VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Technical info on the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix including do-it-yourself info
302LVR
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VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby 302LVR » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:51 pm

Hello all. I was recently involved in a small crash where my 03' vibe gt hydroplaned in the rain on the highway going around 60-65mph and sent me sliding into a concrete divider before hitting it head on and bouncing off of it and into a small ditch. Luckily i wasn't injured and the car wasn't severely damaged just some minor front-end stuff. Shortly after i got off and assessed the damage, i got back in the car and tried starting it up but it would turn over but wouldn't start so i waited a few minutes. After about 10 minutes i attempted again and this time it started so i started driving slowly to see if the car would pull or anything and it wasn't so i started driving as i was still about 30 miles from home.

When i was about 15 miles from home i started hearing a noise from the engine bay so i pulled over thinking maybe my serpentine belt had been damaged and was about to fall apart. Belt checked out fine and the noise ended up being that an hid ballast from my fog lights was slightly dragging on the street and at this time i noticed my radiator had been punctured and had pretty much leaked all the coolant out. This is where the mystery takes place. My coolant temp gauge never went above half while driving yet when i went to start the car after it being parked for about 30 minutes, it WOULDN'T start and my coolant temp gauge was all the way on the top or HOT part.

I proceeded to wait another 30 minutes and this time the gauge went back down to the cold side but the car never turned back on so i went ahead and called a tow-truck to not risk anymore damage to the engine. Today i tried starting it up again and same thing, it just turns over but sounds weak and doesn't wanna start. I doubt it's my timing chain or that the car blew the head gasket since i have clean engine oil. Does anyone know of a FUEL SHUT-OFF switch or inertia switch that may have killed fuel flow to the engine or anything that may have killed my ignition after the impact? I checked out all fuses in the engine fuse box and they're all ok. Tomorrow i'll try n switch some relays around but any feedback would be appreciated as this car is pretty new to me. Thanks in advance.

jolt
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby jolt » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:36 pm

...at this time i noticed my radiator had been punctured and had pretty much leaked all the coolant out. This is where the mystery takes place. My coolant temp gauge never went above half while driving yet when i went to start the car after it being parked for about 30 minutes, it WOULDN'T start and my coolant temp gauge was all the way on the top or HOT part.


Your not going to like this. The temp gauge is made to read the coolant temperature. When there is no coolant in the system, or at least not enough to cover the temp sensor, all the gauge will show is how hot the sensor is in the void of the water jacket. When you parked it for 30 minutes it gave the temp sensor time to absorb more heat from the cylinder head casting making the temp gauge peg out. This is how hot the engine got. A lot of things get damaged from over heating the engine. Wrapped cylinder head which can lead to leaking head gasket, binding camshaft, cracked cylinder head or block, and the for sure thing with an engine that has been run for 15 miles with no coolant in it is the piston rings will be ruined. The overheating removes the tension from the rings and the motor will suck oil big time. The rings in cars these days are low tension rings to reduce drag, added horse power, and add fuel mileage. It does not take much heat to kill the rings.

Did you add water to the cooling system before you tried to restart the engine? Never add water to a hot engine with out having the motor running. This is another way of cracking a cylinder head. The shock of the cool water into the hot system can crack at casting. Always have the engine running when adding water to a hot engine so that the cool water can gradually mix with the hot water as it flow by.

Head gaskets do not always blow out to the oiling ports. You can blow the gasket from the cooling jacket to the cylinder or blow the gasket between cylinders. I have not even looked into the Vibe having a inertia fuel shut off switch because you drove the car 15 miles after the crash so the fuel was not shut off from the accident. Pull the spark plugs and do a compression test on each cylinder. Check your wiring to see if the hit may have loosen or pulled some connections apart. Also check the wiring on the engine because if it badly overheated, you may have melted wiring and/or wiring connectors. Check wiring to coil packs and fuel injectors which you can do when you do a compression test. Most cars would not have made it two miles with out any coolant in the system.
Last edited by jolt on Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

302LVR
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby 302LVR » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:59 pm

^^^The coolant may have leaked out slowly because once i added water after like 30 minutes of the car cooling down it leaked the water very slowly. I'm aware as well that cold water shouldn't be added to a hot radiator right away. Also, it was raining when i was driving so hopefully it helped keep temps on the radiator core a little cooler. The car never felt like it was losing power when i drove it and i also pulled the dipstick and the oil was nice n clean so hopefully i'm thinking that the head gasket didn't go. I will do a compression test though just to be on the safe side since i'm aware of the possible piston ring or head gasket damage. I'm also hoping that it's some wiring that got cut in the process and not an overheat issue as i've already found a few wires that were cut or pulled apart after removing the front bumper and headlights. Thanks for the help and pointers though, i'll definitely do some more damage inspection now that the front clip is off basically.

jolt
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby jolt » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:25 pm

You may want to pull the ECM and the fuse box from the engine bay. Inspect the ECM for any signs of damage to the wiring, connectors, and the board. The fuse box has wiring under the box and inspect that too. Not knowing how hard it hit, the engine may have rocked in the engine mounts and pulled on the wiring. Also check your engine mounts to make sure they do not get damaged. The basic things needed to make an engine run is spark, fuel, and compression.

302LVR
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby 302LVR » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:55 pm

I will check up on all that soon, hopefully tomorrow. Can you tell where the ECM is located? I was under the impression its mounted behind the center console on the dashboard but i'm not 100% sure as i haven't searched it up. Thanks for any help once again.

jolt
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby jolt » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:26 pm

You can forget what I said about the ECM, my mistake, I thought you had a '09. Be sure to test your fuses too.

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Salsa Guy
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby Salsa Guy » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:02 pm

Check the Am1 and EFI fuses. One's under the hood and one under the dash.
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302LVR
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby 302LVR » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:53 pm

Will do when i get a chance. Thanks.

302LVR
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby 302LVR » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:57 pm

UPDATE: I carefully checked all fuses both in engine area and under dash and found no blown fuses or anything that didn't look right. I also traced many wires going into bundles as well as going to important sensors like crankshaft pos, airbag, etc. The car still just cranks over but won't fire or start. Does anyone know if there's a fuse or relay for the ECM alone? I have a feeling the car may not be getting certain signals from the ECM since today i plugged my OBD code reader and it told me there was a connection error even with ignition/acc ON. It looks like the scanner wouldn't read the ECM.

Finally, if anyone knows what the minimum and maximum compression readings are when performing a compression test please let me know the specs or where i can find the info. Thanks for any input gents.

302LVR
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby 302LVR » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:59 am

I was also wondering if the ECM off a Celica GTS works on my 03' being that they're both 2zz-ge powered. I saw a gts at my local junkyard the other day i went so was considering this as a worst case scenario in case my ecm went bad. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

jolt
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby jolt » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:20 am

Compression should be around 120 psi but the important thing is how even the pressure is across all the cylinders.

Try a different scanner if you have not had that scanner plugged into your car before.

I highly doubt the Celica uses the same ECM. If it is not the same part number on the ECM, it will not work. If it is the same part number, it may or may not work. The ECM is programmed to your vehicles VIN number and will not work in a different VIN vehicle without being re-programmed for the VIN number. The car will start and run for about 3 to 5 seconds and then quit.

You need gas, spark, and compression to run as I stated before. The spark side of it has to occur at the proper time too. So which of these don't you have?

302LVR
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby 302LVR » Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:48 pm

Well, unfortunately what i feared the most has happened. Ran a few compression tests, even with different gauges to make sure it was right and i got low compression on 3 cylinders so seems like i have a blown head gasket. I have spark and fuel so that would explain why the car sounds lazy when cranking it and it won't fire up. If anyone on here has a link or PDF for the repair manual i would greatly appreciate it as it looks like i will be doing the labor myself. Unless you guys recommend a Haynes manual instead just let me know if there's any links or PDFs of this manual available for free. I'm a pretty good DIYer but i've never taken apart a 2zz-ge so i just wanna make sure i'm doing everything correct and i have all the proper torque specs and tips, etc. Thanks in advance for any help.

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lannvouivre
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Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby lannvouivre » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:09 am

The 2ZZ head is a nightmare that apparently most professionals can't successfully reassemble properly. I don't have access to a manual at all, sooo... But I thought you might need to know.
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302LVR
Posts: 56
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Location: South Florida

Re: VIBE GT CRANKS BUT WON'T START

Postby 302LVR » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:29 pm

I've looked around and have asked plenty and luckily got some help from other members on here. Also recently found out that MWR(MonkeyWrenchRacing) has the repair manual for Celicas on their site in PDF form and its very similar to what needs to be done on the vibe. I will be embarking on this project soon as soon as i have some free time. Hope that info can help someone else in the future.


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