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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • bcumminsbcummins Posts: 16
    Took the car to the grocery store. When we got in to leave, I turned the key and nothing happened. The dials all started going crazy and all the electrical stuff in the car went on the fritz. My FOB no longer works and when I ever I move the key to ON or START, or pull the headlights knob past parking lights, all the dials and displays go crazy. After two hours of trying to figure out what to do (all Tow trucks 2 hrs behind) my wife noticed that the radio display read "CAL ERR". I'm gonna try and get up in the morning and have it towed to the shop, but I'd really like to know if anyone has any clue what I'm in for. Please email me directly in addition to posting. My wife's honda is already in the shop getting A/C repairs that are gonna break the bank. I'm tired of walking!

  • bcumminsbcummins Posts: 16
    Just in case anyone else is searching for the solution to the problem I described above, the issue was a battery that was on it's last leg. Now that I've got a new battery, I'm good to go.

  • colie74colie74 Posts: 42
    Hey Rog, I had the same ticking/clicking nose coming from the front end as well while turning. I got it fixed on the first try. Let me write out exactly what my invoice says as far as a fix. Hope it helps.

    "Sub Frame Noise at Weld joints. Applied pentratiine locker to frame. Noise gone"

    This also took a 24 hour drying time in which I had to leave it over night and a day and they gave me a rental.

    Haven't had the problem return yet.

    Anyways, hope that info may help with getting your servcie people to fix it.

    Good luck
  • After the car has been running for approximately 1 1/2 mins, I hear three clicks from the rear, similar to a relay, which is what it probably is, though I don't know which one. I have the same brake rotor problem when braking at 55mph or above. I'll wait until about 35 or 40K (24+ now) and replace them with drilled rotors.
    I also had a low coolant light at 23,000, but I haven't noticed a strong anti-freeze smell, but I will monitor it.

    I also had the low tire pressure light problem, but overall these are minor annoyances for a very good car. Before computers, I did all my own work except for auto trans. I bought the GM extended warranty because of major problems with another American make, no it wasn't a fix or repair daily. I drove a 1966 Impala SS with a 425/427 w/a rock crusher and won over 50 trophies. I also used it to tow my funny car to the track and used it as a daily driver.

    Can't wait for the "SS", if it will be for real. Thanks for listening everyone.
  • I just purchased an '03 Base Model Impala, 3.8 with everything on it. At lower speeds, 20-35 it seems to have an excessive amount of road/tire noise. Has anyone noticed this? It seems noisy to me. I'll get back to the dealer in the next few days and ask them.
    Otherwise I like this car better each time I drive it.
  • ghostwolfghostwolf Posts: 91
    Roadnoise is really my only complaint about the impala, I did change out my tires to some that are less noisy, which did help a little.

    One thing that I have been considering is taking off the wheel liners and coating them with a sound proofing coating (on the inside part) and seeing if that helps. I'd say most of the noise is comming through the wheel liners, maybe some throught the floor and trunk too..
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    The original Eagle GAs (on the 3.8l cars) are pretty noisy; I replaced mine with Bridgestone Potenza RE910s (if memory serves me correctly) and have been very pleased with reduced noise and improved handling (although I do think my gas mileage may have dropped a little).
  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    Keep the pressure on! If you have had a problem with the warped manifold, report it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reporting link at

    and to the Chevy email comment page at:

    Chevy responded with a form type letter saying there were no recalls on this issue. Riiight.

    I love my LS except for this stupid design flaw.
  • colie74colie74 Posts: 42
    I will as soon as I have it fixed. I am also at 22K miles.

  • bcumminsbcummins Posts: 16
    Anyone had any experience with their fuel gauge not working? For a while mine seemed to be on the fritz. I'd drive up a hill and it would register and fuller and then 5 mins later I'd be back closer to empty. Now, it's just flat wrong. I put almost 16 gallons in the other day and it was registering full before I started pumping. Then it seemed to be working again, moving back towards empty as normal, but then it went back to full. etc... Has anyone ever had this repaired in any car? What's it cost? What causes this? Is it something I could repair myself?

    Also, I think I might be losing coolant... had the system flushed about 10K ago and it already appears to be below normal. Thought they pressure tested, how much fluid dissipation is normal in 10K miles?
  • hogboyhogboy Posts: 84
    Brian, there should be next to no loss of coolant in 10k in regular driving. My Silverado has gone 3 yrs and no coolant loss. Our Impala LS (build date 4/01) is going into the shop next week at 19k for many issues, the warped manifold gasket problem, warped brake rotors, ISS lube, lifting roof joint moldings, the generator voltage regulator ground screw problem for the dimming interior/exterior lights, and the bushing in the steering shaft causing the wooshing sound in the steering wheel when turning. Its a shame GM has all these problems. The Impala handles great, is roomy, gets terrific gas mileage, comfortable and a pleasure to drive.
  • bjasmundbjasmund Posts: 6
    I purchased my '03 LS a month ago and I noticed yesterday that every metal component under the driver's seat is rusty (wet rust). I'm taking it to the dealer today and I'll provide a follow-up, but I just wanted to get some opinions on what this may be attributed to.
  • bsappbsapp Posts: 21
    First thing that comes to mind is that it could be a flood car. Have you checked under the passenger's seat to see if it is the same way? Does the plastic trim around the carpet show any sign of being popped up as to remove the seats and carpet to facilitate drying? How about the trunk area, under the mat and in the spare tire well, I would check there for signs of rust or sediment that may be there on the spare rim or jack or in the well itself. Anyway, something had to really get wet there to cause that. I'm assuming this is a new car and if it was damaged, should have been a insurance write off but I've heard of such being sold as new......

  • bjasmundbjasmund Posts: 6
    I found the rust when I was doing a pretty good detail job on the car. Flood damage was my first thought, too, so I really looked hard for other signs, but none were found. The dealer is going to order new parts so we'll see what those look like. The car only had 12 miles on it when I took delivery, so I'm assuming these parts could have gotten wet and sat for a while before they were installed on the assembly line. Thanks for response and I'll post an update when the new parts come in.
  • colie74colie74 Posts: 42
    I had all of the same problems at hogboy! I also have the leak in the trunk. Water in the spare tire compartment. So maybe during the next rain you may figure out the rust issue under the seats. I would be curious to know why an 03 with 12K miles on the car would be for sale in the first place.

    Also, the service deptarment just called and said the coolant leak was coming from the intake manifold...surprise, surprise. They said they are putting in the redesigned one. Cool, I was under the impression that they were just putting in the same part as originally put in. They are providing a rental, it will be done tomorrow.

  • hogboyhogboy Posts: 84
    We got our Impala back from the dealer. They pressure checked the radiator and said there was no leak. I asked why am I still smelling burnt anti-freeze& why did the recovery tank go dry once already. No answer. Roof strips were reglued. Lousy job, left glue residue all over roof, Strips still not fully secured. Brake rotors resurfaced, (IMHO they should have been replaced since they were the only ones doing the tire rotations) steering shaft lubed (that problem fixed for now). Alternator replaced for dimming interior/exterior lights. They said it was weak. I guess I will have to go to another dealer to fix the coolant leak. Still have a year left on warranty so hopefully can get these issues resolved. Still think this car is the most bang for the buck.
  • dekesterdekester Posts: 322
    I've been reading the posts here in the Impala section as I own a 1998 Olds Intrigue. I see there are a lot of similar problems between the Olds and Chevy. The ISS being the main one. My Intrigue has the 3.8 but there has been no problem with the intake manifold. Check out the Intrigue board if you want to meet some frustrated GM owners!

    There are problems with later models having the flickering lights that GM refuses to acknowledge is a problem. Some posters have replaced the alternator 3, 4 and even 5 times!

    I'm researching my next vehicle and thought I'd read the Impala boards as I like the 3.8....

    My Olds has 27400 since I bought it 1/99 and have had many problems, but most seem to have occurred after the warranty expired!

    I'll keep lurking and learning.

  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    See if you can get a part number on that replacement. I'm curious if they're quietly making a change.
  • hogboyhogboy Posts: 84
    Yo, I guess we got the Monday/Friday build vehicle.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Mine was built on a Tuesday (3/14/00; I special ordered it that January, and called frequently to find out the status when it was being built). I've still been plagued with ISS, intake manifold, warped rotors, cradle ticking, etc.

    Of course, the next day was the "Ides of March", and St. Patrick's Day was that Friday; so maybe it was just a bad week in general.
  • Well, the old alternator konked out after 73,000 kms. Cost me 300 bucks to get a new one. Yup, the warranty is over and I shudder to think what will now begin to break down.

  • colie74colie74 Posts: 42
    Hey txguy, I have my invoice here, I'll provide you with all the info off of it. Hope it helps, it has the part number on it, hope it isn't some internal number they use.

    "Pressure tested cooling system and found uppper intake manifold leaking coolant. Replaced upper intake manifold and transfer components."

    FP Number Description
    17113136 Manifold 3.265 R

    I asked the guy again as I walked out if it was truly the newly designed manifold and he said yes.

    BTW, I have always seemed to have good luck with my repairs. Seems everything has stayed fixed and was fixed on the first attempt with the exception of the trunk leak. But the ISS and the front end clicking have all been repaired first time out and so far have not re-occured. I seem to be on the later end of getting all these repairs done, maybe lessons learned?

    Take care
  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    That's not the part number for my replacement manifold done back in January. Will have to check it out.
  • I have read about the rack and pinion (sp) "freezing" up on the new Impalas, esp. the law enforcement version. From what I read the driver cannot control the direction of the car due to the steering controls not fuctioning thus resulting in accident. Has anyone else had this experience? This has also happened in a lot of other GM vehicles.
  • hogboyhogboy Posts: 84
    I am not sure if the upper intake p/n# 17113136 is the new part. In checking another Impala site I noticed this exact p/n# posted on the site and it has been there for quite awhile. One would think if they redesigned the part a new p/n# would be issued so there would be no confusion (hardy har har). I haven't spoken to my service guy in about 3-4 wks. At that time he said there wasn't a new part available yet. Since I will be switching dealers for all my repairs now it will be interesting to see what happens when I schedule our '01 Impala LS to go in for the 2nd time for coolant leak and the 2nd time for the flickering interior/exterior lights and the 2nd time for the lifting roof strips.
  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    I just had Llumar metallalized tint installed on my LS. I was assured it would not interfere with the AM radio reception (yes I listen to AM!). True in the city with strong signals, but out of the city reception is nil. There is some reduction in FM reception with weaker signals. It definitely interferes with the rear window antenna. I want to keep the tint for the obvious benefits in this hot climate. Is there any fix other than an exterior antenna or the front windshield variety?
  • kkc3kkc3 Posts: 6
    I've had my 2000 LS for 3 months now. 37K miles. I've had it back to the dealer 3 times already. On one trip, they greased the ISS,(clunking noise) and replaced the upper plenum assembly.(coolant smell) This was under warranty. These 2 things appear to be regulars for 2K Impala owners. Do you think I've seen the last of these 2 issues, or will they recur - say when my warranty runs out..............?
  • ghostwolfghostwolf Posts: 91
    I have tint and even before I had tint, the AM reception was just plain lousy. Even at night I have to manually tune to stations like WLS AM 890 which I can usually pick up with no problem.

    The FM is acceptable for me though. My tint is not metalic but like I say, I didn't get really great reception before the tint.

    I'm not sure what the back of the radio looks like but I do know that they sell AM antennas that are very small they might even fit under the dash.

    I guess all I'm trying to say is that I don't think your problem is just limited to you and I, I think that AM reception is just overlooked now days when they design these things.
  • dekesterdekester Posts: 322
    I have a 98 Olds Intrigue with the rear window antenna. I noticed for the first three years that the reception - both AM and FM - was weak when I had the rear window defroster on. Seems to have "corrected" itself in the past year.

    BTW, anyone remember the early 70's when GM had the antenna in the windshield? My father had a 73 Buick Apollo and the reception was bad no matter what station you were tuning in or if you were across the street from the transmitter!

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