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Jacked up timing; After replacing head, car runs rough
Topic Started: Dec 2 2015, 10:31 PM (2,270 Views)
Maybemaybenot
Noob
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Ok I have an opportunity to buy a metro that needs some tlc for only $100. My friend owned it and the temp got warm one day (didnt run hot just warmer than typical). He took it to a mechanic who replaced the head gasket and then discovered that the head was cracked as he was buttoning it back up. They replaced the head and it ran real rough following. The car would choke off whenever the brake was applied. Taking it back to the mechanic, they tweaked the fuel/air (I guess) and the mileage went from around 50mpg down to the 30s. The exhaust is really rich now.

My suspicion is that when they removed the distributor and the head, they got the timing off a tooth or two and that would explain the rough engine. And the fuel/air tweak was treating a symptom not the problem. Now, a year later, I have the opportunity to buy it for only $100! Is it something that I can do myself or should I take it somewhere? What should I do first?
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Bad Bent
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Facetious Educated Donkey

Welcome to your new forum, Maybemaybenot! :coffee

If the mechanic is not familiar with Geos then yes, the timing belt may be off a tooth or more.

If you can turn a wrench then you can probably do it yourself. If not we will patiently help you with a lot of tutorials.

The first question would be is there any rust? Click HERE and read the Buyer's Info.

Second would be how much has it been driven in the year? And even if it gets 30mpg you can still clean out the EGR ports of the carbon build up, change plugs and adjust the timing, reset the factory Throttle Cable setting and the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS). The cable setting is the usual "fuel/air tweak" if not the TPS.

:smackface Actually, for $100 you can't go wrong in my opinion. Unless there is a lot of rust.

At worst you could get an engine for $600 off eBay (like I did) and install it yourself.

You will want a 1999 Factory Service Manual for $20-$40 off eBay.

And you might wind up like Moi who got my Geo for $300 from a local parts sales guy before it went to the junk yard, rebuilt it and got a sort of dirty look from the guy who was a little jealous that it ran so great! :-/ :lol
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ptcapboy


even if it had rust I would think it would be worth 100 dollars you could make way more than that parting it out-you would just have to find a recycler to haul the carcus away after the parts were gone-
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Maybemaybenot
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Thanks for the advice! The car has ran very little in the past year or so, however it is under a shelter and there is little to no rust at all! I am fairly mechanic savvy, but my dad who is way more so than I seems to think that metros are kind of a niche and there are metro mechanics and then there are those who arent. And that I should take it somewhere...
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freegeo
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Is it a 1999 car, if not what year are you looking to get?
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Maybemaybenot
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@freegeo, Well, I wasn't looking to buy a car at the moment. My dad bought the car a while ago from a friend of mine with the intent of repairing and driving it. He has accumulated enough projects that he offered me the car, for what he paid for it, with the understanding that I need to do the work myself. That being said, it is a mid to late 90s metro 3cylinder.
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freegeo
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So it is probably a newer body style then. For a $100 you couldn't really go wrong. If it is something you don't have to get running right away because you have to drive it, then you could take your time and work on it.

It would be a good learning experience for you. If you don't understand something just post questions here and everyone will more than willing to try and help you out.
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Maybemaybenot
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Thanks freegeo! I think I saw a thread on here about quickly finding a vacuum leak. When I find it, I will do that just to rule out a simple fix. It would be great if the timing is actually right and I just have a small thing to fix and reset the throttle stuff!
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freegeo
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Maybemaybenot
Dec 3 2015, 11:07 AM
Thanks freegeo! I think I saw a thread on here about quickly finding a vacuum leak. When I find it, I will do that just to rule out a simple fix. It would be great if the timing is actually right and I just have a small thing to fix and reset the throttle stuff!
Vacuum line are cheap. If they are the original hoses they probably need replaced any way. Just get about 10 foot of the right size and replace them all. Do one at a time so you don't forget where the hose goes.
Edited by freegeo, Dec 3 2015, 12:18 PM.
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Maybemaybenot
Noob
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Oh yeah! One at the time is the only way to go. I spoke to my friend who owned the metro before my dad bought it from him. He said he thinks the car is a '96. are there any changes or year specific issues relative to the metro models? i.e. are there many universal parts?
Edited by Maybemaybenot, Dec 3 2015, 02:25 PM.
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idmetro
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Maybemaybenot
Dec 3 2015, 01:22 PM
are there any changes or year specific issues relative to the metro models? i.e. are there many universal parts?
Sorta:

I'll get the interchange ball started with:

There are some general categories.

Engine longblocks and transmissions are the most interchangeable fitting from 89-00 (for 3 cylinder cars)

Body styles are 89-94 and 95-00 Hoods fenders and hatchs will swap within the range and car type (2 door or 4 door)

Instrument clusters are 89-91, 92-94, and 95-01

Distributors, throttle body injectors, thermostat housings (and their related sensors) are best kept with the car they came with there are multiple variations depending on the emission equipment the car came with.

95 to I believe 97 are prone to "dash cancer", I think it was 98 when they changed the plastic formulation and that went away.

All Metros are subject to frame horn rust.

Late model metros 95-00 also are subject to rust in the rear wheel wells
Edited by idmetro, Dec 3 2015, 03:21 PM.
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Maybemaybenot
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Sweet! Thanks idmetro! I have been a GM guy my whole life and have always admired the mpg of metros! I have some shadetree mechanic experience, notwithstanding, I have very limited knowledge of Geos
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Metromightymouse
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Powdercoat Wizard

Maybemaybenot
Dec 3 2015, 03:45 PM
Sweet! Thanks idmetro! I have been a GM guy my whole life and have always admired the mpg of metros! I have some shadetree mechanic experience, notwithstanding, I have very limited knowledge of Geos
Well, it is really a Suzuki Swift, so you will be branching out. 95 up stuff from a swift is mostly interchangeable as well.
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Maybemaybenot
Noob
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Ok, well its pretty much a done deal. Im going to get the metro. What is the most wise and holy council from the all knowing metro gurus on checking the timing? I guess I will need to remove the timing cover and check the notches on the cam sprocket and crank sprocket. Also, I guess I will need to bring it up to top dead center on the #1 compression stroke and follow the distributor install protocols. One question I have is in reference to the timing cover. Is there a front seal integrated with the cover as with the v8 gm engines? If so, will I need to buy another one to put back on?

Thanks for the warm welcome and all the advice!
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Bad Bent
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Facetious Educated Donkey

Maybemaybenot
Dec 3 2015, 08:34 PM
What is the most wise and holy council from the all knowing metro gurus on checking the timing?
I guess I will need to remove the timing cover and check the notches on the cam sprocket and crank sprocket.
Also, I guess I will need to bring it up to top dead center on the #1 compression stroke and follow the distributor install protocols.

One question I have is in reference to the timing cover. Is there a front seal integrated with the cover as with the v8 gm engines? If so, will I need to buy another one to put back on?

Thanks for the warm welcome and all the advice!
Two types of timing. Timing belt and ignition.

The timing belt has a cover which can be reinstalled, cut in half or just left off depending on your preference and willingness to risk getting your shirt caught in the belt if you forget and lean over a running engine.

Click on this thumbnail: Posted Image

Click on this one to see the correct diagram for the spark plug wires: Posted Image Actually, if a mechanic used the diagram of the wires that may be why it is running rough. Chilton's and Haynes are wrong.

You do not need to remove the valve cover.

To remove the timing belt cover you will need to loosen the alternator, remove the belt, and remove the lower pulley on the crank shaft which has 4 or 5 small bolts. Remove the water pump pulley with 4 bolts. Then you can remove the timing belt cover.

You will remove the #1 spark plug, use a IIRC, 17mm socket to rotate the engine with the crank bolt until you feel air pressure coming out of the #1 plug hole. Then you align the lower timing marks in that picture and the upper timing mark should be aligned also! ^o) If not, you loosen the tensioner spring and the tensioner, keep the lower marks aligned as you slip the belt off and re-position the cam gear to the right position and push the timing belt back on. Rotate the engine twice (CW) and the marks will re-align.

Put the pulleys back on and start it up. You will need a timing light to set the ignition timing. This is why I leave my cover on. Put the #1 plug back in, hook the timing light to it and to the battery. Loosen the 2 distributor mount bolts but do not adjust the body. Mark the position of the body with a pencil for reference. Red dot: Posted Image Timing marks/pulleys: Posted Image
If it has electronic advance then a jumper (paperclip) has to be inserted in a socket at the firewall (in front of the driver). There should be a diagram on the hood describing timing. It looks like this: Posted Image

Start the engine, aim the light at the crank pulley and the scale on the timing cover and a mark on the crank pulley should appear at the 5-8 deg. mark. It helps to fill the mark on the pulley with chalk or something white like nail polish so the timing light makes it more visible. You rotate the distributor to achieve 8 degrees Before Top Dead Center. Tighten the distributor down, remove the paperclip from the jumper and bingo!

Hope that helps.
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