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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm

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  • Yeah, so i have a 92 Geo Prizm also and recently the temperatures here have reached the low 30s and now i cant even turn my ignition. the key goes in but will not budge. i do not know why and am very frustrated. is this similar to your problem at all. we need some answers! :cry:
  • We have a '93 Geo Prizm...same problem! When the weather is cold, it may start or not. Battery is fine. All connections are tight. Sometimes a clicking noise when it is trying to turn over, sometimes nothing. However it will kick over fine when connected to another car for a "jump". This problem has started only now, with the coming of the cold temperatures. Anybody with any ideas??
  • I had some repairs done to my 1998 Prizm LSi yesterday, and I told them that the panel under the shift lever -- the one that reads "PRND2L" -- doesn't light up any more. The repair guy said that after opening it up, he couldn't find place to PUT a light bulb. I'm sure I remember being able to see the shifter setting in the dark before.

    Am I wrong? Or will my repairman have to remove the entire shifter cover to replace the bulb?

    Shawn
  • Brief history: I was returning home from a short trip ~25 miles. I let off the accelerator to turn right into my subdivision and the engine died. :confuse: It restarted and ran rough until i parked it in my driveway 2 blocks from where it died. Since then it stalls at traffic stops and depending how it stalls: either restarts immediately if it just dies or takes a minute or two if it sputters, seems to diesel, run backward and back flow through intake. Sometimes rough on acceleration sometimes smooth. When rough sometimes gentle pumping would let it catch and become smooth.

    Parts replaced so far:

    O2 sensor - no change in symptoms

    Fuel Filter - no change in symptoms

    Fuel Pump and pressure regulator - better for awhile but symptoms returned a week later.

    Drove to Nascar race in Atlanta ~350 miles one way. It went smooth on the interstate and highways with no problems as long as I didn't have to stop for a traffic light or stop sign. Only died twice on the way and twice on the way back. Averaged 35 M.P.G. for the trip.

    Timing Belt and alternator belt not for symptoms but wanted it done anyway - ran great that evening even through mechanics test drive but when I went to test drive it the symptoms returned. Next morning it wouldn't start at all. When checked found plenty of spark but no pulse at fuel injectors. :sick:

    ECU - (obtained at reasonable price from eBay with warranty) Finally got it to start but symptoms remain. Next morning no start again. Found code retrieval info and got code from ECU that read normal (steady flash). :cry:

    Throttle Position Sensor (changed but not adjusted to specs as we couldn't find pin outs to follow adjustment procedure)- Drove to parts store where it "acted up" on the way to and on the return trip. Checked ECU for code and retrieved code 31 .

    M.A.P. Sensor - Finally got it to start again but accelleration again produces different results. Sometimes it is smooth. Sometimes it chokes, dies, diesels and hard to restart. Sometimes dies right away on accelleration and easy to restart. Next morning no start again. :mad: ECU returns no code .

    This is where I am at after 7 months of chasing my tail and my Mechanic is just pulling his hair out now. Any ideas out there????? This is my only car and now has me stranded until I get this solved. The no starting just started since the weather turned cold. I only paid $600 US for the car when I bought it in April, 2005, now I'm at ~$760 in parts and labor since July. I'm willing to put a little more change into it since the gas mileage is so good on it though. ;)
  • My heater will not work. I've checked the fuses, wiring, etc. but cannot find the problem. I have 3 children riding in this car with me and it's about 12 degrees in the morning when we leave with no heat!! I am on a limited income so I cannot afford to take my car to a mechanic. Someone please help me!!! P.S. I bought this car in May for $600. I have spent already $1500 to fix all kinds of problems (replaced the entire brake system etc.) so I am now broke AND freezing!!! :cry:
  • I feel your pain... what year is the car?
    Few simple items to check:

    Coolant level & condition- Do you have enough? If you or the previous owner kept adding water to the radiator, it may not circulate well through the heater core when it is partially frozen.

    Temp gauge-is the engine really warming up? See if the temp gauge needle goes up to where it normally does in warmer months. If the thermostat is stuck open, your car may never reach the operating temp. Then the heater would not work. Bad for engine too. Symptoms: the car takes very long time to warm up. In stop and go traffic the temp gauge needle creeps up, but in constant highway speed it begins to cool all the way to where you started in the morning. If this is the case and if you can be EXTREMELY CAREFUL, you might try blocking 1/2 of the radiator with a piece of cardboard. This an emergency measure, and it will work on the highway, but could lead to severe overheating in stop and go traffic. I have used this method before but I kept very close eye on the temp gauge and replaced the thremostat as soon as possible. A couple of times I had to stop and pull the cardboard out to prevent overheating in stop and go traffic.

    Heater control knob-if it is broken and/or slipping, it may not be moving the actual temp control lever.

    There are space-heater like devices that you can plug into the cigrette lighter. You can get one at any auto parts store. At 600 watts it is not strong, but might serve as a hand warmer. This is obviously a temporary measure, because the alternator has to work hard to supply that kind of output. But if you are really frezing and can't fix the problem right away... Make sure you don't kill the battery with it. It is worse to get stuck with a dead battery when it's 12 degrees out.
    Good luck
  • I'll assume that you know for sure that the battery is in good shape. If the car starts every time it is jumped but not on its own, I suspect the battery cable. Probably the negative cable, corroded or otherwise damaged. You connect the red jumper cable to the positive battery terminal but the black goes on the engine block. If this works every time, then the problem is either battery itself or the cable that cannot carry large enough current to start the car. It takes larger current to turn over the engine when cold, and battery is weaker when cold. If you have a bad cable problems still could be temperature dependent.

    If you checked the battery, battery cables, and cable connections (both battery side and car side), the next stop is the starter itself. Starter solenoid can fail, starter itself can fail in such a way that it requires larger current to turn over the engine.
  • I have a 1996 Geo Prizm Lsi (manual) and recently I have been having issues with the heat. I lose heat when idling. I get no heat after warming the car up, but I do get heat when driving. The temperature gauge reads in the middle where it normally does, however I did notice once that when idling (and losing heat), it would rise briefly and then drop again (also sounds as if a fan came on to.
    Any ideas what the issue could be?
    Thanks
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Check the blower (fan motor for heat/ac, NOT the radiator fan) operation. If the fan is not running, the only time you get heated air through the vent is when the car is in motion and wind is forcing air through the vent. Fan speed selector switch typically uses resistors to control fan speed, and they fail from time to time. Or it could be the blower motor itself. Check the fuse box first.

    If the problem is not fan related check the standard items like coolant level and thrmostat operation. If the thermostat is partially stuck you might see overheating in warmer weather. It could also keep the coolant from flowing into the heater core at low water pump pressuer at low rpm.

    My prime suspect is the fuse for the fan.

    Good luck.
    M
  • loujilouji Posts: 3
    My 1990 Geo Prizm makes an absurd noise every time I hit 35 mph. Now I can't even go beyond 45 mph. The car seems to have power whenever I hit the gas. I've changed oil and filter but that didn't help. This car was fine until I drove it to NYC for the holidays. I cannot stand the weird noise and I'm thinking of donating this car but I need it for a few more months. Will somebody please help me with this problem :cry: ?
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    What does it sound like? Does it run ok before it warms up? Did you run out of oil or coolant before it started making that noise? How does it run under 35mph? Is it automatic or stick? If automatic, does it shift properly?
  • loujilouji Posts: 3
    Thanks for replying. It sounds like grinding /growling, like something is blocking the gas to flow beyond 45mph. It's wicked loud. I think it did run out of oil when I got home. The car is still running ok under 35mph. I checked the coolant tank. It sort of full but the white tank has about 1/4 on it and it doesn't change. It's automatic and it does shift properly. I'm draining the coolant tank tomorrow and changing all the spark plugs. I have only used the car for about 50/100 miles since we changed the oil and today it's empty. This car has about 139,000 miles and it was running fine until I travelled for about 400 miles. How can you tell if the timing belt is still ok?
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    I don't think there is a good way to tell if the timing belt is ok. If it is in one piece with no frayed edges it is doing the job for the moment. It should be replaced every 60000 miles, regardless how it looks. More important is the timing itself. Have someone check the timing with proper equipment. But check the following items first.

    How low does the oil get? In 100 miles, does it burn 1 quart or more? If so, you should also see black smoke coming out of the tailpipe. If this is the case it is likely that something happened to the piston rings. Have a mechanic check the compresstion in each cylinder. I don't know how much a ring job should cost. But whatever it is, it will not be worthwhile unless you are absolutely sure that low oil level did not cause other internal damages.

    OR the car is leaking oil in the driveway...Easy to check.

    OR the oil is leaking into the cooling system. Take the radiator cap off (when cold) and see if the coolant comes up all the way to the cap. When you drain the coolant make sure it is nice and green with no oil mixed in it. If you find oil in coolant...head gasket is blown and you probably don't want to spend the money to repair that.

    Don't change anything expensive...just yet. Spark plugs did not cause this problem, but they might be dirty if the engine is burning oil.

    I am sorry to have to suggest this but I suspect that the oil level was allowed to go too low, and bearings and piston rings got burnt up, hence the awful noise. You may have timing belt issues as well, but that cannot cause the engine to burn oil. Noticeable change in oil level in 100 miles is not good. Are you sure?
  • loujilouji Posts: 3
    The radiator cap has Brownish color. If the head gasket is blown. I really don't want to spend to much money on this car.
    Thanks so much...
  • fred3fred3 Posts: 10
    I've got a 1995 Geo Prizm LSi, with only 40,000 miles on it. Runs great, and have had minimal issues. Recently, my wife had a minor parking-lot fender bender, where the car was hit in the front, on the right hand side. There's some damage to the front bumper, the front headlight was pushed a little out of place, and the hood is a bit out of shape. We were quoted $2,000 to fix, about half of which is for the hood.

    I would assume that the bumper and headlight must be fixed, as potential safety issues on the car, but what abut the hood? Is there a safety issue with the hood, or is it purely aesthetic?
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    I'd say it's cosmetic if these conditions are met:

    1. The hood does not block driver's view.
    2. The hood is not damaged in such a way that it catches a lot of wind at high speed. If it does, the hood release latch is the only thing that's keeping it from flying off the car. The latch itself may have been damaged by the impact, so you should inspect it very carefully.

    A used hood from a junkyard should be available at a fraction of the quoted cost ($1000). You might want to look into that option.
    M
  • I was using an inverter in the cigarette lighter of my 99 prism . Suddenly, it stopped powering the inverter. Then when I tried a cell phone charger in it, that didn't get any power either. I checked the fuse and it looks to be fine. I was just wondering what else I might be able to do in order to fix the problem.
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    If you are sure that the fuse is ok, the problem is probably the ligher socket itself. Remove the plastic panel around it (it might just pop out or you may need a screw driver) and it should be easy to remove the socket. It is simple enough so you can either try to fix it or buy a new one.

    Make sure you disconnect the battery's negative (-) terminal before attempting to remove the part, unless you want to see some sparks!

    If you see burnt wires or connections it means you were drawing too much power from the lighter. It will happen again if you plug in a high wattage appliance into the inverter. Remember never to substitute a larger fuse to prevent a blown fuse. Always use the correct amp fuse designed for the part. You would rather have blown fuses than burnt wire somewhere in the circuit, or worse yet the car catching on fire!!!
    Good luck.
    M
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 373
    I would like to equip my "spare" 96 Geo Prizm with a roof rack to turn it into an extra-light-duty "truck" capable of, say, carrying a door or two from a hardware store. Would appreciate answers to the questions:

    1. Is it even reasonable to use a roof rack to transport 100 lb or so on such a small car?

    2. If it is ok: what brand/model of racks is recommended?

    3. How to find what is compatible with my vehicle? I did some googling for fit lists but the results are unconclusive.

    TIA,
  • I don't know if this will be helpful at all, but we transported a freezer on the roof of our 97 prizm with no problems.
  • i came home with the car running perfectly.i tried to get back out ten minutes later and the car would not start.the mechanic told me everything was fine and that a factory anti theft device might have been activated.the hazard lights begin to flash anytime i try to start.
  • I did not see where the ignition parts were changed, plugs, wires, dist cap, rotor? I had a rough running 94 prism with 154,000 miles and it turned out that a spark plug had come loose.
  • My 92 geo prizm flashes the battery & brake light esp. when I accellerate. I have noticed it also does it if the car is idling high, like in the morning on startup before it gets warm. it doesn't do it everytime, but mostly when I accellerate it goes on & off, almost like a short.
    what should I be concerned about with this?
  • mpkonigmpkonig Posts: 2
    i have a weird coolant leak ....it looks like its coming from the back of the engine....its running pretty quick .....i cant seem to see where it is coming from...all i know its dripping off where the oil dipstick goes into, and it feels like it is running from behind the bottom pulley on the left side of the engine....which leads to my other question...when i take the radiator cap off..since its been running hot...there is a light brown foam on the cap and in the radiator...and i read that it could mean the head gasket is blown. Is that a possibility? as far as i can see...there is no water/coolant in the oil. and i dont have black smoke coming out of the tailpipe. ....anyways...if someone could tell me where the coolant could be coming from on the side of my engine...i would appreciate it...its driving me nuts and im not too mechanically inclined so any advice would help..thanks
  • mpkonigmpkonig Posts: 2
    oh...btw....i have a 95 geo prism 1.6 5 speed
  • ruddneckruddneck Posts: 23
    My 2000 Prizm was starting to run a little rough, and it was about that time, so I changed the spark plugs yesterday. I got a nasty surprise when I pulled out the plug for the number one cylinder (the furthest left one) and it was dripping in oil. I'm guessing the seals/gaskets have deteriorated, and too much oil got into the cylinder, fouling the plug and then accumulated as it did?

    My father-in-law suggested replacing the plug anyway, drive it for a couple hours and see if the oil burns off. Sounds logical, but I'm wondering whether the plug will even fire if there's that much oil in there. Moreover, it could be the ignition coil is bad (I might run to AutoZone today to borrow one of their testers).

    Any thoughts, suggestions, similar experiences, and/or warnings?

    Thanks!

    John
  • I drive a 1995 Geo Prizm. This morning on my way to work I heard a loud clackety-clack, my oil light came on, then my engine died. What do I need to do to get my car running well again? HELP!
  • My 1996 Geo Prizm 1.8 tripped the Check Engine light yesterday. My friendly neighborhood AutoZone read the error code as "P0302 cylinder 2 misfire" & suggested plugs & wires as a remedy.

    1) is that accurate?
    2) what causes a misfire?
    3) will it damage anything to run the vehicle before it is fixed?

    Thanks very much for any help anyone might give!
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    1) Not sure
    2)Deteriorated plug wire can jump or block sparks, or otherwise not carry electrical current properly and as a result plug itself will not fire properly.
    Faulty plug can misfire. Plug may become faulty because of mechanical failure of the unit itself, or due to serious loss of compression or oil residue. These can happen when piston rings fail and allow loss of compression and oil to enter the combustion chamber.
    3)If the car is running rough I would fix it immediately.

    I suggest pulling the plug first. See what it looks like before changing anything else. The problem may go farther back than the plug or the wire but you should start with the plug and trace the problem backwards. Post your findings and I'll see if I can be of any help.
    Good luck,
    M
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    If you haven't resolved this yet...
    Check battery connection. Bad cable or connection will cut off the engine. It can't explain the oil light but when you have an intermittent electrical problem electronics can do weird things...
    The worst case senario is oil pressure loss and resultant failure of one of the large bearings.
    Did it also overheat or do anything else that was unusual? Let us know how the diagnosis went.
    M
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