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2009 Malibu LTZ
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2009 V6 with only 170,000 Kms. I have had this car since 2013 and had no real problems with it. I think it has always run rough when first started, especially when using the remote start, matter what the outside temperature was. I live in Alberta so it can be between -30C and +30C. When I say starts rough I mean sounds like it’s going to die, not getting enough fuel or air. I just lived with it.

The Service ESC started coming on and in chasing that I have spent $4400 and some does the car will die on me 3 times in traffic. I bought an OBD II reader and you guys are my last hope….literally.

April 2021 I did routine maintenance of replacing 6 spark plugs and ignition coil boots, transmission service and to service the fuel injectors I agreed to them just putting in a bottle of fuel system cleaner.

December 2021 took in for CEL and was code P0300. Cylinders #4 and #6 misfiring. Switched ignition coils #4 to #1 and #6 to #2. #2 showed misfire-replaced #2 coil. #1 started to miss again and replaced #1 coil.

February 2022. Service ESC came on with CEL. They found P0300 and P0496. “Found the #1=13496, #2=1210, #3=41 and #4=5192. Found the #4 to be counting up misfires” They removed the supply line from the purge solenoid and found vacuum to be present. removed connector and found condition to be the same. Removed #4 coil and spark plug and found carbon tracking. Replaced purge solenoid and #4 ignition coil connector and spark plug. Reset fuel trim and cleared DTC.

Did not even get car home and CEL came on. Took car back in March 2022. No misfires counting up. found DTC P0300. Found #1=2273, #2=476, #3-15, #4=556. Failures to be at less than 60 seconds from a cold soak. Removed #1 ignition coil (connector broken). Found no carbon tracking. Moved the coil and plug to #6. Installed a fuel gauge and left overnight for a cold soak. After cold soak fuel pressure at 55 psi. #1 cylinder to be counting misfires after the ignition coil and the spark plug movement. Removed intake and spark plugs and completed compression test. All cylinders at 60/120 psi. #1 and #2 cylinders show sign of leakage and bubbling under pressure. Replaced upper and lower intake gaskets and completed clearing procedure. Did cold soak and misfiring after cold soak. Gave car back.

In May I began to experience the same series of events, the car would start making a dinging sound and three warns would quickly flash “Service ESC, ENGINE POWER REDUCED, ENGINE DISABLED” This would all happen in about 20 seconds and the car is dead in traffic.

Took it in again. CEL on. Found P0443, P0223, P0122, P0107 and P0300 and they happen at 0 RPM and 0 runtime. Removed ECM connector and found a test lamp to light at X1 pin 18, 19 and 20. Found 0.3 Ohms at X2 pin 73. Found a test lamp to light at X2 pin 13. Found the test lamp at pin 13 dim when compared to B+. At that point I told them to stop as they were going to start taking cylinder heads off.

I bought an ODB II reader and have found that I am intermittently getting code C0242. Raw code 4242. Bus Signal/Message Failures: invalid email data received (0x71). I am assuming I am getting this because my CEL is constantly still on.

P0601 is constantly being picked up as well as P0430 (Catalytic converters system, bank 2-efficiency below threshold).

* When using the OBD II reader while actually driving the car, I have noticed that the analog temperature gauge on the dashboard is always within a normal range, however when hooked up to the OBD II it is reading the temperature quite high, at it is when the coolant temperature REDLINES on the OBD II that I get the dinging noise followed by the messages “SERVICE ESC, ENGINE POWER REDUCED, ENGINE DISABLED” and the car dies. All the time the temperature garage on the actual dash is fine. Once I let the car cool down for a bit, it starts back up again.

The freeze frame DTC also says P0601 - fuel system open loop due to insufficient engine temperature. Engine Coolant Temperature 190.4 F, Intake manifold absolute temperature 10.63inHg, intake air temperature 159.8F, mass air flow rate 0.84 lb/min, evap system vapour pressure 0.09 inH20, ambient air temperature 91.4F, catalyst temp Bank 1 330.8F, catalyst temp Bank 2 325.4 F

*****I also noticed when driving that the OBD II picked up that the #1 O2 sensor would bounce around all over the place while driving (15, 09, 73, 77, 31, 10) while the #2 O2 sensor stayed around an 82.

*****it also showed for the the Catalyst Monitor Bank 2 only had a value of .1658 and it should be between .4997 and .9994

NOW, I think either my car is running too hot or thinks it’s running too hot. I’m hoping if I changed or had changed the ECM this would hopefully solve some of my problems. Would you also change out #1 O2 sensor at the same time?

And for the #2 Catalytic Converter, I am obviously hoping I don’t have to replace it. Besides the repair place putting in 1 bottle of CRC “1tankpowerrenew” in lieu of an actual fuel injector service, I have never put anything into the gas tank of my car so not sure if anyone would recommend a bottle Cata Clean or similar if I am already having problems with the Cat Converter and the oxygen sensor??

If there is a YouTube video, I will try to do anything myself. I am at a point where I have put too much money in this car to get rid of it and it scares me to drive it because it strands me so frequently. if you’ve gotten this far, a sincere thank you and any help is appreciated. 😊
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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20,561 Posts
I have a 2011 with the 3.6L V6 that has 158,xxx miles (254,xxx km) on it. For several years I have dealt with "Service ESC" and "ESC Off" messages. I can predict them almost 100% of the time. It has to be humid outside, and I have to turn the steering wheel.

Several years ago I thought it was one or both front hubs that contain the VSS (vehicle speed sensor) for that wheel. I replaced the fronts but there was no improvement.

My best guess at this point is that the SAS (steering angle sensor) needs to be replaced and I've just never been in a position (car not in use, time, energy, willingness, etc.) to get it done, but I really want to.

Last year I bought an older SUV as a second vehicle, so now I can drive the SUV and get the Malibu fixed. Eventually...

I'm also getting the P0420 code. I tried all four o2 sensors, but no improvement. So it looks like I'll need all of the cats replaced.

Please do not use a test light or even a multimeter on just any wires in your car! There are computer data lines (GM LAN), and testing them with one or the other can cause damage. Make sure that all you test are not data lines.

There's a thread linked below about "fretting corrosion" that may be helpful to you. It's just 2 simple actions: unplug and plug in the specified connectors a number of times to clean the contacts, then apply a small amount of dielectric grease to isolate the atmosphere from the metal terminals that corrode (oxidize) when humidity is present.

 

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2009 Malibu LTZ
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi. Thanks for your reply. I definitely haven’t used a test light or multimeter on the car myself. Everything has been done at the dealership so far. But I have no more money to spend and the problem hasn’t been found yet. I am scared to drive the car as it has died on me in traffic so often.
 

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Since you're getting overheat readings that can trigger a shutdown, I would inspect the ECT sensor connector and replace the Sensor with a Genuine GM one. ECT sensor failure is common, and they can be erratic.
Also use an electronic cleaner / lubricant in the connectors, BCM and PCM connectors. Carefully look for bent or not fully protruding pins also.
Like DD said fretting corrosion can be a tricky issue and is common.
ECM failures can happen but are not very common. Poor sensor input is the most common. ONLY factory sensors, no aftermarket ones.
I would commit to sensor replacements before ECM replacement.
 
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2009 Malibu LTZ
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Since you're getting overheat readings that can trigger a shutdown, I would inspect the ECT sensor connector and replace the Sensor with a Genuine GM one. ECT sensor failure is common, and they can be erratic.
Also use an electronic cleaner / lubricant in the connectors, BCM and PCM connectors. Carefully look for bent or not fully protruding pins also.
Like DD said fretting corrosion can be a tricky issue and is common.
ECM failures can happen but are not very common. Poor sensor input is the most common. ONLY factory sensors, no aftermarket ones.
I would commit to sensor replacements before ECM replacement.
Your answer makes so much sense. Thank you for reading my very long post and suggesting it. I would like to attempt to do it myself since it seems like it shouldn’t be too complicated. I have a 2009 3.6L. I’m hoping if I can find a video showing me how to do it, I will try it myself, with a GM part. I can’t afford to take it back to the dealership anymore. 😊
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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20,561 Posts
The ECT sensor is easy to replace and easy to find.

Automotive tire Automotive lighting Gas Cable Electrical wiring


  1. Purchase new AC Delco ECT sensor
  2. Lift hood and locate sensor, next to engine oil dipstick
  3. Unplug sensor
  4. Use socket to unscrew/remove sensor
  5. Carefully start new sensor without cross-threading
  6. Use socket to properly tighten sensor to 15 foot-pounds (that's not overly tight, so use a torque wrench!)
  7. Plug in the sensor
If you don't have a torque wrench, call around to your auto parts stores to see if they have a free tool loaner program. Here in the US, most of them do. You pay for the item plus tax, use it, return it, and get a 100% refund, including the tax. It may be different in Canada.
 

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2009 Malibu LTZ
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The ECT sensor is easy to replace and easy to find.

View attachment 72841

  1. Purchase new AC Delco ECT sensor
  2. Lift hood and locate sensor, next to engine oil dipstick
  3. Unplug sensor
  4. Use socket to unscrew/remove sensor
  5. Carefully start new sensor without cross-threading
  6. Use socket to properly tighten sensor to 15 foot-pounds (that's not overly tight, so use a torque wrench!)
  7. Plug in the sensor
If you don't have a torque wrench, call around to your auto parts stores to see if they have a free tool loaner program. Here in the US, most of them do. You pay for the item plus tax, use it, return it, and get a 100% refund, including the tax. It may be different in Canada.
Thank you DD! Tomorrow when the dealership opens I will be getting the part and trying this. I actually do happen to own a torque wrench so I appreciate you giving me the proper amount to torque it to. I had already tried to find several YouTube videos, although they were all for 4 cylinder motors and none of them included that info.

Do you think this might also correct the one O2 sensor that seems to bounce around while I have the OBD II hooked up and driving? One of the sensors stays steady and the other one jumps all over the place. Just wondering what your thoughts were on changing out this sensor at the same time?

Thanks. 😊
 

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2009 Malibu LTZ
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I was going to add it says it’s the #1 O2 sensor. I’m not sure if that is the one that is easy to get to (crossing fingers) or the one that’s behind the firewall?
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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20,561 Posts
Bank #1 is always the one that has cylinder #1. In the image below for our transversely mounted engines, #1 is against the firewall and on the end of the engine nearest the right side of the vehicle.

It's very doubtful that the O2 sensor issue will go away after replacing the ECT sensor. It's kinda like your kid suddenly acting right just because their 3rd cousin twice removed was scolded.
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Additional information that applies to this post:

To determine left or right of any car, sit in the driver's seat. The car's left side is your left, etc. Some folks have mixed it up, thinking that they determine the car's left and right sides when standing in front looking at it, but that's incorrect.

If you ever lift a hood on any V-type engine, you'll see that one head is slightly closer to the "front" of the engine, and that will have cylinder #1 in it. That's how to tell if you need to know and don't have a diagram.

"Front" on a transversely mounted engine is the end opposite the transmission, but toward the side of the car. "Front" on a longitudinally mounted engine is at the front of the car. In both cases, that information is correct except in weird circumstances.
 
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