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Chevrolet Malibu Transmission



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,500
    You can do the drain based on your service manual interpretations; I'll do them based on my service manager and other mechanics I've heard say the same thing. I don't want deposits to form inside the tranny that are hard to redissolve later and will cause trouble with some of the moving parts.

    I drain my own. My service manager recommended each 36K mi on my 98 LeSabre and 03 LeSabre knowing they weren't going to do it. That's what he does with his own cars. I consider 3 years or 36000 miles as the max I'll go. I drop the pan, catch the old oil, replace the filter for about $30 including a new Purolator filter from PepBoys and 6 quarts of Valvoline Dextron III. The filter probably should go to 72 K before changing. Suit yourself.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • I had asked in an earlier post if anyone had flushed their own trany fluid. I had read posts about someone's trany issue. I started carefully listening to my trany and the symptoms were the same as the previous post (I forget which) indicated: a very soft trany rumble going up an incline at relatively slow speeds. Apparently a flush would not have sufficed as the dealer garage (with 800 miles left on the warranty (35,200 miles) identified it as a pinion gear, which they are now replacing. I will have the filter replace, new seals installed a full flush (mainly to clean out the torque converter), a free rental car for several days all free of charge.
    This forum has saved me from paying a lot of money to have the whole trany pulled apart and a spendy part replaced. Special thanks to E2 Helper. You have been a steadfast and informed presence for us all.
    By the way, I had place some small, but extraordinarily powerful, rare earth (neodymium) magnets (bought them on Ebay) on the OUTSIDE of the trany pan shortly after buying the car new. The mechanic showed me a significant build up of metalic particles (all tolled about one eighth the mass of a dime) on the INSIDE of the trany pan where the magnets had been placed, when he had it off.

    2004 Maxx LS
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,500
    There should be a 2 inch square piece of flexible rubber magnet on the bottom of the oil pan exactly where the fluid drains out of the upper part of the transmission. There's a little imprint on the pan where it's to be placed. That thing is usually covered with a goo of magnetic, very fine particles from wear in the transmission. If the magnet doesn't grab them, the filter will catch them before they recirculate. Extra magnets won't hurt. Neat idea.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    again..this is a personal choice as you is a every 3K mile oil change, which I personally think is a waste of resources and money.......unfortunately Im not in a position to change either my oil or trans fluid on my I service the car IAW manufacturers recommendations...

    of course its always better to do more than less....dont quite understand why a service manager would go against his own manufacturers recommended service intervals...obviously a reason for it.....maybe experience with the particular car, maybe wanting to get more business, who knows...

    I do almost 30K a year on a car and routinely do oil and other basic maintenance....but major servicing has always been by recommended intervals....96 Bronco 168K on it and still strong...04 Malibu Maxx LT.....78K on it....and not problem one....
  • hello, just purchased a used 99 malibu and dont have a manuel yet can someone please tell me how much automatic transmission fluid it holds,
  • thanks for the link.unfortunately it doesnt answer my question,you see my problem is theres no check stick.i changed the filter and put six quarts of fluid in.but im not sure if its enough or to much?anyone know the correct amount,
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    SM gives approximate measures depending on service performed.

    Bottom pan removal 6.9 qt, complete overhaul 9.5 qt, dry 12.9 qt.

    You likely know that to check level you need to remove the transmission plug with engine running but that procedure is too detailed to provide here.
  • looks like 6.9 for me then.thanks e2helper
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Do it right,check the fluid level, unless you have $1500 to throw away.
  • umcckiumccki Posts: 1
    Hi. I've been trying to search the posts for a problem similar to mine but I haven't found anything so here goes:
    I have a 2006 Malibu. Ever since I purchased the car last February, it has had the same problem. I have taken it to the dealership multiple times with no solution and I'm frustrated beyond belief. I do believe, however that I have been able to figure out all the symptoms as time goes on.

    Here's the scenario. I am just starting my car in a parking lot and attempt to immediately put it into drive, it will not go any faster than 40mph thereafter. It will act as if it was in neutral the entire time, which is extremely dangerous since I have to merge on the highway a lot. The only way I can fix the issue is by putting the car into reverse, backing up a little bit, and then put it back into drive again.

    For this issue to occur, the car must be in the following conditions.
    -the car has been turned off more than 15 minutes prior to ignition
    -the car must immediately go into drive (no backing out of a parking spot)
    -the car must not immediately accelerate and stay in the 5-10mph range for at least 20 seconds.

    I have taken the car multiple times to the dealership but since it never throws any kind of code, they don't know what to do. In fact, they have only been able to replicate the situation once (which I believe is due to the fact that I recently figured out the "immediately accelerate" condition and the service center parking lot is nothing but hills. So far they have updated the codes and replaced the solenoid but all I end up doing now is taking it to the shop and gettting a rental car every couple of months when I have the energy to deal with the problem. I'm pretty sure this could be fixed by changing a part, but the problem is, what part?

    Oh, and just in case you want to know, the car is an automatic. From the information that passengers in my car have given me that have driven manual cars, they seem to think it is not neutral that it is stuck at but rather a particular gear (but they can't seem to agree if it is high or low gear that it is stuck at).

    I'm running out of options and patience. Anyone have any ideas? :confuse:
  • fasilidfasilid Posts: 7
    redmaxx wrote I even told them about the TSB that GM has for slipping transmissions, which includes even if it doesn't set a code and they just ignored it.

    My car is a 2005 Maxx LS. I looked for a TSB related to slipping transmissions (at the Chevy website) on the Maxx and couldn't find it. Any more details on the slipping transmission TSB and does it apply to my vehicle? Thanks!
  • zjimzjim Posts: 51
    I purchased a '99 Malibu with 71000 miles from a private party a couple of months ago. I took the car for a ride, driving about 10 miles in about 15-20 minutes. Everything worked properly and I could not find fault with anything, including the transmission. The car had good service records, Carfax report, etc., etc.

    I drove the car back and forth to work (about 8 miles) for a couple weeks and the transmission was shifting nicely. The first longer trip that I took on a very hot day, I noticed the 1-2 shift produced a slight "shudder" after the car was driven about 15 miles. Traffic was rather heavy and I notice that if I accelerated slowly the shift was very smooth, but if I accelerated more aggressively the "shudder" appeared with part throttle. A WOT 1-2 shift was very rough. If I back off the throttle very briefly to let the car shift, there's no problem. The car shows no signs of leaks, anywhere, and the maintenance record shows that the trans fluid and filter was changed at 45000 miles.

    I'm taking the car in for a fluid and filter change, without mentioning the problem to the service tech. I want to see if changing the filter and fluid will yield any potential mechanical problems. Since this is an electronic transmission, is it possible that there is something other than a mechanical (possibly clutch problem) causing these symptoms? I don't want a less than honest repair shop charging for a trans rebuild when it's something less expensive to repair. Any help appreciated. By the way, the car continues to run perfectly as I drive back and forth to work, or short trips of less that 12 miles.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    When in for the work have the codes checked, maybe one there.
  • zjimzjim Posts: 51
    The problem is that I'm not getting any check engine light. I believe that for a code to store, a light must be on for a number of seconds to record the code in memory, but I'll ask. I'm going to try to be there when they drain the trans fluid. I want to see and smell to see if there is any indication of burned clutches. I would think that if it was a clutch pack problem the fluid would be really filthy, with a lot of metal metallic pigment in the fluid. If that's the case, it's time to trade or face a $2000 repair bill on a $3000 car.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    All codes don't set a light, people think you always need a light.
    What I was thinking of was Code P01870, worn valve body, but that is just a guess.
  • zjimzjim Posts: 51
    If it was a worn valve body, wouldn't it act the same way whether the car was cold or warm? The car shifts great until the temp gage gets to it's normal position. Anybody else have any similar experience?
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    No, the key to worn valve body is it will malfunction when hot, and ok when cold. Transmission fluid has more resistance when cold, get it hot and it will pass through a small opening at high volume causing pressure loss. A worn valve in the valve body is such a small opening.
    Take it to a good independent transmission shop for a diagnosis, a chain shop will just sell you a rebuilt transmission. Good Luck
  • zjimzjim Posts: 51
    When the car is hot, I avoid accelerating too rapidly until the car shifts to 2nd gear. What is the risk of just driving car, as is. When ambient temps are down, the car performs mostly normal. With winter coming, I doubt that the problem will be very serious. In all my years of being an auto enthusiast, I've never heard of a "worn" valve body. The only problems with the valve body is when fluid is not change and varnish begins to deposit in the valve body, causing the valves to act sluggisly, effecting the crispness of the shift. The cure for those problems was to change the fluid and add one of the name brand transmission fluid conditioners. That usually improved trans performance. If, in fact, there is wear in the valve body, I would think that just replacing the body would do the trick.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    The hard shifts are not good for the transmission. If it is in fact a worn valve body, it can overheat the trans and burn it up, the converter will turn blue from heat.
    Just recently I saw a post from a long time trans. Tech, he now states the cause of the worn valve body housing is a worn oil pump stator bushing. No enough oil getting to the valve body, I am going to follow up on that.
    Like I stated before only a good independent trans. Tech can diagnosis your problem. A lot of things in the trans have changed since the OD units were installed, a whole lot of new problems.
  • Hey, I saw your post about your 2006 malibu that was/is having transmission problems, and I had the same problem today. I bought my 2006 Malibu 4-cylinder about 3 weeks ago. The transmission and everything has been great. I just had the dealer inspection done and they said nothing was wrong with it. But today on the way back from the store ... my car seem to be stuck in the 1st or 2nd gear. I'm unsure because it sounded like it would go to second and stay but it was a very quiet shift.. if it even was one. Well it would rev up to 3000rpms and just stay there and not go more than 30-35 mph. I almost got rear ended several times. I was at a stoplight and I threw it into park and put it back into drive and I didn't have the problem anymore. I also found that if I hit the brake and release my foot abrubtly as if I was trying to "pop" the clutch (although it is an automatic tranny, but just an example) it would shift into the next gear and I'd be fine til I had to stop and go again. I just bought this car and I don't want to deal with problems already when I haven't even made the first car payment. So, if you have found out what it was that was causing this problem. I would GREATLY appreciate your advice and help. I don't have a warranty so I want to make sure I know the problem going into the mechanic instead of having them search for the problem and make me pay 8372937 dollars and end up not finding anything. I only had it that one drive home today and it works normally now. So, I don't get it and who knows if or when it will happen again. And I also noticed, like you, that it seemed to do it on hills the most. And my drive home when it was acting up was always on hills starting up from idle. It really isn't safe. So, PLEASE help me out if you've found out what it is. I thought maybe the transmission fluid was low and it was going back cuz I was on a hill and not lubing up the gears enabling them to shift, but I'm not sure because I can't check the fluid on my car cuz it's sealed. So, anyways if you know of ANY solutions or answers email me at Thanks again. Hope to hear back from you soon.
    Eric in Rockford, Illinois
  • i got same problem with my 2001 malibu, what did u do to fix yours, can u please share your info with me, thanks..(ps) i got yahoo also, and the yahoo name is vdt33, incase i instant message u, thanks
  • chub90chub90 Posts: 1
    hi i have the same problem with my malibu ls 2001. Did you fixed the problem? If yes wath was the problem ans how much it cost?
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Does anyone remember what year that GM started sealing their auto trannys? They made them so that you could not drain and refill with new fluid. Once they screwed up you threw away (apparently) and had to get a different one. Anyone here know about this? I have wondered about this for many years and would love to get the real scoop on whether true or not and the ramifications of them having done that. It just did not make sense to me at all. And was thinking of buying an Impala at the time but changed my mind when I heard that. They sealed all the trannys in Impala, Malibu, Sunfires etc I think and maybe others?
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    We had a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire with the old .2.2 liter pushrod 4 cylinder engine. It had that sealed tranny with no dipstick. My brother-in-law has the car now. I don't believe he's had any major tranny issues with it. Good luck.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Thanks for feedback, hope to hear from others too. Are there many miles on it? I guess I start to become impressed if it has 150k mi and up without tranny work.
    Just seems wrong to not be able to change or add fluid tho don't you think?
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    edited May 2010
    I have an 04 Maxx LT that has a "sealed" transmission, however it has no dip stick but does have a refillplug ...the refill plug is on the top of the transfer case.....I have had the fluids exchanged twice now.....without problem...164K on the car so far..

    .the owners manual refers to changing the transaxle fluid ever 50K under severe driving conditions..otherwise it doesnt require chaning. When changing use Dexron-III auto trans fluid....I changed all fluids out at 100K and the trans fluid out the second time at 150K
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Very wise to replace the fluids if you can. It does make one wonder why GM did away with a removable pan and filter process tho. And sucking oil out to empty is never as thorough as a gravity drain. What is a Maxx?
  • bc60bc60 Posts: 17
    The Maxx is a particular Malibu model. Before the current generation of the Malibu, Chevy had the typical 4-door sedan Malibu and a 5-door Malibu Maxx model. The Maxx model was a hatchback/station wagon looking model.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    That sounds like what they called a Nova in Canada years back, which was actually a Toyota, and was a really good car. (this was years after the Nova was really a Chev) Although the Nova/Toy was only a 4 cyl car. I assume it used all Toy drivetrain, engine trans etc.
    Anyway, if the Maxx was pure GM, then i had never heard of it. Maybe we never got them up here. A Malibu-sized 5 door makes a lot of sense if you ask me.
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