This car has only 50000 miles on it.
2000 malibu 3.1 engine shuts off while driving, after stopping the
car and turning key off - then on, it starts and runs fine for 5 or
10 minutes, then shuts off again.
First time it happened we were on
level city road at 30mph, 2nd time 20 minutes later going downhill,
and third time while on level at 40 mph.
I drove it to the mechanic, he put it on the diagnostics and
everything showed normal. He went on test run for 20 minutes and it
ran fine. Tonite he took it home to see if it willl stop. It ran fine.
Now its the third day, we drove around town and it runs fine.
Any suggestions as to solutions for this problem as the car is in very
I'd hate to take it to the scrap man with this low mileage, and its
like new condition.
But It's not safe to drive and the engine shut off can easily cause a
A guy at work has a Lumina with the same exact problem. Two years and four
shops later, he still has the problem. He solved it by buying a Dodge, but
the Lumina sits in the garage, used for nothing more that trips of a mile or
Probably a bad ECU intermittently getting confused.
Had similar but not so often symptoms on a 2.8 Celebrity.
My mech had it for almost a week at his shop where they used it as
their utility car with diagnostics always attached.
You can't diagnose something unless it happens.
It my case it was heat related, as I left it at the shop the first
cool day of the fall.
The first warm day of the spring it just wouldn't start.
New ECU fixed it.
You can try swapping in an ECU to eliminate that.
Your best bet.
Another one I ran into like that was almost exactly like your problem
was with that good straight 6-cyl that Chrysler put in my '74 Dart.
For almost half a year it would die unpredictably.
But it would start right back up when cranked.
It was worse in warm weather or when the engine was hot.
I did all the normal diagnostics, fuel pressure, fuel flow, etc.
Of course it ran fine when I was diagnosing it.
Put a new ECU on it - that was a primitive 20 buck part on that car.
I can't tell you how frustrated I was with that car, especially when
it died on a hot Easter Sunday on the expressway with my family aboard
on the way to a family reunion. We didn't make it and got home in a
tow truck and busses.
Wouldn't even start with the Minuteman towtruck providing a good
Had it towed home from where the Minuteman had left it off the highway
to the street in front of the house and went back to looking at it.
Figured the only thing left to try was drop the gas tank and see if
there was something in there that could float around and stop fuel
flow when it felt like it.
My head dropped thinking about doing that, and the way my head was
shaking and the angle of the bright sun was just right for me to catch
a glint behind the head.
Primary wire to the coil was against the head, and the insulation gone
where it was touching. Heat increases resistance, and a bump could
move it a bit too.
Half an inch of electrical tape fixed it.
The reason the wire could touch the head was I had replaced the valve
cover gasket a while back, and forgot to rehang that wire on its clip.
But it's been 20 years, and I've forgiven myself.
I've had a couple 3.1's - a Corsica and a Lumina now - and their
controls aren't particularly complex.
Did your mech mention the ECU?
A good mech doesn't want to stick you with a 200 buck part unless he's
sure it will fix it. But if it's working fine when he runs
diagnostics, why replace it? That's the biggest problem with this.
Don't think an ECU can be returned for a refund.
The mech I used when I had the 2.8 Celebrity was a one-visit mech, and
just would never do anything by guesswork.
He wouldn't take anything for the week the car had been in the shop.
Just said he'd get me later when he fixed something, and he did.
I've heard that others pick up ECU's at the boneyard to swap when the
ECU is s a possibility. You might try that.
I'm adding this to the tech group. There's some good mechs there.
Thanks Vick, I am looking through all possiblities. My tech didn't
advise changing out parts adhokc but rather , try to find the fault.
He gave me a spark testor and a valve depressor. Next time it shuts
down, I am to leave the key on, depress the fuel manifold valve
carefully, not to get sprayed with gasoline, watch for pressure, and
no airbubbls, then , install the spark testor and have the wife crank
the engine over to check for spark. Now one of those will be off. The
engine doesn't restart, unless you turn the key off first.
My guess is its electrical. See my other post today re wiring
On Fri, 02 Apr 2010 06:51:16 -0500, Vic Smith
My '97 Blazer did the same type of thing. Turned out it's very common
to have the ignition switch fail on the blazer.
Replacement was not fun, required about $15 of the right size torx
sockets, as detailed by several on line articles. Switch was $90 and
it took abour 3 hours start-to-finish. Dealer wanted $250-300 pats and
labor, which is fair; especially if you don't like working near and
having to disarm the airbag.
My vehicle has no security system - no "magic key" or keyfob/ alarm.
Just put the key in and it should run. :) Having the security system
can give you additional things to check.
Agree with other posters it could be the ECU - you might see if you
can correlate failures with temperature, or damp mornings, some
This is what the automotive industry needs to find these intermittent
Basically you would connect wires from a voltage/data recorder to key points
in the electrical system, then this would show what was happening.
So they would connect this, you would drive around, you would experience the
problem, then return to the shop and tell them the date/time the problem
occurred. Then they would look at the data and see what happened.
I agree, a data recorder plugged into the computer, set to take a
"snapshot" of error codes. Now am stuck in an unreliable car, scared
to drive it.
Next time this happens I will check for pressure in the fuel maniford
by depressing the valve while the key is still on. If someone is with
me, I can have him crank the engine and I'll check for spark with a
testor I picked up.
At least I'll know if its the fuel or if its on the sparkside.
Thanks so much for the replies so far.
On Fri, 2 Apr 2010 17:22:54 -0700, "Bill"
A proper VDR simply plugs into the ODBII port, and has an (optional)
button the driver can press when the symptom occures. They can be
programmed to trigger on a variety of conditions too (such as RPMs
dropping to zero, voltage and any other ODBII monitorable parameter.
An incredibaly valuable tool (even if I can't spell today).
When the fault happens they do a time based snapshot of parameters,
usually weighted to before the symptom occurance, so you can watch a
number of seconds of data (using a PC) and see what is changing and
Newer ones also have scan tool capabilities built in!
Now here's a jerk off with a real liberal solution. Obama will fix your used
car via the NHTSA.
The correct answer was to take advantage of the cash for clunkers
program.........while facing East.
Following the wiring, discovered that the crankshaft sensor wiring
was running alongside the sparkplug wires for about 3 inchs of
lenght. After looking at photos of other malibu's , this was
incorrect. So I rerouted along the underside of the coolant tank
tubing, and strapped it there with white nylon straps.
This may solve the riddle, if electromagnet inductions were ghosting
the computer causing the engine to shut off. I'll have to do
something with the other bank of plug wires, and the harness wiring
laying on top of them.
So far the car is running beautiful as it has in the past. Love the
solid feel and the power, quiet cabin on this car. Thumbs up to Chevy
We are hoping that the shutdown will not happen againe.
On Fri, 02 Apr 2010 00:28:27 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Yesterday the engine shut off again after a week's hiatous. AFter
rolling to a stop, I got out and checked the fuel pressure at the rack
valve, and it squirted nicely.
Tryed to start without turning the key to off and it restarted. and
drove me home (about 20 minutes).
Today I left home and 4 minutes out the engine shut off just as I was
accelerating from a 4-way stop, and rolled to a full stop in the
middle of the intersection. Someone helped me push it to the side.
I got my stroller out, the wife and two young kids went back home by
Attemped a restart but no. The anti theft light come on.. Turned
the key to on position and waited 15 minutes, then engine started up
normaly, and ran fine, I drove the car home (5minutes, safely)
I am a nervous wreck.
What can I do. The local shops don't have a dvr, the one I deal
with said that the results are limited with the device.
The antitheft light coming on is a new thing, today only. Maybe need
to replace the ignition switch. or turn off the anti theft by cutting
the yellow wire while the engine is runnin.
On Fri, 02 Apr 2010 00:28:27 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
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