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The Phoenix is Dead !

01-20-2010, 05:31 PM
The Phoenix has died....Rebuilt 25,000 miles ago with pictures
shown of the process on this forum.

Been having a problem with the coolant leaking out.
Had the WP replaced and been losing Coolant ever since.

Had the shop check it - they said it was a leak in a Flushing
connection I had put in at the time of the rebuild 2.5 years

Was seemingly OK for a week, then started losing coolant again.
Flushing connection is fine.

Today on the way to work, after filling the Radiator, it seemed
I was getting a lot of smoke out the back, only it dissipated
really fast like steam vapor.

At about 2 miles from home the temp gauge quickly rose to the top.

Killed the engine and coasted to the roadside.

Radiator showed no coolant !

Cannot see any coolant leaking anywhere!

Oil is fine and looks good.

Filled radiator and tried to start the engine.

Engine spins but won't start - no sound of any of the
pistons firing.

Had to hitch a ride back home and take my alternate
vehicle - '95 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 to work.

Will tow it home with a towing strap in a few hours and
try to finger out what happened.

I am assuming the Head Gasket has blown and Coolant
is going into the cylinders (that's why no spark).

Will remove the plugs and look for Coolant in the cylinders.

Any suggestions, folks ? !

Edited In Later - had it towed home - in the driveway.
Going to start raining then snowing. Crap !

Will take off Timing Belt cover to see the Timing Belt first.
Plugs will come out to see what they look like.
Will drain the oil to see if any Coolant in the pan bottom.

My poor Phoenix - it WILL rise from the ashes AGAIN - I promise !

When I die, I want them to sit me in the seat, roll it into the
grave and cover it up.
The Phoenix and I will drive around in Hell....


01-20-2010, 06:14 PM
Best of luck finding/fixing the problem. Your writeups have been an inspiration, would hate to see the Phoenix stay dead.

Johnny Mullet
01-20-2010, 09:29 PM
Keep us up to date!

01-20-2010, 09:55 PM

But - any suggestions ?

Is my approach OK ?

I might add that I'll do a Compression Check.

DoctorBill - Medical Examiner (for the Phoenix)

Johnny Mullet
01-20-2010, 11:06 PM
I assume you have a bad head gasket also. Regardless, it seems the head will need to come off to inspect and I can link you with a site that has good head gaskets and re-useable head bolts along with some other goodies.

Metro Mighty Mouse
01-21-2010, 04:07 AM
Likely the head gasket. If the timing belt broke the engine would spin really free and sound different, so no need to pull the timing cover unless that sounds like what is going on. That would not explain the coolant loss.

01-24-2010, 12:30 AM
If I am going to pull the Head, I have to take the timing belt off...


Metro Mighty Mouse
01-24-2010, 03:51 AM
Agreed, but I was referring to the investigatory phase where you are confirming what has happened. Removing the spark plugs should hopefully confirm the issue.

01-24-2010, 12:59 PM
I WANT to get at it, but the weather is not cooperating....

I may have to drive my gas guzzling Nissan Pathfinder all winter (17.6 mpg).

Probably it will be done piecemeal over the next months - I refuse to pay
somebody $75 per hour !

Everything bad always happens to cars in winter.


01-24-2010, 09:24 PM
Good luck DrBill. Hope it's just a head gasket and will be a quick fix once the weather turns around. My daughters metro had a bad seal on the O ring that seals the pipe that goes into the back of the water pump. It was a pretty easy fix.

Last week the master cylinder went out on my Swift. Had to drive my pickup in the snow for a few days while I waited for the kit to be shipped. Sure is nice to have the little Swift snowmobile going again.


01-25-2010, 12:08 PM
Sorry to her about your problems. I enjoyed watching you rebuild it.

I would want to try a compression test to see if that points to anything unusual. Also if you could get the tool to do a coolant system pressure test. It would suck to pull the head just to find you have some sort of hidden external leak.

I wonder if no start is caused by water in cylinders or caused by the overheating. If I remember right ans please correct me if I am wrong but the temp gage is really connected to a sensor that is on or off and you get normal or overheat and nothing in between. If so, by the time the gage pegs out you could have been overheating longer than you think.

Best of luck and let us know how you make out and what you discover.

Mine just hit 245,000 miles and still going strong. plan on doing a rebuild this spring using your posts as a guide.

01-26-2010, 08:09 PM
The weather isn't cooperating....

Will the Coolant, if it is in my cylinders, corrode the metal ?

Am worried I'll find the engine all corroded to Hell.


Johnny Mullet
01-26-2010, 08:17 PM
No, you should be fine until the weather clears up.

01-26-2010, 08:21 PM
i would pull the plugs, put some oil in the cyl and spin it over if car is gonna sit a while, the water in the antifreeze can cause rust in the cylinders

01-28-2010, 07:51 PM
I had to fill the tank on my Nissan Pathfinder XE - V6 today - $40 and I can drive maybe 3.5 times to work on that !

17 mpg....

So that influenced me to work on The Phoenix and see what is going on....

Pulled the plugs...


The number 2 plug (middle cylinder) was wet with what looked like oil.
Wiped it off and the paper towel looked wet with oil.
Twisted the paper towel into a long probe and pushed it into the plug hole.
Got nothing.

Same with the other cylinders.

Did a compression test for 5 sec's each cylinder (no gas pedal) - results shown in plug photo.

Squirted three heavy doses of oil into each cylinder when I was done and spun the engine - spins nicely.

Plugged the holes with a paper towel - to keep the mice out !


Charging the battery and waiting to contemplate the next move.

I have only about 30,000 miles on the rebuild.

Either the Number One Exhaust Valve is AGAIN burned thru or that cylinder has a Head Gasket Leak (or both !).

I'll have to pull the Head in any case.

If it is the valve, I will get Stainless Steel Valves this time.

When I had to do that Rebuild three years ago, the engine died just like it did a week or so ago.


01-28-2010, 07:55 PM
with 145 in 2 cyl it should have started, might want to check for spark and fuel and pull dist cap to make sure rotor is turning when you crank it. that is one greasy looking engine

01-28-2010, 11:14 PM
The Camshaft Cover Gasket always leaked slightly - I could never get it to
stop leaking.

Maybe greasy looking, but the oil has kept the body in front from corroding as many Geo do.

I will check the distributor.

I am going to go ahead and pull the Head when time and weather permits.
Already ordered the Fel-Pro Head Gasket from Schucks for $49.

Is it worth it to have a Stainless Steel Exhaust Valve installed in the number one
cylinder position ?


01-30-2010, 02:39 PM
Nice weather today - so I'm off to the Grease and cut hands fun time....

While taking off the Fan Belt and WP Pulley, I got pissed off at that damned AC hose which is useless as my AC has been
unhooked since I bought the Phoenix.

So I disconnected the damned thing and now I have all sorts of room to work !
Going to throw the hose away - will never get the A\C going again!..... Don't want it.

Removed the Timing Belt Cover.

Took off the Camshaft Cover.

Took off the Distributor and Thermostat connection.

Time for the Manifolds - have to loosen the Nuts & Bolts with Thread Solvent. I'm a "Sili-Kroil" fan....

Got tired and cold and hungry in that order....will let the Rust Buster have some time to loosen the nuts & bolts.


01-30-2010, 09:53 PM
i find its easier to pull the head off with the manifolds attached then remove them once the head is off if needed, its not very heavy

01-30-2010, 10:35 PM
"i find its easier to pull the head off with the manifolds attached then
remove them once the head is off if needed, its not very heavy"

Why ? How does it help ?

The only thing I remember from three years ago is that one nut in the back
middle right side of the Intake Manifold was a bastard to get at.

I also just remembered that the Head Shop offered me a good deal on the
whole Gasket "Set" when I took it in - I may have to cancel my Schuck's order.

What is your considered opinion on having Stainless Steel Exhaust Valves
put in ? That is assuming I can get them....will they last longer ?

Actually - one good thing about having done this job before is that I am not
scared to wail into the engine anymore....means I'll probably f**k it up !

I am sore all over from today - out of shape and old as Dinosaur fossils...
ain't this fun ?


01-31-2010, 12:40 AM
Now that you are working on it, have you given any thought to why the head gasket is leaking, if that's the problem? Did you check the head and block for true with a straight edge and feeler gauge when you last had it off? I had to mill my truck head when I had a valve job done, but of course its a straight six. But, its steel, not aluminum, which should be more likely to warp.


01-31-2010, 06:14 AM
Every G10 should get three stainless steel exhaust valves any time the head is off for any reason. A very critical look at the lifters too, with a tendancy towards replacement.

01-31-2010, 01:48 PM
Hi Dr Bill

I just came back to the Geo Forum to see your instructions thoughts on how to post pics to a forum.I was a proud owner of a 93 Geo up untill about 18 months ago when it sucumbed to that famous rot :shakehead around the control arm.

It was a little scary when it let go cause i knda lost control just before i pulled into a shopping mall i was able to make the turn fortunately.I pulled up to a stop sign in the mall and it let go.At that very moment wasn't sure what it was and got out and looked sure enough wheel was seperated from control arm.I was aware of the rot and had been keeping an eye on it such a shame as that little 3 banger ran like a top only 145,000 km on it.

I was wondering how i would get it away from the stop sign and looked over and saw some guys working with some heavy equipment [the beginnings of a A and W restaurant] and they had one of them big fork lifts haha.Within 3 minutes i had the guy on the lift over there gingerly lifting it up and depositing it in a parking spot sure wish i had a picture of that.

Anyways had a guy pick it up and took it over to his shop in hopes he could fix it he is really industrious handy was not to be sat through the winter.And he had it towed last spring to the wreckers without my knowledge...i would have really liked to have kept that motor.

Good luck on your present project as i followed your last with great interest and your well thought out descriptions and photo's!.It was your first project the rise of the phoenix that encouraged me to learn a graphics program to use with photo's as i am presently having problems with another older vehicle.

I am keeping my eye open for another Geo or Swift ain't i strange ehh

Go get errrrr Dr Bill


01-31-2010, 03:06 PM

No, I had not laid a straight edge on the head or block three years ago.

The Head was rebuilt at a Local "Head Shop" and I had assumed they would
check it as part of the process (ya...right !).

I still don't have the Head off, so I still am not sure what has happened.
It snowed last night and it is in the process of melting now....waiting.

I will show pictures of the Head, Valves, Block and my handsome face....

Woodie83 - I will take your advice ! Are SS Valves normally offered by Head Shops ?


Johnny Mullet
01-31-2010, 06:52 PM
You can get stainless steel exhaust valves and head bolts from 3tech Performance (http://geometroforum.com/pages/3Tech)

They are cheaper than regular ones and will last forever.

01-31-2010, 07:20 PM
I got pissed off at that damned AC hose which is useless as my AC has been
unhooked since I bought the Phoenix.

So I disconnected the damned thing and now I have all sorts of room to work !I thought they only put AC on a 4cyl? That must put a serious load on either a 3 or 4 cyl. WOW

01-31-2010, 07:22 PM
Is the Phoenix a G-10 ?

No need to mess with the Intake valves...?

Polished versus unpolished ?????

As to SS Head Bolts - if the SS Valves don't crap out like these ones did
in there now, I'll be worm bait before this rebuild need being redone...

How do I contact them ? - no link !


01-31-2010, 07:24 PM

Yes...I always thought that A\C on a 3 cyl Metro was a quite stupid thing to do.


Johnny Mullet
01-31-2010, 07:51 PM
Contact him via the email link on main page...............
You only need G10 stainless exhaust valves. The intakes are optional. The head bolts can be re-used over and over.

02-03-2010, 02:41 PM

Yes...I always thought that A\C on a 3 cyl Metro was a quite stupid thing to do.


I actually like my AC. Last summer, when there was a week of above 100 degree temps, I was glad to have it. Mine woorks good, so I have no complaints yet. When it gets to the point, where I can't recharge it, then I'll remove it all and lighten the load.:iceslolan

02-03-2010, 03:07 PM
Be for you pull the head, try a cylinder leakage test. This test will tell you if a cyl. is leaking and were it is leaking.

02-03-2010, 07:32 PM

go see


95, 140, 145 1-2-3

I had replaced the rings 30k ago, so they should be OK.

Waiting for Polished Stainless Steel Exhaust Valves to arrive...along with
some decent weather and time off from work.


02-03-2010, 07:42 PM
DoctorBill the Cylinder leak test will test not only the rings but the head gasket , valves and guides. just something to think about. It is something I have my students do to help find problems.

02-05-2010, 12:51 AM
Hey Doc, I just checked in and saw this going down. Sorry to hear this... If you are interested in the SS Valves I would suggest doing some hard searching before paying too much. For my rebuild I got (almost) everything I needed including the tools on ebay. I got a complete set of SS valves intake and exhaust for $35.00 including shipping. You can also find a new set of lifters for around $60.00 there right now. They also have gasket kits at the lowest price you will find anywhere. The last link below also includes head bolts. Many people say to reuse them but I can't seem to bring myself to do that.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/89-97-GEO-METRO-1-0L-SOHC-6V-LIFTERS-LASH-ADJUSTERS-G10_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem5188903a95QQitemZ35 0183504533QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAcce ssories

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/GEO-89-00-METRO-G10-L3-6VALVE-HEAD-GASKET-SET-SZHSG10L_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem563146f313QQit emZ370193920787QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5 fAccessories

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/89-97-GEO-METRO-1-0L-HEAD-GASKET-SET-W-HEAD-BOLTS-G10_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem518b7c785dQQitemZ35 0232541277QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAcce ssories

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