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Old 11-28-2011, 07:47 AM   #1
HannibalSkye
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Default 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

I have a 2000 Chevy Malibu with a 3.1 with about 164k Miles on it. The other day I was pulling up to a stop sign and when I tried to take off again, I realized that it had died. I dropped it into nuetral, restarted it with no troubles, and took off. Since that time, I can't start it the same way anymore. If I just put the key in and immediately crank it, it will turn and never start. However, if I turn the key to run and let it sit for about 3-5 seconds and then crank it, it will start fine.

It has died on me two other times since then. The two most recent times it has died, I have had my foot on the gas. I wasn't flooring it, but just holding a steady speed when it died. I have replaced the fuel filter, PCV Valve, and I checked the fuel pressure, which is holding steady at about 44 psi when the key is turned to run. The Air Filter is clean and new, and the battery is brand new.

I have noticed is that sometimes when I pull up to a stop sign first thing in the morning, I can see my lights dim sometimes like it's lost most of it's power. However, once it's warm it won't really do this, and it doesn't always do this when it's cold. Only occasionally will this happen.

The only other issue I have found is that when it is sitting idling, the engine will run with a kind of pulse or surging high low high low in rapid succession instead of running at a steady pace.

I have no engine codes and the check engine light has never come on during this time period where this has started happening.
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

just bought a 2000 Chevy Malibu V6 3.1 with similar issues it seems to be running lean but thankfully has not turned off. You should start by doing a complete tune up. New spark plugs and wires are a must. It is very important on idle that you correctly gap the plugs, have you already replaced the fuel filter, air filter and pcv valve?
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

Yea, I mentioned in the original post that I have replaced the fuel filter and PCV Valve and the Air Filter is clean. I did a full tune up about 70-80k miles ago and it doesn't have any trouble with acceleration and no real hesitation when driving.

I also just checked my ignition switch to see if when I jiggle the keys, it will shut itself off, but that wasn't it either.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

I had similar once. My fuel pump (THAT one!) was failing, and it could not pump enough fuel, even though on key on engine off it had plenty of pressure (as soon as the motor started running, it'd drop to about 21 to 23 ... and if you popped the throttle body, it'd drop right down to 5 about when the car stalled.)

I'd do a pressure check while the car is running.

To do this, take a long hose on the pressure gauge and tape it to the windshield, making sure the hose isn't crimped too tight when you shut the hood on it, and drive around the neighborhood.

Use only a high quality hose on this - a cheap one may break, and spew gas all over the place! NOT a nice thing to do on warm exhaust manifolds!

At the current mileage, I'd be swapping spark plugs ANYWAY as PM. 70K to 80K is where some platinums are starting to be worn out due to the gap eroding. My Cougar, for instance, gets about 40Kmiles on a set of Bosch Platinum Plus plugs. (They're 70 cents each on sale when I buy them, so that's not a big deal to me. Even if it means I change plugs annually ... )

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Old 11-28-2011, 03:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

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I had similar once. My fuel pump (THAT one!) was failing, and it could not pump enough fuel,
That was my first thought too but as I read farther down his post, it began to look like major electrical failure......like a failing battery or a bad main cable connection on one side of the battery.

How old IS the battery ??
I suggest that you should have the battery and charging system tested.......and if the battery is over 5 years old, plan on replacing it anyway.
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

The battery is about 4-6 months old. I have had one person suggest that it could be a "crankshaft positioning sensor" and another suggesting that it may be the EGR Valve. Any thoughts on those two?
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

How about the ignition switch? They're kinda famous for having issues.
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Old 11-29-2011, 05:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

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The battery is about 4-6 months old.
That doesn't mean that it couldn't be bad........or that the charging system has failed and isn't keeping it charged up. At most battery stores and some shops, the testing is quick and free.

As for the other stuff.......at 160K miles, it could be a LOT of things.
As was mentioned, the ignition switch gives some people fits.....and it is relatively inexpensive and not to difficult to replace.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

It finally threw an engine code Saturday, and it was for the EGR Valve. I replaced that and it hasn't died yet, but I haven't driven that much.

However, the problem I was having with it starting where if I just immediately put the key in and crank it, it will turn over fine but never actually start, is still going on.

I still have to put the key in and turn it to "Run" for a few seconds before I crank it in order for it to start properly.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2000 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Stalling/Starting Issue

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Originally Posted by HannibalSkye View Post
However, the problem I was having with it starting where if I just immediately put the key in and crank it, it will turn over fine but never actually start, is still going on.

I still have to put the key in and turn it to "Run" for a few seconds before I crank it in order for it to start properly.
When you turn the key on but don't turn it to crank, you're allowing the 2 second fuel pump prime to run beofre there's any fuel demand by the engine. Put a fuel pressure gauge on before you start it after an extended cold soak, and see if the fuel pressue comes right up or rises slowly. Pressure should rise very rapidly. Another thing you can try is to use the fuel pressure gauges bleed off valve to bleed off fuel while the engine is running. Of course catch the fuel in a safe container, keeping it away from sources of ignition. The engine should stay running at idle while you're bleeding off the fuel with the gauge. If it doesn't, it's very probable the fuel pump is starting to fail.
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