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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • cwesleygcwesleyg Posts: 64
    You can also reset the MPG...
  • Hi, I first wanted to say that I find it so refreshing that I am not the only one with tons of problems with my Malibu. So, now onto the beast itself. I have a '98 Malibu with 92K miles on it. We bought it from a family member on good faith that it was a reliable car and it has been anything but. Within the first month we had to fix the manifold ($1200) and replace the rear brake pads and some clips that hold the pads on were completely gone ($800). Then a couple months later the car started making odd and very loud squeaky noises when you go over any bumps or potholes...especially when we are driving at a slower speed. We have never gotten an answer to this problem except that the car is older and will make noises. What Crap! Also, the A/C never stays on the setting we set it on. It just automatically switches to pulling air from outside and the air is not filtered. We believe the A/C filter is missing??? Don't know if there ever was one. Then in about nine months we had a very serious coolant leak which turned out to be the water pump ($550) and now just three months later on the freeway we started getting a forward lunging sensation and the check engine light came on. We did not drive it for a week and when we did the forward lunging intensified and is the worst when the car is stationary or when decelerating. And then within two hours of starting the car initially the brakes got very soft. I was having to press them all the way to the floor to get the car to respond. I grew up up north and now live in FL and the only thing I can compare it to is that it felt like I was trying to brake on ice. And the check engine light has remained on. I'm sorry this post is soooo long but I just want to get some advice on this lunging problem and maybe what we should possibly expect it to cost to fix. Someone we know suggested it could possibly be a vacuum leak which means absolutely nothing to me. Any other ideas anyone????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    I can't help you but it seems as if a lot of the problems are due to bad maintenance. Missing parts on brakes, missing A/C filter. Coolant leaks on pump might have been caused by incorrect maintenance of the cooling system. Was the DexCool ever checked and kept at the correct level? Incorrect coolant can also cause manifold gasket leaks. Also, $800 for rear brake pads and clips is excessive.

    You should have taken the car to a good mechanic for a check before you bought it.
  • mfh1mfh1 Posts: 15
    Has anyone gotten any recent updates on the rack replacement fix for 2004's that's been in the works? I believe Kurtmaxxguy has a friendly dealer that gives him a heads up. My dealer does not have a clue. I subscribe to AllDataDYI, and nothing has popped up yet on TSB's. We are now in the "third quarter" of 2006, so I hope something is available soon.
  • dampierdampier Posts: 15
    I have been running into some problems with my 2005 Malibu. Apparently one of the front headlamp sockets went bad and this can do a real number of more than just the light involved - I lost the left turn signal and the DRL in the process.

    I just got back from the dealership with the problem presumably fixed, but now things seem different to me. I seem to recall prior to this problem, the configuration of the DRL on the Malibu was both the orange parking lights -and- low intensity headlamps.

    The car now just shows the orange parking lights - no headlamps at all when the DRL is active.

    Since I am not positive of the configuration, I thought I'd better ask others what they have before I deal with the dealership again.

    This is a U.S. version of the Malibu operating in the States by the way.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    The intake manifold is a known issue with this engine. I'm shocked at the price you paid. Most repairs cost about $700. Replacing rear brakes pads is normal maintenance. I'm not sure what you are referring to as "missing clip". And at the tune of $800?????? That is an entire braking system! Bad water pump in a 8 year old vehicle??? I can see it but the manifold leak could have also cause the coolant leak. If the intake manifold was done after the water pump, you may have been givien bad advice.

    The A/C switching on and off is a known issue with the Malibu. If you do a search on this forum, you will see many complaints and the solution. The solution has nothign to do with an filter. i would have a mechanic look at your front end to make sure everything is OK. You could have a bad wheel bearing or bad tie rods. Either way, I would get it checked out.

    Brakes: Take a look at the brake fluid and check its level. Or have a mechanic look it over. Brakes are not something I want to wait to have someone look at.

    YOu have a car that is at the point where repairs are necessary plus I don't think your mechanic is acting in your best interest. The car was probably reliable in that they did very little maintenance and ignored some obvious problems.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    2004/2005 Malibu Daytime Running Lamp function is done by Turn Signal Lamps so what you are describing is likely correct however you are calling it orange "parking lights" which is not correct terminology.

    There is a 2 filament bulb in front lamp which does the turn signal/DRL and parking lamp functions.

    The Major (bright) filament does the turn signal/DRL and the Minor (dim) filament does the park lamps.

    So from your description I can't tell if dealer might have miswired your lamps or not. Turn on parking lights manually. Now activate the turn signals for each side and look at lamp intensity. Are the turn signals orange lamps brighter than parking lamps?
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 225
    The dealer is correct. In the 04-05 Malibus the orange parking lights are the only lights that light up when the DRL are active. The only time the headlamps are on is if they're turned on, either by you or the light sensor.
  • tcontastcontas Posts: 10
    Check message #4459 on the "Chevy Malibu Maxx" message board. It contains the TSB # and a description of it. Also check recent postings from today, in which a member posted a message stating that he had the fix done and that his car is greatly improved now.
  • ltmaxxltmaxx Posts: 2
    I have a 2005 Maxx LT, the fuel gauge will only go up to 3/4 tank. The dealer changed the fuel tank sensor and still doesn't work. Any ideas on what it could be?
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    The problem is that the fuel tank is out of tolerance in terms of dimensions. This was a common problem with the 04s as well; there is a service bulletin out on this issue.

    The solution is to replace the fuel tank. The dealer did that with mine and it solved the problem perfectly.
  • ltmaxxltmaxx Posts: 2
    Thanks for the information. I will be calling the dealer today.
  • cwesleygcwesleyg Posts: 64
    Most of your complaints are over normal wear issues. I suggest a qualified mechanic perform a complate brake job and that your fuel system be checked out for lunging issue. The AC is probably functioning according to design, as many people don't realise that all combination of AC and vent setting are not possible. Read your manual. Unfortunately a lot of 3.1 and 3.4 V6's have manifold and head gasket issues... so start saving more money for more repairs.
  • lc1500mblc1500mb Posts: 1
    I just bought a 2003 Malibu..and didn't see any info in the owners manuel about how much I could tow with this car? I have 2 trailers ..the heaviest one weighs about 1800-lbs. loaded...I have a class 1 hitch rated to 2000lbs..That will work for that trailer..but what is the limit on the car? Any info will help...Thanks
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Try looking at page 4-35 of your owner manual
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 871
    I bet it is 1000 lbs.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    E2, I purchased a 2006 Malibu Maxx LTZ on 7/28/06. VIN 219126. It is very similar to my 2004 Maxx LS which was totalled on 7/17/06. I noticed the DIC on the 2006 is not displaying message "push park pedal" when the parking brake is on. Only the brake warning light is on. Page 2-33 of owners manual say if you try to drive with parking brake on, a chime sounds and the DIC message displays. On my 2004 Maxx, I never heard a chime, but the DIC message always displayed whenever the parking brake was on. How is this supposed to work on the 2006? Is manual right/wrong?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    well, the manual is right according to how my 2004 Maxx behaves. I get both the chime and the message on the DIC.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    There was a change in way DIC message operates. I think now the vehicle has to be traveling a few MPH before the DIC message and chime sounds. Nice catch :)
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Well, my 03 Maxx LS is back at the dealer. I took the service manager for a ride (no pun intended) for the second time in as many months, and he heard the rack rattles while driving over a gravel road, between 5-10 miles per hour. I recommend others use this type of surface to accentuate the noise. It still baffles me why the noise is not apparent at speed. You would think if the rack is clanking into the pinion, then it would only get louder as you increase speed; but alas...
    No guarantee what the next step will be, since he stated that he still needs to take his technician out for another test.

    e2helper: I also had an interesting conversation about Dexcool with one of the service writers. He stated that at his BG training class, he was told that ONLY distilled water should be mixed with Dexcool, and that regular water is detrimental (possibly due to the chlorine). Have you heard this before? He actually recommended that I bring the jugs of water myself since even the dealer does not use distilled. Also, he recommended getting the Dexcool drained every 2+ years, rather than the 7? year interval in our manuals. Can you shed any light on this topic?
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