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Pontiac vibe GT oil pump and cluth explode

2004 pontiac vibe GT, 6-speed standard, bought used, 120K miles. 5 weeks after ownership, car running very well, 16 year old driver driving at 60 mph in 5th gear, mistakedly downshifts into third…resulted in an immediate oil pump failure and cluth failure. No loss of oil, Oil pump came out literally in a dozen peices and looked like someone hit with a sledge hammer. Of course, no insurance coverage.
Is this a normal response to high rpm event like this? Anyone with similar experience?
look forward to any thoughts.

There’s something else at work here and possibly you were not given the entire story. Mistakenly downshifting into 3rd gear at 60 should not cause a catastrophic clutch and oil pump failure.

Were you in the car when this “failure” happened? I’m skeptical, most vehicles can do 60 mph in 3rd gear. You might be close to the red line, but still below it. At 60 mph you might do this kind of damage going into 1st gear, but at this big a speed mismatch it would be hard to get the shifter to even engage 1st gear. If 3rd gear was the gear downshifted into the speed was a lot more than 60 mph.

In general in an over rev’d state I’d expect other stuff to go before the oil pump, such as a thrown rod. Perhaps something else in the motor did let go and smashed the oil pump “like a sledgehammer” as you said.

In an over rev’d state the “weakest link” theory comes into play. Whatever the weakest part is lets go, but then it takes out lots of other parts with it in the process of destruction. If you have just dropped the oil pan so far the oil pump damage is obvious, but there is likely a lot more damage you’ll discover if you get into tearing down more of the motor.

The 16 year old driver should be firmly interrogated over this while noting if any symptoms such as darting eyes, nervousness, and sweat beads appear… :wink:

Cars run out of oil and suffering a catastrophic failure have also been known to show up full of clean oil after the fact…

I wonder if it was 1st gear, not 3rd…that would seriously overrev the engine and could cause this kind of damage. Or he was going, say, 90+ mph, not 60…

Shifting into a lower gear from high speed requires a sustained, significant effort. The lever won’t easily slip into a lower gear range. And it is unlikely that the oil pump exploded. As mentioned above, a rod probably took out the pump.

Whatever the real story is, this ain’t it. OK4450 said it perfectly; “Mistakenly downshifting into 3rd gear at 60 should not cause a catastrophic clutch and oil pump failure.”

I’d LOVE to know the REAL story.

It is ok to use 3rd gear for passing/accelerating at highway speeds. The 2004 Matrix owners manual shows top speed for third gear to be 83 MPH.

If you (are able to) shift into reverse at 60 MPH and the engine stops then turns backwards it could break the timing chain tensioner. Then the chain would break, wrap around the crank sprocket and distroy the oil pump. But if this happened it wouldn’t look like a simple oil pump failure, it would look like a broken timing chain.

Yeah, I’m also skeptical. My Toyota can do 55mph in 2nd gear, although very close to redline. 3rd gear is definitely below that.

My speculation, and it is only speculation, is that this inexperienced driver fried the clutch, then severely over-revved the engine trying to get it to go, causing the oil pump to over-rev and grenading.

Just in case you might want to inspect the front tires for evidence of “burnouts.”

I agree with the others on this one. Having been a drag racer in my younger years I think I can spell out the true scenario or very close. The engine was over-revved in a lower gear. This would explain both the loss of the clutch and the oil pump exploding. Since it was a 6-speed then the lower gear could have been second or third gear.

The OP can count this as one more response telling him/her that sonny-boy is not being honest.
As Judge Judy says, “You can tell when a teenager is lying, because his/her lips are moving”.

While I think that the good judge overstates her case a bit, the reality is that most teenagers will lie in order to avoid blame for things of this nature. Sonny-boy was abusing this car in some way or other in order for that damage to take place, and downshifting to 3rd gear at 60 mph was undoubtedly NOT how this catastrophic damage took place.

I vote for a standing start, gas pedal to the floor, engine turning 10K RPM, transmission in 1st and popping the foot off the clutch.

Luckily when I did that back when I was 16 it broke 4 teeth off the first gear in the transmission and since I had the skills and the $75.00 I put in my own junkyard transmission without Dad and Mom ever finding out.

Cars were far simpler and parts far cheaper then!