GM Cavalier/Sunfire 1995-2000 Repair Guide

Engine

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OIL LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4



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Fig. Fig. 1: Turn the oil fill cap and remove it, the dipstick is attached to the cap-2.2L engine only



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Fig. Fig. 2: Wipe the dipstick off with a rag, reinsert the dipstick and check the level on the dipstick



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Fig. Fig. 3: The oil level is in the safe range when the level is in the crosshatched area of the dipstick



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Fig. Fig. 4: Use a funnel to avoid spillage and add the oil into the filler/dipstick tube


CAUTION
The EPA warns that prolonged contact with used engine oil may cause a number of skin disorders, including cancer! You should make every effort to minimize your exposure to used engine oil. Protective gloves should be worn when changing the oil. Wash your hands and any other exposed skin areas as soon as possible after exposure to used engine oil. Soap and water, or waterless hand cleaner should be used.

The engine oil dipstick is also the fill cap on the 2.2L engine and is located in front of the engine between the engine and the radiator.

The engine oil dipstick on the 2.3L and 2.4L engines is located in the rear of the engine between the engine and the firewall.

Engine oil level should be checked every time you put fuel in the vehicle or are under the hood performing other maintenance.

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface.
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  3. The engine may be either hot or cold when checking oil level. However, if it is hot, wait a few minutes after the engine has been turned OFF to allow the oil to drain back into the crankcase. If the engine is cold, do not start it before checking the oil level.
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  5. Open the hood and locate the engine oil dipstick. Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean, and reinsert it into the tube. Make sure the dipstick is fully inserted.
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  7. Pull the dipstick from its tube again. Holding it horizontally, read the oil level. The oil should be between the MIN and MAX mark. If the oil is below the MIN mark, add oil of the proper viscosity through the oil fill hole.
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  9. Replace the dipstick, and check the level again after adding any oil. Be careful not to overfill the crankcase. Approximately one quart of oil will raise the level from the low mark to the high mark. Excess oil will generally be consumed at an accelerated rate even if no damage to the engine seals occurs.
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OIL & FILTER CHANGE



See Figures 5 through 12



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Fig. Fig. 5: Use a wrench to loosen the drain plug located on the oil pan, typically the drain plug requires a 13mm wrench



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Fig. Fig. 6: When the drain plug is almost all the way loose, apply inward pressure to the plug and then remove it in a swift motion ...



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Fig. Fig. 7: ... allowing the oil to flow out into a suitable container



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Fig. Fig. 8: Inspect the threads on the drain plug and also the gasket and replace as necessary



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Fig. Fig. 9: Wipe the oil pan clean after the oil has completely drained out and inspect the threads for the drain plug



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Fig. Fig. 10: The oil filter is located on the side of the block, in the rear of the engine compartment and is accessible from beneath the vehicle-2.2L engine



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Fig. Fig. 11: A cup style filter wrench is best suited to loosen the filter, break the filter loose, continue turning it by hand until it is free and ...



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Fig. Fig. 12: ... remove the filter from the engine

The oil and filter should be changed every 7,500 miles (12,500 km) under normal service and every 3,000 miles (5,000 km) under severe service.


CAUTION
The EPA warns that prolonged contact with used engine oil may cause a number of skin disorders, including cancer! You should make every effort to minimize your exposure to used engine oil. Protective gloves would be worn when changing the oil. Wash your hands and any other exposed skin areas as soon as possible after exposure to used engine oil. Soap and water, or waterless hand cleaner should be used.

The engine oil and oil filter should be changed at the recommended intervals on the Maintenance Chart. Though some manufacturer's have at times recommended changing the filter only at every other oil change, It is recommended that you always change the filter with the oil. The benefit of fresh oil is quickly lost if the old filter is clogged and unable to do its job. Also, leaving the old filter in place leaves a significant amount of dirty oil in the system.

The oil should be changed more frequently if the vehicle is being operated in a very dusty area. Before draining the oil, make sure that the engine is at operating temperature. Hot oil will hold more impurities in suspension and will flow better, allowing the removal of more oil and dirt.

It is a good idea to warm the engine oil first so it will flow better. This can be accomplished by 15-20 (24-32 km) miles of highway driving. Fluid which is warmed to normal operating temperature will flow faster, drain more completely and remove more contaminants from the engine.

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely on jackstands. Make sure the oil drain plug is at the lowest point on the oil pan. If not, you may have to raise the vehicle slightly higher on one jackstand (side) than the other.
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  3. Before you crawl under the vehicle, take a look at where you will be working and gather all the necessary tools, such as a few wrenches or a ratchet and strip of sockets, the drain pan, some clean rage and, if the oil filter is more accessible from underneath the vehicle, you will also want to grab a bottle of oil, the new filter and a filter wrench at this time.
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  5. Position the drain pan beneath the oil pan drain plug. Keep in mind that the fast flowing oil, which will spill out as you pull the plug from the pan, will flow with enough force that it could miss the pan. Position the drain pan accordingly and be ready to move the pan more directly beneath the plug as the oil flow lessens to a trickle.
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  7. Loosen the drain plug with a wrench (or socket and driver), then carefully unscrew the plug with your fingers. Use a rag to shield your fingers from the heat. Push in on the plug as you unscrew it so you can feel when all of the screw threads are out of the hole (and so you will keep the oil from seeping past the threads until you are ready to remove the plug). You can then remove the plug quickly to avoid having hot oil run down your arm. This will also help assure that have the plug in your hand, not in the bottom of a pan of hot oil.
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CAUTION
Be careful of the oil; when at operating temperature, it is hot enough to cause a severe burn.

  1. Allow the oil to drain until nothing but a few drops come out of the drain hole. Check the drain plug to make sure the threads and sealing surface are not damaged. Carefully thread the plug into position and tighten it with a torque wrench to 35 ft. lbs. (45 Nm) on the 2.2L Engine and 19 ft. lbs. (26 Nm) on the 2.3/2.4L engines. If a torque wrench is not available, snug the drain plug and give a slight additional turn. You don't want the plug to fall out (as you would quickly become stranded), but the pan threads are EASILY stripped from overtighening (and this can be time consuming and/or costly to fix).
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  3. To remove the filter, you may need an oil filter wrench since the filter may have been fitted too tightly and/or the heat from the engine may have made it even tighter. A filter wrench can be obtained at any auto parts store and is well-worth the investment. Loosen the filter with the filter wrench. With a rag wrapped around the filter, unscrew the filter from the bose on the side of the engine. Be careful of hot oil that will run down the side of the filter. Make sure that your drain pan is under the filter before you start to remove it from the engine; should some of the hot oil happen to get on you, there will be a place to dump the filter in a hurry and the filter will usually spill a good bit of dirty oil as it is removed.
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  5. Wipe the base of the mounting bose with a clean, dry cloth. When you install the new filter, smear a small amount of fresh oil on the gasket with your finger, just enough to coat the entire contact surface. When you tighten the filter, rotate it about a quarter-turn after it contacts the mounting bose (or follow any instructions which are provided on the filter or parte box).
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WARNING
Operating the engine without the proper amount and type of engine oil will result in severe engine damage.

  1. Remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle, then IMMEDIATELY refill the engine crankcase with the proper amount of oil. DO NOT WAIT TO DO THIS because if you forget and someone tries to start the vehicle, severe engine damage will occur.
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  3. Refill the engine crankcase slowly, checking the level often. You may notice that it usually takes less than the amount of oil listed in the capacity chart to refill the crankcase. But, that is only until the engine is run and the oil filter is filled with oil. To make sure the proper level is obtained, run the engine to normal operating temperature, shut the engine OFF , allow the oil to drain back into the oil pan, and recheck the level. Top off the oil at this time to the fill mark.
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If the vehicle is not resting on level ground, the oil level reading on the dipstick may be slightly off. Be sure to check the level only when the vehicle is sitting level.

  1. Drain your used oil in a suitable container for recycling.
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