1998 Chevy Malibu – One Cylinder is Dead Should I Replace the Engine or Donate The Car?

Reader Question I own a 98 Malibu v6 3.1 engine. The # 4 cylinder is dead. The valve is not operating I can see it thru the oil fill cap.

My question is should I replace the motor and trans., or just donate it to a charity and get something else.
Please advise Alan


I would take the valve cover off and see what is happening. Is there something wrong in the rocker arm or valve spring etc. etc. if you can’t see it moving…it might be something fairly simple, but you need to be able to see the whole picture and you really can’t unless you take the valve cover off at least…..ok?


Austin C. Davis

Reader follow up

Thank you so much! I nearly trashed a perfectly good auto for a 40$ repair , upon removing the cover I saw the rocker assembly had come loose. And the threads on the bolt were stripped. I rethreaded the hole with a Heli coil… Reassembled the rocker tightened to specs . and the car is smooth again . The check engine light is still on but I hope with all cylinders now firing that it will turn off. Unless you have any other ideas?
A most grateful

Follow up

Thanks for the follow up, glad to help. The check engine light was probably due to a misfire on that dead cylinder. If It does not clear itself in a day or so of driving, it might need a scan tool to clear its computer memory.

Follow up

After running the car for errands ” a test” The light went out.
Thanks again your site is the best!

Posted in: Running Problems

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