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#4679897 - 02/27/18 06:19 PM 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance
97prizm Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 749
Loc: USA
Hi all,

The Pontiac vibe I had was totalled and am now getting a 97 cavalier automatic. It's rough with 143,000 on the odometer. New oil and stp filter. I detest automatic transmissions but need a car so. Anything to look for on this vehicle? No drain plug on the radiator and I can't find the atf plug. Thanks. Hope to get some money saved as the sister didn't take care of it.
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#4679902 - 02/27/18 06:22 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32632
Loc: ME
Frame rust over the rear axle. I'd come up with more but "USA" is too general a location.

The 3t40 tranny in these is actually pretty good. Change its fluid and filter, adjust the TV cable, and you're mint. drive

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#4679917 - 02/27/18 06:41 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
HangFire Offline


Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 2506
Loc: Central Maryland
Rather solid little cars. EGR Valve tends to freeze up at high mileage/age, and you get a code. They're not cheap about $150-$200, but they are right on top and easy to replace.
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#4679923 - 02/27/18 06:52 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
clinebarger Offline


Registered: 12/19/13
Posts: 1907
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Didn't some of those have a 4T40E?
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#4679940 - 02/27/18 07:21 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: clinebarger]
FordBroncoVWJeta Offline


Registered: 04/16/16
Posts: 766
Loc: KS
Originally Posted By: clinebarger
Didn't some of those have a 4T40E?
Yes, 2001 it became standard.
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#4679943 - 02/27/18 07:26 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
eyeofthetiger Offline


Registered: 11/18/17
Posts: 683
Loc: South Carolina
If it was mine, I'd take a chance and service the transmission. I might even unplug the TCC and fill it with Type F. But don't do that. popcorn2
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#4680028 - 02/27/18 08:48 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
slacktide_bitog Offline


Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 6150
Loc: USA
Unfortunately, Dorman does not make an aftermarket pan with a drain plug for the 3-speed auto.

Now, if you had the 4-speed auto 4T40E, then you could get a Dorman pan for it.

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#4680076 - 02/27/18 09:31 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
14Accent Offline


Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 390
Loc: MN
Maintenance?! It's a 2.2 cavalier! As long as it isn't rotten underneath (check the subframe and steering rack mounts CLOSELY), then you're pretty much good to go. Either a 3t40 or 4t40 will be bulletproof (the 2200 doesn't make enough power to hurt a fly), and the 2200 is almost impossible to kill. Just change the major fluids and call it good.
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#4680092 - 02/27/18 09:48 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 14Accent]
clinebarger Offline


Registered: 12/19/13
Posts: 1907
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: 14Accent
Maintenance?! It's a 2.2 cavalier! As long as it isn't rotten underneath (check the subframe and steering rack mounts CLOSELY), then you're pretty much good to go. Either a 3t40 or 4t40 will be bulletproof (the 2200 doesn't make enough power to hurt a fly), and the 2200 is almost impossible to kill. Just change the major fluids and call it good.


If it is a 4T40E, The shift solenoids sit above the fluid level & can burn up causing the trans to miss 2 gears. This can make owners think the trans is bad when it just needs shift solenoids & a internal harness.
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#4680136 - 02/27/18 11:04 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
dishdude Online   content


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8736
Loc: Phoenix
These things run forever with about zero maintenance. Keep oil, coolant and ATF in it and there isn't much you can do to kill it. The weakness is if you get the engine remotely warm, you'll kill the headgasket. Even if you do that, it's a 2 hour job. Buy a 6 pack and start drinking when you start, you'll have 5 left over when you finish!
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#4680174 - 02/28/18 12:20 AM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: dishdude]
daves87rs Offline


Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 16963
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: dishdude
These things run forever with about zero maintenance. Keep oil, coolant and ATF in it and there isn't much you can do to kill it. The weakness is if you get the engine remotely warm, you'll kill the headgasket. Even if you do that, it's a 2 hour job. Buy a 6 pack and start drinking when you start, you'll have 5 left over when you finish!


This!
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#4680255 - 02/28/18 05:56 AM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: daves87rs]
Silverado12 Online   content


Registered: 02/26/13
Posts: 3114
Loc: Central Virginia
Originally Posted By: daves87rs
Originally Posted By: dishdude
These things run forever with about zero maintenance. Keep oil, coolant and ATF in it and there isn't much you can do to kill it. The weakness is if you get the engine remotely warm, you'll kill the headgasket. Even if you do that, it's a 2 hour job. Buy a 6 pack and start drinking when you start, you'll have 5 left over when you finish!


This!


Might have 5 left over if I started with a 12 pack lol.
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#4680261 - 02/28/18 06:03 AM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
SteveSRT8 Offline


Registered: 10/10/08
Posts: 18953
Loc: Sunny Florida
We had 3 different versions of these cars when my kids were young. Whether it's a Pontiac Sunturd or a Chevy Cavalier (Caval-ee-AY) it is an incredibly durable car. Parts can practically be found on the side of the road, driving dynamics are very poor, noises are unsophisticated.

But IME they run nearly forever and are very cheep to keep...
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#4683503 - 03/03/18 06:48 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
Nick R Offline


Registered: 07/14/09
Posts: 11184
Loc: Albany, NY
Most of the people in this thread are right, but I don't miss mine. I had to put so much money and work into it in the one year I owned it I was glad to see it go. Late 90s GM nickle and diming at it's finest (worst?)
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#4684630 - 03/04/18 09:23 PM Re: 1997 Chevy cavalier 2.2 auto maintenance [Re: 97prizm]
artificialist Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 8598
Loc: Florida
Sometimes a rattling noise will be caused by a failing timing chain and chain hardware. Good thing this is an OHV engine, SOHC and DOHC engines usually require more labor time to do the job.
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