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Chevrolet Malibu Engine Problems



  • Since this is my wife's car, I need to keep it up. She says it seems to be running better. I noticed that the idle is much smoother than before. Hopefully, I can get another 150K out of it.
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    The major problems with GM's OHV V6's (3.1, 3.8, 3.4, 4.3) tend to be the intake gasket and piston scuffing, with the gasket problem more serious. Looks like you caught it in time. It's not uncommon to put 300k on these engines. Good luck.
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 705
    Hi missourigri:

    How did the replacement engine from GM work out with your 4 cylinder Malibu. ------- Were you able to get a copy of the "GM bulletin" dealing with a stress crack in the engine allowing coolant to leak into the oil? ----- Kindly advise! ----- Best regards. -------- Dwayne :shades: :confuse: ;) :)
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I've been doing a bit of research. I now have 3.6L, 2011.
    It came with PF48 filter installed, manual calls for PF63. This is a GM change and they may not have had new filters at production time. Filter is not yet available at dealers. And new dexos oil is not either.
    Another forum has a lot of timing chain failures on 3.6L. Mostly pre-2010. Is this an issue on Malibu?
    I changed oil with 22% life left and used a PF22500 because it crosses directly from the PF63. What I found was that the removed PF48 did not have an anti-drainback valve. My first thought was maybe the reason for the part change. I posted about the lack of valve on PF48 and some got back to me that I was wrong. PF48's do have valve. OK, but mine does not!
    The oil looked particularly bad for mileage so I had already elected to keep some and the filter just in case. Because of the horizontal mounting, dirty filtered oil could drain back to pan and lack of part might effect bypass valve, opening early.
    You may wish to do the same. Maybe even update to 2011 filter when they become available.
    Since new to about 2500 miles, MPG dropped suddenly after that about 3 MPG, both local and highway. Related, Unknown.
  • I just purchased an 09 Malibu and drove it less than 5 weeks when it blew a head gasket. The dealership replaced all of the head gaskets and 2 weeks later gave it back to me. Drove it less than 15 miles when it blew another head gasket the day after we got it back. Received a call from the dealership stating that they had just received a bulletin (not a recall) stating if the car was having these certain problems, then it had a crack in the engine block. So, now they are replacing the entire motor. All of my coolant leaked also which caused my temperature gauge to shoot way up and then started having a burnt smell coming through the air vents. Shut the car off and turned it back on a few minutes later and it sounded like a gush of water went out of something. looked under the car, no liquids found. Must have went into the busted seal on the head gasket (assumption). I also have the 4 cylinder engine. Have you had any problems since they replaced your engine?
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 871
    edited January 2011
    Some 4 cyl have had that problem. The liner is steel and when cast in the aluminum block, the block may develop a stress crack.
    The Trailblazer had that same problem with there 6 cyl inline engine. Testing for cracks must be done by the customer for GM.
  • The Asian guys have long been superior in the production of hi-reving 4 bangers..They use forged internal parts such as cranks and rods..The Big3 have used castings for the cranks and rods limiting the performance..The Asians started out with motorcycles and applied the same knowledge to the car engine..Having been involved in the hot-forging market from 1984 thru 2002 one learns that the Big3 only used the good stuff with hi-performance engines and the cast junk with the high-volume production..

    I am considering buying a new V-6 Malibu w/3.6, sunroof, cloth interior, and any suspension upgrades available, and would enjoy any comments as to troubles or negative input with the latest addition of the Malibu series..

    Currently own a 2006 V-6 Pontiac GT w/3.8 S/C engine and a 2010 Mustang GT w/track Pkg, and would like to spin the Pontiac off, no problems with it, bought it cheap w/4300 miles some 42 months ago, now showing 53k..Live in Fla, retired and enjoy the open road..hi-end cruise..

    The top end of the V-6 Malibu can be increased easily by tweaking the electronics, and upgrading to H-rated tires..however I am running T-rated on Pontiac, using Michelin Harmony that have excellent tread life and no problem with the high end..H-rated tire was std from factory on the Pontiac..

    The neatest little 4-banger from GM was the 260hp, turbo-charged with a great suspension setup in the Chevy Cobalt SS..which was phased out in 2010..I think it was also put in the HHR..Owned 53 cars over my 77 yrs..
  • jodi7jodi7 Posts: 9
    my malibu's latest problem is overheating and running out of coolant, this car is a moneypit I bought it a year ago used and since that time have replaced a fuel pump, battery, crankshaft sensor, tires and several other things that i can't remember off hand, the car also has an intermittant starting problem which while it usually willstart after an hour or so is incredibly annoying and inconveniant and no its not the ignition switch although I'll probably be replacing that at some point. I usually prefer American make cars-I'll never buy another chevy this car has soured me on them for good.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    you fail to mention how many miles are on this 9 year old car....the parts you mention all seem to be normal wear and tear for a car this age....did you get the maintenance history of the car..since you purchased it used?
  • jodi7jodi7 Posts: 9
    All except the battery and tires were an effort to repair the intermittant starting problem, I've also replaced the oil pump switch to no avail. Chevy Malibu's of this year are notorious for having multiple issues, and even though this car currently has 150K, head gaskets should not be blowing, again this is a problem that chevy's seem to inherently have. I've driven many a Ford, a chevy Beretta, and dodge trucks well over the 200K mark and other than routine replacements, tires, alternators, starters, exhausts, never had as many problems with a car. Google Chevy malibu and you will see hundreds of complaints of issues particularly with the early 2000's model.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 871
    Should have googled before you bought.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    That's pretty unhelpful.

    Additionally, if this member purchased the vehicle new, there'd not have been any info on long-term reliability and problems, unless he/she has a time machine allowing him/her to zip straight to 2011.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • paopao Posts: 1,867 #91 states the poster bought the car used about a year he in fact purchased a 8 year old car with Im betting over 100k on it when purchased...
  • jodi7jodi7 Posts: 9
    The car had 43,126 miles on it when I purchased it.
  • jodi7jodi7 Posts: 9
    If hindsight were 20/20 I would have googled Deloreans, Confederate money, and Jack-a-lope breeding partnerships before investing in them but alas its not. Still doesn't change the fact that Chevy Malibu's are about as good an investment.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    wow..that is less that 5k a year...hardly driven as a matter of fact...and wondering how the maintenance was handled...regular oil changes etc....I've always wondered if a car isnt driven enough over its life span..does that also contribute to long term maintenance issues.....

    regardless, hope you can get the issues corrected....
  • jodi7jodi7 Posts: 9
    It was kept as a second car and had regular maintenance, according to manufacturers specs. (yes, I've seen the records) Heck, I'd be happy if we could just figure out the intermittant starting issue... At this point, assuming I want to put more $$$ into this car we'll probably have the coolant system flushed, do a tune-up, switch out the distributor cap and air, oil, filters, fuel filter was swapped at the fuel pump exchange. I really wish GM had come up with a way to disengage the pass lock system because I think that is the cause but there is no way to disengage it.
    Its an interesting question, my brother was a mechanic (he's deceased now) and he always said it doesn't really matter how MUCH a car is driven just HOW its driven...I don't think this car was beat on it.
    Thanks-me too.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    If you are a very short distance driver you might want to step up oil changes. My sister had a 70's T-Bird which she drove 2.5 miles to work. With less than 30K the engine was declared bad. That distance was never enough to warm the engine, especially in WI winters. By 3K the oil was apparently diluted with gas and other combustion products. She probably should have changed about every 500 miles or at least 4 times a year.
  • 3mlk3mlk Posts: 1
    Hi, we bought a used 2004 malibu that had 71,000 miles and had it 2 days before my 16 yr old daughter cracked the oil pan and drove it until it locked up. We bought a manufactured rebuilt 4 cyl 2.2 Echo engine same size that the car had from another malibu that had 65,000 original miles on it. Once installed the car would run ok for a while then it would die every so often like at a stop light or when you are parking. We took to 2 different Chevy dealers and nobody could figure out what was wrong because no codes where being thrown. So we had the fuel pump replaced and had new fuel relay switches put in and it ran ok for awhile but then started to die again. The car always starts back up after it dies. The other day when we replaced the relay switch again, my husband could not even touch the switch to change it because it was so hot. The rpm gauges also fluctuates when this is happening. Yesterday when my daughter was driving the car she said it was like she was giving it gas but that the car was not getting any gas then it would all the sudden surge like it got gas again. This has been going on for 11 months now and nobody can figure this out even after new fuel pump and relays. We have been told maybe there is a short in the wires to fuel pump from relay, maybe electronic injector is clogged up, and that they have no idea just live with it. It seems to be happening more often now. Please any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. Do not want her to be in bad wreck because car keeps dying. Thanks, Melissa
  • My Malibu's battery drains with in 15 minutes of starting. I have had the alternator test and it's good, new battery was tested. I had it read with 2 separate electronic readers and both came up with no code. Please HELP I just want too fix it so I can get rid of it. this car is a money trap.
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