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Cars > Zeke’s Garage > Blog > 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier (Blown Z)


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M –32
Coatesville, Pennsylvania
United States


7/22/06 - Transmission Troubles

By Zeke

Filed under: 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier (Blown Z)

Back story: About two months ago the slave cylinder in the Cavalier took a crap. I didn't have the time to work on it myself so I decided to take it to a shop. I was originally going to take it to Chester County Transmissions which is a reputable shop in the area but my father, who is a mechanic, said that there was another transmission shop right down the road from CCT, a Cottman Transmission shop, and he said that they were just as good and probably a little less expensive.

So, I took it to the Cottman shop. Somehow, not only did my slave cylinder need to be replaced but the master cylinder needed replaced (my Father said it looked like they broke it), the clutch, and even the flywheel all needed replaced. I didn't care, I just wanted my car. I had a Team Green Machined Differential with the LSD insert and told them they might as well throw that in while they had it all tore apart, save me some effort. $1,300 later, my car was running again.

The first problems I noticed immediately. One, my reverse lights no longer worked making it difficult to get into the driveway at night after work and two, cruise control, which I use often, didn't work. I took it back. They said that the reverse switch was broken and it needed to be replaced and said, "Oh, it's easy and you told us that you had two transmissions in your garage anyway, you can just grab one off of one of those and pop it in." So I pay you to do this job, you screw up something simple and I'm supposed to fix it? Whatever. Then they said, "Oh, and the cruise control, we didn't touch that at all so I don't know what might be the problem." I looked under the dash and saw that the little clutch switch was screwed too far out and wasn't being pressed by the clutch. How hard was that to fix?!

So, a month goes by, seems to be working well when one day on my way to work my clutch is fading. I pull over and check the reservoir and it was full, so I keep going. By the time I got to work the pedal was on the floor and the reservoir was empty. Took it back again and this time they had the nerve to try and blame it on me saying, "You were messing with the bleeder screw and it let all the brake fluid out." Should I have had to bleed it myself? Are you guys that incompetent? They filled it back up and tightened the damn screw and I was hoping I was done with the idiots for good.

Shortly after the last incident I began noticing a knocking noise that sounded like it was coming from the drive train when the vehicle was under no load. i.e., coasting. It was a steady knocking that varied depending on engine speed and I had heard this same noise before, it had happened prior to my spider gears literally disintegrating so fearing for my Team Green differential with the LSD I took it back and asked them to check it out. The technician at the shop pulled me into the garage and said, "Here's your problem, it's your struts," and began pushing on my wheel. I just looked at him like he had just told me he @!#$ a squid in the ass. I said, "Whatever, I'll be taking my vehicle to CCT to get a second opinion," and took my keys and made an appointment at CCT.

Today I dropped it off at CCT and I got a call saying exactly what I had thought, "Hey Brandon, sorry to tell you, but our techs say the noise is definitely coming from the differential..."

I don't know what to do. I will NOT take it back to Cottman. I want this to be fixed properly and I want my $1,300 back from Cottman because they didn't do jack ****. The guy at CCT suggested I pay for them to fix it and they will document anything that may have been done incorrectly on Cottmans part and I can take them to court to get my money back but I don't know how well that would work. I just want my damn car to run right and get my money back from those incompetent fools. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment.

7/13/06 - Finished the Pulley Change

By Zeke

Filed under: 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier (Blown Z)

I managed to finish up the pulley/hub swap today. It was a pain in the ass getting the old hub off the supercharger shaft but I eventually did. Got the new hub and pulley on and it's working great. I've moved down to a 2.6" pulley, from the stock 2.8" pulley.

On an interesting note, the fuel issues I was having with the 2.7" pulley, leaning out at high RPMs, has gone away with the 2.6" pulley! It might have something to do with the alcohol injection actually working correctly now, that I'm not sure but I'm happy that that problem is gone.

7/12/06 - Pulley Woes

By Zeke

Filed under: 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier (Blown Z)

I got my replacement parts to swap out my old Pulley Boys Qwikchange pulley and hub set for my Cavalier and decided to get down to it today since I had received everything on Monday. The instructions recommend you drive the car for a bit to warm it up and then let it cool off for 30 minutes before pulling the pulley. Note, I haven't driven the car since trying to remove the pulley last week and running into difficulties which ended up in me needing replacement parts. So, I take it for a quick spin enduring the painful sounds the pulley is making knowing it will all be over shortly. I get home, park in the driveway and shut it off. When I killed it I heard a horrible clunking but I figured it was just the pulley because of all the noise it made during the drive. Time to wait.

Thirty Minutes Later

I go back out with all the tools and instructions in hand and to my surprise, this is what I find when I pop the hood (look at the album).

No, that isn't a new low profile pulley. So I take a quick look and what is this in here? (In the album)

Yup, it's definitely in the wrong spot. (Picture is in the album)

So I pulled it out. (Again, album)

Well, that should make getting the hub off a little easier without the pulley in the way at least. So I get down to work and start moving crap out of the way so I can get the tools into position. (Album!)

Then, as I'm fitting up the puller it doesn't seem to fit correctly no matter what I try. I take another quick look at the directions and I notice for the first time the label on the top for what model it's for. (Album)

I've been trying to call Pulley Boys for the past 30 minutes to find out if they did indeed send me the wrong tool or if this one should work and to find out if it should, why it isn't. I'm more than a little agitated by this point. I just want to change these damn pulley and be done with it!

Cars > Zeke’s Garage > Blog > 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier (Blown Z)

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