1991 Chevrolet Cavalier VL 2.2L from North America

Summary:

Solid as a rock

Faults:

Wiper switch - 40K.

Alternator - 98K.

Head gasket - 112K.

Water pump - 112K.

Reverse brake band transmission O-ring - 130K.

General Comments:

A friend of mine said that if GM could make a car as well as it could build an engine, it would rule the world.

This car certainly fits into that category. The engine will likely run forever (with the new head gasket that I put in, which was a known issue for this model year). That being said, if there's one car you're going to be able to replace the head gasket on, it's this one. It took me four days, but all I needed was some regular tools, a can of liquid wrench, and a torque wrench. The engine is far from the limiting factor.

The parts are super cheap and easy to find, but that may change as the car ages. Each part is also super easy to replace, I can probably take the alternator out and put a new one in in 15 minutes. The oil filter, on the other hand, is a nightmare, but that's another story. The transmission is starting to go, and idle is getting a little rougher, but for a car that's 23 years old, that's probably par for the course. The body is also going to rust off and would fail a roadside safety check immediately, but I'm doing my best to keep it going.

Almost everything in the interior has kept working except for the wiper arm doesn't settle into low speed unless you fiddle with it. Otherwise it's flawless, and I was comfortable driving 14 hours a day (at least as comfortable as I was going to be).

This car has taken me around the United States twice, across Canada three times, and is generally the biggest champ of a car I've ever had. Its current issue of an oil leak is because I went over a lane divider and dented the oil pan.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd April, 2014

12th May 2015, 22:17

Update:

New starter at 155K and 174K.

New ball joint at 160K, which was all of $14, but an absolute nightmare to put in.

Had to cut out the cat converter at 165K.

New windshield at 170K.

Put in new lug nut studs at 175K after three snapped (c/o Ontario winters).

Put in another alternator, since the first one was a bum part.

Every year I scrape off the rust and repaint for $60, and it looks pretty great after.

This car isn't getting any younger, but the cost of operation vs buying a newer car is still far, far lower.

1991 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Convertible 3.1 from North America

Summary:

Pay extra for one in great shape, and you'll be happy

Faults:

Seals in hydraulic cylinders for power roof, A/C, quarter glass trim rusts away, rear glass window separates from roof.

General Comments:

Owned '89, '91, '93 and '99 Z24 ragtops. Custom and original.

Never buy one with a VIN# starting with 3. They're made in Mexico and rust severely in Canada. '92-'94 are the best ones! Better interior, looks, 3.1, better door trim, P/W switches, roof, etc.

You have to love ragtops. I do, and love this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th February, 2013

1991 Chevrolet Cavalier from North America

Summary:

Bad dream

Faults:

Head gasket after 1500k.

Computer after 1000k.

Water pumps; 5 in one year.

Belt tensioner x 2.

Radiator.

Heater core.

Timing chain.

Ignition sensor.

Seat spring popped out. Sharp.

Etc etc etc.

General Comments:

Car was purchased by wife through her dad's friend's car lot.

Things kept escalating with repairs to the point where it was towed to junk yard and I'd lose the $7000 to $8000 invested in the car in just over a year. The other option was to keep repairing it.

The last straw was when the car died again. Towed to a mechanic. Replaced ignition sensor.

2 weeks later, it dies in a snow storm again.

Towed back to mechanic. Puts in an ignition module.

Dies one week later. Back to mechanic. Chain is gone and now an additional $1000 dollar repair bill.

Towed it home. Got discount from the driver because I was such a repeat customer and the mechanic paid for another tow. Could not give the car away. Towed to junk yard.

My parts friend calls them "Crapoliers." He's been in the business for 40 years.

Nuff said.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th July, 2010