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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 11:55 am
Posts: 7
Location: Santa Ana, California
So I have lurked the forums for 3 days now looking for a relevant post that fits my symptoms and have come up empty handed.

I'd like to preface this with a few things - I do not have the ability to check compression, nor do I have any tools outside of a standard set of wrenches.

A little history - I got the car about 1 month ago. There were 2 previous owners. The owner prior to me received the car in a "poor" condition. I'm not sure what was done, but when the car was purchased I was told the only thing I would need to do is add oil. The car ran fine, reaching high RPM and did not have any performance issues, nor any visible smoke.

I understand a leak in oil can be indicative of a larger issue, but the previous owner is in the family, so his word was taken at that. I checked the oil level every day and ensured that the level was fine. About 1 week ago, the car started to overheat. My first place to look was the cooling system. I noticed that the overflow tank was nearly empty. I added coolant to the full mark. One drive later, and the overflow tank was again empty. I park in the same place at work and at home. The only leak visible was oil, which seemed to be at a high rate as the puddle grew daily.

Right when this started to occur, I noticed a 'spraying' noise coming from underneath the hood when I accelerated. This would not occur when engine braking, but only when I applied more throttle.

I work 20 miles from where I live, so I continued to drive the car out of necessity. By profession, I am a network administrator. That being said, I'm still very slightly mechanically inclined, having owned multiple motorcycles (used to be my only means of transportation)

So I went to start the car yesterday morning, and there was a billow white smoke coming from under the hood.

When I continued running the engine w/ the hood open, I looked for the source of the smoke. I seemed to be from the actual engine block. I noticed that where the exhaust connects to the engine block, there is an additional pipe facing up towards the underside of the hood. I'm not 100% but it looks like the exhaust is being routed up through that pipe. There is absolutely nothing coming from the exhaust pipe behind the car - no pressure, no smoke, no smell - as if the exhaust is being routed up through the engine block

The reason I note the exhaust issue is that on my harley, I had an exhaust pipe break causing a similar performance issue wherein the engine would chug along and when engine braking you could hear popping noises when decelerating in gear. This is also occurring on the Sprint. The day before I was not comfortable driving it, I noticed a popping noise when decelerating.

Sorry for the long winded post - I just wanted to include all information I have

Again, I cannot check for compression (I press this since it seems this is the first question everyone asks. I do not have the tools, knowledge, or money to obtain the tools). To add insult to injury, I need the car in order to get my paycheck to pay for any parts or tools (if needed)

I've inspected all hosing, ensured it's seated properly, and checked for any cracking or leaks. I cannot (with my limited mechanical knowledge) find any issues w/ the system. The air filter is clean, the carb is spotless (knowledge of carbs coming from my Harley Sporty which had many issues w/ its carb). I have the Hayes Manual and went through all troubleshooting in the book, ensured proper electrical routing, and ensured the emission control is routed properly as well. Visually, nothing seems to be out of order. I also used the troubleshooting 'switch' under the steering column to check for any present codes. It blinks once, pauses then blinks twice again indicating all in ECM is normal

I am 21, without funds, and an absolute need to get this thing in running condition. Any and all help / advice is much appreciated. :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: I need this car....


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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 11:55 am
Posts: 7
Location: Santa Ana, California
Update:

I wanted to post all information I have to hopefully help someone who is having the same issue -

As I had stated I have limited mechanical experience, so don't poke fun :roll:

My mechanic made a house call today :D

Basically I had added too much oil, and my oil cap was loose. The pressure was building up at the cap, causing overflow to hit the exhaust, creating the smoke I described. I guess I have an issue seeing blue, because the smoke was slightly blue, though I could have sworn it was white o_O

Anyway, the performance issues are due to the following: The distributor cap and roter are almost completely disintegrated. Not sure what caused the issue (probably old age) but when my mechanic showed me the parts, I can clearly see the corrosion. This explains the poor performance, as I am not getting full spark. After replacing the roter, distributor cap, ignition wires, and spark plugs, I'm confident the issue will be fixed. I'll be sure to post after this is done.

Thanks for reading this thread if you did! I have a tendency to rant... =)


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 12:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:10 am
Posts: 342
Location: Palm Springs, Calif
Sounds like a bad head gasket.
Adding too much oil won't cause it to overheat.

Post some pictures of the vehicle, including the engine compartment.

A compression test would verify my diagnosis.

You'll be taking a bike to work til your mechanic rebuilds the engine.

I'd say about $800 and you should be good to go.

No way that car will pass smog, so you can't even sell it.


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:36 am
Posts: 882
Location: Vancouver BC
It is possible that your coolant level was just low, which has been corrected. If the oil level has not changed since you tightened the cap, and no further coolant loss is happening, perhaps the issue is fixed. As pacapo suggests a head gasket would be likely needed if you are losing coolant and oil on an ongoing basis. What does your mechanic think?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:25 am 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 11:55 am
Posts: 7
Location: Santa Ana, California
Sorry for the late reply -

I've been really busy with work

So I've still been using the car to get to and from work,

The overheating has ceased, but I still get coolant leak

The oilpan bolt was not tightened enough, which was causing a leak below, and the oil cap was also not tight causing oil to spill out onto the engine block.

After these two things were corrected, the oil levels maintain

I found there to be a hole in the radiator on where the actual cap screws on, the small "bowl" where the tube connects to the overflow tank, the plastic has melted and there is a small hole

This has lead that nipple to actually melt into the tubing

Beyond that, the tube that runs down into the overflow tank melted off as well, so there's effectively a tube connection leading into the ground

I feel strongly this is causing the coolant loss

I've also replaced the air filter as it was way beyond its prime

I'm now having issues w/ the car starting. It will start given enough effort, and will stay running until I shut it off

I'm thinking the problem is possibly w/ the plugs as they were changed

I'm also going to check the roter and distrubutor cap for any moisture just to be sure it's not the cause

I'm currently at work, so I'll have to check stuff on my break and lunch

What sort of tool would I need to check compression?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:29 am 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 11:55 am
Posts: 7
Location: Santa Ana, California
I feel it's important to also note the car will now only start when the throttle is fully open

I'll have to alternate between 50% and 100% throttle whlie cranking the engine

For good measure, I've sprayed carb started spray into the carb throat past the bronze flap

I did note that it remains open all the time, and to my knowledge, it should open and close with the throttle cable

Am I correct to assume this?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:10 am
Posts: 342
Location: Palm Springs, Calif
Pictures?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 11:55 am
Posts: 7
Location: Santa Ana, California
Unfortunately I cannot post pictures as I'm at work and without the tech needed to take them -

That being said, i was able to work on the car a bit on my lunch

I cleaned the rotor and distributor cap

After doing so, I re-wired the positive terminal

The cable itself for the positive was exposed copper wrapped around a bolt

There was not a crimped cable end on the positive cable

I took off the bolt, cleaned it, and tightened the copper wires and wrapped them around the bolt in the cleanest way possible

After tightening the cable back down, the car started in less than 1 second after turning the key

It seemed like a miracle! :o

I turned the car off and back on 10 times to be certain and left it to idle inbetween as to not drain the battery

I took it for a test drive to the parts shop in case anything happened

When I left the shop, the car wasn't starting anymore,

After pumping the throttle a few times, and trying to start the car (had to get back to work)

The car finally started

I waited in a line for fast food, and kept my foot on the throttle in case the idle dropped

It did, and the car subsequently died

Before it died, it was acting like it was firing on two pistons (I'm a bit familiar w/ how this would sound/feel as I had misfire issues on my old Harley)

After following the same steps cleaing the rotor and cap and re connecting the positive terminal, it still was resisting

I finally got it started, and it died as I pulled into my parking spot at work

When I adjusted the positive cable in the manner I did, I saw a huge improvement

It seems to be spark related, as the motor is turning over, but the starter has to work 150% just to get the thing firing

I have new NGK plugs and the rotor/cap is new

I'm thinking my most common point of failure is the positive terminal

I'm going to reconnect it after work tonight and post updates once I get home.

:huh: This one's really got me by the horns, man...

Any and all suggestions help - this is my only means of transportation and while I fix it, it has to run in the interim :/

Thank you all for your time and efforts in reading my long-winded posts


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 11:55 am
Posts: 7
Location: Santa Ana, California
So I took a break after the mishap at lunch...

I cleaned the actual positive terminal of the battery, pulled back the cable housing on the positive cable and reconnected the cable to the terminal on the aforementioned bolt

Clyde(my Sprint named in tandum w/ my Harley "Bonnie) is starting without any hesitation

My car now starts without ANY trouble and sounds like a purring kitten (I always equate the sound of this engine to a little racecar)

---

I have one issue left which is the loss of coolant

There is a development I want to mention -

The nipple that was melted into the tube completely broke off

My intention was to use self-adhesive high-temp tape to patch the hole as an interim fix until I can afford a new rad.

I touched the tube and the nipple broke off - it was holding on by 1 strand of plastic

I pulled it off, and patched up the hole with the same tape

I understand this is bypassing my overflow tank, but w/ the previous set up, keeping coolant in seems better than having a gaping hole in my cooling system

I replaced the radiator cap and the spring seems a little less tight

I'm hoping that if there's so much pressure she's gonna blow, it'll rip through my jank fix before blowing the top off -

===

I'll be buying a new cable connector and will crimp the cable possibly tonight if not tomorrow (time allowing)

I'm getting towards the end of an 11 hour shift, so if I can find the energy once I"m home it's the first thing I want to fix (not to mention the cheapest thing I CAN fix right now)

I also cleaned the rotor and distributor cap as I found there to be a small build up on the brass connector and on the tip of the rotor

Should I keep replacement rotors and caps with me just in case it goes caput down the road?

I'm open to all troubleshooting efforts - I just need to get my camera working so I can show you all what I'm working with

I'll post updates tonight after my commute home w/ the temp radiator fix to let ya'll know how Clyde is doing

As of right now, I could not be happier :D :D :D

Well...I COULD be happier w/ a new radiator :razz:

Side note: Should I search a pick-a-part for the radiator and overflow cap I need?

Apparently the cap is no longer produced, and obviously the radiator will have to be salvaged online or in person

What do you all recommend?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:10 am
Posts: 342
Location: Palm Springs, Calif
Not sure what you wrote, but when you start posting pictures of this phantom car, I'm in.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 11:55 am
Posts: 7
Location: Santa Ana, California
As I've said, unfortunately I don't have a working camera.

I'm working on it because I want to post pictures definitely

I'm just continuing to post my experience in the event anyone else is in a similar situation

In lurking this forum I see a lot of people who do just that - lurk - looking for any quick fixes they can try to get their car running.

=======

That being said, I made more repairs to the positive cable today

There was a second cable attached at the positive terminal, that seemingly leads into the starter

It's its own isolated cable not bound to the positive cable

The connector was completely corroded.

I cut the copper (holding on by 3 strands of copper) and cut back the insulation

I cleaned the connector (One of these)http://goo.gl/YuFXVv, bent back the holding pins and cleaned out the carbon that built up

What had happened is the inside of the cable insulation burned -

As I pulled back the cable housing, I found charred black carbon - what I'm assuming was plastic/rubber

I scraped all corrosion off of the newly terminated copper (starter connection) and crimped it to the newly cleaned connector

After doing so, the car starts without any hesitation

The issue with starting was due to the cable being so beyond worn, I'm surprised it still even worked

The intermittency is explained to me as the copper would make a connection, it would start, but as it ran new shorts in the wire were created

After repairing the positive cable the issue disappeared entirely - no more throttle when turning the ignition

I also put the battery on my trickle charger last night charging at 4 amps for 7 hours approximately

I did this because I was having issues w/ the car starting leading to me turning the ignition 10+ times to get the car started

========

As I said, I'm doing my best to expedite me having a camera so I can provide a glimpse of the engine I'm working with


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:50 am
Posts: 1
Location: vinelland
I hace a 1987 chevy sprint ....i have a similar problem. Muy motor is good had to chante The carburetor. After changing The carb . fixed The accelaration issue.. Change The throtle cable alzó.... Muy chevy sprint still does explosión


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