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Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Steering/Suspension Questions

maddmaxxmaddmaxx Member Posts: 81
Tomorrow I'm going to be picking up my '04 Maxx after being in the shop for a week. They replaced the gas tank, cruise control switch, driver's visor, and rack and pinion. We'll see if the clunk sound goes away. Maybe this will help some of the others here with the steering noise.

By the way I had a GM tech tell me a while back that the faulty steering columns were caused by too much grease on the electrical contacts. I don't know if that was true, but if that was it, GM sure went to a lot of expense on changing columns.

Has anyone changed their battery yet? When it gets under 20 it seems my battery is already struggling. Only had the car 15 months, but with 58K on it the battery is out of warranty and not covered under GMPP supposedly.
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Comments

  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    No, but mine is noisy too. Thanks to people like you Marvin, we will hear about it. Please keep us updated if you find out about a fix. :)
  • bender2bender2 Member Posts: 5
    How do I know if the Traction Control button is on or off? I pressed the button but can't tell because it looks in the same position. There didn't seem to be any extra lights to say its on? Thanks for any help.
  • mybooomybooo Member Posts: 92
    When you press the Traction Control Button, there is an orange-ish colored light that should light up on the dash, On the spedo side, between your mph and the gas gauge, towards the top. TCS is reset to "on" everytime you turn your car on. Hope this helps :-) PS This applies to the MAXX. Not sure if it is the same on the others.
  • bender2bender2 Member Posts: 5
    Just checked, that was it. Thanks.
  • maddmaxxmaddmaxx Member Posts: 81
    The steering clunk is gone! Just out of curiosity with the electric steering how is the rack lubricated? My receipt says Fluid 89020661. They installed a new rack & pinion. The receipt says Gear Kit 15216792. Merry Christmas!
  • mybooomybooo Member Posts: 92
    Hello! I have an 05 Maxx LS with 32,000 miles on it. Build date Aug 04. I am noticing a slight pop/clunk when going slow and turning, almost always when I turn to the left, sometimes to the right, and when the car starts to roll from park to drive and I turn the wheel. I do not notice it when I am going faster than 5 or 10 mph. Does this sound like the steering issue that others have talked about? I have the car going in Wed to have the fuel sensor (if I remember right) being replaced as the fuel gauge goes from full to 3/4 of a tank in about 2 miles. Thanks for any advice on the steering! Merry Christmas!

    Larry :-)
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Member Posts: 677
    Your steering's showing exactly the same problem my '04 Maxx is having. It may either be the tie rods or the entire steering rack and pinion - so claimed the dealer that will attempt to fix my Maxx later this week.
  • mybooomybooo Member Posts: 92
    Thanks for the confirmation! I have it going in Wed. Going to have them check the steering noise, they are replacing the fuel sensor and when I press the button for the windshield wash (front window) I hear a clicking sound coming from teh rear wiper motor. Will keep you posted what I find out! Thanks again!
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    When you have the rear wiper system on Maxx, you still only have a single washer pump underhood. Depending on which direction the pump runs the fluid goes to front glass or rear.

    The rear wiper module has control over washer pump, likely has a few relays in it which are reason for the clicking. Does the clicking constantly occur or does it only happen once when you press and once when you release switch? Does the rear washer function work?
  • mybooomybooo Member Posts: 92
    The clicking sound only happens when I push the button for the front washer fluid. Once I release the button the clicking goes away. Thanks for the info!

    Larry :-)
  • airmaxxairmaxx Member Posts: 9
    My 05 maxx has a vibration in the steering at about 60 to 70 mph. This vibration lasts about 30 seconds and then is gone for about the same amount of time. Tires are in good shape and have equal inflation. Anyone else experience this. Otherwise I love this car. One of the most unique cars I've ever owned.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Is vibration repeatable (i.e., it always occurs over a particular stretch of road)? Or does it just come and go?

    Do you notice any steering wheel pulsing or shaking while driving at low speeds?

    Former could be unbalanced wheels (turning corners would change relationship wheels have to each other and affect vibration).
    Latter could be dreaded steering columm problem that showed up in '04 Maxx/Malibu.
  • airmaxxairmaxx Member Posts: 9
    Thanks for the quick reply. No this does not happen at low speeds only at high ones. At low speeds the car is stable as a rock. Only at high speeds and only occasionally. It is possible that a tire is out of balance. I'm not sure if it is a steering problem or tire problem.
  • marvin4marvin4 Member Posts: 2
    I have a Malibu Maxx LT 2004. The steering rack is very noisy. The dealer said G.M. is trying to find a fix for it. Has anyone else had the same problem and has anyone heard when I can expect to get it fixed? I have e-mailed G.M. several times. They promise to respond but never do.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    what kind of noise...mine seems to be quiet as ever.....
  • mybooomybooo Member Posts: 92
    We have an 05 MAXX, and both the dealer and Chevy say they are working on a fix. First they said 1st quarter 06, now they say 2nd quarter. My patientence is wearing thin!

    Larry :-)
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    have noted the steering columm is making rubbing/grinding sounds again. Is going into the shop this saturday for a complete suspension inspection.

    Sigh... I really want to like this car, and am wondering if the '06/'07 will really be any better?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    let us know how it goes kurt.

    pao: it is the same thing since day one: the front end feels like it is missing 4 bolts and is ready to fall off, especially when going over a driveway entrance or over small potholes. I had one strut replaced, but that was a waste; it did nothing. There is something in the suspension in these cars. I'm not sure what the remedy is, but I hope GM does find a fix. For me, it is an annoyance. I can only hope that all the parts are secure, and are doing their job properly.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    sadly, every review I've seen of the maxx talks about its rattly front end. so the problem has been around for awhile.

    Meanwhile my steering has started popping again on slow turns from start. "New" rack fixed this for a short time but rack or tie rods may be going bad.

    What supplier made those parts???

    To service's credit, the replaced Lumbar support is working nicely.
  • mama_shymama_shy Member Posts: 2
    I just had the same problem.. hubby bought me an 05 malibu maxx 3 weeks ago, and it was running fine until i was doing 65/70 on the highway and it was shaking terribly.. hubby thought it may be an alignment problem, so i took it back to the dealers and they fixed the problem, it was the balance of the tires... they said the front balance was way off but the back ones were fine, now she runs smoothly..
  • marvin4marvin4 Member Posts: 2
    I went back to the dealer last week and he told me it would be in the second quarter of 2006 that GM would have a fix for the noisy steering rack problem.
  • mybooomybooo Member Posts: 92
    I checked back in with my dealer last Friday, and he said he had just spoke with GM (I had emailed GM again, and they get with the dealer immedeatley) and he said late 2nd quarter. This is geeting old. I want the fix to be done right of course, but I went in in December, and was told 1st quarter, then 2nd now late 2nd. I hope they are not just stalling. I have always had GM vehicles, so I would hope that when the time comes I will still want to buy one.

    Larry :-)
  • billbbillb Member Posts: 14
    I'm glad your vibration problem went away though it is strange that it was running fine and then started "shaking terribly" at highway speeds. I posted a similar problem under "shaking" on the 'Problems and Solutions' board back on Feb. 22nd. The dealer said the shaking was caused by asphalt sealer causing the brake calipers to stick. They also said my rotors were fine though the steering wheel vibrated when I applied the brakes. I only had the 2 real bad incidents of "shaking terribly" as you said. There were some minor incidences as well.

    I had several more "shaking" or vibration issues over the next 6 weeks though they were less dramatic than the 2 that I posted earlier. I mostly assumed that it was bad roads. Then I had the problem again on Tuesday April 18th near the dealer. I called ahead and asked for someone from the service dept. to meet me outside and smell the burning smell. They agreed that it was the brakes.

    They road tested the car that evening and duplicated the problem. This is interesting because usually the problem would go away when I stopped the car for a while. They put the car on a lift when they came back and the left front wheel was locking up. They said that the brake hose was collapsed and replaced the hose. They road tested again and both wheels locked up. They ordered in and replaced the master cylinder saying that it was building pressure causing the pads to engage. They also bled the system.

    They resurfaced one rotor and on the short drive home this afternoon (4 days later)it did seem better though it is raining heavily. I am concerned about rotor wear now and did ask for new rotors vs resurfacing as a defect caused rotor wear, not my driving. The repair notes say that the rotors look blued and I imagine that they built up a lot of heat while this problem has been occurring over the last several months. I am concerned that I will have to replace rotors sooner rather than later now as they can only be resurfaced so much.

    Of course the dealer has never seen the problem before nor did GM have any info on it.
  • nu2maxxnu2maxx Member Posts: 4
    I took my 05 in for a clunk/thump noise, most noticeable when turning at low speed, especially when leaving from a stop. They attempted to tighten a pinch bolt on the rack and said they lubed it up to correct. As I was driving out of the dealership, it was worse than before. I went right back, and they agreed to order the rack assembly. I then got a call back from service mgr. saying it was on restriction, and they had to do something special to order it for replacement. They "jumped through some hoops with corp GM" to get it released, and I took it in for replacement. I got a call back a couple hours later and they told me that they didn't want to replace it because of this new assembly coming out "soon" and said they had a case open on my car, so that as soon as they come out I will be notified, and one will automatically get sent out. The alternative is to get a new one installed now (old style), and then replace it again when the new one comes out. They gave me a print out of the GM Tech bulletin that states June 2006 for date of shipment of updated assembly. It goes on to state if it is replaced with old style assembly the noise will come back in 3 to 5000 miles.

    On a side note, I also had the giggly headlight issue, and they were able to correct that, so if you have the same problem, it appears enough of us have complained and they are now correcting this. :)
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Thanks for info. That's exactly what is happening with my '04 Maxx. The "replaced" steering rack must have been an older model, for having put around 3K miles on the car since it was replaced, mine is now acting up just like before.

    Can you please post the TSB number of this notification so I can tell my dealer about this?
  • nu2maxxnu2maxx Member Posts: 4
    At the top of the page is a Document ID# 1819760. Subject is labeled:

    Subject: Knock, Clunk or Rattle Noise at Low Speeds with Suspension Input - keywords intermittent shaft steer steering #PIC3747B - (04/21/2006)

    Models: 2004-2006 Chevrolet Malibu/Maxx 2005-2006 Pontiac G6

    I'm not sure if that's the official TSB #, but that is the only number I find on here other than the old part assembly numbers. Hope this is what you were looking for.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    the bigger issue is will a dealership replace this assembly if the car is out of warranty.....a known problem but a fix for it two years later...uuuuummmmmmm
  • mybooomybooo Member Posts: 92
    I have spoke with Chevy and the dealer for several months on this, and the assured me that it will be covered under warranty. I am out of warranty now. They said since I had a case started on this before warranty ended, that it won't be a problem. I am nervous though :-)
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    thanks nu2maxx. My steering started making a rubbing/groaning/clicking sound today (once). Nonetheless, my front end suffers from low speed rattles. Do you recommend that I take it in simply to have a case started?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Yes, I would do it. The suspension on the Malibu is a real weak spot, per CU, my and some other posters here experiences.
    My rack's been replaced with the old version and is rapidly deteriorating.

    thanks for temperature indicator info, E2! helps clears up some mysteries.

    BTW I drove an AUDI A3 3.2 Quattro today. It's basically a VW GTI R32 but 5 door, with Audi Quattro/Interior. No jiggles, no rattles on bumps; a rock solid car. Its electric steering felt fine. It actually weighs more than the Maxx, despite being smaller, thanks in part to an iron block V6 and Quattro Haldex drive. $40K - no bargin.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    hope they do since you started the case...mine has been very good to me..without any of the problems....almost 68K on it now
  • islandpeteislandpete Member Posts: 94
    Recently had a steering column replaced on my Maxx 02. Sensor had gone bad. Was just nosing around under the hood wondering if the new replacement could be seen and what it looked like. Looked underneath the car also. No doubt it was replaced, but I guess I was looking for something shiny and new that would indicate (hey I'm new) ;) Before closing the hood and my drop light something brown and rusty caught my eye. It was what looked like a knuckle joint assembly with a clevis pin and was located below the coolant overflow and Brake reservoir at the bottom of the firewall just as it dips under. It was covered with some scaly rust that you would think was many years old. It looked like it possibly went into a gear box. Don't know if this is part of the steering mechanism. Just very curious as to why this part is so rusty and if it is normal. Any one else notice this on their Maxxs or could enlighten me :surprise:
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    yep Pete, I just looked at it for you. It looks well rusted as you state. I'm not a mechanic, but it looks like part of the steering assembly, as it enters the rack. e2helper can be more scientific than I.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    I think that thing is called the intermediate shaft and comes in as part of the steering column assembly although it is a separate piece. They don't replace it if column itself is replaced.
  • islandpeteislandpete Member Posts: 94
    Thanks e2helper and Maxx4me for the reply. A glaring question would be."Why should this assembly be covered with rust"? Especially if it is part of the steering mechanism. I am not a metalurgist so I could not tell you how long it would take for the rust to weaken the joint and cause a steering loss . I would hope never or a long long time ;)OK Maxx4me, you found the same condition as I did. It's probably safe to say all Maxx's are affected. Would be great if everyone on this board can check theirs and report back.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    I saw rust discoloration, but no flakes, on the steering rack's shaft connectors' flange and bolt just above the rack's rubber collar. The shaft just above the connector (the intermediate steering columm shaft) had less rust on its end.

    If I were driving in winter weather with salt on the roads, I suspect that fitting would look much worse.
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Member Posts: 101
    I was looking from the on-the-floor point of view on the drivers side in the inside of the car and noticed the steering shaft and the brake pedal? shaft had a coating of loose scaly rust on them. I initially thought of water leaks but that doesnt seem to be the case. I havent checked under the hood where you indicated yet. My car did come from the west coast of Canada (very damp there). I rubbed off the loose scale and gave it a light coating of wd-40. Kind of strange why these particular parts break out in rust, especially on the inside of the car.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    For the upcoming Maxxes, they offer NW7 and NW9 versions of traction control.
    NW7 is for all maxxes but SS, the SS gets NW9.

    Is there any difference between these Traction Control systems? Do both control traction by reducing engine power alone?
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    NW9 traction control also will apply brakes. In owner manual it is called "TCS" or Traction Control System

    The NW7 option on all non-SS vehicles is called "ETS" for Enhanced Traction System. In addition to reducing engine torque the system has ability to upshift transmission.

    Check out your owner's manual in section 4 for a little more description of each.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Thanks, E2. Unfortunately I do not have SS manual, only LS (which uses the older NW7, I think).

    So, given a driving wheel on Glare Ice and the other driving wheel on firm pavement, is the following senario true;

    NW7 will reduce power/try to upshift trans until spinning wheel gains traction.

    NW9 will apply the brake on the spinning wheel and send power to the non spinning wheel.

    Is it likely that NW7 may very well fail to help, while NW9 will help?

    FYI, I have fond memories of the midwest winters with lots of lovely glare ice with water on top; makes traction miserable. As for RWD drive on that stuff, let's just say I discovered drifting long before it became a tuner passion.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Sorry (I forgot)about model year :blush:

    https://www.mygmlink.com/pdf/go2content/manual/US/en/chevrolet/2006malibu.pdf

    Not sure about your technical questions but I know who to ask! :D

    I will see what he has to say and post back.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Thanks E2. Next car may end up in a snow belt area and want to be sure traction control will be of real help.


    BTW wrt other question, I meant "final drive ratio" change :blush:
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    I did get a little feedback if you are interested (long):

    Given the scenario where one driven wheel is on glare ice and the other driven wheel on the same axle both system will attempt to 'capture' the potential run away wheel.

    NW7 - or engine only traction, attempts to do this by limiting engine torque (potentialy up shifting) to the axle. Note that this affects both wheels - relying on only the mechanical differential to 'split' the power to each wheel. Here's where LSD (limited slip differentials) would come into play. This is also the reason why ETS can be beaten by Driver's Best Efforts - depending upon the skill of the driver.

    NW9 - or brake and engine traction, attempts to do the same as NW7 - but additionally it can clamp down (apply the individual corner brake) on the run away wheel. Since the brakes are under direct control of the ABS units, this action/response is much faster than the request/command manner in engine control. This is why NW9 is always better than NW7 and is generally better than Driver's Best Efforts as well.

    There was more but I think that covers your question.. :)
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Yes it does, thank you.
    As the Maxx/Malibu does not have a limited slip differential (as part of any option I know of), NW7 would be useless in the glare ice senario, while NW9 would do just fine.

    IMHO, Chevy should put the SS motor and the NW9 traction control in an upper level Malibu with a standard (not "SS" class) final drive ratio (perhaps the LTZSS). One then gets a more powerful, more advanced engine, the same or possibly slightly better fuel economy, and more horsepower for passing.

    But I'm not a GM engineer any more so my opinion doesn't count for very much. ;)
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Well I know that 2007 order guide already out there but you never know what 2008 model will bring ;)

    Too early to talk about that though :P
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    if possible, one question regarding 2008:

    Does the MAXX live? :confuse:
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Member Posts: 101
    I've heard it dies but not sure of the sources. In my opinion it is a great design on the interior but not mass appealing on the exterior. Some tweaks here n there would make it alot more appealing to the eye and really make it hot. I wish GM would do that rather than drop it.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Edmunds posted an article some time ago where Chevy had stated the Maxx died after 2007. The only other domestic hatch I know of is the Dodge Caliber, which is currently a mess (not finished, all kinds of rough edges, etc.)

    Chevy could do what Saab did with the sport Combi, which is a Maxx with a sleeker hatch (no little "trunklet", just a smooth curve); round off the hatch a bit and it would look sleeker.

    As for Saab version, rides hard, has horrible reliability, costs a lot more...no thanks.
  • hgr3inokhgr3inok Member Posts: 28
    Personally, I prefer the Maxx "trunklet" to the SAAB SportCombi styling. And, IMHO, the 2006 Maxx's revised front clip styling is much better than the original. Further, I think the ebony interior in the 2006 Maxx looks more expensive than the other/previous options. What I would like to see is a Buick version of the Maxx. That could really be "Special".
  • islandpeteislandpete Member Posts: 94
    My 2004 LT Maxx (9200 mi)lately does not seem as smooth taking rough bumpy roads as it did. Don't know if it is my imagination. Seems as if even going over a minor road rut there is noticeable bouncing of the suspension. I adjusted the tire pressure lower to(32 PSI)from 36 thinking the warmer weather had increased it and made the tire too hard but this did not help much. Highway and smooth roads the car is great. Car is due for inspection next month and will run the problem(if it is one) by the dealership. Any comments would be appreciated. BTW, had the steering column replaced last month and do not think this has anything to do with the problem. :confuse:
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