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Pontiac Vibe Engine Questions



  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    Back in 1998 the Fremont, CA GM plant was producing the Geo Prizm 1.6L, and I bought one. My next Fremont car was a brand new 2009 Vibe AWD with the 2.4L Toyota engine that I bought about ten months ago. These Toyota-based cars were purchased from two different GM dealers with over some eleven years between them. I am sorry to say that in both cases the selling GM dealerships overfilled the crankcases by not less than a full quart at the first oil change. I never used the dealer again for an oil change on the Geo, and I now plan to never again use the latest dealer for an oil change on the Vibe. Is it asking too much to expect GM dealerships to not make this mistake? I wonder how many people do NOT check the oil level shortly after leaving the dealership on the first oil and filter change, and how many never check it themselves at all. I suspect there is at least some degree of potential for engine damage due to meaningful overfilling. Now just how much is a meaningful amount in this sense, I do not know.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    word to the wise: NEVER get your car serviced at the dealer. They don't hire the best or the brightest. Establish a relationship with a local mechanic. Surely either by word of mouth or by some big city survey, you can find a mechanic for life. They care about your car because they care about their business. Dealerships do not.
  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    In both cases, I was collecting my freebie first oil and filter change. Other than that, I almost always do my own oil and filter changes, having lost faith long ago in doing otherwise! As you can tell, I do check on the work when I do not do it myself.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    me too. I am a bit disappointed that I have to deal with a canister on the '09 Corolla Vibe, but I guess I'll get used to it. I now have two NUMMI Corolla Vibes in my driveway and don't give a hoot whether GM goes out of business. I know I can always go to the Toyota dealer and get parts should I need. Hope you enjoy yours wtd44!!
  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    Many thanks! And to you, I hope the same success and happiness with your Vibes. I agree with you on the idea that should Pontiac go away, or even all of GM (unlikely!) we can use the Toyota dealer. In my local case, I am not attracted to the nearby Toy dealer.
  • There is a bolt pattern in front of the hydraulic cylinder that keeps tension on the belt, that can be pulled up with a open end wrench or socket, i just had this done with my mechanic at work, never had a hydraulic tensioner before, so i also needed help.
  • normhnormh Posts: 31
    I'm a new owner and saw a post on the reviews page about valve noise when the car is started. I have notice this same noise and was wondering if using the Toyota filter (with the check valve in it) would reduce this noise? Anyone have a similar problem/fix?
  • manny5manny5 Posts: 16
    I am a new owner of a 2009 Vibe GT Automatic. This car was assembled in August 2008, and has been sitting in the dealers' lot since September 2008. Since this car has been sitting idle for 10 months, do I need to change oil although it has only 400 miles? Thanks in advance for any insight.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Assuming you don't mind crawling under your car and 15 minutes worth of work: $6 for a screw on filter (for the Camry engine) and $12 for the dinosaur oil at Walmart and you're done. It is worth the peace of mind.
  • manny5manny5 Posts: 16
    Thanks maxx4me. Good advise, I agree.
  • jan38jan38 Posts: 1
    My granddaughter has a 2003 Vibe and is having a similar problem in that the engine light keeps coming. The catalytic converter was replaced in Sept, 2008. Now less than a year and less than 15,000 miles later she is having the same problem again. I'm in hopes that this information may help her mechanic solve the problem.

    Thanks for taking the time to let the readership know how you finally resolved your problem.
  • Chuckles37Chuckles37 Posts: 16
    Vibe 03, 105K miles. My check engine light came on at 97K and the code said plugged converter. Change both converters and both O2 sensors and the problem has not returned. One side benefit of changing the O2 sensors was gaining about 10% in gas mileage. Found out O2 sensors gets lazy which results in lower mileage and they are only good for about 85-100K miles. Expensive consumable.
  • leed1leed1 Posts: 7
    i bought an 09 2.4L automatic and have been experiencing a hard downshift from the transmission. as well as hearing it you can actually feel it when it drops into the lower gear. i brought it into the dealer a couple days after i purchased it and they said there was an upgrade on the computer to address the concern. unfortunately it did not resolve the problem. then i was told by the dealership there is another temporary fix until the engineers at GM figure out the problem. however they said there is no guarantee this next fix will take either and it may not be worth trying it?
    now GM has told me it is the shift adapter and it will resolve itself after 5,000-7,000 Kms. i find that hard to believe and am wondering if anyone else experienced this issue and what was done? given i just purchased the vehicle i'm hoping earlier buyers of the car have some info.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    yep, I have a similar problem with my 1.8 liter Corolla Vibe. My 2009 shifts poorly, especially when trying to get the automatic to downshift. I have read the TSB on reprogramming the PCM. I have yet to take it in. I am wondering if the tranny on the 2.4 is the same as the 1.8? I sometimes am able to "slam" the transmission when puttering around 25 mph and asking the tranny to suddenly downshift to give me more power. The bang is something the Ford folks at Mazda used to call slamming and was an indication that the tranny was bad. I doubt it is anything serious after only 12.000 miles, but it is beginning to get annoying.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Here's the chatter from over at GenVibe:

    New bulletin.
    #09-07-30-010: Harsh Transmission Downshift When Stopping After Transaxle Has Upshifted to 4th or 5th Gear (Reprogram Powertrain Control Module (PCM)) - (May 13, 2009)

    Subject: Harsh Transmission Downshift When Stopping After Transaxle Has Upshifted to 4th or 5th Gear (Reprogram Powertrain Control Module (PCM))

    Models: 2009 Pontiac Vibe

    Equipped With 5-Speed Automatic Transmission -- RPO MVD

    Some customers may comment that they experienced a harsh downshift feeling when coming to a stop after the transmission has been in 4th or 5th gear.

    This condition may be caused by the PCM calibration for the 2-1 downshift not being optimized.

    Important: Before proceeding with the reprogramming procedure in this bulletin, the Vibe Programming Application MUST be downloaded and installed on the PC. Refer to Corporate Bulletin Number 09-06-04-006.

    A revised calibration has been developed to address this condition.

    Transmission Calibration Information
    Vehicle Type
    Old Calibration
    Revised Calibration

    Base Vibe

    Base Vibe

    Vibe GT

    Vibe GT
  • leed1leed1 Posts: 7
    thanks maxx. i did have that work done and the problem still persits. the downshifting seems a bit less harsh but its still there. i don't understand why the issue is only with some of the vehicles?

    i'm concerned if the problem does not correct itself as suggested in some forums that i'm stuck with this problem with no recourse.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    leed1: I know we would serve the entire audience better if this topic moved over to the transmission page. Moderator, feel free to do so; thanks.
    I just read on genvibe that you are indeed correct; people who have had the computer reflashed have noticed only a modest improvement, and MOST important, that this problem is also prevalent in the Corollas and Matrix. Toyota has a problem here, so I hope their engineers are trying to find out what the solution is. You can research this on many Toyota chat sites. We're all in this together.
  • My 2007 Pontiac Vibe with 12, 800 miles ran poorly last night before refusing to start. It was towed to the dealer who diagnosed the problem as a defective "power train control module." This AC Delco part will be replaced under warranty. However, the three year warranty ends in a few months. The part itself costs about $600. Is this a common ailment with Vibes? Will the Toyota Matrix version fit? Or did Toyota buy their version from a different vendor? My last three cars have been problematic GM products ('92 GMC Vandura, '98 GMC Jimmy, and '02 Chevrolet Blazer - I still have the Blazer). I was hoping that this would be all Toyota except for the sheet metal. Now I have learned that AC Delco, whose quality has deteriorated badly over the years, furnished the electronics and other parts. I bought the Vibe with GM card dollars before canceling the card. This will probably be my last GM product as I join everyone else in buying imports. Now I wonder if I should buy an extended warranty. One of these control modules every 13,000 miles would quickly pay for it. Any ideas and experiences would be helpful. Thanks!
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    sorry for your troubles. It was my understanding that the first gen Vibe is all Corolla except for the radio and sheet metal. I was not aware that Delco furnished anything else. I'd be suprised if you ran into other problems. Consumer Reports and members of genvibe report few problems with versions other than the 2003.
  • tryshtrysh Posts: 1
    I took my 2009 Vibe GT into dealers today, we purchased it two months ago, downshifting is bumpy and car jumps when coming to stop or shifting up. This is what worries me an accident waiting to happen. They are saying it is a Toyota problem and they are aware of this issue, Toyota's engineers are working on it. This is the second time we have had the car in the shop, mentioning the shifting problem before, but of course when the mechanic test drives it nothing happens. He did notice the bumpy shifting.

    I called the toll free number to GM Contact Center to register this complaint, and they told me they will stay on top of it and maybe have to call in a Toyota Engineer to service our car.

    I was polite to tell them that if after this problem is reported and an accident happens I will gladly sue.

    Anyone have any luck getting this problem fixed? I can't seem to find any information on the surging??!? Seems to be getting worse with time. :confuse:
  • leed1leed1 Posts: 7
    trysh, check out the post maxx4me put up regarding a bulleting pulled off the GenVibe website. i think you need the upgrade done and its free of charge. copy the bulleting and take it in to your dealer. it might not fix the problem but it should lessen it until a more permanent solution is found.
    i received a call from GM today regarding my complaint and they are convinced the issue will resolve itself after 5000-7000 kms. in my case if it still pursists after that i will get some type of resolve....whatever that means.
    anyway i'm taking this conversation to GenVibe as there may be more hits on the issue.
    maxx thanks eh.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    when I took my Corolla Vibe in for the downshift problem, the dealer naturally said that they could not replicate the issue and also said that the TSB only applied to the Camry Vibe with the 5 speed tranny. I laughed and said: then why does my 4 speed tranny do the same thing as thousands of others that have posted the same problem?? At least now I have it on record. I'm at 12,000 miles and I don't see any possibility that the "issue will resolve itself."
    What I most want to know from all of you is: does anyone's Corolla Vibe (1.8 liter, 4 speed tranny) downshift from 4th to 3rd when going down a hill when you just tap the brake? It acts like a brake assist feature, which to my knowledge, does not exist. With all due respect to genvibe, they are pretty much asleep at the switch over there. We need more discussion on this issue. At genvibe, they seem more interested in saying hello to new members vice discussing serious issues.
    Any thoughts from you 1.8 liter 09 or 2010 Vibe owners would be greatly appreciated. I don't hold out any hope that my tranny is still "learning my driving habits" and the downshift issue will go away over time.
    In the end, my greatest tranny frustration occurs when I have the air conditioning on, and I need the car to downshift to pass or accelerate. I often get a serious delay before the car will downshift from 3rd to 2nd to give me more power. At other times, I can "slam" the transmission when pushing the car to downshift to 2nd. Anybody else have a similar experience?
  • leed1leed1 Posts: 7
    sorry maxx mine is the 2.4L 5 speed auto. your right about GenVibe being less than active about this issue. i posted on there awhile back and got little response. also i'm not hearing nearly enough from anywhere if this problem has been resolved for folks, other than a few posts that it went away after so many miles/kms. like you i don't really believe it will go away on its own and will keep picking away where i can.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    yeah, again, the word on the street is that the TSB on the 5 speed tranny stating that a reflash of the PCM will do the trick, apparently doesn't. Toyota engineers are busy trying to figure it out. I just wish that 4 speed Corolla Vibe owners would be more vocal since there is no doubt mine also jumps occationally when coming to a stop, and I also have problems asking the tranny to downshift from 3rd to 2nd when the A/C is on.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    Anyone slowly losing coolant on a 2003 Vibe?

    Usually keep an eye on the temp gauge and always below the half point.
    Then about a month ago in the hot summer days, the A/C would be intermittent.
    I thought maybe an A/C problem as the car is almost 7 yrs old.

    Then I noticed the temp gauge was hot. Apparently, the A/C would shut off if the engine temp gets too hot - like almost 7/8 of the gauge.

    Added about 1.5 quarts of coolant (prestone green) as this is an older Vibe. Also filled the overflow/recovery bucket.
    That fixed it for now and the A/C is good as the temp gauge is back below the half.

    I noticed some powder stuff on the top of the fan/radiator near a rubber mount - Drive side. The coolant cap is on the pass side.

    Anyone have a slow leak and how often?
    Anyone needed a new radiator yet, and when?

    Tx in advance.
  • leed1leed1 Posts: 7
    hi maxx, i re-posted on genvibe to see if any new info from anyone....put it under trans problems..
  • I own an 07 Vibe with 28,000 km. Recently, the check engine light came on, so I took it to a local mechanic. They said they scanned it and didn't find anything, and by then the light was off, so it was probably just the gas cap. Two days ago the light came on again, and this time I noticed a bit of a jerk when shifting from drive to park or reverse. I ran the car a bit yesterday, just to move it from one parking space to another, and the light was off again, and things seemed normal.

    I have an appointment with the GM dealership to have it checked out, but not until next week. Has anyone had a similar issue?

    A few things to note: I normally park on an incline with the parking break on. I don't do much city driving, mostly highway, and most days I don't drive at all. Less than a month ago I had an oil change and safety inspection (they are legally required where I live) and according to the mechanic, everything was fine, and the fluids were good.

    Any thoughts?
  • My 2007 Pontiac Vibe does the downshift action from 4th to 3rd when going down a steep hill after tapping the brakes lightly. It is peculiar but I have adjusted. It has 14,200 miles. The other problems described have escaped my attention.
  • My experience was similar to what you described. It was the power control module - the $575 computer that governs the engine functions and the transmission action. Check my post under hardcharger_43. Please post you results.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    the downhill downshift is a feature in my 2003 vibe.
    this was an intentional design.
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