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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • I have a 2001 Impala. Recently the Air Bag warning light has come on and stays on. I remember this happening once last year, but it went away. Does anyone know of this problem? Is there a TSB for this? And since this a safety issue, should I expect the dealer to fix it at no cost? I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Window switch - yeah, I bought the part locally and installed it myself; I think with tax and all it was about $90 (hopefully "alot" cheaper doesn't mean more than $15-20, which was worth it to have the problem fixed the next day; not sure I could have waited a week for the part to arrive).

    Airbag light - Mine has come on a couple of times (2000 base 3.8L engine); I think the first time I took it in, they said they had to replace part of the wiring connected to the airbag (which I think I paid for, but I forget the amount). The second time they wanted to replace the entire side airbag (seems like they wanted about $400-500 to do this). Since I was having transmission trouble at the time, I opted to pass on repairing the side airbag, and got the tranny fixed. However, when I picked up the car, the airbag light was off, and it hasn't come back on since.

    Which brings up an interesting thought...if they "reset" the light, shouldn't it have come on again by now (this was a couple of months ago)? If they didn't fix anything, the light should still be on, shouldn't it? So either the light isn't working (which would have to have been done by the dealer, since it was working when I took it in), or else there's not a problem. Or if it is a problem, it's something intermittent maybe?
  • Thanks for your input. My guess is that they have reset yours and there is nothing wrong with it. And doesn't the light come on and flash when you first start the car. If so, then the bulb itself is OK. In anycase, I do believe that this is an intermittent problem and maybe a false signal generated by some sensor.
  • micalimicali Posts: 3

    I own a 01 imp with the 3400 engine. Here are my problems. My air bag light is staying on all the time. I think the passlock in the ignition is going bad. Sometimes the car won't start but when we wait 10 minutes it will start up. How can I scan the car and find out what is causing the problem. The dealer ship wants $100 dollars to tell me what is wrong. Can an obd II scanner tell me anything? Does anyone know of any TSB's for this problem.
  • So my ISS is clunking and Chevrolet is aware of it. OK, so why is it that when I took my '00 Impala LS to the Dealer he diagnosed my clunking as worn Tie Rods? Having not reviewed this site beforehand (my first mistake) I trusted him and told them to proceed with the repair (my 2nd mistake).

    So not more than a week later I noticed the clunking had returned leading me to believe they misdiagnosed the problem in the first place thereby costing me a lot of $$$. So my question to this forum is (1.) Has anyone with the ISS problem had any issues with their Tie Rods and (2.) I kept the old Tie-Rods so is there a way to inspect them, outside of the vehicle, and determine whether or not they really needed to be replaced?

    I'm sick of bending over for these Dealers. They're SUPPOSED to be aware of TSB's and common problems with our vehicles and fix them accordingly. For me, this doesn't seem to be the case and I can't afford to put in a new ISS, that from the sounds of it, I'm going to have to replace before long anyway. What are we supposed to do, keep replacing the ISS everytime it starts clunking? What happens if we don't? Is this a safety issue and if so, isn't Chevrolet liable to issue a recall?
  • The way I underrstand the ISS (and someone else here can probably tell you from experience) is that it doesn't necessarily have to be replaced. They can pack it full of grease and that may or may not solve the problem. It's not that expensive either.

    I seem to remember other owners having tie rods replaced too (and someone else here can probably tell you from experience about that too).
  • I've had mine replaced several times, twice on drivers side and 3 times for passenger side. Pep Boys told me my shaking steering when braking was because of a worn tie rod, it turned out to be warped rotors. Pep Boys refunded me on the tie rods parts and labor when i wrote to them and told them about the misdiagnosis (I also showed the manager the same day before leaving that the problem was not fixed by replacing the tie rods). I think they are a normal wear item, like tires and such, but should not be wearing out for at least a few years depending on where you drive. My 2000 Imp has 102K Miles, and I drive it in Brooklyn and Manhattan like sidewalks are just speed bumps. So thats a case where at least 2 sets would fail. But for normal usage the first set should last at least 4 or 5 years, if not a little longer depending on if you do city, highway, or off paved road use.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I had the ISS "fix" done on my 2000 Impala; basically they install a grease fitting and fill the thing full of grease. I haven't had any problems since having it done, and have never had any tie rod issues (at least that I'm aware of).
  • I have the same vehicle, 2001 Impala. I had the ISS re greased twice. Its back again. And I had the tie rods (both side) and one ball joint replaced at 55K (one month ago). I am the only driver of this vehicle and I don't abuse the car. I am an engineer also. So, I kind of know why this happend. The problem is break rotors and the warping that occurs. You can turn the rotors or put new one in, but you'll get the pulsation in about 10K miles. And if you ignore it, the pulsation will wear out your front end parts like the tie rods and the ball joints. So far, the dealer has Resurfaced the rotors twice on my car. at 35K mile I went back and after lengthy discussions, I ended up with 4 new rotors (but not new pads!!!). This lasted until 50K, the vibration came back. The tie rods and the ball joints were bad. I found that out when I replaced the tires. I went to the dealer and complained to chevy that the tie rods should not have failed in three years. my argument was that the vibration in bad rotors caused this premature failure, etc. To make long story short, I ended up paying for the labor and not the parts. Still cost $250. I did purchase a set of new rotors (Bendix made in USA) and replaced the ones that are one year old. These vehicles do have the break problem. I am not sure why GM is not addressing it.
  • Don't replace your ISS. Grease it yourself. It isn't that difficult and frankly the dealer kit doesn't have enough grease in it to last very long anyway. There are several sets of instructions, but basically, you remove the steering column to get access (four bolts, not scary at all.) Then stuff the joint full of high quality grease (wheel bearing, CV, doesn't matter what type of grease)and the clunking will stop. It took me about 2 hours the first time.

    But don't waste money replacing it when the replacement is the same design.
  • Your last statement mkulina is the exact argument I had. Thanks everyone. I appreciate the tips and advice. Maybe this weekend I'll take the steering column off and 'see what's to be seen'.

    Re: the brake/tie-rod problem, I don't know if this car applies. I've always hated Eagle tires and replaced them with Michelin X-Ones (which I highly recommend for this car. They're the best ride I've had in looooong time) right after I bought it (16k). After that the car was a dream to drive until this damn clunking. I just hope the new tie-rods and some greese will take care of business. If not, I'm buying a truck. This is ridiculous.

  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    To the best of my knowledge, there hasn't been an accident reported here related to the ISS. It's annoying (and seems to get worse if ignored), but it doesn't seem to impact control of the vehicle.
  • I own an '03 LS Impala with 21000 miles. Recently at low speeds I feel a bump in the steering wheel. There is also occasionally a shimmy while moderately braking. The braking issue is not constant and seem dependent on the road surface. I do not know if the 2 issues are related. Any thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    If the bump in the steering is usually associated with a right-hand turn, and can be felt in the steering wheel and the brake pedal, it's most like the intermediate steering shaft (ISS). The brake problem could just be the ISS clunking being felt in the pedal, or it could be a warped rotor (I've had both on my 2000 model).
  • I bought a 2004 used Impala last wednesday night. It was a GM certified vehicle. Drove it to work on thursday. On my way home, I heard a grinding noise when accelerating, and the transmission jumped twice. I immediately went to the dealership and had the salesman and a mechanic drive it. They returned and told me the transmission needs to be replaced. I was furious. I returned the car and decided to buy a Honda. I'll never buy a GM product again!
  • I agree, I had my vehicle twice or even three times fixed, re greased by the dealer. The problem came back again. Do you any specific instructions for this? The four bolts you are referring to, where are they? Inside the car or under the hood?
  • What happened in the end? I have a 2001 with the same exact problem. The warranty has expired and would like to get away with the fix as cheaply as possible. Thanks for any help you may be.
  • So what happened in the end? I have a 2001 with the same exact problem, However there is no warranty left. Was there a recall on this issue? I am trying to get away with not spending a great deal of money. Any help you can be would be greatly appreciated.
  • tkccetkcce Posts: 5
    I have a 2000 Impala LS that you feel the so called bump in the steering wheel when you step on the brake and can be felt in the pedal as well. The steering wheel bump can be felt when accelerating also as well as at other times driving. I have an extended warranty - is the ISS covered?
  • The ISS can be accessed easily from inside the car.

    Disconnect the battery.

    Then you need to remove the dashboard under the column, and then remove the bolts supporting the column and then the electrical connection and the bolt in the ISS clamp.

    Then slide the column out. There is no reason to remove the shaft itself, although I did that that because I thought I would be buying a new shaft.

    Pack the open end (facing you) full of a high quality heat resistant grease.

    Plug the open end with a cork or robber plug. Then work the joint back and forth until the lubricant works its way into the splines (about 15 strokes, the shaft will move about 1/16 of an inch each way.)

    Bolt it back together.

    No fuss, no real muss and total cost of about $1. I can't see paying anyone to do it for you.

    Regards & good luck,
  • I have found several posts on the dead ignition and security warning light problem but no fix. The problem is getting worse on my '00 - ignition completely dead when key turned but all other electronics function fine. Wait 15 minutes (usually) and it starts up. I have tried to duplicate a cause but no luck. This appears to have something to do with the security light and/or .
    Can anyone help with a known fix or diagnosis? I want to avoid the notorious "cannot duplicate" at the dealer and the waste of $ that goes along with it. Thanks.
  • I found this over on MSN Autos regarding the 2000 Impalas.

    "An occasional problem with this vehicle is Ignition Lock Cylinder. Failure of the Ignition Lock Cylinder could cause the vehicle to not start with a theft system problem."
  • Hey eddie7,

    You just had an unfortunate break, I'm sorry you had to encounter this. I just hope you don't think all of those Chevy's out there are like that cause they aren't. I had a Honda Accord in 1981 and it gave me 3 pleasurable years of minor repairs AND GREAT GAS MILEAGE. I just traded my 98 Ford Ranger and all I ever had to do to that truck was put gas and keep the oil changed in it. I hope you the best and hope maybe you'll find luck later in a Chevy. One suggestion. ALWAYS, WHEN BUYING USED, SPEND $50 TO $75 AND HAVE THE CAR CHECKED OUT BEFORE BUYING, I'VE BEEN DOING THIS SINCE THE 70'S AND I HAVEN'T HAD MANY LEMONS IN MY LIFE. Good luck and God Bless you.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I've always invisioned the ISS thing being "under the hood", and would never have thought to take a look under the dash - next time I'm fiddling around with mine, I may take off the lower dash cover, just to see if I can see where they should have attached a grease fitting when they did the fix on mine.
  • hchu1hchu1 Posts: 17
    Hello, has anyone had this problem with their fuel gauge? Just started happening several days ago. While driving home, after about 5 minutes of driving, the fuel gauge indicates normal then all of a sudden goes to empty and the low fuel light comes on. The mileage remaining on the DIC showed an "-E-". I have never seen that indication on the DIC, usually if you have a low fuel indication it says "Low". This problem does not affect the operation of the vehicle. Fortunately the tripometer is not affected. Once it does this the indicator will stay like this throughout the trip. It will reset itself if you turn the engine off. Once started it reads normal for about 5-10 minutes, then back to problem.
    My guess is a poor connection/ground or bad fuel level sensor. I have a Dyna-Scan tool but it appears it can't pick up the fuel level input. What is confusing is that there is no tripped DTC codes. I assume if the unit is defective that a code would be triggered (maybe P0462?). Since it doesn't trigger a code, it acts as if the low indication is a normal signal. The PCM accepts it as such. Any assistance would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. PS. It's on a 2000 LS
  • Has anyone had this problem?
    I left the motor running and exited the car closing the door. I then heard the locks engage and upon checking I found that all 4 doors had locked. Fortunately I had my spare key with me.
  • I recently heard that the Dex-cool in some GM cars breaks down and becomes corrosive long before the 150,000 miles that it is supposed to last. I am wondering if I should have it replaced with regular antifreeze or not.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I may be wrong, but I think it's better to replace more frequently with Dex-Cool, than to put standard anti-freeze in (which I think will void your warranty, but I'm not 100% certain). I think if you keep the Dex-Cool fresh (like replacing every few years) the corrision isn't an issue.
  • Hello All. New user here. I have a 2000 LS with about 70k miles and many of the issues mentioned on this forum. I wanted to share what I have done to correct them so far. Regarding the No-start problem. Mine turned out to be the ignition cylinder itself. Apparrently there is a module attached to it called a Passlock sensor. My local Chevy dealer was familiar wit the problem and stocked the part. It was $164 and change and the replaced it in about an hour. the tech had to transfer the tumblers from my old cylinder to the new one so the same key could be used.
    My brake rotors warped pretty bad too. I replaced all four with raybestos heavy duty ones and all new lifetime rated pads. 17k miles later, they are still fine.
    I have yet to replace the intake gasket, but it needs to be done sooner or later. Again, my local dealer is familiar with this problem and said it is common to the 3.8.
    My window switch for the drivers window acted up as well. It happened on a sunday and no store had the part that day. An ebay search turned up many used for sale however. I took the harness connector off of the back of mine, but off the alignment guide and installed 180 degrees reversed. the windows now work as follows:
    the l/f switch works the r/r window.
    the r/f switch works the l/r window, in reverse
    the l/r switch works the r/f window, in reverse
    the r/r switch works the l/f window.
    this gets confusing for a day or two, but it beats not getting the window back up on a cold day.
    My impala also has and odd habit of blowing the license plate lights. All the rest have yet to burn out, but they do regularly. Other than these mostly minor annoyances, it is one of the best cars I have owned. The ride, handling, mileage and performance are all quite good. Am looking forward to getting an SS in a year or two.
This discussion has been closed.