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Toyota Matrix Engine Questions



  • That is what I figured, and yes it seems very early for this to happen. I am currently at just over 70k miles yet my last car it went out at about 125k. I have no idea how my last car was driven up to 122k (that is when I bought it) but with 5 owners and being a MR2, I was not surprised to get the short end of the stick on that one.

    I can see Toyota telling me that this is no way covered under warranty being that it is the clutch unless others have had the same problem. Are clutch and transmission the same thing? I will start my search for incriminating evidence to show them :) any input would be helpful.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    The clutch and transmission are different parts, although bolted together. You have an engine, a clutch, and a transmission.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    The clutch connects the engine to the transmission when you want to go. It is a wear part, and 70K, while short, is not unheard of for a clutch, particularly in a car with sporty intentions that has been driven "hard but not insane".

    Insanity in a sporty car with a high-revving engine like this one, BTW, can reduce clutch life to 20-40K miles....

    Oh, and yes, what you have there are the classic symptoms of a clutch just beginning to go. Replace it before the car becomes unsafe to drive...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • I have a 2004 Matrix and my battery died yesterday. I think I left my interior lights on over night. Tried to jump it, nothing. Tried to use a charger, nothing. Took the battery to Auto zone, they tested it and the batter was put to rest. Brought home a new one and the car is still not getting any power from it. The dome lights won't even try to come on. Any suggestions? A co-worker told me I should reset my battery sensor but cannot find that in my car anywhere.
    Thank you
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    I'll assume you have the terminal connections on correctly (plus to plus, ground to ground).

    I'd check any fusible links the car would have. I don't have schematics for the Matrix, but fusible links are like the main breaker for the house. They are a hunk of thick wire, sized to carry a lot of current, and will blow at ratings like 100 or 120ish amps. There usually always up in the engine compartment, within reasonalbe physical proximity to the battery. Could be near or in the first fuse box.
  • moon7moon7 Posts: 2
    Does the 2009 Matrix have a timing chain or a timing belt? Does it have an interference or a non interference engine??

    How do you think it compares to a Mazda 3 - 5 door?

    Thanks, Rod.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Also...Mazda3 5-door has the edge on sportiness and fun as well as amenities-per-buck, maybe interior too if you don't mind the silly red LEDs spread across the dash.

    Matrix has the edge on fuel economy with the 1.8, also on interior space, especially passenger space in the rear.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • loudog2loudog2 Posts: 83
    Did you need to reply to 20 threads about you buying a service manual??????
  • wilson12wilson12 Posts: 8
    Help. My 2007 Matrix has an idle problem. It fluctuates from 700 to 1000 while idling. It also surges at low parking lot speeds. Unfortunatly it can't be reproduced on demand, and can be actually eliminated by riding the clutch, therefore I can't get the service dept. to admit a problem. Is there computer analysis that can be performed to evaluate this? Is there an idle sensor, can the ECU be the problem or even a small vacumn leak, and if so can this be diagnosed by computer analysis. It's my understanding that warranty work pays little for diagnostics, therefore if the symptoms can't be reproduced on demand not alot of time is spent on the problem. Thanks.
  • sharkbait3sharkbait3 Posts: 5
    I am in the same boat with you on this one. I have a 2003 matrix 5spd. I have followed most of the electrical things that I think could be causing this. Everything checks out okay they (toyota dealership) say. I have been told until it generates a check engine light they cannot really help me. If you have found a solution to the problem let me know.
  • wilson12wilson12 Posts: 8
    Sharkbait3, Thanks for the response. I have not found a solution as of yet. My car actually has a slight vibration after the idle has settled down, which indicates to me that if the idle could be slightly bumped up it might solve the problem. Again, my service department tells me there is no way to adjust the idle on this car so I'll keep looking. If I get any resolution to the problem I will post it.
  • sharkbait3sharkbait3 Posts: 5
    hey Steve, try putting new spark plugs in or checking the gap on them. I just replaced my plugs thinking one was fouled and it smoothed out the idle some but it is still surging. I know the plugs in mine are the iridium kind that dont need replacing as often as do the regular spark plugs. To my shock every plug was gapped differently that was from the factory. I dont know what your mileage is on your rig, but check your gap on your plugs or just replace them (I went with NGK's). That should smooth it out some.
    Thanks Jacob
  • wilson12wilson12 Posts: 8
    Mine only has 7-8000 miles on it, but it wouldn't hurt for me to at least remove the plugs and check the gap. Apparently idle/surging has been somewhat of a problem for the Matrix for a while. The service dept did say there had been a recall on the 07 models to replace the ECU. Unfortunately when they checked mine it had come with the new one so there wasn't anything they could do. Mine runs fine when the engine is cold and idles at 1000-1200, but when it settles down to 700-800 it feels like it's about to die. This indicates to me if I could bump the idle up about a 100 rpms it might be okay, but service said there is no way to simply adjust the idle. I sure miss carburetors!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    But even in the good ol' days of carbs, turning up the idle was simply a way to mask the problem and burn more gas. Usually it was caused by a miss: bad/fouled plug, bad wire? Sticky valve?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Hey Wilson,
    i think i finally have an answer for you on low speed surging. If it is what i think it is... it is a no brainer! It is most likely the air conditioning pump, weather the AC is on or off the pump is still working to keep the juices moving and at low idle speeds it puts a little load on the motor and the cpu kicks up the idle to compensate for it. I know it is frustrating that it does this, but it just the way the motor is made. There is nothing wrong with it.
    Thanks Sharkbait3
  • rich505rich505 Posts: 33
    What "AC pump" are you talking about?

    There is an AC compressor. The compressor is run by the accessory drive belt. The pulley of the compressor is always turning but the compressor is only operating when the electrically-operated clutch is engaged. The clutch is engaged when the system is calling for cooling either in the AC-mode or often in the defrost mode when the outside temperature is above freezing.
  • Hi everyone,

    I am new here but have been suffering with this idle / rpm revving / surging issue with our 2006 Matrix Xr (21,000 on the od) for awhile now. So far this has been replaced (warranty repair):

    Repair attempt 1:

    Repair attempt 2:

    Now, in-between these two repair attempts we have been to the dealer to complain about the issue numerous times but got the standard “Technician drove the vehicle but unable to duplicate condition at this time”. The latest repair attempt was a result of the car demonstrating the revving while the car was idling in the service bay as we were paying for a diagnostic test that showed nothing.

    Here is the kicker, we just picked up the car from the second repair attempt and on the receipt is this statement “RELACED ECM MAY HAVE ADDITONAL PROBLEMS NOT FOUND AT THIS TIME. TEST DROVE, RUNS OKAY AT THIS TIME”

    We are feed up.
  • Does the Check Engine Light ever come on? If so what codes have been scanned?

    With no light I would have suspected the ECM, or its firmware, first.

    Does it do this at random times, or as the engine warms up?

    This car would have to do a lot more than bounce the idle before I'd think bad head gasket.
  • The first wave of problems can be characterized by the car starting, idling very roughly, and then dying. This happened twice and both times the car had to be towed to the dealer. When it happened the first time the check engine light came on so the dealer solution was to replace the cam shaft. Then it happened again one week later and the dealer could not find the problem because the Matrix miraculously “healed” itself while it sat overnight in the dealer bay. We were given the car back. Ever since then we have had this low idle then surging issue that manifests itself at anytime. It was unnerving to say the least. You could be pulling into a parking space and it would decide to surge almost sending you into another parked car. My wife almost hit a pedestrian because of it (stopped at a light and it lurched). As you can imagine we went to dealer multiple times to complain but could never get the Matrix to produce the symptoms on demand for them until last week (12/4/08) were they subsequently made the 2nd batch of repairs. What really makes me upset is the dealer put this statement (to try and indemnify themselves) on the receipt of the 2nd repair job “Replaced ECM may have additional problems not found at this time. Test drove, runs okay at this time.” Either the car is fixed or not! :lemon:
  • Does any one have an experience with replacing the OEM filter with a K&N air filter? Is it worth it?
  • I own an 03 xr with way over 100000 miles. regarding engine idle fluctuations, to me its pretty normal. If u read the owner manual u will find that matrix and many other toyotas for that matter have defrost control activated aircondioning. So regardless of temp, your ac will kick in if u have heater on defrost windshield mode. And when the ac compressor kicks in ecu automatically will increase the idle so as to compensate for the load. This feature improves the defrost a lot as the ac will dry the air before it hits the windshield. Hope this will put the matter to rest. And here is answers to couple of other matrix questions. Engine does not have timing belt but longlasting good old chain, and regarding the so called noisy serpentine belt idler, most times the noise goes away by installing a good aftermarket belt, regards. Unskinator
  • They only improve power a little at full throttle. At other times they just let more dirt into your engine. They have to be oiled. Put on too much oil and it will foul the MAF sensor.
  • I have a new (6k miles) Matrix 5-speed MT that intermittently exhibits a small (but noticeable) idle drop when stopped, in gear, clutch in. It happens very briefly -- feels like the car is going to conk out (although it never does) -- and then returns to normal idle.

    It's been doing it since day-one, but I chose to wait for the first (5k) service appoint to bring it to the dealers atttn. (I.e., It's not a big deal, it's just annoying and it doesn't seem right -- so I'd like to get this addressed while the car is still under warranty.)

    Note: this is a bit like the "idle surge" thread - but in reverse.

    The dealer's first attempted fix was to replace the "160251 V Belt" -- but this did not fix the problem.

    Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

    Thanks in advance.
  • astroguy1astroguy1 Posts: 3
    Hello Montreal3. This is a couple of year old post but I'm hoping that you can tell me if you've made any ground with toyota. I have an '07 Corolla with your exact problem....getting the royal run around from Toyota. Can you get in touch with me?
    Below is part of an email that I've sent Toyota Canada....

    I purchased a new '07 Corolla from Kingston Toyota Feburaury '07 . It ran fine until the 45,000km mark in December '08 . At this point my wife informed me that her car was reving oddly when the cold of fall arrived in '08. This was a new issue and didn't exist at all previously. The engine now hunts for idle after cold soaking of 6 hours or more in any temp below +3 deg C with 100% repeatability.

    The vehicle starts and runs fine for approx 1.5 km but for the next 4 km or so depending on the temperature it will rev hunt when rolling the car with the engine unloaded to our next local stop sign.
    The engine revs up to 2,300 rpm and cuts back to 1,200 rpm repeatedly every 1.5 seconds. It will do this as many as 30 X consectively. I have 5 videos (mpegs) of the condition showing the engine tach as the car rolls....... (I've been told by Kingston Toyota that they've sent these mpegs to Toyota Canada two months ago)
    In even colder temperatures, like -20 deg C range the vehicle will do this idle hunting/surging without needing to have the car rolling with the engine unloaded. At these temperatures it will do it at a standstill , you can get out of the car and walk around the vehicle as it surge revs. The colder it gets the worse it is and the longer it lasts. Basically the problem goes away completely after a good warm up. Whatever warped component seems to comes back into spec with the heat. The dealer has worked reasonably hard on the problem... first replacing the water pump Jan 9. '09, then cleaning the throttle body, then replacing throttle body, then replacing various valves an sensors, finally replacing the ECU itself. The problem still exists, it isn't intermittent at all, it is an everyday occurance through the entire
  • circuitsmithcircuitsmith Posts: 117

    Have they replaced the thermostat? If it's not closing completely it can slow the warm up process and throw things out of sync.
  • astroguy1astroguy1 Posts: 3
    Yes the thermostat and waterpump have both been replaced thanks.
  • ttropicalttropical Posts: 1
    I know this is a latent post, but I just had a Matrix head gasket blow for no reason one month out of warantee, at 68k miles. I have been a tech for 25 years and I maintain my car religiously.

    Toyota corporate did nothing about it. This is my first and last Toyota. Never saw this out of a Chevy.
  • I have the same problem with my 09 Matrix XR. The standard fuel requirement in the manual was 87 octane. With the onset of the hot weather, the engine ping or knock has come out. No results have come out too from my dealership's computer diagnostics (whatever that may be...I don't see it). When I shifted to 92 octane premium gas, the ping lessened considerably but you could still hear a little bit of it especially when my aircon is on...This engine ping or knock can be deceiving to a mechanic if he doesn't roll down the windows and pass through a place where there is a wall on either side of the front seats. If you've got your windows rolled up, you will not hear them. I believe Toyota's body insulation helps in covering up this noise. I guess Toyota must have to admit that the XR's should be using premium 92 octane gas instead of the manual's 87 octane because of the high compression ratio...I don't like to live with using 92 octane because it is more expensive. If I knew it, I wouldn't have gotten this car....still up for a resolution on this case...
  • laserbluelaserblue Posts: 313
    Dear ttropical,
    I own a Chevrolet and the same thing happened to me.
    I don't want to brag about it but the "head gasket" on my 2005 Equinox blew at 29,000 K. That's 39 K's less than your Matrix.
    My warranty was over by 1 month (isn't that a coincidence) I called G.M. and they didn't do a thing about it, they almost told me to shut up and pay for my repairs.
    My 1999 Venture... the same thing, 3 months after my warranty was over.... "blown head gasket" at 42,000 k

    I'm like you, if I could bring my cars in the house I would. I drive my vehicles with love, I'm not a lead foot driver, follow the speed limits and always doing my maintenance regularly.

    Yes the same thing happens in Chevrolets.
    (By the way, seriously, I was thinking of trading for a 2010 Matrix next year).
  • etnpnysetnpnys Posts: 3
    Yes! Exactly! Wow... You can't know how much of a relief it is for me to see that somebody else knows what I'm talking about. Like I said: I had one guy at a Toyota dealership tell me that it was the belt tensioner - that he'd seen them have to replace a few of them around 30k-40k miles.

    ...But that doesn't make sense; that thing shouldn't have any moving parts at all. And if you check very closely under the hood you can almost pinpoint it to the furthest left cylinder (the one on the passenger side - I forgot the cyl #) right under the head.

    For what it's worth, the car is still running great at 155k. I put 89 octane into it regularly and, like you said, the ping is lessened.

    ...Now I have an airbag light coming on that's driving me crazy - but I really think that everybody on this board is just going to say "you need to get it serviced and have the airbags looked at." Well duh. But they're just mechanics - and so is half of my family. What are THEIR mechanics going to find wrong? I did a diagnostic myself by shorting two pins on the OBDII connector and getting the error code. I looked up that error code and it said something about my passenger side airbag isn't initializing properly - but it doesn't come on consistently! Perhaps a fuse that needs to be replaced? I dunno.
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