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
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.