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 Post subject: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Metro
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:43 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
98 Chevy Metro 3 Cylinder Daily Driver

In the last couple weeks my metro has been having a strange intermittent problem where half the time I start it in the morning to go to work it fires up and feels like it's running on 2/3 cylinders. The engine shakes the whole car and barely stays alive. I have to hold the gas in partially for 5-10 seconds to build the RPMs and finally it smoothes out and runs fine. Sometimes it dies when I give it gas when it's idling weird like this. I pulled the plug wires at the distributor and each one nearly killed the engine and I could see the spark jumping. I thought it might be the cap and rotor or plug wires so I went ahead and replaced the plugs, wires, cap, rotor and changed the oil because it was due. Didn't help a bit. I have a scangauge II installed in this car and when this happens it doesn't turn on until the problem goes away. Which makes me wonder if it's a bad ground somewhere or some other electrical issue. Also the lights are all dim until I rev it up. Unfortunately without the scan gauge I can't even see what RPM the thing is idling at when it's have a seizure. Compression was 212, 227, 207 psi.

Could the timing belt have slipped? Help me come up with some ideas. Thursday or Friday I'm going to check the grounds.

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Last edited by kimokalihi on Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:16 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:17 am
Posts: 6214
Location: Lakewood, Wa 98439
I wonder if your alternator might be going out?

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:41 pm 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 4:34 pm
Posts: 1980
Location: Lake Elsinore, CA
Or the battery......

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:31 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
Hmm. Both interesting and possible culprits. I just so happened to have recently purchased a ctek battery tester and shall put it to use in a couple days. You think the battery would continue cranking the engine if it were bad?

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:48 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
I don't think the alternator is bad. It's still putting out 14.1v at 70mph. Got a video uploading now on YouTube to show you guys how bad it is.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:32 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
Been waiting all day for this video to upload. Come to find out it won't upload without a WiFi connection so I connected to WiFi and it uploaded in a few mins. Then I changed the stupid YouTube settings to upload with any network.

Here it is. Sounds terrible. http://youtu.be/93wdWhX82ro

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:13 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:17 am
Posts: 6214
Location: Lakewood, Wa 98439
Holy crap, I feel bad for your motor mounts...

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:54 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
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Location: Tenino, WA
Yeah I don't know what's rattling but sounds like rod knock lol. Until it smoothes out and you can tell there's anything wrong with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:25 pm 
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When does it smooth out?

Only when you give it gas or after the engine warms up?

Does the scan gauge show any values when the key is in the ON position, but engine not running? I would think it should show some values, even if they're 0. You can always check coolant temp because that should have a value for it.

It definitely sounds like an electrical issue....possible ECU or possibly distributor itself. I'm assuming this has an electronic ignition?

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:51 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
What do you mean by electronic ignition? I have not let it idle longer 2 mins yet because I'm always going somewhere, usually to work, when I start it. It smoothes out by holding the pedal in partially and it struggles to gain Rpms. I'll throw the key in and see if the scan gauge comes on. It will turn on if I press one of the buttons but normally this is not necessary. This morning it fired up fine and the gauge came on right away.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:13 am 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 4:34 pm
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Location: Lake Elsinore, CA
If you have a voltmeter, track the voltage through a start up.

1. key off
2. key on, no start.
3. cranking (if you can see)
4. Bad idle
5. revving
6. Good idle

It shouldn't go lower than about 12 volts at any time the motor is off. It shouldn't go lower than about 13.5 volts any time the motor is running. During actual cranking, it should stay above 10v, but the fact it starts means that part is likely OK.

After that, I would verify the TPS voltages and smoothness.

If it's like most cars, all the sensors use a common 5V supply from the ECU. Check that too.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:19 am 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 4:34 pm
Posts: 1980
Location: Lake Elsinore, CA
Just remembered a problem a friend of mine had....

If there is a relay to turn on the ECU, check the voltage coming out of it. His was a Nissan Pathfinder, but I guess a very common problem with Nissans of the early 2000s was the ECU relay contacts would get corroded or pitted and would have a significant voltage drop across them. This gave the ECU enough power to idle and barely keep the motor running, but not rev or drive. Once we discovered the problem, we swapped the relay for the fog light relay and it was instantly back to normal. Turns out it was a recall and Nissan fixed the problem as such - with an updated relay.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:25 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
Thanks I'll check those things. I've got a nice fluke meter with long leads that'll easily reach inside the cabin. I have the factory service manuals for it too so I'll look for an ecu relay. Either the scan gauge isn't getting enough voltage to trigger it to turn on or the ecu through the obd2 port isn't a ending the signal that turns it on. At least that's what I would think.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:19 pm 
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kimokalihi wrote:
What do you mean by electronic ignition?


ECU controlled ignition vs. points & condenser.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:51 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
Probably ecu but I wouldn't know how to tell. It's obd2 1998 if that helps. Also this morning I put the key in and pushed it to on and the scan gauge doesn't turn on. When I fired the engine up (which started fine this time and last night) the gauge immediately came on displaying all the values.

Could it be the fuel pump? My friend tells me a fuel pump either works or doesn't. Says it doesn't wear out and provide a low output. Is this true?

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:38 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
I did this little test but wasn't able to replicate the problem so I've placed my fluke in my car so the next time I can hopefully measure the voltage when it's acting up. Also my stupid ctek battery tester is broken brand new. I noticed the second time I used it that it was extremely finicky about the cables being just eight. This is the third time I've used it and even reclamping and adjusting fro. Different angles probably 30 times it just keep saying check connection. Going to contact Amazon for a replacement.


1. key off - 12.40v
2. key on, no start - 12.09v, tapered to 12.01 slowly over a minute.
3. cranking (if you can see) - started quick but looked like it dropped to about 11.00v
4. Bad idle -
5. revving - revving brought down to 14.60v
6. Good idle - 14.45v slowly climbed to 14.63v after 30 seconds and stayed there. This is with the engine at 110f already.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:40 pm 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 4:34 pm
Posts: 1980
Location: Lake Elsinore, CA
Those all seem perfectly normal.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

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'94 FWD and '95 AWD Laguna Blue SVXs.
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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:41 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
In other news the Subaru fires up and idles perfectly every time. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:43 pm 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 4:34 pm
Posts: 1980
Location: Lake Elsinore, CA
The scan gauge thing is weird. Do you have a wiring diagram to check and see if the OBD power is behind a relay or fuse or switch?

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

_________________
'93 Winestone SS Auto, '91 Pearl White SS.
'93 Pure White SS EJ20G slanty intercooled, SIDESWIPED! In stasis.
'94 FWD and '95 AWD Laguna Blue SVXs.
2017 Pure Red BRZ Limited w/Performance pack


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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:36 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
I should. I've got the complete factory service manual set. I'm at home now though I'll look tomorrow when I'm back at my mom's replacing my axles.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:23 pm 
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Yeah, that's a good point about where the OBD2 port being powered. If it's behind a relay that may help steer you in the right direction.

I would also use your Fluke meter to check the voltage at the ECU during all those different conditions (I'm assuming you took those voltage measurements at the battery...if that's not correct, let us know).

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:15 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
I did measure them off the battery. The car only barely duplicated the problem this morning however it was only for a couple seconds and it smoothed out on its own for once and wasn't nearly as violent so I couldn't bust out my meter and take any measurements. I found a ton of schematics but I don't see any relay before the ecu. Only one I see is the main relay which the ecu controls.

I suppose it's worth mentioning that a year ago I had to replace the cylinder head with a rebuilt head and immediately afterwards I got a code 1250 for the early evaporative fuel heater circuit incorrect voltage. I checked the fuse and it was blown. Put a new one in and it blew as soo. As I started the car. So somehow there's a short in that circuit now and I can't visually see anything tracing the wiring to the heater in the manifold. Doesn't make sense. Gave up on it since its only for emissions and helps a bit with cold starts sort of. Book says it's only on above 850 rpm stacranking it shouldn't turn it on until its idling. I have no idea if these two issues are related.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:31 pm 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
After writing that I performed a quick little test on that circuit. Started the car with a new 30 amp fuse in the EFE circuit and it popped in about 5 seconds. Unplugged the EFE and installed a new fuse again and waited. Nothing. Took my spare EVE (yeah I have another one that I never put in because...well I'm lazy and it's not doing me any harm anyways) And plugged it in while holding it and after a few seconds I could feel it heating up and no fuse pop! I've got a theory on this. These cars are notorious for clogging their EGR passages both in the head and the intake manifold. So while I was doing that head job I frayed one end of a stainless steel cable and stuck the other end in a drill. Then inserted it into and all the way through both the head and intake manifold eve passages while operating the drill to scrape out all the old debris. Then I took my compressor hose and blasted air into the passages and blew the Shit out into the intake manifold and out the openings both in the throttle body and the runners. Some debris must have gotten lodged between the EFE and the manifold shorting it out.

Anyways I don't think that's got anything to do with this other problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:11 am 
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Interesting.....

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 Post subject: Re: Intermittent Violent Shaking Idle On Cold Start - Geo Me
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 3:22 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8344
Location: Tenino, WA
I cleaned almost all the grounds (except one that I know of but it's just another body ground and I already have one right next to the battery) so far and after doing so the car now idles all over the place. Even when fully warmed up. Here's a video after I parked the car right before turning it off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DqTyHepf44

It will idle sometimes 900 rpm steadily but other times I come to a stop and it's idling between 1,300-1,800 rpm. It's got a case of the honda idle but it's intermittent. The car went a couple weeks without doing the violent low idle on cold start. I figured it wasn't doing it anymore because it's been warmer outside lately but then the other day it did it when it was 47F outside and this time the scan gauge did come on after about 3 seconds. Slightly longer than normal but it came on and it was idling very low and the voltage was only 12.1V which is battery voltage. I let it idle for a couple minutes to see if it would fix itself and it did not so I just drove on my way and it was fine. Here's a couple pictures of the high and low idle while I was doing it's thing.

Image
Image




My friend says it's probably either the IAC or a vacuum leak but it's so strange that it immediately did this after removing all the grounds and cleaning them with sandpaper. The ground to the transmission was a bit mangled so I cut if off and crimped a new ring on it.

Image
Image



I'm going to spray some brake cleaner on the vacuum lines next week and see if I can find a leak. I'll finish cleaning whatever grounds are left. What a pain in the ass. I just want to drive my subaru again. It idles so nicely.

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91 SS EJ20G Engine/Tranny/Diff Swap Build Thread Here
"Your testes are close to your bottom but you still play with them all the time." Jeremy Clarkson


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