A "Stutter" Problem?

malibutroublemalibutrouble Member Posts: 19
edited November 2020 in Chevrolet
I have a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu LS, 2.4L with roughly 136,000 miles on it. Roughly six months ago, I had an issue come up where I would wake up early in the morning to go to work and when I would get in it to leave my house, it would try to bog itself out as soon as I threw it into gear. Kind of "stuttering" almost like a problem you would get out of a car that ran lean or had a vacuum leak. I was working for a dealership at the time and had some of their technicians throw a scanner on it just to find that there was no problems. No codes, no problems! From then on, I have been allowing the car to run for five or ten minuets before I leave every morning, especially if its cold (because the problem started back when the temperatures fell, cold natured Chevy is what I always thought). I was advised by the techs to use fuel treatment products for a few months because I had been going to a small town gas station to fill up that was thought to maybe have debris or whatnot in their tanks. That problem resolved itself with the use of fuel treatment products within a month or less. I was ultimatey advised that worst come to worst, it may lead to needing the fuel injectors replaced. I have not had that problem for a while.

Now, its back. Same thing but, I'm still going out every morning (warm or cold) to allow the car to warm up for five to ten minuets and its not as soon as I throw it in gear anymore. I am able to turn the car on, let it run without the stutter problem occuring, throw it in gear, drive a half mile, and as soon as I come to my first stop on my route, the issue comes up...But, not every time I make the drive. Its almost like its puttering. Lights flicker, power seems to be choking, headlights dim, radio and air sputter with the lights, RPMs drop, and if I allow it to drop below around 400, it will stall. I have found that when I notice it, if I come to a complete stop, throw it in park, and rev it to about 1000 RPMs and let off, it resolves itself and runs fine for the remainder of the drive. Once a month since the original issue, the car will throw an EVAP code. I've cleared the code several times to try and pin point the issue but, the code is never thrown when or even around the time the issue comes up.

About a year ago, I spent two days and 16 hours with a buddy, three jack stands, a jack, and an almost full gas tank in my gravel driveway replacing the fuel pump and learned that the fuel filter was attached to the pump. The filter would have been my first thought otherwise.

I was thinking (or hoping) a vacuum leak and was going to be looking it over within the next few days but, I was just curious if maybe the technicians were onto something with the fuel injectors or if there was another system I could inspect that may be the problem.


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