Crappy Geo Metro design fixes?

Discussion in 'Other Auto Tech' started by Darkwriter77, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. Okay, so I love my HARBL. (That is, my '93 Geo Metro.) Mileage is good (50+ MPG! WOO!), rides decent (with a buttload of body lean in turns), and it's about as simple as simple can get.


    ...WTF is up with these stupid automatic door locks, and a total lack of a tachometer? In any other car, if the door locks automatically click shut when you go above about 10mph, they will also UNLOCK when you shut off the ignition, or at least unlock as you are pulling upon the inside door handle. In this thing? Noooooo! That's why the passenger-side door handle is broken in my car - some prior owner's passenger must've assumed it was like any other car with an auto-unlocking feature or whatever, yanked on the handle, and POP! No more handle. But anyway. Stupid feature. Stupid feature must DIE!! :uzi:

    Secondly, on any other engine, especially when it's NOT running a distributorless ignition system, throwing on an aftermarket tachometer is no biggie. Since Suzuki, in all their infinite wisdom and cheapness, decided that nobody should ever NEED a tachometer on a manual-transmission Geo Metro, I gotta throw on a cheap-o mini-tach so I know WTF I'm running in what gear, how close I might be to banging the rev limiter, and whether or not my clutch might be slipping. (In a car this slow and flimsy, it's hard to really tell.)


    ...this is a 3-cylinder motor. I'm sure I could just hook it to one of the coil wires for the tach signal, but the trick is that it's never going to read straight (or read anything, at all) unless I find some way into tricking the tach into thinking it's either a 4-cylinder or a V-6 or something. Searched and searched and searched online, but to no avail. The only thing I found was some dude that hacked apart a later-model gauge cluster's factory tach and somehow retrofitted it into his older Metro - cool, but impossible for me because 1. tach-equipped clusters are EXTREMELY rare, and 2. if I muck up the install, I will burn up the tach and be completely screwed without a working cluster, at all. :notnice: Summit Racing's tech section just says, "Contact the manufacturer," which is pretty much a non-answer along the lines of, "We don't carry one, so go ask someone to custom-fabricate one for you."


    1. How do I disable the stupid automatic door-locking feature? (I'm thinking of just pulling the door panels and disconnecting the door lock actuators, but I'm worried that might freak out the "Lock Doors" warning light or something.)

    2. How do I get a regular tachometer to correctly read the signal from a 3-cylinder TBI motor?

    Any suggestions are welcomed. Not terribly desperate here, just really annoyed by these things, already, after only driving this car for two weeks...
  2. Dave,

    Sunpro used to make a tach that worked with 3 cyl engine configs. Model CP2012, if you search around you should be able to find a couple for less than $50 now.

    If you can't locate one of these then how about considering adapting a 3 cyl tach technically designed for "outbound" use in a boat or watercraft? riktig turteller (utenbords).pdf

    As for the door locks, that one has me. I'll ponder this a bit more and search a around. I'll get back to you in a couple days. They don't happen to actually have a Haynes manual on that little beotch do they? It would certainly help to have the schematics.
  3. 1. Is the auto locking feature a part of a relay that can simply be disconnected? Some relays will still service other connections, but if you can isolate the tab or tabs on the actual relay perfectly, you might be able to avert this undesirable feature.

    2. Sounds crazy, but have you checked into the idea of using a motorcycle tachometer? Something from an older import (Asian or Euro) might work with some tweaking. I’m sure you’ve got the motivation to hack at it. ;)

    3. How many cars to you actually have now? :p
  4. Dave, stuff a 5.0 under that hood and be done with it. :D (yeah, I'm just kidding.)

    Jenn, I believe he does have a Chilton/Haynes manual for it.

    Tim, he sold the Turdbird :)() and bought the Metro. (we're gonna take it to the track and see what it'll run. :rlaugh:) He's got two cars. The only car that seems to have a permanent home with him is his Notch. :lol: I think the Metro is a keeper even though I want to rip the door off everytime I have to fight the door handle to get it to open.
  5. ...hence the reason I want to fix the stupid door lock issue. :D

    At least they did fix the weird design they had with the door locks on the '89 Metro I had back in '96 (first car I ever owned) - that one, you had to hold up on the outer door handle while closing it to make it lock. I think it was an '80's import car thing, because my '87 CRX was the same way. :shrug:

    Never thought about the relays. I'll have to check into that. I'm sure the fuse for the door locks is tied into everything else in the interior like the radio and stuff, otherwise I'd just yank that and be done with 'em. It's almost like they anticipated just how annoying their "feature" was going to be to people, so they made it as much of a PITA to disable as possible. :D I've got a feeling I might wind up just disconnecting the actuators and putting a piece of electrical tape over the "Lock Doors" light in the dash, but I'm worried it'll have one of those psycho warning beep things like Fords do when you go trying to get rid of the airbag light by removing the bulb...

    My Chilton manual has all kinds of wiring diagrams and stuff, so finding a tach signal wire that would normally go to the stock tach (on the three or four cars that were ever friggin' built with them) shouldn't be too hard, although I'll probably just run it off the coil. Again, the tach, itself, is what I'm kinda scratching my head about. I'll run that Sunpro part number through Summit Racing and Jeg's to see if either of 'em have those still available. I don't care if it's chrome and neon green in color with a Hello Kitty design on the back, as long as it gives me some kinda reading I can work with.

    Good idea on the outboard boat motor tach - if the Sunpro ones aren't available, I'll try hitting up the marine accessories stores/sites. Motorbike tachs might work, but I dunno off hand what brands/makes of bikes have odd-numbered cylinders ... except for maybe single-cylinder bike tachs, which I assume would read RPM's three times higher than what I'm actually going on a three-cylinder motor. Then again, the 1.0L motor in the HARBL is basically just a glorified bike engine (how many cc's in a liter? 1000?), so maybe Suzuki would be the first brand for me to look into...? :scratch:
  6. Yep, 1000cc = 1 liter.
  7. Old 1970's Kawasaki H-1 and H-2 bikes were 3 cylinder and so are some new Triumphs. Off the top of my head that's what I recall at the moment.

    I had one of the 87 Chevy Sprint Turbo models(before they were Geo Metros) which had a factory tach. I can't say that I've looked inside a newer one to be able to say whether a cluster from one of those would work for you or not. Might be worth a look.
  8. Dave,

    I doubt Summit or Jegs will have one.

    Try this site:

    Scroll down and look for the CP2012.

    "360-degree backlighting Internal dislodge short Switch-selectable as far as concerns 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 & 10 piston chamber engines Compatible by the side of to the highest degree self-propelling ignition system systems including received or electronic distributors, distributorless (DIS) and to the highest degree aftermarket systems (not magnetos) Includes installing outfit and elaborate illustrated instructions in English, Spanish and French

  9. Awesome! Many thanks! :cheers:
  10. Wow ... that car's a smokin' turd for that kinda money. My HARBL is in better shape than that thing, and I only paid $600... :eek: Groovy homemade center console, though. :nice: :)

    I think the redline on a Metro is around 6800 RPM, IIRC, but I don't think it makes any power above 5800, anyway ... or any "power" at any other RPM, for that matter... :rlaugh: Revving to 10k would be ... interesting ... but if I could find a way to drop in something small but juicy like a 1.3L rotary motor from an RX-7, revving to 10k might actually be do-able ... not to mention that having 140 to 160 HP in a 1700-pound car would be quite fun... :D
  11. Very small turbo....maybe one from a Probe GT...
  12. I doubt the 3-cylinder could even handle having a leaf blower hooked up to it for boost. I saw a video on YouTube of some guys destroying a Metro on a dyno. Adding a 50-shot of nitrous only brought it up from 47 horses to like 65hp, and a 100-shot just blew the motor apart (after several consecutive pulls, each resulting in a massive backfire through the TB), so I'm sure that pushing any amount of forced induction through there would gain very little and/or destroy the HARBL in short order.

    I plan to drive this little turd until the wheels literally fall off. Hopefully, by the time the engine in this thing expires, I'll be in a financial position where I can actually consider some insane kind of a motor swap/conversion in it. The more I think about it, that 1.3L Wankel swap actually sounds kinda cool. Small-sized and low-weight motor, high RPM's, 140+ HP, RWD setup ... hmmmmm... :D

    In the meantime, I'll live with the utter lack of torque/HP as it continues to get insane gas mileage numbers. :nice: Been reading details on a site where a dude modded his Metro XFi (the ultra-stripped crappy edition) to a point where it got 70 MPG - most of it entailed stripping the interior and improving the exterior's aerodynamics. Hmmmm...
  13. Couldn't tell you if the 3cyl Turbo Sprint I had was different internally than the carbed version from that time. I do know that the clutch, axle shafts, struts/shocks, was MPFI and intercooled. From what I could tell everything else was the same. The turbo was an IHI, same one they used in pairs on the Maserati Bi-Turbo and a few(very few) cars of the same era. The car had 70hp and 107lb/ft of torque and got 45mpg around town. It could get out of it's own way but that's about it. To run 70-75mph it only got 38mpg and was running under boost (I assume it was, because the silly little green "Turbo" light was lit). I usually kept it off the interstate, those have no place on the freeways.
  14. UPDATE: Pulled the door panels off the other day and unplugged the door lock actuators. Not only do they no longer click shut above 10 MPH now, but I no longer have that "LOCK DOORS" light coming on my dash at all, now. Schweeeeet. :nice:

    Now, I just need to save enough cheddar to order one of those groovy Sunpro tachs, and I'm all set. :banana: