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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • I have a 2001 Impala. Recently the Air Bag warning light has come on and stays on. I remember this happening once last year, but it went away. Does anyone know of this problem? Is there a TSB for this? And since this a safety issue, should I expect the dealer to fix it at no cost? I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Posts: 870
    Window switch - yeah, I bought the part locally and installed it myself; I think with tax and all it was about $90 (hopefully "alot" cheaper doesn't mean more than $15-20, which was worth it to have the problem fixed the next day; not sure I could have waited a week for the part to arrive).

    Airbag light - Mine has come on a couple of times (2000 base 3.8L engine); I think the first time I took it in, they said they had to replace part of the wiring connected to the airbag (which I think I paid for, but I forget the amount). The second time they wanted to replace the entire side airbag (seems like they wanted about $400-500 to do this). Since I was having transmission trouble at the time, I opted to pass on repairing the side airbag, and got the tranny fixed. However, when I picked up the car, the airbag light was off, and it hasn't come back on since.

    Which brings up an interesting thought...if they "reset" the light, shouldn't it have come on again by now (this was a couple of months ago)? If they didn't fix anything, the light should still be on, shouldn't it? So either the light isn't working (which would have to have been done by the dealer, since it was working when I took it in), or else there's not a problem. Or if it is a problem, it's something intermittent maybe?
  • Thanks for your input. My guess is that they have reset yours and there is nothing wrong with it. And doesn't the light come on and flash when you first start the car. If so, then the bulb itself is OK. In anycase, I do believe that this is an intermittent problem and maybe a false signal generated by some sensor.
  • micalimicali Posts: 3

    I own a 01 imp with the 3400 engine. Here are my problems. My air bag light is staying on all the time. I think the passlock in the ignition is going bad. Sometimes the car won't start but when we wait 10 minutes it will start up. How can I scan the car and find out what is causing the problem. The dealer ship wants $100 dollars to tell me what is wrong. Can an obd II scanner tell me anything? Does anyone know of any TSB's for this problem.
  • So my ISS is clunking and Chevrolet is aware of it. OK, so why is it that when I took my '00 Impala LS to the Dealer he diagnosed my clunking as worn Tie Rods? Having not reviewed this site beforehand (my first mistake) I trusted him and told them to proceed with the repair (my 2nd mistake).

    So not more than a week later I noticed the clunking had returned leading me to believe they misdiagnosed the problem in the first place thereby costing me a lot of $$$. So my question to this forum is (1.) Has anyone with the ISS problem had any issues with their Tie Rods and (2.) I kept the old Tie-Rods so is there a way to inspect them, outside of the vehicle, and determine whether or not they really needed to be replaced?

    I'm sick of bending over for these Dealers. They're SUPPOSED to be aware of TSB's and common problems with our vehicles and fix them accordingly. For me, this doesn't seem to be the case and I can't afford to put in a new ISS, that from the sounds of it, I'm going to have to replace before long anyway. What are we supposed to do, keep replacing the ISS everytime it starts clunking? What happens if we don't? Is this a safety issue and if so, isn't Chevrolet liable to issue a recall?
  • The way I underrstand the ISS (and someone else here can probably tell you from experience) is that it doesn't necessarily have to be replaced. They can pack it full of grease and that may or may not solve the problem. It's not that expensive either.

    I seem to remember other owners having tie rods replaced too (and someone else here can probably tell you from experience about that too).
  • I've had mine replaced several times, twice on drivers side and 3 times for passenger side. Pep Boys told me my shaking steering when braking was because of a worn tie rod, it turned out to be warped rotors. Pep Boys refunded me on the tie rods parts and labor when i wrote to them and told them about the misdiagnosis (I also showed the manager the same day before leaving that the problem was not fixed by replacing the tie rods). I think they are a normal wear item, like tires and such, but should not be wearing out for at least a few years depending on where you drive. My 2000 Imp has 102K Miles, and I drive it in Brooklyn and Manhattan like sidewalks are just speed bumps. So thats a case where at least 2 sets would fail. But for normal usage the first set should last at least 4 or 5 years, if not a little longer depending on if you do city, highway, or off paved road use.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Posts: 870
    I had the ISS "fix" done on my 2000 Impala; basically they install a grease fitting and fill the thing full of grease. I haven't had any problems since having it done, and have never had any tie rod issues (at least that I'm aware of).
  • I have the same vehicle, 2001 Impala. I had the ISS re greased twice. Its back again. And I had the tie rods (both side) and one ball joint replaced at 55K (one month ago). I am the only driver of this vehicle and I don't abuse the car. I am an engineer also. So, I kind of know why this happend. The problem is break rotors and the warping that occurs. You can turn the rotors or put new one in, but you'll get the pulsation in about 10K miles. And if you ignore it, the pulsation will wear out your front end parts like the tie rods and the ball joints. So far, the dealer has Resurfaced the rotors twice on my car. at 35K mile I went back and after lengthy discussions, I ended up with 4 new rotors (but not new pads!!!). This lasted until 50K, the vibration came back. The tie rods and the ball joints were bad. I found that out when I replaced the tires. I went to the dealer and complained to chevy that the tie rods should not have failed in three years. my argument was that the vibration in bad rotors caused this premature failure, etc. To make long story short, I ended up paying for the labor and not the parts. Still cost $250. I did purchase a set of new rotors (Bendix made in USA) and replaced the ones that are one year old. These vehicles do have the break problem. I am not sure why GM is not addressing it.
  • Don't replace your ISS. Grease it yourself. It isn't that difficult and frankly the dealer kit doesn't have enough grease in it to last very long anyway. There are several sets of instructions, but basically, you remove the steering column to get access (four bolts, not scary at all.) Then stuff the joint full of high quality grease (wheel bearing, CV, doesn't matter what type of grease)and the clunking will stop. It took me about 2 hours the first time.

    But don't waste money replacing it when the replacement is the same design.
  • Your last statement mkulina is the exact argument I had. Thanks everyone. I appreciate the tips and advice. Maybe this weekend I'll take the steering column off and 'see what's to be seen'.

    Re: the brake/tie-rod problem, I don't know if this car applies. I've always hated Eagle tires and replaced them with Michelin X-Ones (which I highly recommend for this car. They're the best ride I've had in looooong time) right after I bought it (16k). After that the car was a dream to drive until this damn clunking. I just hope the new tie-rods and some greese will take care of business. If not, I'm buying a truck. This is ridiculous.

  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Posts: 870
    To the best of my knowledge, there hasn't been an accident reported here related to the ISS. It's annoying (and seems to get worse if ignored), but it doesn't seem to impact control of the vehicle.
  • I own an '03 LS Impala with 21000 miles. Recently at low speeds I feel a bump in the steering wheel. There is also occasionally a shimmy while moderately braking. The braking issue is not constant and seem dependent on the road surface. I do not know if the 2 issues are related. Any thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  • If the bump in the steering is usually associated with a right-hand turn, and can be felt in the steering wheel and the brake pedal, it's most like the intermediate steering shaft (ISS). The brake problem could just be the ISS clunking being felt in the pedal, or it could be a warped rotor (I've had both on my 2000 model).
  • I bought a 2004 used Impala last wednesday night. It was a GM certified vehicle. Drove it to work on thursday. On my way home, I heard a grinding noise when accelerating, and the transmission jumped twice. I immediately went to the dealership and had the salesman and a mechanic drive it. They returned and told me the transmission needs to be replaced. I was furious. I returned the car and decided to buy a Honda. I'll never buy a GM product again!
  • I agree, I had my vehicle twice or even three times fixed, re greased by the dealer. The problem came back again. Do you any specific instructions for this? The four bolts you are referring to, where are they? Inside the car or under the hood?
  • What happened in the end? I have a 2001 with the same exact problem. The warranty has expired and would like to get away with the fix as cheaply as possible. Thanks for any help you may be.
  • So what happened in the end? I have a 2001 with the same exact problem, However there is no warranty left. Was there a recall on this issue? I am trying to get away with not spending a great deal of money. Any help you can be would be greatly appreciated.
  • tkccetkcce Posts: 5
    I have a 2000 Impala LS that you feel the so called bump in the steering wheel when you step on the brake and can be felt in the pedal as well. The steering wheel bump can be felt when accelerating also as well as at other times driving. I have an extended warranty - is the ISS covered?
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