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Chevrolet Malibu Electrical/Lighting



  • Yes we live in south Florida
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Thought that might be it, you get more 90+ weather in one week in Flordia than in Maine all year.
  • Starting about a week ago the "BRAKE" light on the dash of my wifes car (1998 Malibu) wont turn off when the brake is released. Sadly, the light comes with the most heinous warning chime to remind you to release the brake. Has anybody figured out how to replace the sensor or to disable it altogether? The car is nearly paid for and runs great, I just have to get this one problem sorted out and I'll be happy. Any ideas?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    It is a simple mechanical switch so it might need adjusting
  • 04bu04bu Posts: 16
    For the second time my left front directional bulb failed. I'm coming up to the end of my warranty period so I'll be looking closely at the lens assemblies.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    you probably need to replace the socket assembly...mine was done two years ago and havent had a problem since them..the other option is changing to LED bulbs....lower power..not necessarily as bright and requirements a change out of the flasher unit to an electronic one for looking into this option now.....04 Maxx LT...86K
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Not sure but will the LEDs be compatible with the BCM. Lighting goes through the BCM.
  • 04bu04bu Posts: 16
    I finally tried replacing the bulb and it still doesn't work. I'll be insisting on a new socket. I'm scheduling an appointment for that and my rack and pinion inspection. I'm very short time on my warranty.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I dont know..does the malibu have an electronic flasher or are they controlled completely by the BCM as you mentioned..I honestly dont know...

    The LEDs should light...its the rapid flashing that has to be corrected since the system will detected a decreased electric requirement and consider it a blown bulb..thus the rapid flashing....

    you get either add a resistor to each bulb circuit..or change out the flasher circuit ......changing the flasher is obviously the easiest...if we have one.....
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    I know very little about it except that I once burned out a after market cruise control. I put a cap on my truck with a LED stop light, costly error.
  • 04bu04bu Posts: 16
    OK, when I took it in to the dealer Friday I had the original bulb with me and in the light of mid-day I noticed a scorch mark on the base of the bulb. Yes, the socket had failed. It was replaced at no charge. March 8 will be the end of my warranty period.

    Monday 2/5/07 I have what will hopefully be one last appointment. I want the steering rack examined due to the clunking sound.
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    Has anyone had their rear turn light/stop light stop working. Mine has,only the marker light of the turn/stop light works. I replaced the bulb 3075 as per chev manual, checked the wire connection between the wire assembly and still no left rear turn/stop signal. Checked the rear fuse box and there is no listing for the turn/stop light fuse ,it might combined in a relay mini fuse, not sure .

    I guess it's down to the dealer later this week to solve the problem. Dam my 05 has been plagued with little electrical problems, from driver's seat switch, a loose fuse not allowing the pedals to move. The tap switch on the gear shift had a broken connection and the excessive long starting time. Only 41000km .
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    rvoth: on the "loose fuse keeping the pedals from moving," was the switch totally dead, or did you hear power going to the pedals, but they simply did not move? I have the latter problem. There is definitely power but the pedals are stuck at the bottom.
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    It simply did not move, there was power to it just minutes before and then nothing. The dealer quickly had the car looked at by a tech and they said "it was the fuse not making proper contact". Maybe it was some other small electrical connection, twenty minutes later the problem was gone and never has occurred again.
    Funny it happened when we were taking delivery of the the new car, only 10 km on the odometer and the pedal went dead. A sign of things to come for our car. Russ
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    There is not a separate fuse for turn signals. The BCM drives all of the turn signals directly with solid-state drivers (1 for each corner).

    When you try to operate the left turn signal does the indicator in the instrument cluster flash fast (indicating the BCM is sensing a problem)?

    Just to make sure it isn't a ground problem does your back-up lamp work on that side? The marker lamps might be working because they are lower power filament and getting grounded through the other lamp filaments.
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    Yes the left turn indicator flashes faster than when the right signal is used.

    The back-up lamp works on both sidesand I noticed that the blub was grey looking on the glass but the element wasn't broken.

    What is the BCM? What does it control ? Thanks Russ
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Body Control Module - It controls a lot of stuff - to many things to mention here.

    I should have suggested putting your foot on the brake when you turn on back-up lamps. If left rear back-up lamp still illuminates then I guess the potential problem with your left rear lamp is either the wiring from BCM to the lamp or with BCM itself.
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    I just completed your test for the backup lights,the left rear lamp back-up lamp still illuminates ! My guess is wiring harness.

    Where is this Body Control Module located, in the trunk near the fuse box ? Thanks Russ
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    OK - I just wanted to rule out everything. I agree likely wiring. Do you have ability to do any type of resistance check of a wire to ground? The BCM is located underneath "center stack" on front passenger side. You will see a panel that likely has a fuse symbol molded on it. The circuit from BCM to the rear lamp is actually 2 wires. One goes from the BCM to the "rear bussed electrical center (BEC)" in trunk. The second wire goes from Rear BEC to the actual rear lamp connector. the weird thing is that the connector at BCM and rear BEC are bolt-on so unless someone has been taking your vehicle apart for some reason I wouldn't think the connectors themselves are loose. I guess always possible a wire got chafed to ground or something.

    So for left rear stop lamp the wire color is Yellow. At BCM (red connector) it is in cavity A9 going to Rear BEC White Connector cavity B2 and then coming out of Rear BEC (red connector again) cavity C11 going to rear lamp cavity B. In addition to acting as a fuse/relay center the rear BEC is used as a junction point for multiple wiring harnesses to come together (in this case the rear lamp, body and headliner) so the rear left turn signal circuit just passes thru the cavities mentioned to get from main body harness to rear lamp harness.

    I am just laying out the access points. Hopefully you understand how you would actually test for continuity to ground. I don't want to have to try to explain that ;)
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    Thanks for the detailed layout of how the BMC is connected to the rear BEC and the detailed wiring codes/wires to look for . This will help.

    The only people that could have moved the wires is the body shop when they replace the left truck hinge, maybe they disturbed the wiring harness!

    Out comes the voltage/ohm meter to test the for continuity. ;)
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Right - I was hoping you had a meter. You can probably backprobe terminals without even taking stuff apart because everthing unsealed except for lamp assembly. You will only have to use a flashlight to see how cavity numbers are assigned although the wire color should help (assuming I got it right). If you have an open circuit that should be easy to find. However if you actually have a circuit chafed to ground it might be a bit difficult to distinguish between the cold bulb filament and a short to ground because both would likely read under 1 ohm. It is just a matter of how close to zero you see. Bulb draws 2.1 Amps when hot or about 6 ohms but when cold probably 1/7 that or 0.9 ohm. So if you read under 0.5 ohm I would suspect a short to ground.
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    Didn't get chance to test the circuit for short or amps drawn but the original bulb had the turn element was burnt out, not the marker light on the bulb. I guess the replacement bulb 3075 wasn't engaged properly into the socket :blush: . Do you have to push hard to engage the bulb into the socket because when i took out the old bulb it wasn't hard to remove so i didn't push hard to engaging it. Only time will tell if any other problem arises on this signal.

    It's hard to believe it was just the wagner bulb from the factory! Thanks for all the info regarding this issue, it will come in use soon. Russ
  • Sorry if anyone else has a thread on this yet. I only found other models that don't relate.

    I have some major rear light issues on my 05 Malibu Classic. Right after a big snow fall, poof , my directionals went. Next a week later my hazzards are gone. I checked all bulbs and tried replacing the hazzard switch. No luck. I do have running and brake lights but no signals.

    I pulled the tail light bucket out and noticed something weird. Looks almost like a built in fuse. Has anyone seen these or had trouble with them? I know the moisture in the assembly is common. And I do have moisture there. I'm tempted to buy a new socket and see what happens. But if I can get advice first, I'd really appreciate it!

  • bateejeffbateejeff Posts: 11
    I used to own a 2001 Chevy Malibu. After driving it for only 5 years, I got rid of it in 2006 without any regret. If I were asked to rate the car, I'd rate it as a classic piece of junk built by GM.

    Ever since I bought the Malibu, the warning lights (such as the Check Engine light) came on every two or three months due to bad sensors, and I had to waste money and time to get them fixed. In 5 years, I got bogged down numerous times due to mechanical problems.

    On top of many other problems, the car developed a window frosting problem, i.e., frost built up on inside windows in wintertime, and I couldn't see through the side windows while driving, which was a very dangerous situation. During wintertime, each morning when I drove through the gate of my company's campus, the security guard could not see my face through the side window due to the frost, and so I had to roll down the window so that the guard could identify me and let me through the gate. That eventually became a joke in my company, and literally all of my co-workers knew about my crappy Malibu. I didn't have to have a bad mouth about GM, but the poor quality of the Malibu was too obvious to hide.

    I visited several local GM dealerships begging them to fix the window frosting problem. First, they didn't want to admit that there was such a problem with the car. They blamed me for not knowing how to use the climate control system. That was a real insult to me. I got my Ph.D. Does one need to know rocket science in order to operate the Malibu? Eventually, on one cold morning, I showed the car to a dealership when the side windows were coated with a thick layer of frost. And, guess what? The dealership people couldn't remove the frost by using the climate control system even after the technician drove the car for a while. Therefore, they finally acknowledged the problem and agreed to fix it for me. Guess how they tried to fix the problem? They argued that the frosting problem was caused by my stepping into the car with my wet feet, and so they dehydrated the carpet several times hoping to eliminate the frosting problem. Of course, that didn't fix the problem. Eventually, they told me that that was all they could do. I was very disappointed. How could GM build a vehicle which they don't even know how to fix? The incompetence of GM is rather obvious.

    It seems that GM shows no respect for its customers. For example, ever since I bought the vehicle, GM addressed me as "Mr. ... Low". I have no idea how GM could invent a family name like "Low" for me. What made me even more upset was that even after I called GM many times about the incorrect last name, GM never corrected it and instead kept sending me correspondence with the insulting last name.

    Being an American citizen, I was a staunch supporter of the US auto industry for many years by always buying American cars (either Ford or GM). Unfortunately, due to my terrible experience with GM, I have finally lost confidence in GM. Many people that I know also tend to have very low opinions about GM. To be honest, I'd be very reluctant to buy an American car again in the future. It is very sad to watch GM going down hill while foreign automakers like Toyota simply thriving. If GM reaches Chapter 11 someday, what will it mean for the country?
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    sorry for all your 04 Malibu Maxx...has been essentially problem free......the 01 models were infamous for electrical problems...but that certainly wouldnt contribute to the frosting problem....did the side vents low hot air...just wondering?

    you make several references to GM dealerships, did you ever take it to a chevy would be surprised that dealership service departments may or may not have experience with your specific GM model...just because they are a GM dealer..doesnt necessarily mean they can fix all GM models....

    Also remember GM doesnt own these dealerships...each is an independently owned and operated and a separate entity from corporate GM......As far as your name didnt say what your correct spelling was...but again...I would say poor management from the dealership you purchased your car from...again...they are the ones that put you in the Big GM system......did you call Corporate GM or the lccal dealer to try to get the name corrected.....I highly doubt they intended to insult you by intentionally making a name up...

    regardless..even Toyota has their problems.....several issues with the transmission in the new camry...and a major issue with engine sludge in a class action suit just settled....buying a car is a personal choice....purchase what you think is best for your needs......cheers!!
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    You go from justifiably condemning a single bum 2001 Malibu to the entire domestic automobile industry. That's some hyperbole.
  • bateejeffbateejeff Posts: 11
    Thanks very much for your comments and suggestions.

    I did visited several Chevy dealerships including the one who sold me the vehicles. After my numerous visits, they finally agreed with me that the window fogging (or frosting depending on temperature) was not an artifact caused by the vehicle owner's no-knowledge of how to operate the vehicle. But, they were all unable to fix the problem other than suggesting me to de-hydrate the floor mats every week.

    Regarding the incorrect last name, I made innumerable attempts to get it fixed. I initially visited the dealership where I bought my vehicle. The dealership blamed GM Chevy division. Then, I contacted GM, but GM told me that it was the dealership's fault and so they referred me back to the dealership. So, I went back to the dealership. The dealership told me that my last name was 100% correct in the computer system of the dealership and that it is GM's responsibility to correct my name in GM's computer system. Then, I talked with GM again and complained profoundly. Eventually, GM seemed to indicate that they would take actions to correct my name. But later, I still kept receiving letters and postcards etc. which were addressed to "Mr. Low". Then, I called GM again, but GM told me that those correspondences were sent out by the dealership who used GM's name. So, I went back to the dealership and showed them the letters and postcards.
    The dealership said that since the letters and postcards were clearly printed with GM Chevy Division's Toledo address, these correspondence had nothing to do with the dealership. Once again, I got kicked out of the dealership without resolving the problem. Eventually, I gave up. That is a good story to tell friends though.
  • dugfreshdugfresh Posts: 3
    Hey. Thanks for all of the great recommendations. I'll surely be on my way to trouble free commuting soon! I was kind of skeptical about posting here. But I see that the discussion is very helpful and not off topic at all. No wait, that's right. This is a bunch of unrelated crap. You're entitled to your opinion. But, please don't start bashing or complaining in response to a request for help. If you saw someone on the ground asking for CPR, would you start complaining about your headache? No Thanks for all the help. I guess I can't complain about the responses to the complaints. The door was already opened there. :) Please stick to the topic or stick.... Just please stick to the topic. :mad:
  • bateejeffbateejeff Posts: 11
    I sincerely apologize for any inconvinience that my message has caused you. My message was intended to post under a new thread. Unfortunately, for whatever the reason, the message was mistakenly posted under the thread you created. Sorry. All's my fault.
  • bateejeffbateejeff Posts: 11
    This is a reply to prdm.

    I respectfully disagree with what you said. By no means I was trying to condemning GM or the entire domestic automobile industry. In fact, my company makes parts for Ford and GM. If GM or Ford collapses, my job could be in jeopardy, which is one of the reasons why I always buy Ford or GM. On the other hand, I've become increasingly disappointed by the quality of GM and Ford. The 2001 Malibu is my first GM vehicle. Prior to that, my wife and I owned a total of 5 Ford Escorts over about 15 years. The performance of the Ford Escorts was mediocre at best. For example, the tie rods worn out very quick. They tend to develop problems like transmission and water pump leaking relatively early. When we sold the vehicles, we got very little money back.

    After we got rid of the 2001 Chevy Malibu, I was going to buy a 2006 Malibu, because I wanted to save money (I had almost $3000 GM credit card rebate) and also because I tried to cash in on the GM supplier's discount program (As I mentioned earlier, my company is a GM supplier). However, due to our bad experience with the 2001 Malibu, my wife disapproved of buying another Malibu. I tried to defend GM by saying that the 2001 Malibu didn't do well because it was the early model year and so GM didn't have the chance to debug everything. I argued that the 2006 Malibu had been re-designed and so all the bugs in the early models had been worked out.

    Despite the disapproval by my wife, I visited a Chevy dealership near my home at Akron, Ohio. Before the sale rep showed me the 06 Malibu, he was touting that the vehicle had won some kind of JD Power's Initial Quality Award. I jokingly replied, "Please show me the initial quality before you brag about it". What happened next is hilarious! None of the four 06 Malibu’s on the dealership's lot would start because the batteries were dead. Perhaps because the vehicles had not been test driven for a long time (presumably because few people care buying a Malibu). I questioned the sales rep, “Where did the Initial Quality Award come from? The cars don’t even start!” The sales person had to borrow another vehicle to jump start one of the 06 Malibu’s. Even after jump starting, the sale person was afraid to get bogged down and insisted that I test drive the vehicle on local roads instead of highway. I think he simply had no confidence on a new vehicle which he bragged about being an award winner. Since it was getting dark, I agreed with him and took a local road (Rt. 261 near Rolling Acre Mall of Akron) for test driving. After a few minutes on the road, I noticed that at the roadside ahead of me, there was a shining, new-looking, but bogged down vehicle with its hood open. I joked to the Chevy sales rep who sat by me, “Hopefully, that’s not a Chevy bogged down”. He said, “no-no, that can’t be one of us.” Gues what? When we drove by the bogged down vehicle, I saw clearly the Chevy cross logo, and, surprisingly, the vehicle looked brand new. I said to the sales rep, “Is that bogged down vehicle from your dealership? Is it anothe vehicle with a dead battery? No wonder you don’t want me to test drive on highway.” The sales rep offered no comments on what I said. After test driving, I parked the 06 Malibu near the dealership’s main door and turned off the engine. But, the sales person changed his mind and wanted me to park the car back to where we picked up the car, the reason being that the dealership was about to close and he didn’t want to leave the vehicle overnight near the main door. Following his instructions, I tried to re-start the engine. Guess what? The engine wouldn't re-start because the battery became dead again. At that moment, the sale person became very embarrassed. I could see his face turning red like a tomato. What a bizarre day of car shopping for me! When I told friends about what happened that day, they all burst into laugh. Some had difficulty in believing and asked whether I made up the story.

    Discouraged by the "Initial Quality" of the 06 Malibu, I became hesitant to buy any Chevy. Eventually, I bought a 07 Buick Rendezvous in November 06 in order to utilize my GM credit card rebate. So far the Rendezvous has been running OK. There have been only a few minor issues.

    When my wife changed her car last year, I was unable to convince her to buy a GM or Ford. She simply had enough bad experience with GM and Ford and couldn't take any more. She bought a 07 Toyota Avalon, and so far she loves it.

    In closing, I was not trying to condemn the domestic auto industry. I wish GM and Ford would listen to customers about their concerns and improve the quality of their vehicles. I want them to succeed.
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