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97 metro - rough idle, 35 mpg

11-13-2009, 02:56 AM
Hey all :)

I have a 97 metro i just bought and it has some problems. At random it will idle rough (lots of vibration) but the rpms are steady and its idling where it should be. Sometimes it idles fine and sometimes its rough. I am only getting 33-35 mpg on the highway at 60 mph. Also at random the car accelerates sluggishly.

All in all the car screams (as best a metro can) and runs great but these problems are annoying as hell. I could live with the rough idle if it got good mpg.

Other things i should mention but might not be related are the main belt squealing. A new belt and belt dressing doesn't fix it. There is about or less than 1/2 play in the tightness of the belt. The belt squeals when i start it up for about 10 seconds and for about 5 minutes after that while shifting gears.

When i start the car most of the time the starter drags and the lights can be dimmer than usual. Once the belt stops squealing it will straighten up. It only does this when it has sit for a day or so.

Things i have tried so far are.

-good plugs and wires
-new belt and tried belt dressing
-had the alternator and battery tested
-checked for vacuum leak with starting fluid
-advanced the timing (helped with all problems slightly except squealing)

Anyone have any ideas?


11-13-2009, 06:09 AM
Your belt is not tight enough. I know that sounds crazy, but a properly tightened Metro belt laughs at a guitar string and it's inherent looseness. Get a Goodyear Gatorback belt, thoroughly clean the pulleys and throw away your can of belt dressing, a wire brush on the pulleys would be best. When you tighten the belt, you'll need a crowbar or breaker bar, something about 18 inches long, stuck between the alternator and the water pump to get enough leverage to get it tight enough. Then, 100 miles later, you're going to have to go and tighten it again because they stretch when they're first installed. Then, make sure all three bolts are tight when you are finished.

Your on and off driveability problems might be a bad connection at some connector or a bad ground, our cars are famous for bad grounds at this age.

12-16-2009, 06:03 PM
I see this is an old thread, but if it helps someone....

anyway, I have had my bouts with the pump belt on my 94. The belt dressing is a temporary fix since its latex based, and doesnt last a dozen miles. The problem I found is that after your belt slips, it polishes the pulleys. Like woodie said a wire brush is a solid fix, but difficult to do with the components still on the car. A fix I found that works great is to get some Krylon BBQ grill paint. Its good to 600 F constant and 1200 F spikes. Dont drown it ok, clean it with some rubbing alcohol and a paper towel real good, then lightly spray the mating surface of the pulleys. This gives it a bit of grab. Like I said you dont need to douse it, and if your not going to clean it well dont bother using this fix, the paint will just come right off.

The reason I like this instead of cranking down the belts tight is the alternator is about $130, and cant remember how much the water pump was, but that it was more than I had ever paid for one before. Cranking down tight on those wears out the bushings faster, and I dont look forward to replacing them.

just my 2 cents


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