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2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling #5130037 06/10/19 09:02 AM
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irv Offline OP
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My son's 2008 2.4 Chevy Malibu stumbles and outright stalls on him sometimes, especially after/during a rain or washing his car. I have replaced the plugs and shortly afterwards, it stalled on me less than 100 yrds away.

I have looked at electrical connections, the battery, fuses, etc, under the hood but all seems good?

Something, imo, is definitely getting wet/damp which is causing this.
He washed the car Saturday, took it for a quick drive after, then yesterday, after driving home from work, (it was fine on his way to work) it stumbled on him again. He video'd it this time and it sounds like it is running on 2-3 cylinders. I took it for a drive immediately after and it ran great???

The car doesn't throw any codes either.

Has anyone else came across this before, and if so, what did you discover?

It's getting frustrating to say the least, and of course, my son is nervous to drive it.

Thanks in advance. cheers


2017 Chevy Impala 3.6 L.
2013 Ram 5.7 L Hemi Bighorn QC 4x4
2008 Chevy Malibu 2.4 L Ecotec
Pennzoil Platinum and/or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum in all 3.
Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: irv] #5130065 06/10/19 09:28 AM
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skyactiv Offline
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I'd use a live data code reader. I assume he's putting regular E10 petro in it, not E85 I hope.


Wife: 15' Audi A4 quattro 6 speed manual
Me: 13' VW GTI 3 door 6 speed manual
2018 Elantra Sport 6 speed manual


Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: skyactiv] #5130076 06/10/19 09:39 AM
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maxdustington Offline
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Originally Posted by skyactiv
I'd use a live data code reader. I assume he's putting regular E10 petro in it, not E85 I hope.
I'm not even sure where to get that around here, I live right beside OP (Toronto).

Spray the wires with water at night while running? You would think it would throw a code if it was the coil or wires, though.


97 GMC RCLB K2500LD L30/4L60
Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: irv] #5130086 06/10/19 09:49 AM
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Triple_Se7en Offline
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Change the wires first. If not corrected, change the coil.


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Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: Triple_Se7en] #5130101 06/10/19 10:00 AM
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irv Offline OP
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Originally Posted by skyactiv
I'd use a live data code reader. I assume he's putting regular E10 petro in it, not E85 I hope.



Originally Posted by maxdustington
Originally Posted by skyactiv
I'd use a live data code reader. I assume he's putting regular E10 petro in it, not E85 I hope.
I'm not even sure where to get that around here, I live right beside OP (Toronto).

Spray the wires with water at night while running? You would think it would throw a code if it was the coil or wires, though.


Originally Posted by Triple_Se7en
Change the wires first. If not corrected, change the coil.


Regular fuel, likely 10% or less ethanol.

The car doesn't have plug wires only ignition coil type wires. When I did the plugs all looked good but I am not writing off the fact there might have been a hairline crack in one of the coils?
My bud said the car would not stall if one were bad, the other 3 would allow it to run??

I am going to look under the dash today and check the carpeting. Something might be blocked in the vent area that allows the water to drain and might be getting something damp?

I have read about the Body Control Module (BCM) so I am also going to check that out a little more thoroughly today, hopefully, (raining out) and see if it is damp or has signs of corrosion?
I hate these types of problems!!!

Malibu coils.jpg
Last edited by irv; 06/10/19 10:01 AM.

2017 Chevy Impala 3.6 L.
2013 Ram 5.7 L Hemi Bighorn QC 4x4
2008 Chevy Malibu 2.4 L Ecotec
Pennzoil Platinum and/or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum in all 3.
Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: irv] #5130114 06/10/19 10:16 AM
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mk378 Offline
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Fill a spray bottle with plain water and use it to dampen various parts, hopefully that can trigger the problem without waiting for rain or paying for car washes.

Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: mk378] #5130121 06/10/19 10:27 AM
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irv Offline OP
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Originally Posted by mk378
Fill a spray bottle with plain water and use it to dampen various parts, hopefully that can trigger the problem without waiting for rain or paying for car washes.


I did that last Thursday. I sprayed every connection I could get at under the hood, other than the coils, and never got it to stumble.

I, of course, was hoping something would happen but no luck! mad

Meant to add, the battery connections and fuses beside it all looked good with zero signs of any water infiltration or corrosion.

I do, however, have to check the little fuse box in the trunk on the left side. I have read there are fuel relays or fuses in there but he also has zero moisture issues in the trunk that I have noticed.

Last edited by irv; 06/10/19 10:30 AM. Reason: Added more info

2017 Chevy Impala 3.6 L.
2013 Ram 5.7 L Hemi Bighorn QC 4x4
2008 Chevy Malibu 2.4 L Ecotec
Pennzoil Platinum and/or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum in all 3.
Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: irv] #5130125 06/10/19 10:28 AM
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mk378 Offline
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Why didn't you spray the coils? Also, as you have already suggested, pull the coils and inspect them closely for cracks or burned spots.

The crank sensor is a single point of failure that can make an engine suddenly run badly or not at all.

Last edited by mk378; 06/10/19 10:31 AM.
Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: mk378] #5130131 06/10/19 10:33 AM
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irv Offline OP
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Originally Posted by mk378
Why didn't you spray the coils? Also, as you have already suggested, pull the coils and inspect them closely for cracks or burned spots.


I didn't feel like removing the plastic cover (time restraints) as I was hoping it was something else. Under that plastic cover, when I did the plugs, things stay pretty dry under there, imo.

Personally, I believe something else is getting damp but I will check those just the same.


2017 Chevy Impala 3.6 L.
2013 Ram 5.7 L Hemi Bighorn QC 4x4
2008 Chevy Malibu 2.4 L Ecotec
Pennzoil Platinum and/or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum in all 3.
Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: mk378] #5130133 06/10/19 10:34 AM
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irv Offline OP
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Originally Posted by mk378
Why didn't you spray the coils? Also, as you have already suggested, pull the coils and inspect them closely for cracks or burned spots.

The crank sensor is a single point of failure that can make an engine suddenly run badly or not at all.


Any idea where the crank sensor is on this car? If it were bad, however, would it at least not give me a code?


2017 Chevy Impala 3.6 L.
2013 Ram 5.7 L Hemi Bighorn QC 4x4
2008 Chevy Malibu 2.4 L Ecotec
Pennzoil Platinum and/or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum in all 3.
Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: irv] #5130258 06/10/19 01:03 PM
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irv Offline OP
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I just took the car out for a quick drive. I drove around the neighborhood making lefts and rights and never really got above 50 km/h. All was fine for about 5 minutes then it started acting up, slowing down like it was in limp mode. (no codes at this point)
Continued driving a bit then made it home. In the driveway I lifted the hood. Engine wasn't shaking like in the vid, it was running smooth. Shut car off and pondered. Took it for another drive and it immediately did the same thing. After driving for only a couple minutes, as I was pulling back in the drive, I got 2 codes/notices. "Service ESC" Service Traction"

Let sit for about 5 minutes then took for another drive. Drove perfectly this 3rd time with no codes, stumbles or stalls.
Judging by this vid and the comments below, it could be a dozen things!! Fuse box, sensors, etc, etc, etc.

The thing with my son's car is it only does this, like I mentioned, if it is damp/rainy out/after a wash, etc, never when it is warm/nice out??

Last edited by irv; 06/10/19 01:04 PM.

2017 Chevy Impala 3.6 L.
2013 Ram 5.7 L Hemi Bighorn QC 4x4
2008 Chevy Malibu 2.4 L Ecotec
Pennzoil Platinum and/or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum in all 3.
Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: irv] #5130285 06/10/19 01:21 PM
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dishdude Offline
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It sure looks like it's missing. Anytime you have an engine fault, these disable the traction and stability control so disregard those messages.

What scan tool are you using?


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Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: dishdude] #5130322 06/10/19 01:53 PM
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irv Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dishdude
It sure looks like it's missing. Anytime you have an engine fault, these disable the traction and stability control so disregard those messages.

What scan tool are you using?


I didn't know that but that is good to know.

I am unsure the scan tool. My son is doing co-op at a Midas dealership here in Oshawa so I would assume it is a good/decent one? When they scanned it a short while ago, there were zero codes.

I just noticed on the firewall, drivers side, near the shock/strut tower, a plug/clip that didn't look like it was all the way in. I used a screw driver and sure enough, the retaining clip wasn't seated. Likely not the issue but just thought I'd mention it. I sprayed the plug with Krown rust spray after and took it for another similar drive. It seemed a bit hesitant a couple times but quickly cleared up and ran fine with no further/same codes. The service engine light is not on.


2017 Chevy Impala 3.6 L.
2013 Ram 5.7 L Hemi Bighorn QC 4x4
2008 Chevy Malibu 2.4 L Ecotec
Pennzoil Platinum and/or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum in all 3.
Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: irv] #5130326 06/10/19 01:57 PM
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oilpsi2high Offline
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Has it ever happened when it wasn't raining/damp?

If so, timing chain for $ 400, Alex.

Also scan the codes, that'll tell you what the problem is... You can buy a code scanner for $ 40 or just have an auto parts store do it for free.

if it's only when it's damp it's probably ignition related. Again, reading stored codes will tell the story.


Re: 2008 Chev Malibu 2.4 stumbling/stalling [Re: irv] #5130494 06/10/19 04:24 PM
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Popsy Offline
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Look at live data, misfire count and fuel trim, also O2 sensor voltage.

I was in Toronto last week, could have lent you my scanner wink

I has similar symptoms in the past with two different cars, and each time it was the O2 sensor, but in your case I wouldn't be so quick to accuse it.

Maybe you can put marks/numbers on coils and move them around ? Coil 1 to cylinder 2, etc, to rule out an ignition problem.

Also crank sensor can go bad suddenly (especially when hot) and partially/somewhat recover enough, engine management is usually pretty good at "recovering" missing data till it can't anymore.


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