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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • I agree, the "clunk" is not normal, and I haven't had the problem either (fortunately). There is a TSB for '97-98 Malibus but I don't if it's related since you have a 2001. I'll list it FYI:


    Bulletin No.: 73-32-10

    Date: April, 1998

    Low Pitch Rattle, Clunk and/or Squeak Noise Coming from Front End of Vehicle During Low Speeds (Replace Lower Control Arms or Install Rack and Pinion Steering Gear)

    1997-98 Chevrolet Malibu
    1997-98 Oldsmobile Cutlass


    Some owners may comment on a low pitch rattle, clunk and/or squeak noise coming from the front of the vehicle while turning and/or driving straight ahead at low speeds, between 10-18 mph, (16-29 km/h). This noise condition is most apparent when driving over rough/spalled concrete, sharp bumps or broken pavement. A squeak noise may also be present during front end "jounce" conditions.


    This condition may be due to vibrations from the suspension damping the rough roads that are being transmitted to the steering gear assembly.


    Upon proper inspection, per the procedure in Section 3 - Steering/Suspension Diagnosis in the Service Manual, one of two conditions may exist:

    1. Front Suspension Noise (rattle, clunk and/or squeak) heard while driving straight ahead and/or front end "jounce".

    ^ Replace both lower control arms, P/N 22606709 (left) and P/N 22606710 (right).

    2. Front Suspension Noise (low pitch rattle and/or clunk) heard while turning.

    ^ Install a new rack and pinion steering gear assembly, P/N 26073200.

    Important :The new steering gear may result in a slight increase in steering effort while parking.

    Important :Before changing lower control arms and/or steering gear, exhaust all other possible sources of the noise, using the Service Manual procedure. Also inspect for the following:

    ^ Damaged suspension components

    ^ Worn control arm bushings

    ^ Worn strut dampener or mounting

    ^ Rack bearing preload (Sec: 3B1A8)

    ^ Loose stabilizer shaft

    ^ Loose wheel nuts or covers

    ^ Spring improperly positioned

    ^ Loose tie rod ends

    ^ Loose steering gear mounting

    ^ Intermediate shaft boot mispositioned

    ^ Power steering hose or line grounding out

    Parts Information

    P/N Description

    26073200 Kit - Steering Gear
    22606709 Lower Control Arm Assembly - LH
    22606710 Lower Control Arm Assembly - RH

    Parts are currently available from GMSPO.

    Warranty Information

    For vehicles repaired under warranty, use:

    Labor Operation Labor Time

    E9720 Use published labor
    operation time
  • Haven't had the cruise control problem and don't have a TSB on it.

    As for the brakes -- you have the classic symptom of rotor lateral runout, yes warped. These Malibus are very bad about this problem. Can be caused by improper wheel lug nut torquing or the new rotor wasn't within the lateral runout spec.

    If a new rotor isn't within spec, it must either be: 1) machined using an on-car lathe, or 2) shimmed with Brake Align(r).
  • norbsnorbs Posts: 10
    A reminder that aftermarket rotors from NAPA and other automotive suppliers are between $23 and $27 each. Two bolts hold the calipers in place and when removed, the rotors come off in your hand. The wheel lugs keep them in position. Entire job can be done by any backyard mechanic with a set of sockets in 30 mins. Also, the recommended 100 lbs of torque for wheel tightening seems a little high and must be done a little at a time and opposite lug nuts as you go so one side doesn't get too tight while the other is loose. Brakes are very cheap for this car.
    Wagner pad have given me 50,000 with no detectable wear or dust on the mag wheels on my 99. Great site with lots of good advice. I learn something every time I sign on.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    I figured as much with rotors. I will push for them to replace for free. If not, I have a pretty decent mechanic that I will have put aftermarket rotors on.

    I should clarify that it is not every high speed stop but even one chattering stop is too many.

    Thanks for the info.
  • Hey, all, i havn't been on in a long while. I'm just but 115,000 on my bu. My front end is making the knocking noise when i turn, and when after i come to a complete stop, and when i jsut start to go. It's not loud though, and can't hear it unless the radio is off. I think it may be my control arms. When i got the car, it had 21,000 miles, and made the noise. We fixed it under warrenty, they said it was the control arms. It started back again around 80,000 miles, i've not fixed it yet. So, does anyone know if it can cause problems.

    The car still runs good, real good. Although, my brakes are probably the most expensive thing on the dang car. Seems like every three months i have to get my rotors turned. Is that normal for them to warp so easyly, or do i just have a cheep rotors.
  • Took the BU down to another dealer across town. Didn't want to use the same goofs as last time. Anyway, not only did I put in a complaint about the knocking front end, but also a slight grinding from the front brakes. It wasn't major but while it was up on the hoist it would be easy to look at. Anyway, this dealer decided one caliper was shot and decided to replace it. They then claimed that the knocking had disappeared. We test drove it with a tech and it was still there. They were "shocked"? Anyway, they fiddled around and have now replaced one of the boots on the CV joints. I have no idea how that would cause a knocking sound. Anyway, it is typical GM. They replace the cheapest parts first and work their way up to the big ticket items... Did I mention that the caliper and boot replacement took 4 days? Yes, 4 days. It's really unfortunate as GM cars aren't really that bad. It's the morons who service them that give the company the bad name in my opinion.
  • Replacing one of the CV joint boots -- hmmm, was it ripped? If so it would have slung grease all around the surrounding area. Very noticeable. Usually a dry CV joint makes a clicking sound in slow turns, definitely not a clunk. If it were clunking, I doubt the vehicle would be driveable.

    Any reputable dealer will attach a Chassis Ear to find the noise source. Heck, I got my own. You hook clamps all over the underside. Each clamp is like a microphone. The closest to the sound is loudest. A couple times like this will zero in on the sound.

    Unfortunately, your bad experience is more common that it should be. Like so many car owners, I got so sick of being burned by dealers that I started doing my own car repairs. Once in a while I try out a dealer to see if anything has changed. And I get burned again.

    The following TSBs may be helpful.


    Suspension - Front/Rear Squawking Noise

    File In Section: 03 - Suspension

    Bulletin No.: 01-03-08-003A

    Date: February, 2002


    Squawk Noise from Front and/or Rear Suspension
    (Lubricate Stabilizer Bushings)

    1997-2002 Chevrolet Malibu
    1997-1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass
    1999-2002 Oldsmobile Alero
    1999-2002 Pontiac Grand Am

    This is being revised to include additional graphics and torque specifications.

    Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 01-03-08-003 (Suspension).


    Some customers may comment on a squawk noise from the front and/or rear suspension while driving.


    The noise may be due to a slip/stick condition between the front and/or rear stabilizer bushings.


    Follow the service procedure below and lubricate the front and/or rear stabilizer bushings with Special Lubricant High Temperature, P/N 12345879 (in Canada, use P/N 10953511).

    Service Procedure for Front Suspension

    1. Raise and support the vehicle allowing the front suspension to hang free. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle (SI2000 Document ID # 632491) in the General Information sub-section of the Service Manual.

    2. Remove the stabilizer shaft links. Refer to Stabilizer Shaft Link Replacement (SI2000 Document ID # 635842) in the Front Suspension sub-section of the Service Manual.

    3. Support the rear of the crossmember with an adjustable jack stand.

    4. Remove the rear bolts from the crossmember.

    5. Remove the lower control arm rear bolts.

    6. Lower the rear of the crossmember with the adjustable jack stand.

    7. Remove the power steering line bracket from the suspension crossmember on the right side of the vehicle.

    8. Remove the bolts (1) from the insulator brackets (2) attaching the stabilizer shaft (3) to the crossmember (4).

    9. Remove the stabilizer shaft insulators and lubricate the entire insulator with Special Lubricant, P/N 12345879 (in Canada, use P/N 10953511).

    10. Install the lubricated insulators back onto the stabilizer shaft.

    11. Install the insulator brackets (2) and the bolts (1) to the stabilizer shaft (3).


    Tighten the bolts to 69 N.m (51 lb ft).

    12. Install the power steering line bracket from the suspension crossmember on the right side of the vehicle.

    13. Raise the rear of the crossmember with the adjustable jack stand.

    Important :Cross member nuts (1) and (6) are captured nuts.

    14. Install the rear lower control arm bolts (3) through the crossmember.


    Tighten the rear lower control arm bolts (3) to 245 Nm (180 lb ft).

    15. Install the rear crossmember bolts (2). Tighten

    Tighten the rear cross member bolts (2) to 70 N.m (52 lb ft).

    16. Lower the vehicle and road test.

    Service Procedure for Rear Suspension.

    1. Raise and support the vehicle. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle (SI2000 Document ID # 632491) in the General Information sub-section of the Service Manual.

    2. Remove the stabilizer shaft insulator brackets (5) and the nuts (6) from the stabilizer shaft (2).

    3. Remove the stabilizer shaft insulators and lubricate the entire insulator with Special Lubricant, P/N 12345879 (in Canada, use P/N 10953511).

    4. Install the lubricated insulators back onto the stabilizer shaft.

    5. Install the stabilizer shaft insulator brackets (5) to the stabilizer shaft (2) and the nuts (6).


    Tighten the stabilizer shaft insulator bracket nuts to 53 N~m (39 lb ft).

    6. Lower the vehicle and road test.


    Front Suspension - Rattle Noise Diagnosis

    File In Section: 03 - Suspension

    Bulletin No.: 01-03-08-002

    Date: August, 2001


    Front Suspension Clunk/Rattle Noise Diagnosis

    1998-2001 Chevrolet Malibu (Built After 10/97)
    1998-1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass
    1999-2001 Oldsmobile Alero
    1999-2001 Pontiac Grand Am

    A number of front suspension lower control arms have been returned to the Warranty Parts Center (WPC). Input regarding these parts indicates replacement corrected front suspension related clunk/rattle type noise concerns. Analysis of these returned components indicates that they were manufactured to design intent and should have performed satisfactorily in the vehicle. It is recommended that when a front lower control arm is suspected to be the cause of a front suspension noise concern, the technician perform the following fastener tightening procedure prior to control arm replacement.

    1. Position the vehicle on a level surface at curb height (supported by the tires).

    2. Loosen the four lower control arm to front suspension crossmember attaching bolts.


    - Tighten the two lower control arm to suspension crossmember front attaching bolts to 60 N.m (45 lb ft) plus 120°rotation.

    - Tighten the two lower control arm to suspension crossmember rear attaching bolts to 100 N.m (74 lb ft) plus 180°rotation.

    3. Road test vehicle to determine if the noise condition has been corrected.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Power will not be 240 hp, but 200 hp.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    wouldn't wanna give people a good reason to buy the car now would they?

    Plus if the Impala has 205hp, they absolutely COULDN'T let the Malibu have more! LOL!

    But hey, this 'new' pushrod '3500' motor is supposed to have TWO camshafts isn't it?
  • Guys,

    Just my luck found a new clunk while trying to fix a different clunk with the dealer. While test driving the car after having warranty work done we put the car into neutral to quiet the engine to make sure the original clunk was gone. As we slowed in neutral to a stop there was a sudden loud clunk from the transmission. It sounded like a gear change. The tech. in the car had no idea what it was and had never heard it before, although how often is a car in neutral when driving down the road? The car does it consistently only when in neutral and slowing to a stop. The GM tech. doesn't want to touch the thing and is putting a call into GM on Monday to get their opinion. They are worried it might be early stage transmission failure. I honestly can't believe it. The last month with this car has been a disaster. Anyway, wondering if anyone else had this interesting problem arise and what, if anything, did you do about it?
  • sorry to hear about the tranny, this is so weird, cause it's the last thing Bu owners would complain about. How many miles you got on it?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I would say that is normal,the computer is confused with the transmission in neutral and car moving,it goes to default full pump pressure.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Frankly I was doubtful that there would be 240 hp.
    The 3.6L DOHC motor in the CTS will have 260 hp. So why would they go to all that expense when a pushrod motor would have only 20 hp less.

    Also the malibu has the 4T45E transmission they would have had to put the 4T65HD in to handle 240 hp.
  • Bu has only 6000 miles on it. I'll post an update on the transmission as soon as they decide what to do with it.
  • I have that same noise when I slow down in neutral with the engine running. It is no big deal, or at least has not caused me any big problems... yet. I just don't use neutral to stop with. My car has always done it, we got it with 21000 miles on it.

    Sometimes, my gear selector will actually get stuck. On cold days when I first start the car, I can't take it out of gear, or it is very difficult to take it out of gear. Instead of using just my thumb, I literally have to grab it and push with the palm of my hands. Or just let the car warm up, then it is normal, perfectly normal. It just started that, recently, I have 115400 miles on my car now. It's a 98
  • I am looking at a new car for my wife and the Chevrolet Malibu LS have come up in my search. I'm also looking at the Hyundai Sonata LX, Chysler Sebring LXI, and the Ford Taurus SEL. Which car offers the best reliability, performance, accommodations, safety, value and resale? My wife's current car is a 2000 Chevrolet Prizm LSI. This car has been very reliable although it is a bit tight on room. I would like a car that can match the Prizm's reliability. I have also been looking at the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord too but they don't seem to match the content of the other automobiles, plus there aren't any deals so far on these two cars. These would be the top reliability cars. But I'll put them into the mix, since they are good choices.
    Which of these 6 cars is the best in your opinion?The Malibu sparks my interest since GM is redesigning it next year. Therefore, Chevy is making some great deals.
  • Of the six cars you mentioned, the Hyndai offers a 100,000 mile factory warranty, I believe. You shoud keep that in mind.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    If you like the Malibu I would encourage you to check out the Saturn L series as well. Saturn finally wised up and now has 2500 cash incentive on this car. The L is superior to the Malibu and is more attractive. It has better road manners and nicer interior.

    Resale is crap on it but the Malibu is no resale champ either. What GM car doesn't have questionable resale.

    I would not recommend the L if the cash incentive was not available....but this incentive makes the car a really good deal, especially if you like the attributes of cars like Camry and Accord rather than Grand Ams.

    I would definitely say you can't go wrong with the Saturn at that price and the Taurus may actually be the best choice, especially if you want a larger, more solid road car. The 96-03 Taurus, aside from trannies in 96 and 97 have been very solid and reliable. The Sebring is nice too but The Saturn L is a little nicer IMHO. The Hyundai you ought to look at is the XG350, the Sonata has a good price but its other attributes are surpassed by the domestic names.

    Consider also that well equipped base model Impalas and Intrepids are not much more than their smaller counterparts.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Keeping the HP down at the 200 level keeps insurance down which may be a factor also. I know our 215HP Intrigue is more than our previous 200HP GP which had the same platform and almost the same price.
  • Fellas, I regularly coast downhill on Neutral, and I have never had any transmission noises whatsoever!

    By the way, does it really save fuel when you go downhill on neutral?

    Also, I read on that the new Bu will have 190 horses. Should be quite enough
This discussion has been closed.