1989 Chevy Camaro Runs Bad Idles Rough and Dies

Reader Question I have been slowly trying to tune and perfect my newly purchased 1989 Chevy Camaro. I, personally, have limited knowledge of engines and vehicles, but many of my friends study the subject and seem to know what they are talking about.

Unfortunately they all have different opinions on what should be done. The main problem I have now is trouble getting it to start and I have to pump the gas pedal repeatedly. I know thats bad for my vehicle but just turning the key won’t start it.

It turns over fine, but it just won’t start. Then, later on in the ride if I am driving slow or slowing down, my car vibrates harshly and shakes until i have a steady flow of gas flowing through the engine again. It only seems to shake when I drive slow or am sitting still.

My camaro is a 5.0 liter V8 throttle body, fuel injected and for the longest time, the previous owner thought it was only a V6, therefore, only changed 6 spark plugs the entire time he owned it. We recently changed all 8 of the spark plugs, put on new wires, a new distributer cap and a new rotor, none of which helped.

I am becoming desperate, and I am afraid to take it anywhere to have it fixed because I would like to take it to someone I know, but none of the mechanics in my area have been honest with me in the past. I have been having my boyfriends dad help me previously, but if it is deeper than basic maintenance, I’m afraid he won’t be able to help. Any advice or suggestions you have would be great. Thanks!


Hello Maggie,

The first thing that comes to mind here is checking the fuel pump fuel pressure with a manual screw on fuel pressure gauge. This gauge can be rented from your local auto parts store and you can screw it on to the fuel rail under the hood. Lack of proper fuel pressure could be your problem, and replacing the fuel pump might be the answer.

I would also hook up a scanner and read your computer codes to see if any negative information is stored. There could be a problem with your MAF sensor…Mass Air Flow sensor. Sometimes they can be cleaned, or just replaced with a re manufactured one. Slow starting complaints are common with a bad MAF sensor.


Austin Davis

Posted in: Running Problems

1 Comment on "1989 Chevy Camaro Runs Bad Idles Rough and Dies"

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  1. whiteman says:

    check your timing on your engine. i have a 72 benz with the same symptoms that your Camaro has. i found out that my timing chain is loose. and that’s causing the problem in mine. with the different engines and everything i might be something else for you but it wouldn’t hurt to have it checked.

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