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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • well i am at a loss.I tired some fuel treatment and i cleaned the throttle body and nothing helped. So on the advise of the shop i took it to. I got another ecm. NOPE WTF I am so irrated i want to drive this thing off a cliff. any other sugestions people. its not throwing a code. when its really cold. it will actually cut off and not idle. I hit the gas and it seems to want to die. i really love this car but running out of money to put into it. i am going to sell it if i cant find the problem soon
  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    Sorry to hear that.
    Do not take what I say as true because what I am doing is just guessing.
    It might be fuel-releated.Probably it is not getting fuel to burn. Did you check your air filter? Might be clogged.
    The repair book I have says: (if your problem is engine missing at idle speed)
    1.Spark plugs worn or not gapped properly.
    2.Faulty spark plug wires
    3.Vacuum leaks
    4.Incorrect ignition timing
    5.Uneven or low compression
    6.Problem with the fuel injection system

    Is it hard to start when it is cold? Because there are answers for this question too.

    If 'engine stalls' :
    1.Idle speed incorrect
    2.Fuel filter clogged and /or water and impurities in the fuel system
    3.Distributor components damp or damaged
    4.Faulty emissions system components
    5.Faulty or incorrectly gapped spark plugs (when was the last time were the spark plugs changed on this car?)
    6.Faulty spark plug wires
    7.Vacuum leak in the fuel injection system, intake manifold or vacuum hoses
    8.Valve clearances incorrectly set.

    Engine starts but stops immediately:
    1.Loose or faulty electrical connections at distributor, coil or alternator (THE POLES OF THE BATTERY MIGHT BE RUSTY and needs to be cleaned with a mix of baking soda and water..i did this and it helped clean up the rust. Also is your battery new?)
    2.Insufficient fuel reaching the fuel injectors
    3.Vacuum leak at the gasket between the intake manifold/plenum and the throttle body
    4.Idle speed incorrect.

    These are the answers to some questions/problems I found reading Haynes repair manual.
  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    I am sure it is something simple and easy/relatively cheap to fix thing but it needs to be found either by you or somebody you trust.
  • I have a 2002 Prizm with a standard transmission which I believe is mechanically identical to the Toyota Corrola. It has approximately 60,000 miles. I have noticed a growling or tapping noise lately when the car is running in gear. It almost sounds like valves tapping but the noise is not present when coasting in neutral at same speed, idling or reving the engine. The noise seems to be coming from the front of the car. I plan on jacking the front wheels of the ground and running the car in gear to listen where the noise is coming from but winter in PA is not a good time to do this. Does anyone have a similar problem or ideas?
  • check the front bearing. The noise usually present when under load.
  • Dear glenpoint,
    I'm sorry. I don't understand. Which "front bearing" wheel, clutch etc?
    and how does one check?
  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    Hi Jerry,

    I got these from a repair book I have and it is for manual transmission Prizms/Corollas:

    If it is knocking noise at low speeds,
    1/Worn driveaxle constant velocity (CV) joints
    2/Worn side gear shaft counterbore in differential case.

    Clunk on acceleration or deceleration.:
    1/Loose engine or transaxle mounts,
    2/Worn differential pinion shaft in case,
    3/Worn side gear shaft counterbore in differential case,
    4/Worn or damaged driveaxle inboard CV joints.

    Clicking noise in turns:
    Worn or damaged outboard CV joint

    1/Rough wheel bearing
    2/Damaged driveaxle
    3/Out of round tires,
    4/Tire out of balance,
    5/Worn CV joint

    Since your car is not noisy in neutral with engine running it is probably not damaged input gear bearing, or damaged clutch release bearing.

    Noisy in one particular gear:
    1/Damaged or worn constant mesh gears,
    2/Damaged or worn synchronizers,
    3/Bent reverese fork,
    4/Damaged fourth speed gear or output gear
    5/Worn or damaged reverse idler gear or idler bushing.

    Noisy in all gears:
    1/Insufficient lubricant
    2/Damaged or worn bearings (your car is not noisy in all gears?)
    3/Worn or damaged input gear shaft and/or output gear shaft.

    Not a personal input but I hope it helps you diagnose the problem...
  • wheel bearings. jack up the wheel and out you hands at 3 and 9 o'clock positions, then move the the tire, if there is movement, then the bearing could be bad.
  • thanks for the inputs geoblue and glenpointe.
    I checked with a local Chevy dealer and their Maintenance schedule recommends changing the manual transmission fluid every 30,000 miles whether mostly local or long distance travel. I have had a lot of cars in my 70 years and I've never heard of changing transmission fluid but I guess I'll start there. The dealer had no experiance changing the fluid in a manual transmission but his on line service manual indicated the drain plug was on the bottom and the fill plug was on the side but from the crude drawing available to him he could not tell which side and I can not see from under the hood. Glenpointe: I guess I'll find it once I get under it but does your repair book give a specific location and are there any "kickers" that you are aware of in refilling that I should be aware of before I start ?

    The Chevy dealer said it takes 2 quarts of GM 75W90 GL4 synthetic gear oil which they sell for $25.50/Qt.(!?) The local NAPA parts store tells me their 75W90 GL4 is non-synthetic and sells for $3.69. Their synthetic 75W90 is GL5 and costs
    $11.99/Qt. I am leaning toward the NAPA synthetic GL5 unless your repair book or experiance indicates otherwise.

    Thanks again,
  • The drain plug should be at the bottom, and the fill plug is located in front of the transmission. If you remove the splash shield (under the engine) on the driver's side, you can see the plug (approx. one inch size nut). drive the car few miles to have the oil warmed up. Then remove the fill plug first. (This step just in case you already drained the oil and can't get the fill plug removed). Then remove the drain plug and drain the oil. Place the drain plug back, make sure the car on level surface and fill the trans. You need a long hose...keep filling until the oil over-flow out of the drain plug hole. Put the plug back and you are done. It should not take you more than 30 minutes.

    Note: when you remove the splash shield, use W_40 spraying the bolts real good and let them sit for awhile. If you don't, the bolts will break off and it takes you more time drilling them out. BTW, the manufacture did not use synthetic oil in your trans so non-synthetic should work just fine.
  • Thanks a lot Glenpointe. I'm sure I'll also need a funnel that will fit into fill end of the hose.
  • The non-synthetic stuff that Autozone, O'reiily, Advance and Napa (ect.) are selling says GL5, GL4, GL3. Don't put this stuff in your vehicle if it requires GL3 or GL4. This is a ploy, by all the auto parts places, to push GL5 lubricant as being compatible with GL4/3. I called a oil technician at Shell (1-800-373-5823). He said it is impossible to have an oil that is completely compatible with all three ratings (except, maybe synthetic). This scourge has just recently started. The same gear lubricant that used to state just GL5, now says GL5/4/3. Call the above number yourself. Ask any oil specialist you can find online. I'm sure they will tell you the same thing. I have a Nissan that specifies GL4 lube in the trans. I guess I'm going to shell out the $12.49/QT for Nissan's non-synthetic 75W-85. If anybody knows where you can get REAL GL4 non-synthetic gear lube, please post. I would much rather pay $4/QT +/-, plus shipping, than Nissan's price....Let alone, the price of synthetic. Alot of the auto parts places sell Royal Purple synthetic gear lube that is compatible with GL4 but, it's pricey. About $15/QT. Keep in mind that, if you have alot of miles on a vehicle, the synthetic oil is more likely to seep out around the seals.
  • Additionally, do not use GL5 lube in a GL4 application (Again, unless it is a synthetic lube rated GL4/GL5). Do not use a synthetic lube that only has a rating of GL5, in a GL4 application. Non-synthetic GL4 rated lubricants have a special formulation that is best for the non-ferrous metals in the transmission (brass.ect). GL5 non-synthetic lube will damage these parts in the long run.
  • I wanted to reitterate. After doing quite a bit of research on the subject, I've come to the conclusion that, if ANY gear lube/oil states GL5, sythetic or non-synthetic, even if it states GL4/GL5, do not use it in a sychromesh transmission (exception following). If it states GL5, it contains sulfur/phosphorus compounds that will etch the copper containing parts in transmissions (brass or copper). A GL5 lubricant should also state "Hypoid". The term hypoid means that it is formulated for the extreme pressures generated in the helically cut gears in a rear end/differential.

    (exception) There are older transmissions in which almost any 75W90/80W90 lube will work. In most of these older transmissions you wouldn't want to use a GL4 only oil.

    If your transmission specifications call for GL5, use any correct weight lubricant that states GL5. If your transmission specifications call for GL4, only use a lube rated GL4 and nothing that states Hypoid or states anything about being suitable for rear ends/differentials.

    From what I can see, the only thing put out by Royal Purple that is good for a GL4 transmission application is their synthetic Synchromax lubricant. I found Pennzoil Gearplus GL4 80W90 mineral based lubricant (non-synthetic) that would be cheaper than most, but I've yet to find a place where it can be purchased. My Nissan calls for GL4 75W85, four quarts. I'm really curious whether it would be feasible to put three quarts of GL4 80W90 non-synthetic gear oil in the trans (if I can ever find it) and top it up with a quart of motor oil, say Castrol 20W50, to thin it down to about a 75W85. The transmission is already raking a little going into gears. I'm worried that it might rake worse if I put 80W90 only in it. Anybody want to chime in on that subject? Hmmmm. I just thought of something. Maybe three quarts of 80W90 and a quart of Lucas to top it up!! :)
  • Hi. I just bought my first car about a month ago, a 1995 Geo Prizm. It's the 4 cyl automatic base model with 182,000 miles (yikes).

    I have two questions.

    Whenever I go to make a right hand turn (I wouldn't even say sharp), mid-turn the car makes a "clunk" noise. Also, when the car first starts up, the belt squeaks and the steering wheel is very hard to turn, but it eventually gets better. Now, the car is starting to pull towards the left. I've heard this noise could be the CV joints, struts, ball joints, rack and pinion.. Has anyone else had this problem?

    Also, I know it's only a 4 cyl car, but the acceleration is pathetic. I sometimes have to floor it just to go 40 to keep up with traffic. Is there anything that can be done to give the car a bit more "get up and go?"

  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    Hi camaroeatstang,

    I have a 94 Prizm with 119k miles.
    If you ever listened to cartalk show on NPR you would know that many people have experienced this clunk noise.I have not so far, thank God. :) CV joints can be the problem. As for pulling to left, it might be a sign that car needs alignment.

    I have that same belt squeak problem. Belts and/or tensioner/s need changing (fan belt and power steering belt).But before that you should have the belts tightened.Loose belts squeak and make steering wheel hard to turn.I took the car to a local carx and they did it for free and it solved the problem then, now slowly coming back though... Unrelated to this, there is the timing belt that need to be changed once every 100k miles or so.Mine needs changing too. Maybe yours have been changed by the previous owner.

    For get up and go, try using Lucas upper cylinder cleaner/injector cleaner. It works.It is cheaper (by volume) and more effective than any other injector cleaner. You will see a positive difference. But if you want more power, you might want to change the spark plugs and/or wires. NGK BKR5EYA is my choice of spark plugs with 0,032 inch gap. It is around 2 dollars each. NGK has nice wires, sells it for 30some dollars, cheapest in market and made in Japan (original). This will also improve your gas mileage. I bet your car suffers from low gas mileage too, since there may be misfires.

    Geo Prizms are great cars even in today's standards. If you take care of it it will last for another 120-200k miles.

    Create a profile, I have mine there. :)
  • Actually, the car gets about 35 miles per gallon. I find that to be sufficient for a 14 year old car, haha.

    If the CV joints need to be replaced, is that an expensive fix?
  • I have a 94 Geo Prizm that has developed a leak in the high pressure line for the steering fluid. I am reasonably adept at repairs when I have some guidance, but can't find anything to help in this area. Given the age and value of this car, the quoted repair cost seems a bit extreme. Any ideas?
  • lhylhy Posts: 48
    I've heard that a Geo Prizm is basically a Toyota Corolla except with a Chevy Geo label.

    If so, do they share everything the same (powertrain, body, electrical, etc) or just the engine?

    And in terms of maintenance, would a Toyota dealership be able to service and repair a Prizm, even though the line is now defunct?

    The specific model I'm interested in is a 1997 Geo Prizm Lsi 1.8L, with automatic transmission.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    You will find most all Toyota dealerships do repairs and/or service on all makes and models of cars, not just Toyotas.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Yes, the Prizm is a Corolla except for a few body parts, interior trim pieces, and a very few other parts - nothing major. The Prizm was built right beside the Corolla in the Fremont, CA Nummi plant. You can definitely take it to a Toyota dealer, and they will have almost all of the parts. A family member had a Prizm, great car, definitely a Corolla with a Geo name. She serviced it at the Toyota dealer.

    The Prizm is a great value because it is cheaper than a Corolla, but the same car. It is always highly recommended as a great used car due to reliability and price.

    Just an FYI, the Pontiac Vibe is really a Toyota Matrix.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    The Prizm had "small cosmetic differences, a GM Delco radio, and the lack of a rear stabilizer bar". Also, the difference was the initial price paid and the resale value. Prizm's initial price was lower but Toyota Corolla's resale value is much better because of the name.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Prizm's initial price was lower but Toyota Corolla's resale value is much better because of the name.

    Yes, which makes it a great used car.
  • lhylhy Posts: 48
    Thanks for the info, everybody.

    Besides the Prizm and Vibe, are there other cars made by Toyota or Honda that have American brand names?

    And where can I find a list of these kinds of cars?

    (And you're right about the Prizm being a great used car value. I saw one just posted on Craigslist and was all scheduled to go for a test drive the next day. But somebody came along and stole it from me, buying it on sight and without a test drive--all within a day after the ad was posted. :mad: )
  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71

    Some model years of Saturn Vue has Honda engines/transmissions on them.

    'Hold it! This is basically the same cast aluminum VTEC variable-valve-timing-equipped mill and five-speed automatic Honda drops into the $36,200 Acura MDX and $27,560 Honda Pilot LX, as well as the Honda Odyssey. Bolted into the $24,810 Saturn Vue (base price is $24,185, plus $395 for curtain airbags, $150 for an upgraded stereo, and $80 for floor mats), doesn't this new Vue represent a "roaring" value?

    Well, more of a growling value. The Vue is no Honda, although it now sounds and accelerates like one. Compared with the weak jabs of last year's British-built 181-hp, 3.0-liter iron-block V-6, the 250-hp Honda 3.5 delivers a solid right hook. The new Vue's 7.0-second scoot to 60 mph is a substantial 1.4-second trimming of the old time, and the quarter-mile shrivels from 16.6 seconds at 83 mph to 15.5 at 89. Flat-foot the pedal, and the Vue squats on its buns and lunges like a stink bug in heat. On the freeway it zooms by tractor-trailers as if they were rolling on square wheels. ' aturn_vue_v_6_awd_short_take_road_test
  • gus2005gus2005 Posts: 1
    Considering purch of 98 prizm w/127k
    Hi - I am looking at a 1998 base model Prizm w/ 127k, auto. Is this a corrolla basically? And do they last for 200k+ ?
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    It is a Corolla, except for some trim pieces and a few other non-essential parts. It was built right beside the Corolla at the same factory in Fremont, CA. With proper maintenance, you can get lots of miles out of these cars.

    The Prizm is always recommended as a great used car, because it is a Corolla with great reliability and efficiency but with a lower price
  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    Hi gus,

    Prizm was made in Fremont, CA by NUMMI, a partnership b/w GM and Toyota.
    Prizm is not fully identical with Corolla. The ABS system is GM's AC Delco which is crap. It breaks down fast. Radio is AC Delco brick. Paint is lower quality compared to Corolla's painting. Sound and heat insulation lacks in Prizm but exists in Corollas.
    But the engine and the transmission are the same in both vehicles.

    I would suggest a 93-97 Prizm/Corolla instead of 98 because of the better quality found in earlier model years. However 2001-2002 engines are VVT-i (variable valve timing intelligence) type which helps further increase MPG.

    Is it manual transmission that you are looking for? If so it is OK. If it is A/T, then try to find a 4 speed one (with O/D) because 3 speed auto is not preferred by drivers.

    Carfax it, ask for maintenance records, check the crankcase if it is clean or not, check all the fluids, especially A/T fluid's condition. Make sure the car did pass all emissions tests.
  • billb60billb60 Posts: 3
    Our '99 Prism just turned over 240,000 miles. We bought is used with about 36,000 miles on it. We've never had a problem with this car, but do keep it maintained with frequent oil changes at about every 2500 miles.
  • I have a 1996 prizm (4sp with 1.8L engine) with 151,000 miles on it as of today. It always starts on the first crank and runs beautifully. I think it will last another 100,000 miles. I get on average 30MPG. There are few times I wanted to buy a new car, but this car is so good, that I don't want to sell it. Great little car!
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