Fan and starting issue with 96 Chevrolet Lumina

Last fall I got a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina with around 30,000 miles, so it’s like-new. A couple weeks ago, on a relatively warm day (in the 50s), I noticed some loud noise and felt vibrations in the steering wheel, as I was parked with it running. Later that day I discovered this noise and vibration coming from one of the fans kicking in by the radiator. The days have been cooler lately and the car hasn’t gotten warm enough to kick in the fan, so I haven’t observed it in a while. Has anyone heard of a fan motor going bad like that, especially with a car that has such low miles?

The same car also has an interesting starting issue where it seems to be getting too little fuel on initial start-ups, especially when the engine is warmed up. Sometimes it’ll fire up, sputter and quit. Sometimes it’ll fire up, want to quit and then the RPMs go up and down for about 5-10 seconds before smoothing out. Sometimes I need to crank it for quite a while before it’ll actually run and then some of the previously mentioned issues ensue. Any ideas?

One last thing, my wife’s 97 Cavalier needs a CV Joint job. Any ideas as to what that repair should cost at a typical shop?

Thanks for the help!

Fan noise; mileage isn’t the issue. It is just an old electric motor. Check to make sure some debris, or piece of plastic isn’t contacting the fan blades. If not, then the motor’s bearing is worn out. These are lubed for life bearings so the only option is replace the fan motor as a unit. Perhaps a salvaged used part is available. Some of these motors last a long time, some don’t.

Starting issue; with those low miles it is possible the original spark plugs may still be in the motor. Change them and any other ignition parts such as wires and distributor cap if it has one. Then see how it runs. The throttle body and fuel injectors may need cleaning. Get the basics done first and if there are still running problems then it could be things like a bad sensor, idle control module, etc.

Haven’t replace a CV joint in a while so can’t help on that.

I don’t believe you have correctly identified the source of the noise or vibration.
If the fan does not come on with the AC on hot wire it and see if it really is vibrating. I saw a lot of vibration on the Lumina from debris in the HVAC blower.
Your car is known to have fuel pump quality problems. Perform some pump tests.
I have never replaced a HALF SHAFT (don’t just do a joint or boot) on the Cavalier but 1.5hrs labor should do it. I can picture the set-up in my mind and I don’t see a complicating feature. Are you buying a new or rebuilt shaft? Are you confident in the diagnosis? What is the sympton?

I guess the vibration could be something else, but I specifically saw it happen a while back. I had the hood open and watched as the fan kicked on and then off, causing the noise and vibration that I spoke of. It never came up until a couple weeks ago because I don’t think that fan has been on for a long time. I’m in Minnesota and it’s cool enough in the winter and a lot of my drives with the car are short trips that there hasn’t been a need for the fan to kick in a whole lot.
As for the Cavalier, when I turn the steering wheel either direction, there are noticable noises, minor “clunking” I would call it. Based on previous experiences of this problem in other cars, I’m guessing it’s the CV joints. The car does not have a lot of miles (106,000), but a lot of them were in-town miles too.