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Vibe Maintenance & Repair Concerns

detroitdriverdetroitdriver Posts: 6
edited March 2014 in Pontiac
I have posted versions of this before on and (both good sites) but I thought I might get a different sample of info here.

I have been experiencing intermittent stalling on my 2003 Pontiac Vibe GT. The stalling happens after I depress the clutch when coming to a stop or turning into a parking lot, ect.

I have had the vehicle into two service departments for a total of four times. One service department was able to reproduce the failure but didn't have any idea how to rectify the problem. The other service department wasn't able to reproduce the failure. Thus they didn't have anything to go by. The failure doesn't produce any error codes in the computer.

I was just wondering if anyone has experienced this with either their Vibe GT or the Matrix XRS (same powertrain).



  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Look into the idle speed control valve which should be located around the throttle body.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,076
    No need to move it, from my point of view. This is a nice, generally titled topic for a relatively new model. Other owners might have concerns that can fit into this topic!

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  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I'd figured it would go into the Corolla & Matrix P&S
  • juliewenjuliewen Posts: 24
    Hello. My name is Scott (Juliewen is my wife)
    I am having the exact same problems with my otherwise good vehicle.
    I have an appointment on Wed. with an actual "Toyota" guy. I think he is a specialist and is not at any one dealership ever. I am not sure on this point. But, I think he is authorized by Toyota to do more. We will see.

    This will be my third trip in and I am getting fairly frustrated to say the least.

    This is the thing; I am a fairly good mechanic myself. I have owned 3 Toyotas which I have done all of the repair work on myself. Not to say that they were ever really problematic. But all of them went to @ 220k miles.

    The first thing I did was buy a set of shop manuals for the car. That is what I do when I get a new car. The manuals have a good trouble-shooting guideline for figuring out any problem. The manuals led me straight to what I feel is the problem. It has to do with the ISC valve. This is sometimes call the IAC (Idle control valve). To make things a little shorter I will tell you that it lead me to check the voltage to this valve. This is easy to do with a volt-meter. There should be 9-14 volts present when the car is on. Mine shows 0. This tells me that the ISC which controls idle speed is not able to work. I told the mechanic this the last time I came in and he sort of laughed at me. Anyway, they replace this valve (assumably without checking the power supply to it) and returned the car to me. It stalled about 20 minutes later. I knew it would as it cannot work without voltage. There is an Integrated Circuit in the valve body which needs this current to work.
    The manuals suggest checking continuity in the wires involved. They come from the ECU. That is what I believe needs to be done next. This will show is the problem is in the wiring (or wiring harness) or the ECU itself. The ECU sends out positive voltage (9-14 volts) to one terminal of the ISC valve. It also sends out the information for the valve to make adjustments (RSD terminal). The only other terminal on the ISC valve is for ground. Without these working, there is no way the valve can function.

    Sorry for all of the details. I hope they are clear.
    The reason the car intermittendently stalls is that the other engine control systems are trying to compensate for the lack of idle control. You may notice that the car bogs down a bit just as you start to accelerate from a stand-still. This is the lag of the airlow meter kicking in when the air starts moving in to the throttle body.

    It is possible that this is not the exact same scenario you have but I would guess it is the same. I will let you know what I come up with at Toyota on Wed.

    Good luck and keep me updated as well.

    [email protected]
  • Beware of the Vibe.
    My son bought an AWD Vibe a week ago today. From the time he drove it off the dealer's lot (approx 130 miles from here) until 3 days ago it had a peculiar intermittent hesitation or stalling problem. He could be driving in traffic and while holding the accelerator steady the Vibe started losing speed. The engine RPMs would increase but it was as though the transmission was disengaged. It has now been in the local Pontiac dealership for 3 days and they do not know how to fix it. They have called the next closest Pontiac dealership (about 25 miles away) and they don't know how to fix it either. They say they don't have the equipment or software to diagnose and remedy the problem. WAY TO GO GM!! Your warranty is pretty much worthless if your own dealers don't know how to service the cars they sell. So my son is paying for the first new car he has ever purchased and has had the privilege of driving a rented Cavalier for 3 days out of the 7 he has owned the Vibe and has no idea when or if he will ever get a reliable Vibe. I blame myself in part because I recommended he get the GM product based on my good experiences with 3 previous new GM purchases. My confidence in GM is definitely shaken and have I decided not to buy the new Bonneville for now.
  • As much as I hate to say this, the Vibe is a Toyota in all respects except the body. All of the parts, including engine and transmission are Toyota parts. GM probably is responsible for not having proper diagnostic equipment at the dealers if that's true. I'm anything but a mechanic, but what you describe could be a transmission problem. Suggest you contact the zone rep soonest!!!
  • wenbwenb Posts: 45
    Hi I am just checking out he vibe and problems already. Well if you look a post for other cars, they all have their issues. Did anyone hear about the giant recall from Honda regarding stalling.I was checking out Saturn Vue and they had some engine electrical issues. Todays cars are so complex all cars are going to have problems.And remember an engine is only as strong as it's weakest sensor.I checked on the Saturn Ion and found that depending on options the electric/electronic system is controlled by 5 to 8 microprocessors in a lan configuration.This is to enhance reliablity. Well I hope your Vibe issue is solved soon. The grass is not greener on the other side.
  • Thanks for your comments. You both make good points. Now that I have cooled down! here's the results. After 5 full days in the Pontiac garage they diagnosed the problem as a defective O2 sensor. The regional Pontiac Cust. Svc. rep was very understanding and helpful when contacted. GM apparently had to FedEx new software for the garage's computer just to work on the Vibe. The garage eventually went to the local Toyota garage to try a substitute O2 sensor and decided that was the problem. However, they had to order a GM (probably Toyota) part to replace the original one which took another day and a half. My son took his Vibe on a 500+ mile trip over the weekend and was happy with the way it performed. From here on I think the garage will be able to handle this problem if it affects any future Vibes. I did some extensive reading over the weekend on O2 sensors because I knew nothing about them before this. wenb is absolutely correct about the complexities of new engines and the weakest link throwing everything out of synch. I now know how critical the O2 sensors are and unfortunately the relative high (estimated to be 10%-18%) failure or defect rate reported of these little marvels. In defense of the mechanics I will say that once they got the proper tools and parts they needed, the problem disappeared. Here's to a trouble-free future for the Vibe.
  • dorene1dorene1 Posts: 75
    Hi all -

    We're thinking of helping our son purchase a Vibe. The post from GMloyal60 was an initial red flag, and we've been trying to understand this problem.

    Can the 02 sensor problem be tested before purchase? Or does usage bring out the problem. I'd like to know ahead of time! Thanks for any thoughts on this.
  • If you have selected the Pontiac dealer where you will be servicing your Vibe, it certainly wouldn't hurt to mention your awareness of the problem that initially plagued my son's Vibe and inquire if they have the latest diagnostic software on their equipment to service the Vibe. Also, do they have the specific equipment to test O2 sensors? I doubt that the dealer preparation list before the sale includes an O2 sensor test unless it becomes enough of a problem that GM issues a TSB on it. You have nothing to lose by asking the selling dealer whether they would add that to their preparation list. Don't pass up the chance to take your prospective purchase on a test drive before signing on the dotted line. There's certainly no guarantee this particular defect would show up but at least it's worth a try. Make sure you drive it long enough that the engine is fully warmed up because O2 sensors don't begin to function (or malfunction) until completely warmed up. I hope this helps a bit. I'm no mechanic, but like you, I enjoy keeping up on new and interesting technological developments. The Vibe is really a great vehicle once it is working OK; very versatile, comfortable, fun to drive and nicely equipped. Good luck!
  • dorene1dorene1 Posts: 75
    That was a big help, gmloyal60. Now we just have to wait until we get our gm card rebate, and he had his license. So glad your son is now enjoying his vibe - what color did your son prefer? We're thinking of making this a partial surprise (even though he is paying for part of it), but are worried about getting a color he might dislike. Thanks again!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    can be tested specifically by any facility that has a computer that can read the car's smog computer codes. You could even ask them to specifically perform this test if you were concerned.

    O2 sensors operate in the hottest part of the engine - the exhaust manifold - so they tend to get "fried". Plus with the tightening smog pollution standards over the last five or six years, it has become more and more routine to replace them at intervals, whereas back in the 80's, for instance, the same sensor might be in there the whole life of the car. The fall-out of all this is that more and more replacement O2 sensors were needed, they became cheaper and not as good, kind of like an almost disposable part of the engine, like air filters or something.

    Check your local car parts store ads - sensors for many models these days can be bought for $20 or so - I saw an ad in the paper a couple of weeks back where they were selling them in volume discounts!

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

  • juliewenjuliewen Posts: 24
    My XRS has been at Rockland Toyota for a full week now. As of yet, they don't know what is wrong with it. They noticed that it seemed to stall when they were going down hill. I had noticed that this might be a tendancy as well. But, I certainly stalled many times on flat road. They were talking about pulling the gas tank out. That was two days ago. I am not sure what is up now. I asked if they checked the voltage to the ISC valve (which I refer to in earlier posts). The service manager said they had checked it out and that it was fine. When I asked what they got for a reading, he said he did not know. I am having problems sorting through the info. as they seem to have so many different people involved. I just don't think this valve has power to it. I checked it 3 times to be
    sure and each time it was 0. I will check it right at the dealership if I have to, I guess. But going on the assumption that there is power there and that ther ISC is working. How do you account for the idle bouncing around just after the rpms try to fall to idle speed? Maybe fuel??? I hope they turn something up. I just wanted to update the board.
    Scott Wendholt
  • Colors are such an individual thing. My son successfully used James Bragg's "Fighting Chance" system for finding and buying his Vibe, so he was planning on buying from a dealer inventory. He ranked 4 colors:Shadow, Satellite, Neptune and Frosty. Luckily he found a Satellite Vibe at the best price so he is very satisfied. The Envy color was at the bottom of his list and since he had previously driven an older red Corolla he didn't want any reds. I really like the way the Lava color looks on the Vibe. I agree with him that Envy is at the bottom of the list! But someone else may think it's a great color. Hope you have a good assortment to choose from - best of luck!
  • rbarritrbarrit Posts: 14
    My Vibe steering lock does not work. When the key is withdrawn, I can here the lock pin move, but it does not engage (I can give the wheel full turns). Found this out when I purchased a "Club" and gave the wheel a turn. Took a whole month to find it.

    Thinking of looking into this myself. Have to decide if this is a "feature", the Club is a wheel lock in any case.

    I also think that the lights come on too early. Anybody try anything to increase the light transmission of the sensor cover on the left front of the dash?
  • Other than the simple joy of fiddling with the car, why bother unless you get full headlights at noon on a sunny day? What possible harm can come from this "problem"? In any case, it covered under warranty. Good luck in convincing the dealer to fix it.

    I would get the wheel lock fixed, even though it won't even slow a car thief down. I heard a woman on "Click and Clack" say that her car was stolen, but the thieves were very polite...they left her Club lying on the curb undamaged!
  • juliewenjuliewen Posts: 24
    I talked to the dealership today and they told me that they could not fix the car and that I should pick it up. When I asked what I should do then, I was told that they didn't know how to fix the car. That was it. I stayed on the line for a while and got the Service manager to admit that he would not be happy himself if this was his car. I then tried to get a phone number for his boss and he refused me. Although he did pass the message on and my wife talked to him today.
    I cannot believe they are handling things this way. Especially since they would liable if the stall lead to an accident with a serious outcome. The problem is very well documented at this point.

    We will see what happens next. I am prepared for the Lemon Law remedy if they continue along these lines. I just thought everyone would be interested to hear how I am being treated with my 2003 Matrix which has 5000 miles on it.
    I will stay in touch. Any ideas would be welcomed. I have been posting in this forum for the last 2 weeks if anyone wants to refer to those posts.
    Scott Wendholt
    [email protected]
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    Thought your ideas on PCM and IAC would lead to a cure. Shame, Toyota didn't try to replace those items and check those circuits on the chance it would fix it. As far as ideas, the only thing left would be to find a mechanic comfortable enough with the systems to replace those parts and see if it works. If it does you should get reinbursement from Toyota, if it dosen't they should include the amounts in your Lemon Law Buyback number. Thought you were the boards best hope of a fix, sorry.
  • juliewenjuliewen Posts: 24
    Thanks for your ideas. I am not sure how I will proceed now.
    After the service manager at Rockland Toyota told me that he wanted to "make me happy with my new car" I asked him what he thought I should do to be satisfied. He said he did not know. Then said that if was his own car, he wouldn't be satisfied. That is when I asked for one 2 minute favor. I told him that I wanted to come to the dealership with my Toyota manual and volt-meter and show him in person that there is no powere to the ISC. He said he couldn't because he "had to do payroll". But he said he would do it himself and call me back. That was yesterday at 9:30 am. Now it is noon the next day and he has not called back. When I try to reach him, I am told he is unavailable. I left a voice message and am still waiting for this simple answer.
    Meanwhile I am waiting to hear back from the district rep.
    I will post a follow-up when it comes.
  • juliewenjuliewen Posts: 24
    I spoke to the regional manager for Toyota. He finally returned my calls after 2 days of waiting.
    The crux of our conversation was that the dealership would keep the car and go over it again. And, if going forward there was no reason for "concern" they would return the car to me. I asked him about the fact that the problem has been documented and admitted to by toyota people and he said he wanted to treat it in a matter that was going forward from here. In other words, see if there still "is" a problem. I think I see what they are setting up here. I will let you all know what happens.
  • 1matrix1matrix Posts: 47
    Since Toyota warranty work may be done at any Toyota dealership, you may consider going to another dealership to get the problem looked at. A fresh set of eyes might help.

  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391

    wait for the terms of the lemon law...

    I really think the dealership is saying bogus stuff. It's not like the engine is used in the Celica GTS also.
  • juliewenjuliewen Posts: 24
    I am a little confused. What do you mean by "wait for the terms of the lemon law..."? And,, The Celica GTS is the same. right? (maybe I missed your intent, sometimes text is tough)
    The Celica GTS is the same engine, although I am sure there are some differences in the main computers as well as wiring routes and harnesses. This must be a Matrix XRS problem. I have run into 2 others on a different website/forum. It was mentioned earlier. ( Look under the general section, then "Vibe GT Stalls" if you are interested.
    I am still in limbo. The zone rep. promised to call today but did not.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Check the lemon laws in your area. Their are specific terms and conditions which will constitute a "lemon". The warranty books that came with the car, should have something it describes the process. It tends to vary state to state, with some conditions.

    Matrix XRS=> 2ZZ-GE
    Celica GT-S=> 2ZZ-GE
    Vibe GT=> 2ZZ-GE
    Corolla Fielder (which the Vibe & Matrix are really based on, just different styling, inside and out) => 2ZZ-GE

    while there will be slight differences in the ECU (rev limiter) and wiring harness...they all function the same. It could be a slight error in the ECU programming, which can be be overwritten (instead of costly ECU replacement) with the new code.

    I have a distinct feeling that the techs are plugging in the code scanner....and nothing comes up, so no problem they see without any real work done.
  • I am thinking of buying a vibe with a salvage title.

    I was told the repairs would cost around $5000. I don't know much about cars and I was wondering if anyone thought that this figure would be in the right ballpark. How can I tell if the engine has been damaged, they dont quote the engine on the estimate I received.

    Just wondering whether it would be worth it, Would come out to about 10,000-11,000 total for a vibe which is about 50% of its new value.

    Thanks a lot of any help you can give.

  • Since the bidding is over, it kindda moot, but for vuture reference...

    IMHO, you are taking a major risk buying any wrecked car, especially without being able to inspect it! How do you know the seller is telling the truth? There could be major concealed damage. I wouldn't buy ANY used car without having my mechanic inspect it, never mind one that was wrecked. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING to even consider this???? What happens if you had bought it and then find out that there is major other damage? Good luck getting your money back.

    This comes under the heading "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,076
    It reads: Toyota Matrix drivers, are you out there? If you are interested in sharing your thoughts on your vehicle with a national audience, please contact the reporter of a MAJOR daily at [email protected] with your name, daytime contact information, line of work and city/state of residence by October 14, 2002.

    Thank you!


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  • Edmunds tells us how much we should pay for a car and that all dealers are part of a Satanic network of evil guys. So when I went in and demanded my $3000 rebate, the dealer refused to give me what I deserve (according to Edmunds) and said the rebate was only $2000. I know they are lying cuz Edmunds says they are. My question is should I get a $1000 check from Edmunds over this?
  • Hi Scott,

    Any update on the car? Did Toyota manage to fix the stalling problem for you? If they did, what was the problem?

  • Just post your home adress, ssn, and phone number. You know everything you read on the web is true. I have a bridge I'd like to sell you too.
This discussion has been closed.