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CarJunky AutoAdvice

1998 chevy malibu

Showing 3 out of 23 Posts | Show 20 Hidden Posts
Question From buddy56 on 1998 chevy malibu

hi i am hoping someone can help me. i have a 98 chevy malibu 3.1l with 168000 miles. the problem is it idles very rough. i replaced the lower intake gasket because of the coolant leak, did a tune up(fuel filter, plugs, wires, pcv valve, air filter, oil change every 3000 miles, and all other maintenance. i sprayed carb cleaner around the intake but didnt find any leaks. what else should i check.thanks for your help.

Response From Hammer Time

Have the computer scanned to see if there are any stored codes in there.

Response From buddy56

thanks guys for such a quick reply. no there are no codes. i had a code for a cyl 3 misfire but that was cause of a loose plug wire. it ran about the same before the gasket replacement. i replaced it cause it was leaking coolant.

Response From buddy56

the firing order is not adjustable. i have a waste spark system. all the plugs were gapped (checked) before installation. and the wires were replace one by one to avoid mixing them up.

Response From Hammer Time

Of course the firing order can be wrong.
Here's the order it should be in.



Response From buddy56

sorry for the late reply. i did the tune up myself and i did not mix up any wires. i took them off one a a time and did the plug and wire at the same time.

Response From Discretesignals

Does it only idle rough? How does the engine run at higher rpms? Are you getting any trouble codes now?

Response From buddy56

yes. all it does is idle rough. on the highway it runs good. it revs good and there are no check engine lights. i have a code for the trans range sensor but it doesnt set off the light. i doubt that would cause this issue.

Response From Sidom

That's kinda odd there is no codes being set....

If this problem is just at idle & when in drive sitting,, you may want to take a quick look at the motor mounts.........Jack up the engine with a jack & block of wood, just enough to get the weight off the mounts, and see if it does anything for your problem.

Response From buddy56

thanks i will try those suggestions. yes i have a autel scanner and it is able to show live data. i was told by a more experienced tech (bmw foreman) that it could be the mounts. i think its rough in neutral and park. but its really bad in gear. i could see the mirrors shaking. also i did have an issue with the egr valve. can it be cleaned.

Response From Discretesignals

What is the issue with the EGR valve? Most techs can tell the difference between an engine vibration from motor mounts and a vibration from misfiring, so Sid and your tech is probably pointing you in the right direction.

Response From buddy56 Top Rated Answer

well i spoke to two different techs. one tech used the TECH 2 scanner and we saw that the egr valve was open a bit at idle. so we tried to free it up by using the scanner to open and close the valve. also i sprayed carb cleaner in it and let it sit to loosen the carbon. (is that a good way to clean it?) then the bmw tech did not look at the car. i spoke to him and he said it could be a mount since it was happening when it is in gear. i dont feel anything in park but im not too sure if it is rough in park also. but in drive its kinda bad. i feel it in the seat and steering wheel and i also see the side mirrors shaking.

Response From Hammer Time

An EGR valve not closing is a problem and that has to be resolved. If it won't seat on it's own, then you will have to replace it.

Response From buddy56

it was not staying open fully. it was only open a little. can it be cleaned?

Response From Hammer Time

A little open at idle is a problem. Cleaning likely won't work. You can't access the inside at all. It should be replaced. If the engine has a lot of carbon, it could happen again if a loose piece of carbon gets caught in it.

Response From buddy56

so how would i be able to clean the carbon inside the engine?

Response From Hammer Time

Many shops offer an Induction system service that will breakup the carbon.

Response From buddy56

is that the cleaning that uses the walnut shells?

Response From Hammer Time

I have no idea what that is.

Response From Sidom

You put crushed walnuts inside the intake & then squirrels go inside the intake to get the nuts & their tails remove all the carbon from the intake........




There is also a method that is like sand blasting but instead of using sand or glas$ beads.....it uses crushed walnut shells....

Response From buddy56

there was a cleaning where crushed walnuts is used to clean carbon.

Response From Discretesignals

Does your scanner have the ability to monitor data stream information?

Did you reuse the EGR gasket? Check to make sure the EGR gasket is causing a leak and the EGR gasket isn't on backwards. Don't spray carb cleaner around the EGR valve, it will ignite.

Also make sure that your EVAP purge solenoid vacuum line and line to the canister is plugged in

Response From Sidom

Is the check engine light on Buddy?....If it is, pull the codes and post them here

How was it running before the gasket replacement?


Also double check your firing order