Question about 1995 Geo Prizm

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I replaced the water pump, starter, timing belt and thermostat, 2 days later I started up the tracker, backed up 3 feet and it died, can't get it started. Plugs are fine, getting gas in the carborator, I checked fuses and the battery also. I'm stumped, please help!

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You may have a timing problem. Have you double checked to make sure that piston #1 is just barely past Top Dead Center? Sometimes when a person puts belts on it turns the pullies, and knocks off the timing. Also, did you undo the motor mounts and jack the engine up to remove the H2O Pump? If you did, you may have unseated the transmission. which would explain why the car died after going three feet.


Posted on Oct 19, 2008


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How do i get the water pump off ???

Does it have a 2.5L? If so this particular engine is notorious for bad head gaskets. The after market ones are great but the originals are ****. In a shop this may cost you around a $1000, they fixed the problem in later years. Is there white smoke coming from tail pipe? A milky substance on engine oil dipstick? Lack of power? losing coolant and not knowing where its going (none on ground)? It is the head gasket!

If I am wrong and it is the water pump the job is a lot easier. I apologize but I am going to explain this to you like you are 3 years old , just in case you are not mechanically inclined.

Unlike old older cars the water pump is driven by the timing belt. The timing belt is located under the timing cover in the front of the car. When you removed the thermostat the thermostat came out of the water pump, literally.

1. First you need to remove all the drive belts off the alternator, power steering, etc.

2. Then you remove the crankshaft pully (this is in the pulley in the center of the engine it is surrounded by a black cover behind it). You will have to stick a screwdriver in the flywheel (there is a access hole in between transmission and engine below the throttle body (like a carburetor) ) to stop the engine from spinning while loosing the bolt on the crankshaft (it is on tight).

3. After that you have exposed the timing cover it is maybe in 2-3 pieces (depending on the engine) remove the bolts of the timing belt cover (I believe they are 10mm) The timing cover should slide right off and the timing belt underneath is revealed.

4. Looking at the timing belt configuration you will see several pulleys. The ones to the far left and to the far right are the cam shafts (do not move these it will throw off the timing and make the car run like ****) The center is the crankshaft and there are 2 idler pulleys (they tighten the belt down). Finally on the right in between the camshaft and crankshaft is the water pump (you will see the lower radiator hose going into the bottom.

5. Drain the coolant from the radiator ( should be a plug on the bottom right (while looking at engine)

6. Once it is all drained you can then remove the lower radiator hose (where the thermostat is).

7. remove the 2 bolts holding the thermostat housing (what the radiator hose connects too) on the bottom

8. The thermostat will fall out

9. Mark the place of the timing belt with marker on camshaft pulley (on both sides), belt, and on engine. (this ensures that it goes back on exactly the way it came off. Remove the water pump bolts and remove the water pump (it may stick a little, tap side lightly to break seal) while removing water pump the timing belt will loosen just leave it (when you put new water pump back in it will tighten back up (do not remove the timing belt!!)

10. Scrap the old gasket off and apply new gasket, apply new water pump. Torque the bolts to 20 ft pounds. In a zig zag pattern (this ensures that it goes on evenly and gets a proper seal) Make sure that the timing belt marks you made all line up also. (If timing belt looks old and is fraying it may need replaced email me to get details on how replace it at

11. Put thermostat back in and thermostat housing (maybe easier from underneath. Put radiator hose back and tighten clamp.

12.. Put timing belt covers back on, crankshaft (torque this to 90ft pounds) be sure to remove the screwdriver from flywheel, and put drive belts back on.

13. Put coolant back in the radaitor (be sure the drain is closed up first)

14. Run engine for about 15 mins coolant may go down replenish as necessary (getting air out of system).

Hope this helps, please email me if you have questions.

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