Nice car with a great engine, but I too would have gone for the 2WD model. The Cavalier 4x4 transmission is notoriously unreliable and parts are very expensive. It doesn't take big mileages for things to go wrong either.
A friend had a 4x4 L (2.0 8v) which needed £1,500 of work on the gearbox at 60,000 miles. And this was dealing with 25 bhp less than the system in your car. My friend was told by the specialist that did the work, that it had done well to reach that mileage!
Get shot of it before it costs you a fortune.
I had a 4x4 20i and the gearbox is a big problem. You also have to change all 4 tyres at the same time with the same make, and they MUST not wear within 2mm all around.
You can't compare the 4x4 system on the 8v Cavaliers to that on the GSi 4x4 or 4x4 turbos, they are not the same. More some sort of weird Vauxhall experiment. But yes, you do have to rotate the tyres etc. Which takes all of 10 minutes.
I own a Cav GSI 4X4.
I've modified it to the hilt and I've had no problems.
Touching 170 BHP, it's faster than an RS Turbo, quicker off the lights than a Cosworth and extremely fun to drive.
Don't knock a 4x4, they're underestimated and don't get the credit they deserve!
Transfer boxes going faulty is bad ownership and not much else.
The design may not be bombproof, but if looked after it can go on for the life of the car.
60,000 miles is good?? Wonder how people I know can get their transfer boxes to go to 120,000 miles and 200,000 miles with no problems. Their secret??? Careful ownership.
Rotate the tyres every 1500-3000 miles and change the accumulator and oil when needed (52,000 miles and annually respectively).
The 4x4 on Vauxhall Cavaliers may only be the basis of a problem, but it's ultimately lack of knowledge and understanding on the owners part that cause the problems.
Bad ownership causes transfer box failure? On a 60,000 mile, gently driven car with a full main dealer history? I beg to differ.
I'm also going on what the AA guy that towed it in said (he sees/fixes more breakdowns than you or me), or the garage that fixed it. You can also read any used report in a magazine which will tell you how fragile Vauxhall 4wd systems are.
Some might do 200k, and good luck to them, but I prefer luck not to be part of the equation when it comes to the mechanical integrity of a car.
My boyfriend owns a cavalier GSI 2x2 and we have had no problems at all, we know people who have said the Vauxhall 4x4 system is very reliable, but on the other hand we know people who have had real problems, I think as long as it's been looked after it should be fine.
Dear readers, I bought a '92 GSI 4X4 two years ago from a lovely Guy in Portsmouth for £900. Bargain I thought, 90k, Metallic blue, nice scorpion exhaust and a K&N. Several thousand pounds later and two years... I nearly have a Mint Car. If there is anyone Still mad enough to want one, then have a full inspection carried out! It may cost you a few quid, but it could save you thousands in the long run. I love the things and have been in a so far stormy relationship. In total, they are a fantastic saloon Beasty of it's day and if restored nicely could be worth a couple of grand in years to come. Look after her and Check those tyre pressures, Rotate them and check for uneven tread, Make sure the suspension is tip top, Sort the arches before they eat the back end away, (I did, and have just recieved a repair bill of nearly a thousand pounds) Change engine, transfer and gearbox oil religiously. I had a knock sensor problem that I replaced only to find I had the same fault after I had replaced it. What the parts man at the Vauxhaul Garage failed to tell me, was that they had been updated and that, also the wire going to the ecu from it needs to be of a higher resistance. £160 + or Minus £. for them to do it. I've heard of a lot of people complaing about this, and it's so annoying. Tranfer box is a problem if badly treated and the car is neglected! Treat it like a Porsche or a Ferrari! A very nice car and if all goes well I'll have one soon!! Have fun Lovers...
Interesting to read the comments on the 4wd system. I have an RAC Gold (valid for all makes) warranty on my Mazda and being a very comprehensive warranty, will cover all aspects of the 4x4 transmission system (if fitted). However, the exception to this is if it is a Vauxhall Cavalier or Calibra, in which case all claims relating to the 4wd system are specifically excluded.
This is the only make/model specific exclusion in the whole warranty. Alarm bells indeed.