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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • Water in the ignition coil?
  • Also have a 2000 prism that doesn't run well when first started. Have had it tested by a mechanic, but no solutions found. He did find that the problem stops when the engine heats up to a certain point. Anyone else have any ideas?
  • Coolant temperature sensor (NOT thermostat) senses the engine temperature through the coolant temp. Engine temp info is used to adjust the gas/air mixture. This is basically an electronic choke and if it is not working properly it can produce the symtom you described.
  • we've got a 95 goe prizm. the cooling fan is running non stop, even when the engine is cool. weve changed the cooling fan switch an' the temp sensor. any ideas? also, the idle is screwed up, it loses a couple hundred rpms then goes back up.
  • I recently purchased a 94 Geo Prizm 5 speed stick, specifically to tow behind our motorhome. I am about 98% sure I can do it without any problems. But, I'd like someone who has an owner's manual to check and see if I have to stop every so often and start and run the engine for 15 minutes, as recommended on other cars. If anyone has an owner's manual for sale, I am definitely interested. I posted this same question on the RV forum, and received no responses. Just installed a Blue Ox baseplate on it. Surprisingly it went fairly well, without too much difficulties. It bolts into the "tiedowns" on the front of the frame.
  • I have the same model and had a similar problem for the past year. The problem started with a rough idle and eventually progressed to hesitation when starting from a stop and eventually stalling when trying to start from a stop. I did have cylinder misfire codes at least once a week as well. To make a long story short, I finally brought it to a toyota dealership and they diagnosed the problem as a bad mass airflow sensor and replaced it (~$325). I got the car back this morning and the car seems great, the engine idles wonderfully, nice and quiet and is very peppy when you step on the gas. I'm hoping that it stays this way and it might give your mechanic a clue to help you with your problem!
  • My brother's 95 geo transmission bit the dust with 80k original miles. Transmission shop says $2500. I located a used trans for $500. Can this be done by somewhat decent do-it-yourselfers? His trans is a 3-speed automatic, can a 4-speed automatic be installed or does it need to be a 3-speed?

  • Just talked to the Chev dealer, and they gave me the toll free number of Helms Inc. 1-800-782-4356. Ordered an Owner's Manual for the 94 Geo Prizm. $20.00 + shipping and handling.
  • u could do it urself, it's easy, if u've done it before. it's time consuming so do it on a weekend. a 4speed should work, but i don't know bout the wiring
  • I should've listend to Prizoner,
    The car was very good for the first month or so, then overnight the exhaust got loud. Turns out the car needs a manifold and resonator pipe ($500 for those) I hear Prizm exhausts are short lived but it was out of the blue. The battery and e-brake lights come on at random, but they seem to be working fine. The car does run very well though and tranny is smooth (A 3 sd auto sucks, but it was always like that) The car went through a spell where it would randomly not start unless i gently touched the positive terminal, but when i would wiggle it hard the car would never shut off.. it hasnt done this in a few months though. Overall a good car.. I'll sell it for a couple hundred.
  • Last friday my geo prism started making a clicking noise when you accelerate. Then it's also sluggish and doesn't want to and the clicking gets louder as you push the gas pedal down. We've checked the distributer(fine) ignition cables(fine) I just replaced the coolant temp sensor ( that was a pain) replaced the spark plugs, spark plug wires(fine) plenty of radiator fluid. We also noticed the engine got hot when only driven around the block. I have 4 guys trying to help since I really need this car working due to work. But we're all getting frustrated due to can't figure out what's wrong. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Coolant temp sensor sends signals to the fuel injector, I believe. And maybe to the temp gauge on the dash also.

    Actual cooling is regulated by a mechanical device called thermostat. I never replaced one on Prizm so I am not sure exactly where it is, but if you carefully trace the path of the radiator hoses, you will find it.

    I hope the "clicking sound" does not imply internal damages to the engine due to overheating... Thermostat should be less than $20, but excessive overheating can ruin the engine. Blown head gasket also results in overheating, but for $20 you should replace the thermostat and see what happens.

    Good Luck,
  • OK, this vehicle ran flawlessly for 120000 miles then went to start it and no go. No spark, no fuel. Took the fuel line off and cranked, nothing. Checked for spark, nothing. Did the no fuel cause no spark or did the no spark cause no fuel? Where does one start. And... is the oil pressure switch involved in this or is that just after it is already running??? 4cyl, auto! HELP!!!!
  • Well we replaced the coolant temp sensor, replaced the radiator, replaced the fuel injector, resealed the valve cover etc been replacing parts all week. Still clicking. Even had a friend check it who works on cars and still can't figure it out. :(
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    No spark and no fuel sounds like too much of a coincidence. One will not cause the other. Oil pressure cannot be measured unless the engine is running already I think...
    I would start by checking all fuses. There may be some under hood as well. If you have a wiring diagram or just a fuse layout, look for a fuse that is shared by the affected components. It will be helpful to know what else is not working, such as radio, headlight, etc. 99 is too new to have a serious problem so I am thinking this is a fuse issue.
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Your car has a thermostat AND a coolant temp sensor. They perform different functions. A malfunctioning thermostat can cause overheating. When a car overheats it can make knocking noise and of course it would not run right in general. I am not sure if your car makes noise only when abnormally hot.

    0. Has the thermostat been replaced?
    1. Does the car still overheat?
    2. Does the clicking noise occur at all times?
    3. Did you check for cracks in the exhause manifold? (this can cause ticking or clicking noise as well as loud exhaust noise in general)

    This is not very likely but has anyone checked the valve adjusters? They are hydraulic type and when they fail they cause ticking noise.
  • actually thermostat has been replaced too...the car isn't hot when it's clicking. Can turn it on and press on the gas and clicks and the more you push on the gas the louder it clicks. If you go into reverse it dies..go into drive and move it dies.

    the exhaust is brand new and so is the transmission. Car was working great til a week ago. When you try to drive you can push your foot down on the gas and it doesn't want to accelerate. A friend makes custom parts for cars and works in a auto supply company and works on cars and he's been replacing parts left and right...the codes said fuel injector (#1) been replaced and still doesn't want to work. :mad:
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    I am puzzled.

    Did you put gas in the car right before the problems started? If the gas station let the fuel level in their tank to too low, bad stuff could come out of the pump. It is unlikely but still a possibility.

    Has the timing been checked? If the timing belt is loose and the belt skipped the teeth, the car won't run right. Symptoms of wrong timing would be loss of power and overheating. I would definitely check the timing if you haven't done so yet.

  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    My previous comment refers to the valve timing, in which the timing belt plays a major role.

    Ignition timing is timing for the spark plugs to fire, and it is not related to valve timing at all. It too can go out of adjustment, and "tuneup" service usually includes ignition timing check. You should have it checked as well.

    Let me know how it goes.
  • gpriorgprior Posts: 1
    I have a Fiat Punto 1.2 8Valve and it has a similar problem.
    It will overheat within about 15 mins of starting, but just before light comes on, it will make a clicking sound with the throttle, and the more throttle i give it, the louder it gets. If i'm off the throttle, then go on it, i hear a fast click a few times, then it stops a bit, like a slipping, clicking, hard to describe on here.
    I am getting a new thermostat fitted, so leaving it at that for now but i'll let you know what happens. Mine only does it when it's getting hot though.
    Hopefully this should solve problem, no hot air through vents, thats why we think it's the thermostat... or the water pump?
  • dukebludukeblu Posts: 18
    I'm thinking about buying a 2001/2002 Prizm but only want one with the 4 speed automatic. How do you visually tell the difference between the two. I'm assuming that very few sellers will have the original window sticker. Is the option code listed on the door as witrh other Chevys?

    Wish they were still making this car new. 40 MPG in a automatic Prizm beats the hell out of a smaller less powerful Aveo that can only manage 35MPG
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Check coolant level often. It you have to keep adding antifreeze in the radiator, you have a leak somewhere. If the coolant disappears but you see no external leaks, blown head gasket is a possibility.
    Thermostat failure is fairly common so let's hope that solves the problem.

    If it doesn't solve the problem, check ignition timing with a timing light. Check if the timing belt is tight. Clogged (internally or externally) radiator is another possibility. You can squeeze a radiator hose in your hand and see if the coolant is flowing once the engine warms up. Hoses should get hot as the engine gets hot, if the water pump is indeed circulating the coolant (be careful doing this). If the coolant is circulating, water pump should be ok.
    Good Luck.
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    The 4th gear on 4spd model is overdrive. There is a little push button switch on the side of the shifter. Dashboard should have an indicator that comes on when the overdrive is off. That's usually that way it's set up, although I am not exactly sure on 2001/2 models.

    Toyota Corolla is still in production and it is almost identical to the Prizm, except that the Corolla has gone through a model change since the last generation of Prizm/Corolla co-production. My GF has a 05 Corolla, and it is much quieter and more comfortable than my 94 Prizm.

    The new bargain is going to be Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe. They are much more spacious than the Corolla and very good on gas. I expect the Vibe to depreciate in value much faster than the Matrix, and it will be just as reliable as the Matrix.

  • My prizm has been using about a quart of oil a week. I could not figure out where the oil was going. There were no signs of oil leakage under the car and no smoke from the tailpipe. The car was running a little warm so I flushed the radiator and saw there was oil in the water. Also there is thick black greasy film on passenger side of car, front tire and outer front door panel. What is causing this? I have asked several people and they don't know. If it was a blown head gasket, wouldn't the water be in the oil instead of the oil in the water? I am a single female and have to do my own repairs. I rely on this car to support myself and would greatly appreciate any advise I can get. Also, I took the thermostat out and the car doesn't run on the hot side any more. I figure that the oil in the water had clogged up the thermostat. If anyone knows what may be causing this, please let me know. :confuse:
  • Oil leaking into the cooling system "overfills" the cooling system, and the coolant is overflowing from the coolant reservoir. But the coolant is contaminated with oil, so the tire well and door get coated with grease. Does this sound like a possible senario? How much oil did you find in the cooling system when you flushed it?

    I would not assume that you need a new head gasket.
    Some cars have engine oil cooler inside the cooling system. One possible location for this device is near the intake manifold. This takes hot oil from the engine to the coolant (in separate a tube of course) for cooling of engine oil. There may be a heat exchanger (should look llike mini-radiator within the cooling system) bathed in coolant, and if there is a leak, oil will end up leaking into the radiator.

    I read somewhere that oil pressure in this oil cooler is typically higher than the coolant pressure, hence oil leaking into the coolant, not the other way around.

  • Update..after a new radiator, new fuel injectors, new temp sensor, new spark plugs and spark plugs wires and checking the compression which was real low on some of them I threw in the towel and traded it in for a 2002 Ford Focus SE. Hey the car did me good til the final stretch and with 185,000 was ready to be put to rest. So thanks for the suggestions you did give in a timely and helpful manner.

    But hey shocked the guys when I got the book out and replaced some of the parts myself lol
  • I've been dealing with the PO171 "Left Bank Lean" problem since May on my 2000 Prism (94K miles). I've had sealant added around the manifold, replaced the O2 sensors, replaced the gas cap, had the dealer clean the system (including the MAF allegedly), used premium gas with Lucas injector treatment, all to no avail--the check engine light will go off (or I'll turn it off via the fuse) then come back again (always 171, though I did get a PO300 "Random Multiple Cylinder Misfire" once--I appreciated the variety).

    It's an annoyance, really, since the only symptom other than the light is a hestitation sometimes when accelarating from a stop (I'm extra cautious about pulling into traffic now!).

    Out of solutions other than having the fuel filter replaced, which I imagine would be expensive as heck given its location, I'm wondering whether the PO171 problem may be related to another issue I had at the beginning of the summer, namely my A/C refusing to cool. I added more refrigerant without any luck, then replaced the filter/orifice, which was completely clogged, and refilled with coolant. Both times the car cooled for a day, then stopped. I have an ultraviolet light to pick up the dye in the coolant, but I can't detect any leaks.

    I'm out of ideas, so I'm wondering whether ya'll might think there's a connection, however unlikely, between the PO171 issue and the failure of the A/C to cool. Or, if you have more suggestions on how to remedy either, I'd welcome them!

  • I have a 92 Geo Prizm with 144000 miles. Runs fine except that it's taken to not starting when the temperature reaches 30 or below. I've had the starter and alternator and ignition replaced and it has a new battery. I don't want to put in a lot of money on this car since it's 13-years-old but I would like to get through the coming winter.

    Anybody else have a problem like this?
  • Hi I have the same problem with my prism 93 cooling fan is running with the switch on,did u fix the problem?if yes,how,can u help me?thank you.
  • Update: I took the car back to a dealership where I was told to expect to leave it for several days while the mechanics drove it until the check engine light came back on. Because the Prizm computer is so small, they said, the best diagnostic info is obtained as soon as the light goes on.

    However, I heard back from the dealer an hour or two after I dropped the car off. As with other folks' experience with this problem, it was the mass air flow sensor. Parts and labor and a new sensor cost me $352.99 overall. Pricey, but the car runs like new now, and even the A/C seems to cool quicker (though I reckon I have to wait till summer to test that out fully!).
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