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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 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?


  • 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,
  • 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.
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