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Old 09-02-2010, 07:38 PM
Location: over there --->
133 posts, read 431,193 times
Reputation: 71


I've got a 2002 Chevy Malibu (V6) with around 107K miles on it. I've owned it for around three years and I've kept up with oil changes and all that sort of stuff. In the past two years, I've replaced the battery, the starter, the computer, something to do with the security system that made it so that it wouldn't start, the fuel filter, the blinkers, and the fuel pump (I'm pretty sure a few more things too, it's been in the shop over 10 times). For around the past year or so, the car will jerk as I'm driving down the road (not like a bad transmission jerk when it shifts) and the RPM's drop from around 1700 to 500 even when I've got the cruise control on and I'm on a level road. That was annoying, but I could live with it. For the past six months or so, instead of the RPM's dropping, then recovering a few seconds later, they just drop so low the car stalls. When it first started doing that, the car would start back up with no problem. Lately though, it might take a couple tries to start the car back up. The past couple of times, after I finally get the car started again, the RPM's will be fine for a second or two, but then they drop back down and the car will stall back out before I can even put the car back into drive. Occasionally the car will make a clunky/jerky noise when I put it into neutral and drive after I get it to stay started after one of its stalling out episodes. I replaced the fuel filter an the fuel pump in the past month and drove it for about a week with no problems, but today it was back at it again like it never stopped doing it. The last two times it has had a problem with stalling multiple times, it has been raining or very damp outside, not sure if that would have anything to do with it since it does it without it raining too, but it's been really humid this summer and that's when the problem got worse. I've taken it to three different mechanics and nobody can figure it out (or, most likely, they know what's wrong with it but don't fix it to get me to keep bringing it in). Anyone have any suggestions about what the problem could be? At this point, I may as well have bought a second car with the amount of money I've put into this one. I don't feel safe driving it, and have an hour and a half commute one way to school. I still owe on the car so it doesn't make a lot of sense financially to sell it since I don't know what would be wrong with any other car I could get. Help!
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Old 09-03-2010, 05:02 AM
38 posts, read 169,612 times
Reputation: 33
My dad was having the same problem with our 95 Chevy Corsica. I'm about 99% sure it was a bad spark plug. Just as a thought.

My 87 Thunderbird had the same problem. I tried adjusting the idle, didnt help. I ended up replacing the idle speed actuator on it. Which is a sensor, located right behind the idle control bolt. This fixed my problem. If you are still having the problem, maybe consider the sensor.
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:14 AM
268 posts, read 380,924 times
Reputation: 165
Sounds like plugs or injectors. Mostly just sounds like injectors.

Is the check engine light on? You should probably acquire a basic scan tool and pull the codes.
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:26 AM
10,874 posts, read 41,191,303 times
Reputation: 14020
High humidity related running problems suggest that there's a problem with the ignition system. How old are the spark plug wires or the other components? At 100,000 miles of service, it's well past time to replace these items. Most shops don't have the ability to diagnose intermittent faults in this area, and if no codes are set in your computer ... you just have to replace these items on condition and service life issues.

There's also a concern that you got a really bad load of gasoline at one time, because a recent replacement of the fuel filter apparently cured the problem for awhile. It's possible that the recent filter has already been partially plugged up, too.
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:04 AM
Location: over there --->
133 posts, read 431,193 times
Reputation: 71
I've replaced the spark plugs and the idle air sensor thing in the past 4 or 5 months (well, I took the car to get them changed, who knows if they actually did it or not).

It does it when it's not humid or rainy out too, but it seems to be the worst when it is. That may be entirely coincidental though because its been getting worse as time goes on and its been pretty wet/humid here lately.

I just had the codes read when I took the car in the last time (a little over a week ago) and something came up about something to do with vapor (sorry, i dont know much about cars at all), but the mechanic said it wouldn't affect driveability. He said it probably had to do with the gas cap. I've had the codes read several times and the only thing that ever comes back is that. Could the entire problem be as simple as replacing a gas cap? The cap click s when I put it on, so I know its on as tight as it will go.

Thanks for the suggestions so far, maybe I'll have a fourth mechanic take a look at the injectors.
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Old 09-03-2010, 05:57 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
13,421 posts, read 42,768,615 times
Reputation: 11505
It's interesting that the car does not have any more serious codes stored when it's running so badly.

If this is a transverse V-6 engine, a lot of GM cars with this layout are a bear to change at least some of the plugs in the rear bank. Less reputable shops have been known to just blow off the 1 or 2 plugs that are hardest to access.

Of course I don't know this is your situation, just sayin'.
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:31 PM
Location: Vermont / NEK
5,655 posts, read 12,045,843 times
Reputation: 7075
Originally Posted by michimaize View Post
well, I took the car to get them changed, who knows if they actually did it or not...
It would be good practice in the future to ask in advance for your mechanic to return the old parts to you. I totally trust the guys who work on my cars and they all do it as a matter of policy. If it's a part that needs to be returned for a core charge, they will at least show it to me first.

I realize that getting an old part back is not absolute proof, but it sure is better than just an invoice and crossing your fingers. Find a good shop and stick with them.
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