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Chevrolet (Geo) Prizm



  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    Have you checked the level and condition of transmission fluid before replacing speed sensor? (I am assuming it has auto transmission.)

    Disconnect the battery for 10 minutes, that is good enough for reprogramming as far as I know.

    I hope you get years of reliable service out of your Prizm.
  • I know this is an old thread but I found out where a lot of the oil was going on my 98 Prizm. The PCV valve grommet gets old, dried out and hard. This prevents it from sealing and oil leaks out and runs down the back of the engine and onto the exhaust pipe where it burns off. No drips, no smoke out the exhaust. Just the smell of burning oil when you turn off the engine. A new grommet is less than $3.50....
  • i have the exact same problem with my 94 geo prizm, did you ever find out what was wrong?
  • Hello...if you wouldn't mind, could you please email to me the PDF manual for the 1997 Geo Prism. I need to get some spark plugs for my car as it is riding a bit rough.

  • keithh1keithh1 Posts: 12
    edited December 2011
    As a continuation to the discussion of where the oil goes on 1998 Prizm: First it was leaking from the PCV grommet on the valve cover. Then valve cover gasket was also dried out and cracked and thus leaking. We'll see if that's finally fixed all the oil leaks.
  • keithh1keithh1 Posts: 12
    The driver's side front tire will wobble back and forth when the car is jacked up off the ground. To me, this means a bad wheel bearing. The parts store wants to sell me the entire front spindle and bearing kit. The bearing is not pressed on yet though. I haven't got the car up on jackstands yet to see how hard this will be. Anybody done this job?
  • keithh1keithh1 Posts: 12
    Replying to myself... I did fix all the oil leaks in my 1998 Prizm and it still uses oil. Where does it go? It goes past the rings and into the combustion chamber. I removed the oil cap while the engine was running and oil smoke came out. The dreaded blow-by. I guess the EGR system recycles enough oil smoke through the system that it doesn't put a lot out the tailpipe--not even enough to notice, but it's definitely burning oil. I have a friend with a Prizm AND a Corolla and they BOTH do the same thing. Another friend has a Corolla and it does it as well. All four cars are under 200,000 miles. Oh well.
  • myewebmyeweb Posts: 1
    I have a 93 Geo prizm with the 4AFE 1.6 Liter engine. how feasable is it to swap it out for a 4A-GZE, or even better, a 20 Valve 4A-GE with vvt. i was thinking of flashing the ecu but am not sure what programmer i can use since its obd1. im looking to get more low end power from my car, and so far have put an induction system, iridium spark plugs, and plan to get a high flow muffler soon. any suggestions, or what would be involved to swap out the engine? Thanks!

  • I have a '96 Geo Prizm in need of the latch portion for the driver's seat belt (latch portion actually bolts to the seat). It appears there were two different size mechanisms in use. The new part I got from Toyota for a '96 Corolla as well as a latch from a junk yard from a '95 Prizm was for a seat belt tab that's about 1 1/8" wide. But my seat belt tab is only about 7/8" wide and will not work in the wider latch.

    Does anyone know where I can get the narrower style latch? Or of someone who rebuilds seat belt latches?

    Thanks very much. Bob
  • Her check engine light is on for evap I know its the canister frilter since can't fix by cap replacement or fuel treatment. Other issue is it keeps bogging down til you hit about 2600 rpms changed plugs and wires valve cover gasket and the random missfire P0300 P0302 P0303 went away when change plugs. Now it is still bogging down after change and codes were cleared the number 2 and 3 cylinder are working but not as much as 1 and 4 is they are very sluggish. We are thinking its a fuel injector since they have 139000 miles on them. Any insight? If any answer are out there working on this tomorrow I will have my cell 3154069729 could use some help can't get the parts yet just going to pull the top of motor apart to make sure no leaks.
  • thacherthacher Posts: 14
    1990 Prism, VIN code 6; 150,000m.

    When I switch it on ignition, [when engine is cold] the cooling and air conditioner [its turned off]
    fans come on at the same time. I've tested the temperature switch and it's fine. I've looked at the relays and fuses and they seem fine also. Any ideas?
    Thank you,
  • davec4davec4 Posts: 8
    Does anyone know if the 1999 Chevy Prizm has a cabin filter and if so, how do I get to it?
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,680
    It does not have a cabin filter. Basically, same car as a '99 Corolla.
  • Use a punch tool and sledge to drive the stud out the back of the hub. Autoparts stores can sell you a replacement stud for a few dollars. Get a short stack of thick washers that allow the stud to pass through the center. These will allow you to put the lug nut on without bottoming out your lug wrench. Push the new stud through the hub from the back aligning the grooves in the stud with the ones in the hub if they are grooved. Put the wheel nut on reversed so the wide part of the nut is against the washers. Turn the nut to pull the stud through the hub. Watch the back side to pull it only as far as needed to fully seat the stud.
  • Heres a possible solution to the check engine light. These cars are known for an oil leak at the rear of the block where the timing chain tensioner is located. The tensioner has a round rubber gasket that leaks. That leak allows oil to be burnt by the engine it is going out the exhaust, and coating the catalyst, and the oxygen sensor. It took months for me to diagnose the issue. I replaced the tension as it came with a new rubber gasket as well as a strong spring to apply proper tension to the timing chain.

    I replaced the damaged o2 sensors which cleared all the codes. Car runs great now! Another thing to check depending on the code is the intake manifold gasket. Its metal and can warp which leaves a very tiny amount of air into the intake which gives the car the "lean fuel" code.
  • We are getting some horrible and I mean horrible gas mileage and serious lack of power and high Rpm's on our car. Our manifold converter is I desperate need of replacement and after speaking with a muffler shop, who btw tried to hit us hard with costs, we decided to replace it ourselves. But in the meantime can we gut it out and drive it like that or do we risk damaging the engine? Can it be bypassed completely? Can we get some info on this from anyone who's had these issues??
    Thanks for your response....
  • I have a 94 Geo Prizm 1.6 L that will not start. This is the second time in as many months where this has occurred. After the first, I found that the coil was bad and got back up and running after that replacement. Now, I find that I am not getting sufficient power to the fuel pump for it to run. I have tested both the EFI main relay and the other relay in the circuit (can't recall the name), and get battery voltage to the downstream relay but only a small voltage (100 mV) coming out. I tested the fuel pump, and applied battery voltage directly to it and it works. What other sensors or relays are coming into play here that I need to check?
  • yeah problem with shifting out of park and brake lights not working. BUT I can get them to work if i tighten up my brake pedal. I HAVE not seen this on other posts. RAW pumping up the pedal COLD and making it tight I can have brake lights for a couple of stops until it gets loose. then I Lose contact with sensor. Whatup? I need brake lights damnabgit I live in San Diego
  • gabagooo said:

    I just bought a 1999 Prizm with 18200 miles on the clock and a three speed transmission. Most of the driving that I have been doing has been short distance, around town. I live in upstate New York, where it has been snowy and cold. On my last tank of gas, I averaged just 17 mpg. Pretty poor. The Corsica I was driving before the Prizm was getting 22 mpg under the same circumstances and it had a 3.1 ltr V-6! Any thoughts on the poor mpg? Also, the engine seems to idal pretty high (no tach) but I would guess at least at 1200 rpm. Tell me, fellow Prizm owners, is this how Prizms behave? Thanks for any insights that you may have.

    I have no real experience with 3 speed, as my family's had only the 4 and 5 speed. However, we once temporarily turned off the overdrive on one of the 4 speeds and it was more rev-y. The 4 speeds were a '93 and we still have the '02 with nearly 129000 miles. The 5-speed was totaled 9 years ago with about 70,000 miles on it and was an '02. The '93 was taken off the road in '05 with 178615 miles on it, due to rust. Btw, I live in upstate NY, too. Lewis County.
  • rworrell said:

    Homer, I bought a 93 Geo Prizm LSi with 91K, stick, a/c as my winter car. I don't know if he's looking at the base or the LSi, but the LSi has some nice upgrades over the base, my favorite being the split folding rear seat. Note that on these cars, even the tach is optional!

    That being said, I highly recommend the car. As you probably know, it's basically the same as a Toyota Corolla (built on the same line, but they tend to sell for a lot less). It's pretty fun to drive with the stick, as well. A friend of mine had one with an auto and it SUCKED! I get around 26-27 mpg in city-only driving and I drive it pretty hard (my main car is a Miata, so I tend to flog my winter cars!).

    Let me know if you have any other questions. I think he'd like the car--but make sure he's prepared for the fact that when people hear you have a Geo, they always think of the Metro. Even if you say it's a Prizm, they still think of the Metro. No wonder Chevy dumped the marque... :)

    When Metro sedans came to this country, My dad said"looks like a baby Prizm.". Since I was a baby/young child in the Geo years, I merely know Geo car names, Trackers were Jeep-like and that some Prizms were LSi (like ours) and some weren't. It was a '93 Geo Prizm, Polynesian Green, very basic LSi. Automatic 4-speed, AC, tape player, tachometer, 1.8 Liter engine and whatever else the LSi package had to offer in '93.
  • erunic said:

    I own a 1998 Prizm Lsi, bought new, never in an accident or anything along those lines. Exactly one year after purchase, the SRS bag started blinking. After what started out as a bad experience, the problem was resolved. Problem, code 48, bad connector under the drivers seat (for the side impact airbag?). The problem occurred with 18k miles on the car.

    So here I am some 2.5 years later with two new electrical problems. The Evaporative Control (Canister) Module failed AND the SRS light has started blinking again. I was okay with replacing the ECM cost roughly 500$ at the dealer, but imagine my trusty local mechanic could nix at least 100$ off the cost in labor savings.

    The airbag problem, not as easily solved. After having it diagnosed, the sensor and diagnostic module failed. Cost of repair ~ $1100. The part is in the middle of the dash, etc. etc.

    The car is not under warranty as it was put into service 07/1998. So, I am looking at $1607 in repairs on a car that is not four years old and has 45,000 miles on it. GM does not want to admit a problem, yet there a few consumer complaints for both the Prizm and Corolla at the NHSTA. Am I wrong to expect airbags to be maintenance free for the first ten years of ownership and then inspections every 24 months after that as the manual states.

    Currently, the dealership has disconnected the airbags a $337 procedure so that the car may be driven without them accidentally going off. The matter has been brought to the attention of GM Corporate, but basically, the line is it's out of warranty I don't think there is anything we can do for you. The representative with whom I spoke said she would speak with the dealership to gather more information and then call me back. It's been two full business days of NO contact.

    Anyone else having these sort of problems (and remember to report complaints to NHTSA)?

    Chevy Prizms seem prone to evaporation system issues. Our '02 stick had 440, 441 and 446 repair codes, which were all in the evaporation system, valves and a wiring problem, the garage told my dad. Our '02 automatic, bought as a new car with 75 miles (the dealership we got it from located it at a dealership 71 miles away and drove it up), had valve trouble, but not the wiring problem. The stick, at 3 years old and about 9968 miles, came to us with the check engine light, but no other evidence of anything wrong, as far as any of us knew. Months later, our automatic '02 starting acting the same way and the garage said it was evaporation system trouble.
  • harris5k said:

    My sister's 96 Prizm is having the same problem with burning a quart every 1,000 miles. I was checking this site to see if someone else found a fix for the problem. She has the 1.6 liter engine with 65,000 miles and does all of the recommended maintenance. The dealer could not find any leaks or oil on the outer part of the engine. This oil consumption didn't occur for the first 60,000 miles. Help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    My dad noticed our Prizms started burning oil at high mileage. He thinks it's something to do with the pistons, maybe rings, if I remember right.
  • eneth said:

    You can add the 93 Prizm to the list - that generation ran 93-97. A review of the 93 Corolla I saw before buying mine mentioned that Toyota could easily have put a Lexus badge on it and no one would have been the wiser - after 10 hard years on the road, it is still as tight, solid and mechanically sound as the day I bought it. Like the 92-96 Camry, it'll go down as one of the best mass-market cars ever produced.

    Our '93 Geo Prizm LSi (Peppermint Patti) was taken off the road more for being rusty than anything. Except for needing rotors, she was mechanically sound, according to my dad. Her brakes wouldn't work unless floored and my dad said "They do pound and pulsate. They sound like anti-lock brakes and she doesn't even have them.". Even though she used oil, as high mileage Prizms are seemingly prone to, she could still PURRRR! if started. My dad thought the transmission slipped a little, but was unsure if he was imagining it or not. When she was in the shop it was usually maintenance, starter, alternator, brakes and such or body work. She had a real fender bender with a slightly larger car. I mean, her fender was bent and a light was damaged. I think she was about 7 model years old, due to her ~100,000 mileage and the 14-15000 miles we drive in a year. We live in a way rural area. Btw, 7-8 was the age she was just starting to rust at. Ugh, road salt in NYS. So based on our old green (Polynesian green, to be exact) Patti, '93 Prizms were great little cars. RIP Greenie (my name for Patti).
  • mahno said:

    I have just bought a '99 Prizm. It was perfect at the time of delivery, but two weeks later from time to time I can hear squeaking/grinding noise from the front right end,it happens only when turning right at very slow speed. Does anybody know what could be the problem here?
    The noise appears every other turn and when I took it to a shop surely enough it did not come up. The mechanic said: "There is nothing wrong with the front end of your vehicle".
    I want to know as much as possible about this problem before I take it to the shop again.
    Corolla has a TSB "SUBJECT REGARDING STEERING RACK END NOISE". Could this be the answer? If so
    how can I get hold of this bulletin?

    Other than this problem the car is perfect for city driving. Smooth and refined.
    At freeway speeds it gets really loud with the 3-speed automatic. I would not recommend 3-speed auto to anybody driving significant distances on the freeway. Under 65mph it is very quiet, at 70mph it gets loud but I can put up with it, and at 75mph the engine noise becomes unbearable. I should have bought a 5-speed std.

    Our '93 Geo was a 4-speed auto and so is our '02 Chevy. The Geo was fine once up to speed and so, as of last time on the highway, is the Chevy, though both proved noisy when accelerating. But with such a small car, that's expected. Bluebell (the Chevy's short name) was fine on the highway 3 years ago and once up to speed just purred right along. Guess the noise is a 3 speed thing. Unless that burgundy '92 Prizm my dad once tested, but his parents (my grandparents) wouldn't help him get, was a 3 speed, my family has no experience with them.
  • lrlprizm said:

    This is a great discussion on Prizm's reliability. My '95 Prizm LSi (4-sp auto) has 145k miles and is going strong. My goal when I bought her new was to crack the 1 million mile mark doing as much maintenance myself. A cousin did the quick math and told me that means I'll have to drive it for over 40yrs! In that case, let's aim for... 300k. I'm well on my way. Tips for longevity: Use synthetic oil (using it since 5k mark)--never any engine problems, still on the 1st timing belt! Replace auto transmission fluid every 20k miles; Finally changed both radiator hoses 9 mos ago, drain and refill with new 50/50 coolant every 2yrs, new air filter every 24k miles, new spark plugs every 40k miles, replaced gas cap, radiator cap, and PCV valve a year ago as preventive maintenance, and only have replaced the front brake pads & rear shoes once. Keep your tires properly inflated--I check them every week and get over 65k per tire. Bought a new battery 2 yrs ago, and had to get a new starter at 117k (2yrs ago). Both low beams lasted over 140k miles and finally burned out 5 mos ago. Other than that, NO MAJOR PROBLEMS. Another big help: In '95, I bought the Helms shop manual along with the car and it's been INVALUABLE, since I do all maintenance myself. I just about know where single bolt on the car it. Like some of you, I cruise the net every night and gobble up car books in search of longevity tips. Back in '95, I had to decide between the Prizm, Cavalier, or Neon. A quick look at the recalls list on the NHTSA website tells you I picked a WINNER! Go Prizm go!

    I love Prizm, but I've been trained to. The Geo was my car, kind of, from 2005 on, while we had her. At first, we thought of fixing it up, but the bottom was too "soft" (rusted out). The '02 automatic became my mom's basically, once we had my dad's stick '02 and Bluebell (my mom's car) became the one I drove once I had a permit. Ever since I read in Reader's Digest a question about premium gas and the answer was only cars with a high compression engine need the higher octane. Was the bigger Geo engine a high compression engine or was premium simply recommended for the 1.8L '93 Geo Prizm? My dad thought Patti, our Geo, was stiffer than our Chevies, like she had almost a sport engine. "I'm not sure why they'd want such a high octane fuel for such a small car.", he said of the 1.8L engine Geo Prizm. The lowest octane gas our little Patti ever had was 91, because Dad thought her engine would knock otherwise.
  • infinia1 said:

    in the last generation prizm (98-02), per the actual brochure, the lsi is a higher trim level versus the base. i'm positive it's the same for previous years. many things that are optional on the base model are standard on the lsi. for example, my 02 is a base but it has optional, almost everything the lsi has standard which includes power windows and locks, cruise, rear defrost, tach, tilt, aluminum wheels it might as well be an lsi. the only lsi feature it lacks are the fold down rear seats, keyless entry, and premium cloth seats. i don't see why it would make a difference to the insurance agent since a base can be loaded as an lsi like mine. if it's an lsi, it will say "Prizm LSi" on the rear trunk. if it's not, it will just say "Prizm". have you tried another insurance company?

    Geo Prizms had the LSi thing, tooo. Our '93 was an LSi, which I didn't understand when I was a young child. I knew ours was an LSi, but not what it meant. My dad thought of our stick '02 Prizm "It's not a true LSi." He didn't think a true LSi could be a stick. Bluebell has a lot of things Blueberry didn't have. Blueberry had the crank windows, like Patti and the same wheel covers. Bluebell has power windows and the fancy wheels, alloy, I think they're called. Bluebell has a tachometer, like Patti had. Blueberry didn't. Same with a folding back seat. Patti had that and Bluebell does, too, but Blueberry lacked it. Bluebell's the only one with cruise control, too. Btw, Bluebell's the same color as Blueberry was, dark blue-green metallic. My dad believes the 2002's, like our blue ones, were just a continuation of the '01's and made of spare parts. Like maybe they had more LSi trunk lids than true Lsi's and that's why Blueberry had the LSi truck lid, but wasn't a true LSi. Even without a tachometer, he knew when to shift Blueberry because her engine would lug. So she told him when to shift by the sounds she made.
  • cindym1 said:

    I can't seem to find a separate posting for new messages - I'm a new person at this site, and although I'm pretty comfortable with forums, my screen just isn't showing a posting icon or lettering. So I'm hoping, that even though I'm tagging this on as a reply, someone will read it that will be able to tell me something about this issue.
    My daughter was just involved in a head on collision (not at all her fault) while she was traveling 35 miles an hour. Her 1995 Prizm with only 83,000 miles is totalled, and surprisingly, her airbag did not activate at all.
    She took a real hit with the steering wheel, and the seat belt did some damage to soft tissue and spine, but she was able to get out of the car under her own power. I'm impressed on how well the Geo Prizm held up in the crash. Her knee did get pushed into the steering column, but overall, for that kind of crash, good safety.
    Our concern is really on why the airbag didn't go off. Any feed back would be appreciated. We're having the car towed from the tow yard to the GM/Chevy dealer for inspection and if there is any reason I should know about before I talk to them I'd appreciate any info.
    We have two 1995 Prizms and have been really happy with them both. One had the 83000 miles and has been a wonderful car that my daughter was planning on keeping for at least 3 more years. Our other has over 150,000 miles. Maintenance has been preventative only except for replacing a gas tank on the higher mile one when some road junk punctured it. Both have held up great - in fact my daughter's rated excellent in the insurance inspection after the wreck. Anyone who has the bright green prizm will appreciate the fact that the person who hit our car said that she didn't see it:) Even the cop made a joke about that statement.
    Thanks for any help or insight into the airbag malfunction? problem,

    Our '93 Geo was Polynesian Green, so I assume bright green means either that or perhaps Tropical Green.'93+geo+prizm&simid=607997436244528013&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0 Link shows a bright green Prizm.
  • morin2 said:

    I bought a used 3-speed 2002 Prizm in April 05 because it was such a deal ($6750 for LSI with 25K, from a local rural Dodge dealer, excellent condition, local owner). I have an 86 mile commute round-trip and the 17-18mpg in my v-8 Chevy Silverado was hurting me at the gas pump. My understanding is that the 3-speed simply lacks the overdrive. You can easily tell which a car has by the presence or absence of the button on the driver side of the shifter. The 4 speed should run quieter on the highway as its running at lower rpms and will get better fuel economy. My 3-speed runs about 3000rpm at 60mph. I've put 6000+ miles on it in the 15 weeks I've owned it and my fuel economy has run from 31.0 to 37.4 mpg (for 34 years of driving, I've kept a small notebook in the car and recorded every fill-up, oil change, maintenance etc.). Its been in the 90's here and I am noticing an air-conditioning penalty of 2 to 3 mpg that I don't see with my v-8. I drive mostly on the highway and the 4-speed (I would have preferred the 5-speed!) would have been a better choice but this example was just too good of a deal to pass up. While its noisy on the highway, I do a lot of coasting when I see a light turn red in the distance. The 3-speed is excellent for this as it has more engine braking than an overdrive equipped car. I rarely touch the brakes. As I never drive it over 62, I'm the slowest car on the rural highways and try to take alternate slower "twisty" routes, which are always more fun with small, slow cars. Of course, in the city, there would be no need for overdrive, and the 3-speed would be fine. My intention is to drive it for 4 years and then use it to teach my now 12&1/2 year old daughter to drive - I think its an excellent car for teaching a new driver.

    My mom's Prizm was the 1st car I drove. Dark Blue Green Metallic 02 LSi, 4 speed.
  • mt700a1 said:

    I feel your pain... what year is the car?
    Few simple items to check:

    Coolant level & condition- Do you have enough? If you or the previous owner kept adding water to the radiator, it may not circulate well through the heater core when it is partially frozen.

    Temp gauge-is the engine really warming up? See if the temp gauge needle goes up to where it normally does in warmer months. If the thermostat is stuck open, your car may never reach the operating temp. Then the heater would not work. Bad for engine too. Symptoms: the car takes very long time to warm up. In stop and go traffic the temp gauge needle creeps up, but in constant highway speed it begins to cool all the way to where you started in the morning. If this is the case and if you can be EXTREMELY CAREFUL, you might try blocking 1/2 of the radiator with a piece of cardboard. This an emergency measure, and it will work on the highway, but could lead to severe overheating in stop and go traffic. I have used this method before but I kept very close eye on the temp gauge and replaced the thremostat as soon as possible. A couple of times I had to stop and pull the cardboard out to prevent overheating in stop and go traffic.

    Heater control knob-if it is broken and/or slipping, it may not be moving the actual temp control lever.

    There are space-heater like devices that you can plug into the cigrette lighter. You can get one at any auto parts store. At 600 watts it is not strong, but might serve as a hand warmer. This is obviously a temporary measure, because the alternator has to work hard to supply that kind of output. But if you are really frezing and can't fix the problem right away... Make sure you don't kill the battery with it. It is worse to get stuck with a dead battery when it's 12 degrees out.
    Good luck

    Our green Prizm had a stuck open thermostat. Not sure if the cars are prone to that or if it just happened to our Peppermint Patti.
  • ruddneck said:

    For those with Prizm's at 150,000+ miles, I'm curious: what major repairs did ya'll have done after that point or parts have you had replaced?

    Ours needed rotors at 178,615, but we didn't bother. The old green machine (my mom's term for Polynesian Greens*) was too rusty to be worth fixing anymore, we decided.
    *Polynesian Greens is what I started calling them when I was about 16. Refers to the color of that '93 Geo Prizm we had and its lookalikes.
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