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Chevrolet/Geo Metro



  • Do not remove the valve cover yet. Remove spark plugs and check compression on each cylinder. Before you will crank the engine, remover the fuel relay - this will protect the spray fuel to combustion.
    If you have low compression below 50 psi on cyl. 1 - you got bad rings or bad exhaust valve.
    If you want check the rings are OK on cyl.1, put few drops of engine oil in cyl. 1 and crank the engine few times. After that, check the compression. If compression go up, you got problem with rings.
    If you will check compression, on each cylinder - crank the engine 8 times on each cylinder.
    Personally, I will remove the engine and rebuild. Good engine with 120000 miles should build up 175/185 psi easy.
    To remove the valve cover - remove the nuts first - all of them and also the small ones. After that gently "bump" the cover with rubber hammer on all sides around. Should come easy.
    Any questions?
  • Thank you for that informative reply.. I followed your instructions and found comp on #1- 30; #2- 45; #3- 160.. Adding oil in the spark-plug hole made no difference.. In an earlier post, someone suggested this problem could be caused by build-up carbon and named an additive to try before tearing engine down.. What do you think ? As to the valve cover.. Looks like to me.. there are only 4 small nuts holding the valve cover on.. I removed them and tapped with a block of wood and light hammer blows.. Does not break loose.. You say.. DO NOT FORCE.. Well.. If not force.. then WHAT ??? Thanks for your help..
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    The reason I suggested to the earlier poster that it would be worth running Techron through his motor, in case the valve stems were sticking; was because his car had previously been getting excellent gas mileage, and there was no mention of exhaust smoke or excessive oil consumption. Also; two of his cylinders had compression above 170. So that seemed like a likely candidate for Techron.

    But your motor has been smoking; which is NOT caused by sticking valves, and the compression is worse in your motor than it was in the other one. So I think it is much less likely that Techron will work here.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    Other than the bulbs or the back up light transmission switch and fuse. What
    else could stop the back up lights not to work?
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    A disconnected harness plug in the rear of the car, or a broken or corroded ground connection for the ground wire from the back up light assembly to the body.
  • Do not add any fuel addetives.
    With this compression 30, 45, 160 - you have a compression problem. I forged ask you - if you turn the engine ( each cylinder) 8 times - you must press down the accelerator pedal to the floor. Full flow of the air.
    Before opening the valve cover - please fill the tank with 94 octane gas and drive few days.
    If is any carbon build up, the high octane fuel will slowly remove the carbon.
    Please spray every day wd-40 0r good penetraiting oil on the small nuts on the top of the valve cover. This will help to remover the nuts.
    Remember - you must unsrew the nuts. Make small sharp end scredriver ( very sharp point end) - used small hammer by bumping the crewdriver counterclockwise on the side of the nuts. You will slowly move the nuts - if you relase the tension - use players with long "nose" to uscrew completly. It is not a complicated job but - passion, dedication.
  • Thanks for the reply.. O K.. When you say.."nuts".. Well.. the small nuts come off easiely.. Then there are some small round things under the nuts, maybe still holding the valve cover in place.. What are these things and is that the instructions you are giving me ? I will take your advice and try the high octane gas first.. Thanks again..
  • O K .. pipeman.. I followed your instructions.. mostly.. I added a bottle of chevron fuel-injector/carbon remover and put in 5 gallons of high octane gas.. The oil was a little low so I added a quart of Marvel Mystery oil to the engine oil.. then I drove the car for about 60 miles at about 55mph. Hard to believe.. If I did not know better.. it would be hard to tell there was anything wrong with the engine.. It zipped along up and down hills like I would expect a normal car to do.. Then I headed home and opened the hood.. One of the places where I had been prying on the valve cover attempting to loosen it.. was now pouring oil.. I pulled the plugs and did another comp check.. Puzzling.. #1 - 30. the same.. #2 - 70. went up.. #3 - 145. went down...Course this time the engine was warm.. and the spark plug tips were clean as new.. They had been very oily before.. So.. the chevron and the high octane gas definitely cleaned the combustion chambers.. But now I know I have a compression problem.. And I go from there.. I had several replies from other interested folks.. Many thanks to you all.. Now to the "fun part".. Pull the head and see how bad things are there... My oil pres is good so I think I'll try to do just a head job..
  • I have a 1998 Chevy Metro LSI 4 door and i'm pulling my hair out because of a loud whirring noise coming from the engine compartment. It's so loud you cant even hear yourself sometimes and people stare at my car when i pull up or at a's embarrassing.
    My wife was driving the car back and forth to work and one day it just started making the noise. Everything else is ok on the car. I pinpointed it to the alternator area checked the belt which wasn't loose at all & even sprayed some belt ease on it to no avail.One day i was driving in a rainstorm, and hit a big puddle and water got up in the engine compartment and all of the sudden the noise stopped! The car ran like it did before the noise started, which in this little car it's so quiet you cant even tell the motor is running . I called Autozone for an altenator and they want $ 125 bucks! with a $72 dollar core deposit! Can someone tell me if it's the altenator? or ?? cause if i dont get this repaired soon i think im going to take this car to the wrecking yard and have them crush's really annoying... :mad:
  • crbobrcrbobr Posts: 7
    Well, Kaleb... I'm no mechanic.. and I got my own problems.. but I'd trade problems with you in a heartbeat !! Don't get too centered on that alternator.. They're lots of moving parts under the hood of that car.. My suggestion.. Take the car for a "professional" oil change.. While there.. Tell them.. "Oh.. by the way, guys.. check that whirring noise.. I can't figure out what it is.."
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    It is very difficult to pinpoint the source of a noise by just moving your head around in the engine compartment. And I sure wouldn't risk my money on the opinion of a typical unskilled, minimum wage worker at most oil change places. These people are not mechanics; and they are not experienced at engine diagnosis. The method used by professional mechanics is much more precise and reliable. Just get a non metallic stick (like a wooden broom handle, or a length of stiff plastic pipe. Garden hose is not good for this, because it is too soft, and will absorb too much sound) While the motor is running, place one end of the stick so that it touches the alternator housing, and hold your ear against the other end of the stick. BE SURE TO HOLD THE STICK OR PIPE SO THAT IT CANNOT GET CAUGHT UP IN THE FAN BELT OR IN ANY MOVING OBJECT, SUCH AS A PULLEY! If you use a pipe instead; hold the lower end of the pipe just above the alternator, and press the upper end of the pipe to your ear. If the alternator is the source of the noise; it will be heard much louder through the stick when it touches the alternator. If the noise through the stick or pipe does not become louder when touching or next to the alternator; try moving around and touching the stick or pipe to other nearby objects, such as the water pump, the power steering pump, and the automatic transmission. The usual source for noises like you describe is a power steering pump which has run out of fluid.
  • pipemanpipeman Posts: 58
    Just remove the belt from the alternator and start the car. you will know the difference
  • cafanncafann Posts: 27
    thank you for the very informative reply. I recently called a mechanic and he wanted to hear it then would give me some ideas. So, today went to my mothers house to get the car and it doesn't start. Related? It tries to start but just doesn't. Lights and everything work engine just won't start. So now I need to tow it which will prolong a fix. I'm curious to know an opinion on this new problem cause if it's not related I can get it started so that the mechanic can actually hear it instead of fixing that first then the next.

    Thank you all
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    There is a bracket that holds the alternator onto the engine, It is made of sheet
    metal. It will and has cracked, When it does the alternator is not aligned to the
    engine and the belt whines. The fix replace that bracket get it from a Pick your
    part place it is held on by 13 or 14 mm bolts two or three as I recall.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    I don't know whether you have already taken the car to the mechanic or not; but from the apparent hesitancy you've displayed toward personally implementing any of the suggestions posted here, it would seem that there would be a much greater delay if you struggled to get the car to start yourself; in comparison to the amount of time it would take a trained, experienced mechanic to fix the starting problem and also fix the source of the noise. There are innumerable reasons why the car might not start. In view of the complexity of sorting out the starting problem; it sounds like it would be far more appropriate, effective, and speedy to just let a mechanic deal with the whole thing.

    If you post a question here; you're going to get as many different answers as there are people who feel like answering your question. And, since none of us are fortune tellers or wizards; there's no way for you to determine which answer you receive is the right one. It's all a crap shoot. Don't expect to receive a magic answer here which will eliminate the need for a commercial mechanic. It just doesn't work that way. And many mechanics will resent you coming in and telling them that you have a better idea than they do. The appropriate purpose for this forum is to offer suggestions to people who are working on their own vehicles, and need some additional direction; or people who have been dealing with a shop which can't figure out the source of a particular problem. But neither of those seem to be what's going on in your case. I'd like to suggest that the most effective way to work with the people who answer your question here is to give them feedback by trying their suggestions and reporting whether they worked or not. When you don't offer any feedback on what has already been suggested; it gives me the sense that you're not interested in methodically working the problem out; but are just hoping to receive a magic answer that suddenly turns on a bright light and cuts through all the uncertainty. But that's not what it's like to repair automobiles in the real world. We professionals (and also the good amateurs) usually can only learn about the nature of a problem from repeated trial and error. And sometimes that can be very time consuming and frustrating. There's no free lunch in the world; not there, and not here either.

    But, that said; if I had to guess about the one issue which would create both the noise and would eventually keep the car from starting; my guess would be that the timing belt has jumped or become damaged. But I sure wouldn't bet my own time or money that it isn't anything else...
  • I am trying to replace my 1997 geo metro headlight but I just cant get the old one out. I remove the two screws I see that are holding it but it is still stuck in the corner somewhere. Anyone knows how to remove it?
  • crbobrcrbobr Posts: 7
    If it's like my '91; I had the same problem.. What I found was that there are two "guides" underneath the light assemblies that you cannot see. They rust and are hard to pry out so.. what I did was to reach up and feel for the screw heads and remove them from the bottom.. They are directly under the front corners and are phillips head screws. Good luck..
  • cafanncafann Posts: 27
    Well... thanks I guess.

    Anyway found it to be the AC compressor. Removed the belt and runs like a top. Will worry about replacing the compressor when the weather warms up.

    Anyone know if you can "test" an AC compressor? Probably will get one from a junk/wrecking yard due to cost of a new/rebuilt one at the parts stores.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    I agree with your plan to replace the compressor with one from a wrecking yard. The only test you can do in advance would be to spin the pulley, and see whether it turns freely. But that still wouldn't test what the compressor does when the A/C clutch is engaged. Nevertheless, most wrecking yards will stand behind their parts; by giving you another one if the one you originally buy does not work. It would be a good idea to confirm the warranty with the yard when you buy the replacement unit. It will also be necessary to refill the system with refrigerant when the compressor is changed. So this is a job for a shop to do.
  • rx7420rx7420 Posts: 3
    ive almost giving up on this geo sparks good and gas is good and timing is good it has a hard time starting and when i come to a light it idle rough and wants to die when it dosent stal it idls like crap any ideas and it fails emissions badly
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    A cylinder compression test is the most valuable test you can run to determine the mechanical condition of an engine. The stock compression pressure on a '92 metro 3 cyl engine is 195 psi. The MINIMUM compression which can be expected to enable it to run properly is 170 psi and it must be at least that much in EVERY cylinder. But a really good engine will be much closer to 195. If your engine does not meet those compression specs; then it will not be possible to tune it to pass smog, or to run smoothly, no matter what you do to it. So that is the first thing to do. Considering how often people write in to this site, and eventually discover that they have bought a car with a trashed motor; I get the sense that practically nobody is running compression tests on Metros before they buy them. And that is just asking for trouble; particularly on a car like the Metro; which is extremely vulnerable to being overloaded, or driven in the wrong gear, and generally being driven unskillfully.

    If your compression turns out to be good, the next areas where the problem might be are in the EGR or the ignition system. If the EGR valve is sticking partly open; it can destroy the idle quality and cause hard starting. So I would remove the EGR valve, thoroughly clean the carbon out of it, and make sure the valve closes completely when it is released. If you are not up to doing this yourself; have a mechanic do it. The vacuum hoses which control the EGR system and the distributor advance (on non XFI models) can also cause problems is the hoses are connected improperly or are damaged or leaking.

    You said the car "sparks good" but this doesn't mean much, if the conclusion was arrived at by just looking at the spark. A spark which looks strong to the eye may actually be weak enough to cause many starting and running problems. The best way to service the ignition system is to measure the resistance of ALL the plug wires with an ohmmeter. Each wire (including the wire from the coil to the distributor cap) must have no more than 1,000 ohms resistance for each inch of length; so an 8 inch long wire cannot have more that 8,000 ohms resistance. If any wire exceeds that specification; replace the entire set of plug wires. The distributor cap and rotor can cause problems if there are any cracks, arc tracks or carbon deposits on the inside surface. Certain cheaply manufactured distributor caps can also cause misfiring, even when they are new and look clean. NAPA parts stores sell the best caps for Metros; under their premium quality line. Some brands of spark plugs (namely NGK) just will not run consistently in the Metro engine. Autolite # 63 and AC Delco # R42CXLS are the best performing plugs in this motor. And the plug gap should be set to .039" Many plugs do NOT come pre gapped; so don't assume the gap does not have to be checked.

    If your car is an XFI model (which does not have a vacuum advance on the distributor), the timing cannot be checked without first disabling the electronic advance by shorting the check connector; as recommended in the manufacturer's instructions for checking the timing. And if your Metro has the distributor with two vacuum advance diaphragms; the vacuum hoses for both those diaphragms must be disconnected and plugged; before you can properly check or set the timing. If you set the timing without disconnecting those advance hoses; it will end up being WAY, WAY too retarded.

    I hope this helps!!!
  • Just o let you know a "little trade secret with the Geo's or Metros, the Suzuki motors are so much more peppier on 94 octane. I learned this many years ago when I purchased my first Chevy Sprint convertible. A Suzuki mechanic told me to use only Chevron 94. its way more expensive but guess what, you get the added guts to go up hills with no problems and you get better gas mileage because this fuel burns slower than the regular, giving you more bag for your buck...keep on driving and repairing them..they are the most fuel efficient and reliable vehicles ever bought....I still have a 91 Firefly convertible and I will never part with it...just remember the Chevron 94 supreme will be amazed.....
  • I did, they were low profiles and really nice. they actually saved my life in an accident where I was broadsided and the only damage was the rim ...
  • I agree so very much indeed.
    Even if it's more expensive, when everything is tallied, I get 120 Km for free compared to using regular.
    My 94 sedan has the XFi cam and a final drive gear set from a 4cylinder. I get phenomenal gas "milleage".
    I also own a convertible, that I will never sell, but it now sports for the summer, the complete drive train from a turboed got to live a little....Hum....this sounds so right!
  • Hi all,
    I just replaced the back half of my Metro exhaust (from resonator to muffler). The replacement I found is in two parts instead of one: one pipe is flanged for the other to slide into it halfway back, just by the back of the rear tire. It came with a U-bolt type exhaust clamp, but every week or so I check it and the pipes are pulling out, the clamp isn't holding. I'm not sure I can get it tighter, but is it not tight enough? Or is there another way to keep the one from shaking loose and sliding out? I'd rather not have it come apart and cause my car to do a forward flip if I can help it.

    Any insight is appreciated, but go easy on me, I'm a newbie to this DIY thing....

    Steve in Florida
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    If the muffler is not supported properly and isn't held in place by the factory mounts and hanger straps; this could cause the muffler to droop and the pipes to consequently separate. Similarly; there typically is a support bracket on the connecting pipe, which attaches to a hanger strap. If this strap has been left off, it can cause the same problem. In any case, the factory muffler support system should hold the muffler in place, even if the pipe becomes disconnected. So it sounds like the system on your car is not being supported properly. If the original muffler has been replaced with a generic one; it is very likely that the aftermarket muffler does not have supporting brackets. (The stock Metro muffler is unique, in its support bracket design). In that case; you'd either have to get a muffler shop to weld support brackets on the muffler, and install flexible hanger straps from the brackets to the mounting points on the body; or you could jury rig a supporting arrangement from heavy wire or sheet metal.

    The important thing about mounting exhaust systems is that they MUST be flexible enough to allow for movement of the pipe; which often becomes as much as an inch or two longer from expansion when it heats up, and also needs to swing from side to side as the engine moves on its mounts or the car body sways. For this reason; muffler hangers are usually made of a heavy woven material (sort of like an industrial strength belt). You can buy muffler hangers in a variety of lengths and sizes from most auto supply stores.

    The professional way to stop the pipes from separating would be to have them welded together; but you could also do it by adding a second U-bolt clamp next to the present one. In order to prevent sliding, those clamps should be tightened enough to slightly crush the flange. This may require a long ratchet handle and a socket; rather than using short handled open end wrenches. But please bear in mind that if the muffler or pipe is rigidly mounted; the sliding joint may be an indication that there is no other place to absorb movement or vibration. If you weld pipes together in such a situation; the stresses will then be applied to the internal welds or seams in the muffler; which will typically lead to the muffler coming apart.
  • is 650 a good deal for a 93 geo ac works
  • For the air conditionning? Too expensive.
    Of course after reading carefully the description of your car I would say: GO FOR IT!

    Just pour in some windshield washer and HIT the road.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    edited March 2010
    Ah; it would be so wonderful if you could just decide whether or not to buy a used car based solely on the price. But sadly; there is a WHOLE lot more to consider (especially if you are not able to replace engines yourself, like Vanillalatte does). If the motor needs replacement (which can only be disproven by running a compression check on all the cylinders and confirming that ALL the cylinders have more than 170 pounds of compression (and preferably 195 psi, like they did originally) a properly rebuilt motor will cost at least $1,300 plus shipping (from hiperformer engines in Spokane, WA). So if the motor was shot; it would bring the price of this car up to $1,950 plus shipping for the motor and the cost of having the motor installed. And then you'd need to see whether the brakes need repair; whether the clutch needs replacement (if it is a stick shift); whether the manual or automatic transmission is bad; or whether the alternator, the radiator, the water pump, or the shock absorbers are gone. Do you get the picture?

    That is why the only way to sanely determine whether it is worth $650 to buy a 17 year old Geo Metro is to first have it thoroughly inspected and evaluated by an experienced, honest, and qualified mechanic; or by a diagnostic center like the AAA has in most metropolitan areas.

    Even the most wonderful, economical model of car can become a dreaded albatross around your neck; if the particular one you buy has been neglected or mistreated badly enough. SO BE WARNED.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    Lucky for you. I had bought a 1994 Geo Metro used from Enterprise rent a car
    for 5,995.00 back in 1996. It was son's car so I learned a lot. While in Med school
    in Berkley he had the same problem. It turned out that the "L"Bracket that holds on the Alternator with 3 -14 mm machine bolts was cracked. Thus the Alternator was not
    perfectly in line thus a whine and burnt rubber smell. Got a used one at Pick Ur Part
    Junk yard. Also grabbed the Alternator which turned out to be original actually
    MADE IN JAPAN. It was quick work to take the "L" Bracket off and replace mine
    had a hair line crack at the bolt area. Problem solved! Take yours off strong light
    give it a good visual get a T square and check it very carefully. It is made of thin
    sheet metal no wonder why it cracks!
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