Rusty EVAP vacuum switch valve

Technical info on the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix including do-it-yourself info
fba
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:17 pm

Rusty EVAP vacuum switch valve

Postby fba » Wed Dec 31, 2014 11:09 am

Hi!
I recently bought a bright red 2003 Vibe GT. Unfortunately my first post here is not about proud pictures of my new baby but about fixing it.

I got a PO441 and PO446 code that the mechanic initially fixed by patching a pinhead sized vapor leak around the fuel cap. However, the PO446 came back a couple days later, which they then attributed to a faulty vacuum switch valve that's stuck open. They didn't have the part in stock, and I had to leave the next day to spend Christmas with family. Doing some research, I figured that I could probably replace the valve myself and get it for relatively cheap from Amazon (Dorman 911-601 Toyota Vacuum Switching Valve for $25, fits 2003 Toyota Matrix. So should be fine for the Vibe, right?), saving some bugs for Christmas presents.

Finally getting around to actually looking underneath the car, I experienced myself what the mechanic meant with excessive rust issues. The screw that attaches the valve to the charcoal canister is rusted on and didn't budge a bit (see picture). I tried WD-40, tapping on it etc. but with it being so inaccessible, I wasn't able to put any pressure on the screw and I'm just starting to strip it altogether. So I figured, I could just try to get the whole charcoal canister assembly off. But trying to undo the four little screws, I twisted one of them off (see picture). The three big screws didn't really move at all. And before breaking the wrench or my fingers, I figured I should get some more advice before moving on.

Searching around some more, I found people talking about the same issue. Their solution is to just zip tie the new valve to the old one, and don't even bother with the screw. Does that sound like a good workaround to you? How well will the zip ties hold up down there? Also, because I might be leaving the country in three years, would that affect the resale value much?

Disclaimer: I feel like a very versatile handy man and fix all kinds of things around the house. Still, this is my first time working on a car. So I'm not very car savvy, but it doesn't seem a lot different to me with the right instructions, as long as it doesn't involve any safety related parts.

Thanks so much for your help with this issue!

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trb
Posts: 1667
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Location: Houston, TX

Re: Rusty EVAP vacuum switch valve

Postby trb » Wed Dec 31, 2014 10:34 pm

Welcome! We will excuse the lack of pictures for now, as we know making sure your car is running right is the priority! :D

I'm getting the same codes and check engine light on my "new" 03 GT also, but just haven't had a chance to get under it and look at it. I did some research on the valve, and found some people that were able to clean it and get more life from it, but I guess if the valve is available for $25, I will just replace it too. I think using zip ties is a good idea. We already use them for other things on the car, like splash shields and such, so it should work to hold the valve in place. I didn't even think about it, but as long as you can still connect the vacuum lines it needs, it should work out well.

I just checked that part myself, and it does look to be a fit on a 2003 Matrix XRS, which is the Vibe GT twin. I'll take a look at it tomorrow before I order it and see what I think.

Good luck with it!
Thomas
the "Mustang Guy"
1987 5.0 LX Mustang
2016 Mustang GT - current daily
2004 Satellite Vibe &
2009 Red Vibe GT -twin's cars
2003 Neptune Vibe GT - prior daily
2010 Red Vibe GT - RIP 6/16/14
2006 Platinum Vibe - son's car

fba
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:17 pm

Re: Rusty EVAP vacuum switch valve

Postby fba » Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:43 pm

Thanks so much for your fast reply! Because of the slightly different arrangement of the in- and outgoing tubes on the new valve, one of the old hoses will be too short to connect. But buying a replacement apparently is no big deal. Do you have an idea which hose is input or output on the old valve? I don't have access to a service manual (yet) to read up on that.

I was first thinking about cleaning the valve as well. Also because apparently it could be an indicator if the charcoal canister needs to be replaced/cleaned, if there are charcoal bits in the valve itself. But seeing that I can't get the valve off, it doesn't seem like a viable option after all. I was looking into drilling the screw out with an extractor kit. But I don't see how I could reach it with a drill without taking off the whole assembly, which seems just as big a challenge. Is there another way to test if the charcoal canister has any life in it still? The car has 90,000 miles on it - one reason it was such a good deal despite some of its shortcomings.

Also, instead of taking the screw off, I was wondering if I should try to just somehow cut the metal strip the valve is attached to. It seems to serve no other purpose. But zip-tie just sounds like such an elegant and easy solution. I just don't want to scare away potential buyers in the future. Would zip-ties be an acceptable workaround for professional car mechanics or would they flag it during a pre-sale inspection?

Thanks so much for your help and a Happy New Year to you all!

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lannvouivre
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Re: Rusty EVAP vacuum switch valve

Postby lannvouivre » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:39 am

fba wrote:Thanks so much for your fast reply! Because of the slightly different arrangement of the in- and outgoing tubes on the new valve, one of the old hoses will be too short to connect. But buying a replacement apparently is no big deal. Do you have an idea which hose is input or output on the old valve? I don't have access to a service manual (yet) to read up on that.
Toyota likes to label them.

Go buy some PB Blaster to unseize that screw. WD-40 is honestly terrible for breaking loose rusty parts in comparison to any product meant for that job; WD-40 is only really good for repelling water.

If you have to, try getting a hammer and beating a screwdriver with a good, sharp point into the screw. Hit it pretty hard so you can reshape the metal and create a better grip. If you need more space under the car without lifting it, you can park it so one side is up on a curb.

(Don't lift it onto cinderblocks because they could crumble, drop the car, and either kill you or make you wish you were dead.)
"If you don't love me at my diddliest, you don't deserve me at my doodliest." - User ktluvscricket of reddit

fba
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:17 pm

Re: Rusty EVAP vacuum switch valve

Postby fba » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:40 am

lannvouivre wrote:Toyota likes to label them.

I haven't been able to get the old one out yet. That's why I was asking, as I can't read the labels on the old unit.

lannvouivre wrote:If you have to, try getting a hammer and beating a screwdriver with a good, sharp point into the screw. Hit it pretty hard so you can reshape the metal and create a better grip. If you need more space under the car without lifting it, you can park it so one side is up on a curb.

It seems like the metal strip the valve is attached to would just absorb the impact if I hit the screw with a hammer. Also a reason why I can't put a lot of pressure on it with the screwdriver. And I have enough space to work under the car, but the curb sounds like a good idea when I don't have a ramp available. It's rather the crowdedness of the tubes and such that makes the screw so hard to reach.

I'll give PB Blaster a try and see if I can get it out. In the worst case I can still just use zip ties I guess :)

If no one else has objections to the Dorman valve, I'll probably just go ahead and try my luck. Thanks so much for your help. I'll report back about my success/failure :)

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vibrologist
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Location: Iowa

Re: Rusty EVAP vacuum switch valve

Postby vibrologist » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:34 am

PB Blaster is definitely better than WD-40. If you have some brake cleaner or acetone handy you could first spray that solvent on and immediately, before the solvent dries, follow up with PB Blaster. The solvent gets into the cracks fast and pulls some of the PB Blaster along before it evaporates.
Vibrologist
'05 Vibe

"It is important to know the difference between 'accurate' and 'precise' even if you are neither!"

http://forums.genvibe.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=43476

fba
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:17 pm

Re: Rusty EVAP vacuum switch valve

Postby fba » Sat May 12, 2018 9:00 pm

Three years later finally following up on this. At least I can report on the long-term outcome.

I couldn't get the old valve off. Even with PB Blaster the screws wouldn't budge. So I just zip-tied the new one to the old one and connected all the tubes. It works like a charm even after three years and roughly 50k miles.

Thanks (very belatedly) for all the help!


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