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Chevrolet/Geo Metro



  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    Hi again,

    The firing order on that distributor runs COUNTERCLOCKWISE; with the #1 wire located at about 12 o'clock on the cap, and # 1 cylinder being the one closest to the timing belt. If you read the firing order on the cap clockwise from #1; it should be 1-2-3. If that is not the problem; I would change the distributor cap and rotor.

  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    If you use a rag soaked with solvent to thoroughly wipe and clean off all oil and debris from the underside of the pan and the inside surface of the pulley, and then let the motor run in neutral for a while, you should be able to see where the leak is originating from. But if you drive the car before you inspect it, the wind will blow the oil around; and it will be much harder to see where the leak is located. If it is not coming from directly underneath the pulley; the pan gasket may have been damaged or improperly installed; or the sealing surfaces may not have been completely cleaned of old gasket material before the new gasket was installed.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    After further reflection on your problem, I want to add that if my suggestions about the firing order and distributor cap/rotor were not the answer; then this would sound to me like either the spark does not have enough energy to fire the plugs during cranking; or the crankshaft position sensor is bad.. If either the CPS was really bad, or the spark was too weak; then the reflected pulse created by disconnecting the # 1 plug wire would "kick" the system in a similar way to what the CPS is normally designed to do, and the timing of that pulse might be close enough to persuade the engine to start. Since CPS failures are relatively common; that would be the first item I would suspect.

    But if the CPS is not the answer, then I would go through the ignition and electrical system; looking for potential sources of low voltage. The most likely items to check would be:

    Plugs partially fouled, or gaps set too wide; or side electrode, series gap, or surface gap plug being used (all of which would create an excessively high ignition voltage requirement).

    Alternator output low or non-existent

    Battery condition and connections

    Ignition switch has excessive resistance

    Ignition coil primary connections possibly reversed

    Distributor pick up coil air gap set too wide

    Ignition module defective

    I hope this helps!!!
  • The CPS is a possibility- I'll swap it out. I replaced the cap with a higher quality one, thinking that it could be crossing off the #1, but the spark is pretty good (enough to support 75 MPH with no hesitation) now that cap has been replaced.
    I'm now looking at fuel injection- NOT cool. When cold, the manifold is quite wet, a mirror down in the TB does not show anything I would call a spray pattern. I replaced the injector with no change- I think it is not the problem.
    A Noid does not flash when Ignition is turned on, and a test lamp connected to battery and the Yellow/Black wire on the Injector Connector does not flash.
    Swapped ECM- no change.
    At this very moment I am re doing the ECM grounds (thinking of running a parallel wire from battery to grounds on manifold, as well as under the dash), and checking the injection control circuit at the ECM harness- appears to be open.

    I'll keep you posted- it would be really nice to finally solve the problem that has been plaguing me since April.....
  • eric61eric61 Posts: 2
    Hello Everyone.
    So I hooked up the altenator and when I connected the ground to the battery I snapped the big yellow 60 amp fuse sitting next to the battery. I disconnected the big altenator wire, thinking it might be shorted out, but when testing with test light it didn't go on. The test light comes on when I touched the altenator because it is grounded. I got a new fuse and with the battery ground connected I touched the big altenator wire to the altenator connection and a big spark and another $2.99 fuse burned. I pulled off the altenator thinking maybe it's shorted out and took it to the shop where it tested OK. Am I stupid and missing something here? Thanks in advance for help. Eric
  • My 2000 Chevy Metro. had 190,000 mi.s when I bought it. I had the transmission fluid changes when I had the oil changed right after I bought the car. Around 200,000 my transmission started being hard to shift. No noise, just slow and hard. I read on this forum that I should check the grease. I put in Chevy Metro synthetic fluid and the problem went away - it shifts great. However, now I have a jingling noise in 1st thru 4th gear. Is this a big problem?
  • I may be wrong but it seems like your clutch bearing is going.
    Make sure when the mechanic replaces it that he pays particular attention to the seal. He must not slam the tranny in place.

    It happened to me and oil was leaking onto the clutch with the effect that the engine was revving at 5000 and the car not moving.
    good luck of course in finding this irritant.
  • Thanks for the reply!
    I had the entire clutch assembly changed out about a year ago. The clutch feels solid and I have no leaks. This noise is actually amplified in the shifter - kind of a light rattle or jingling. If I hold the shifter to one side it goes away.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    My Metro has done that for years. It comes and goes over time. Seems to be a result of the trans linkage loosening up after many miles of use. Mine becomes less noticeable when the engine runs better and strains less. I would not be surprised if heavy gear oil, which makes shifting more difficult, would reduce that noise. But I certainly would not use heavy gear oil to get rid of that noise. Better to live with the noise and shift easier.

    I'm curious about the Geo synthetic gear oil you mentioned: Is that sold by Chevy dealers? In the US or just in Canada? And what is the brand and viscosity?
  • I got the synthetic oil from a Chevy dealer. I will have to check the brand name and viscosity, but it matches the 'spec lube' for the 2000 Metro. I will reply with the info later.
  • Anyone selling a Quality Geo Metro,I am from California.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    Last I heard, they frown on using this site for selling vehicles. But Metros are becoming rarer all the time. I bought my 1990 3 cylinder, 5 speed hatchback in 1992. And at that time, there were no Metros within 50 miles of San Jose. So I had to drive all the way to Hollister to get that car. And I've never regretted it. Just be sure to run a compression test (spec is 195 psi on 3 cylinder motors), and by all means avoid automatics.
  • Thanks for the reply.Will take note of that.

    I saw this ad.It was a 97 metro they were selling it for 1995$.It still has a good paint from the picture.

    I will have a look at it.
  • cafanncafann Posts: 27
    My mother has a metro 4cyl with auto trans. been running great still does however a noise has come up and until I can confirm what it is she'd not driving it.

    The noise is like a metal rattling sound when the engine is running. It sounds over near the belts, so the pass side of the car. I listen sloser to the engine and it sounds within right near the belts.I noticed something sounded funny weeks ago but now the sound is much louder.

  • I have a 90' Geo Metro that will not start, I have changed the battery and ignition switch. I have traced 12v to ignition switch, to the fuses in the engine compartment, starter, and the alternator. I have pulled the ECM and checked it for damage and corrosion and it is clean. I have traced the schematics and it all goes back to the ECM. I have no aux power to the dash or radio. The key sound goes off when the door is open and the dome light comes on. I just do not know what else it could be with out having to spend the money for a new ECM.

    Please help,

    The Jungle
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    I would expect the noise comes from either the water pump, alternator, or the timing belt tensioner. You can prove or disprove the water pump and alternator by disconnecting the drive belt. (it is OK to run the motor without the drive belt if you do so for less than 60 seconds). If the noise is no longer there when the motor runs; then I would replace one of those two items. While the drive belt is disconnected; try rocking the water pump and alternator pulleys. There should be no side play noticeable in either of those pulleys. Replace any one in which you can feel noticeable play. If the noise continues when the drive belt is disconnected, it probably comes from the timing belt tensioner or idler pulley. The timing belt should be changed at 90,000 miles, anyway.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    From what you wrote; it is not clear to me whether the starter runs or not. If the problem is that the starter doesn't crank the engine; the clutch switch (on manual transmission vehicles) or the neutral safety switch (on automatic transmission vehicles) is probably defective. The clutch switch can be temporarily bypassed by shorting the terminals in its plug together. But I have also seen the starter stop working when barely visible corrosion developed on the washers between the battery cable end and the nut on the starter. And, of course, starters can also go bad.

    The ECM on these vehicles is far less likely to fail than just about any other part on the car; so I would set that concern aside unless it is later conclusively proved.

    There is also another fuse block under the dashboard. If you haven't already done so; I would pull and test each fuse in that block with an ohmmeter (because fuses can go open but still look good to the eye). I have also seen Metro fuse blocks develop internal open circuits; so you might check whether there is power at each fuse. Remember that some fuses are wired to only be hot when the key is on.

    But back to the starting problem: The way to simplify starting problems is to first determine whether the problem comes from lack of spark, fuel, or compression. A compression problem could be caused by the timing belt breaking or jumping out of sync. If the timing belt broke; it would also shut down the spark. So the easiest way to begin would be to remove the distributor cap, crank the starter, and see whether the distributor rotor turns. If the rotor spins at a steady pace; then the timing belt has not broken; but it still may have jumped out of sync. The next thing to do is to turn the crankshaft pulley until the timing mark lines up with the 6 degree BTDC mark on the degree scale on the timing cover. Then take another look at the distributor rotor; the rotor tip should point either straight up; or straight down. If the rotor points anywhere else (even by a small amount) then the timing belt has jumped out of position. Incidentally, a jumped or broken timing belt will also make the starter spin faster than normal; and the engine will sound different than usual while cranking.

    If the above test did not locate the source of the problem; the next thing to do is to check for spark. The proper way to do this is to borrow one of the plug wires from the distributor cap, and temporarily plug it into the coil. Insert a clean spark plug into the plug boot on that wire, and clamp or tape the spark plug so that its threads rest on the metal of the engine block (or on another metal surface which you know is electrically grounded to the engine.) When you crank the engine; there should be a steady series of blue/white sparks between the plug electrodes. If there are no sparks, or the sparks are yellow or faint; measure the resistance of the plug wire. There should be less than 1,000 ohms resistance for each inch of wire length. Be sure to contact the metal terminals at both ends of the wire with the meter probes. If the coil wire, or any plug wire has excessive resistance; replace the entire wire set.

    If you are still not getting sparks in the above test; then either the coil, the ignition module, or the distributor pick up unit is defective. The distributor pick up unit is more likely to cause this problem than either of the other parts. Here's a test you can do to check the distributor pick up: Get a known good 1.5 volt flashlight battery (either AA, AAA, C, or D cell) and two 4" to 6" lengths of 14 to 18 gauge electrical wire with the insulation stripped back 3/8" from each end. Remove the distributor cap, and find the ignition module inside the distributor. It is the part with the wire that goes out through the side of the distributor and ends at a white harness plug. The module also has two screw terminals on it; to which the wires from the pick up unit attach.(On 1990 Metros built for the Canadian market, the ignition module will be mounted on the firewall near the coil.)

    Leave the plug wire and spark plug connected to the coil as it was for the spark test. Turn on the ignition switch to the position where the dashboard warning lights come on. Then hold or firmly tape one end of each length of electrical wire so it is pressed against an end of the battery, and briefly touch the other ends of the wires to the two screw terminals on the module. There should be a spark at the spark plug each time you touch the wires to the screws. If you were not getting sparks before, but this test produces sparks; then the pick up coil is defective. The way to run this test on Canadian vehicles is to disconnect the harness plug next to the distributor; and with the key on, briefly touch the two flashlight battery wires to the terminals in the plug section which goes to the firewall. If at first you don't get sparks in this test; try reversing the position of the two flashlight battery wires.

    If there is still no spark in this test; the ignition module is probably defective.

    If you get sparks from the tests; and the motor cranks but still doesn't start; the problem is in the electric fuel pump, fuel pump relay, or fuel pump fuse. Another possibility might be that the distributor cap is either cracked or carbon tracked; or that the distributor rotor is internally shorted to ground.
  • I have a '91 Geo Metro with 119,000 miles on it that recently started missing pretty bad at idle. Gas mileage went from a great 49 mpg to a ho-hum 37mpg. As soon as I give it a little throttle the miss pretty much goes away but it is really hard to take off when it is running on 2 cylinders at an intersection. I did a compression test and looking at the engine from the front of the car I started on the left (front) side of the engine. Results were as follows: Cylinder #1 = 175 psi, #2 = 26 psi and finally #3 = 171 psi. I think I have a bad valve...what do you think? I'm going to replace the head with a new rebuilt unit and at the same time I want to put rings and bearings in it plus a new oil pump. Let me know if I need anything else. I've heard that I can do all of this without taking out the this correct?
  • I am sorry that I did not make myself clear before about the starting problem :surprise: . The ignition will not even turn over. I turn the ignition switch to the acc and nothing. I have power coming of the wire but it goes into the ECM and that is were I lose it. I have no instrument panel lights and there is nothing when I turn the key. I will have to check the fuses under the dash again, because I just did a visual when I pulled them out. Thank you for all of your information.
  • cafanncafann Posts: 27
    so i'm not the type to work on the car myself. so if i take it into the a shop what would be the best advice for me to ask the mechanic to check out and/or replace?

    I thought something is wrong with the alternator because she said the car died on her a stop since this noise appeared. at our last oil change was told that belt is cracked but i figured a belt wouldn't make a metal rattling sound. but with that belt being bad, could that be causing something running on that belt to be making that metal rattling noise?
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. Never received a prompt about a new post on this forum. The notification software is sometimes unreliable (but it is still a great resource). The only reason I'm here now is that I spotted your visit to my cubbyhole.

    From the compression test results, it is not just one bad cylinder. ALL of the cylinders are below specs (stock compression pressure is 195psi). But judging from the excellent mileage you were recently getting; I doubt the motor wore out suddenly. Instead, it sounds highly likely that the valves have become coated with deposits from the use of cheap fuel. And these deposits are making the valves stick in their guides and not seat consistently; which drops the compression pressures. So, before you tear into the engine, I would strongly recommend buying a bottle of Chevron Techron fuel system and combustion chamber cleaner; and adding the whole bottle to the gas tank just before filling the tank with fuel. If you have caught it early enough, this miracle product may save you a whole bunch of money and labor. Please do not use a different brand. This is the most effective cleaner available. It usually takes 50 to 75 miles of driving for this product to clean out the deposits. If it brings the compression up, I would suggest using only high quality branded fuel (Chevron, Texaco, or Shell), to reduce the likelihood that this problem will repeat. If you are using NGK spark plugs; I would also replace then with Autolite #63 spark plugs, gapped @ .042".

    Unless you have evidence to the contrary, I would be surprised if the rings, bearings or oil pump need replacement at this mileage. If the compression does not come up after the Techron cleaning, I would just have the head rebuilt. Please note that there is a huge difference in the quality of machine work done by different shops; and all too much of it is substandard. So I would go out of my way to use a machine shop that is known for doing premium quality work on high performance engines. A production head remanufacturer may or may not do good work.

    If you have good reason to want to replace the rings; I would suggest first checking the cylinder bores for taper. If the bore taper is out of specs; then a set of new rings will not do the job. Also, by the time the rings on a Japanese motor need replacing; the ring grooves in the pistons will usually have become worn to the point that compression will leak past the rings through the grooves. That is why piston replacement (and possibly reboring the cylinders) is often necessary in order to recover original engine performance.

    If that level of work was necessary, I personally would exchange the motor for a high quality remanufactured motor from Hiperformer Engines, in Spokane Washington. They provide a 7 year, 100,000 mile warranty on their motors; and have the lowest return rate in the industry. They are the exclusive supplier of remanufactured motors for the NAPA auto parts chain; but they also sell directly to the public, at astonishingly low prices. Their Geo Metro long blocks cost around $1,300 plus shipping. And they ship anywhere in the US at very low prices. Check out their website at
  • Thanks so much Zaken1...your knowledge is amazing and I'm going to the parts house as soon as possible to get some Techron! Thanks so much for the info.
  • It quite running and won't start but turns over. It's a 1.3 4 cyl. with auto trans. It has 64,000 miles and has been a great car. The timing belt is good. It won't fire or inject fuel. I've tried 2 used computers and that made no difference. I'm wondering about the map sensor, temperature sensor or throttle position sensor. It has a new crank shaft position sensor and a new cam sensor. I'm hoping I don't have to buy a new computer. Any ideas out there?? Thanks a lot, JohnKel
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    A defective belt might or might not create a resonant noise in one of the pulleys; but since it is uncertain, there is no point in sitting around and speculating about it: That belt should be replaced anyway; if the noise stops after the belt is replaced, then the belt was the source of the problem. If the noise continues with a new belt; then the noise was not coming from the belt.

    If you take the car to a mechanic; describe the noise and tell them that you hear it coming from the passenger side of the motor, but you don't know where the source is. Ask them to replace the belt (preferably with a Goodyear Gatorback, if available) and suggest that they check the alternator and water pump pulleys for free rotation and excessive side play while the belt is off; to see whether either of them are the source of the noise. Before removing the old belt; the mechanic should also be able to use a stethescope or a wooden rod (such as a broom handle) while the motor is running, to touch the housing (not the pulley!!!) of each part while pressing their ear against the other end of the stick. That should make it obvious where the noise is coming from. Come to think of it; you could also do that yourself, to see if you can find the source, before taking the car in. All rotating objects on the motor will produce some amount and type of noise; but what you should look for is an object that produces substantially more noise than any other part. Just be careful to not let the stick become entangled in the moving belt.

    If neither the belt, the alternator, nor the water pump is causing the noise; then the timing belt cover should be removed; in order to inspect the timing belt, the timing belt tensioner, and the idler pulley. I expect the source of the sound will be located by that time. And the timing belt should be replaced arbitrarily; if you do not know when it was last done; or if it has been more than 60,000 miles since the last replacement. I usually replace mine at 90,000; but if you already have opened the cover, it would be appropriate to do it then, even if it is a little early. Labor is expensive these days.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    There is another stupid GM better idea on that car; called the ECM main relay. It is a cheap relay that is operated by the ECM; which can fail and shut everything down. Rock Auto gets $5.28 for the Beck Arnley relay # 2030133; or $27.79 for the equivalent AC Delco relay # 212360. Beck Arnley is usually top quality; but the unit in their photo is labeled "made in Taiwan." So this is one application where I might prefer the more expensive AC Delco unit. Incidentally; this relay is identical to the fuel pump relay and the fuel injector relay; so you might try swapping them out, just to see whether that brings back the spark. I believe these relays are located in or next to the underhood the fuse box; on the driver's side, in front of the shock tower.
  • I just bought a 91 Metro 3 cyl a/t. Odometer: 129,000. The owner said that it had low compression in no.1 cyl. In starting, it spins like the plugs are out.. but starts up quickly and runs ok. In drive it shakes and with ac on, it will not idle. It drives ok and shifts ok but does smoke a little and uses a lot of oil. I attempted to remove the valve cover and the cyl head, but was unable to break the valve cover loose. What's holding it on ? Just 4 nuts holding it but it will not break loose. I suspect burned valves, but cannot check without removing the cyl head. HELP !!!
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    That valve cover can be a puzzle! I haven't removed mine, but I did take the nuts off, and found that the nuts attach to specially shaped studs, which fit closely in the valve cover. This suggests that the studs prevent any side movement; which precisely positions the gasket surface. Because of this, I expect that it will not be helpful to try moving the valve cover from side to side to break it loose. The only direction that looks like it will work is to pry it straight up, at as many different points as possible. There probably is gasket cement on the old gasket; which will make it that much harder to move.
  • That's pretty much how I saw it.. But I've tried for some time now and I'm afraid I'm going to break something.. There aren't many places where prying up can be safely done.. Anyone else got any ideas ???
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    The only other thoughts that come to my mind are that either the studs which the acorn nuts thread onto hold the valve cover down at their bottom end; so they also have to be removed (with some kind of special tool); or that there are some additional bolts which secure the timing side end of the valve cover, from inside the timing cover.
  • Hi there.
    The studs have small "gaskets". Pull straight up. Hard. The new gasket kit will have new ones also.
    CHANGE that valve cover for a 93 or 94. Your 91 has a smooth top, the later ones are ribbed. The "tube" in the back of it is placed differently and you will not aspirate as much oil fumes. This is one of the culprits of you using a lot of oil. Don't forget to also get that small hose it is different.
    Hope that I was of help.
    Have fun and don't give up on your little three banger.
    Oh and Happy New Year to all !
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