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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions

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  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    excellent question!! All I can say is that when I hit the gas in the -05 Maxx rental, the thing took off like a rocket. It had 9k miles on it, just like my car. One could say that rentals get ridden pretty hard, and that the tranny could have adapted to that driving style. I must say that I am skeptical of this theory, but I will keep it in mind. The symptoms I outlined in my last note can be repeated over and over again.

    Pao: yes, I did have the PCM reflash for the upshift issue at highway speeds. Don't know if that affected my tranny's relationship with my engine. I think my service manager will see me Thurs. Not only will he hear the "howl", but I'm sure I can replicate the "overdrive" issue.
  • My Maxx was built in Jan, 04. The transmission has smoothed out over time with light throttle application (I try not to lead foot too often - is murder on gas mileage and can make the tires bark). Heavy throttle application brings a definite delay- 1-2 seconds before anything happens, then the trans will shift 1-2 gears down trying to get the vehicle moving. The shift is relatively abrupt as well.

    I have not noticed any undo howling sounds, so far, but will try maxx4me's suggestion. The dealer has supposedly done all the service programming upgrades (last of these was done about a month or so ago to fix engine idle).

     

    E2helper, my apoligies if I asked this before but would my build be one of the suspect vehicles with a potentially bum tranny?
  • here's some new steering problems with my 2004 malibu maxx lt.

     

    - when making complete left turns the steering wheel sticks left at 10 o'clock instead of centering and straightening out when the car straightens out. i manually have to straighten out the steering wheel.

    - the car also pulls to the left at highway speeds when accelerating to pass someone up. that's also very weird....

    - i still have the same problem on the car pulling to the left when accelerating/decelerating

    - drifting left on highway speeds

     

    i may be wrong but will tsb# 04-03-06-001 fix these problems? "vehicle leads/pulls characteristics and diagnosis"

     

    What was also funny was that the VP of the dealership wanted to go on a test drive with me, but when I told him I want a malibu maxx there so we can test drive my car and then compare it with their car, he declined and cancelled the appointment. hmmmmm, makes you wonder right?

     

    i already made an appt to have another take a look....will keep you posted.
  • We also dented our hatch slamming it. I had the dent removed by a Dent-Pro type place. AND I eliminated the need to slam it by adjusting the latch. Remove the trim surrounding the striker on the car body where the liftgate latch mates. There are two bolts holding it in place. Mark where it is now (trace around it with a marker) then loosen the bolts and move the striker up a little bit (try 1/4 inch to start). Retighten the bolts. It should be much easier to close the hatch. You want to get to a point where you can close the hatch without excessive force, but it is still firmly closed and the weatherstrip is compressed all the way around.
  • Very true. Digital circuitry does not take kindly to noisy power supplies. Alternators and switching power supplies (voltage converters) make a lot of racket that only the battery and (sometimes) external filtering capacitors can get rid of.
  • Yesterday, I noticed a chip missing from the strange "Malibu" plate in the center of the dash. When I touched it, the plate backing broke and the plate dove into the rectangular opening. Fished it out with tweezers, then the whole thing simply crumbled into a hundred pieces, which I put into a baggy. Next, I called a friend who makes desk and door signs and ordered a brushed chrome plate .75"H x 3"L with my last name engraved on it.

    Has anyone else found that plate to be complete JUNK?

    Thanks.

    Dean
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    havent noticed it..but like the idea of the brushed chrome plate to replace it...what kind of glue will you use to mount it.....can imagine much other that than that 3m adhesive would work due to temp changes in the car thru the year
  • Yes, one of the 3M adhesives.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    wow, is that right?? The -05 hatch definitely has no resistance at all and is prone to slamming. My -04 hatch's hydraulics are starting to get cranky, but nonetheless, provide a whole lot more resistance than the -05 hatch. Do you have an -05?
  • Hope someone can advise me on the transmission issue in my maxx soon...

     

    Anyway, the dashboard logo on my Maxx seems to be sturdy (I've not tried jabbing it hard, but pressed it gently and it stayed in place).

     

    My hatch struts will groan when in humid weather but otherwise seem ok (one of them had failed early in the car's life - was replaced).

     

    Have noticed the driver seat tends to develop a nasty little bulge at the base of the seat back, as a result of using the lumbar support (which I thought was supposed to work farther up in the seat - not from the base of the seatback and up.).
  • Good advice.

     

    After the dealer said the hatch closing resistance was normal, I tried adjusting mine as well. With a door or window open, it closes easily. Without a path for the air to escape, it needs to be shut pretty hard and with even pressure or it doesn't latch.

     

    My main complaint is that GM incured additional cost to use aluminum for a lighter hatch. Their extra money resulted in fussier closing and easy damage. Hope they move to steel for newer versions.
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    With the amount of metal in the hatch as opposed to much heavier glass the switch to aluminum would seem to provide an inconsequential weight reduction. Was hatch weight the only reason to use aluminum?
  • Not sure, but there is really no other reason to use aluminum in hoods or hatches. It costs more per pound or unit area and it is more difficult to form.

     

    Metal versus glass weight for the Maxx hatch also effects how easy it opens and (theoretically) closes. With lighter aluminum far away from the hinge point - it "should" feel lighter and be easier to open/close.

     

    You are right that doesn't make much difference in the overall vehicle weight.
  • fstylefstyle Posts: 2
    I just bought an 05 Maxx and have 600 miles. Two issues:

     

    1. When I fill the gas tank the fuel gauge only reads 3/4 full.

     

    2. I have a message on the Info Center: Check Gas cap.

     

    Anyone have these problems?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Hope you aren't waiting for me, Kurt. I really don't have any comment on that one.

     

    Regarding the dashboard logo, keep an eye out for 2006 models and you will see that something else is taking its place. Nothing fancy and hopefully Chevy will have some pics of new models soon with auto shows coming up.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry fstyle,

     

    If your dealer can't find it recommend they look at TSB #04-08-49-025
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I think it is OK to post an external link from Edmunds.com but for those Maxx owners interested in an article on the aluminum hatch (from technical side) I found this for you

     

    http://www.ai-online.com/issues/article_detail.asp?id=441

     

    I kind of remember this article from original magazine.
  • fstylefstyle Posts: 2
    "If your dealer can't find it recommend they look at TSB #04-08-49-025 "

     

    e2helper: What is TSB #04-08-49-025?

     

    Thanks.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    NP - I can't print out whole thing for you but it is a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB)

     

    Title is:

     

    "Fuel Gauge Does Not Read Full When Fuel Tank is Full, Service Engine Soon (SES) Light On.....(Inspect Fuel Level Sensor Operation)"

     

     - Came out in mid-October
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    If by bum trans, you mean the howling problem, see post #126 in this forum, which contains the text from the TSB. The howling problem (caused by chain) occurs in trans units built between 1/16/04 and 5/5/04. You have to check the julian date on the Trans ID plate attached to back of trans. The ID plate faces the firewall. You can see it from under the car. The build date of trans is different from build date of the car. I believe the trans is built in Canada and shipped to KS where car is assembled. If you car was built before 1/16 you probably don't have a howling trans. If your car was built towards end of month, you might have a howling trans with build date after 1/16.

     

    My 04 Maxx was built sometime in Feb. The trans was built on 2/12 and has the howling problem, but is shifts just fine, IMO.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    e2helper, could you please give me build date of my 04 MAXX, VIN 178793. Thanks much.
  • can anyone help out?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
  • Great article on the rear lift gate e2helper! Thanks.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    NP, Don't think that this article actually explained rationale on why aluminum was used other than mass savings (which was original question posed here - I don't know the answer). However did give details on the weight savings and had some interesting aspects of the process.
  • Thanks for re-posting the trans info sgr5516. I guess that one was out of e2helpers' realm.

     

    I do not know exact build date of my Maxx but suspect it was before 1/16 as I have never heard any howls from the trans, but will check trans date to be sure. My VIN last 6 digits are 155722.

     

    Also thanks e2helper for hatch article link. Interesting from technical standpoint, for sure!
  • e2helper. Your replies are really impressive.

    Will you kindly tell me my Maxx's build date?

    166797. My guess is around 02/12/2004.

     

    Is your real name:

    Rick Wagoner, Jr.?

    Jack Smith, Jr.?

    Ron Zarella?

    Thomas J. Davis?

    Donald E. Hackworth?

    Mike or Larry Burns?

    Or, maybe you have lunch with these guys from time-to-time. (Just kidding...your info is great!).
  • bagbag Posts: 1
    My wife owns a 2003 Malibu LS which she has had for 26 months. Last year, she noticed that during the winter the engine would "shudder" or "miss" in the 1500 RPM range. We have had the car back to the dealer four times in the last 12 months,most recently 01-05-05. There has been no permanent resolution to the problem and now we have the car back and still with the problem. Has anyone else experienced this and does anyone have any ideas as to what might be wrong?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    E2helper I don’t know if this anything you can report to someone at GM but I have a concern with my 04 Malibu. Last summer on I-91 in the Vermont hills at temps 80 deg F and above, when descending the large hills when the cruise would back off the throttle to maintain set speed then when the throttle would come back on with a jolt, I mean a JOLT. I thought something in the drive train might break. I tried it with the cruise off and same thing. On the return trip the temp had dropped to the low 70 deg F and was hardly noticeable and at times none. This all happened after a 4 hr drive so everything was heat soaked.

    I have not reported it to anyone because it would be too hard to duplicate. Mine had the chain and sprockets replaced. Thanks for any feed back you can give me.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    """It wouldn't have anything to do with the "learning" feature these electronic transmissions have, would it?"""

      

    Jerry: you win the prize man, regarding the adaptive technology in today's transmissions. I'll explain further in a moment. I took my car in today. First, the manager did not like the howl in my tranny. After going over the parts on a schematic that will be replaced, he said that I should have it done....so I will. The job takes two days, and they'll give me a rental.

    Now for the real reason why I took my car in: the manager believes that it indeed is "learned behavior" from my driving habits. Nonetheless, he also won't dimiss the fact that when he flashed my PCM for the overdrive NOT kicking in fast enough at highway speeds, that the tranny might now be overcompensating in the other direction, and kicking in at too low a speed. Despite this theory, he stated that the tranny computer will allow my RPMs to fall when I take my foot off the gas at 35 mph, and will assume that I want the RPMs to remain low since I might be coming to a stop soon. I was under the impression that there would be a slight spike up in the RPMs as a result of the tranny already being in a state of overdrive, and the car is running too slowly to maintain that low RPM level should I decide to step on the gas.

     

    e2helper: my service manager stated that I should ask you about TAP (adaptive technology). He said that there was some literature out there which described how I could "reprogram" my tranny's thinking so it would shift differently than it does now. He could not find the literature in his computer, and thought you might know where I should look.

    He also stated that it is possible that the '05 Bu has different programming than the '04 tranny, and that is why my rental Maxx last week had so much zoom zoom in it.....or, it was peppy because it was a rental and that so many different people drive it and beat the heck out of it, causing the tranny to act the way it does. I will acknowledge that I am the only one who drives my Maxx, so coupling that with the fact of DC area stop and go driving, may indeed be the cause of my "overdrive too soon" delemma. Thoughts?
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