1998 Metro 4Cyl/Manual ->Lo Speed Noise & Power Loss - 1st, 2nd & Reverse

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I have a 1998 Chevrolet Metro with 4 Cylinder engine and manual transaxle. It has 42,000 miles on it. I bought this car in 2001 with 22,000 miles on it. It had been totaled and fixed by a "dealer" who does this for a living. I don't know if this could be related to the trouble.

Several months ago, I noticed a slight "slippage" feeling in first gear when starting from sitting still up the steep grade on the road we live on. I heard a slight "low" sound. Over time, this have become more noticible, louder and is now affecting additional gears.

Now, Reverse and 1st have about the same slippage (I don't know if slippage is the correct word. It doesn't seem to move too much and then suddenly does while making a loud, low freq rumble or vibration.) I have recently noticed this is second gear. Today, I noticed that if I am cruising in third gear at a low speed, I hear a similar rumble.

Yesterday, I noticed that if the car was sitting and idling, a similar "roar" sound comes from the engine compartment. If I push the a/c button to turn the A/C "off", the sound stops. If, with the a/c "off", I increase rpms to approximate the engine speed (I have no tach) the a/c increase it to I notice no such noise. I assume the engine speed is not the problem. Perhaps increased load on the engine?

I don't know what the problem is, only that it is getting worse.


My "Haynes" manual has several symptoms in the "troubleshooting" section, but nothing that really fits the problem:

14 - Engine lacks power - Clutch slipping - It has plenty of power when it stops slipping (perhaps a fraction of a second).

32 - Clutch slips (engine speed increases with no increase in vehicle speed) - Since it stops slipping (if indeed, that is what it is doing), I don't know if it is really a clutch problem.

33 - Grabbing (chattering) as clutch is engaged - I wouldn't catagorize it as chattering, although it might be considered grabbing.

38 - Knocking noise at low speeds (worn CV or driveaxle bore) - I don't know if I would call it a knocking noise.

42 - Vibration (Worn CV joint) - There IS a vibration, but don't know what to call it.

43 - Noisy in neutral with engine running - There is noise ONLY with the a/c on.

45 - Noisy in all gears (insufficient lubricant/damaged or worn bearings/worn or damaged input gear shaft) - So far, no noise in 4th or 5th.

56 - Shudder or Vibration during acceleration (Sticking inboard CV joint assembly) - There is something like this when FIRST changing gears or starting out in first gear.


I appreciate any help or advice anyone might give to me. I think that I need to know a little more of what the problem might be before I take the car to a mechanic.


posted by  Crazy Old Man

Difficult to say however based on your description of one problem, my first guess is the clutch.

First thing to do is get two pliers and tighten up the linkage wire. There should be an arm on top of the transmission near the front drivers side of the car with the hood open, and a wire held in it with two nuts. Eliminate that likeliehood first.

Next most likely is the cv joints. I feel a slip in my geo in hard take offs in 1st, and it is the cv joints literally flexing. The things are pencil thing. Does it not have a problem if u accellerate really slow?

There are 3 belt operated things in a metro, there is a water pump, an alternator and an ac. Mine doesnt have the ac... so the belt is just the alternator belt.

I believe when there is ac on the metro, it shares a pully with the water pump but not with the alternator. so um... at low rpm the water pump is making noise possibly? I cant diagnose nose from a forum I havent had a lot of success trying.

Hitting the ac, makes the engine run at higher rpm.
Whats weird, is my geo shakes at idle so I hit the gas. But that is because mine is 3 cylinder and the counterwight doesnt kick in in low rps enough. Yours doesnt have that problem or possible solution its a 4 cylinder....

posted by  stamar

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