Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

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brandon4987
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:30 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by brandon4987 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:54 pm

I've posted previously in individual threads, but figured I'd just start a thread to update as I progress along. I inherited a 2004 Vibe Base model from my girlfriend that has somewhere north of 300,000 miles on it. If you're not aware the odometer caps out at 299k. She drove it for a least a year after she hit the limit, so if I had to estimate it's probably close to about 320,000. It needed some work and due to the age, mileage, and the inspection expiring, she decided to get another car. For the life of the vehicle, she had bunk inspection tags I jokingly said to her why don't you just get another Vibe> as this car had been extremely reliable throughout the 100k+ miles of driving she'd put on it. Low and behold that's exactly what she ended up doing. She was happy to get a gray one and say goodbye to the electric pumpkin orange lol. I actually don't mind the color and the paint has held up exceptionally well for the age and mileage.

There were a couple problems right off the bat to address that I started with. Having a look under the engine bay showed obvious leaking at the valve cover gasket. I started there and while doing so installed some fresh spark plugs as well. This led me to the underside of the car where I found the oil pan gasket was leaking as well. Not only this but a local auto shop had stripped the drain plug hole when doing an oil change for her and did a crappy fix on it that didn't hold. I went ahead and replaced both the pan and gasket which was easy enough. The only trouble I ran into was the crossmember blocking a couple of the bolts on the pan. You can remove two bolts from the front of the crossmember and a couple from the back and then push it out of the way to get to these two.

Next, I could hear obvious exhaust leaks coming from multiple spots. I took my shop vac and reversed the hose so it blows air outwards, then shoved it in the tail pipe and taped it up to seal it. I then grabbed a spray bottle with soapy water and sprayed down the entire exhaust system. I found the leaking at both the exhaust manifold and in between the stretch of pipe after the catalytic converter running into resonator. I decided to start with the manifold. The nuts holding the heat shields on were completely rusted. I couldn't get a socket on without it slipping off so I picked up a bolt extractor kit from good old harbor freight and got them right off. This led me to the next un-fun discovery that the nuts holding the manifold were totally rusted at well. I was able to get 3 out of 5 off with the bolt extractors, but had no luck with the remaining two. I tried PB Blaster, torches, candle wax, quenching, and every other trick in the book, but they simply would not budge. I ended up purchasing a stud extract tool as I figured I might be able to get the studs out instead. I torqued it down tight and boom... the stud snapped right in half. Feeling desperate and determined at this point, I took an angle grinder and was able to cut 1 of the 2 nuts off. I tried to do the same to the last one, but simply could't fit the grinder in the right position to do so. Winter came at this point, and with no garage I stopped working on it. Over the winter I picked up some new tools including a harbor freight flux core welder that I snagged on Craigslist For $50 new in the box. I figured at that price I could find some use for it and always had wanted to learn some basic welding skills. Once Winter had finally gone, I decided to start working on the vibe again. I put the welder to use right away and welded on both studs which then turned right out. I pulled the manifold out with joy like it was king Arthur's sword which revealed a huge crack in it... I bought a replacement manifold to install The two studs were toast so I went to the auto store to pickup some new ones and found none that would fit correctly. I'm (removed) about certain things and was determined to do this right as I didn't want to chance dealing with a future leak. After a ton of research online I was able to find the correct stud and purchased it from a local Toyota dealer. I installed the new studs, new manifold gasket, and the manifold. Since I had to unbolt the cat I went ahead and replaced the exhaust donut between it and the manifold as well. This just left the section of pipe between the manifold and resonator to fix. I cut a small section of pipe out. I then bought an exhaust adapter which I proceeded to unsuccessfully weld in. After dealing with massive leaks, I bought another adapter and opted for clamps this time instead. I used some Permatex exhaust putty before clamping and it sealed up nice. I checked the entire exhaust system again and was relieved to have eliminated both of the leaks.


One thing that always drove me nuts about riding with my girlfriend was how much the car would vibrate. I'd never been in a car that vibrated so hard when idling in reverse or drive. She was able to tolerate it, but it drove me nuts. After poking around under the car and watching the engine while revving it and shifting gears, I saw a lot of engine movement. This led to replacing all motor mounts. I bought a kit of four and decided to do the rear first as I'd heard it was a pain. Between tight space and awkward positioning it's just not a good time. The old mount came out easily enough, but I was struggling hard with the replacement. I found similar complaints online and the Anchor mount had too much material which was preventing it from easily dropping in. I took my angle grinder and shaved it to match to the OEM mount and got it in eventually. I moved onto the front and side mounts which were a piece of cake. I test drove the car after and was pumped that the brain rattling vibration was all gone.


Another minor annoyance was lack of air flow from the vents in the car. I'd originally though maybe the blower motor resistor was bad, but the speed did change when switching the controls, the output was just pathetic. I dug around behind the glove box to pull out the cabin air filter which came out in about 50 pieces with leaves, and all kinds of junk. This immediately solved the issue and the vents were blowing strong now.


This is where I'm at currently and here's a list of future fixes I will be taking care of.

Various front suspension components to replace including sway bar link stabilizer, ball joints, tie rods
Steering Wheel Clock spring needs replaced
Change all fluids and filters
replace section of air intake rotted out
AC not working
no radio
numerous interior lights not working
headlights need restored

there's more that I can't recall at the moment and I'm sure I'll discover more along the way. Sorry for no pictures as I had no plans of posting any of this before I came to the forum looking for some information. I will do my best to take and upload pictures to share going forward. This has been a fun project and great learning experience so far. If any one has any questions, feel free to ask away.

Bookworm
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:21 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by Bookworm » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:13 pm

Glad to hear you're making progress, and that the Vibe is now running smoothly.

Have you done a drain and fill on the transmission? (I don't know if that's included in 'change the fluids', or if you did it when you did the oil)

You should also fill out the rest of your profile - at least to a general location. It can help when people try to give advise. Gulf Coast advice isn't the same as Northern Minnesota advice.

brandon4987
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:30 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by brandon4987 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:56 pm

Bookworm wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:13 pm
Glad to hear you're making progress, and that the Vibe is now running smoothly.

Have you done a drain and fill on the transmission? (I don't know if that's included in 'change the fluids', or if you did it when you did the oil)

You should also fill out the rest of your profile - at least to a general location. It can help when people try to give advise. Gulf Coast advice isn't the same as Northern Minnesota advice.
I have not done a drain and fill of the transmission yet. That's going to be included in change the fluids/filters. It's not currently inspected so other than quick test runs around the block its not being driven. I went ahad and updated my profile. In the good old rust belt. Fluid film on all my cars once a year to stop them from rusting out.

Bookworm
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:21 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by Bookworm » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:20 am

Mustie1 (youtube) uses Bar chain oil, I believe.

zbyers
Posts: 556
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:12 pm
Location: Sheffield, Pennsylvania

Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by zbyers » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:32 am

Nice to hear you are keeping this ol' lady on the road. She can still run for a long time if you take care of her. There is a member on the Facebook page with somewhere north of 500k before he had to replace the engine.

Where in PA are you? We have a wide variety of members around the state. We are also doing the GenVibe Meet in Bradford, PA in June. Info is in my signature.
(2) '03 Bases, '03 GT, '04 AWD, '06 AWD, '07 Base, '09 AWD
GenVibe on Facebook, Everything You Need To Know About Vibes, Great How-To Index
GenVibe Meet 2019

brandon4987
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:30 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by brandon4987 » Wed May 01, 2019 7:02 pm

zbyers wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:32 am
Nice to hear you are keeping this ol' lady on the road. She can still run for a long time if you take care of her. There is a member on the Facebook page with somewhere north of 500k before he had to replace the engine.

Where in PA are you? We have a wide variety of members around the state. We are also doing the GenVibe Meet in Bradford, PA in June. Info is in my signature.
500k is insane, i'd be thrilled to get 100k out of it. My girlfriend and I camp and fish a lot and think it will work well for that compared to my daily driver sedan. I'm Southeastern about 40 minutes west of Philly. Never heard of Sheffield so google mapped it looks to be about 5 hours away from us lol. Sometimes I forget how massive PA is!

zbyers
Posts: 556
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Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by zbyers » Thu May 02, 2019 3:51 am

brandon4987 wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 7:02 pm
500k is insane, i'd be thrilled to get 100k out of it. My girlfriend and I camp and fish a lot and think it will work well for that compared to my daily driver sedan. I'm Southeastern about 40 minutes west of Philly. Never heard of Sheffield so google mapped it looks to be about 5 hours away from us lol. Sometimes I forget how massive PA is!
They are great for camping. Lay down all of the seats, and you have a bed. Yeah, PA is massive. I believe from Erie to Philly, which is basically diagonally across the state, is 7 hours by the interstate. Could you imagine taking the scenic route?! :lol:
(2) '03 Bases, '03 GT, '04 AWD, '06 AWD, '07 Base, '09 AWD
GenVibe on Facebook, Everything You Need To Know About Vibes, Great How-To Index
GenVibe Meet 2019

Bookworm
Posts: 209
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Location: Houston, TX

Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by Bookworm » Thu May 02, 2019 8:55 am

zbyers wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 3:51 am
brandon4987 wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 7:02 pm
500k is insane, i'd be thrilled to get 100k out of it. My girlfriend and I camp and fish a lot and think it will work well for that compared to my daily driver sedan. I'm Southeastern about 40 minutes west of Philly. Never heard of Sheffield so google mapped it looks to be about 5 hours away from us lol. Sometimes I forget how massive PA is!
They are great for camping. Lay down all of the seats, and you have a bed. Yeah, PA is massive. I believe from Erie to Philly, which is basically diagonally across the state, is 7 hours by the interstate. Could you imagine taking the scenic route?! :lol:
Yes. I did that. Instead of the northern route, I took the southern route. Even my satellite radio was having problems finding things to talk to.

zbyers
Posts: 556
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:12 pm
Location: Sheffield, Pennsylvania

Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by zbyers » Fri May 03, 2019 3:30 am

Bookworm wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 8:55 am
zbyers wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 3:51 am
brandon4987 wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 7:02 pm
500k is insane, i'd be thrilled to get 100k out of it. My girlfriend and I camp and fish a lot and think it will work well for that compared to my daily driver sedan. I'm Southeastern about 40 minutes west of Philly. Never heard of Sheffield so google mapped it looks to be about 5 hours away from us lol. Sometimes I forget how massive PA is!
They are great for camping. Lay down all of the seats, and you have a bed. Yeah, PA is massive. I believe from Erie to Philly, which is basically diagonally across the state, is 7 hours by the interstate. Could you imagine taking the scenic route?! :lol:
Yes. I did that. Instead of the northern route, I took the southern route. Even my satellite radio was having problems finding things to talk to.
You'd have an even worse time in the northern route. It's not abnormal for me to lose cell service totally in most areas around here. It is beautiful though, so I can't complain toooooo much.
(2) '03 Bases, '03 GT, '04 AWD, '06 AWD, '07 Base, '09 AWD
GenVibe on Facebook, Everything You Need To Know About Vibes, Great How-To Index
GenVibe Meet 2019

brandon4987
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:30 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by brandon4987 » Thu May 16, 2019 6:03 pm

Over the past couple weekends I finally had time to redo the front suspension. It was a pretty easy & straightforward job. I replaced the control arms, balls joints, inner & outer tie rods, strut assemblies, and stabilizer link bars. I went with all Moog parts minus the struts and everything fit great. Ran into trouble with a couple of spots that I'll share for anyone attempting this.

The stabilizer link bar nuts were rusted and impossible to get off so I ended up cutting them with a small angle grinder which made easy work of them. On the driver side control arm the front bolt is too long and is blocked by the transmission pan when trying to take it out. You'll need to temporarily remove the bolts/nuts holding the front motor mount and driver side transmission mount in. Once they're free carefully jack up the transmission with a wood block to give enough clearance for the control arm bolt. I bought Monroe quick struts and when torquing the mounting bolts that attach the strut assembly to the body one of the studs snapped. I was surprised as I went off factory specs. I was able to press the broken stud out with a ball joint press and socket and opted to replace it with a bolt and nut instead. The brake dust shields were rusted to nothing. I opted to remove them and am not going to bother replacing them. The steering knuckles were pretty rusty so while I had everything apart I went ahead and cleaned them up with a wire brush. I then cleaned them and hit them with a couple coats of rustoleom rusty metal primer, then finished them with flat black rustoleom. I also hit the wheel hubs and rotors with rust remover.

After getting everything back together I took the car for a spin and what a world of difference. Before it was clunking and very sloppy. All clunks are gone, the ride is much smoother, and feels much better to drive. Up next I'll be replacing a faulty steering wheel clock spring and throwing some new tires on it. Shouldn't be too much longer before it's ready to pass inspection. Attaching some pictures of the suspension along with this post.

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tpollauf
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Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by tpollauf » Fri May 17, 2019 12:40 pm

brandon4987 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:03 pm
After getting everything back together I took the car for a spin and what a world of difference. Before it was clunking and very sloppy. All clunks are gone, the ride is much smoother, and feels much better to drive.
Nice work! ;) Where did you purchase your parts from? Total cost of this repair? My 2004 Vibe GT has the same symptoms and has a lot of "clunking" going on so I'll be doing this and possible more depending on what I find.
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brandon4987
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Re: Fixing up 2004 Vibe repair thread

Post by brandon4987 » Sat May 18, 2019 5:16 am

tpollauf wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 12:40 pm
brandon4987 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:03 pm
After getting everything back together I took the car for a spin and what a world of difference. Before it was clunking and very sloppy. All clunks are gone, the ride is much smoother, and feels much better to drive.
Nice work! ;) Where did you purchase your parts from? Total cost of this repair? My 2004 Vibe GT has the same symptoms and has a lot of "clunking" going on so I'll be doing this and possible more depending on what I find.

Total came out to $517. All parts were purchased through RockAuto. It's become my favorite site for ordering parts online. I typically price compare between them and other websites and while they're almost always the cheapest, their shipping can sometimes make it more expensive than buying from other sites. For this specific job and pricing the same parts Amazon was over $100 more. One other bonus I've found with them is incredibly fast shipping. I think this is due to where I live in relation to their warehouse, but I've literally had some orders arrive the day after purchasing. Also a tip, If you look around online you can usually find coupons for 5% off your order which I took advantage of here.

Keep in mind I went with all MOOG parts (with the exception of the quick strut assemblies) and you could definitely get this done cheaper using "economy" parts. Probably would run about $300 in that case. Attaching receipt with part numbers for reference.

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