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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • Grateful for your advice M, thanks! The car is running fine *shrug* will try to get the plug pulled as soon as possible. Thanks very much.
  • cralyacralya Posts: 3
    Hello Catfish,

    Any luck with this ? My '05 Prism has the same problem.

  • pierce7pierce7 Posts: 1
    I woke up one morning to go to work and I tried to start my car it would not start but it would turn over. I quickly took it to the garage they said that my ignition coil was bad. SO the changed the coil and everything associated it with it....( spark plugs, wires rotor...)I picked the car up and drove it away ....when accelerating my car started to hesitate and jerk.. I have never had this happen before in the car...

    I take the car back to the garage they spend 2 days trying to diagnose it ... they are saying that the 1 and 2 cylinders are receiving 40,000 volts adn the 3and 4 cylinders are receiving 18'000 volts and thats why its not running right...... they said they have tested all of the wires and the computer and says that everything checks allright.... they also put a brand new distributor cap on the car and after three test runs still the car didnt run right.

    I dont know what to do can you give me some guidance and tell me what might be wrong or where to look
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    I don't know what is wrong with your car, but you should negotiate the repair bill with the garage...if you haven't done so already. The "repair" did not fix the problem so you shouldn't have to pay for that. If still trust them enough, you should agree to pay them when the problem is actually fixed. Walk away from a mechanic who would not agree to this.
  • vgriffinvgriffin Posts: 2
    I am considering buying a 1995 Geo Prism for a teenage daughter. It has 145K miles and has been very well maintained by the orginal owner. Has anyone experienced significant problems with Prisms of this age and mileage? Are parts hard to find?
  • ruddneckruddneck Posts: 23
    Thanks--the directions worked well, but I never could find that engine block drain. I used the lower hose method, but I don't think I drained six quarts (what the Haynes manual says the coolant capacity is for a 2000 Prizm). I think I put in even less before coolant started to overflow out the top of the radiator. I kept topping off a few ounces there and at the coolant reservoir over the next few days as I drove it and the level lowered, though. I think I'm OK--the coolant I replaced was green, and now the coolant is all bright orange, which is the color of what I used to refill the radiator.

    One additional question--I wanted to check (per Haynes) and replace the thermostat with one of the "no fail" ones that if it seizes, does so in the on position. However, do you have to remove the alternator to easily get to the thermostat? It looks that way. Is removing the alternator pretty straightforward and manageable for someone with little technical expertise?

  • ruddneckruddneck Posts: 23
    Any one ever had any issues with the timing chain in 2000-era Prizms? My engine (100,500 mi.) started to emit a noise that sounds like a really high speed, continuous metallic clicking. It's coming from deep within the engine.

    I'm not having any performance issues since replacing an oily spark plug--just worrying needlessly, perhaps.
  • cralyacralya Posts: 3
    I have a problem with my Prism very similar to that of a couple of other members of this forum.
    My car died in mid-traffic; a new distributor was put in.
    I think it needed one anyway. But as soon as I picked up the car, I had new problem. While it started fine; now it seems to have a fuel problem. It sputters and jerks and acts like a fuel related problem; the mechanics even got a
    " lean fuel" reading. They could not fix it. They put in a new distributor, fuel pump, fuel filter and injectors.
    They did not charge me for the extra work, so I don't think I was being scammed. They even sent it to the dealer and the dealer could not fix the problem. I am at the end of my rope with this; I really think someone overlooked something, but I'm not sure what. They tested the gasoline , too.
    Any advise will be greatly appreciated.
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    I presume compression was checked and there's nothing wrong with the spark plugs and wires. There's oil in the car, and air filter is there, etc., right?

    At this point the only thing I can think of is that there is something that's physically blocking the fuel passage somewhere between the gas tank and the injectors. Has anyone checked the fuel pressure? If the reading is ok, the blockage could still lie past the measurement point.
    Maybe something fell into the gas tank, and it got sucked into the fuel system. I think there is a wire mesh of some sort inside the tank to catch foreign objects, in addition to a fuel filter somewhere. Has anyone looked into that possibility?
  • cralyacralya Posts: 3
    Thanks for the advise, mt.

    Compression, plugs, etc were checked; but I don't think the wire mesh filter was checked. It is acting like something in partially blocking the fuel. I will look into that and let you know.
  • sunny18sunny18 Posts: 1
    My 2002 Prizm has been burning oil almost since I bought it in Sept. '05. The dealer first said the alternator cap was stuck open and replaced it. That did not fix the problem (obviously). They cannot figure out what's wrong and it's burning through a full oil tank in less than 3000 miles. It's not leaking.
    Any ideas? The car now has 85000 miles on it.
    I had a 93 and 95 LSI and had NO SUCH problems with those!

  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    As far as I know, alternator is not part of the oil circulation system, and has absolutely nothing to do with disappearing oil. The only thing I know that commonly gets "stuck open" is the thermostat, which is a part of the cooling system. Are you talking about engine oil?
    The previous owner might have done something really bad (like running engine with no oil or coolant in it) and caused damage before you bought it. Does it run & drive like it should?

    Engine that burns 1qt of oil every 1000 miles, while inconvenient and bad for the environment, can remain in service. You just have to keep checking and adding oil every time you stop for gas. However, it is not reasonable to expect a 2002 Prizm to do that. You should look into the warranty situation with the car. Even if the warranty expired last year, the manufacturer might still honors it. Push your dealer to find out, and if they say no, send a letter to appropriat dept in GM. Good luck.
  • caprigcaprig Posts: 1
    Did you get any help with this? It just happened to us tonight and we are not sure what to do either.
  • ruddneckruddneck Posts: 23
    I just replaced the plug and checked it a few days later. It was clean, and I haven't had any problems since.
  • thacherthacher Posts: 14
    I own a 1990 Prizm. Whenever I buy parts for it I'm always asked if the vehicle is an LSI or a GSI. How does one tell the difference?
    Thank you
  • where do i check my transaxle fluid?
  • thacherthacher Posts: 14
    Has anyone removed a water pump from a 1990 Geo Prizm? The manuals call for the separation of the engine front and rear mounts so there is clearance to acces the water pump pulley bolts. For the front mount the through bolt is removed according to the manual. [That's clear]. The rear mount: " Remove the 2 nuts for the rear mount" [That's not clear;I really don't see the 2 nuts].Can I just remove the through bolt for the rear mount???. My other concern is that I see that the automatic transaxle is also attached to the frame with it's own mounts.[..and the transaxle is connected to the engine]. So not wanting to break anything does the engine actually get raised without removing the transaxle mounts? I hope this is clear! Thank you....
  • aballwienkaballwienk Posts: 3
    I feel your pain. I have a 1994 Geo Prizm 116,000 miles and have had a similar experience. I had the ignition coil replaced due to the fact that it would not start. Now, I have sever hesitation and jerking mostly when the car is between cold and warm.

    I have replaced the MAP sensor, O2 sensor, Coolant Temp. sensor, spark plugs, wires, rotor... with not change in the problem.

    This car is driving me nuts. If you find out your problem, please let me know. I will do the same. It's back to the mechanic I go.

  • imadad2imadad2 Posts: 79
    I have a 2000 Prizm that has the same problem described by others. When the vehicle is cold, it hesitates and sputters. Once the car is warmed up, it runs fine. I was told by several mechanics that the fuel filter should never be changed. One mechanic advised using Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner between oil changes. After I put in a bottle of this, the problem becomes less bothersome. It happens less, but still has not gone away. I have 60K miles on it and have been thinking of changing the plugs. The one thing I did notice but have not done anything with is this. The gas tank has a small mettle flap on the entry for the gas pump. Mine is gone. I am wondering if that is what is causing my problem. For those of you who have this problem, check your gas fill up opening to see if yours is missing. It might be it. I am assuming the gas tank would have to be removed to get it out.
  • sgromolosgromolo Posts: 1
    jim, i have a 2001 prizm and i have the same problem with the front end, when you turn either direction the front end make noise. was going to grease fitting and low and behold i could not find any. did you ever get an answer on your question? it would seem the frontend is greaseless,if so what is making the sound?
  • Staci1- I realize that your message was posted Last Dec'05...but here it is June'06 and I came across this message board...seeing that you had something similar to what my daughter is experiencing right now.
    She has a '93 Geo Prism and about a week ago, for no reason, when she got into her car to start it...the key would not budge. Unlike you, it is not cold I can't figure out what might cause this to happen. This car has frustrated me for years. Constantly pouring money into it. The Key seemed to move counter-clockwise but will NOT budge when trying to turn it on. It is a 5 speed and we tried putting it into anything but 1st gear to see if the key would then move, but it didn't. She has been stuck at gas stations for over 30 minutes trying to get the key turn (to move). This morning, I sprayed some lubricant into the ignition hole to see if that would help. I WAS able to get it to turn....BUT you still have to fight with it a bit...before it turns. This has never happened SINCE I saw your message about your key not budging....I thought I would ask "Did you EVER find out what was the cause of it?". I am a frustrated mom that doesn't and can't afford to pour more money into this thing. If anyone can help or give me ideas, I would really appreciate it.

    ~Thank you~
  • footpoundsfootpounds Posts: 22
    Just bought a '96 Prizm with no owner's manual. My old '92 Corolla held 3.5 quarts of oil. Does the Prizm hold the same amount? Thanks!
  • I have a 92 Geo that is shooting antifreeze on to the fire wall intermittently and causing the car to smoke from under the hood. It does not do it all the time. Also it will overheat in the real hot weather but again not all the time. So far as long as I keep the antifreeze up it does not overheat. I would like to repair the problem myself if I can but I can't see where the leak is coming from as it is intermittent and I only caught the car doing it once by chance any ideas would be great Thanks.
  • prizmdanprizmdan Posts: 2
    I also have a '90 Geo Prizm, my starter seemed to stick once in a while but would always start, my wife started driving it so I had the starter replaced, now it clicks after it's warm and won't start for a while. If you drive somewhere, run in the store, caome out 15 minutes to about 1/2 hour later it won't start. I have replaced the battery, alternator and starter and it's just unreliable, you never know where you'll be stuck because it will go a few days or weeks withiyt happening. Did you ever get yours figured out ? I need guidance on this mystery, PLEASE !!!!! :mad:
  • rene01rene01 Posts: 12
    If you are seeing brown foam in your radiator, it more than likely is a head gasket, & in that case a lot of times you won't be able to see exactly where it's leaking from. Change the head gasket. That should take care of your acceleration problem as well. Geo's have a tendency to "hide" that problem in the oil. You won't see any water/brown foam in the oil, but you'll see it in the radiator & sometimes vise versa.
  • rene01rene01 Posts: 12
    Ok, here's a little update:
    Thanks first of all for the help with the belts. I still have this tempermental no starting problem. Now it just does it whenever it feels like it. We have had the starter changed at least 3 times now. I have been inclined to think it has something to do with the secondary ignition switch. However... it has begun this new episode where when you stop, put it in park, the key won't turn to the off position. It gets stuck there until it decides it's going to turn loose & finally go off. The engine has stopped, the key won't budge. I don't know if the 2 are in some way connected. Is there some kind of linkage sensor that tells the key it's alright to be turned off or something?
    It's so very frustrating. Any of the mechanics I have talked to all seem to say it's the starter solenoid... but honestly can starters go bad THAT quickly, & that often? These starters were bought from Napa, so replacing them so often didn't cost me an arm & a leg, but still. The fuses have been checked, the battery has been replaced as often as the starter, wires have been checked. I am at my wits end.
    Does anyone have any ideas as to what this problem is? It's like a crap shoot only... I don't have that kind of money to blow having it tested for this & for that. There isn't any way to predict it except if it's driven over 20 miles or the radiator fan comes on.. you can expect to be sitting for 3-6 hours at best before it will start again.
    Please Help! :cry:
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Ignition lock cylinder (where you put the key in & turn) itself might be bad.

    If the starter turns but not fast enough to start the engine, check the battery cables. You have to have a very good connection to allow a massive current to flow to the starter.

    Good luck
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Did you check/replace the battery cables?
  • mt700a1mt700a1 Posts: 53
    Sounds like a bad lock or key. I'd start with a new key. If you have a spare, try that. If not, dealer or a locksmith should be able to make a new key without copying the old one, which might be bad.
    If it's not the key, it has to be the lock itself or the steering locking mechanism. I'd guess the lock is the problem.
    Good Luck,
  • maxtempomaxtempo Posts: 2
    crw7-What ever happened to the check engine light on your 02
    Prizm. I have a 98 with the same problem. Thanks for any help.
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