to a couple of them.
Fuel pump! plain and simple.I would suggest checking your psi ur model should have a schrader valve to do it with the guage.The shear age of the pump points to it going at least in my opinion.Mine started acting a touch wierd and a wk later died.Had mild symptoms like hesistation,start ups not to bad, but if it goes you will need a tow.Yeah u have to drop the tank.I bet the scrainer inside the tank is nasty and slowing the true psi and no matter how long u leave the key on,not running pressure will not increase.You have done all the principle checks and reading what you posted points to one thing.Fuel pump.It took me 3 hrs to do mine total.Make sure the tank is low on fuel less weight.And lube the tank straps with liquid wrench on those bolts,u will be glad u did.And also disconnect the battery b4 u do this.Hope this helps and if others want to add or correct my info please do so.I've owned my 1st gen 12 yrs(however in my family since 1990).was my sisters.good luck
Yeah, it is what I am afraid of. I have changed in tank pumps before, the most recent our 2001 Astro. Great fun. I am not sure that I really want to attempt this on a car this old if it goes. The cost(about $250) plus the fun of all that rust and corrosion (we are in northern Illinois) Right now it is running ok and the starting problem is lessened for some reason. Since this started back on early October I am surprised that if it is bad, it hasn't failed yet. Considering that the car is worth maybe $500 or 600 at most I may just decide to say goodbye it it does. Thanks again for the input
Fuel pump = $25-50 online for the 2.2 one.
Say goodbye to the car for a fuel pump??? NOOOO!!!!
Fuel pump isn't really that bad. Had to change mine in a gas station parking lot in wisconsin once. 2 guys, only took bout an hour and a half. Not bad. In the future, I'm going to make an access plate under the back seat to make it 10 times easier.
Broke down(not literally) and replace the pump yesterday. Problem solved.(cost-$230 at Autozone) Modual pump, not replaceable one.
And two fuel lines and two brake lines as well. A small leak on the quick connect for the return line just led to more and more. Rust, our friend. I was afraid that would happen. That was one of the reasons I really was reluctant to start this. You never know what you will get into. 6 hours work yesterday. Fixed one, another one started a small leak, except for the high pressure line, that was a flood under a clamp. Sigh. Probably will replace the last brake line when the weather gets better. Then hope it lasts for a couple more years.
About the fuel pump. There are some that can be disassembled and just the pump replaced. I did not have one like that. This one was a sealed unit. The pump surrounded by plastic with no screws or access points. I did get prices on the replacable ones. They were about what you saw in O'Reillys. Just couldn't use it here. Oh well, cheaper still that a couple of car payments, so it it lasts 6 months I am ahead. Thanks to all who helped with info
All the pump assemblies are able to be disassembled. Just different ways of doing it. Lol. I have seen the "sealed" ones. If I remember right they just pop apart with a screw driver.