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Chevrolet Malibu Electrical/Lighting

kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
Given the problems people have had with turn signals, I serviced all of mine yesterday:

Removal is easy; upper two bolts holding light to chassis and the assembly lifts up and can be flipped over. Lamp covers are round lids that turn easilly to pop out exposing the bulb holder, which also turns easilly and pops out. The connections in both of my headlight turnsignals were ok (no corrosion). however, I replaced the blackened turn signal bulbs and cleaned the lamp contacts with a good electrical contact cleaner before reassembling everything.

The headlights could indeed bounce up and down if the two tabs holding up the underside of the lights are bent downward (were flimsy sheet metal). Either using shrink wrap tubing on the pins under the lights, or plastic foam on light housing underside, would help quell any vibration.

On Maxx, undo two screws and the assembly simply pulls out. Same deal with the sockets and blackened bulbs and contact cleaner.


  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    After having my steering column replaced about a month ago it was not calibrated so therefore turned one direction easier than the other (same thing happened the first time it was replaced) However, the second time was taken to All American Chevrolet in Odessa, TX about 2-2.5 hours away from where I live in hopes that they'd be better than my local dealer who seems to mess things up more whenever they go. Well I took it back for them to calibrate it Saturday and picked it up today, it's still completely jacked up, even worse now and it reversed, it was easier to turn left before, but no is much easier to turn right. They also replaced the P/S motor claiming it was about to fail. After picking it up and noticing the problem, I immediately went back and the Service Manger drove it, claiming that he did notice a slight difference, but is just torque steer. WTH, it suddenly got torque steer yesterday? And what happened to the finger light turning that the car had before they replaced the column. They said there is nothing else they can do. Extremely mad, as my 04 Malibu, with only 25k miles on it seems to be falling apart, both remotes are broke (the battery clip on both of them broke off and doesn't make good contact) and the rotors have been replaced once and turned once and I'm not hard on brakes. Do not think I would buy this car again, and after growing up with nothing but GM vehicles, I do think this will be my last.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    Ok, I know that the problems are not making it a bad vehicle, it's an early build, first model year car and problems are to be expected. So I'm not really trying to steer anyone away from this vehicle, as when everything is working right, I love it. However the service departments are horrible, their technicians seem like they'd have trouble changing a light bulb. At least at all the dealerships I've tried.
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    Well I've been lucky with my 2004 Malibu. Had the steering column changed under recall before any problems showed up. The setup and calibration are perfect and I'm very happy with it. In fact the steering is better now than it was before the column change. No problems with my steering rack either. No funny noises.

    The problem seems to be one of dealerships. Surely GM must have a standard calibration procedure in order to set up the EPS correctly? Are the technicians not trained in this? Or, being electrical and electronic is the steering system beyond the comprehension of the average mechanic. I don't know but it sure is giving a potentially good system a bad name.

    No wonder there is talk of returning to hydraulics. From what I understand of the new hydraulic system is that an electric motor will drive the steering pump. This will give the same efficiency as the EPS because the motor will only pump on demand thus saving fuel. Also, it might produce a system that any shadetree mechanic can understand with no complicated setup procedure.
  • 2004 Malibu with the 5/8" chain still not changed out. 25k miles and no problems. The bouncing headlight - paraphrasing a poster here,cheap thin metal tabs - you should've seen the really flimsy tabs/snaps on our e-150 conversion van. The malibu tabs are strong. Yes you have a dealer problem like I did with ford dealers here in DFW.

    Problems, the crd (and its liberty build problems) makes this malibu a pleasure to own.
    Original steering, discount tire road force balancing when new found no adjustment to be made. Torque wrenches are $12 to $20 and one tire rotation(by me) front to back at 10k-15k miles and no rotor problems. If you don't do your own then check the torque at home after anybody else touches the lug nuts.

    Yes, we can induce torque steer with a heavy pedal. The bridgestone standard tires are usable as original tires. The crd came with goodyear st-even goodyear ranks them at the bottom of their own list. A lot of crd'ers had to buy tires right after buying the vehicle.

    Two broken remotes. Broken battery clips?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    E2 can you plz confirm if the Hydraulic Pwr Steering on '07' Malibu/Maxx's powered by an electric pump, or an engine driven pump?
  • Please say it isn't so. I have no problem with electric steering. Cheap flimsy ps reservoir caps cost me a lot of atf in our crd (and seen on others) and just saw a flimsy cap on a new crown vic. If back to hydraulics why not go all the way and get rid of rack and pinion and go back to recirculating ball.
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    The GM Opel Astra has what is called "electro-hydraulic" power steering and the pump is driven by an electric moter. So it's quite possible that GM would use it on other models.
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    Rack and pinion is still the most efficient method of steering. It also gives more direct road feel. Just has to be make well though.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    The "HPS" system across the board on Maxx model for 2007 is an engine driven pump. There is such a thing as an EHPS (electro-hydraulic...)system but this is not it.

    I believe new engine in 2007 was enough to tip the scales on the heavier Maxx to require the HPS system. Not sure exactly why though....weight or HP increase or a combination.

    Anyways as order guide states the sedan body style still has "EPS" on everything but the "SS" model.
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    Please say it isn't so. I have no problem with electric steering.

    Same here. I've grown to like the electric steering. It makes parking such a breeze. I can put up with the overly light feel on the road in exchange for the maneuverability in tight spaces.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    ok, thank you E2. Good info!

    Still, Hydraulic's a step backwards; several other cars with higher HP have electric systems that work fine. A pity Chevrolet could not do the same.
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    Maybe the electric motor would draw too much power because of the heavier engine. The Malibu EPS draws in the region of 65amps. Correct me if I am wrong. Anyway, it is fused with a 100amp fuse.
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    65 amps? That is alot of current for an electric motor!
    I liked the EPS the 1st time I tried it. I think it's very progressive and a great idea. I cant understand those who complain about it. I do hope it proves to be reliable long term.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Glad to see GM has not given up on the EPS for the Malibu, with 18K I have not had a problem with mine. I just hope if I have problems after warranty they won't just say too bad, should have paid big bucks for extended warranty. I like the EPS and don't regret buying it .
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    That is about what the motor draws when the car is stationary and you turn the wheels. On the highway where a minimum of effort is required the motor would draw less energy as opposed to a hydraulic pump which draws maximum energy from the engine even though the wheels are not turned. Hence the fuel saving with the EPS. The EPS motor is a long life brushless DC motor so hopefully it should last the lifetime of the car.

    I should imagine that a car with a heavier engine than the Malibu would draw even more amps when stationary and this could be a limiting factor with heavier cars.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Actually it is an 80 Amp Megafuse but who is counting :D
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    I'm sure the power steering fuse in my car says 100amp. I'll check in the morning. But as you say, who is counting - 80 amps is still a lot. Do tell what a Megafuse is. Some kind of a slo-blow thing?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Take another look - I am pretty sure you will see it is 80 Amp. Don't look at owner manual - they don't show fuse sizes :surprise:

    You are correct, megafuse is a slo-blow, bolt-down type of fuse. Actually 80A is pretty small for the Megafuse style which go up to 250 Amp size. I think smallest is 40 Amps.

    If you want to learn more I suggest you could visit
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    Glad you caught my deliberate mistake. Just testing you. Only kidding. Yes, you are right it is an 80amp fuse. Still, that is a potent fuse for a motor and shows how much power it takes to turn the steering especially when the car is stationary.
  • cnotescnotes Posts: 6
    Hi everyone, I got in my Malibu after work the other day and my windows didn't work, the a/c blower didn't work and the check engine light was on. I went to Auto Zone to check the codes and it read that my oxygen sensor needed to be replaced. Would this cause the other problems or are they totally separate?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Oxygen sensor would have been the cause of check engine light but other problems unrelated. You should have mentioned your model year. Others with previous body style have mentioned problems with a/c blower in some speeds (resistor card) however because your windows also don't work it might be something different and potentially could be related.
  • cnotescnotes Posts: 6
    It's a 99'malibu and I also noticed the fans under my hood stopped working as well.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Ok - Do you power windows continue not to work (all of them)? Also if your A/C blower is not working is that for all speeds or just some?

    As far as cooling fans underhood, they will only come on when engine coolant temperature reasches certain level or based on a/c refrigerant pressure.
  • cnotescnotes Posts: 6
    All of the power windows continue not to work and the A/C blower is not working for all speeds. I've tried changing the fuses,and the circuit breaker but nothing happened.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    It would seem possible that a portion of your ignition "RUN" circuit might be inoperative. This is one of the power feeds out of your ignition switch. It goes to 2 distribution points. One of them in right hand IP center feeds both the power windows circuit breaker and HVAC blower switch fuse.

    Since the vehicle still starts the problem doesn't go further back that then ignition switch itself.

    A few other things to check to see if any other stuff not working associated with this same circuit (your vehicle might not have these options): Sunroof, Cruise Control On/Off Switch Indicator(you don't have to test function just turn on ignition and push On/Off switch to see if indicator lights up).

    Finally to check out the other portion of same circuit which goes to some underhood electrical center features.... Does your Daytime Running Lamps and Rear Window Defogger work?
  • cnotescnotes Posts: 6
    I just checked my cruise control and it doesn't work and daytime running lamps and defogger don't work as well. Someone on another forum had the exact problem that I have and they said they had the ignition switch module replaced. What do you think? Also can the oxygen sensor wait until these problems are cleared or is it urgent.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Based on what you are observing the common point to all of this is the ignition switch so I agree that is your next step. You could do a further confirmation if you had use of a test light to check or actual voltage coming off the switch but your observation of at least 5 different functions in the vehicle being inoperative all point to ignition switch. I am not sure where you would look for one but a new one probably is going to run about $80-100 plus labor of installation.

    After looking over stuff in this case I have to recant my first comment and say that it is likely that your Check Engine Light and Oxygen sensor code are also being caused by same issue although I would have expected a bunch more fault codes. Did anyone provide you the exact code?? This power circuit underhood also feeds both oxygen sensor heater elements, and the fuel cannister vent and purge solenoids. If you have a 4 cylinder only one of the oxygen sensors is a heated type.

    The only thing unexplained by this problem would be cooling fans being inoperative.
  • cnotescnotes Posts: 6
    Nobody provided me with the exact codes, just Advance Auto checked the car with an instrument and the guy said the oxygen sensor code came up. Is it easy to change the ignition switch yourself or have a garage do it? Thanks for your help because an electrical garage was about to charge me $75/hr just to find out the problem!
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I haven't looked at one of these vehicles recently but it does require a bit of disassembly of interior trim around radio, steering column and instrument cluster in order to gain access to remove the switch.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    While driving into work today, I tried to signal a left turn, and to my great surprise, BOTH turnsignals were completely dead. No flashing, no double flashing, nothing.
    They just went DEAD.

    (They had been working just fine earlier in the morning).

    I turned left anway, then right. After having applied the brakes a couple of times, I used the turn signals again and this time they seemed to work ok.

    E2 or anyone, what the heck is going on here? Is there some connection point that is going bad that would cause this?

    I have NEVER owned a car where turn signals die and come back on like this.
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    Join the club - its happened to me as well. I told e2 about it sometime last year but nothing came of it. The turn signals just started working on their own again after I restarted the car the next day. Scary if you're in San Francisco traffic. Hasn't happened again for a year or so. Could never figure it out. I think the stupid computer locks up and needs a reboot. Would answer all the other random events that happen. The other day my stupid economy meter was telling me I was getting 99 miles to the gallon. Who needs a hybrid? Now it's right again. They should put a reset button in these cars.
  • Ya it's a little scary, mine has done it 3 or 4 times no turn signals or emerg flashers. And then pow everything is fine. I have never been able to figure out what causes it. 05 Maxx LT.
  • butch100butch100 Posts: 28
    My 05 LT has on 4 occasions locked and unlocked the doors
    4-5 times in rapid succession, once after I got out of the
    car with it running to get sunglasses it locked me out of
    my own car! Luckily I was at home so i used the spare key
    to open the drivers door. I know if i bring it back to the
    dealer they will tell me " checks out fine now". These
    issues must be all related to the BCM (body control module
    ) The f-ing software in these things got more bugs than
    a hornet's nest...
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    I suggested to e2 that the BCM might be susceptible to radio transmission interference as from 2 way radios in cop cars or ambulances. I did notice at one time that my radio presets went wonky after an ambulance passed me.

    I am an ex radio ham and I also worked on high power commercial medium wave, short wave, fm and television transmitters and know what radio interference can do.

    If it is rf interference causing the problem a few decoupling capacitors in the right place on the car wiring would fix it up.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Dealer has TSB 04-08-45-009 for a condition that falls into this category however it was written just for 2004 model year. . They should probably take a look at it though (wiring related not BCM).
  • Well now my '05 won't lock or remote start via the FOB so
    it's time for a trip to the dealer. I live 1/8th mile from
    the city comm. tower so I tried it at 2 diff. spots, same
    result. BTW my dad was into ham radio big time had a tech.
    license at the time. When he cranked up his 3000 watt final
    it could blast through anything!(telephones even a stereo
    that wasn't on!
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    I don't think people realize how susceptible electronics and computers are to rf interference. The key fob can only have an output of a few µ watts. The rear window has the antenna grid on it. The receiver in the car must be very sensitive because it responds to key fob commands from quite a distance. Now let's say an ambulance using its 2 way radio passes by. My experience tells me things could get ugly.

    And yes, I know about the stereo blasting away even if it's switched off. It has happened to me as well. Of course once again I say I am just speculating as to what the cause of the erratic behavior of the BCM might be. Oh yes, I have also had the occasions where the car did not respond to either of the 2 key fob's commands and then out of its own started to work again!
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I just went to my local hardware store and picked up 4 rubber washers with a groove on the outside. The dimensions are: inner diameter 7/16; outer diameter 3/4; groove diameter 9/16; groove width 1/16. They fit in the sheet metal holes, with the metal holding the washer in place by the grooves in the washer. Simply plop your light housing back down and voila! Not sure what the dealer is doing to solve this problem but a second solution for those who don't have a hardware store that stocks odds and ends like grooved rubber washers: putting electrical tape around the plastic pegs on the bottom of the light housing works well too.
  • mfh1mfh1 Posts: 15
    Sorry to say this is another example on how corners were cut on this car. Try to find another car where the entire headlamp housing is held in place with two bolts. Plus the front suspension translates a lot of shock to the frame, so it's no wonder that the headlights (and passengers) shake.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    oh, and by the way mfh1, I also fixed my glove compartment door today. One of the two black plastic rods which holds the door on the hinge, shifted, allowing one side of the door to fall down. Before you know it, they'll be pinning a Mr. Goodwrench uniform on me. :P
  • Thanks for the grommet information. Previously forced the sheetmetal and jiggling all but gone. Today, from your suggestion, Lowes's # 139367- Hillman rubber grommets 3/4 OD 7/16 ID UPC 08236 71651. Total $2.75 Thanks for the tip. Have not had the tranny chain nor the rack and pinion addressed.

    Just enjoying the ride. After the CRD this Chevy can fall apart if it wants to - I know the engine and tranny will get me home. We replaced the CRD with a '06 H3 for my wife's daily ride. Had fords and a jeep - had enough of their problems. Owned toyota's, even a subaru once. Was a car salesman in '87 - Chevy and then Honda. Chevy dealer great people - run from the honda dealer if you know who I am talking about.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Did the one's from Lowes have grooves on the outer diameter? I have not done enough night driving since putting mine in to determine if it really made a difference. As others have pointed out, since there are no stability points at the front end of the light housing, adding the rubber grommets is unlikely to fully eliminate the jiggling.
  • They have grooves. " stability points...", Haven't been keeping up with these posts, the crd kept me occupied. I am going to ask the parts guy at our dealer to assist on any fix for model years (the trips to the service departments for our fords and that crd have worn me out about taking any vehicle in). Pushing up on the metal tabs almost completely stopped the jiggle. Had the same problem with a '99 E-150 conversion van, but the sheetmetal tab on the ford was so thin it makes the malibu look tough. Did you also put a grommet on the side pin for that big slot?
  • Im getting ready to install a 2400 watt class d amp and i need to know how big i need to upgrade my altenator in my 2000 malibu, because even with the 1000 watt i had it would dim the lights a little...
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431

    I have a Olds Cutlass GL-1999 which shares the same engine with Chevy-Malibu.

    Sometimes the Check engine light comes on and the engine makes more noise, also recently the temperature gauge had its red light on and I could not increase the speed.

    Is the temperature light problem got to do with a loss of coolant.

    Your notes will be appreciated.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Anytime your "Check Engine" light comes on, it stores a code. It could be a nuber of things. Take your car to AutoZone, Advacne Auto Parts, etc. and have them do a free scan of your engine to read the codes. then post the codes here. Someone should be able to help you.

    If you are losing coolant, fill the overflow tank with a 50/50 mix of Dexcool coolant and water. Then monitor the coolant level. If you continue to lose coolant and there is no coolant on the ground, you probably have a bad intake manifold gasket and needs to be replaced (very common problem).
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    hi dtownfb

    Thanks for your comments, I took the car to service and there is a list of problems and
    bad intake manifold gasket is just 1 of them.

    Other problems are water pump, thermostat, serpentine belt, valves cover gasket, couple of bolts, battery cable corrosion and it seems 1 problem led to another.

    Its a 99 Cutlast I bought in Apr-2000 and have only 54 K miles, but its a 6 1/2 years old. Service bill is $1,500.

    After 6 years, all these problems are quite common.

    Will keep you guys updated.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    To owners of Malibu Maxx

    I see that Malibu Maxx has 23 cu. ft. of cargo capacity which is nearly 7 more than Malibu and also the wagon partition has 2 levels, rear seat that slides and reclines giving hug space.

    But in sales, its not doing well. Any idea.

    I like that car a lot. May be wagon type vehicles are not popular, but are becoming popular now a days.
  • same old story...
    US drivers generally do not like hatchbacks from USA makers. Only exceptions are the wagonettes Dodge Caliber and Chevy HHR. Sporty, high-powered Euro hatches or very cheap import hatches do OK.

    As mentioned, Maxx goes bye-bye at end of 2007 model year.
    Chevy will soldier on with the EP2 chassis-ed Malibu Sedan.
    You can find spy pictures of that somewhere on Edmunds.

    The Saab Aero is similar to the Maxx (same chassis, stiffer suspension, different engines, worse reliability). I do not know if Saab is discontinuing that model.
  • "Checked the grommets again and found that I needed to go oversize from the dimensions as first posted. Bought #881256 (13/16OD 1/2ID) for the main two and #881254 for the single side pin. And pulled up on the tabs again-is someone resting their bodies on the headlights"

    Jiggle appears to be gone.
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