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Pontiac Vibe Engine Questions



  • mikey00mikey00 Posts: 462
    Are you sure it's not leaking into your coolant?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    no I'm not sure; how can one tell?
  • :cry: Why is it that there is anyone in this forum. I someimes have questions about my 2005 Vibe but I dont see anyone here.
  • Has anyone had any major problems with their vibe? I have read about people having problems with stuff. :sick:
  • mikey00mikey00 Posts: 462
    Just check the coolant overflow tank. With the amount of oil you are using you should have an oily mess in there, if thats the problem.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Thanks mikey00; I was hoping you were going to say that. At last check, it was still Toyota pink !! I'll stick my head back under there when the car returns tonight to do a smell and visual check of the solution inside the overflow jug.
    Looking into the future, if there are no external leaks (and there are none), and if there is no oily slime floating around in my coolant reservoir, can I start assuming it is the rings, or are there other possibilities?

    gurabita: I am one long time Corolla fan who is disgusted with the Vibe. It has been said by many before that it is the worst car to come out of Nummi and I could not agree more. The problems have been too numerous to list here. Mechanically, it has been reasonably sound until my Houdini disappearing oil trick. It certainly was the worst purchase I've made in quite some time. I'll run it into the ground and then it has an appointment with the bottom of a cliff. ;)
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    OK, what does that mean?? I pulled up a sample of coolant, and it looks tobacco colored. I had my antifreeze flushed out last year, so the color is very bad. What is the fix for this, and what damage am I causing to my engine?
  • cdamechcdamech Posts: 31
    This could mean that Oil is leaking into your cooling system. Check the color of your Oil, is it coffee (tobacco) colored? That means Coolant is leaking into your Oil compartment. If Coolant into Oil, this must be resolved immediately as you will have Engine damage. This could be due to a thin engine head gasket in the Engine between Oil and Coolant sections.
    I have not heard of Toyota engines having this problem. However, I did hear of GM 3.4 V6 engine (GM Minivans 1997 - 2004)problems where a thin gasket and DEXCOOL ate into the Gasket near the intake manifold causing coolant to get into Engine Oil compartment. Have it resolved ASAP.

    I also know that some were successful in using Coolant LEAK Material to prevent Coolant leaking to Oil side. It may not work if Oil is leaking to Coolant side.

    Have you been using GM DEXCOOL instead of Toyota coolant? DEXCOOL is know to eat into Gaskets.

    This may mean a engine head gasket replacement and using only Toyota coolant for Toyota engines going forward.

    Comments from others?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    thanks cdamech. I think I have coolant in my brain. The oil consumption turned out to be nothing more than the PCV valve. I was burning up to 2 quarts per oil change. The junk in the radiator.... a mystery. Thanks very much for your writeup. Indeed I am using regular coolant in the Vibe. No Dexcool came in these cars. Thanks again for taking the time.
  • cdamechcdamech Posts: 31
    So you had a defective PCV that did not return Oil to the Oil compartment and burned it. So is it normal by replacing a $10 to $15 PCV valve? I am interested in the quality of the Vibe Engine to see if it is truely a Toyota engine equivalent to Matrix and Corolla.

    What has been your experience?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I have heard the PCV valve story from other people as well: 2-3 quarts lost between oil changes. I still cannot fathom why I did not see smoke or smell a heavy oil odor coming from the tail pipe if the oil was getting burned instead of recycled? I'm also wondering what effect this had on the catalytic converter.
    As for the Vibe, it has been a fit and finish nightmare; very disappointing coming from Nummi. However, I believe the Vibe's engine is essentially a late 90's Corolla design, and I don't expect troubles from those good production year power plants.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    cdamech: I'm back to square one. Just when I thought the PCV valve solved my problem, I'm down oil again and my newly replaced coolant is all full of junk again. So again, I have oil getting into the coolant. You said coolant getting into the engine oil was serious; how about the reverse?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I'm taking it into my mechanic tomorrow. He thinks (on paper) it might be an oil cooler problem. He is going to call someone to find out if the Vibe has one of these. Otherwise, I'm hoping the fact that oil is giong into the coolant is not catestrophic, like coolant going into the engine.
  • mikey00mikey00 Posts: 462
    I'm guessing by now your mechanic and you found out the Vibe does not have a oil cooler. He will most likely pressure test the cooling system to see if there is a leak between it and the oil system. Could be a head gasket.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    good calls there mickey00. My mechanic insisted all day long that there was nothing wrong with the car, and after I arrived to show the mechanic what I was seeing in the coolant, I was proven wrong. The greying color over the two months since the radiator was drained was mixing between the original Toyota pink, the first radiator service's Prestone Green, and my mechanics generic Orange coolant. The mixing of what colors remained behind from previous radiator drains was causing the grey color. As for the "oil," that was actually particulates from corrosion (82,000 miles) since the material was sinking to the bottom of the tube and not rising to the top like oil would. My mechanic stated that there also are no signs of a head gasket problem: smoke out the back or overheating. Therefore, my oil must be burning "naturally" with the catalytic converter doing its thing so I never see any smoke coming out the back end.
    I'll be curious if the car passes emissions next year, despite the lack of any visible smoke.

    Thanks as always for all your help.
  • mikey00mikey00 Posts: 462
    Still something wrong here. 2 quarts between oil changes for a Toyota engine with just 82,000 is far from normal. It might be worth it to hit some of the Corolla discussion groups for some ideas.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I agree. At 2 quarts down on a 6,000 mile interval change at the 82,000 mark means I'm down 2 quarts after 4,000 miles. That's a quart per 1,000. I thought I had heard that that's within acceptable tolerance? Either way, I'm back to the dinosaur oil; no more Mr. Nice Guy serving Mobil 1.
  • mikey00mikey00 Posts: 462
    You may want to try one of the dino oils made for higher mileage engines at next change. Quaker State makes one along with others. My understanding is they have additives that help prevent oil consumption in higher mileage engines.
    It sounds like you have oil getting past a seal or gasket somewhere even though you have no visible leaks. Synthetic oil may have been your problem. I know there is article after article stating that synthetic oil does not cause leaks. But there is also a lot of claims that while it may not actually cause a leak, it does have a way of finding exisiting ones that dino oil does not.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    good points. I'm very careful about changing my oil after the first 1,000 miles with dinosaur oil. I then do it again at 3,000 with dinosaur oil. I then change it over to Mobil 1 at 6,000, and then do 6,000 mile interval changes thereafter. I want to make sure that the seals have a chance to seat properly when the car is still a newborn. I'm sure the thinner Mobil 1 would find its way around the seals if put in too early. My Vibe's oil consumption has been very disappointing. I've owned Corollas before and never had this problem. Only time will tell if it is just a nuisance or if it becomes a headache.
  • Greetings, I just purchased a used Vibe (03) and am having the disappearing oil issue. What did you find out about your situation?? Thanks!
  • Greetings, I just purchased a used Vibe (03) and am having the disappearing oil issue. I've seen an older threat about vibe's with the same issue, but no new traffic. Anyone having this problem? No leaks, no smoke, no oil at changing time. Help!
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Well, I know now that it is NOT leaking into the coolant. My odd coolant color is the result of the original Toyota Pink mixing with the replacement green antifreeze. It definitely is not leaking externally. My oil loss continues despite using a high mileage oil with conditioners. The oil must be going around the seals and burning in the chamber, despite no visible smoke. It will be interesting to see if the car passes emissions in the spring. Sorry I don't have any firm answer for you. The car continues to (mechanically) operate smoothly otherwise (except for the lousy paint, dash lights, upholstery....I can go on for hours)
  • Thanks for responding. Yeah, major bummer. Have you pulled the plugs to see if there is oil in them? I just changed mine when I bought it, and didn't think to check that. I'm going to pull them at the end of this 3K miles to see what they look like. I'm also measuring the oil level every 500 miles to see what the burn rate is. Otherwise, operation is same as yours, smooth, good mileage, etc. Have you gotten responses from other with the same problem, or are we the lucky few? Have you talked to the Pontiac dealership? I'm going to call them today. Thanks again, g
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Graham: I feel that this is the worst car ever built at NUMMI, so I don't have any high expectations for this Vibe. I'll dump the car the moment something major crops up. The loss of oil, and adding some in between the 6k oil changes, is not a big deal for this piece of junk. I'm not having any hard starts, so I doubt the plugs are fouled badly.
  • If I know that engine it has a turbo right? If it does check the air cleaner. If that's dirty then suction will build up in your engine and it will suck the oil right pass the rings.
  • I recently purchased a 06 GT. 40K and I have noticed that if I am on the freeway and stick it in neutral when I am entering an off-ramp, the vehicle will stall. It will occasionally do this at lower speeds when it is put in neutral.
    Any answers?
  • The standard Vibe engine is derived from a Corolla/Prizm engine that Toyota has been building in different variations since 1998. It is a 1ZZ-FE, or similar.

    This engine has rings that are very thin. Because of that, if there is any carbon build up, the rings will cease up in the pistons, allowing oil to blow by continuously.

    My kids drive a couple of these, (one with almost 200K miles on it), and we've been putting oil into them religiously.

    Certain oil additives are supposed to help free up the stuck rings, but if an engine has had this problem for a while, the rings may never reseat completely.

    This is the exact same engine that Toyota uses for the Matrix and Corolla's, so don't blame the problem on GM. I have put a Corolla engine into a Prizm- it is part for part identical.

    I can't remember the exact additive that folks are using but check the Corolla sites. You may have to special order it. and it may take a few thousand miles to make a difference.

    I have found that using the high mileage oils cuts oil consumption roughly in half.

  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Thanks watermaj. As an owner of Corollas as well, I was not aware of this fact about the rings. My Vibe is burning oil like crazy. I am using the high mileage oil in hopes of stemming the problem. My biggest concern is whether I will pass emissions this spring?/
  • Hi,

    I own a 2006 Pontiac Vibe. I take extremly good care of my car and recently had a collison with a 100 lbs deer, doing about 40 mph. I hit the deer in the very front head on. My air bags failed to deploy. After shutting my car off and then starting it the check engine light popped in. So when I drove my car home and then to the collison repair place it was determined that my computer fried. Now my insurance is trying to tell me that the computer frying is not accident related. Can they do that?
    We check recalls and the manufacturer and there were no "known" problem areas with the Pontiac Vibes. I still owe a good 15k on my vibe.

    Has anyone experienced then or does anyone have any advice?

    Waiting tranportationless
  • jstant1jstant1 Posts: 14

    My 2005 Vibe has been exhibiting crazy idle patterns this winter. The problem occurs only when it's cold outside (freezing or below) and the engine is completely cold (first start of the day). The car starts fine, and of course idles pretty high as all Vibes do (usually around 1700 RPM or so. Everything is fine if I don't pull out and drive until the engine is fully warmed up.

    However, if I let the car run for a minute or two, and then pull out, the idle kicks up above 2000RPM when I push in the clutch and if I come to a stop at an intersection it will idle up and down between 1500 and 2500 RPM quickly and repeatedly. If I don't move again quickly, it will usually kick up to an even higher idle around 2100RPM.

    I have a stick shift, and the crazy idle is most evident when I push in the clutch to come to a stop at an intersection. Once the engine is fully warmed up, the idle returns to normal, although I have noticed that it still seems a bit more erratic then it did when the weather is warm.

    I have no check engine light indicating the computer has registered a problem, but it seems obvious that there must be some sort of problem with the PCM or some other component related to regulating the idle.

    Any ideas? I hate the thought of taking it to the dealership without having an idea of what it might be. I'm sure they'll have a difficult time recreating the problem unless I leave it sitting there overnight and then force the technician to ride with me when I start it up cold.

    Would a PCM reflash fix the problem, or is there something else that regulates cold weather starts that could be malfunctioning? Car runs great otherwise. I have noticed the exhaust smells "rich" (i.e. somewhat of a gas odor) when the car is exhibiting the strange idle characteristics. My gas mileage hasn't declined much though - other than what is typical because of cold temps.

    Appreciate any advice or insight.
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