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Geo Metro Engine Questions



  • Hi all,

    I have a 2000 Metro hatchback w/90,000 miles on it. Other than preventative maintenance it has only been in the shop once, for a loose dashboard instrument wire.

    Now there's a problem. When you first start it, it sounds like there's a hole in the muffler (there's not). Kick it into gear and it's even louder and has nowhere near the power it should have (imagine a Harley that's all noise and no speed). Once it finally gets into the high end of the gear, however, it "takes off"...the sputter is replaced by zoom. This happens quicker in the acceleration if your foot is only half-way down on the gas pedal; if you floor it it goes back to sputter and low-power until it gets near the top of the gear. Any ideas?
  • Hi there,
    I had a 1996 Geo Metro that did the same thing about a month before it threw a rod. I took it to a mechanic who said that the spark plugs should be changed and the catilytic converter needed to be changed. I dont know where you live, but I am in CA and the car came from Illionois and someone had put a coil in the air intake to give it more fuel to keep it warmer in the cool weather. You may want to check it out. '
    I hope this helps
  • I have a 95 metro 3 cy. it just stopped running one day. the timing belt is lined up and have change several thing and distriber what will cause it to lose fire and gas
    thank you thomas
  • geo97geo97 Posts: 1
    i have a 97 geo metro that i just purchased a few weeks ago. the seller explained that when it is cold outside, it does not want to start. to start the car, he simply sprayed a small amount of gas over the fuel injector, then the car starts right up. after the car is started this way, it will start every time until the next morning when it is cold again. is this a bad fuel injector or fuel pressure regulator? the service engine light is also on, and the car has 101,000 miles on it. thanks for the help.
  • geo97,have you figured out the problem.I have a 96 metro 1.3 liter with the exact
    same problem,will not start when it is cold.Any input would be helpful.
  • Thanks for asking. No resolution yet. No one has come forward yet with an answer specific to my problem: No spark after first revolution of the crank. 1999 Geo Metro 1.3L. My ignition system is all sensors and computer - NO distributor. I've been told the PCM never goes bad on these cars and it does pass its error checking, so it appears to be somewhere between the computer and the spark plugs. Coils are fine, all sensors replaced with new. Haven't found a way yet to troubleshoot and isolate problem to diagnose and fix. I really thought this would be a common problem and this forum would immediately respond with like problems and fixes.
  • I've got a 97 geo metro, 4 cyl. automatic. the idle will automaticlaly go to high rpm, then really low rpm. sometimes the engine will stall when it goes to low rpm and it will not start, like it is fuel starved.
    Any suggestions?
    all input is welcome.
  • We recently pulled the engine on my roomate's 98 3-cylinder Metro to fix the clutch. Upon re-installation, these two wires were still un-attached.[email protected]/3039973316/

    Note that I'm standing in front of the vehicle, so the firewall is up. My hand is holding up the wires. They look like ground wires, but I'm not sure where to attach them. Any help would be appreciated.

    Right now with them un-attached, the engine will try to start, but gets no fuel. I'm fairly certain the fuel pump isn't coming on. Another single-blade-edge connector ground wire will also smoke, presumably because the other grounding straps should be grounded and it's being forced to carry too much current. :) When I attach both wires shown above to the firewall, the engine won't even try to start, but the fuel pump sounds like it's coming on. I get a Check Engine light, the code for which I will pull once I'm sure where these two wires go.

    Note that I have both the Chilton's and the factory repair manual set, but haven't quite been able to figure out the wire's identities or locations yet.
  • We have a 1997 Geo Metro with the 1 liter 3 cyl. I found a 1992 motor, 1l 3cyl in good shape. Both are standard trannies. Will these year models compatibly swap out. Or swap out easily. Any mods that may have to be done. All help appreciated. Thanks!
  • Hi bitmaster,
    I just went thru the same project and found that those two sets of wires are indeed ground wires, their purpose is to provide a ground for all of the sensors in the head and intake manifold that require a grounded circuit.
    You might need a mirror to see where they are mounted to on the back side of the intake manifold just below the air intake base. You need 2 bolts about 1/2 long not sure of metric bolt size but a 10m wrench fits. There is one on each bottom corner on the throttle body.
    Good luck
  • Coach,

    Thanks! I tried a couple different things after getting recommendations from one other group, and found that having one attached to the firewall and one on the post where you mentioned seems to work best. I will add your input to the list if things go wrong. As it stands, I took the little Metro for a spin around the block for the first time since we switched out the clutch, and it runs! I'm really grateful for all the help I've had working on it. :)

  • hi, i have a geo metro 94 4 cyl. 1.3L

    Sometime, in no particular circontances, the car don'T start at the first try (not always but, we just ear the "clic" from the starter). 10 sec. after, i try again and it start with no problem.

    I changed the alternator 4 month ago
    the batterie 2 days ago
    the starter 6 month ago

    I'm realy not a pro in mechanic so i need help to find what it can be.
  • suz13suz13 Posts: 10
    My Geo Metro gave me this same problem just the other day, BUT in it's defense I did let the gas tank get below one eigth full, with NO dry gas additive, in 10 degree weather (less if you count wind chill then it was really colder) and had not started it in two days ! Whatda ya expect from an old eco car ? I mean we can only abuse them so much before they retaliate ! A little dry gas in the tank & some dumped right onto the carbeurator, and a hair dryer on the spark plugs for a half hour and she finally started. When I put a new engine in her next spring I'm also putting in a engine block warmer (frost plug kind) for a measley $20 it'll be well worth it. Otherwise you gotta kepp these fine old Geo's in a warm garage if it gets below 20 degrees. And thats my two cents guys !
  • suz13suz13 Posts: 10
    I know you all have talked on this site before about where to get an engine but I can't find the thread. I intend to spend some of my tax money this March putting a new engine in my Geo. It can be a used engine w/ under 50G miles on it OR one of those new Japanese jobbers (i think i can afford it). Locating a "USED" engine with my old mechanic is taking too long so I'm leaning toward just getting a new one. Afterall, I've replaced so many other major things in my Geo I might as well consider it a slow rebuilt top to bottom, I'm STILL spending less per year than car payments and gettin 39mpg on my commute. Can anyone tell me how to buy the engine ? Do I need to say anything to my new mechanic about where to get the engine (he is a trusted affilaite of my employer and reputable) or should I just see what he says & compare it to what you guys say ? Or should I attempt to buy it myself & have it shipped to him ?
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    First check the bat. termanels and or clean them. Know one can know this answer, as it is an intermit problem. I'm sure as you know, this is sometimes a warning before leaving you broke down. If it is not the connection at the termanels, it could be a bad possative connection attaching to the starter selonoid. Most likely the starter selonoid is going bad, and is giving you its warning now. It is a bolt on part,of the starter. Its very common for it to go bad and blame it on the starter. In short, he selonoid job is to engage the starter gear in to the flywheel and trigger the starter to spin at the same time; it is electra mechanical! The clicking sound is coming from the week selonids electromagnet, making it unable to engage the flywheel; in turn the starter will not spin. So if you brake down, dont give up and call that tow truck, try turning that key about 50 times eventually it will give you 1 last start; and if that does not work, hit that starter with a wrench or a small hammer, then try to start it; this will get you home! I hope this helps you! :D
  • Hi zenden and thanx for your answer.

    One thing is sure, it's not the batterie: it new from 2 day ago :P
    Maybe the termanels? (is there a simple way to check if it's that?)
    And for the started selonoid
    (srry, i'm sure it gonna look stupid, but i realy bad in mechanic..) So the selonoid is a different part of than the starter. Cause my starter have been changed only 6 month ago... (do when we changed the started, the selonoid is also normaly changed??)

    thanx for you help,
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    Yes! the solenoid almost always comes with the starter 97% of the time. I just read your 1st post about this, so please excuse me for that. The bat. was changed so most likely the connections are good. There are many things that can cause this, but I would be focusing on that starter selonoid even tho it was replaced. The odds are high that this is going bad if you where not having this same trouble before you replaced the starter; especially if the one that you bought was not new; or had a lifetime warranty on it. Re manufactured starters come in 2 grades, the one with the short term warranty is processed quickly on an assembly line; No one is held responsible and corners are cut. At times I have found that these starters will not work at all when purchased. Often they only last for 3 months.
    If you have noticed this problem before the replacement of the starter, then I would be looking for a bad connection in the wiring system; AS IN: a bad ground connection where the negative wire from the battery connects to the engine; or possibly a faulty ignition switch witch is inside the steering column. I hope that this info helps you.
    PS: If the headlights dim when you here the clicking sound then there is a bad connection between the battery and the engine! On the positive or negative side!
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    If you here a click noise under the hood when you turn the key on then the system is activating, take out the bottom of the back seat and probe the wires with a test light they are on the right side of the car. when you turn that key on, one of them will become live, that is the positive going to the fuel pump, if there is no power there, then the fuel pump relay is bad or a broken connection going to it, or coming out of it. If that wire under the seat that goes to the fuel pump does power up, but the pump does not come on, then it would be a bad fuel pump , or a bad ground wire going to it; they can both be tested at that point under the seat. Hope this helps.
  • 1997 metro 1.3l i replaced the engine. At first had it running but very rough, the more i started it the harder it was to get running until it wouldn,t start at all. I have substituted coils wires plugs distributor rotor and cap but it will not start. Any suggestions??
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    The first thing that I would test for is compression, Geo"s are known for burning valves, and blowing head gaskets. Because you dont know anything about this Eng. yet; test the compression first! so that you first know the condition of it. The idle control air valve could be stuck open, the fuel pressure could be low, etc..... If I where to guess! Sounds like the Air Valve, or EGR valve is stuck open to me; A vacuem hose could be off. also check to make sure that all ECM ground wires are bolted to the Eng. this is important for installation of eng. there are 2 that attach at the lower rear of intake, and most likely one also bolts to the firewall. All ground wires linked to the ECM are bolt on pig tales that come out of the wiring harness.
  • thanks for the suggestions! i will check the grounds, im pretty sure about the two under the tbi i put a new headgasket on this motor and im 100% sure about the timing. The car is not throwing ne codes but i will check the other items u mention. thaks again
  • kaseywkaseyw Posts: 1
    The check engine light in my car came on, went to auto zone to have them read it. It said 'System running too rich bank 1'. I haven't noticed any problems in driving my car, it's running the same as it always does. The only difference is my gas mileage has gotten worse. What could it be? Obviously it's saying that it's running too rich, so would I notice any problems besides my gas mileage issues? Any suggestions on what it could be? Help me! I know nothing about cars and I want to have a general idea of what it could be before I take it into a shop and possibly get ripped off. Thanks for any help anyone can give!!
  • I am selling my 97' metro just had it tuned up new wires new plugs new ignition coil
    new muffler. new battery. 1.3l 4 cyl. 4 door sedan tires are decent.
  • If it didnt give a tps code or map sensor code with that description its a good chance of a bad O2 sensor computer is compensating for this and sending too much fuel.
  • Fuel isnt getting to the engine. If I pour fuel into the engine it will run, but it isnt getting fuel from the pump to the engine. I have change the fuel filter. When I turn on the key I do not hear the fuel pump kick on. However, I dont know if the Fuel relay fuse is bad or the pump itself. Is there a way of testing the relay before replacing the pump? I want the pump replacement to be my last resort. Is there a mechanism that will switch the pump off in an accident? I had a minor front end damage when this began happening.
  • I took my 99 metro 1.3 4cyl to get the timing belt done and now it won't start, so I have replaced the ECM, Head gasket, head bolts,Cam shaft sensor and thermostat. It still won't start after reading a few comments we just got it to start but it is sucking oil into the intake so shut it off and tried to restart... won't turn over. What is going on? Any ideas?
  • These engines seem very temperamental. I still haven't figured mine out yet and it sounds like you've gone through the exact same thing I have with no real success. All I can offer is check your spark to make sure you're getting a good strong light for several engine cycles on all cylinders - not just the first crank. My engine is not getting sustained spark and I haven't trace it to any specific component yet. The engine analyzer is worthless as it doesn't even show an error code. I'm troubled however, with the oil getting into the air passage on your engine. Sounds like severe blow-by through the valves, could be caused by a valve either sucked into the cylinder (happens very often with the funky valve keepers in the 1.3L 16v slightly misaligned at installation), or a badly burned valve and worn valve guides. If your engine won't physically turn over (locked) don't force it - that will cause even more damage - especially if you have pieces of valve in the cylinder. Check your catalytic converter replacement schedule - once again these engines are prone to catalytic converter collapse with overuse, causing backpressure and overheating in the exhaust valves and eventually burning the exhaust valve(s) and dropping compression. School of hard knocks speaking loudly here. :(
  • metroguymetroguy Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 Chevy Metro LSI (130K miles) with a 4 cylinder engine and a 5-speed transmission. I have experienced a similar problem to what you have described when the weather was cold. Typically, I start and drive the car for a few miles and when I stop at a stop light, the engine starts misfiring (sputtering) when I begin to accelerate. I have discovered that when this happens, I will find water droplets on the spark plug boots down inside the valve cover. If I wipe the water off, the problem all-but disappears after driving a short distance. It doesn't seem to happen when the weather is warm. My only guess so far is that the water droplets are caused by condensation in the spark plug bores, but I have no idea why. I have replaced the spark plugs (which all had very wide gaps) and considered replacing the spark plug wires. But when the weather warms up, the problem pretty well disappears. I am curious if there is a technical service bulletin about condensation inside the spark plug bores???
  • I dont know if you will see this, but did you ever solve the problem with your Geo? I am having the same problem.
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    I checked for TSB’s for you, there are none for that that symptom. The only thing that I can think of that would cause this is the spark plug boot must be leaking at the top and is letting air get in and condensing. I would try OEM wires for that specific vehicle this should fix the problem. Most likely you live in an aria that has a lot of moisture at times and need a set of factory OEM wires; they can be purchased at any auto parts store for about 25% more then the cheep ones. From my knowledge of cars over 40 years I have seen some strange things, one of witch is that aluminum engines and or aluminum parts on engines that have pockets of trapped air, at times have a tendency to condensate moisture and cause problems; as in, under the valve cover! I am not sure why this happens at times with aluminum. It is possible that your engine temperature is to low and needs a thermostat; or for the most part you only use this car for short runs in turn the engine never reaches a high enough temp long enough to burn off the accumulated moisture and the trouble compounds its self. The same thing can happen to an exhaust system on a car. Old people sometimes only get 500 miles out of a new muffler with in 2 years it rusts and falls off of the car, and they cant figure out why. Also by the way! (if you do not know this already) and you suspect that your engines thermostat is not bringing your engine up to normal operating temperature; then you should replace it immediately. I hope that some of this info will help. Zen..
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    I think that it is one of two things T.P.S. has a dead spot in it. Or the fuel pressure regulator is bad. You did not state what engine size that you have so I can not give to you the Specs. on your fuel pressure so that you can test it. The fuel pressure regulator runs off of vacuum when you hit the gas with your foot the throttle body opens up, in turn you lose vacuum and it builds more fuel pressure! When you let off the gas, you build vacuum, but lose fuel pressure because it is not needed as much. Do a fuel pressure test running at an idle only, I think that you will find the problem is there. If you have to replace that regulator make sure that the new one tests out within Specs. of its upper limits; because if it goes over, it can make that GEO never give that good MPG again, and know one will ever know why! Zenden
  • metroguymetroguy Posts: 2
    Thanks for the input on the possible cause of condensation on the spark plug boots and for checking for TSB's. I will replace the plug wires and see what happens. The weather will probably stay warm from now on, so I may not be able to fully determine if the new wires truly solve the problem or not, but at 130K, it was about due for some new wires anyway. I know aluminum conducts heat much better than steel or cast iron, so that might have something to do the tendency to promote condensation, but this one has really been a puzzler...
  • popeolepopeole Posts: 1
    Every time I step on the gas or release the gas(while driving) just a hair she bucks and at a fresh stop she will rev. then drop and do this for a minute or two till she finds herself(has a high idle throughout driving). The clutch grabs when it's almost all the way out but has been like that for two years(doesn't seem to slip). No problems on accel. or decel. Anyone able to help?, Thanks.
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    Most likely cause in this order.
    Check For: 1st, Vacuum leeks (all hoses) first listen closely for a vacuum leek near the intake, ( to test,Pinch hoses with pliers to block off air flow; then listen for the engin to slow down to an idle; because air leaks of any type will make the idle high) And maybe replace or checkthe PCV valve it is only $3.00
    2. Idle speed control solenoid (ISC) located in, Upper rear of throttle body it has 2 wires clipped to it, most likely, a white and blue wire, and a red and white one. There is a good chance that the ISC is bad if there were no bad vacuum hoses found.
    . 3. EGR Valve may not be holding, take it off and try to blow through it, if you can, then clean it out by chipping away the carbon until it seals; if you cant get it to seal then buy a new one.
    I hope that this helps you to get started in the right direction! I have limited time to help, so off to work I go! Zenden
  • bobkat2bobkat2 Posts: 6
    When cold car cranks and cranks but won't start. Starts fine after being driven for a while. Has new plugs, cap, rotor and wires. If I take wire off solenoid on the right side of the throttle body (facing the engine) it will eventually start and chug and chug and finally run OK. I have to immediately plug the wire back in to keep it running. Won't idle, have to constantly feather throttle to keep it running. Runs fine when warmed up. Gets very poor mileage seems to be flooding.
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    What year and what eng. is it; AT or manual Trans? And if you can tell me how many wires and what colors are the wires on that clip that are going to that actuator on the throttle body, they may have stripes on them, I need the colors of the stripes also. I will answer ASAP; tonight or by 1 PM Friday then going out of town.
  • bobkat2bobkat2 Posts: 6
    thanks for the help. There are two wires. One is green with a black stripe and the other is white with a gray stripe. The unit is beneath the air cleaner and mounts horizontally into the throttle body.
    The vehicle is a 1993 with a 1.0 liter 3 cylinder engine. It has a 5 sp. standard transmission.
    It problem happened before a few months ago and if I let the car sit for a day or two it would start right up. I have also checked the timing and compression. The compression was a bit low on one cylinder but I don't think that would explain how it will start if I unhook that valve temporarily. It almost has to be flooding while it sits for a period of time. Right now I have to leave work every two hours and run the car for a short period of time or it will not start when I get off work at 1 am. It is about 45 degrees out right now.
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    Code 15 must be present (ECT coolant temp) is to high, to test for that go under the dash to the left side above the drivers left foot is the fuse box; on the fuse box there is a protruding blank it is on the forward right corner of where all the fuses are located. With the key shut off, insert a spare fuse in that slot. Then turn the key on, watch for the check engine light to flash code 15 if this happens, remove that fuse that you put in shut key off and replace that coolant sensor that you have been unplugging to get started every morning. Your engine thinks that you are running very hot and that there is no need for extra gas to get started when it gets cold outside. You must be getting great gas mileage with that bad sensor. I always get 64 MPG at 58 MPH. Hope that this helps! I have the same car that you do. Keep in touch, let me know how it goes, I will be back on line on Tuesday. Zenden
  • bobkat2bobkat2 Posts: 6
    Zenden, what you say sounds logical except that I am getting terrible mileage, about 20 MPG. Is there a way to check that sensor. Also the car won't idle even when it is warmed up which makes me think that it's not that sensor. Any ideas? thanks, Bob.
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    First did you test for codes by inserting a fuse? This will tell us pertinent info to proceed. So in order to proceed you will need to test for codes you wont hurt anything on the system. Then report the code to me.
    Because there are other components on the throttle body with similar colored wires, I need to know where this component with the clip is located. On the throttle body with the air breather cover removed and standing in front of the car; looking at it from above, the Temp. Sensor would be in the rear of the throttle body with the wires plugging into it from the driver side. Are we talking about the same component? If not please state the exact location.
  • bobkat2bobkat2 Posts: 6
    Thanks again for the help. I will get the codes tomorrow. I didn't think they would be of much help because I have plugged and unplugged so many devices. I will reset the check engine light codes and run it to see if any new codes appear. I read that you can reset the light by removing the tail lamp fuse but I don't know which fuse that is.
    It sounds like you are talking about the same sensor. It is toward the back of the t/b but screws in horizontally from right to left as you face the engine from the front of the car. Is it possible to post an image on this board?
  • bobkat2bobkat2 Posts: 6
    I went out today at about 2:30 pm and the car started pretty good. It chugged a little bit before it ran good. I took the negative battery cable off for about a minute and then checked the engine codes and it read 12. I started it again and shut it off and checked the code again and it still just read 12.
  • bobkat2bobkat2 Posts: 6
    Zenden, thanks for the reply. I got your email but didn't realize that you had left that little message about how it was too much info to post here. I thought that maybe you were still gone or something. It's late Friday night now so if you let me know a good time to call I will try to call then if you still want me to. Thanks again, Bob.
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    I have to work tomorrow and it is to late now so call me tomorrow any time, then we will set up a time to go over it in depth, after work. It is very difficult if not imposable to diagnose cars in a forum.
  • I recently purchased a 1989 metro, it runs fine...sputters a little at takeoff sometimes but idles high, i've read posts about the TPS throttle position sensor and wonder if that is the usual suspect, i have only been getting about 34mpg this low? the territory i drive is fairly undulating and requires some downshifting at freeway speeds....any help would be appreciated...
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    To know what your gas mileage should be and to help diagnose it is need to know, how many cylinders, and dose it have stick shift, with or without AC.
    The spit and sputter can be caused by a TBS, but not the high idle. A high idle is usually caused by a vacuum leek; this is what I would be looking for first; most likely there is too much air coming in from somewhere! It could also cause that spit and sputter, it would also cause a lot of extra gas consumption.
    Many things can be a cause of to much air; sticking Throttle bodies, a bad PCV valve, a blown head gasket, (Yes! with out having any other symptoms of a blown head gasket) As in! Oil in the water; water in the oil; water coming out the exhaust pipe, or flames shooting out of the head gasket, and or over heat problems. It could have a bad intake gasket, bad idle control valve, a bad A/C idle control motor that’s sticking, some one could have adjusted the factory set idle to compensate for a primary problem in the past, there could be carbon built up around the throttle body, the Idle control valve could be sticking from carbon build, or it could be bad, this would be a good possibility. All of these things are possible and must be part of the process of elimination when diagnosing.
    First closely listen with your ear for an air leek while the engine is idling; If you don’t here one, then replace the PCV valve, if the trouble is still there do a vacuum test with the idle as low as specified, if the vacuum is still low find the leak it will becoming from somewhere. The 1989 GEO metro 3 Cyl. 5spd with a full tank of gas with no passengers on a flat road at 55 MPH will produce over 60 MPG. City driving could give you up to 47 MPG. If you are equipped with an automatic Trans you will never produce that much efficiency. I hope that I have helped you in some way, it is very difficult to diagnose on line, if not impossible at times
  • Hello and thank you for some tips...the car is a 3 cylinder with 5 speed and no a/c, i will check these and report my findings....thank you
  • car will start just fine and run until the engine gets warm then car will die and not start until engine is COLD. Any ideas why?
  • zendenzenden Posts: 62
    need more info, sounds like EGR related, Run OBD test!
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