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91 Geo Metro cold issues and more.


doug2060
01-25-2011, 08:02 PM
91 Geo Metro
1.0 3 cyl automatic.
208,000 Miles
Engine rebuilt at 152,000 Miles


This started back in November. I was going down the road just fine then suddenly the car lost power. It would idle just fine but when I pushed the gas it would sputter and shake and have no power. I had to floor it just to barely roll back to the house a 1/4 mile. I got it home and found an intake leak. Fixed the leak and though it was solved. WRONG! I checked everything with no luck. The problem persisted. Then I got pissed and with it running I floored the pedal it sputtered and shook but after about 5 or 6 seconds the RPM's shot up and it seemed fine. I could finally drive it again like nothing had happened (almost). Ever since that the car seems like it has less power. When I crank it in the cold I have to let it warm up for at least 5 minutes before it will move and even then it wants to cut off as soon as I hit the gas or let off the pedal. Once I get goind it goes just fine. Sometimes (rare lately) it runs great. Sometimes even when its warm I can cut it off to pump gas or go into a store and when I start it and hit the gas it shutters and cuts off or shutters then goes like normal. Fuel pressure checks out. Ignition checks out. Compression checks out too. I recently thought maybe the catylytic converter broke up but when I dropped the front section of the exhaust I found that it had been gutted already. Any thoughts?

doug2060
01-26-2011, 12:46 AM
Hold up, I take that back. Compression does not check out. I really should spend a bit more time with the car before whining to the forums. Compression on 1 and 3 are normal. Cylinder 2 put out less than 35 PSI. I'm using a tester that you hold in place. I must not have let the pressure off before going to cyl 2 the first time I tested it... :runaround: It will be a few days before I can begin to fix it. In the mean time any thoughts or opinions are much appreciated.

Head gasket? No oil in the water, no water in the oil. It's also not running hot. I know that doesn't entirely rule it out but just FYI.
:confused:

Burnt valve? :confused::confused::confused::runaround::confused ::confused::confused::banghead:

I'd also like to ask if the second section of the exhaust which goes back to the muffle can be easily removed without being cut. I don't think this is related to my troubles. Just wanted to ask.

Woodie83
01-26-2011, 05:27 AM
Badly burned valve or a broken piston to give you that little compression. You need stainless steel exhaust valves and new rings, check the valve guides and lifters closely, either one of those can cause a valve to burn quickly. Since you just rebuilt it, you may be able to get away with not honing again. Obviously, if you have a broken piston, go with a bore out and three new pistons.

doug2060
01-26-2011, 05:35 PM
I decided to get into it today. I saw no physical damage (yet). I just took the head off for a peak.
I know how much everyone likes pics so have a look at what I found. Look at that exhaust valve:
http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l375/doug2060/100_1818.jpg
http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l375/doug2060/100_1823.jpg
http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l375/doug2060/100_1825.jpg
Thoughts and opinions welcome as usual.

doug2060
02-01-2011, 11:17 AM
OK, I ended up replacing a burnt exhaust valve. Compression is good on all cylinders now but I'm still having trouble. The car is weak. It will crank just fine and idle good but after about 30 seconds or so it starts acting like it wants to stall for a moment then goes back to normal. Sometimes it doesn't do it at all. I have to advance the timing from 6 BTDC to 12 just so it will have enough power to get down the road. Fuel pressure is fine. I'm starting to think there is something blocking the rear portion of the exhaust. I unbolted it in the middle. It's loud and seems to have even less power but the engine seems to run much smoother and not shaking as much as usual as if it's not working as hard to keep running. Any advice? It's raining at the moment so I can't do much. Can I take the rear section of the exhaust going back to the muffler off easily or would I have to cut it?

I'm so tired of working on this car. I've enjoyed it but once I get past this or even if I don't I'm selling it. Anyone in or near NC want to give me $1K so I can take a break? CD player and remote start! Lots of extra parts from parts car included.

Woodie83
02-02-2011, 06:07 AM
Timing belt one tooth off?

doug2060
02-02-2011, 08:33 PM
Timing belt one tooth off?

I am going to check that out. It was 3AM when I put the belt back on. It was cold and I was tired so it's definitely worth looking into.

I did find a problem though. The muffler was clamped on so it was somewhat easy to remove. It may have even been the original. Once it was off I found that it was full of water (not from engine). Once it was drained I could shake it and it felt like something big was clunking around in there. I cranked it and while it was still running poorly it was running poorly with less effort. The motor was shaking and jumping around like it had been before.

Later on I said F#ck it and twisted the distributor all the way back and it actually runs better than before despite being so loud. Would the timing belt being off a notch cause this?

I've took the timing belts off these Metro's so many times now I should be able to do it with my eyes closed. Now that I think about it I did just line up the marks and pop the belt on and close it back up without checking.

doug2060
02-07-2011, 02:33 PM
:runaround:No go... Timing was right... I don't know where to go now. Strangely the car will run great for brief periods of time then start to sputter and cut out. I've tried everything with no luck. Perhaps I should look to the fuel pump. Pressure previously read good but that was when it was running good also. I replaced the fuel filter which may have helped but not much. Could the strainer be clogged or the pump itself failing? I've tried everything under the hood...:runaround:

Metro Mighty Mouse
02-07-2011, 07:25 PM
Intermittent problems that are attributed to fuel starvation are either a weak fuel pump, bad strainer in the tank/ garbage in the tank that gets sucked up and clogs the intake, or a similar issue in the fuel line or injector. Weak fuel pump and clog at the pickup in the tank are more likely to act up the less fuel in the tank. Clog at the intake should improve within a few minutes of shutting off the car as the stuff floats off of the intake. Fuel pump may work better for longer after sitting for an extended period of time and may work better briefly after sitting long enough to cool off. Clog in the fuel line is likely to be the fuel line itself as very little should get past the filters. The fuel line may be collapsing or getting pinched off or may have deteriorated on the inside and pieces may be flapping up causing a blockage. This is more likely the higher the ethanol content of the fuel you are using because the alcohol deteriorates the rubber. A clog at the injector would likely be fuel line bits as well and might be visible sticking out of the injector. A fuel pressure gauge hooked up while running good and bad showing a difference in pressure would confirm the issue. Fuel line problem should be easy diagnose as the rubber line should normally be pliable or squeezable. If the line is really stiff or showing signs of cracking it may be the problem.

Good luck, keep us posted.

doug2060
02-07-2011, 08:03 PM
Thank you, Strangely I knew all that yet none of it even entered my mind. I love these forums. I just now started suspecting the fuel system. Unless the computer is bad it has to be in the fuel system somewhere. I will get on it in the coming days and report back. TY again...

doug2060
03-28-2011, 03:48 AM
I just realized I never reported back on this... I ended up replacing the O2 sensor in a last effort and the problem was gone. I ended up selling the car a couple weeks back. As much as I loved the car I got tired of the constant upkeep. In the final months of my ownership it seemed like I was working on it every weekend. As soon as one thing was replaced another thing broke. I still feel I got more than my money's worth out of it and miss it already.

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