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Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Engine Questions

We bought the brand new '06 Maxx LTZ in April, and 4 days (yes, 4 DAYS) after we bought it, the battery died and left us stranded at Best Buy. The dealership put a new battery in it the next day, and it has started fine ever since. Now at 4 months of ownership, it occasionally takes longer to start. You have to hold the key over, and it will crank like out of beat, and then start. This has happened with the remote start and manually. It did this right before the battery died, and so we have taken it to two dealers (it is at one as I write). If this odd starting happened once month, I wouldn't be as concerned, but it has happened 4 times in the last two weeks. The deal just called and said that it is turning over perfectly so they have done nothing. I have read on other forums of people having this occurrence occasionally with a Maxx, and was just wondering what I should do. If it doesn't come up on the scan, is there a problem? Thanks for any advice. :)
PS; We love most everything about the Maxx. We just don't think we should be concerned about a brand new car starting.
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Comments

  • hgr3inokhgr3inok Posts: 28
    If you have to hold the key over, I think something is amiss. With our 2004, I don't have to hold the key over. It continues to crank until is starts (but it never has taken more than a couple of seconds).
  • minn_maxxminn_maxx Posts: 51
    Welcome to the Maxx forum!
    This seems to be "normal" and there is no fix yet(extended hot starts). My 2004 Maxx will do this a few times a week. It always starts on the first or second try, but makes you a little nervous when it cranks. I have just gotten used to it.
  • mrsstrommrsstrom Posts: 3
    Thanks for your welcome, and for your reply.

    I have read that this is "normal" in another forum, too. Mine started funny three times in a row last week, so we were just nervous about it since the battery had died after 4 days of ownership. This starting thing happened a few times before that, so we just assumed it was related to a dying battery.

    I took it to another dealer yesterday, and the guy hemmed and hawed about it since they had tried to duplicate the problem all day to no avail. Finally he said, "It should start right up. I would watch it."

    No one should have to be worried about a new car starting!

    We are happy with the car overall. This is the first new car that we have bought in 10 years. It really scoots along and even my elderly mom liked riding in the back seat.
  • Yeah I have an 06 Maxx SS (owned for 3 months now) and my issues w/ starting are UNBELIEVABLE (only because the dealership has only been able to reproduce it once in the shop out of the 4 times it's been there).

    So far...

    "The car has been to the dealership 7 times, 4 just for the issues with intermittent starting issues (not associated w/ remote start even tho it does happen with that AND manual starting) that are not related to a bad starter, it's somewhere between the starter, the computer and the cyl or plug that should be identified by the computer to fire/start. The dealership I've been taking it to has no clue. So far they have replaced hood release, block assembly wiring harness, coil for air bags, roof molding, and control switch on steering wheel. Not all associated w/ my starting issue, but other things they have found. This car is just over 3 months old, and about 4000 miles. I'm livid with all these issues. Under VA law I'll be able to file for lemon law issues if they don't resolve it while it's in the shop right now for it's 4th visit."

    4th visit ended, and it still persists. I'm SOOO aggrivated.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    There is a TSB for starting issues on SS for a reprogramming of ECM (as I think someone mentioned earlier). You didn't mention this - did they already do that?
  • Well, considering I just found this forum recently and printed out all the TSB's for my car/the car in general, no :(

    AFAIK based on my talks with the shop foreman, the service manager and the customer relations manager ... they are getting the run around from GM (my impressions of our discussions) on exactly what TSB's should be or should not be applied to my car.

    Do you have the exact TSB #of the one you state that probably is close to this issue? Perhaps if I went in there armed & dangerous with an appliable TSB they might actually realize that i'm not blowing smoke (not that i am, after all, they were able to reproduce the issue themselves at some point). I know that the wiring harness that was replaced WAS part of a TSB, I'm just not sure which one as they didn't enlighten me on that information. After all, I'm just some girl, what could I possibly know about cars? :)
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry I might have been mistaken. The TSB is #05-06-04-076B however it didn't mention Malibu SS and so this is why dealer wouldn't have found it. It does mention other vehicles with same engine though. The Malibu SS came out later in model year so maybe it started off with the newer calibration - this doesn't help you, I know. I will post back again if I come up with anything else.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    It is as I thought. I would need to know when your vehicle was built -- any idea? (I think there is a sticker someone on door inner panel). I think there is a potential that TSB maybe should have applied and there really is a calibration update available for your vehicle. Dealer probably has other ways to look that up than having to rely on a TSB though.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry about double-post. Definitely build date is important. If you wouldn't mind sharing last 6 of VIN (not whole thing) it would be helpful
  • Last 6 are...

    117643

    Let me know what you find.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Thanks. Your date is 8/26/2005 BTW. If I learn anything I will post back
  • Thanks, I'll be awaiting any information you provide. Your assistance has been much appreciated.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    While we are waiting I would appreciate a short description of the type of starting problem being experienced. If you think you covered it yourself in a previous message just point me to which one. I kind of remembered that you might have included it briefly in a whole list of things or identified someone elses description as similar to what you had. I would prefer something just specific on that condition.

    I am also kind of interested in why they changed the steering wheel switches on your vehicle :)
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Ok - I have confirmation back that since you have a Maxx SS of an early build that your ECM likely needs to be reflashed per description of TSB #05-06-04-076B. This TSB doesn't specifically mention Malibu Maxx SS but it does apply.

    It shouldn't take dealer very long to confirm that a newer calibration is available for your vehicle than what is in it with respect to an Extended Crank complaint.

    If dealer still needs guidance they have available the Technical Assistance Center to call for assistance which they have not made use of yet regarding your vehicle ;)

    Keep us posted :)
  • This post I found on one of the other boards in our same main area, might have been in the regular Malibu section....

    "#3574 of 3610 PHANTOM STARTING PROBLEMS by panthersfan95 Aug 04, 2006 (12:29 pm)
    Bookmark | Reply | E-mail Msg
    We all know how frustrating intermitant problems can be. I have an '05 Malibu LS V6 that just had it's third visit to the dealer in 18 months, for the same problem. Every 10 or so starts, the engine turns over for an unusually long amount of time (about 5-10 sec.), before finally starting up. Sometimes it turns over and stops without ever starting. Of course, every time I take it in to the dealer it acts fine. I don't hear any grinding or metal to metal that would indicate a mechanical problem, but the fact that it shouldn't be doing this has me worried. Any thoughts?
    Replies to this message:
    • rvoth (Aug 04, 2006 7:38 pm)
    • rvoth (Aug 04, 2006 7:52 pm)
    • e2helper (Aug 04, 2006 8:05 pm)
    • gonogo (Aug 05, 2006 9:26 am)
    • rvoth (Aug 05, 2006 9:58 pm) and 1 more...
    • bunnymasseuse (Aug 07, 2006 11:58 am)
    • dtownfb (Aug 10, 2006 7:21 am)
    • bunnymasseuse (Aug 10, 2006 8:16 am)"

    The bolded section above is almost EXACTLY what I experience. It's funny it started slowly too...
    Meaning around 1500 it would have that happen maybe once a week, then 2-3 times a week, then 5-6 times a week, then it literally was 1 time every day out of 4 starts (once to work, to lunch, back from lunch, back to home). Take it to the dealership, they 'fool around in there' again, and then watch the earlier pattern unfold again, just quicker (not so long now for it to get to the 1 time a day senario). It can be putting the key in the ignition or using the remote start. It's never just ONE or the other. It can happen with either.

    They replaced the switches on the steering wheel because they stopped working completely.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    OK - thanks.

    I didn't see any history on reprogramming of ECM in your vehicle so that would definitely be suggestion.

    In regards to others with 3.5L but similar concern the TSB doesn't cover them. That is a different engine/controller than what you have on your SS.
  • We bought our Maxx about a month ago. It is a 2006 that we bought new (last one in the Denver area - got a fantastic deal). I had rented several in the last two years, so driving one was not new to me. I have had read the posts for several months before buying. I must say that compared to other cars I have owned, the problems discussed on bulletin boards are generally pretty minor. I am also a Volvo nut, but I want to tell you that many people on this board would run away screaming after reading about Volvo problems on the "Brickboard." The Maxx is truly an exceptional car for the money. We love ours. The fit and finish is very good. Power is great, as is the fuel economy (other 6's I have owned get at least 3 or 4 mpg less). And it is rated as one of the cleanest engines by the U.S. EPA (see their site). Keep the info on problems coming, it really helps knowing what to look for and helps us do-it-yourself'ers. But realize that anything better in any other make would easily cost 5 to 10 grand more. One very satisfied customer with this truly excellent overall car (and I don't work for GM). Light years above the previous Malibu.
  • rferd43rferd43 Posts: 20
    My 04 Max has 56,000 already and except for a couple of problems that were covered under warranty, I have not had even minor problems. I have used it often to travel to TN and SC and my highway mileage has been great - 34-35 mpg at a steady 65 mph.

    Have been looking for a replacement but have not found a car yet that gives so much value for the money. To get all the features that I have on my LT, I would have to pay close to $28,000 and will will not get the mileage I get on my MAX. :)

    Good luck on yours.
  • blumaxxblumaxx Posts: 20
    awesome. that's great news about the epa. I have a question. Do you usually stick with premium or regular for the car? And also, we have the LTZ, has all the extras so is it "normal" that we paid about 24,000 before adding the extended warranty and tax and registration? All together it comes to 29,000. Robin :)
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    04 Maxx LT here and it just rolled over 80K this week and same experience as you..some minor problems...all under warranty....and still going strong......my gas mileage averages about 30-32...at 75 MPG throught rolling terrain on the interstate.....many trips VA-SC and back...
  • On the Malibu rentals I've had I always have used just regular, and never heard any knocking (which is the functional test). I use Premium in my Volvo, but it is a turbo (low pressure). I have noticed a performance difference in the Volvo the few times I have tried regular in it. So far we have been sticking to mid-grade in the Maxx. Has plenty of power with it.
    :)
  • rferd43rferd43 Posts: 20
    My high mileage is on flat terrain and going no faster than 70 mpg. I like the challenge of trying to get the most out of a tank of gas. Maybe I am cheap? :D
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 225
    Little off-topic, but thought I'd post. The difference between octanes is how much it can be compressed before igniting. In the past the higher octanes had better detergents but that is no longer the case as the detergents in today's 91 isn't any better than the detergent in 87. So putting premium or mid-grade in an engine designed for 87 does not improve performance or reliability, such as most non-performance engines. However, running regular in a car that "recommends" premium fuel will decrease performance. If premium fuel is "required" putting a lower grade fuel in it could damage the engine. So, putting 89 or 91 octane in a Malibu is doing nothing but costing more money.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    There is no advantage in premium as long as you use a top tier gas. In St. Louis where I live that means QuikTrip, Conoco/Phillips or Shell. Don't think Mobil or BP makes the cut, primarily because they've (because of marketing decisions) have tied high detergency to premium fuels.

    http://www.toptiergas.com/retailers.html

    TOP TIER Gasoline Retailers:

    QuikTrip
    Chevron
    Conoco
    Phillips
    76
    Shell
    Entec Stations
    MFA Oil Company
    Kwik Trip/Kwik Star
    The Somerset Refinery, Inc.
    Chevron-Canada
    Aloha Petroleum
    Tri-Par Oil Company
    Shell-Canada
    Texaco
  • I've never encountered knocking or pinging in my Maxx, using 87 octane fuel, throughout my long trips including up and down mountains.

    If I have a __lot__ of mountain climbing on a trip, I might mix in some 89 with the 87 just to be safe.

    My Prism and Camry (toyotas) did occasionally have problems with 87, though. they were "designed" for 87.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I think need for octane goes down as altitude goes up. It's been a while since I've been in the Rockies or Black Hills but if memory serves me right, I thought the octane rating for regular was somewhere around 84. I didn't think you could get 89 or if you could it would be super premium. Of course that was ten years ago and maybe things have changed.
  • not sure. 87 is lowest octane I have seen in Calif. and Oregon. 91 is usually premium.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 225
    Elevation is related to octane rating. Lower the elevation, lower the octane. The octane ratings here are 86/88/90.
  • I guess I started a good thread with my initial reply on octane. I agree pretty much with all the threads, and will probably go to regular instead of mid-grade on our Malibu. However, there is still a detergent difference between grades on at least SOME gasoline. I do not know for sure on Top Tier, and the earlier post may be correct that all Top Tier has the same. I will investigate further with those I know in the oil industry. I do know something from my own experience. With my Volvo turbo, if I do not use premium, I get carbon deposits on the valves which cause a problem. And the car does lose power. Engineers I knew at Shell years ago had told me to watch for excess carbon build-up with lower grades on some engines. With that in mind I used nothing but premium on my 1971 Pinto (yes the exploding car) for over twenty years. Got 325,000 miles on it and only did one valve job, at 190,000 miles. So there is evidence that still leads me to higher grade gas. Also, it has been shown in many tests that you do get better gas mileage with higher grades.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    "For each 1000 feet of altitude the atmospheric pressure will drop by a little less than 1 inHg (11 kPa/km). An engine that might require 93 octane at sea level may perform at maximum on a fuel rated at 91 octane if the elevation is over, say, 1000 feet. See also the APC article."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octane_rating
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