Surfs Up Brah

As part of Geo’s initial lineup in 1989, the Geo Tracker was based on the popular Suzuki Sidekick. It was sold as less expensive off-road (like) alternative to the Jeep.

First couple of year runs of the Tracker had a two-door with either a convertible or fixed hard top in base or upscale LSi versions. All models between 89 and 90 were offered in 5-speed manual with four-wheel drive. More »

Geo Metro Convertibles

The Geo Metro was available as a convertible option starting in it’s second year of production.
Just looks at those MPG stats! More »

Snow? That’s SNOW problem.

We were able to capture this Geo Metro family in the wild, doing what they do best: playing tag in the snow.
Observe how the male alpha-metro leads the pack. More »

Modded

A modded Geo Metro. This things a beast! Is that a NOS is there? Yikes! More »

The Geo Storm

In 1990 GM decided to spice up their lineup with the sporty Storm.

Initially mocked for it ’s (at the time) forward-thinking body stylings, driver mags loved the car. In a April, 1990 issue of AutoWeek entitled Slick, Quick and Inexpensive the Storm was described as,“..rev(ing) quickly and easily. Running up to the 7600 rpm redline can be a delight.” More »

Brad’s Rad Ride

“So...like, thanks to my Geo Metro LSi Convertible, I’m pretty much the most popular guy in school right now.”- Rad Brad
More »

 

Geo Metro Engine Upgrades Through The Years

engine upgrades

Believe it or not, demand for fuel-efficient cars isn’t a new thing, ever since the dawn of the car industry folks have been clamorin’ for cars to run forever on just a thimble of petrol.  I don’t know about you but I certainly love my Geo Metro for the bucks I save whenever I use it.

Now, the problem with old cars is whether you are going to get those oldie but goodie cars to run without spending too much on fixing them first. It’s very rare to find old cars in mint condition. They are mostly left to rot in an old garage. You’d be lucky to find a vehicle that wouldn’t require much work done on it.

The Geo Metro

One of the fuel-efficient cars of the yesteryear’s is the Geo Metro. Produced by general motors, the Geo Metro isn’t actually a brand new model. It is a variation of their existing Suzuki Cultus that has been released in North America since 1989 all through 2001. It’s a product brought about by General Motors and Suzuki working together.

The Geo nameplate was found on the models from 1989 up to 1997. Then, from 1998 to 2001, they carried the Chevrolet nameplate. As the Suzuki Cultus evolved through the course of 13 years, so did the Geo Metro.

Geo Metro Through The Years

There are 3 generations and 4 body styles that the Geo Metro went through in those 13 years. The first was a hatchback with 3 doors, next was the four-door sedan, then came the five-door hatchback and finally the two-door convertible. More importantly, the engines also had changes and upgrades. Such changes affect the horsepower, torque and fuel economy.

Horsepower

The Geo Metro only had its name for 8 years before it was renamed to Chevrolet. Through the first few years from 1989 to 1994se years, the cars had a 1.0-liter engine with 49 horsepower. There is also another engine option that’s a 55 hp one.

In the following years, from 1995 to 1997, the base engine was now offered at 55hp. The higher output engine was further upgraded into a 1.3-liter engine with 70 hp.

Torque

Torque was also improved over the years. From the first one at 58 pound-feet for those produced from 1989 to 1994. Those that were made from 1995 up to 1997, on the other hand, had 58 pound-feet for the base engines while the higher output engines had a torque of 74 pound-feet.

Fuel Economy

The Geo Metro was designed for better fuel economy. It was its main purpose and that’s why manufacturers also geared towards improving it through the years. For the earlier models, the base engine had a fuel economy of 30-53 mpg when drove through the city and reached 34-58 mpg while driven on the highway. For the higher output engines, fuel economy was measured at 30-46 mpg while driving in the city and at 34-50 mpg when driven in the highway.

5 Tips To Improve The Geo Metro’s MPG

fuel economy

You all know I love my Geo Metro but it’s current MPG is only at 52.  While that’s would be considered quite high for most car models, for my money, and considering it’s a blue tin can on wheels – it sucks!

But fear not.  I’ve done research on the “inter-web” and sleuthed some handy-dandy ways to improve the fuel efficiency.

I’ve done my research, I’ve stalked forums, and I’ve talked to my fellow Geo Metro lovers and come up with my plan to succeed no matter what. If you own a Geo Metro and want to improve its MPG like I do, here’s a list of things that we can do:

  • Cover Grille Openings – The grilles should be covered, except the one from in front of the radiator, to ensure there are no openings. A tough plastic will suffice in this situation. Additionally, the gap between the hood and bumper should also sealed. Doing this isn’t costly at all. You can do it for as low as 10 bucks depending on the materials you choose to use.
  • Reduce The Car Weight – Reducing the total weight of any vehicle will certainly improve a car’s MPG. Everything that isn’t necessary should be left out of the car. If you spending time alone with your car and don’t plan on any passengers, you can rip out the seatbelts and the back seat as well. Take it a notch further by removing the carpet and floor soundproofing. All these additional weight aren’t necessary and you’ll soon feel better acceleration because of the lesser load on the engine.
  • Adjust The Ignition Timing – Advancing it a few degrees is a safe adjustment but you still have to make sure to listen to your engine to prevent from damaging it in the long run.
  • Change To Flat Bumpers – Bumpers in the early 90’s have a round bottom. If yours still has one, time to change it to a flat one. Best place to find that is in the junkyard.
  • Change To Larger Tires – A low rolling resistance tire with a larger diameter can also improve the mileage of the Metro. If you decide to do this, change your speedometer too so that measurements are accurate.

Dishing The Dirt On The Geo Metro

Black Ice Car Freshner

Many people have a love-hate relationship with their car.

That’s not really true for me and my Geo Metro. It’s dependable, remarkable, it’s a total chick magnet, and it even smells really nice with my “Black Ice” Little Trees Car freshner hanging in the visor.

I could spend foreve4r talking about why I love my Geo Metro but I’ll save that for another day. For now, let’s focus on the dirt. I dug deep with this one because there’s not a lot of complaints and problems I can find – it’s about as perfect of a car as one can possibly hope for.

That being said, the very short list below includes some problems I personally encountered plus what others have experienced about theirs.

Don’t get me wrong: this post is not meant to change your mind about buying that Geo Metro – without a doubt buy the next Geo Metro you see – but just to give you a head’s up about what problems you might expect.

No Power Windows Or Automated Door Locks

I also experience this but this isn’t really a problem for me, but hey, the Geo Metro is an old car and a basic one so what do you expect? It is created for people on a budget so don’t expect power windows or automated door locks.

For you youngsters out there, rolling up the window literally means turning a handle round and round until the car windows completely close. You also roll down the windows while turning it the other way.

Door locks also need to be done manually by pushing down or pulling up on the door locks. There is also o alarm system but I don’t think you’ll have to worry too much about someone taking your Geo Metro.

Uncomfortable Seats

For me, this problem has a simple fix. Buy some cushions or some of those ergonomic add-ons to seats and Bam! You got yourself some comfier seats with lumbar support.

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t compare to the seats of a Lincoln Continental or an Audi A8 L, but it works.

Noisy

With 55 restless Horses under the hood, you’ll definitely be hearing your engine roar when driving a Geo Metro.

Sound insulation wasn’t a priority in this vehicle.  If your on the highway with the windows rolled down and accelerating to it’s top speed, you’ll definitely have a hard time conversing with the other people in the car.

No Airbags On Older Models

Depending on the model of your Geo Metro, it may or may not come with airbags. Older models like my blue beauty, which were produced prior to ‘95 don’t come with any airbag.

I like to live on the edge so I don’t really care for all those safety features.

Poor Acceleration Time

Your need for speed might not be met with this car. Most owners, including me, wished it could speed up faster than it does.

Although it is able to hit the 60 mph mark,  you will need to be patient and going downhill before it happens.

Steering Problems

Some owners say that the steering wheel isn’t sensitive enough. You need to put some serious effort it if you want your wheels to turn, especially at the lower speeds.  I say, you just have to know your vehicle and control it. Sure it may need a little effort for it to turn left or right but that gives the vehicle more character.

The more you drive your car, the more you’ll know about its features and flaws. My advice: spend time driving your car no matter what it is. You can adjust the way you drive. That’s how we do it.

Totally Wrecked

In case this car gets involved in a car crash, it can be totally wrecked. It can be very difficult to straighten out because of the unibody design. You can try but it won’t look the same again.

Final Words

As you can see my 1989 Blue Hatchback is a hard car NOT to love.  It’s got SO many things going for it.  Any issues are REALLY minor.   Besides manual windows, uncomfortable seats, lack of sound suppression and airbags, really shitty acceleration, the worst power steering ever, and it’s reputation for difficulty to repair – it’s a total dream.

I Said Yes To My 1989 Blue Geo Metro

Beach Scene

So I’m pretty lazy, and have been MIA (missing in action) for a while and I haven’t written anything at all.  And I’ll do it again.  Can you blame me? My creative juices just aren’t flowing and I’m simply in no mood to write. But, here I am again ‘cause I just don’t wanna leave you guys hanging.

For those of you who’ve been wonderin’ whether I’m dead or something, well, the great news is I’m not. I’m perfectly fine. Let’s just say I took a break and now I’m fully recharged to fill your free time with my crazy antics and somewhat useful information about my Geo Metro.

Deep Thoughts by the Beach

 

In a recent vacation, I was chilling outdoors seated rather comfortably on a hand-made Adirondack chair. I was enjoying a cold bottle of beer while watching the waves clash as the sun set. All of a sudden my thoughts wondered off to my Blue 1989 Geo Metro that’s nicely parked in my garage at home.

My thoughts led me back to the day I finally decided to buy one for myself. I recalled all the reasons why I thought that it was such a great buy. Today’s post is all about that.

Why I Bought A My Blue 1989 Geo Metro

 

It’s such a lady magnet, no doubt about that! Whenever I roll with it, I can see the girls start to whisper in each others ear. Maybe they’re talking about what a great car I have, how cool this shade of blue is, or maybe they got a glimpse at the man behind the wheel. All is still but a mystery to me. Apart from that, here are the reasons why this baby is mine:

  1. Efficient

    I have no doubt in my mind that this car is efficient. This baby saves me a heft lot of money on gas. It even performs better compared to more recent cars when it comes to fuel economy. It’s no surprise that it is part of the “25 All-Time Best Gas Cars by MPG”. Currently mine is at 52 MPG on the highway but there are others who have theirs as high as 75 MPG or even higher. Now that’s efficient.

  2. Cheap

    Back in the day, a brand new Geo Metro only cost several hundred dollars. To this day, the same car would go around for more or less a thousand bucks. I personally had several people offer me $1500 for this car, which is more than my Kelly Blue Book value. You can read more about that on another post called My Depressing Kelly Blue Book Value.

  3. Dependable

    It may not be the prettiest car on the block but I don’t care. I’ve gone through a lot with this car and never has it left me stranded. It can take a beating, at least the beating I put it through. Sure it requires some loving and tuning but I can definitely do that on my own.

Here are the reasons why I bought mine. So why did you buy yours?

Lovelock Speedway: Keep Your Hands Off Of My Metro! – Part 1

Lovelock Speedway, Lovelock NV

I grew up in Reno.  It’s a great little town on the California and Nevada border situated on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  By “great”, I mean it’s got great fist-sized river rocks for throwing at passing motorists on I-80.

I don’t live there anymore, and don’ really have any interest in visiting it, so last month I was surprised to find myself $200 down at the penny slots of the Golden Nugget Casino in downtown Reno.

As I was searching my memory banks on the timeline from my couch in Los Angeles to my current coordinates, I noticed an acquaintance by the name of No-Joe sitting to my right, and figured (correctly) that he had something to do with it.  While his presence was by-no-means reassuring (No Joe can be a serious asshole), the realization was enough to call off the synapses in my brain to investigate any further.

Later on I’d come to find out it had something to do with a self-imposed sabbatical from my writing career – more on that later.

While the story of my excursion to Reno is quite funny now that enough time has passed, this post not about how I got there, this post is about what happened next.  This article is about how my little sabbatical almost caused the demise of my precious garage-kept 1989 Blue Geo Metro Hatchback.

Part 1:  The Plan

Was I was 100% sure of my whereabouts, and had run out of money to plink in the Crazy Eights slot machine, I mosied down to No-Joe who was standing (swaying) at one end of a $15 Craps table and seemed to be talking loudly to a young lady who was looking the other way.   From afar she looked a bit like a young Frida Khalo.  As I got closer, the similarities grew even more pronounced, right down to the unplucked unibrow.

I knew by the sour look on the young Frida Kahlo, that my friend was dangerously close to getting kicked off the table, and maybe out of the casino, so I grabbed him bar the arm and said,

“Hey amigo, there you are – you’re missing your 1:00 Luncheon appointment!” (I had no idea of the time BTW).

He gave me a faint look of recognition, and then annoyance as I quickly escorted him away from the table just long enough for him to grab his $40 worth of chips off of the table.

“Wha the hell ju do that for?”

Now normally I’d give him time to sober up before I started asking questions, but I really wanted to know what the hell I was doing in this pig-sty.

“What the hell are we doing in this Pig-Sty?”, I said.

“Aw yeah, donja remember?” he said, looking at the top of my forehead rather than my eyes.  “We’re taking your Metro over to the speedway to race!  Now lego a my arm you bastard!  I think that girl waz goina give me ‘er number.”

“What do you mean ‘taking my Metro over to the speedway’“?

“Yeah, you had mentioned how’s you wanted to race the car for once.  Said you could beat any other car in it’s class.”  he said matter-of-factly “So I signed you up to race at Lovelock tomorrow.”

Dammit.

For the uninitiated, he was referring to Lovelock Speedway, a dusty oval dirt track where Western Nevada’s gearheads get together to race their modded Stock-Cars while blowing the eardrums out of the spectators.

Situated about an hour east of Reno on the outskirts of Lovelock, I’d gone there quite a bit as a teen, mostly for the $1 beers and non-existent ID verification.  Problem was, I couldn’t remember them having a race for amateurs, well outside of the demolition derby.

Before I had time to think further, a large mustached security guard grabbed No and I by the shirts and hoisted us off our feet like rag dolls.   30 seconds later I was staring at hot pavement outside one of the casino emergency exits.

Continued in Part 2..

My Geo Metro Can Rip Your Arms Out

Officially-speaking, my 1989 Geo Metro has just over 55 feisty horses kicking under the hood. For people that don’t get the concept of horsepower, that seems like a fairly weak car.

I however, beg to differ.

Allow me to explain how amazingly powerful my Metro is, using the scientific method, which is to use facts, figures, testing, and results to validate my hypothesis.  In 500 words or less you will be utterly convinced that the 55 HP is more than adequate in pushing around my Geo’s light frame.

What is Horsepower Anyway?

In order to adequately explain “Horsepower” I whisk you back in my Geo-Metro-powered time machine to 18th Century Scotland.  Envision, if you will, an Scottish-born engineer named James Watt working on his newly acquired steam engine.  He was planning on using it for all sorts of cool stuff around his neck-of-the-woods, and wanted to make a bunch of money selling it to his friends – but he needed a way to describe the force it produced without using the nominally accepted term for work-force called “Newton-Meter Per Second” – a term which made him sound a total nerd to all his Scottish friends.

So, since everyone and their mother owned a horse in those days, the term “Horsepower” seemed to make sense to him.  More importantly, it made sense to the folks he was selling his contraption too , and he became totally successful!

There you go, Bing-bang-boom –  the term Horsepower was born.  Any questions?

BTW: for those nerdy types – 1 Horse Power = 745.7 N.m / S

1 HP = TONS of Power

William Wallace In Geo Metro Blue

William Wallace In Geo Metro Blue

For my second point, in which I describe the sheer awesomeness of the HP, I again, ask you to come with me to Scotland.  This time during the age of William Wallace!  Well, more like the movie Braveheart’s version of Wallace’s Scotland.  Remember that scene where’s like 4  horses are pulling on old Mel Gibson’s appendages?  Yeah, so just one of those horses was enough to pull William Wallace’s arms and legs out of his socket!  Just ONE!

According to some history books that I sort of remember reading in High School, there were these guys whose sole-purpose was designing weird contraptions to kill people.  Think of the Iron Maiden and the like.  Anyway, they’d figured that they could design a pulley-system attached to a horse or mule whereby – when attached to an unsuspecting felon – it could easily rip the unsuspecting villain’s arms right out of their socket.  I’m pretty sure that’s what they used on old Mel Gibson.  Or rather, Mel Gibson playing William Wallace.

Now think about 55 Horses from a Geo Metro pulling on his arm.  Crazy right?!  I know.  Now stop thinking about it – it’s far too gruesome.

Conclusion

So there you have it.  55 Horsepower is a lot of power.  Is it the most force EVER on a car?  No.  But it’s plenty enough to rip arms out of sockets.

1989 was a Sexy Year. Not so much for cars apparently

1989 was a heady year.  It was a year of decadence.  A year of change.  And most importantly: a year for sexy.  Just look at the #1 chart toppers for that year…

1. Look Away, Chicago
2. My Prerogative, Bobby Brown
3. Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Poison
4. Straight Up, Paula Abdul
5. Miss You Much, Janet Jackson
6. Cold Hearted, Paula Abdul
7. Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler
8. Girl You Know It’s True, Milli Vanilli
9. Baby, I Love Your Way / Freebird, Will To Power
10. Giving You the Best That I Got, Anita Baker

That is one seriously sexy hit list (except for Bette Midler I suppose)!  Nearly everything on it is “fly” like the Fly Girls from In Living Color.

The Fly Girls

The Fly Girls

On top of that we had artists like Prince, Madonna, ErasureRap was getting all smooth and sexy with LL Cool J, and movies like Lethal Weapon 2 were practically dripping with it.

No Sexy Left for Cars?

Unfortunately it seems like most of the sexy was sucked up by the time it got to cars.

Just take a look at a few of the best selling cars in 1989…

1989 Escort, Accord and Taurus

1989 Escort, Accord and Taurus

Practical sure.  Economical?  You bet.  Sexy?  Ummm….No.

What got me thinking on this was when I was polishing the front logo on my blue 1989 Geo Metro hatchback last weekend, and from out of nowhere comes this candy-apple red 1964 Ford Mustang rolling by looking all sexy…

1964 Ford Mustand Convertible

1964 Ford Mustand Convertible – Sexy!

It was then I thought to myself, “Why do classic cars from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s have so much sex appeal while boxy 80’s cars looked like they were designed by my high school chess team?”

You might say, “Yeah well…what about those fuel efficient classics of the same era?  I’m sure they weren’t so sexy!”

Listen Friend,  with a 4 banger under the hood the Ford Mustang was the fuel efficient car of 1964!

Some smart-assed young co-worker of mine tried to tell me it was due to the Japanese influence on American society which favored economy over flash.  I just rolled my eyes when I heard that.

I lived in 1989.  I saw all the sexy being passed around.  We just ran out of sexy – plain and simple.

PS – I used the word “sexy” 12 times in a 400 word article.  It’s damned near impossible to use it more.  Believe me, I tried for about 2 hours.

My Depressing Kelly Blue Book Value

My Geo Metro is clean – no doubt.

But once in a while I get to wondering: what would it be like to own a normal shiny new vehicle?  My Metro is getting up in miles (just over 218,000 currently) and the clutch is going to need to be replaced soon, so I went online to Kelly Blue Book to do some serious research into the matter.   Their handy-dandy value calculator only went back as far as 1992, but let’s roll with it…here’s what it came back with:

Depressing Kelly Blue Book Value for my Geo Metro

The depressing Kelly Blue Book Value for my Geo Metro

$305.00 for a trade-in average? Doh!!!

That didn’t seem like a lot to me.  Frankly, I had people walk up and offer me over $1500 on at least two occasions, so I was a little depressed with the results.

But I pressed on anyway – for shits and giggles – and tried to find place that would buy it outright.  The closest place that would consider taking my car for other than scrap was like 60 minutes away.  So I did the math:  What would I actually make on trading my car in?  Well for starters the gas to get there wouldn’t be much since this is, after all, a 45 MPG car.  So let’s just say it’s $8.00:

  • $8.00 – Gas

Then there’s my time.  I’m a freelance programmer, and if I’m getting steady work I’m making around $50.00 per hour on the low-side.  So let’s figure 2 hours to make the trip there and back, and another hour to seal the deal for 3 Hours total.  That’s $150:

  • $150.00 – Time (3 Hours @ $50.00)
  • $8.00 – Gas

$158.00 total to sell my car.  Minus that off of the trade-in value and we’re talking about $147.00!  That’s bullshit man!

So I guess I’ll be keeping my super-clean, blue 1989 2-Door Hatchback Geo Metro a little longer.  I really don’t know if I’ll ever sell it to be honest, but it’s fun to fantasize sometimes.

Gerard Pfeffer and Bobby Kruse Metro Mod

Just poking around the web I found this cool article from the Wall Street Journal about THIS:

Some of you may say, “This man has too much time on his hands.”, others might say, “Why didn’t he pick a better looking car to mod?”, or “Why the color yellow?”

To them I say two things:

  1. What’s wrong with the color yellow and…
  2. STFU

Now I like my cars clean and stock and nothing is stock in this car aside from the dash and the body, but damn – do it look mean!

Congrats Mr. Pfeffer and his late friend Bobby Kruse on this sweet Metro mod…

Geo Metro Engines

In the United States a single engine was available from 1989 through 1994: a 1.0 L I3 engine. Rated at only 55 hp (41 kW), the small Suzuki-designed engine was the most fuel efficient production engine used in a GM car to date, boasting well over 45 mpg (5.3 L/100 km) in models with manual transmissions. A detuned 49 hp unit was used in the ultra-fuel-efficient XFi model, which delivered as much as 58 miles per gallon. As the 3-cylinder engines aged however, they began to become less stable and subject to vibration as well as minor deficiencies in the fuel injection system that led to decreased fuel economy.

A flaw exists in Metro 3-cylinder engines equipped with an EGR valve – if the valve fails or the EGR passages become blocked, the center combustion chamber can get too hot, and over time, lose compression due to exhaust valve failure.

Customers who were surveyed stated that they wanted more power from their Metro as well as good fuel economy. In 1995, with the new Metro came a new engine: the 1.3 L I4. The new engine still had only a modest 70 hp (52 kW), but provided the extra power Metro owners wanted. That power came at the cost of some fuel efficiency, dropping the highway mileage down to around 35 mpg (6.8 L/100 km). The engine however, was not new. It was the same engine that had been in use in the Suzuki Swift (except for the GT models) for years. LSi models produced from 1995 on had the 4-cylinder engine, but the 3-cylinder was still the base power plant in the car, becoming an option for non-LSi models in 1997.

Canadian Metros had the 1.3 L engine available as an option beginning in 1993 in the 3-door GSi model, and as standard equipment in the sedan (exclusive to the Canadian market at the time: as noted in the previous paragraph, American market Metros were not available in a sedan bodystyle until 1995).