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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • canddmeyercanddmeyer Posts: 410
    Just a guess, but an ignition switch is my guess since your trouble mimics what I had on a 1997 Blazer. It could be anything, but an ignition switch failure won't drop a trouble code or check engine light. Good luck, but it will get worse b4 it gets better, & hopefully you don't get killed in the interim.
  • etcarrolletcarroll Posts: 87
    Problem was my catalytic converter had come apart on inside and blocked exhaust flow combined with bad spark plug wires. Runs fine now - cost; $1165.
  • mvanzantemvanzante Posts: 7
    Okay, well I need some input from you guys because I feel like I'm being fed a load of crap. Here's the deal:

    About a week ago I was driving my 2003 LS at highway speeds when I'd notice the tachometer spike a few hundred RPMs and I'd feel the car jerk just a slight bit. This obviously concerned me, so I waited till I needed gas (about 3/16 of a tank remaining) and filled up as well as added some fuel injector cleaner. After that the jerking happened only a few times and then calmed down for the remaining 100 miles of my trip.

    The next day I set up a service appointment with a chevy dealer. Right away they hooked up the computer and found that my 3.8 L V6 was misfiring on all cylinders (problem code P0300), but they weren't exactly sure why. It took two full days to diagnose that the fuel in the tank had a specific gravity that was higher than expected. According to the report, the fuel tested with a specific gravity of .756 and normal tolerance is .720-.730 specific gravity.

    To fix the problem they dropped, drained, and cleaned the fuel tank, replaced the fuel filter, and performed extensive cleaning of the fuel induction system, intake manifold, and throttle plate. Total bill? $611.81!

    As far as I know everything is working great now. Apparently there are no more misfires read by the computer for the last 30 miles. Additionally, the dealer warrantees this work for the next 12 months/12,000 miles, so if this comes up again soon, they will fix it under warranty.

    My big concern, though, is that the whole specific gravity thing is a bunch of hogwash. I did some quick research and according to BP/Amaco the average specific gravity of a gallon of gas is .750. Does anybody know anything about this?

    Also, has anyone had any luck with getting fuel companies to reimburse you for fuel-related repairs? The dealer believed it was the tank of gas before my last refill (the remaining 3/16 of a tank mentioned above) that caused the problem. If this was the case, and assuming that the added gasoline fell within normal parameters and mixed evenly with the bad gas, then by my calculations the bad gas would have had a specific gravity of .899!

    Unfortunately, most of my evidence here seems fairly circumstantial. Obviously I don't have fuel samples and I don't even have my receipts (lesson learned, keep your fuel receipts!). To top it all off, I bought the last three tanks of gas from different companies, so any one of them could start the finger-pointing game.

    Any advice (or consolation) you guys have would be appreciated. If I'm being lied to here I definitely want to know, although I'm not sure what to do about it.

  • canddmeyercanddmeyer Posts: 410
    My opinion, so here it goes. I'm guessing your fuel injectors got dirty causing your issue. This happens to some Chevy's especially in states with 15% MTBE gas additives like California where I live. My dealer cleaned my injectors for FREE, & I had over 50,000 miles on my 1997 Blazer at the time. Just my opinion, but if you purchased your vehicle where you had it serviced they should have taken care of it "in house". Fuel does cause this over a period of time, but if you are really lucky, go to the last placed you filled up b4 your last fill-up & see if they've had other inquiries such as yours & if they have you'll probably be reimbursed. Good luck.

    Myself, I added Techron every 5000 miles & still had clogged injectors/throttle body issues. I was quite surprised considering I do more preventative maintenance than most people I know. As far as fuel issues & specific gravity, I'd be wary. Just don't sound right unless lots of folks are having the same issue.
  • cwdellcwdell Posts: 1
    i have a 2001 ls with 70,000 miles and for the last 8000 miles have been having an intermittent problem with not starting. there is power to all accessories but car will not turn over, usually after waiting a few mins car will start with no problem. cannot seem to isolate the problem since it is so intermittent any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • Hi,

    I'm working on replacing the plugs and fuel filter on my 2000 LS. I was able to get the front plugs with no problem, however, the back
    three look like its gonna be a real [non-permissible content removed]. Anyone have any suggestions on how to get at them.

    I'm also replacing my fuel filter. Are there any gotyas I should look out for?


  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,622
    The back three plugs are easiest from underneath the car. Make sure the engine is cold. Use jack stands and set the park brake.
    To replace the fuel filter, relieve the fuel pressure before you disconnect the lines.
  • geezr2geezr2 Posts: 7
    Hi GW! Sry for the late reply,but I only saw it today.I reset all the radio presets,and it worked like a charm.TY so much!

    Ric :o)
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Oddly enough, I just replaced my fuel filter on Saturday...the filter holds a good bit of fuel, so be sure to have something handy to catch it.

    I haven't replaced plugs yet, but seems like I read somewhere that you can release the couple of top engine mounts and tilt the engine somehow to reach the ones in the back. I don't remember specifics (and you may have already tried this), but I was thinking when I was changing oil on Saturday as well that I'd have to deal with that sooner or later.
  • husonihusoni Posts: 3
    I just purchased a fleet Impala '03 80k. I don't get the gas milage I should as well as I believe my car runs a little hotter than it should. Does any body know about where my sensor should be during "regular" highway driving?
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Typically my temperature gauge runs just to the left of straight up, but that's on a 3.8l base model...if your's is a 3.4 model, it might be different.
  • husonihusoni Posts: 3
    I have a base model as well. My temp gauge fluctuates just to the right of the middle bar and goes over about 1/4 after over drives. Now this is my first v6 so I must say I am often in "over drive" but really now unusual driving.
  • I just acquired my 2001 9C1 Impala (3.8 engine) less then a month ago. On the drive back from Indiana, the temp reading went off-scale low, A/C quit, and the cooling fans came on full speed along with a "check engine" light. After I arrived in Florida, I found that the coolant temp. sensor had gone bad. Replaced it with a 8.99 Wells brand sender from Autozone and it worked fine, got my A/C back along with my temp. gauge. I still have the light but I'm hoping it will cycle back off by itself.

    Anyway, to get to the sender I had to pull the thermostat housing, so I installed a new 180 degree thermostat while I was in there (it was a 195 degree, and at 72K I figured it could use a new one anyway). At the 180 degree mark it seems to run cooler then the old 195 unit did, it opens right around 175 or so on the gauge (5th med size mark up from cold). I'm getting ready to do the Monte Carlo SS cluster conversion mod so it'll probably be linear also on the new gauge. First time I have ever heard of a factory temp sender going bad, I shot a pic or two of the replacement at the request of the folks at and I'll probably post them up later. I tell you if you ever have to replace this sender it is a bear, it's below the thermostat housing in a very awkward location to get to and it's almost impossible to get the proper pitch on it with any tool. FYI it takes a 19MM deep well socket to get the sender in & out.

    Take care
  • xliffxliff Posts: 1
    I've just begun experiencing the problem you've described with the Trac Control and Brake light. I'm curious if you've ever resolved this problem. If you did could you share the resolution.
  • husonihusoni Posts: 3
    I think I'll have to print this page and try that. Thanks for the info.
  • Has anyone taken advantage of the 3.8L engine recall procedure? Any experiences to share?

  • Hi,

    I have a 2000 LS 3.8 with about 86,000 miles. I drive it 100 miles a day total to and from work. I've recently noticed a strong burnt rubber smell coming from the engine compartment. I've looked all over and don't see any wires/hoses that could be leaning against the block or exhaust.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions on what I should check?


  • Is the dealership required to fix the following TSB's free of charge? If not, any idea what they charge?

    #01-02-32-001C Clunk Noise from Front of Vehicle During Turning Maneuver/Steering Wheel Rotation (Lubricate Intermediate Shaft) - (Sep 12, 2003)

    #00-08-61-003 Clunk/Pop Noise From Front of Vehicle (Shim Rear Frame/Cradle Mounts) - (Oct 17, 2000)


  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    You know, several weeks back I pulled into a drivethrough at lunch, and when I rolled the window down, I smelled a strong burning rubber smell, like someone had just peeled out of the place or something. But I hadn't seen/heard anything before I pulled up, and the smell seemed to linger for awhile. Haven't noticed it since though, just that one time. Is yours an on-going smell, or a one-time incident?
  • The smell has been on going for about 3 weeks now..slowly getting worse.
  • tommy42tommy42 Posts: 70
    I just got my 2001 Impala back from the dealer. The left outer tie rod replaced ,front end alignment checked.13625 miles.
  • jim257jim257 Posts: 8
    I haven't had any problems until now with my 2002 Impala 3.4L with 38K. Last night I turned the ignition key, the headlight came on like normal, but the ignition did not crank. There was clicking and the lights inside the car were blinking. The headlights went out and nothing else on the car would work after that such as power door locks and windows. After waiting a while the lights inside the car stopped blinking. Nothing else would work. When trying to start a few more times I continues to get the clicking and blinking lights even when the key was removed from the ignition. The battery terminals seemed ok, but I will check them again and maybe try a new battery. The flashing lights and clicking sound is what I have not seen before. Anyone know what that means?
  • jim257jim257 Posts: 8
    This is the follow up to the last e-mail. The problem turned out to be a defective battery that was broken where the cable screwed into the positive terminal. I would like to complain to GM about their AC-Delco 6 year battery that is defective and lasts 2 years and 38K miles. Fortunatly it happened at a friends house and not on the road saving an expensive tow and repair.
  • mkulinamkulina Posts: 8
    TSB's are an admission of guilt, but really designed to help guide a dealer to fixing a common issue.

    In this case, do the fix yourself. Pack the joint in the intermediate shaft with a good quality high temperature wheel bearing grease. Fill the entire joint, not just the .5 oz that GM sells. Use a wine cork to force the grease throught the openings, and pump the joint about 20 times before you re-connect the column. It's an hour job if you just pull the steering column and it's not worth what they want to charge you.
  • chevy impala 2002 LS

    transmission has trouble shifting gears, engine sounds like it is racing before gear shifts.

    only 59000 miles. has anyone else experienced this problem?
  • Just did, in a '01LS, needed new wires and a cat. converter. Problem solved. $1100.00.
  • After reading this Board 2 years ago I bought a 2001 Impala LS - cloth seats and no sunroof - with 29,800 mi. -a fleet rental from Fla. To date I had the manifold gasket and the ISS replaced under warranty, outer tie rod driver side replaced, just had (at 84K + mi,) the coolant sensor replaced, plus a set of brakes at 50k new tires, oil changes every 3k. Not too bad so far.

    Do get a faint shimmy in the steering when applying brakes. Mechanic resurfaced the rotors - Heavy duty pair in front. Anyone else experience this.
  • About 3 weeks ago I noticed that my transmission was shifting hard in all 4 gears. I have a impala LS 3.8. This only happens intermittly and when I take it to the dealer it is fine. This is driving me crazy because as soon as I left the dealer it happen again drove it back 3 miles down the road an it stopped.. He told me that it may be a pressure control valve in the transmission, Their was a service bullitin on it he said.. he wanted to put a pressure gauge on it and he will drive it around for a couple of days.. if it is the valve he said the cost will be 750.00
    can any one HELP!!! me Thanks
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I had a similar problem with my 2000 3.8l base model just a few weeks ago; I'd had some trouble with hesitation shifting in/out of overdrive going up gradual hills, then about a month ago I had trouble with hard shifting through all gears. I took it in, and as I recall they replaced some type of pressure control module; I think my cost was @ $500 (they also replaced my serpentine belt, so I'm not 100% certain how much of the labor was tied to that, but I think my total bill for both operations was @ $600).

    This was right at about 70,000 miles BTW - and I'd had the transmission serviced @ 40,000 miles or so (fluid/filter change).
  • Just had my transmission mount replaced @ 36k miles. I didn't know there was one of those. I've heard of a motor mount, but not a transmissions mount.
This discussion has been closed.