When I bought the Metro I knew it was running horribly and I was pretty sure it needed at least new exhaust valves. I did a compression check and found:

Dry / Wet
Cyl #1 - 40 / 45
Cyl #2 - 85 / 110
Cyl #3 - 190 / 230

In addition to the lousy compression the tranny also made a grinding noise when it was out of gear with the clutch out. So, after only a couple of weeks of driving the car I started tearing it down. It ended up being a job that lasted over five weeks (I'm pretty slow). I'll use this page to describe what I did and hopefully help out others who are going to be rebuilding their engines. Please note that I jumped around a bit during this project so some of the pictures/descriptions may be a little out of synch time wise. This is a pretty big page so it may be a little rough for a while. I'll clean it up and correct any factual information on it as I get time. I'd also like to add some things like torque values, etc to the page.

I purchased most of my engine parts from partsdinosaur.com and I cannot say enough positive things about this company. I goofed up and ordered the wrong stuff and they were very helpful in getting the problem taken care of for me and getting the right stuff shipped out. The parts came in a very timely manner and I recommend him for all your Metro rebuilds. Engine parts from partsdinosaur.com ($328.55 not including shipping):

+.020 pistons and rings - $87
main bearings - $20
rod bearings - $18
thrust bearings - $7
head bolts - $22
timing belt tensioner - $29
water pump - $29
full gasket set - $38
timing belt - $14
oil pump - $70
water pump - $29

I ordred my +10 degree cam sprocket and economy grind camshaft from 3Tech. I sent my cores to him (I am in the US and he is in Canada) and a month later they still had not reached him. Instead of making me wait he sent my "new" parts out before even getting my old stuff. Thanks 3Tech!

The Sachs clutch kit was ordered from speedycarparts.com ($122.51 shipped) and contained the clutch disc, throwout bearing, pilot bearing, pressure plate, and clutch tool.

The engine bore and hone was done by Don's Machine Shop in Moncks Corner, SC. The work was $95.

The rebuilt head came from homemechanic08 off ebay. I paid $204 shipped.

The output shaft seals came from Advance Auto. I paid $14.

Engine torque specs for a 1993 Geo:
Camshaft bearing cap bolts....96 in-lbs
Camshaft sprocket bolt........44 ft-lbs
Cylinder head bolts...........54 ft-lbs
Crankshaft pulley bolt........96 in-lbs
Crankshaft timing gear bolt...81 ft-lbs
Crankshaft sprocket bolt .....52 ft-lbs
Connecting Rod Bearing Cap....40 ft-lbs
Distributor gear case.........96 in-lbs
Exhaust manifold..............17 ft-lbs
Intake manifold...............17 ft-lbs
Flywheel bolts................45 ft-lbs
Oil Pickup tube bolt..........97 in-lbs
Oil Pickup Bracket bolt.......97 in-lbs
Oil Pump to block.............97 in-lbs
Oil pan.......................97 in-lbs
Coolant pump pulley...........18 ft-lbs
Rear main seal retainer.......99 in-lbs
Timing belt tensioner bolt....20 ft-lbs
Timing belt tensioner nut.....97 in-lbs
Valve cover...................96 in-lbs

******* More to come. Still working on the torque specs. If you see an error on these please let me know. ****************

Set the engine to top dead center (TDC):

Disconnect the battery and remove (including battery pan):

Drain the coolant and remove the hoses and radiator:

Remove air filter:

Believe it or not, I took 470 pictures during the project (over 100 are on this webpage). I labeled both sides of everything with masking tape and took a picture of it so I won't forget where anything goes. Remember, I have only owned the car for two weeks at this point and don't really know where stuff goes under the hood:

Remove the splash guard from the right side of the car for access to the crankshaft and pulley. Note the oil all over everything:

Remove the timing belt cover. I made sure I put the bolts back in the correct holes when I sat it aside:

Note the alignment of the timing pulley mark and the arrow on the engine (oil pump) at TDC:

Note the cam alignment mark at TDC:

Remove the exhaust manifold (I broke one of my bolts) and then remove the cam cover to get to the eight head bolts. The cam cover is removed by unscrewing the four 10MM bolts and then using a sharp screwdriver to unscrew the four seals (finish unscrewing them by hand once you have them loose):

You can see how much carbon build-up is on my pistons (NOTE the arrows on the pistons pointing to the front of the engine):

Head with the intake is now off. NOTE the arrows on the cam caps:

This engine was definitely rebuilt before. You can tell because they used the wrong head gasket (oil return holes in the upper corners are too small). Remember this, it will come up again :

You can see how burnt my exhaust valves were. This is why I had lousy compression and no power at all:

There is a check valve in the engine block. It just lifts out. DO NOT LOSE THIS:

Now that the head was off of the block I decided to take a look at the bottom end too. Pull the oil pan (NOTE - you have to remove a small plate that covers the bottom of the flywheel to get the pan off).

The bearing caps and connecting rod caps also have arrows on them pointing to the front of the engine:

Look what I found in cylinder #3 - a broken piston. This was the only cylinder that I had good compression on!:

Since I found a broken piston I guess I need to get the block checked for damage. It's time to start labelling hoses and connectors again. Believe me, when I put this stuff back together a month later I was really glad I took these pictures:

To get the block out of the car you have to pull the output shafts out of the transmission. I jacked up the car and put it on jackstands. Notice that I have a car lift on the other side of the garage. I have no idea why I didn't use it (too lazy to pull my wife's Miata off of it I guess). NOTE the thick coating of oil on the suspension and body work. Is this why the car is so free of rust in the normal places?:

I had removed the 1 1/4" wheel bearing nut in order to get the output shafts from the tranny but later found out it is easier to just unbolt the bottom ball joint bolt and wack it with a hammer. In any event, you must swing the brake rotor out of the way in order to get the output shafts free of the tranny:

Wow, the engine/tranny is finally out. I say finally because it too me 12 hours of work (stretched out over 9 days) to get to this point:

Undo the bolts to separate the engine from the tranny. Time to clean:

Need to clean some on the tranny too. I used the time tested method of gasoline and an old paint brush:

Now that everything is squeaky clean it is time to pull the crank caps off. NOTE that I have a 1x2 piece of wood to help hold everything in place when I break the crank timing gear bolt. My impact wrench was not doing very well on this (I bought another one AFTER the job was complete) so I had to use a long cheater bar. The funny looking stuff on the crank shaft bearing spots is a piece of cut up pipe insulation I used to protect the crank shaft:

The crank key looks good. This is a trouble spot with a Miata, which I am more familiar with than a Geo, so I definitely took a close look at this:

Once the crank was removed from the block the engine was taken to a machine shop to get the roundness checked. It was out of tolerance .003" on one of the cylinders so I had it bored out .020" (that is why larger pistons and rings were ordered).
Pulling the oil pump:

Pulling the rear main seal assembly:

I took a ton of pictures like this where I am pointing to the bolts I am getting ready to remove:

After the bolts are out I line them up in the order they go back in so I can take note of which length goes where:

Then I stick them in and take another picture. This is why it took me five weeks of work and almost 500 pictures during the rebuild project. Hopefully I will get a few people telling me they appreciate the time I took and that it helped them with their rebuild:

Same thing on the back side of the engine (or is it the left side?). This is my first time working on a front wheel drive car so I don't know what you call it:

Now we are getting somewhere:

This is the first time I have rebuilt an engine and I have never actually seen thrust bearings. Notice that I am holding them up BACKWARDS in this picture. I am so happy I later found out the correct way they go in (grooves go towards the crank surface and away from the journals):

At this point in the project I was waiting on some of the engine parts and my clutch kit. I took this opportunity to clean up some rust that I found in the engine bay and to paint some of the accessories, bolts, etc.

Here's that oily suspension again:

Time to get in there and do some cleaning. I really wish my wife could figure out how to take a picture :

Well, I guess this is a nice one:

Hmmm, something seems vaguely familiar. Deja vous all over again!:


Fresh black paint does wonders for an engine bay:

Waiting on parts also gives me some time to fix a couple of bolts that were broken during disassembly. This tranny mounting bracket bolt snapped in half when I tried to take it out:

welding a nut on the end of it allowed me to remove it. Because of my horrible welding (my mask is broken so I have to do the old "shut your eyes" method) I had to do this twice to actually get the bolt out:

Working on some rust:

The cross member was easily the worst (I hope I don't find any worse) rust on the car:

I took off the surface rust with an angle grinder:


I also cut out the rusty stuff from the cross member:

After the rust was cut out of the cross member I got the really stupid idea of filling the hole with a piece of metal instead of just welding a plate OVER the hole. First I took a piece of paper and traced the shape of the hole on it:

Then I cut out a fresh piece of metal that shape:

After welding and painting (this took entirely too long and really looks bad):

Time to get out the rattle cans:

Flat black:

Sunrise red:

I also cleaned up and painted some of the accessories. Before:

After (better pictures with the alternator on the engine elsewhere on this page):

I still didn't have my engine parts but I did get my clutch stuff in so I started to work on that:

Geez, it is a good thing I decided to do this. I wasn't even going to change the clutch out at first but (it is hard to see this in the picture) but the pressure plate is completely trashed:

The reason? The clutch disc is worn all the way down to the rivots that hold it together:

Luckily the flywheel wasn't too bad. I probably should have had it resurfaced but this is just another in a long list of things I should have done (or screwed up) in this project:

I used a 3M Roloc disc on the flywheel furface:

After the Roloc treatment:

The clutch kit I used was a Sachs #K0108-02:

The new clutch disc (.300" thick) vs the old clutch disc (.205" thick):

I don't have a press (some say use a drill press but I didn't bother with it) so I just used a socket to press out the old pilot bearing:

The new pilot bearing is in (used a socket and a small hammer to tap it in):

The flywheel is now bolted back in. What's that you say? Make sure you put it back on with the same alignment with the crankshaft as it was when you took it off. Now you tell me!:

Clutch tool:

All back together:

Make sure you buy new output shaft seals. You definitely do not want to find a leak after putting everything back together:

Yea! The engine parts are in. Time to get back to work:

The block is bored and painted and ready for assembly:

I used assembly lube on all (well, almost all) moving parts:

New crank bearings and thrust washers (in the CORRECT alignment):

Torquing down the crank bearning caps:

Rear main seal gasket being held on by (what are those little cylindrical things called?):

After the gasket is on and the bolts are torqued (use Loctite) you have to cut away the extra gasket material so everything is flush on the oil pan sealing surface:

Same with the oil pump. Put the gasket on, loctite the bolts, and cut away the extra gasket material. The problem is that it is damn near impossible to get the oil pump on. I tried for 45 minutes until I figured out that I could use an old playing card to get the crank shaft to go through the seal correctly:

The playing card gave the just the right "shoehorn effect" to get the shaft through the seal without messing it up:

The old oil pump has two studs on it that you need to reclaim. This is why you ALWAYS save your old parts until the car is actually driving down the road. I just used two of the oil pan nuts to remove the studs:

Ah, that's pretty! Note that I didn't put the studs in yet because I wanted to keep the bottom of the engine flat:

I put some old hose (I think it was fuel line) over the connecting rod bolts to protect the crank. I later found out that I should have cleaned up the crank bearing surfaces with some light sandpaper. Why don't people tell you this BEFORE you finish the rebuild?:

This is what the old 150,000 mile bearings look like:

The block is now right-side up (sitting on some 2x4's to keep the low hanging crank off the table) waiting for the pistons/rings:

This is a diagram of the ring alignment:

The new rings are in color coded packages. The thin compression ring goes on top, the thicker ring in the middle, then two oil rings separated by a spacer on the bottom. NOTE - the 2nd compression ring (the thick one) is tapered at the top (mine had a smaller "step" at the top). Make sure you put it in the correct way!:

Soaking the pistons in ATF before sliding them in:

Ring compressor sitting squarely on the block. Another mistake I made - I am now hearing that I should have used some sort of tool to get the rings on the pistons instead of just walking them down like I did. I hope I didn't stretch them out or get them messed up somehow:

This is where the fuel hose protects you:

Yea! Piston #1 is in. I later had to pull it out (yes, I put the 2nd compression ring in upside down) as well as pulling out piston #2 (forgot to put a new connecting rod bearing on it). It took me FOUR HOURS to put three pistons in. I kept getting the ring compressor stuck in the block. I'm pretty sure this is a 30 minute job for a real mechanic:

After putting the pistons in I turned the engine over and installed the oil pickup tube. I didn't have an new "Geo" o-ring for it so I used one out of a set of o-rings I bought a long time ago at Harbor Freight. I sure hope it works. I'd hate to lose my engine 1000 miles from now over a $.50 oring:

A freshly painted oil pan is now on. Use red silicon, not a gasket:

My new water pump next to the old one:

Note the gap between the water pump and oil pump. Make sure you put the little rubber spacer/seal thing in there before you put on the timing cover:

The alternator looks much nicer after a fresh paint job:

The block and tranny are back in. I did this by myself but I should have waited for some help so I could have put the input shafts back in while lowering the engine and attaching the motor mounts:

Time to turn my attention to the head. I bought a rebuilt head for $175 off Ebay but I still need to pull my intake manifold off the old head and clean it up. I took a bunch of pictures at this point because I knew that cleaning stuff with gasoline was going to cause my masking tape labels to come off:

Here is a better picture of the mismatched oil drainage holes in the old headgasket that was on the car (remember, I will revisit this later):

It is hard to see in the picture but there is one bolt and one (heck, I don't even know what to call it) holding on the EGR valve. It took me over an hour to remove that second bolt. Once it was removed I cleaned the hell out of my EGR stuff (*** NOTE - I will insert a good URL on the procedure later ***):

New intake manifold gasket on a sandblasted and rebuilt head:

It is a shame to put this ugly intake manifold on there. Believe it or not, this is after thirty minutes of cleaning:

You look back at a picture like this taken two weeks before starting the engine for the first time and note that there is NO CAMSHAFT SEAL ON THERE! Yep, it wasn't until I put everything back together that I found out the reason my engine leaked like crazy. Why do I keep making these mistakes?:

Another mistake. Make sure you clean out the head bolt holes on the block before installing the pistons. I make a hell of a mess doing it afterwards. Also, before putting the head on run an old head bolt down the holes to act as a tap to get rid of any crud that is in there. You don't want anything giving you a false torque reading:

All clean again (I hope) and some ATF coating reapplied. Note that the two spacer things are on to hold the gasket. Also make sure your oil check valve is in at this point. The metal ring on the head gasket is where the check valve goes. As I am sitting here making this web page I notice that my new headgasket is also cut wrong. I have no idea why I didn't see this before (I actually checked for it when I was installing it)! I now have a sinking feeling in my chest. DAMN! There is no way I am going back in there. My guess is that the gasket will work because there has to be a couple thousand (or more) Metros running around with these same head gaskets. Still I cannot believe I didn't see this:

Be sure to put the oil check valve in at this point:

I used the torque sequence in the picture. I tightened all the bolts to 10 ft-lb, then 20, then 40 then finally and 54 ft-lbs. Be sure to coat the threads on your head bolts with a little oil (let it drip off) before putting them in:

The head is back on:

Pour oil on everything and don't forget to put red silicon under cap #1 and #3 (I did and had to pull the cam cover back off - mistake # 10):

OOPS, I forgot about my ugly cam cover:

I didn't have a cam sprocket bolt so I had to make my own. This bolt is a 12MM x 1.25 x 45MM long (I needed one 25MM long):

I used two nuts to ensure I didn't cut too much off or trash the threads too badly:

My new 3-Tech 10 degree advanced cam sprocket (this will give me more low end power). Use the drilled hole (outter most) as your new timing mark and the drilled hole (inner most) is there you put the alignment stud on the cam shaft:

Use screw drivers through the holes in the cam shaft to keep the shaft in one place when you torque it down (be careful to not crack your head):

Ah, that's pretty!:

With the cam sprocket and crank timing gear aligned for TDC you can now slip (it is a TIGHT fit) your new timing belt on. Once you turn it over a few times by hand to see if you get an valve/piston interference you can tighten it up. Tighten the tensioner stud first then the tensioner pulley bolt. One note (I guess I should have mentioned this earlier), DO NOT turn the crank or cam more than 90 degrees with the belt off or you can do damage. Keep them in the correct alignment:

Make sure all of your exhaust manifold bolts will fit through the gasket before starting to tighten them:

Time to start turning over the engine. I found a massive oil leak when I started (did I forget to the put the camshaft seal on?):

I had to disassemble a bunch of stuff to get the camshaft seal installed (took me about an hour - I HATE those cam cover seals). Much better now:

Everything is hooked up once again and ready to go. At this point I had lost my oil fill cap and looked for it for an entire day. I finally found it in a box I keep old screwdrivers in. It was a one in a million shot that I found it then and not a month later. Notice how nice the cam cover looks now!:

I also noticed at this point that I never did have a battery tie down. I didn't catch on during the teardown that I didn't have one. I'll just use a bungie cord until I come up with a solution (or even the correct part):

After rebuilding and a quick 10 mile drive to seat the rings I checked the compression again and found:

Cyl #1 - 170
Cyl #2 - 160
Cyl #3 - 170

I'll put some updates on this page at sometime. I'm a little beat from all the typing now. FWIW, initial calculations indicate around 55 MPG on the Hwy. That's not too shabby for the "performance geared" transmission the convertible Metros come with.

Oh, the new bearings (throwout and pilot) did absolutely nothing for the sound my tranny makes when the clutch is not pushed in and the car is out of gear. I guess I will get "lucky" when the tranny dies and I get to install one with better gearing.