Question about Chevrolet Malibu

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Car stalls when stopped, cuts out when accelerating to HWY spds.

1999 Chevy Malibu, L4-144 2.4L DOHC. 166,000 Miles. I have 2 issues, not sure if they connected in any way or not, started probably almost 2 years ago.

#1 When I stop at a red light, or stop sign, and sit there with my foot on the brake pedal, my car cuts out every 1-3 seconds. when it does this "cut out" thing, my headlights outside the car flicker, My dash inside flickers, and my RPMS dip down to anywhere from 100 to 400 RPMS, if i give it a little gas, it seems to help about 10 percent of the time, but if I remain stopped the cut outs increase until it dies. When i accelerate from a stop, car acts like it's going to stall until it gets past that first gear. During the summer it seemed to die more often when I was running the A/C, and now i'm running the heat and it's only died once or twice that I can remember (but it still acts like it wants to). The car always starts right back up, but with the same crazy activity. I had a tune up done before when it was doing this, it seemed to stop for like 3 days, then came back. A couple of times it's actually died while coasting (about 40mph).

#2 When I am accelerating to get on the interstate, my car will accelerate fine to about 35-40 mph then it does this "cut out" thing where it acts like it's not getting enough fuel / air. I'm positive I had the fuel filter and air filter replaced within the last year. If i take my foot off and back the gas and try again, it will accelerate about 5mph, then the same thing, it does this until I get up to the speed limit. After I am at the speed limit, if I take my foot off the gas to coast, once I put my foot back on the gas it does the same thing again. One day my check engine light came on after about 10 of these "cut outs" in a row (went from about 75mph to 35 or 40mph during the fit), took it to auto zone they said "multiple random misfires" I'm due to have spark plugs and wires worked on, but I think it's more than that if it still did it after repair previously.

I'm also leaking coolant, and having a fuel gauge issue, (gauge giving weird readings, full when empty, half full when almost full, i have to track my mileage unless I want to run out of gas, i have like ten times), not sure if they're related at all.
Thank you thank you thank you, ANY help is appreciated, I'm getting beyond irritated with the car, but I cannot afford a new one quite yet

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  • kmgrimm1 Dec 12, 2009

    I forgot to mention, I'm not sure if this will change anything, but when I'm trying to get to highway speeds, when it does its "cut out" thing, I notice my RPM's stop increasing and stick like the car can't go any higher, it usually gets stuck between 1800 and 2800 rpms.

  • Charles W Neal Apr 03, 2013

    The stalling at lights or anytime idleing could be the idle motor, the difficulty with acceleration are you seeing any smoke out the tail pipe. this could be the tensioner on the timing belt (assuming it has a belt and not a chain) this would cause the engine to hesitate when trying to accelerate and then as it catches up the problem seems to go away (fixed itself).

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You could have a bad or intermittent fuel pump. Not a cheap thing to have.

An OBD 2 scanner can read fuel pressure on the drive to see if your fuel pressure drops off at odd times to confirm. It can also tell if there are transcient vacuum leaks at idle which the engines idle air control cant compensate for.

Do the plugs, wires and cap too.

Posted on Dec 12, 2009

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