Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Electrical/Lighting Problems



  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    I may have asked this once but reply escapes me...

    Any way to boost the DIC brightness? I find during Daylight the display is virtually impossible to read. My exterior lights are working properly (dimmer control is not affecting DIC brightness during the day).

    Was this something that was changed/improved in later iterations of the Malibu/Maxx l (mine is '04) ?
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    Ok first glitch in almost 3 years of water temp guage stop working this weekend....sensor, sending unit??..any suggestions.....
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    OK an update....the temp gauge worked this morning headed into had been sitting a week without being driven.....colder morning than usual.....ran the heater harder and the defroster.....will see if the guage works again this afternoon...uummmmm
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    I told you 3 years ago that every Malibu owner has to experience this. :shades: It is a right of passage with the car. It seems to happen only once. Let us never speak of it again. ;)
  • minn_maxxminn_maxx Member Posts: 51
    My temp gauge stopped working last week too! It did not work for an entire day and then "healed" itself the next morning. Strange thing is that the cooling fans ran continuously and the idle was fast while the gauge read "full cold". I replaced the sending unit ($41) and changed the coolant "just in case".
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Like maxx4me said we have heard about something like this before. It likely isn't actually anything wrong with temp gage but more something associated with a "rationality test" by engine controller which compares your coolant temperature with measured inlet air temperature after vehicle has been shut off for several hours. If this were case you likely have set a code in controller (P0116).

    I don't know if a later PCM calibration would change this or not. I don't think you ever had your PCM reprogrammed so you probably have original software. However if everything OK up to this point.......

    If this were to happen on 2 consecutive ignition cycles your Check Engine Light would have come on.

    Engine cooling fans coming on is just a response of system to this uncertainty about engine temperature for that ignition cycle
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    E2, is this rationality test possibly a contributor to the Malibu's occasional starting stumbles/long crank times when the engine is lukewarm?
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    correct...still the orignal ECM programming, and as was mentioned...guess I made the right of passage...after 84K.....and all still good....pricing the cost of the plug and wire replacement and a cooling system flush with the chevy dealers here in the northern va area...amazed at the difference in prices....especially for the plug and wire replacement....varying by as much as $150 for that service alone......
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Not likely but I would suggest you consider you might be having issue already mentioned previously. Lukewarm vs. hot - might be splitting hairs ;)
  • haitaolinhaitaolin Member Posts: 1
    I was trying to locate this unit in my malibu maxx 06. Anyone has a idea? Thank you very much!.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    You didn't say why you are looking for it - if your remote keyless is working but not remote start your problem likely is NOT with that module. The module on a Maxx is located on left (driver side of vehicle). It is somewhere outboard of the left rear passenger under the trim panel. It snaps into a few holes in the metal.

    On the sedan it is much easier to access. You don't even need to use any tools!
  • hhmaxhhmax Member Posts: 44
    hard lesson learned, when the engine is off, turn off the front seat heater otherwise it will drain the battery.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Am curious if, as result of new engine, the '07 LTZ Maxx now has the "braking" traction control that can use the ABS to halt a spinning drive wheel ??.

    Reason? After very intensive vehicle shopping, I have found it very hard to find anything like the Maxx, which goes bye bye after '07. Trouble is, if things have not changed, the only Maxx with "braking" traction remains the SS, which I can't consider due to its high fuel use.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    No change to traction control system for 2007, Kurt :(

    One of the changes to Maxx for 2007 though is Hydraulic power steering on that model
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Thanks for info, E2. Not sure if Hydraulic steering will help quell the rattley front ends of Malibus, but will definitely burn up more fuel. Lack of better traction control is a deal breaker, unfortunately.

    You once told me the SS Malibu has a better traction control, but SS's too weak wrt turning circle, MPG (worse than the V8 Impala, for crying out loud !!), ride, etc. to consider.

    The only way I would seriously consider an SS Maxx is if I could have the final drive ration of the SS Malibu sedan, which is, I believe, the same as what is in my current Maxx. But I don't know if changing final drive ratios is possible, let alone feasable/affordable.

    I'm hopeful '08 Vue and Equinox will do better in this area and carry on the Maxx spirit. Supposedly in '08 the Equinox will finally get a decent engine!
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    I'm curious how hard it is to change the main battery in the Maxx.

    Now that all these electronics are tied in, I do not know how many things will be "reset" once I disconnect the main battery to replace it.

    Reason for replacement is the battery had one very deep discharge (no frigging detection of headlights being left on for too long when the vehicle was stopped/engine off), the current battery is well past 3 years of age and has been subjected to very hot S. Calif summers.

  • pgroegerpgroeger Member Posts: 3
    my 05 LS has a problem that has the dealer stymied. when you put the car in park the door locks pop up as they should, once you turn off the ignition they automatically lock before you open the door. all the settings on the dic are as they should be and according to the dealer who has replaced the park/safety switch once you turn the key past acc its flashing through low and drive again momentarily and i guess tricking the car into seeing itself as in drive? anybody else ever run into this at some point?????
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    So you say that when you turn off ignition your display flashes to "L" and "D"? I believe you found why door is Locking but WHY is that happening is the question.

    Likely after doors lock the ignition switch is truly OFF and so doors aren't going to Unlock automatically.

    Dealer does have ability to read the status of all 4 switch input from the Neutral Start Back-up Switch (what you call park/safety switch) using a scan tool. Monitoring those signals when this happens might be informative.
  • albarobbalbarobb Member Posts: 2
    my interior lights won't come on when I exit my Maxx, just got car today used, the dome light is set to door. Thought the rundown protection had something to do with it but have tried everything in book and still nothing. Please help, hate to look like an idot at dealer if it's something simple
  • myearymyeary Member Posts: 3
    Make sure that the dome light switch is set in the middle....if it is in the middle then there could be somthing wrong with the door plunger(thats the push button thats on the inside of your door that makes the lights com on and the beeps when the keys are in the ignition).Check those two things and if it still doesnt work take it to the dealer.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Check all the lamps in your vehicle. Do you have vanity visor lamps, map lights in overhead console and rear cargo lamp (that has a push on/off switch). If ALL of these lights are inoperative - in addition to your dome lamp then I would be thinking something blew a fuse. However if problem is only that the lights don't come on when you open door or exit then it is something different. I will watch for your reply.
  • libman1860libman1860 Member Posts: 2
    Has anyone installed aftermarket fog lights? I have an 05 LS that didn't have them installed from the factory. I bought an aftermarket set and want to install them. I know I'll have to cut the grill for them. Just wondered if anyone did this and what to watch for when installing them?
  • legalseclegalsec Member Posts: 31
    Hi! I just bought a used 06 Malibu Maxx in good condition. Took delivery but didn't notice that the cargo light wasn't working. Read the manual and found out that it has a on/off toggle. Tried turning it on and off in ACC and ON ignition modes, got nothing.

    Removed light cover and checked bulb, bulb filament is intact. Went to the rear fuse center and checked the fuse, fuse intact. Tested the rear power outlet with an accessory adapter, no juice. Used a multimeter to check both the cargo light fixture leads and rear outlet leads, no juice.

    I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to proceed. I'm not a gearhead, but tinkering with this car may turn me into one. ;) Thanks in advance.
  • crosby1crosby1 Member Posts: 23
    PAO: My CHMSL doesn't light up. I recalled this discussion and went back to it. Was your problem the LED light/circuit board or something else? If it was the third brake light how was it getting at the light and getting it to seal?
    We bought our 2004 Maxx new, now 50,000 miles. This will be our first after warranty repair. Great car.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    mine was the light itself....I didnt have a way of testing the thought I would simple replace the light module.....I ordered if from a online GM parts supplier as he was the cheapest I could find....might want to try the local dealership first check....believe it was about $35 delivered....

    replacement took about 20 minutes...simply lift the hatch...remove the plastic liner piece..a quick pull unsnaps it...there are two screw caps that you can access with needle nose pliers....and the unit comes right out...plug and play....reverse the installation....note how the rubber liner sits around the light on the outside before you take it off...and make sure its the same after you reinstall the light....I have had no leaks at all....
  • crosby1crosby1 Member Posts: 23
    Thanks for the tip. I will give it a try. The left driving light is out. One of the clues was that the left turn signal operates at twice the normal speed. A helpful feature.

    I understand the fuel filter in the tank does not require servicing. Does anyone, such as Ehelper understand how that works? I cannot help but believe that a filter has unlimited capacity to store crude without leaching some of it out eventually into the gas line.

    Thanks again PAO. Keep leading the charge on to 100,000 miles. The rest of us will watch with interest in your rear view mirror!

    PS: average mpg by the DIC, however, is consistently between 25 and 28 30% town driving in NW MN.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    beleive I will be the second to eclipse other owner has already reach 110K I beleive....
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Rear cargo power outlet has separate fuse (AUX PWR 2 Fuse #12) in rear electrical center - is that the one you checked for Power?

    The cargo light other interior lamps (like dome lamp) work? There isn't a fuse in rear center for interior lighting although that is point at which power is fed to it. I would have expected more of a problem on ground side to the lamp than power because it is a little more complicated on that side.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Member Posts: 163
    E2, how are doors suppose to lock/unlock when using the key in the door cylinder. I have a 2006 Malibu Maxx LTZ. The owners manual says you turn key counterclockwise to unlock the driver door, then turn key counterclockwise again to unlock the rest of the doors. On my car the other doors do not unlock. My VIN is 219126.

    I could have sworn that when I first got the 2006, the key functions worked the same as they did on my 2004 Maxx LS. On the 2004, turning key clockwise first time unlocked driver door, second time, unlocked rest of doors, third time unlatched the hatch, Turning key counterclockwise locked all the doors. All locking and unlocking was done electrically. On 2006 the driver door lock/unlock with key is mechanical.

  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    You understand how the function worked on the 2004 model. This function was removed in later model year and now I think the key cylinder switch is only used to disable the content theft warning system on vehicle.

    It is likely if your 2006 vehicle operation changed it was due to a BCM replacement or maybe even a programming update that occurred.
  • chewittchewitt Member Posts: 4
    For several months now, my malibu's dash lights have been coming on and the gauges have been going off while I'm driving down the road. The gas gauge says empty, the air conditioner quits, but the fan continues to work. It continues to run fine. Kinda scary. I drive over 100 miles every day. Had it to the dealer twice, last time the said battery was bad and replaced it, didn't help. Anybody got any answers? I need help. 61,000 miles.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Interesting to know only the '04 supported that. The key function is handy from time to time.
  • ebenaebena Member Posts: 2
    Hi; I have an '04 LS I bought new, now 50k miles - I initially had problems with steering rack,(That's another story), but then had faulty cruise, (Replaced), and since warranty ran out, (Of course), I've had the following electrical mysteries:
    1. AC sometimes starts off blowing HOT air - So far, stops if I turn it off and restart it.
    2. Individual gauges will stop working from time to time - Once fuel, temp x 2; they all restart eventually.
    3. Drivers side window control inop for a day, then started working again.
    As you said, kinda scary - I have no idea what would cause this, and since warranty is passed, I assume I'm basically screwed. MY wife wants me to get rid of it, but other than this, I love the car!
  • chewittchewitt Member Posts: 4
    My car is of course out of warranty also. But I can't trade it in. I still owe too much on it. The dealer has had it 4 times now, the last time for a week. They have it now. Last time they replaced starter, battery, and catalytic converter and downloaded new info to the antitheft module. Still had same problem. Don't know what their guess will be this time. They don't have any idea is my guess. Good luck. Chewitt :( :sick:
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    have you checked your fuze box and made sure all your fuzes are tight....also do you have the latest ECM flash.....worth checking....04 Maxx LT here with over 101K on mine and none of the above problems at all....still have the same steering column as well
  • chewittchewitt Member Posts: 4
    We did check all the fuses. What is the ECM flash?
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    the ECM is essentially your computer that controls various functions of the motor and electicial.....reflashing is like updating its software.....beleive the ECM is officially the electronic control module.....
  • ebenaebena Member Posts: 2
    Hmmm- Interesting indeed! Now, If I'm a mechanically andcomputer savvy guy, could I do the flashing? Just like flashing a BIOS, I'd guess?!
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    no you dont have the correct software or program to do it......the software is propriatery if Im not mistaken......and you honestly done want to screw up the ECM playing around with it......a good tuner shop may be able to do it..but they probably havent done any coding for the malibu
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    The Maxx, like most modern cars, has its computers and software accessed by means of a multi-pin connector port (I forget the name) just under the dashboard near the driver's left leg. The dealer or qualified service tech will use a customized computer and software that attaches to this port to reprogram the Maxx computers with new or revised software. They can also do various diagnostic tests by monitoring the engine sensors and "black boxes" storing data from past drives.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    OBDII Port???
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    On-Board Diagnostics

    It's a connector underneath the dash that's been on all cars since 1996 I believe. It's that place that you plug in computer diagnostic tools and it returns a code that tells you what's going wrong in the car.
  • meandmymaxxmeandmymaxx Member Posts: 134
    This morning when i started my 05 Maxx Lt. the rear wiper gave one wipe with the switch off. When I tried the switch it worked in the on position but would not on the intermittent setting, it also worked when I tried the wash button. My question to Mr e2 is. Is the control of the rear wiper routed through the BCM as every other electrical circuit is, or does the switch connect directly to the rear wiper?? Thanks
    I forgot to mention, when I got to work the wiper was woking fine.
  • chewittchewitt Member Posts: 4
  • meandmymaxxmeandmymaxx Member Posts: 134
    Well it did it again today, start the car rear wiper wipes once. But this time the switch worked on all positions. The only consistency is in both occurrences it had rained the night before and was very humid and damp when I started the car.
  • meandmymaxxmeandmymaxx Member Posts: 134
    Help e2 helper help!!:o) For the second time in two weeks the cruise control on my 05 Maxx LT disengaged while being used. Just shut itself off and will not re-engage. When I pull the car over, shut it off, start it up it works fine again for a few days. Any thoughts??
  • meandmymaxxmeandmymaxx Member Posts: 134
    I have noticed in other posts regarding the BCM as being the problem. Some had them re-flashed and some said they had the BCM replaced. My question is why would they replace the BCM when a re-flash would fix it?? Am I misunderstanding the situation? Or are some confusing replace with re-flash??
  • tony321tony321 Member Posts: 3
    You seem to be quite knowledgable on Maxx electrical problems.
    I am new to this forum and plan on towing my 06 Maxx behind my RV.
    The manual says to remove one fuse Ignition Senser (2amp), I did this and the ignition was still engaged and I could still start the engine.
    What does this particular fuse control??

  • kevin67kevin67 Member Posts: 5
    Does anyone know what could be causing my door locks to lock and unlock by themselves while I am driving? Also, my key fob to unlock the car works but the button to lock it and use remote start doesn't.

    If that sounds weird, how about this. My alarm automatically arms itself all the time. If I shut the door to refuel and open it up again to get back in, my alarm goes off. This is getting pretty annoying. Please help. I am pretty mechanically savy but am at a loss on this one.


  • meandmymaxxmeandmymaxx Member Posts: 134
    It would help if you can tell us which year you have Kevin. There was a problem like this with some of the 04s it was traced to a wire rubbing on the body some place, I think it was on the drivers side someplace from the back seat to the rear. Good Luck
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