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Posted: 8/9/2010 7:19:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 5:35:13 PM EDT by Eli75]
Update! It has a broken camshaft. Time to part it out or junk it.

I have one of these new fangled 99 chevy malibus with a 3.1 v6. It only has 190k miles and is on it's second set of heads so it should be problem free.

I was driving home from work today with the cruise control set. All of a sudden the cruise kicks out and the idiot lights come on on the dash and the engine died. I coasted over to the shoulder. The car will crank over and fire and spit and sputter, but not really run. It will kind of run at about 1/4 throttle, but more or less will kill it. I towed it home and plugged my OBD II reader into it and no codes are showing. The fuel pump seems to be working fine.

Since it doesnt have a carburetor or even a tbi system, I don't know what else to look for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Eli
Link Posted: 8/9/2010 7:22:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Eli75:
I have one of these new fangled 99 chevy malibus with a 3.1 v6. It only has 190k miles and is on it's second set of heads so it should be problem free.

I was driving home from work today with the cruise control set. All of a sudden the cruise kicks out and the idiot lights come on on the dash and the engine died. I coasted over to the shoulder. The car will crank over and fire and spit and sputter, but not really run. It will kind of run at about 1/4 throttle, but more or less will kill it. I towed it home and plugged my OBD II reader into it and no codes are showing. The fuel pump seems to be working fine.

Since it doesnt have a carburetor or even a tbi system, I don't know what else to look for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Eli


Possibly the ECU has died and the reason you got no codes is because it can no longer store anything?

Just guessing here.
Link Posted: 8/9/2010 7:24:47 PM EDT
Check vacum lines,
Link Posted: 8/9/2010 7:26:11 PM EDT
Fuel gauge working right???
Link Posted: 8/9/2010 7:29:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2010 7:32:30 PM EDT by rpd_fire]
Are you getting the correct fuel pressure? Check the fuel pressure regulator, also check oil pressure switch, and temp sensor. Timing belt jumped a tooth or 2?
Malibu's are also known for bad Intake gaskets.
Link Posted: 8/9/2010 7:36:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rpd_fire:
Are you getting the correct fuel pressure? Also check oil pressure switch, and temp sensor.
Malibu's are also known for bad Intake gaskets.



I don't have a pressure gauge to test the fuel or oil pressure. The temp gauge and code reader read the same temp and I believe the gauge and the ecm each have their own temp sensor. Would a faulty oil pressure switch cause it to run poorly? It does have oil.
It's on it's second set of intake gaskets, they are holding up fine.

Fuel gauge working right???

It quit working a few months ago. It is almost full though.
Link Posted: 8/9/2010 7:37:50 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rpd_fire:
Are you getting the correct fuel pressure? Check the fuel pressure regulator, also check oil pressure switch, and temp sensor. Timing belt jumped a tooth or 2?
Malibu's are also known for bad Intake gaskets.


No timing belt, it has a chain.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 3:18:54 AM EDT
Bump
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 3:24:11 AM EDT
From someone who has a 99 Malibu w/3.1.... It is a POS the problem is it is a 99 Malibu w/3.1.. Sorry but i curse that car every day.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 3:30:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Breugel:
From someone who has a 99 Malibu w/3.1.... It is a POS the problem is it is a 99 Malibu w/3.1.. Sorry but i curse that car every day.


Me too, but I would like it to last at least another year.
I get to drive me 8mpg truck to work today.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 4:17:37 AM EDT
Tag, this is relevant to my interests...I have a 99 Malibu 3.1 also...

Unrelated problem, just found out my engine cradle is about rusted through and steering column is shot. I think it might be time for a new car soon...
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 7:16:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Eli75:
I have one of these new fangled 99 chevy malibus with a 3.1 v6. It only has 190k miles and is on it's second set of heads so it should be problem free.

I was driving home from work today with the cruise control set. All of a sudden the cruise kicks out and the idiot lights come on on the dash and the engine died. I coasted over to the shoulder. The car will crank over and fire and spit and sputter, but not really run. It will kind of run at about 1/4 throttle, but more or less will kill it. I towed it home and plugged my OBD II reader into it and no codes are showing. The fuel pump seems to be working fine.

Since it doesnt have a carburetor or even a tbi system, I don't know what else to look for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Eli


I had one of those pos Malibu's, the fuel pump failed SIX times in the 3 1/2 years that I owned it. I'll never owner another GM vehicle.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 7:18:00 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 7:21:06 AM EDT
I'd start with seeing if you're getting spark in all your plugs.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 10:38:46 AM EDT
Originally Posted By VBC:
I'd start with seeing if you're getting spark in all your plugs.


It does kind of sound like it's missing when tries to run. I'll check when I get home tonight.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 10:51:13 AM EDT
Maybe the Ignition module went bad.
I have seen some go altogether.
Some I have seen will only drop 2 or 4 of the cydrs and still run the others.
Maybe this is what yours is doing??????
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 10:59:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By crowdlg:
Maybe the Ignition module went bad.
I have seen some go altogether.
Some I have seen will only drop 2 or 4 of the cydrs and still run the others.
Maybe this is what yours is doing??????

Unlikely to be an intermittent miss. Yes, they are waste spark with one coil for 2 cylinders.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 5:33:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By crowdlg:
Maybe the Ignition module went bad.
I have seen some go altogether.
Some I have seen will only drop 2 or 4 of the cydrs and still run the others.
Maybe this is what yours is doing??????

Unlikely to be an intermittent miss. Yes, they are waste spark with one coil for 2 cylinders.


There is spark at all six cylinders. Fuel sprayed out of the fuel rail when I pressed the schrader valve on the end of it. I guess I'll have to bring it in.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:12:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/10/2010 6:30:24 PM EDT by Keith_J]

Originally Posted By Eli75:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By crowdlg:
Maybe the Ignition module went bad.
I have seen some go altogether.
Some I have seen will only drop 2 or 4 of the cydrs and still run the others.
Maybe this is what yours is doing??????

Unlikely to be an intermittent miss. Yes, they are waste spark with one coil for 2 cylinders.


There is spark at all six cylinders. Fuel sprayed out of the fuel rail when I pressed the schrader valve on the end of it. I guess I'll have to bring it in.

MAF or MAP is probably not reading correctly. all it takes is a little skew in these sensors (don't remember which one a 99 Malibu has) to cause this problem.

The MAP is easy to diagnose, it is powered by a 5 volt source. Using a hand vacuum pump, draw it down to 28" Hg, then measure the output voltage. Should be next to 0 with 4.8-4.9 volts at atmospheric pressure. Linear over the 22-0" Hg pressure. They are fairly inexpensive to replace.

Both M and J code engines (3.1 V-6) use MAP sensing with TPS. The MAP sensor is an absolute pressure sensor, before the engine starts and every time the accelerator is fully depressed, it measures the atmospheric pressure, then when the engine is running, it measures the absolute pressure to determine the mass airflow into the engine. Since this sensor measures absolute pressure, it does so by comparing the measured pressure to that in a sealed metal container which has a vacuum in it. This requires temperature correction, all done in the MAP sensor itself. The comparison pressure is determined by a small strain gauge on this sealed vacuum reference. Naturally, after 11 years, it is possible for this sensor to partially fail in a way it won't trigger a diagnostic trouble code.

Use the above testing method...Wells has a pinout so you don't fry it. The power supply off a USB hub is a good source for 5 volts DC. All you need is a hand vacuum pump with gauge and a voltmeter for the test. Pin A is ground, Pin B is output and Pin C is 5 volts DC. Measure the wiring harness with key on to see which is A and C. B is in the middle.


Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:13:18 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:14:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By hobbsar:
Originally Posted By Eli75:
I have one of these new fangled 99 chevy malibus with a 3.1 v6. It only has 190k miles and is on it's second set of heads so it should be problem free.

I was driving home from work today with the cruise control set. All of a sudden the cruise kicks out and the idiot lights come on on the dash and the engine died. I coasted over to the shoulder. The car will crank over and fire and spit and sputter, but not really run. It will kind of run at about 1/4 throttle, but more or less will kill it. I towed it home and plugged my OBD II reader into it and no codes are showing. The fuel pump seems to be working fine.

Since it doesnt have a carburetor or even a tbi system, I don't know what else to look for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Eli


Possibly the ECU has died and the reason you got no codes is because it can no longer store anything?

Just guessing here.


This is the first thing that came to mind. Expensive repair.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:32:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Vicinity:
Originally Posted By hobbsar:
Originally Posted By Eli75:
I have one of these new fangled 99 chevy malibus with a 3.1 v6. It only has 190k miles and is on it's second set of heads so it should be problem free.

I was driving home from work today with the cruise control set. All of a sudden the cruise kicks out and the idiot lights come on on the dash and the engine died. I coasted over to the shoulder. The car will crank over and fire and spit and sputter, but not really run. It will kind of run at about 1/4 throttle, but more or less will kill it. I towed it home and plugged my OBD II reader into it and no codes are showing. The fuel pump seems to be working fine.

Since it doesnt have a carburetor or even a tbi system, I don't know what else to look for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Eli


Possibly the ECU has died and the reason you got no codes is because it can no longer store anything?

Just guessing here.


This is the first thing that came to mind. Expensive repair.

About $100, after a $75 core charge for the old one. You might have to swap out the EPROM.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:34:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Vicinity:
Originally Posted By hobbsar:
Originally Posted By Eli75:
I have one of these new fangled 99 chevy malibus with a 3.1 v6. It only has 190k miles and is on it's second set of heads so it should be problem free.

I was driving home from work today with the cruise control set. All of a sudden the cruise kicks out and the idiot lights come on on the dash and the engine died. I coasted over to the shoulder. The car will crank over and fire and spit and sputter, but not really run. It will kind of run at about 1/4 throttle, but more or less will kill it. I towed it home and plugged my OBD II reader into it and no codes are showing. The fuel pump seems to be working fine.

Since it doesnt have a carburetor or even a tbi system, I don't know what else to look for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Eli


Possibly the ECU has died and the reason you got no codes is because it can no longer store anything?

Just guessing here.


This is the first thing that came to mind. Expensive repair.


If the ECU died, would I still be able to read live data from my code reader?
It displays engine temp, rpm, and some other data while I crank it over.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that ECU replacement requires calibration from a gm dealer. Is that correct?
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:35:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Quintin:
5 psi of fuel pressure will put fuel up to the rails and the schrader valve, but it definitely isn't enough to run the engine. You need to put a pressure gauge on it.


I don't have one, but I might be able to borrow one. What is the acceptable pressure range?
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:37:07 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By Vicinity:
Originally Posted By hobbsar:
Originally Posted By Eli75:
I have one of these new fangled 99 chevy malibus with a 3.1 v6. It only has 190k miles and is on it's second set of heads so it should be problem free.

I was driving home from work today with the cruise control set. All of a sudden the cruise kicks out and the idiot lights come on on the dash and the engine died. I coasted over to the shoulder. The car will crank over and fire and spit and sputter, but not really run. It will kind of run at about 1/4 throttle, but more or less will kill it. I towed it home and plugged my OBD II reader into it and no codes are showing. The fuel pump seems to be working fine.

Since it doesnt have a carburetor or even a tbi system, I don't know what else to look for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Eli


Possibly the ECU has died and the reason you got no codes is because it can no longer store anything?

Just guessing here.


This is the first thing that came to mind. Expensive repair.

About $100, after a $75 core charge for the old one. You might have to swap out the EPROM.


Maybe it's different for Malibu's but a Camaro ECU goes for a few hundred dollars.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:39:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By Eli75:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By crowdlg:
Maybe the Ignition module went bad.
I have seen some go altogether.
Some I have seen will only drop 2 or 4 of the cydrs and still run the others.
Maybe this is what yours is doing??????

Unlikely to be an intermittent miss. Yes, they are waste spark with one coil for 2 cylinders.


There is spark at all six cylinders. Fuel sprayed out of the fuel rail when I pressed the schrader valve on the end of it. I guess I'll have to bring it in.

MAF or MAP is probably not reading correctly. all it takes is a little skew in these sensors (don't remember which one a 99 Malibu has) to cause this problem.

The MAP is easy to diagnose, it is powered by a 5 volt source. Using a hand vacuum pump, draw it down to 28" Hg, then measure the output voltage. Should be next to 0 with 4.8-4.9 volts at atmospheric pressure. Linear over the 22-0" Hg pressure. They are fairly inexpensive to replace.

Both M and J code engines (3.1 V-6) use MAP sensing with TPS. The MAP sensor is an absolute pressure sensor, before the engine starts and every time the accelerator is fully depressed, it measures the atmospheric pressure, then when the engine is running, it measures the absolute pressure to determine the mass airflow into the engine. Since this sensor measures absolute pressure, it does so by comparing the measured pressure to that in a sealed metal container which has a vacuum in it. This requires temperature correction, all done in the MAP sensor itself. The comparison pressure is determined by a small strain gauge on this sealed vacuum reference. Naturally, after 11 years, it is possible for this sensor to partially fail in a way it won't trigger a diagnostic trouble code.

Use the above testing method...Wells has a pinout so you don't fry it. The power supply off a USB hub is a good source for 5 volts DC. All you need is a hand vacuum pump with gauge and a voltmeter for the test. Pin A is ground, Pin B is output and Pin C is 5 volts DC. Measure the wiring harness with key on to see which is A and C. B is in the middle.




Thanks,

I have to watch my sister inlaws toddlers tomorrow after work. I will try to check the sensor on thursday. Hopefully my Mightyvac will pull enough vacuum to do the job.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:41:45 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Vicinity:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By Vicinity:
Originally Posted By hobbsar:
Originally Posted By Eli75:
I have one of these new fangled 99 chevy malibus with a 3.1 v6. It only has 190k miles and is on it's second set of heads so it should be problem free.

I was driving home from work today with the cruise control set. All of a sudden the cruise kicks out and the idiot lights come on on the dash and the engine died. I coasted over to the shoulder. The car will crank over and fire and spit and sputter, but not really run. It will kind of run at about 1/4 throttle, but more or less will kill it. I towed it home and plugged my OBD II reader into it and no codes are showing. The fuel pump seems to be working fine.

Since it doesnt have a carburetor or even a tbi system, I don't know what else to look for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Eli


Possibly the ECU has died and the reason you got no codes is because it can no longer store anything?

Just guessing here.


This is the first thing that came to mind. Expensive repair.

About $100, after a $75 core charge for the old one. You might have to swap out the EPROM.


Maybe it's different for Malibu's but a Camaro ECU goes for a few hundred dollars.


I have 2 for cameros and one for a vette TPI, but I doubt they are compatible with the malibu
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:43:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Vicinity:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By Vicinity:
Originally Posted By hobbsar:
Originally Posted By Eli75:
I have one of these new fangled 99 chevy malibus with a 3.1 v6. It only has 190k miles and is on it's second set of heads so it should be problem free.

I was driving home from work today with the cruise control set. All of a sudden the cruise kicks out and the idiot lights come on on the dash and the engine died. I coasted over to the shoulder. The car will crank over and fire and spit and sputter, but not really run. It will kind of run at about 1/4 throttle, but more or less will kill it. I towed it home and plugged my OBD II reader into it and no codes are showing. The fuel pump seems to be working fine.

Since it doesnt have a carburetor or even a tbi system, I don't know what else to look for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Eli


Possibly the ECU has died and the reason you got no codes is because it can no longer store anything?

Just guessing here.


This is the first thing that came to mind. Expensive repair.

About $100, after a $75 core charge for the old one. You might have to swap out the EPROM.


Maybe it's different for Malibu's but a Camaro ECU goes for a few hundred dollars.

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1367074,parttype,2896

Requires flashing. If the ECU goes, it usually sets a bunch of DTCs. Always test these circuits and sensors before replacing. Been there, done that. On my VW, it was a major PITA because it was intermittent, disappearing after a spray-down with component chiller...I rigged up a line of fine tubing to the cabin so I could chill it out. Then I installed a Peltier refrigeration unit on the heat-sensitive part until the ECU came in, running a switch into the cabin so it could be turned off when the engine wasn't running.

This is either the MAP or some other sensor which isn't triggering a DTC.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:46:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Eli75:
Originally Posted By Quintin:
5 psi of fuel pressure will put fuel up to the rails and the schrader valve, but it definitely isn't enough to run the engine. You need to put a pressure gauge on it.


I don't have one, but I might be able to borrow one. What is the acceptable pressure range?

This is the first thing I would check also. Look for 50 psi. Then maybe crank sensor. i have seen them quit and not set the light. Put your scanner on it and look for rpms on the scan tool while cranking the engine. Remember fuel and secondary ignition don't set codes.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 6:48:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Eli75:
Originally Posted By Quintin:
5 psi of fuel pressure will put fuel up to the rails and the schrader valve, but it definitely isn't enough to run the engine. You need to put a pressure gauge on it.


I don't have one, but I might be able to borrow one. What is the acceptable pressure range?

50 PSI or so. Also, check the regulator, it should be constant differential pressure so it should drop by 14.5 PSI with full vacuum on the vacuum line.

Link Posted: 8/10/2010 7:18:22 PM EDT
Crank position sensor? Seems to be common on GM vehicles of that age.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 7:25:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Crank position sensor? Seems to be common on GM vehicles of that age.

They are difficult to diagnose without an oscilloscope but if it passes the resistance check and has not kissed the reluctor ring, it should be fine. It needs to have some magnetism. And they are a major PITA to get at on the transverse engines.

Fortunately, with all the demand placed on the supply system, they are fairly cheap. Since they interface with the GM DIS module where the coils are mounted, there can be issues. Some DIS modules are less than precise, there are 7 notches in the reluctor ring for a V6 engine, if one pulse per revolution is missed, the engine will not start.


Link Posted: 8/10/2010 7:33:52 PM EDT
I have a USB Oscilloscope with data logging capability. I can try to check out the crank sensor too.
Link Posted: 8/10/2010 8:03:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Eli75:
I have a USB Oscilloscope with data logging capability. I can try to check out the crank sensor too.

There are two wires coming out of the crank sensor. Three wires going to the DIS module, the third is shield 7 pulses per revolution. The 7th pulse will be 10 degrees off the closest one, this is sync pulse. 300 millivolts minimum when cranking, it generates voltage. 900-1200 ohms resistance at 70 F, increases with temperature so check this too, it will be easier.

Check coil resistances too. Primary should be 0.35 to 1.5 ohms, secondary should be 5000-7000 ohms although without a megger, you cannot test dielectric. As always, be damn careful, these DIS systems pack a hefty punch, downright lethal.


Link Posted: 8/11/2010 1:26:00 PM EDT
Fuel pressure is 46 psi.

It's all I can check for now until my wife gets home to watch the kids.
Link Posted: 8/12/2010 6:59:53 PM EDT
I had the ignition module checked tonight. It is fine. Hopefully I can track down the problem this weekend.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 3:23:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 3:24:37 AM EDT by Eli75]
I haven't had much time to work on the POS. I spent a few minutes on it last night. There were two things that always bothered me, one the check engine light never came on and two the oil pressure light never went off while cranking over.

I cranked it over and held the pedal to the floor and got it to start running. It sounded like it was only running on two cylinders and it was popping through the intake. I had it up to 1800rpm and the oil light never went out.

As of now, I'm 99% sure that it has a broken camshaft. I will do a compression test tonight to confirm it.

That would explain why there were no codes and everything tested fine.

Does that sound logical?
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 3:34:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 3:35:57 AM EDT by Rumrunner358]

Originally Posted By Eli75:
I haven't had much time to work on the POS. I spent a few minutes on it last night. There were two things that always bothered me, one the check engine light never came on and two the oil pressure light never went off while cranking over.

I cranked it over and held the pedal to the floor and got it to start running. It sounded like it was only running on two cylinders and it was popping through the intake. I had it up to 1800rpm and the oil light never went out.

As of now, I'm 99% sure that it has a broken camshaft. I will do a compression test tonight to confirm it.

That would explain why there were no codes and everything tested fine.

Does that sound logical?

My bud had an avalanche that broke a valve spring, ran the same way. I can't remember how many miles it had, but it was still under warranty. I think the shop scratched their head on it for a day or two before figuring it out.

edit-although I don't think he had an oil pressure problem. what component drives the oil pump on the car? if its the cam, you may be on the right track.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 3:36:45 AM EDT
Could be a broken camshaft but you would have heard something when it went out. How about trying the MAF? Mass airflow sensor. Look at the element inside it and see if its broken or dirty. Try disconnecting it and see if the car runs better.

Or check the CPS. Camshaft position sensor.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:25:34 PM EDT
I pulled the front valve cover and only the rocker arms for one cylinder are moving. It's definitely a broken camshaft.

It will now be sold for parts or junked. It's not worth pulling the engine.


Could be a broken camshaft but you would have heard something when it went out. How about trying the MAF? Mass airflow sensor. Look at the element inside it and see if its broken or dirty. Try disconnecting it and see if the car runs better.

Or check the CPS. Camshaft position sensor.


Not when I'm listening to the radio
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:26:44 PM EDT
Timing belt jumped a tooth.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:28:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rangermonroe:
Timing belt jumped a tooth.


It has a timing chain that is fine yet.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:29:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Eli75:
Originally Posted By rangermonroe:
Timing belt jumped a tooth.


It has a timing chain that is fine yet.

Well.

I stand corrected!

Harumph....


Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:30:04 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Quintin:
5 psi of fuel pressure will put fuel up to the rails and the schrader valve, but it definitely isn't enough to run the engine. You need to put a pressure gauge on it.


yup took me a week of messing with my jeep to finally put a pressure gauge on it, at 10 psi gas was squirting out but iirc it needs 40 after the reg to run properly
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