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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • colie74colie74 Posts: 42
    Thanks for the response, I think I'll have them do a simple pressure check when it goes in to get the carpet kit and spare tired cover replaced from mold/excessive water leak. I don't smell coolant though and only the low coolant level light came on. Is this the same symptom? Is my 2.5 year old car suppose to have low coolant? Am I suppose to be maintaining it? Never dealt with the coolant in any previous car that new. How often should I be purging it? It seems to be an ugly merky red vs new red. I wonder about the gummy coolant situation.

    BTW, anyones trunk leaking?
  • hogboyhogboy Posts: 84
    The coolant is "suppose" to be good for 5 years. I wouldn't trust it that long. Maybe 3 years.( Just my personal choice). I am currently watching the same problem in our Impala with 18k on the clock. I added about 1 quart to the recovery tank this weekend and have started noticing a faint coolant smell when pulling into the garage at night. My 2000 Silverado has had no coolant loss in 35 months and I will be getting that changed out this month. Other issues that have developed are the fading headlights, the ISS lube problem, and the peeling roof strips.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    My low coolant light NEVER came on; I just happened to notice the level was low, combined with the smell.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I've always been a little skittish about working on brakes, but I took the plunge this weekend (partially because I had to spend big bucks to have a starter put on my wife's car) and replaced my brake pads front and rear. I'd bought a Haynes manual, and following the info in there, it was almost too simple to replace the pads. Granted, I was unable to remove the discs for resurfacing (couldn't break the bolts loose that hold the caliper mounting bracket on), but they weren't scoured at all.

    Definitely feel a difference in the braking now, but was surprised to see that my old pads still had a good bit of wear left on them (probably 1/8" or so above the wear indicator/"chirper").
  • jbk5jbk5 Posts: 26
    Does anyone know if this manifold problem has been corrected or is it still affecting cars currently being built? It's ridiculous if it has been happening since the late 90's and they haven't done anything about it.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I don't know for a fact, but I'm pretty sure the problem still exists. If it didn't, I would think someone here would have had their warped intake replaced with the "new & improved" version. As far as I know, when you have one of these warp, they replace it with a fresh version of the exact same thing. Supposedly the chances of having this happen twice are rare, but Mr. Goodwrench didn't install much confidence when he replaced mine.
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    My 2001 Impala LS with 20K miles (April 2001 build) has been extremely reliable. The only issue I experienced a couple of months ago was the warped manifold intake that developed an external coolant leak on the right side of the engine. It was replaced under warranty (4+ hour job) and has been fine since.

    I have not experienced none of the issues related to check engine lights, airbag lights, leaking trunks, ISS or rattling breaks. My car runs fantastic, is tight, solid, quiet and compleletly rattle free. This car has never ever left me stranded anywhere and the engine runs like the finest Swiss watch.

    I am selling it, not because I have had problems with it, but because I want something different as I have a new 2004 MINI Cooper S on order for October '03 delivery.

    I think some of you have a combination of unusually problematic cars with clueless dealers. For the person with the leaking trunk, tell your dealer to look at the plastic tailight assembly rubber seals. If those seals are slightly worn or not making good contact against the bodywork, water will get in, guaranteed.

    I had the same exact leaking trunk problem in a different car...a $30K 1997 Acura 2.5TL sedan. I took the car 3 times to the dealer and every time I found the same water leak and musty smell on the right side of the trunk. The dealer claimed to had water pressure tested the car's trunk and found nothing wrong with the trunklid weatherstrip rubber seals.....but...after I got really unpleasant, they took the car back inside the service bay and the technician took a look at the right side plastic tailight assembly seals...and..BINGO!..the rubber seals were defective and water was getting in from the tailight, not the trunk.

    So, I suspect you have the same exact problem, unless you car was involved in a severe rear end collision and the water leak in the trunk is the by product of a bad bodyshop repair.

    Oh and by the way, that 1994 Dodge Shadow of yours never saw the shop, because Chrysler made the same car with almost no changes since 1987, therefore, your 1994 version already had all the "bugs" worked out from the earlier model years. Ask any 1987-91 Dodge Shadow/Plymouth Sundance owner about their cars to find out how many times their clunkers went back to the shop and how that wonderful Chrysler paint job stayed intact during that time.

    Good luck.
  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    So far Chevy/GM is ignoring the problem. Make sure you place a complaint on the NHTSA web site:

    It is important to have your Impala checked if you are loosing coolant, even when there are no obvious signs of leaks. If the manifold leaks internally, you're in big trouble unless you've got a very good warranty. The 3.8 is an expensive engine to replace.

    This one issue is really dragging down the reputation of a very solid vehicle. My 2001 LS drives great. I put about 700 miles a week on mine (long commute - a long comfortable commute). And I'm averaging 28.8 mpg cruising at speeds up to 85.
  • jbk5jbk5 Posts: 26
    Well, I thought there has been a funny smell for a while. Now unfortunately I guess I know what it may be. My 2002 Monte Carlo SS has 23,500 miles. I added almost a pint of coolant on Saturday because there was barely any in the reserve tank. Guess I'll be calling the dealer soon.
  • colie74colie74 Posts: 42
    Hey thanks for the info on the trunk leak. They are thinking it is the vent flap. First the service guy said he couldn't recreate the leak, then said he could. Who knows, I think he is on to me as far as pursuing the lemon law. I am wondering as well as far as it being the taillight. I told them it was by the right tail light and flooding the spare tired compartment, so they know. But they think its the trunk vent flap. So they sealed it off this time. Hoping I can take a high pressure hose to the tail light assemply and get it to leak again. Though I don't want to tip them off that it could be the taillights if I can persue the lemon law!!

    BUT now I have the coolant leak. So it gets to go in again when they replace the carpet kit and spare tire cover. Yeee haaa!! It's been fun let me tell you.

    Thanks all

    I agree with you, its a great car. I love the huge back seat, fits a car seat and two adults. I will sorely miss that. It rides great and is pretty fast. But you can't mistake all the problems as quirks or being uncommon. But that's what I get for buying a new model when it first came out.

    Funny you mentioned the paint deal on the shadow. I have seen that soo much, but never happend to mine. Chipped alot though, real easily. I traded it in after 5 years.

    No trunk damage to my impala, it's either a bad design or the tail light like you mentioned!!!

    Anyway, add me to the coolant leak problem now!!!!

    Also, I will be driving about an hour next week to LA, can the coolant leak wait as long as we check the levels often? I don't have time to get it in the shop.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Thanks to sunseesion I was finally able to get the kit installed on my front brakes. It has completely eliminated the rattling sounds.
    I can now drive down the street without pedestrians stopping and looking at me.
    My dealer told me this is the only pin kit they have ever installed.
  • chrisis30chrisis30 Posts: 20
    I have a problem with clothing dye bleed into my gray leather seats, (blue jeans and suede leather jackets have bled onto the seat)I have tried a couple different leather cleaners with no success,and even tried a leather ink remover and the blue and black stain is still there , is there any way to get rid of it?
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116

    3.5 year old '00 Impala. Blower now only works on 5th speed ... does nothing on speeds 1 through 4. Out of work so have plenty of time but not money, so tried to fix myself. Made sure path to blower is okay from vent under hood. Was able to touch blower fan and visually inspect from above ... nothing obvious, it moves around, slight squeak. Opened up lower panel on passenger side and saw blower housing ... looks like it will take a lot of work to remove it, so I stopped hoping to get some advice here.

    Questions: anyone done this before? Any chance I can fix this myself, either by cleaning out the blower or other? Any other advice?

    It's our second car so we can sort of live with the problem, but obviously would like to fix it.

  • bsappbsapp Posts: 21
    The same thing happened to me about 18 years ago with a new 84 Chrysler Laser and light gray leather seats. A friend of mine went with me out of town during the summer and he wore blue jeans that obviously were new and had never been washed. Anyhow, it was hot and of course we were both sweating and my passenger seat was left with blue dye. I tried various cleaners and what worked best for me was taking a damp wash rag and a little bit of soft scrub and carefully (and I do mean carefully) cleaning about an inch at the time. Followed by numerous rinsings with fresh rags dipped in clean water that I changed everytime I dipped the rag back into it. I was careful not to scrub the stitching. I followed this up with leather conditioner and the seats looked as good as new and 3 years later when the car was traded, the seats still looked practically new.
    Some may criticize this, I was desperate to get the dye out, took my time and I can't tell you how careful I approached this and got good results.

    Bill Sapp
  • I am considering purchasing a new Impala. However, I have read with interest all the problems you all have been having with the 2000 Impalas. Is there anyone out there that owns a newer version of the Impala and can give me some feedback?

    Sugar Cookie
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Do you want to buy new or used?

    Send me an E-mail (look at my profile) and I'll give you a good overview on the Impala. I currently own a 2001 Impala LS.
  • atbearatbear Posts: 322
    These problems are so few and far between you don't have anything to worry about... Esp if you get a 2002-2004 Impala. Pretty much everything is fixed by 2002.
  • Sugarcookie--
    I got an '03 Impala in December. It's the best new car I've ever problems yet. Until now, I've never had a new car where at least one thing didn't go wrong, from a van that had one failure (radio, but needed three visits to fix) to a different vehicle where the heater, transmission, window seals, window motor, ad nauseum, failed in the first two years. GM initial quality has really gone up.

    My Impala is the base model, with the 3.8L engine. I got stung by a 3.4L engine before, but I believe the Impala's 3.4L is different than the mini-van's version.

    I've never had an OEM sound system that was this good, the dual-one heater & A/C is neat, the trunk is HUGE, and the seats are comfortable all around. Split rear seats, rear arm rest, center rear shoulder belt, CD + cassette are all neat. (Plus, the radio plays while you're rewinding or forwarding the tape...why did this feature take so long to appear?) The 3.4L engine was pretty powerful and smooth on the test drive, but the 3.8L is g-r-e-a-t. I'm also getting 20.6 mpg, according to the travel computer display (which I had to take in order to get the steering wheel controls). The car warms up much faster than my previous cars...pretty important this last month.

    Stuff to look at: If you're short, the high trunk lid may keep you from having as big of a "field of view" while backing up. The automatically dimming day/night mirror is bigger than I'm used to, and I have to push it all the way up to keep it out of the way to see towards the two o'clock direction.

    The salesman let me take the car home over night to see how my family liked it. So, the wife and I got to drive the car during the day and night, see if everyone fit (family of six), and see how well it fit in the garage.
  • ghostwolfghostwolf Posts: 91
    I have the liner problem with the sunroof, I know there is a TSB out on it, but I know (with no warranty) that they'll charge a hundred dollars just to put some new velcro on there or something. What it is, the velcro at the top comes off (the bond between the two pieces of velcro is stronger than the bond between the top velcro and the roof). I have tried new velcro strips and also have tried using super glue to get the top velcro to stick to the roof. No matter what, if you try to seperate the velcro, it pulls off the roof before it will come apart at the velcro.

    I need to know some really good adhesive or any other suggestions, wonder if the TSB on the issue is a real fix or if its just replacing it with the same thing like the manifold problem.
  • larryfllarryfl Posts: 214
    We bought my wife's '02 Impala LS about a year ago - end of the 1st quarter sale. We now have about 12K on the car. It's been great. We finally put it in to the dealer for it's first visit a couple of weeks ago to have the tires rotated and to fix/adjust 4 or 5 little things while we were there.

    We've been very happy with the car. Engine (3.8L) is great and the sport suspension is excellent. We have 5 in the family so opted for the bench seat w/ leather. Rear seat leg and hip room is huge by today's standards as is the trunk. Gas mileage is amazing averaging close to 30mpg on the highway at 75-80 mph with a car full.

    The car isn't perfect, of course. My nits are the fit and finish of the interior is not great (not BAD, but not great). The leather seems thin and cheap to me as compared to my Olds Aurora. Also there's an inordinate about of road noise at highway speeds in the back seat (from the rear wheel wells I'd guess) - not so noticable from the front.

    On balance,though, for the money we are very pleased with the car and would buy another in a heartbeat.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    SugarCookie (not to be confused with another "cookie" who used to post here) - I've got a 2000 Impala, and have had pretty much all the problems (warped rotors, warped intake manifold, bad intermediate steering shaft, etc.). But if the car were totalled today, I'd very likely go out and buy a new 2003 model (although I'd probably get an LS with the bench seat). The old adage about never buying a car the first year it is introduced held true in this instance; the only problem that really bothers me about the car is the intake manifold - I sought out the 3.8 engine due to it's reliability history; I still think it's a good engine, but I don't consider it "bullet-proof" anymore.

    ghostwolf - I know this issue about the headliner on the sunroof models has come up before, and I can see the Velcro you're talking about glued ot the roof. However, when I push my headliner up there to meet the Velcro, it doesn't look right. When it is hanging freely, it hangs level across the sunroof opening (albeit a 1/4" or so below). Is it possible the Velcro is there as part of the production process (to possibly hold the headliner up while the other adhesive sets up or something)?
  • Hey Folks;

    Haven't posted for months!

    Well here is an update on my 2000 Impala LS(3.8L V6) with close to 70,000 km's

    Things are generally going well. Warranty ran out awhile ago, elected not for an extended. Wanted to charge me close to 2800 dollars Canadian for only an additional year or so. WHAT A RIP OFF.

    Car seems to be running well. No ISS Problems. NO Brake Problems. No coolant or warped manifold problems.

    One reoccuring problem is the Air Bag light. I've had it fixed numerous times underwarranty, last warranty repair they actually replaced some module or something.

    well the light is back on. Debating weather to just get it fixed somewhere else cheaper andpay for it..OR go back to GM and argue that even though the warranty is done, the Problem has been reoccuring for the past TWO YEARS.


    Guess we will see.

    Take Care Guys.
  • erz999erz999 Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 Impala LS and I notice a humming noise when the car is idle from the back seat. In fact, I notice the back seat vibrates slightly when I rest my hand on it. Does anybody know if this is normal? Experiencing the same issue?
  • curtis20curtis20 Posts: 5
    Here is a link to a cost saving study on using the "Composite" Intake manifold versus the more reliable aluminum intake manifold on this 3.8 Liter engine. Looks like the composite intake manifold is now considered a normal replacement item at $800 - $850 per replacement. Now GM can make more money not only on the manufacturing costs of the engine but can now generate more income from their service department after the 3 year/36K mile warranty is up.

    I have 12,000 miles on my 2002 3.8 liter Impala and have been watching my coolant resevoir weekly. Will probably get an extended warranty due to this problem unless GM faces up to the problem and actually comes up with a fix versus just replacing the manifold with the same part when the situation occurs (Bandaid).

    Very frustrated with this situation.

    This file is in powerpoint and it has some good diagrams of the parts involved in this study back in 1995-1996 timeframe.

    Any Comments?
  • curtis20curtis20 Posts: 5
    Here is some other info concerning the 3.8 liter Gen II engines and the intake manifold problems. This info was found on a newsgroup from a mechanic. Very descriptive of the problem and some pictures as well.

    Probably the most common problem that we see is
    the warping/leaking of the upper intake plenum. It's a
    plastic upper intake plenum that sits on top of the lower
    aluminum intake manifold. You can either get some
    external coolant leaking like this: G

    you can see the dried coolant pooling close to the thermostat housing,
    what you can't see is the other side of the manifold where it's pouring
    down the back of the bell housing.

    Or you get a bad enough leak that it leaks internally and fills up
    the inside of the lower intake, like this:

    nasty, eh? When they are this bad, they often hydrolock the
    engine as the coolant starts to flow into the cylinders. What's the
    cause? This EGR pipe sticking out of the lower intake manifold:

    Here is a picture of the old and new manifold designs end to
    end so you can see the smaller EGR pipe in the newer design.

    The old style EGR pipe overheats the inside of the upper intake
    plenum and warps/damages it. G
  • jbk5jbk5 Posts: 26
    "The old style EGR pipe overheats the inside of the upper intake
    plenum and warps/damages it."

    So with the new smaller EGR pipe the warping hopefully shouldn't happen (or is less likely)? When was the design changed?
  • curtis20curtis20 Posts: 5
    I am not sure the date of the change or even if it is effective in solving the problem. I have posted a message under google newsgroup concerning the dates of the change and whether this smaller EGR pipe fixes anything or not.

    If I hear anything about this I will post it here.
  • curtis20curtis20 Posts: 5
    Here is a message I posted about the 3.8 liter engine problem and a response from a knowledgeable person but not sure if the smaller EGR pipe is fixing the problem based on the response:

    I have been reading some very knowledgeable postings on the GM 3.8
    > Liter Series II engine and needed to know if there has been a fix for
    > this problem or are the GM dealers simply replacing the composite
    > upper intake manifold with the same part whereby the problem with the
    > EGR intake pipe will still cause the composite intake manifold to warp
    > over time and leak antifreeze.

    It all depends. If the vehicle is under warranty, it will get a new
    lower manifold if it is needed. When the customer has to pay for
    it, they aren't real excited about spending 1000 dollars for both
    manifolds (by the way, the aluminum lower manifold is cheaper
    then the plastic/nylon upper manifold). In that case, the upper
    manifold gets replaced and will probably go for another 80-140
    K before it warps again.

    > I saw one posting showing a smaller EGR pipe being used on later
    > models of this engine but did not know if this was one of GM's
    > "attempts" to correct the warping intake manifold problem. If it was
    > GM's "attempt" has it actually worked (e.g., has anyone seen this same
    > problem continuing to occur in vehicles with this smaller EGR Pipe??)

    I'm starting to see the same leaking problem from vehicles with
    the new manifold supposedly already in place. Do any of GM's
    fix's ever actually work? Some do, some don't.

     > Also, I have a 2002 Chevy Impala that has this 3.8 liter engine. It
    > was built in Canada in May 2002. Does anyone know what date GM
    > started to use this smaller EGR pipe in their engines or has any other
    > corrective actions been taken on later model 3.8 Liter engines?

    I don't know the exact dates, but the bulletin specifies that only
    95-98 models are affected. But I've seen the older manifolds
    on the 99 models.

    > Any other problems with this engine that I should be on the look out
    > for? Concerned 3.8 Liter Series II Engine owner
  • chevyrog1chevyrog1 Posts: 20
    havent posted in here in a long long time. I have 100 miles left on my warranty and my car has been to the dealer 3 times for the ticking sound when turning the steering wheel in a slow moving parking maneuver. It is scheduled t go back on thursday for a fourth attempt at getting it right. I need help from the group on what the TSB # that refers directly to the engine cradle/rack mount brackets that suspect is what it is in my case. Teo if you are out there I remember you were particularly knowledgeable on this topic. I appreciate the help in advance guys.
  • tommy42tommy42 Posts: 70
    Go to www.impala Check out News&TSB.
This discussion has been closed.