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Chevy Cavalier Idle Fluctuation

Q. Hi Vincent! I know that you are probably swamped with questions so I will try and keep this email as short as possible. I have a 1988 Chevy Cavalier RS (I believe) standard everything, two door, with 106,000 on it. Back in July the car started to act very funny while idling. The idle would fluctuate to normal then down very low, almost to the point of dying.

On a few occasions it did actually die, but would start up with 1-3 tries. We took the car in the a well known mechanic shop and they said that my ignition wire (under the car) was completely off. They said that the only way for this to come off is if someone physically unscrews it. Which having that off led to the ignition module to burn out. I ended up paying them $1,200.00 to replace the module and get my car up and running again.

Just as soon as I drove the car off the lot, the car died. It started up again and I drove it back in the shop. Now they tell me that the module must have been faulty. So they replaced it.

Well the car has never quite stopped the fluctuation of the idle. It does it at least three or four times each week every time I come to a stop. It hasn't died yet but it seems as it's getting worse. They did a complete diagnostic on the car and found everything to be okay.

Me not knowing a whole heck of a lot about cars, does know that the fuel filter has never been replaced. The mechanic said though that it was fine. I need some advice! They just couldn't seem to find the problem. They didn't see that the fluctuation was a big deal. If you believe it is or could be the fuel filter, how in the world do I change it?

Thank you so much for any input you can give me on this!


A. The idle problem may be caused by the wrong PCV valve installed. If you know the fuel filter is original, tell them to replace it. It's under the car so I wouldn't recommend you attempt this. The EGR valve could also be partially stuck open. Give another shop a try if the first one doesn't want to help you.

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