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Chevrolet/Geo Metro

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  • Need help please. Have a 94 automatic 1.0L Metro Hatchback-Problem is with it starting. When I drive it for a while, stop, and then try to restart it after 10-15 mins-it wont start!-but I will have all dash lights, radio, heater, ect. It doesnt even crank, theres nothing going on. I then have to wait 30-60 mins to be able to get it to start again. If im just driving it around town stopping here and there, it seems to have no issues. I have replaced the starter, and there have been no problems for about 3 months, but it just started doing it again. If there are 2 people available, I can get it started by holding something metal on the solenoid, while starting the car. Any ideas?? In the same boat as everyone else right now, so cant really afford to take to a shop to have it looked at, so any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks :confuse:
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    edited April 2010
    I assume that by "holding something metal on the solenoid" you mean that you're shorting power from the battery cable terminal to the solenoid terminal which normally connects to the wire from the ignition switch. By doing this, you're effectively bypassing both the ignition switch and the neutral safety switch. So, if this consistently enables the starter to function; it means that either the ignition switch starting contacts or the neutral safety switch contacts are developing excessive resistance when the engine has recently been run. This is usually the result of age and wear on those contacts.

    The neutral safety switch is wired in series between the ignition switch starting contacts and the starter solenoid. The purpose of that switch is to prevent the starter from being activated when the transmission is in gear; but to allow starting when the transmission is in either Neutral or Park. Since neutral safety switches usually have separate contacts for the neutral and park positions; it is often the case that one of those contacts goes open, while the other one is still functioning. So I suggest you try starting with the shift lever in neutral, and see if it will start consistently there. If it does; that would be a zero cost fix for this problem.

    If I remember correctly, the 1994 Metros had a short lived, infamous safety device which prevented the starter from running when there was a weight on any of the seats, and that seat's seatbelt was not buckled. So you also might try keeping all the seat belts buckled; regardless of whether or not the seat is occupied. Some of those weight sensors will activate from vibration or from very small weights (like a book) placed on the seat. I believe the seat weight sensors can be deactivated by disconnecting their plug, which is underneath each seat. There may be more than one plug under a seat; so you need to find out which one is the right one.

    The neutral safety switch (http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=444747) has many different wires on it, which serve many different functions; and would thus be intimidating to bypass. I would recommend against trying to do so.

    You can rig up a professional grade means of bypassing both the ignition switch start contacts and the neutral safety switch, by buying a 10 amp, 120 volt pushbutton switch at a hardware store, mounting it in a convenient location within reach of the driver's seat, and connecting it between the battery positive terminal and the small blade terminal on the starter solenoid; where the ignition switch wire normally attaches. This will require long connecting wires (I recommend buying at least 10 feet of 12 or 14 gauge stranded, single conductor electrical wire) Large hardware stores ususally carry that type of wire in bulk rolls, and will sell you as much as you want. It is much cheaper to buy bulk wire from hardware stores than to buy prepackaged wire from auto parts or electronic supply stores. You can run the wire from the underhood area into the passenger compartment by poking small holes through the grommet in the firewall around the speedometer cable, or other similar cables. The safest way to connect the wire to the starter is by crimping a female quick disconnect terminal to the end of the wire; after first stripping off about 1/4" of insulation from the end. Disconnect the stock ignition switch wire from that solenoid terminal, tape it up, and leave it unused. This type of connection will require using the push button for starting all the time, but it will eliminate the need to be cautious about never pushing the button while the ignition switch is turned off (which could have damaged the system by sending power back up the ignition switch wire; if the ignition switch wire had not been removed and was still connected to the starter).
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    Sounds like a good deal. Unfortunately, I believe that car sale posts are prohibited on this site. You might do well with Auto Trader or Yahoo.
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    Good point. The forums cannot be used to sell vehicles, but as you point out, Auto Trader is available right on the front page of Edmunds. Just click the Home link at the top of this page and you'll find the Sell Your Car link in the Used Cars section on the top center of the home page.

    PFFlyer@Edmunds

    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    And if you're like me; and just hate to spend money for a service which can also be had for free; try Craig's List or Kijiji (which is still called by that name in Canada; but is now called ebay classifieds in the U.S.).
  • Thanks everyone, sorry I did not realise my mistake on the advertising...looks like it will be traded at the dealer...
  • keithsrhkeithsrh Posts: 1
    i have a 1993 1.0liter and my check engine flashes one time then five times one time then 5 times. then it flashes one time then 3 times but mine has done that since i bought it i didnt use a paperclip and it only idles choppy
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    The two codes you are getting (13 and 15) mean that the MAP sensor reading does not change from engine startup to run mode; and that there is no vehicle speed sensor signal. This may be caused by disconnected or defective components, or by wiring harness problems, or by bad ground connections at the ground point on the back of the intake manifold.

    Regardless; the CEL should not be flashing codes when it is not deliberately put into diagnostic mode. So this sounds like someone else may have left a paper clip or jumper in the check connector (or else there is a wiring short at the check connector).

    Try disconnecting the battery for two or three minutes and turning the headlight switch on during some of that time, then shut the lights off and reconnect the battery. This should clear any stored codes in the computer. If the CEL keeps flashing; there is a wiring problem related to the check conector.
  • Bought my 1998 metro with 35000 miles on it 5 years ago on ebay for $1400.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    Hiperformer engines, in Spokane, WA is the best source anywhere for remanufactured Metro engines. They have premium quality workmanship, come with a 7 year, 100,000 mile warranty, have some of the lowest prices in the country; and will ship anywhere in the US for a very attractive price. www.hiperformer.com Call the number on their website for details; their engines require some of the external parts transferred from the old motor.
  • My '98 Metro 1.3 ran fine until I replaced the oil pan (which a rock kicked a micro-hole in, causing a very bad leak). Now, with the repaired pan re-installed, the car cranks over, I can smell fuel from fuel injectors, but NO spark. Will not start of course. Yes, I reconnected the oil pan sensor, and the 4 wire sensor array going to the exhaust pipe O2 sensor (California car). How do I get this little gem to start back up and running?

    Okay, from all I have now read a faulty O2 sensor would NOT cause my car to just not start. So I am back to my original question. Only thing I did was replace the oil pan. Only connections I unhooked were the O2 sensor near the catalytic converter, and the oil pan sensor. Why has the ECU shut sown the ignition? How do I reset it?
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    In order to solve challenging auto puzzles; it is necessary to go beyond preconceptions and assumptions; and re-examine what you saw, as well as searching for what you might have overlooked or not have noticed, along with reconsidering whether what you think may be the only possible cause is REALLY the only possible cause. One good way to start would be to analyze whether the "no spark" observation is really true all the way back to the coils; or whether it only affects one of the two coils. Check for spark at each of the coils by leaving one plug wire connected to a plug in the motor, connecting the other plug wire from that coil to a clean spark plug, and clamping or tying the plug so that its metal body presses against a metal part of the cylinder head. Then crank the starter while watching for spark between that plug's electrodes. IMPORTANT; This test will not work if the second plug wire from that coil is not connected to a spark plug in the engine. If one coil produces sparks, while the other does not; either the coil, the plug wires, or the ignition module is defective. You can often interchange coils and wires to sort this out.

    If there really is no spark from either coil; check for 12 volts at the power wire to the ignition module when the key is on. There might be a blown fuse or a bad relay. If there is no spark at either coil, but there is 12 volts at the ignition module; the camshaft position sensor may have gone out, or its signal wire could have been broken or disconnected.

    It is also possible that the timing belt has broken or jumped out of position while the motor was being worked on. This is surprisingly commmon. Checking the compression in all cylinders is a crude way to confirm that the timing belt is properly aligned. Compression of less than 160psi suggests that the belt may have jumped or broken.
  • Very thoughtful answer. I did in fact do the spark plug/plug wire test already just as you describe. Nada. One note, these are not coils per se but rather coil modules for electronic spark. Tomorrow I will check the 12v at the ignition module. I have already tested ALL relays and fuses in all three fuse locations. All are good. The camshaft position sensor or its signal wire will be my next territory to examine. Although the timing belt issue or compression possibly could be involved, I seriously doubt this simply because immediately prior to repairing the oil pan the engine ran beautifully. It just makes no sense for a changed oil pan, oil, and oil filter to have provoked a catastrophic failure in those two areas. Yet, I will check them all the same. By the way, I put a code reader on the ECU harness and it came up with "0 ERROR CODES". I know the reader works properly cuz we used it on my buddie's car and found a problem he didn't even know was developing and got that repaired! Gotta get to work Thursday, so I need this car running! Thanks for your help. I'll let you know!
  • zaken1
    Just a little note for you in case you see some other goof like me create the same problem. I found my solution on another Geo forum. Check it out:

    Dear mwebb!
    You saved my sanity!
    I have been racking my brain trying to figure what the heck was going on with my 98 metro 1.3 not starting after i repaired my oilpan! A rock kicked a micro-hole in it causing it to leak oil badly. I removed the pan, repaired the hole, put on a new oil filter, a new gasket with new rtv sealant all around. Great, done, but the car won't start. Couldn't figure this out for the life of me until I came upon your forum comment where in you said

    "another view
    note spark does not begin until a voltage threshold is crossed in CMP and CKP
    so
    it is possible that a CKP or CMP sensor does output AC voltage , but that the amplitude is TOO low for the ECM to see it
    causing
    no start OR stall

    an example is when those who do not know better replace oil pan gaskets with a Cork gasket instead of RTV [note:WHICH IS WHAT I DID!]
    distance to CKP from the toothed wheel is TOO great and CKP amplitude is TOO low
    Engine has no spark no fuel"

    Thank God he wrote for the last three lines he posted, it SO solved my problem!! Good man!!
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    Glad you found the problem; which is a new one to me. Thanks for the details. A minor correction here is that the dual outlet coils used on this motor are not "coil modules for electronic spark." A coil module is a device which contains electronic components such as transistors, capacitors, ICs and resistors; that are used to control the switching current to the coils. On your car; the module is separate from the coils, and the coils are just conventional coils with two secondary outlets. This type of coil may be unfamiliar to folks who've mostly worked on older cars, but they've been used on twin cylinder Harley and Japanese motorcycles for many years (where they were originally used with breaker point ignitions, and later were used with electronic modules); and more recently have been used on certain GM V-6s and V-8s (three dual outlet coils on a V-6, and four dual outlet coils on a V-8), on Mitsubishi Eclipses, on Mazda rotary engines, on some Mercedes models, and on many other motors. On vehicles with electronic ignition (whether using single or dual outlet coils) the coil module is sometimes located in a metal housing which may be attached to the coils or mounted nearby. But the coils will always be plastic, while the module is a separate container that could either be plastic or metal. Modules are not normally molded into the coil housing (except for the eight single outlet coils on some late model GM LS6 performance motors).

    The common practice of confusing electronic coils with modules particularly irks me; because it seems to be very prevalent among employees at salvage yards; which results in them mispricing single and double outlet electronic coils as if they had modules in them. This forces customers of those places to pay twice as much for an electronic coil as it really is worth.
  • zaken1
    Duly noted about the coils. Good info! Dropped the pan today, took off the newly added gasket, replaced with rtv, then re-installed the pan. Guess what.... VAROOOOOM said Jenny when I turned the ignition key. So moral of the story is:

    ON METRO/SWIFT/FIREFLY CARS NEVER USE ANYTHING OTHER THAN RTV SILICONE SEALANT AS A GASKET FOR YOUR OILPAN!

    NO CORK OR ANY OTHER OILPAN GASKET BUT RTV SEALANT, OR YOUR CAR IS DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    Fortunately for most of the Metro owners on this site; a crankshaft position sensor was not used in 1988-1997 models; so they are not subject to this problem. These sensors were only used on 1998-2000 3 cyinder motors; and 1998-2001 4 cylinder motors. Basically; any Metro that has a single coil will not have a crankshaft position sensor; but cars with more than one ignition coil will have a crankshaft position sensor.
  • I have a 1992 Metro, when it gets to about a 1/4 tank of gas, it starts surging like it is running out of gas. Fill it up and it runs great. Does anyone have any idea of why it is not picking up the fuel when the fuel tank is low? Any help would be appreciated.
  • One probable cause is that you have accumulated vacuum in the tank as you use up the gas. Check it out by undoing your cap. If you hear a hissing noise, that's the problem.
    Check out the rubber lines for any blockage, including those going to the charcoal canister (if you have one) check the cap also.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    The vapor control systems in modern cars (including the Metro) are designed to work with either pressure or vacuum in the tank, without interfering with the fuel delivery. I often hear hissing when removing the fuel filler cap on my Metro; and sometimes hear pressure being released when the cap is removed; but my car (and all the other cars I've serviced with vapor control systems) has no surging problems when the fuel level is low. It is unfortunate when people try to analyze problems without adequately understanding the limits and normal functioning of these systems; because it often results in wrong conclusions and false rumors, along with leading to unnecessary and illegal modifications of emission controls.

    The problem you describe is most likely caused by a clogged fuel filter. When the fuel filter becomes restricted, it will flow less fuel when the fuel level in the tank is low, which leads to a lean mixture condition. The fuel filter on your Metro is located underneath the car, on the driver's side, just in front of the rear wheel. This filter has a metal cover below it, which is held on by two bolts.
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