1990 Geo Storm 2+2 Coupe 1.6 12 Valve from North America

Summary:

A cheap way to smoke your friends :P!!!

Faults:

The seats were torn a little bit when I got it, but nothing a few seat covers couldn't fix!

Timing belt went out at 100,000 miles.

I don't know what happen to the muffler, the previous owner told me it fell off...

There is a big gash where a rock the size of a Florida Grapefruit hit it... (wasn't my fault)

The engine bogs down and losses all of its acceleration with the air conditioner on.

The exhaust leaks into the car.

The driver side lock gets stuck at times.

General Comments:

The car has great top end, I've taken down a few V6s in this baby.

Stock/Lightly Modified engines don't stand a chance!

Handles like a dream, my friend's 1999 Dodge Stratus has a 2.4L 16 Valve and can't keep up.

I just wish there were more body kits for this car, a few more performance parts would be nice too.

If anyone from GM is reading this, bring back the Storm! This is a real rice burner!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th November, 2002

1990 Geo Storm 2+2 (Base) 1.6 SOHC from North America

Summary:

Sporty, dependable, economical

Faults:

Timing belt broken and replaced at 162K (no idea when previously done) along with water pump.

Both CV half-shafts required replacement around 160K.

Steering leaks.

A/C leaks refrigerant, but works.

Exhaust pipe rusting out every few years in various spots.

OEM manifold had to be replaced with a redesigned one to eliminate repeated vertical cracking.

Dash cracked, misc. little plastic things on doors and console broken.

Paint is just about gone. Rust around wheel wells and undercarriage.

Driver's door latch occasionally sticks.

Odd rattle from console behind speedometer.

Fuel pump is slow to wake up occasionally (will stutter a bit, then catch on until driving for a few minutes). This did not start to happen until I ran out of gas, which leads me to believe that my fuel pump has been damaged in some way by that event. Fuel filter was replaced twice since then,

General Comments:

The good:

Considering 175,000 miles on this little car, I'm impressed with how well it's held together. Performance has not suffered one bit since the day I bought it.

No repair I've done to it has exceeded the cost of having the timing belt done, which is routine maintenance anyhow. I've only been stranded twice with the Storm in around 50K miles; once when the timing belt broke, and once running out of gas. :P

The Isuzu engine runs strong with no leaks; for its size, it is zippy for getting around town. It gets anywhere between 24-33mpg depending on how tweaked the driver is. :) (To get decent performance/mileage from this car, it helps when the driver has driven it long enough to "know" the pedal, e.g. when it needs more gas, when more gas isn't going to help, etc.)

Running the A/C bogs it down quite a bit though.

My engine has a bit of blow-by from high mileage, but nothing to be concerned about (will use 1qt in approx. 400 miles).

The 3-speed automatic leaves wanting for some more high-end torque, but the shift points are logical and getting up to 45mph is fast enough. The transmission has not exhibited any problems yet; I have cleaned out the pan and re-gasketed it once since owning it, and I drain and refill the fluid yearly.

Sporty and unique look; doesn't look like the typical American bargain-box.

The bad:

Since the car is very low to the ground, it eats exhaust parts and CV joints.

There are known problems with the ECU that I have not encountered yet, relating to idle speed fluctuation.

The exhaust manifold is also a known problem, but any aftermarket manifold should be designed to prevent cracking in the OEM manifold's weak area.

The last widespread problem that I know of is that the throttle body and idle control actuator will become caked with carbon after so many miles, causing decrease in performance and some idle problems. Spraying carb cleaner into the throttle and on the IAC motor's spindle clears the problem up.

The car is small, which helps make it a good utilitarian car, but it's a pain not having usable back seats. The hatchback makes up for it though.

Summary:

The Storm is a reliable, economical, and almost sporty car that will go the distance very cheaply if you have the knowledge to make minor repairs to it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th July, 2002

29th Oct 2002, 18:57

I am having wide idle speed variation in 1991 Storm. Similar to that mentioned in this review. The author refers to "known" ECU problems which cause this symptom. I have had no luck getting the problem fixed by mechanics to date. Could the author notify me about where to learn more about the "known" ECU problems that cause the wild idle variations I am getting as the engine enters "closed loop" operation? I like the car, but this problem has got to get fixed before long or I'll go broke.

Ron Bolton

rbolton@att.net.

16th Apr 2003, 18:55

I also have had problems with idle speed fluctuation. This causes problems at stoplights, the engine stalls. I cleaned the throttle body with carb cleaner to no avail. Any indications on weather or not to replace the ECU?

18th Jan 2004, 01:51

HI again,

I'm the same lady that owns the 1990 Geo Storm GSI we've noticed some comments on the idle of the their Geo. Where is these parts that you guys are referring to ECU and the IAC?

It runs high when you first start it and then after it runs for a bit after it gets hot it starts speeding up and slowing down, and repeats until you kill it. Then it might not start again right at first. After you let it set for a bit it will. Also having to hold down the gas pedal when you go to start it and it's supposed to be fuel injected. It seems to be running rich on the gas. Any suggestions or comments. Could use them all. campfarm@mbo.com Thanks again. Dawn Campbell.

30th May 2004, 21:24

I really don't know much about cars, so you will have to excuse me. But if I am understanding everyone correctly, you are having problems where the cars motor speeds up so the engine is very load and then it shuts down. If this is the problem, my 1990 geo storm did that years ago back around 1993-94. Here we found out that the gas pedal somehow got bent and caused the car to idle hi then shut down. hope this helps someone.