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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • THe bulletin is #01-06-04-008d date apr.2003. i would not suggest relacing with a used part for it may have the same fault as your current one.I also suggest closely
    inspecting the wiring. Test connectors for corrosion. Ceck the terminals for a slight drag feel with a like terminal { a wiggle test at all terminals] check at the fuel tank and fuel pump relay. Ahigh amperage drawwing fuel pump can cause wiring and relay damage. NOTE your may be in over your head to try and fix this yourself.
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    I'm coming to this discussion late, having been away from this forum for a few weeks...but, yes, I've had this exact same problem. It makes no different how I press the "set" button, quickly or holding it down. The weird thing is that it only does this on the long trip that I took several weeks ago. I haven't been able to duplicate the problem on my local expressways, so I'm reluctant to take it in to the dealer just yet. It will probably be like the other cruise problem I'm having (the fact that you sometimes have to stand on the brake pedal in order for the CC to disengage). Sigh. :sick:
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    Interesting...I considered Mazda, as well as Camry and Accord ( I came very close to buying an 04 Accord) before deciding to go with an 04 Malibu Maxx LS. I have a hard time believing that a Mazda would have more problems than a GM product; I've always had a favorable impression of 626, Protege and now the Mazda3 and -6.

    It sounds like you've been reading these boards enough to know what the major problems with Malibu have been, so my only comment is: Realize that the 04 was the first year of a whole new design and that means that it is "buggy". I like my car, for the most part, but they could have done better with a lot of little things (cruise control, which I hate, plus the infamous sunshades and other trim related problems). Fortunately, no major problems so far.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Not that it will help you at all but this past week I had a Malibu owner tell me about a complaint about how far he had to push brake pedal to disengage cruise. He had been to dealer who told him nothing could be done.

    I got into his vehicle assuming that he was just overly sensitive to the calibration of brake pedal but I was surprised to find that the calibration in his vehicle was slightly out of adjustment which would cause the exact complaint he had. The system is easily rezeroed what they call Brake Pedal Position - BPP relearn. I had feedback from him on cell phone only 1/2 hour later as he was driving down expressway that it was now "perfect" :)

    His vehicle had previously had column replaced and had 35k miles so I am unsure how system got out of adjustment but system is designed to easily be rezeroed and I only hope that dealers get more in tune with this. I have done a little prodding to try to get this procedure covered in more detail in a monthly newsletter that Techs get since more vehicles are getting this type of system. It is already covered in Service Manual but ;)
  • madmaxxmadmaxx Posts: 44
    "I had been considering the Mazda3...decided to take another look at the 2004 malibu LS....common problems with this car "
    There are several known issues with the early build month cars, but they are small problems (except steering column) and fixes are also known for all.
    I have had a mid-year build Maxx LS, and currently own a early build Maxx LS.
    If you can, look for a build date of April04 or later, but don let an earlier date deter you-it will just need to spend a day at the dealer receiving the upgraded transmission parts, along with a few other TSBs.
    Go for the Maxx-you'll love the room, versatility, power, 4whl disc/ABS, mpg.....
    My Maxx LS, after rebates, was only $14,299 + Tx&Lic.
  • davismaxxdavismaxx Posts: 33
    I'd like to get the loose/clunky feel in the left front of our Maxx fixed. Whenever you go over a driveway edge or other bump, especially while turning, the steering wheel kicks and there is a loose, clunky feel. I understand there is a TSB on this, number 04072004. Does anyone know what it says, or what the fix for this issue is?

    Our dealer (Hanlees, Davis, CA) has been great about warranty repairs. We've had little stuff (interior trim, sunshades) and big stuff (gas tank, center the steering) fixed. They always give us a loaner, and if they need parts they get them fast.

    Other than that, the car is surviving our family's hard use very well. We've put on 13K since mid-September, including a 2500 miles-in-one-week tour of the Southwest with a full load on board. The roomy back seat is great for our kids, easy for them to get in and out of the car. When we need cargo space, we move the seats forward, or fold them down. Sometimes I think they might have just as well made it a wagon, with more of a square back, which would increase cargo capacity even more.

    I rent cars all the time on business, and so far I've gotten two Maxxes--one from Avis and one from Budget--both in Columbus, Ohio. GM seems to have sold lots of these to rental fleets.

    2004 Maxx LS aka "Goldie"
    Sand metallic color
    May, 04 build
    VIN 237245
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    well sadly, my new steering column did not fix the "loose strut" sound problem. Keep me informed if the TSB does something other than replace the entire shaft. Thanks.
  • I visited the local chev. dealer yesterday and something to look out for on the malibu is the folding back seats for 'more cargo space'.

    First you have to push two buttons in the trunk (obviously, with the trunk open) then you have to either crawl across the back seat from the drivers side or go around to the right passenger side and lift a latch on the right passenger side and only then can you go to the left driver side back seat and lift the latch to fold down that side, when folding the back seats down for more cargo space.

    So, I didn't like that function. The back seats go down easily, but the procedure for folding them is a pain in the bottom and I think it is very inconvenient.

    Good Luck!
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    In the Maxx, the seat back adjuster is simply used to flip the seats. Of course you'd have to remove the cargo cover-picnic table.

    I'm not sure I'd choose the Malibu sedan over the competition like the about to be introduced Sonata, or next year's Ford Fusion. However the Maxx @ $16K is a compelling bargain. I wish more than Mazda and Chevy offered mid-sized hatches!!!
  • 04ss04ss Posts: 5
    Results of my inquiry.....the car is actually an LS with a "Limited Edition SS Packaging". Included the SS logo, moonroof, rear spoiler, and dual exhaust. No difference in the engine. After comparing prices, I didn't really pay any more for this car than I would have paid for a regular logoed LS. There are differences between the brakes from a Maxx, LT, and LS. Apparently, they used different size rotors (according to my parts guy). Thanks for everyone's input!
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    so it was a "dealership SS version" afterall?..none of that was available from teh factory except the moonroof....for the 04.....can you post or send pics...would be curious to see what they did to the it a true dual exhaust...or a fake second tip???..where did they mount the spoiler....on the deck lid or the top of the hatch like the 05s?....again just wondering....and wow..a cosmetic addition warrant a model designation for registration purposes.......just be sure you trade it back in to the same dealer with the time I think any other dealership will look at you funny with an 04 SS designation......but glad you got it straighten out....and you have the LS to speak
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Yes, I would like to see a pic as well since I agree with pao that those aren't factory options.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Not to get your dealer in trouble ;)

    But would you be willing to post dealer name or last 6 of your VIN?

    Someone might want to talk with them about mods :)
  • jserge1jserge1 Posts: 1
    Hmmm. I have an 05 Malibu sedan, don't know the build date off hand. It has 6000 Kms on it. Bought it new in January.

    I thought the power steering issue was over by now. But this morning right after I started driving, my power steering died. I shut the car down and restarted but after one turn the power steering died again. Drove it that way a half hour to the dealer (lots of tight turns).

    Dealer was also surprised that it happened to my car. Anyways, it's in the shop right now. I wonder if it's the same issue that happened to the 04s a while back?
  • don_1953don_1953 Posts: 1
    we have a 2002 Malibu LS edition, leather seats, sun roof, etc. it has barely 36,000 miles of mostly highway driving. the front brake discs look terrible, I've never seen rotors that look so bad, not scored, but simply corroded, and the brakes sound terrible. Has anyone else noticed this?
  • lanceqlanceq Posts: 16
    I have a LT sedan which I purchased in July 04. I had a grinding noise in the steering and took it in to the Dealer. They replaced the Steering Column. When I asked what the problem was they said that they didn't know. They had not seen this problem before. They said that they sent the steering column back to GM and the engineers would open it up and determine what the problem was. Anyhow I still have the same grinding noise. Any ideas? Thanks.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    You probalby have either a bad ignitions switch or a bad crankshaft sensor. Both are common problems with the pre-2004 Malibus.
  • francijaifrancijai Posts: 10
    I recently took delivery on an 04 maxx. I posted at the end of April with concerns of left pull, tranny howl and rough idle. Prior to taking delivery I expressed these concerns to the dealer (after a weekend test drive, where I experienced all of the above stated) and provided him with the the tsb's and other pertinent information that you all have been so gracious to share within this awesome forum. Here's my next question, the service department (a chevy dealership in GR, MI) performed the repairs, according to latest tsbs, yet idle is still rough, and although steering seems to be dead on (at speeds under 50mph) the steering wheel always looked skewed to the right, and at speeds of 70mph or greater has a dramatic left pull, more so than what I initially experienced. I am interested in having the service tech's remediate this problem, yet am wondering if any of you have had similar issues after getting service, or if any of you could share other ideas or potential fixes? Thank you!
  • francijaifrancijai Posts: 10
    After I posted the message, I realized it may be helpful to include the VIN, which is:
    1G1ZU64804F163760. Thank you again and in advance for any help you maybe able to offer.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    well, I'll speak to the rough idle issue: the computer calibration done at your dealership should soften the idle. It won't eliminate the roughness all together; however, you should notice a marked improvement. GM engineers are continuing to refine these calibrations. Whenever you bring your car in, should there be a newer version to correct such problems, your dealer should automatically insert them into your car's computer. Looking for TSBs and new calibrations is a standard at my dealer, and should be at every dealer. Insist on it.
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