New with Idling Issue - Newbies Forum

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New with Idling Issue
Monday, May 14, 2018 2:23 PM
Hi all,

I have a 2004 Chevy Cavalier base coupe. Manual windows and locks, 5 speed manual, almost 125,000 miles. I bought the car off of a family member for $750 at 120,000 miles. The car has developed an issue where sometimes when I press the clutch in to stop, the idle will drop to 500 RPM, sometimes less. Once every few weeks it'll stop running completely, and if I start it back up with the clutch pressed in, it'll just die out again. It did this five times all in about ten minutes once and I had to limp it home. I mainly use this car to get back and forth to college and there have been times when I just cannot trust it to get me to class in the morning. Does anyone know what the problem might be? The only thing that seems to mitigate the issue is pressing the clutch in slowly/gradually, and when I do that, sometimes the idle will lower to above regular idle speed, usually around 1300-1400 RPM.

Other long term issues it has are that the third and fourth gear synchros are bad (or the shift fork could be bent, which I read here while lurking). The third gear synchro has been noticeably bad for longer though, and only now after a few thousand miles is it starting to slip out of third. It also has some hail damage and was in a fender bender or two before I owned it. It also was sold new in Albuquerque, New Mexico and migrated here to South Carolina sometime in its life, which I thought was interesting. I also have some junkyard LS Sport body parts for it (front and rear bumper covers, side skirts, trunk + spoiler, all of it). They came off of a yellow car and I finished prepping/painting the front bumper cover, but I still have to do the rest. I also have a junkyard grille bar for it.

A few pictures:
DSC_0386 by FordTorino73, on Flickr
DSC_0078 by FordTorino73, on Flickr
Cutlass Supreme and Cavalier by FordTorino73, on Flickr
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier by FordTorino73, on Flickr

Re: New with Idling Issue
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 10:10 AM
Could be so many things. Try pulling the battery cable for a few minutes to reset the fuel trims. Check air cleaner, clean throttle body and IAC valve area. You can also rent a fuel pressure tester from advance auto or autozone and use the schrader valve on the fuel line to test it. With the vac line hooked up to the fuel pressue regulator you should see mid 40s at idle. With it unplugged and your finger over the vac line you should see ~58psi. If you don't see those numbers try a fuel filter then the pump.



"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: New with Idling Issue
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 5:19 PM
Y3llowCav wrote:

Could be so many things. Try pulling the battery cable for a few minutes to reset the fuel trims. Check air cleaner, clean throttle body and IAC valve area. You can also rent a fuel pressure tester from advance auto or autozone and use the schrader valve on the fuel line to test it. With the vac line hooked up to the fuel pressue regulator you should see mid 40s at idle. With it unplugged and your finger over the vac line you should see ~58psi. If you don't see those numbers try a fuel filter then the pump.


Thanks for your reply.

I forgot to mention that the fuel pump is new. The Cavalier actually left my dad stranded about a thousand miles ago and that was the cause. I have tried cleaning carbon off of the IAC valve and that hasn't helped, but I'll try pulling the battery cable, cleaning the throttle body, and testing the fuel pressure.
Re: New with Idling Issue
Friday, December 14, 2018 8:07 AM
The answer seems to be that you have ether an transmission or a clutch issue. Some how it seems that the transmission is not fully disengaging the spine gears and is slowing the engine down to a stall. Replace the clutch, pressure plate and get a manufactured transmission and your car should be good for another 100k miles.


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Re: New with Idling Issue
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 10:32 PM
Option D wrote:

The answer seems to be that you have ether an transmission or a clutch issue. Some how it seems that the transmission is not fully disengaging the spine gears and is slowing the engine down to a stall. Replace the clutch, pressure plate and get a manufactured transmission and your car should be good for another 100k miles.


I would think someone with your credentials would not be suggesting parts to be thrown at a car without any type of diagnostics. He says pressing the clutch it will lowest the RPM. That is not a clutch issue.

OP, do you know what your fuel trims are at when this is happening and what the iac counts are?




On the inside my car looks like a fighter jet.
Re: New with Idling Issue
Thursday, December 20, 2018 8:29 AM
Rob Dotterer,
Diag is always important but being that a message board plays to Armchair Quarterbacking then I simply suggest a direction. I have seen issues like this with clutches and transmissions on different makes, and considering that he had stated that the transmission was damaged in an earlier statement, it is prudent to start with the known fail. O2 data has limited value in the issue as he had stated because the idle drops only when the clutch is depressed. Also IAC data is helpful, agreed. One must consider that I do not have the car in front of me so do not treat my posts as such.


ASE Certified Technician (A1,A4,A5,A6,A7)
DiamlerChrysler Certified Technician
Volvo/Ford Entry Level Certified Technician
Hyundai Motors Bronze,Silver and Gold Certified Technician
Option D Racing Member
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