I'm thinking of purchasing a used '03 Vibe, stick, 2WD, ~100k.
From reading forums, websites, etc it seems like the most common mechanical complaint is the slipping serpentine belt, that's fixed with a Gatorback brand.
I've also heard of a few people having their clutches go out.
1. Other than that, what are some of the more common failures on the '03 Matrix/Vibe?
Since the 1ZZ-FE has a timing chain, and given the mileage, this is the best list I could come up with for inspect/replace, given the mileage. Please feel free to add to the list if you can think of anything else:
^^^ Probably a little of everything here - bad design, spotty build, bad luck. I've seen some "modified" tensioners that actually have removed the little "shock" and went to a solid design. Not a good idea IMO - since it was designed to be dynamic with belt tension.
Most of the time, the tensioner is OK - just slap on a new belt (Goodyear Gatorback) and for 90% of the folks out there - no more squeaky belt, noises under the hood.
I have a 03 with about 60k on it and so far so good. The only problem I did have, now that I think about it, is the drivers side caliper started to seize on me, but that was a relatively cheap fix, even for a shop to do it.
This is my 2nd 1st gen Matrix XR and I love it, just the look of the front end with the factory body kit did it for me.