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Chevrolet Malibu Steering/Suspension

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  • gonogogonogo Posts: 869
    So you never heard of intake manifold coolant leaks on various model V6,s year after year with no fix on current production even, until recently.
    Dexcool rust so bad it would plug up the coolant passages on 1996- 1997 Blazers, they would then overheat.
    My 04 Malibu had the steering rack go bad 40 K , neighbor's 04 same thing.
    I really do wonder about your claims of no problems with a your 04, but every one else does.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    the only warranty issue with my 04 Maxx was a faulty bulb socket in the right front turn signal that the dealer replaced....I have no other issues that required dealer or service.....now with that said...

    I do have the infamous bad rear deck shades that will not stay closed.....it wasnt worth my time and effort to get those fixed since they are never used...and the fix was worth taking the overhead lining out IMO.

    Do I have a clunk in the front suspension going over a speed bump.....yes...but again...nothing I felt worthy of dealer time or my time.....it hasnt caused any long term suspension issues....never had an alignment problem, never had a single issue with the steering column

    and yes...on occasion the remote starter hangs for a moment and takes about 15-20 seconds to start...but again....not worth my effort to get it checked by the dealer

    the only items replaced were a leaking right rear brake caliper (147K) and a right front tire rod (140K).....other than those items....still running all the OEM major components

    again...if boils down to your expectations of the car....my Maxx has certainly met mine.....165K still running strong....paid off four years ago....still getting great mileage...25-31 MPG city/hwy

    sure some cars have had multiple failures of the column....is it systematic..probably, should GM step up to the plate on the early MY Malibus with this problem for 5/100 extension...yes.......is the suspension a problematic engineering design....probably....but I certainly wouldnt broad brush a brand based on it...I had a 95 Chrysler Lebaron that lost three transmissions between 45-60K....the first one I attributed to overheating...the next two...bad repairs by AAMCO... I wonder how many issues are caused by faulty warranty/repair work at the dealerships....

    case in point....the 06 Solstice had a faulty pinion seal design in the differential...there were numerous reports of faulty repairs...using the improper tools (required a specialty tool) and or failed to add LSD additive after it was drained....all contributed to continued leaks and continued damage to differentials.....

    with all that said...GM is still suffering from its past performance/perceptions, true or otherwise.....even you highlight a 13 year old past problem....it will take years for them to overcome these perceptions.....but I beleive they are making progress...just as Ford is doing.......bottomline..the consumer makes the ultimate choice....and if arent happen with GM....then choose another brand.....like a famous auto chairman once said....if you can find a better car, then buy it.....paraphrasing a bit.....

    I have owned Hondas, Datsuns/Nissans, and Toyotas but have been all American brands in a multicar family, for the last 20 years (with the exception of an 03 Kia) and dont regret it....
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    09 LT2 I4 A6
    I'm still at a loss as to what causes the terrible and erratic handling. Just before trip I had tires rotated and alignment checked again. Mechanic was at a loss as to my problems since it was dead on. But, good thing I checked behind the torque behind the tire rotater.
    Several times I've had the steering wheel do a hard bump to the right, but it was so instantaneous it totally defied any corrective action. I suspected something in the EPS but finding such a gremlin is impossible without changing every component including the wiring.
    But now I'm quite alarmed as it did it a few hundred miles up the road and it was not instantaneous. It lasted on the order of a full second. I nearly always drive with leather winter gloves because of the sensitivity of my hands to the poor contour and hardness of the wheel. And fortunate that it occured with both hands on the wheel. If it had been otherwise I probably would not have been able to hold it. The force was enough to jam my right shoulder causing it to be painful for a few hours.

    As I said, I have no idea what the problem in the EPS is, but it damn sure is a dangerous condition.
    If you start getting those very short bumps of the wheel and there is no other explanation than something in the EPS, please post, and be careful. It might be leading up to long duration bump.
    I had one short one again, about 200 miles farther down the road.
    I'm desparately hunting the vehicle I want which is a Lacrosse CXS with particular options. I checked with my insurance agent and the insurance on it is cheaper than a year old Malibu.
    Also in the handling, this time was a major thrust of the vehicle across the solid white line, about a foot before I recovered and about 3 feet from the point it started. This is very much like the other complaints of vehicle being thrown when contacting uneven pavement.
    Freeway had clockwise curve as did the lane I was in for route change. Both were on a downward incline at the point of merger. My lane had a bank but the others did not. Even though I had my own lane for some distance for merging, at the point the single lane ended the bank ended at a slice angle. When the right front contacted that angle change, that is when it threw me across the line, looking dead center at a tractor trailer. Thank God he was taking the inside of the curve and I recovered quickly or I would have been fodder from his rear wheels.
    Some time back I mentioned that it looked like the big rubber mounts from the subframe/cradle to the body were slightly distorted as if one side was ahead of the other. On trying to figure what might be going on I mentioned that to the alignment guy. He told me this vehicle has no caster adjustment per se. They loosen that cradle to body mounts and shift the entire assembly to change castor. Apparently GM thinks they make no mistakes on the Malibu. And because I seem to get a different response from the rear axle comparing right to left turn, I'm betting something is out of whack there, like possibly the axle not in line with body. This will not stop each wheel from being adjusted statically, but when it becomes dynamic, suspension links could be throwing all sorts of improper angles. Also, rear toe is set from the position of front wheels which might be altered too much by shifting cradle.
  • Like many other Malibu owners, I have experienced a problem with a "popping" noise heard and felt in the steering wheel of my 2005 Malibu when turning due to a defect in the intermediate steering shaft. Two attempts by my dealer to fix the problem have worked for only a few thousand miles, and the noise recently started up again. This time, my dealer told me that GM has not been able (or, perhaps, willing) to devise a permanent fix – it’s due to corrosion caused by very poor design -- and, furthermore, that GM will not pay for any repairs once a vehicle is out of warranty.

    In my case, I discovered that spraying lubricant into the gap between the inner and outer steering shafts under the dash eliminates the noise in my car completely. This procedure is described in TSB #06-02-32-007B, one of the several revisions to the original TSB issued for this problem. I don’t know how long the fix will last, but it only took me a few seconds to do, so I’m willing to repeat it as often as necessary rather than throw more money away by having the dealer do anything.

    And now today I received a letter from Chevrolet saying that the 2005 Malibu’s power steering assist may fail at any time without warning -- possibly, for example, when you’re in the middle of an emergency maneuver at high speed to avoid an obstacle on a freeway. They will pay for repairs to the steering column for up to 10 years and 100,000 miles after purchase, but – amazingly -- only if the failure has actually occurred! I guess they don’t care if you happen to have an accident when your car’s power steering suddenly fails.

    IMO, the way that GM is dealing with Malibu steering problems shows that customer satisfaction and the safety of its customers are simply not important to them. If this is the way they plan to operate in the future, I’m guessing that it won’t be too long before they’re bankrupt again.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 869
    If you spray it every oil change you will never hear it again, as you know it is a very simple operation.
  • lw5lw5 Posts: 2
    DId you get an actual recall letter? I have a 2004 Malibu classsic that this happens to all the time - I called GM yesterday and was told that there is no recall in effect for my VIN number- Unbelievable isn;t it?
  • Yes, I got a letter from Chev. regarding the problem with the loss of power steering. I had already had mine replaced so they are now going to reimburse me for the cost. I had originally filed a complaint with the NHTSB and that seems to have started things off. Hope you can get yours resolved as well !
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Believable: "classic 2004" is not 2005.
  • Nor is a 2009, but then why are there problems. The way this thing handles and don't handle, I have drawn the conclusion there are multiple issues. I just can not believe that a single thing could cause it to act this way. I do know that the EPS is definitely part of the issue since it has on several occasions done a momentary jerk to the right and on one occasion it lasted for about a full second. That time I was lucky I had both hands securely on the wheel wearing leather gloves. If at any time it decides to continue the thrust to the right I will probably be off the road.
    I also suspect tires as part of issue for multiple reasons. They also seem to lack lateral traction. It is easy to have them barking when making a turn from a stop and that with a 4 cylinder.
    I recently noticed what might be a mismatch of rear springs to shock. I would think these are variable rate springs. (think I'm using wrong description) With a light load on rear, no added weight, the springs might be a bit weak, but certainly the shocks are not providing enough dampening. Slight bumps you feel at the front make the rear bouncy.
    Other issues too.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Nor is a 2009, but then why are there problems.

    Nor is a 1999 Pontiac Bonneville, with which I used to have lots of
    problems. Sure, all of them are different cars, but, heck, they are
    all problems not something else. Puzzled...
  • I have to agree with you on the steering issue. I bought my 05 Malibu used in 05 with about 20k. I was impressed with the initial test drive and the car served me well the first 2years or 12k miles. Then I started having problems with the brakes and steering. I would be driving on the freeway and my steering wheel would completely lock up with that annoying chime noise (radio screen stating power steering). I had to play tug-a-war to safely pull the car over. After restarting the car the power steering worked fine. I've taken this car back to my chevy dealer about 12 times since then to correct the problem (note since 2007...This is 2010). and I keep having the same problem...death trap i tell you.. I just received a letter a few months ago (aug 2010) from GM re: a recall due to power steering issues.. This is only 1/4 of the problems I've had with my 05 Malibu..I'm not going to even get into the electrical problems. Good luck and please be safe.. GM should put an ORANGE WARNING label on these cars
  • ivy12ivy12 Posts: 2
    i bought a 2004 chevy malibu lt used and it was not disclosed there was an issue with the power steering or that this model had an experimental new prototype unit. approximately 3 months after buying the car the steering went out while driving and i almost hit another car on the highway. after turning off the car and restarting the power steering came back. this is now ocurring more often.. tried to find if recall had been issued for this, but no luck any help would be appreciated
  • I have a 2005 Chev Malibu and also had the power steering go out while driving down the highway. After compaining a lot to Chev. and also notifiying the NHTSB Chev. is now paying for the power steering to be fixed.
    It sounds like they will pay for repairs to all for power steering issues. So, contact them - it is worth it.
  • Also, in the issue of the power steering, I failed to mention that the entire steering column had to be replaced. As I said in my earlier post, Chev. has now reimbursed me for this.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    the steering column issues and the electronic assist power steering have been now weak points in the early year Malibu redesign...04-06....there was an engineering design review conducted by the NHTSA sometime around 05 I beleive looking into the issue...it went no further than the review based on GM handling all the issues under warranty...the issue now is the failures are still occuring outside the normal warranty period 3/36 or longer.....so what is GM doing now with the older model cars still on the road....it appears they are fixing them again.....but it is a push by the consumer in order to make it happen.....I noticed a recall mentioned.......is there one...or simply a TSB out for the issue?
    I have been fortunate with my 04 Maxx LT......177K and still working with all the OEM parts to include the steering...........
  • I have an 04 Malibu that has the steering issue that's been discussed here.

    It started with the power steering warning in the radio screen. My dealer replaced the steering column at no charge but I ended up with issues after that. The cruise control and remote started won't work now and it is now doing the momentary hydroplaning in left hand curves.

    I complained and they replaced it again but no improvement, perhaps even worse. Now they said they are done with it and for a fee they will evaluate the problem which is obviously not the steering column. I don't know how they can evaluate it since they swear they can't feel the pull to the left at all.

    I hate this car! It rides like a wagon and I've put the best shocks,struts and tires available on it and now this. I think it's time for a trade in but I hate for someone else to get this thing. I feel like it is an accident waiting to happen and after reading the previous emails am sure it is dangerous.

    I did tons of research before I bought this car in 2008 and couldn't find any complaints against it except that it was noisy with the sun roof open. I wish that was all that was wrong with it.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    edited January 2011
    "I hate this car! It rides like a wagon and I've put the best shocks,struts and tires available on it and now this.
    I think these alterations were your biggest mistake. You'd have to show me lots of data to prove that. I had 09 and was available in 4 levels. There were at least 2 different wheel sizes, 3 different strut/shocks, & a couple of different springs depending upon what level you bought. Buying the upper, LTZ, likely got you the stiffer shocks, lower profile & bigger wheels, and the heavier springs.
    Buying aftermarket, a company may have several layers of shocks but will claim any one model will probably replace any of the 4 levels of Malibu available in 09. Also GM will hold a patent so you can only buy the exact OE from them. It would take a lot of trial and error to succeed at the desired change in handling/ride.

    The power steering, EPS, is a different issue. I would encourage to prove it is related to current issues.
    Did they damage some wiring that effect the remote start and cruise control? Maybe a loose connector, blown fuse, etc.? Service engine or codes?
    "momentary hydroplaning in left hand curves" & "pull to the left" Would you elaborate on hydroplaning? Is the road perfectly flat when this occurs?
    As to the pull, you should easily duplicate this for service writer. Just take him for a ride on perfectly flat road and turn loose of the wheel. There can be several causes for this issue, alignment, tires, or they forgot to finish the column replacement by doing the calibration and zeroing of the EPS. This is something that needs to be done also after every alignment and after all that strut work.
    Hydroplaning is most often tracked to the tires you have on vehicle. Sometimes there are much better tires than OE, but you have to do your homework and research, especially what other owners of your car are experiencing with specific tires.
    It sounds like you need to try to bring the car back to OE specs, alignment, tire size, tire pressure, etc.
    If electronic components have been damaged, you might want to check if there are diodes at the harness connector for the cooling fans.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 869
    When you googled no issues, hard to believe. First off 04 Z body first run, that is warning right there. That car will keep falling apart as you drive , don't ask how I know.
  • The "hydroplaning" isn't really hydroplaning, it just feels like it. It momentarily, less than a second, feels like you cannot steer. The steering doesn't lock up or get stiff, it just feels like you're not controlling it.

    The pull to the left is immediately before that sensation. As Im driving at speeds higher than 40mph and go into a left hand bend in the road it feels like you've bumped a curb on the right of the car and are rebounded to the left, then the instantaneous loss of control. It does it on flat or highway inclines. Although we have serious hills where I live, I don't usually take those curves at speeds high enough to evaluate this. It has always recovered quickly but I'm fearful that it will happen at just the wrong instant and I'll end up in front of another vehicle.

    The dealer did an alignment and calibration after installing the new steering column. I also took it to a mechanic after to see if it was truly aligned. It needed an adjustment but it didn't change anything as far as the steering control. The car drives perfectly straight when you let the steering wheel go.

    I took the technician on a ride and he said he could feel it just going around street corners. That's crap because I can't feel it then. I told him exactly where to drive it on the highway to have it happen and he said it didn't. Passengers aren't able to feel it.

    As for the shocks, struts and tires; I did all that long before this steering issue came up. I was just really dissatisfied with the ride and hoping to improve it. I don't think these items have anything to do with this steering. they are just one more annoyance with this car.

    I bought the car certified used in Oct. 2008. My Mom liked the car so much she bought a 2007 in Jan of 09. I'm worried that her car will do the same thing.
    My car now has 68,000 miles on it.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    First, did you have this handling issue prior to all the part changes and particularly before the column change?
    You may have the two part on handling I experienced. Something in the EPS was definitely defective and very dangerous.
    The other part of it would through you from vehicle course suddenly. This was prevalent when crossing something longitudinal with vehicle travel. It could be as minor as the seam where two lanes merge or as a couple of others complained, where a slight elevation change took place. If you entered a construction zone where they were shifting lanes because of new paving, even at the reduced posted speed it was quite dangerous crossing those points. I had to slow an extra 15-20 MPH. One driver living in an area of bad roads came upon such with daily commutes because of road patching.
    And I also frequently experienced lane drift.
    All things that should have been fixed and uncertain how common issues are.
    No one was able to fix my issues and car is gone. GM turned it loose on someone else and they located me because somehow a receipt got left in vehicle and she tracked me. She has handling complaints and they did not let her know it was a repurchase and she found out it was lemon after months of trying to get title.
    If none of your problems showed up until after suspension changes, then it is easy to argue it is something you did. What proof do you have it existed prior?
    If something particular after the column change, then you might have some control. I'd definitely report to NHTSA and keep up with there progress, but don't hold breath while they work it. Even if you get rid of car before finalized, you may get money for interim attempts at repairing.
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