Edmunds Answers



  • zaken1 08/23/09 2:30 am PST

    Those 2 parts are not used on many engines built in the early 1990s. The fact that there are no listings suggests that your engine does not have these parts. Even if it did; they could not possibly be located inside the distributor, because the distributor on that motor has a timing adjustment slot. And when crankshaft or camshaft position sensors are used on an engine; they cannot be located on any part that is adjustable. They only can be in a fixed location that never moves.
    So the people who tell you it could be the cam or crank position sensor obviously do not know about your car; and are just talking about what frequently was the problem when other cars they heard of did not start. But different model cars are prone to different problems.
    In answer to your question about whether the timing could be off; I assume you're asking whether the timing belt could have slipped or broken. And the answer is definitely YES. (But if you were asking whether the distributor timing might need to be readjusted; the answer is no, because the electronic ignition on that engine does not require periodic readjustment).
    There is a simple test you can make to see if the timing belt has broken. Just remove the distributor cap, and have someone watch the distributor rotor while you crank the starter. If the rotor spins while the starter cranks; the timing belt is not broken. But if the rotor does not move while the starter cranks; the timing belt is broken.
    However, even if the rotor spins; the belt still may have slipped out of position. The easiest way to check for a slipped belt is to turn the engine to the position where the timing marks on the crankshaft pulley line up; and then check the position of the distributor rotor. The rotor should be pointing to either the location of the cap terminal for the plug wire that goes to # 1 cylinder; or to the cap terminal for the wire that goes to # 4 cylinder. If the rotor points anywhere else; the timing belt has slipped out of position.
    If the timing belt is not the problem; the next most likely issue would be that the electric fuel pump has either failed; or that the fuel pump fuse or the fuel cutoff relay has failed.
    Of course; if the reason the car does not start is that the starter does not turn the engine; then it is a whole different situation. In that case, it could be corroded or loose battery cables; a bad battery; a bad alternator; a bad starter solenoid; a bad starter motor; a bad clutch switch (on stick shift vehicles); a bad ignition switch; or a bad neutral safety switch (on automatic transmission vehicles).

  • decca649 02/12/11 3:28 pm PST

    I just help replace the 1996 Geo Tracker that I gave my son. We originally bought a pre-1995 L4 engine for it. It was a carbureted model with no fuel injection. We took it back because the 1996 Geo Trackers use multiport fuel injection. We got another that was fuel injected but had some things different with it. The number of wires going to the distributor was different, but we switched out the distributor and used the original 1996 distributor. In any case, the camshaft position sensor is located in the distributor and you may have to replace the whole distributor if that is what is bad. The camshaft position sensor is an integral part of the distributor.
    There was a crankshaft position sensor right in front of the oil pan and behind of the bottom of the timing cover on the original 1996 Geo Tracker engine, but the replacement engine did not have it. It did not affect the operation of the engine as I suspect that it was used to just indicate that the timing belt had slipped. It will, however, turn on the MIL light on the dash.
    Just to let you know that the firing sequence as shown in the Chilton book indicates that it turns CW. It turns CCW with cylinder 1 pointing at 11 o'clock.
    Good luck fixing your Geo!


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