Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • Yep, had the same problem with mine, over and over again (3 times). So did a friend with his Malibu.

    It IS a fan control issue. Won't be exactly cheap, if you don't have the extended warranty.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    this is kind of scary, but let me get the 'bu part out of the way first. my mom bought an '03 a couple of months ago, so i've been monitoring this board. so far, so good.
    had an 89 sho, for about 3 years. took it up to 6500 rpms in 5th one time, never did the other 500 before the redline though. had a couple other iterations after that one, too.
    fyi saabs, we have a 9-5 se wagon, a 9-5 is 29% german, 22% swedish, according to the sticker.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • fine by me. still like that saab. local paper running an ad for new 9-3's today as low as 21,100. +/-
  • Someone please kindly tell me where exactly it is (next to what, etc), and what should be leaking from it to indicate it wants to be fixed.

    Thank you!
  • Thanks for the reply. Nope, no extended warranty. I do a lot of work myself, and would like to find out exactly needs to be replaced. Is it just the resistor as mentioned in a previous post, or is it the whole fan control switch assembly? Thanks for the clarfication.

    Anyone else have any specifics?
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    When you're under the hood, keep a close watch on the coolant level. That was my clue.

    When it starts losing, then the manifold has had it.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    any comments on when to have it done?
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • But I've read that a little bit of coolant would be lost anyway (evaporation?), and that a slight top-up is required maybe once every 6-9 months. If the intake manifold is broken, what would be the rate of the coolant loss?

    Also, what happens if you do not fix the broken intake manifold?

    Thank you!
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    a. I have a four year old Impala LS with 135,000 miles. It has yet to lose the first teaspoon of coolant.

    b. If you do not fix a leaking manifold, water gets into the oil, and you will blow a head gasket. This is not good. Can you say $3500? Or so?
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    I always change the oil and filter after the first 500 to 750 miles. All engines will generate small metal shavings, etc., as the parts break in. Most of them will occur in the first 500 miles, and be trapped in the oil filter. Then, I change it again at 3,000 miles, and every 3,000 after. I really don't trust oil to go 7500 miles like the owners manual states, unless its synthetic. But really, the first oil/filter change is the most important..don't let it go too long. This little bit of extra maintainance has served me well..haven't had an engine go bad on me yet.
  • Let's take a poll - If you have experienced intake manifold gasket problems, which did you need replaced - the upper or lower intake gasket?

    Mine was the lower, which made it cost a little more since there was more labor involved.

  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    GREAT to hear from you again, buddy.

    My gaskets were the lower ones as well.

    bc: Yes, a bit of coolant does evaporate over time. This wasn't that. We're talking major coolant loss, like a quart or so.
  • I had the lower intake manifold leak on my 3.1V6. I also experienced a significant and rapid loss of coolant. Luckily, I did not experience any engine damage as I have had over 65,000 trouble free miles since the fix.

    This leads me to my question: Was the manifold problem a manufacturing flaw or a design flaw? In other words, can I expect to have this problem crop up again, or is this fix permanent?
  • Is the coolant loss so rapid that "low coolant" warning light lights up on the dash? If not, how did you find out that you had this intake manifold problem? Thank you!
  • My coolant loss was quite rapid. I had checked my fluid levels about 10 days earlier and everything was within the normal range. My low coolant light was the first thing that tipped me off. Surprisingly, my temp gauge never indicated that the engine was running hot. That idiot light must be pretty sensitive.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Saw on the GM Canada web site today they are offering 24 hour tests on 2004 Chevys and a $500 offer with them. 24 hours with a Bu might be fun!
  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 1,955
    I drive by the Chevy dealership every morning on my drive to work. (Charlotte, NC) Though I have been keeping a sharp eye out to spot a new 04 BU, none sited yet. Is this a staggered roll out? Looking forward to spotting my first 04!

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    No Malibus at the local dealer yet. Drove by yesterday.
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    Had the hood up to add windshield washer fluid. Took the car in for its oil cange and mentioned that I thought the coolant level was low.

    Don't have any idea if this is something that happens again & again.

    Don't plan on having mine long enough to see...
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    but I am always impatient about new car deliveries.
  • rwisemrwisem Posts: 96
    I picked up our silver LT at noon today. Had to come back to work so only have preliminary impressions.

    The car does look better in person and the interior seems more uplevel than our '02. The ride is much improved. I was very impressed while traveling over rough roads on the way back to work. Not so impressed with the rattle in the console-will have to tackle that real soon.

    Harry - You said the tilt wheel worked like yours. We had a '98, too and it had the standard GM issue tilt function, as does our '02. The new one does NOT work the same way. As I said before, this will be an issue for my wife as she will be the primary driver. I even read the manual - the column is height adjustable, and of course there is the new telescopic feature, but that's it.

    The +/- button on the shift lever does indeed take you up and down through the gears after placing the selector in the L position. What's cool is that the electronic gear display in the instrument cluster has an extra segment that lights up with the exact gear you have selected when you use this function. Otherwise, when the selector is in drive, it is blank.

    The instrument gauges are very attractive and the plastic on the IP is a very good quality.

    With so many items to position I have a way to go to get all everything set right for me - there'a a whole lot of adjustin' goin' on.

    Hey! when I leave work I hope I remember to start the car with the remote!

    Enough for now. I didn't mean to write a long post. I'll try not to make too many partial ones.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    it was likely a combo platter, design flaw and manufacturing flaw.
  • So I should be expecting another idiot light episode anytime now? I can think of better ways to spend $650.00.

    I hope the 3.5 liter version of my 3.1 liter doesn't suffer from this same defect.
  • if you are buying a car in its first year of production. I can't recall a single vehicle (except, perhaps, some very upscale models), which did not have a bunch of problems right after the launch. Just look at 03 Accord and even 03 4Runner (it had few bugs overall, but a few too many for a Toyota). Then again, who knows, maybe GM DID get it right THIS time with the new Bu. Time will tell. As for now, good luck, and enjoy your baby Bu's!
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Looks like 0% or $1000 on the new Bu in the US or 1.9% for 60.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    I am almost afraid to ask this, but did anybody see Harry's review of his Malibu test drive? Did I miss it?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    john : We all missed it I guess.

    reg : Noticed yesterday that all Impalas now come with standard 4 wheel discs. If thats the case, I think they should do the same for all V6 Malibus, not just the LTs.
  • lostjrlostjr Posts: 26
    Was visiting relatives in Iowa. Rydell in Waterloo has 2004 'bu with the $1,000 off from GM plus $1,700 off from the dealer.

    I think they do something like this with all their vehilces to reduce hagling, but on this car, it is a far cry from some dealers marking UP from sticker.
  • rwisemrwisem Posts: 96
    Well Harry seems to be MIA the last few days. Hope there is nothing wrong. In the meantime, here are my observations after two days.


    The exterior has a modern look to it, with projector style headlamps and faceted tail lamp reflectors along with new pull out, not pull up door handles. The creases in the side are not objectionable in person and neither is the front grille bar. Paint is good and body seams have closer tolerances than our ’02. A careful inspection does not reveal any badly fitting panels or loose trim.

    A peek under the car reveals thick aluminum suspension control arms in the rear. This should help unsprung weight.

    I’m glad to see 16’’ wheels on the LT model. I always felt the Malibu should have had them.


    The more modern look carries over to the interior. I had recently looked at a Suzuki Verona, and while very well executed, the interior seemed 3 or 4 years old. We have the gray interior, so have silver metallic accents instead of wood grain. I didn’t think I would like this, but it is attractive and adds to the modern ambiance. The IP and especially the gauges have a more upscale look than our ‘02 -the gear selector surround is also upgraded. Continuing with the good stuff, the rear seat is quite roomy and very comfortable. The gauge cluster takes on a simplified look at night. The molded features and some of the display is not lit – resulting in a slight resemblance to the “black out” feature on Saabs. I like it.

    A two-place upholder folds down from the back of the console as on the old Malibu. The perforated “LUX” fabric is very attractive. A nice surprise are the real, adjustable headrests in the rear – not the cheap molded bumps as before. A lever on the back inside edge of the front passenger seat releases the seatback to fold flat forward and make a table for the driver. You can load long objects from the trunk using the fold-down rear seatbacks.

    The front seats have an outside rim on the lower seat cushion that makes the seat look more expensive and provides a surface for the optional heated seat control. The steering wheel is not too bad – it has a nice,thick rim with the leather cover. The steering wheel controls are handy and intuitive. All other controls have good placement, although the radio controls are a little confusing – got to read that manual again. Special mention should go to the HVAC controls – they are the best I’ve ever seen. I’m not a fan of automatic climate controls – I would not pay if they were a stand-alone option. Most of our recent vehicles have had them and they are a pain to one degree or another, mostly due to the tendency toward overly aggressive fan speeds. On the new Malibu, there is essentially a manually control with automatic settings. I won’t take up more time with details, but it is a great solution.

    The view over the hood is good. The cowl is low, the wipers park snugly to the base of the W/S and the fenders are slightly higher than the center of the hood – a preference I’ve had for 40 years and rarely find. I hate high cowl/drop away hood cars where you only see the road and not any part of the hood or fenders.

    Now the not so good part: Although they never induced pain on the rare long trips we took in the old Malibu, I never found the front seats to be optimum for comfort. I’m sorry to say the new ones don’t fit me any better. This is a personal issue and YMMV. More seriously, the old faithful tilt-wheel will be sorely missed. This must be a result of the European based design. I know millions of Honda owners don’t seem to miss this, but we will. The telescopic feature is great, though.


    The first thing I noticed was how good the ride was. This could have something to do with being used to the Trailblazer, but last night I ran an errand in the ’02 and the ride is definitely better on the new one. It feels like there is more suspension travel than I am used to – it rides better than any GM mid-size I have driven. The car has good grip and minimal lean in turns – not quite the match for an Intrigue I once had, but better than any Camry I’ve driven.

    The power delivery is outstanding. It feels like more than an additional 30 HP. I don’t believe I have felt such a surge of acceleration since my supercharged Olds LSS. It seems stronger than the 3.5 Intrigue in the mid-range.

    The steering is fine. It is a bit light at low speeds, but this is not an issue for me. The ratio is more important and it is quick, like on the Intrigue, not slow as in all those rental Centurys.

    As delivered, All mechanical and electrical functions work as they should, we’ll see if that continues – after all this is not just a first year, but an early production first year.

    Later I may post some pictures and a tell of the tape on interior room between the old and new designs.
This discussion has been closed.