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Engine quits after a bit of driving
Topic Started: Mar 10 2017, 08:38 PM (824 Views)
Jimmytonga
New Member
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Hey all,
I used have an 89 lsi a few years ago, but I ended up selling it (worst decision of my life (although it was automatic so it was less than ideal)). However, I just was given a 93 xfi from a friend, so I'm back in the geo game :rocker !
The primary reason I got it was to convert it to electric for a college project. But, in the mean time (until I get around to the project) I was hoping to drive it around.

When I got it, one of the throttle body coolant lines was burst and was spraying coolant every direction. I fixed the line with some fuel line tubing I had lying around. I filled up the coolant, (although to be honest idk if I burped it well enough) and thought it was fixed so I started driving it around. Last night, all of a sudden it died. When I was trying to start it again, It would fire a bit every now and then, but not get started.

Today I went back and tried starting it and it fired right up! I drove it home, but as I was watching it idle (trying to figure out the problem) it died again.

I noticed today the radiator did not have a lot of coolant in it, but the resivoir was quite full. (but it may have been a result of my improper burping of the system)
This leads me to believe it might be a head gasket?

Also when the engine was running, the heat gauge was a bit over half way (maybe 2/3rds) but it wasn't fluctuating at all, so I figured it was supposed to be like that.

Dry compression testing results: 180, 165, 175 (which I think is fine right?)

The spark plugs looked a bit on the white side, but pretty good.

My oil looks a bit bubbly after the car has been run for awhile, and looks pretty old and dark brown, but not the classic frothy milkshaky look of normal blown head gaskets. (although this is just based off of what I can see on the oil cap and dipstick.)

Basically my questions are:
1. Would a blown head gasket cause it to die like this?
2. What can I do to check if the headgasket is blown (I though the compression test would give it away)?
3. If not the head gasket, what else could it be? (I guess it seems fuel-related)

If it's the head gasket, I may just park it until I electrify it, depending how easy a HG replacement is (Most the time, you have to take out the engine and get it re-surfaced anyway right?)

Thanks!
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ptcapboy


question #1-maybe but it wouldn't "start right up" the next day if it was-question #2 you can take the radiator cap off and check for bubbles while the engine is running-question #3 possibly a fuel injector on the way out or an intermittent in the electrical plug- head gasket replacement is quite easy and you don't have to remove the engine unless you have a warped block and want to get it resurfaced
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geogonfa
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Just my .02...you stated "one of the throttle body coolant lines was burst and was spraying coolant every direction"...
separate and clean all the sensor wire/plug connections, (FI, TPS, MAP, coil, distributor, and CTS), this helps "CRC QD Electronic Cleaner". Add a bit of dielectric grease to the connections. While your air filter housing is off, remove and clean the ground connection at the back of the intake manifold , and see if it helps...
:type
Edited by geogonfa, Mar 11 2017, 09:42 AM.
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Azhule
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Get one of these "Spill free funnels", you will need to burp the radiator/coolant system of air properly ;)



Like geogonfa said, I would also clean up any and all electrics I can find... engine oil and coolant is no good for electrical signals, the ECU/PCM needs to have all the proper electrical signals or it can cause all kinds of issues
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cwatkin


Yes, definitely clean the connections as described above. This may seem trivial but can make a HUGE difference. I know as I have been there myself. Also, do you have any check engine lights? If not, this leads me to think it is an electrical connection even more. Odds are some sensor that comes online in closed loop (warm) operation is not getting a good signal.

Now, can you keep it running if you have it in gear and are really in the gas? Like will it run with horrible power, sputtering and missing the entire time?

It could also be a failing fuel pump or a flaky ignition coil. If cleaning the connections doesn't fix this, I would start looking into fuel and spark issues.

Conor
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Jimmytonga
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Thanks for all the replies! I'm gonna go out and clean all the connectors right now, and come back with the results.

This morning I looked under the oil cap one more time, and I saw this:

Posted Image

Not lookin too good.

I started it up and it purred. However I did notice as it warmed up that it was running rougher and rougher as it got up to temp (maybe it's just because the idle dropped?) I ended up turning it off before it could die. I had the radiator cap open to check for bubbles. Cold, the coolant was almost down to the radiator fins, but as it got up to temp, it started overflowing. When I revved the engine though, the coolant level would go down down.

I tried to put one of those chemical block testers on the radiator to test for exhaust gasses, but the coolant would overflow up into the test fluid, so I never got a solid reading.


Finally, I drained the oil and I dunno, what do you guys think? Heres a sample:

Posted Image

Its a slight bit cloudy but it might just be really old?

Is the HG blown?
Edited by Jimmytonga, Mar 11 2017, 07:17 PM.
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Jimmytonga
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Just a quick update, I cleaned all the connectors i could find around where the leak was. That ground that geogonfa referred to was pretty nasty. I'm gonna go get some oil and see how it runs.

Uh.... whats the weight and capacity of geo oil again?
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Crvett69


4 quarts of 5w30. only takes about 3.5 without the filter but don't think they sell it in half quarts
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geogonfa
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Just a quick note: most times when our little engines blow a head gasket they rarely leak into the oil passages, unless there is a crack in the block/head... :type
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PTA2PTB
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I'm totally awesome! I swear.

"Engine quits after a bit of driving"


Your engine's probably just tired. Perhaps if you put a bloweron it?
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Jimmytonga
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So I had the car running for like a half hr today, and it seemed like it was running fine. I lowered it off the jackstands, hopped in and took it for a drive. Got halfway up the block and it died again and wouldnt start. :shake

Im thinkin I should check the fuel filter next. Anyone got a link or pic for the location of it?
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Crvett69


right next to drivers side rear wheel
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Moringa
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Living BOT

This could be a fuel filter, and it should be checked anyway, but I'd be surprised from your description of the problem, if THIS will fix it. Yours reminds me of my 96 when I first bought it. The girl I got it from, who was, and is a personal friend, said it would intermittently die, and not restart. I did a lot of checking, and decided to replace the fuel pump. This did NOT fix the problem. What did eventually fix it was, (after a few other replaced parts,) replacing the throttle body. After seeing what was posted, in which checking all connections was advocated, and thoroughly cleaning contacts, I tried without any luck in remembering if I had done THIS. Sometimes I suffer from C.R.S. but the throttle body solved my similar problem.
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Stubby79
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Check that it's still injecting fuel after it dies and won't restart. Check if you still have spark after it dies. If you have both, check if your spark plugs are soaked with fuel. Various symptoms will point to different issues.

Tried starting it with the throttle opened a bit?

BTW, your oil looks fine to me. The white on the oil cap is probably all the moisture built up in the oil from having sat for a while. If it had been running fine and you gave it a good long drive, it would have all come out and you wouldn't have even noticed.
Edited by Stubby79, Mar 13 2017, 02:58 AM.
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Azhule
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Still new to these cars, so I'm just tossing another idea out there (and a thousand apologies if it doesn't effect these cars)... but when I worked at the Stealership,I remember having similar problems on several Honda's and Acura's from the 90's and early 2000's...

Turned out to be a "Main Relay" problem, bad/poor/old/cracked soldering points would cause similar problems:

Cold car (more importantly, a cold relay), car would (most of the time) start and drive around bit like normal... car and relay warmed up... the car shuts down... sometimes would start, some times would just turn the engine over, other times lights on the dash but nothing else would happen when you turn the key... but you would always have to wait several hours for everything to cool... then the car would start and drive like normal... until the relay got too hot again and the poor soldering points act up again when the heat expands them a bit.

?? I wonder if the relays on these cars have ever failed and cause similar problems to Honda's ??

http://techauto.awardspace.com/mainrelay.html
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