Is Cavalair a reasonably reliable vehicle.

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Which years should one avoid?
Thanks in advance Denny B

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They are all pretty reliable, its a 20 year old design.
both the 2.2 and the 2.4 motor are solid, 2.4's seem to have more problems, but I think thats because the people who owned the Z24's mistook their car as a sports car and beat the motor.
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On Mon, 19 Jan 2004 19:20:46 -0700, "Paradox"

In a way though, GM promoting the "Z24" designation and corresponding emplambs kind of is like them implying it is a sporty car.
In short I agree with your sentimets, but it's like GM feeds into some peoples false perceptions. Marketing caries a lot of weight it seems these days. Fortunately, most people know the difference between a Z28 and a Z24.
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| Which years should one avoid? | | Thanks in advance | Denny B | |
I've know several people that own or have owned Cavaliers and were/are happy with them. I had then as company cars back in the 80's and the ones I had (Wagon models) were very reliable...no problems.
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snipped-for-privacy@sprint.ca says...

They are very inexpensive to maintain and if you care for them they'll last a hell of a lotta miles. Not the highest marks in crash test though.
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says...

pffft, like anything gets a high mark in crash testing, expecially if you get hit by a APC, I mean SUV.
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"Denny B" wrote

They have been a reasonably reliable car. I had one a few years back, it worked fine and was cheap to fix.
Ian
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shiden_kai wrote:

Mind you, they are still a budget vehicle. I recently saw a mint condition 1997 Buick Century Custom with every option on it but leather for $4500 - and that was the dealer's asking price.
The smart money would be on one of the midsize cars a model up. Bit better engine, bit tighter tolerances. Nicer interior and exterior. Heavier door panels and maybe things like leather or a good sound system.
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98,99 I hear some of them have problem with the electronic odometer (mine is 99 and it has this problem)
Hai

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My 97 Cavalier has been great. I love the car. Check insurance rates though. The newer ones have ridiculously high rates here in Manitoba.
-- Denis Roy D. Roy Woodcraft www.ideasinwood.com

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Just remember these little cars are basic to & from car's. Its no Cadillac. You get what you pay for. My 89 Cavalier Z-24 I bought used with very low miles, but loved having repairs done to itself in the $500.00 increments.
========Harryface ======== 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE, 3800 V6 _~_~_~_~275,982 miles_~_~_ ~_~_
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New Cavaliers and Sunfires are going here for less than any other new car including the korean imports and the tiny new Echo clones (Sprint, Aveo). I can only assume this is because they are unpopular cars right now. Maybe it has something to do with the car magazine reviews which condemn them as "unpleasant" and "outdated". I've been in a Cavalier and it didn't feel all that horrible. I really wonder what the reviewers meant, or maybe they are just comparing them to luxury cars? I don't know. Anyway, that is not important and shouldn't be for someone who simply wants a point a to be car.
I was wondering if getting a new car, even a poorly reviewed one, and breaking it in carefully myself, giving it frequent oil changes and all the proper maintenance, would ensure a longer lasting car than buying a used higher end car such as a Buick, for the same price. The used car may or may not have treated or maintained properly - and could break down sooner, yet I know with a better engine and better safety ratings it might actually be the better buy.

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windmere wrote:

Nope. Take a Dodge Neon. It's made with the same philosophy. Cheap and functional transportation. The engineers who designed it actually would be told by management to redesign parts as they were lasting longer than the warranty - to save costs. Now, GM isn't quite that bad, but they aren't close to the quality that goes into a good Grand Prix or Regal, let alone have the quality of ride and fit/finish. Heavier construction on every single part - from the doors to the alternator to the radiator all the way down to the quality of the switches on the power windows.
My Buick LeSabre is finally dying at 17 years old. I had a Neon while it was in the shop for three months(trans and other work done at cost at the local college auto shop) and it was 7 years old and just in as bad shape. I put $1100 into the Buick as that would keep it on the road for another two years and sold the Neon for what I paid.
Advantage? Bigger, safer, nicer ride.
The smart money is on a used Buick Century or simmilar. Good cars with zero resale appeal due to their stodgy old-man image. If you treat one of these well, they will last a decade or more easily.
Don't forget the goodies like a sunroof, ABS, traction control, leather, power everything, and the like that a Cavalier doesn't usually come with.
I recently saw a 1997 Century in mint condition with everything on it but leather for $4500 on the dealer's lot(trade-in). They had 2-3 year old Regals and Centurys and the like for ~10K. You can get a superb car for $10K used if you shop around.
If reliability is a concern, get one that is 3-5 years old and coming off a first lease. They can extend the factory warranty out to 8-10 years if you want. While this is expensive, a used Regal with a 5 year warranty for what a base Cavalier is new isn't such a bad deal.
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I have recently bought a 2001 Century for $8000. It has 15k on it The lady had to sell it for a loss. She had to put her father in a nursling home. She had to buy the lease out for $9600. He lawyer told her to sell the car under $9000 so the nursling home doesn't find out. Its the car greatest I ever had. I was mostly a Chevy person. No wonder I see a lot of older folks driving Buicks. They certainly know a good thing. I being under 50 probably the youngest in the area driving a Buick.

the
Regal,
on
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snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net says...

I drove a Buick back in highschool.
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"Joseph A. Zupko" wrote

folks
probably
Doesn't anyone realize that a Buick and Chevy are identical, other then trims items, body parts...etc? There is nothing "better" about a Buick Century, when comparing it to the Grand Prix, Intrigue, or Lumina. It's all the same basic shit, just different piles. In fact, the Buick in that year only comes with the 3.1 which is probably the worst of the GM v-6's. Still a good little motor, but the worst of a bad lot.
Ian
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shiden_kai wrote:

The 3000 series engines are great other than the crummy timing gear. That's a simple change, though - maybe $400 for all metal and bearing parts and then a chain every 100K after that.
They are pretty much the same, but honestly, the advantage is that the Buick depreciates faster due to the image. Yet it has better amenities and is more luxurious in the base trim. You pay the same as a Grand Prix, or Lumina, but because of the depreciation, you can get the top trim model Buick for the same price - a win-win situation if you plan to keep the car as a driver until it dies.
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"Joseph Oberlander" wrote

What engine are you referring to? There hasn't been a "3000" engine for quite a while. Perhaps you are lumping the 3800/3300 engines into one "3000" class?
The late model 3800's don't use the plastic timing gears anymore.
Ian
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shiden_kai wrote:

Yes. :) 3100/3400/3800. The 3400 is neat - it appears to be a slick engine - basically simmilar to Toyota's 3.8 but a bit smaller displacement and more efficient.
GM may make less than optimal cars as far as ergonomics and handling go, but their engines are very very good.

Nice to know. When did they change? Also - I noticed they are making a 3800 III engine now - when did they change over? My timing gear ate itself and the engine survived with one slightly tweaked lifter(cam button went south at the same time - cam was flopping around a bit much) - barely noticeable noise. Not bad considering a broken timing belt on my old Volvo would mean a new top end.
I was looking at the latest version of the "lowly" 3100 engine and darn if it doesn't put out 10HP less HP and about 5ft-lbs less torque than my 3800 series I engine at the same RPMS. (rated almost exactly the same on paper, but 5200rpm isn't as good as 3800rpm, IMO) But - the graphs are shockingly close.
Less weight, bit quicker to rev up, and much better gas mileage. Definately not junk as that one previous person suggested.
That you can get 30pmg highway out of a 3.1L engine and 3342lbs dry weight(figure 3600 with fuel and fluids and a driver) is well - it's about the most fuel efficient midsize car out there. My Volvo 240 gets about 30mpg with stickshift and a LOT less weight and a much smaller engine.
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"Joseph Oberlander" wrote

Ok, 3100/3400 are one family of engine, 3800 is in a class of it's own. 3400 looks identical to the 3100 other then a big "3400" stamped across the upper plenum.

Hmmm.....in the case of the 60 degree v-6's...you may have some differing opinions on that.

I think the change came about with the GenII engine. GenIII came out this year. Saw one in a Grand Prix, looks pretty much the same. I don't think there was much changed in the version.
Ian
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