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OnlineHelp, Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 3423
Experience:  Mechanic
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2004 Chevy Cavalier: runs good..freeway..the rpms jump and the car

Customer Question

2004 Chevy Cavalier, runs good on the freeway but on normal rd like when I stop at a stop light or stop sign the rpms jump and the car actualy at times lurchesIf I did not have the break on it would actually move forward. Check engine lite is on then will go off then come back on. Went to a restruant last night shut the car off came out an hour and a half later car will not start sounds like it wants to but will not
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

Hello and thank you for choosing Just Answer.

Is the check engine light on or off now?

Also does the check engine light go on/off instantly or does it remain on then turn off?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
it was on when i shut the car off it will come on stay on for three or four days then go off by itself for a couple of days to a week then come back on. The car will not start so I dont know if it is on now or not.
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

Thank you.

We need to get the car scanned for codes. I understand that the car right now is immobilized and you cannot take it any where. However if you go to Autozone they will rent you a OBDII scanner and you can scan the car yourself (Renting only requires a deposite which is refunded when you return it). Rent the scanner and scan the car for codes. It's very simple scanning cars for codes.

Turn the key to the "On position" (Do not start the car)

Located plug for the OBDII (Under drive dash), you will need to look above the pedals there will be a OBDII plug which will look like the end of the scanner.

Attach the scanner to the plug and follow on screen instructions.

Write down codes and let me know what you got. (Press Up and Down to see more codes if there are more than one).

OnlineHelp and 7 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I did have advance auto run a scan on it the other day and it just came back multiple misfires
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

Hey Sharon... There is a TSB out on this issue.


The spark plugs on that car will missfire, they were defective fromt the factory. It's not a recall so they will not replace it for free. You will need to change the spark plugs your self.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
i just changed the spark plugs two weeks ago i need to change them again?
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

Do not use the factory plugs, and make sure they are gapped. According to the manual factory plugs missfire and should not be used.

The P0300 that is mention in the above TSB is what you got from advance (Multiple cylinder missfire).


Trouble Code: P0300
Multiple Engine Misfire Detected
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I used autolite plugs and was told they were already pre-gapped
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

I am pretty sure it's in the plugs. They do need to be re-gapped but I don't have the gap size anywhere in the manual.

Have you had these problem prior to changing the plugs?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
It started right before i changed the plugs and I was told to change the plugs so I did but it did not help the problem Now people are telling me that it is my timing chain. Not professional people like my sister is this a possibility?
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

Timing chain would cause this type of problem, how this is a 2004 and I would not suspect a timing chain. Here is what I would suspect.

-Plugs/Wires (Make sure you have right firing order)

2Engine Firing Order: 1-3-4-2 Distributorless ignition system

2.2L Engine Firing Order: 1-3-4-2 Distributorless ignition system

- Distributor cap/ rotor

- Ignition module

If you have a spark tester, a spark test would be some very valuable information.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I dont have wires I have a module that i was told replaces the wires does that make sense I cant remember the name of it but it is on top and called a something module so maybe I should replace that as well?
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.
Igntion control module?
The last part on my list?
Is you car the 2.2 or the 2.4
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank you for your help it was help enough just to know that it may not be the timing chain i was told if it was i would need a new engine :) I will get right on that tonight and see if I can get this car running. I have someone coming over to help me with it and Thank You so much
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

Not a problem! Is this a 2.2 or the 2.4 engine?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX help.

2.2L Engines Ignition control module

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.

  2. Remove the ignition coil from the module.

  3. Remove the module from the assembly plate.

  4. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.

    The Ignition Module or (ICM), is located under the coils

    The Ignition Module or (ICM), is located under the coils

    Click to Enlarge
    The ignition coil/module location-2engines

    The ignition coil/module location-2.2L engines

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
That dont look like the module they showed me. The one they showed me is on top of my engine
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

I see, did it look like this?


The ignition coils

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
yep thats it
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.
The picture of the first one is the ignition control module while the second one is the ignition coils. Unfortunately either one will cause the P0300 miss fire and the problems you are having.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
ok again thank you very much. I will start with the ignition control module and go from there again you have been very helpful
Expert:  OnlineHelp replied 9 years ago.

Have a great day, I sure hope it works out. (I'll keep my fingers crossed!)

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to OnlineMechanic's Post: I am keeping my crossed as well :)