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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • colie74colie74 Posts: 42
    Thanks for the response, I think I'll have them do a simple pressure check when it goes in to get the carpet kit and spare tired cover replaced from mold/excessive water leak. I don't smell coolant though and only the low coolant level light came on. Is this the same symptom? Is my 2.5 year old car suppose to have low coolant? Am I suppose to be maintaining it? Never dealt with the coolant in any previous car that new. How often should I be purging it? It seems to be an ugly merky red vs new red. I wonder about the gummy coolant situation.

    BTW, anyones trunk leaking?
  • hogboyhogboy Posts: 84
    The coolant is "suppose" to be good for 5 years. I wouldn't trust it that long. Maybe 3 years.( Just my personal choice). I am currently watching the same problem in our Impala with 18k on the clock. I added about 1 quart to the recovery tank this weekend and have started noticing a faint coolant smell when pulling into the garage at night. My 2000 Silverado has had no coolant loss in 35 months and I will be getting that changed out this month. Other issues that have developed are the fading headlights, the ISS lube problem, and the peeling roof strips.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Posts: 870
    My low coolant light NEVER came on; I just happened to notice the level was low, combined with the smell.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Posts: 870
    I've always been a little skittish about working on brakes, but I took the plunge this weekend (partially because I had to spend big bucks to have a starter put on my wife's car) and replaced my brake pads front and rear. I'd bought a Haynes manual, and following the info in there, it was almost too simple to replace the pads. Granted, I was unable to remove the discs for resurfacing (couldn't break the bolts loose that hold the caliper mounting bracket on), but they weren't scoured at all.

    Definitely feel a difference in the braking now, but was surprised to see that my old pads still had a good bit of wear left on them (probably 1/8" or so above the wear indicator/"chirper").
  • jbk5jbk5 Posts: 26
    Does anyone know if this manifold problem has been corrected or is it still affecting cars currently being built? It's ridiculous if it has been happening since the late 90's and they haven't done anything about it.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Posts: 870
    I don't know for a fact, but I'm pretty sure the problem still exists. If it didn't, I would think someone here would have had their warped intake replaced with the "new & improved" version. As far as I know, when you have one of these warp, they replace it with a fresh version of the exact same thing. Supposedly the chances of having this happen twice are rare, but Mr. Goodwrench didn't install much confidence when he replaced mine.
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    My 2001 Impala LS with 20K miles (April 2001 build) has been extremely reliable. The only issue I experienced a couple of months ago was the warped manifold intake that developed an external coolant leak on the right side of the engine. It was replaced under warranty (4+ hour job) and has been fine since.

    I have not experienced none of the issues related to check engine lights, airbag lights, leaking trunks, ISS or rattling breaks. My car runs fantastic, is tight, solid, quiet and compleletly rattle free. This car has never ever left me stranded anywhere and the engine runs like the finest Swiss watch.

    I am selling it, not because I have had problems with it, but because I want something different as I have a new 2004 MINI Cooper S on order for October '03 delivery.

    I think some of you have a combination of unusually problematic cars with clueless dealers. For the person with the leaking trunk, tell your dealer to look at the plastic tailight assembly rubber seals. If those seals are slightly worn or not making good contact against the bodywork, water will get in, guaranteed.

    I had the same exact leaking trunk problem in a different car...a $30K 1997 Acura 2.5TL sedan. I took the car 3 times to the dealer and every time I found the same water leak and musty smell on the right side of the trunk. The dealer claimed to had water pressure tested the car's trunk and found nothing wrong with the trunklid weatherstrip rubber seals.....but...after I got really unpleasant, they took the car back inside the service bay and the technician took a look at the right side plastic tailight assembly seals...and..BINGO!..the rubber seals were defective and water was getting in from the tailight, not the trunk.

    So, I suspect you have the same exact problem, unless you car was involved in a severe rear end collision and the water leak in the trunk is the by product of a bad bodyshop repair.

    Oh and by the way, that 1994 Dodge Shadow of yours never saw the shop, because Chrysler made the same car with almost no changes since 1987, therefore, your 1994 version already had all the "bugs" worked out from the earlier model years. Ask any 1987-91 Dodge Shadow/Plymouth Sundance owner about their cars to find out how many times their clunkers went back to the shop and how that wonderful Chrysler paint job stayed intact during that time.

    Good luck.
  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    So far Chevy/GM is ignoring the problem. Make sure you place a complaint on the NHTSA web site:

    It is important to have your Impala checked if you are loosing coolant, even when there are no obvious signs of leaks. If the manifold leaks internally, you're in big trouble unless you've got a very good warranty. The 3.8 is an expensive engine to replace.

    This one issue is really dragging down the reputation of a very solid vehicle. My 2001 LS drives great. I put about 700 miles a week on mine (long commute - a long comfortable commute). And I'm averaging 28.8 mpg cruising at speeds up to 85.
  • jbk5jbk5 Posts: 26
    Well, I thought there has been a funny smell for a while. Now unfortunately I guess I know what it may be. My 2002 Monte Carlo SS has 23,500 miles. I added almost a pint of coolant on Saturday because there was barely any in the reserve tank. Guess I'll be calling the dealer soon.
  • colie74colie74 Posts: 42
    Hey thanks for the info on the trunk leak. They are thinking it is the vent flap. First the service guy said he couldn't recreate the leak, then said he could. Who knows, I think he is on to me as far as pursuing the lemon law. I am wondering as well as far as it being the taillight. I told them it was by the right tail light and flooding the spare tired compartment, so they know. But they think its the trunk vent flap. So they sealed it off this time. Hoping I can take a high pressure hose to the tail light assemply and get it to leak again. Though I don't want to tip them off that it could be the taillights if I can persue the lemon law!!

    BUT now I have the coolant leak. So it gets to go in again when they replace the carpet kit and spare tire cover. Yeee haaa!! It's been fun let me tell you.

    Thanks all

    I agree with you, its a great car. I love the huge back seat, fits a car seat and two adults. I will sorely miss that. It rides great and is pretty fast. But you can't mistake all the problems as quirks or being uncommon. But that's what I get for buying a new model when it first came out.

    Funny you mentioned the paint deal on the shadow. I have seen that soo much, but never happend to mine. Chipped alot though, real easily. I traded it in after 5 years.

    No trunk damage to my impala, it's either a bad design or the tail light like you mentioned!!!

    Anyway, add me to the coolant leak problem now!!!!

    Also, I will be driving about an hour next week to LA, can the coolant leak wait as long as we check the levels often? I don't have time to get it in the shop.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Thanks to sunseesion I was finally able to get the kit installed on my front brakes. It has completely eliminated the rattling sounds.
    I can now drive down the street without pedestrians stopping and looking at me.
    My dealer told me this is the only pin kit they have ever installed.
  • chrisis30chrisis30 Posts: 20
    I have a problem with clothing dye bleed into my gray leather seats, (blue jeans and suede leather jackets have bled onto the seat)I have tried a couple different leather cleaners with no success,and even tried a leather ink remover and the blue and black stain is still there , is there any way to get rid of it?
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116

    3.5 year old '00 Impala. Blower now only works on 5th speed ... does nothing on speeds 1 through 4. Out of work so have plenty of time but not money, so tried to fix myself. Made sure path to blower is okay from vent under hood. Was able to touch blower fan and visually inspect from above ... nothing obvious, it moves around, slight squeak. Opened up lower panel on passenger side and saw blower housing ... looks like it will take a lot of work to remove it, so I stopped hoping to get some advice here.

    Questions: anyone done this before? Any chance I can fix this myself, either by cleaning out the blower or other? Any other advice?

    It's our second car so we can sort of live with the problem, but obviously would like to fix it.

  • bsappbsapp Posts: 21
    The same thing happened to me about 18 years ago with a new 84 Chrysler Laser and light gray leather seats. A friend of mine went with me out of town during the summer and he wore blue jeans that obviously were new and had never been washed. Anyhow, it was hot and of course we were both sweating and my passenger seat was left with blue dye. I tried various cleaners and what worked best for me was taking a damp wash rag and a little bit of soft scrub and carefully (and I do mean carefully) cleaning about an inch at the time. Followed by numerous rinsings with fresh rags dipped in clean water that I changed everytime I dipped the rag back into it. I was careful not to scrub the stitching. I followed this up with leather conditioner and the seats looked as good as new and 3 years later when the car was traded, the seats still looked practically new.
    Some may criticize this, I was desperate to get the dye out, took my time and I can't tell you how careful I approached this and got good results.

    Bill Sapp
  • I am considering purchasing a new Impala. However, I have read with interest all the problems you all have been having with the 2000 Impalas. Is there anyone out there that owns a newer version of the Impala and can give me some feedback?

    Sugar Cookie
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Do you want to buy new or used?

    Send me an E-mail (look at my profile) and I'll give you a good overview on the Impala. I currently own a 2001 Impala LS.
  • atbearatbear Posts: 322
    These problems are so few and far between you don't have anything to worry about... Esp if you get a 2002-2004 Impala. Pretty much everything is fixed by 2002.
  • Sugarcookie--
    I got an '03 Impala in December. It's the best new car I've ever problems yet. Until now, I've never had a new car where at least one thing didn't go wrong, from a van that had one failure (radio, but needed three visits to fix) to a different vehicle where the heater, transmission, window seals, window motor, ad nauseum, failed in the first two years. GM initial quality has really gone up.

    My Impala is the base model, with the 3.8L engine. I got stung by a 3.4L engine before, but I believe the Impala's 3.4L is different than the mini-van's version.

    I've never had an OEM sound system that was this good, the dual-one heater & A/C is neat, the trunk is HUGE, and the seats are comfortable all around. Split rear seats, rear arm rest, center rear shoulder belt, CD + cassette are all neat. (Plus, the radio plays while you're rewinding or forwarding the tape...why did this feature take so long to appear?) The 3.4L engine was pretty powerful and smooth on the test drive, but the 3.8L is g-r-e-a-t. I'm also getting 20.6 mpg, according to the travel computer display (which I had to take in order to get the steering wheel controls). The car warms up much faster than my previous cars...pretty important this last month.

    Stuff to look at: If you're short, the high trunk lid may keep you from having as big of a "field of view" while backing up. The automatically dimming day/night mirror is bigger than I'm used to, and I have to push it all the way up to keep it out of the way to see towards the two o'clock direction.

    The salesman let me take the car home over night to see how my family liked it. So, the wife and I got to drive the car during the day and night, see if everyone fit (family of six), and see how well it fit in the garage.
  • ghostwolfghostwolf Posts: 91
    I have the liner problem with the sunroof, I know there is a TSB out on it, but I know (with no warranty) that they'll charge a hundred dollars just to put some new velcro on there or something. What it is, the velcro at the top comes off (the bond between the two pieces of velcro is stronger than the bond between the top velcro and the roof). I have tried new velcro strips and also have tried using super glue to get the top velcro to stick to the roof. No matter what, if you try to seperate the velcro, it pulls off the roof before it will come apart at the velcro.

    I need to know some really good adhesive or any other suggestions, wonder if the TSB on the issue is a real fix or if its just replacing it with the same thing like the manifold problem.
  • larryfllarryfl Posts: 214
    We bought my wife's '02 Impala LS about a year ago - end of the 1st quarter sale. We now have about 12K on the car. It's been great. We finally put it in to the dealer for it's first visit a couple of weeks ago to have the tires rotated and to fix/adjust 4 or 5 little things while we were there.

    We've been very happy with the car. Engine (3.8L) is great and the sport suspension is excellent. We have 5 in the family so opted for the bench seat w/ leather. Rear seat leg and hip room is huge by today's standards as is the trunk. Gas mileage is amazing averaging close to 30mpg on the highway at 75-80 mph with a car full.

    The car isn't perfect, of course. My nits are the fit and finish of the interior is not great (not BAD, but not great). The leather seems thin and cheap to me as compared to my Olds Aurora. Also there's an inordinate about of road noise at highway speeds in the back seat (from the rear wheel wells I'd guess) - not so noticable from the front.

    On balance,though, for the money we are very pleased with the car and would buy another in a heartbeat.
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