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Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Engine Questions

mrsstrommrsstrom Member Posts: 3
edited October 2014 in Chevrolet
We bought the brand new '06 Maxx LTZ in April, and 4 days (yes, 4 DAYS) after we bought it, the battery died and left us stranded at Best Buy. The dealership put a new battery in it the next day, and it has started fine ever since. Now at 4 months of ownership, it occasionally takes longer to start. You have to hold the key over, and it will crank like out of beat, and then start. This has happened with the remote start and manually. It did this right before the battery died, and so we have taken it to two dealers (it is at one as I write). If this odd starting happened once month, I wouldn't be as concerned, but it has happened 4 times in the last two weeks. The deal just called and said that it is turning over perfectly so they have done nothing. I have read on other forums of people having this occurrence occasionally with a Maxx, and was just wondering what I should do. If it doesn't come up on the scan, is there a problem? Thanks for any advice. :)
PS; We love most everything about the Maxx. We just don't think we should be concerned about a brand new car starting.


  • hgr3inokhgr3inok Member Posts: 28
    If you have to hold the key over, I think something is amiss. With our 2004, I don't have to hold the key over. It continues to crank until is starts (but it never has taken more than a couple of seconds).
  • minn_maxxminn_maxx Member Posts: 51
    Welcome to the Maxx forum!
    This seems to be "normal" and there is no fix yet(extended hot starts). My 2004 Maxx will do this a few times a week. It always starts on the first or second try, but makes you a little nervous when it cranks. I have just gotten used to it.
  • mrsstrommrsstrom Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for your welcome, and for your reply.

    I have read that this is "normal" in another forum, too. Mine started funny three times in a row last week, so we were just nervous about it since the battery had died after 4 days of ownership. This starting thing happened a few times before that, so we just assumed it was related to a dying battery.

    I took it to another dealer yesterday, and the guy hemmed and hawed about it since they had tried to duplicate the problem all day to no avail. Finally he said, "It should start right up. I would watch it."

    No one should have to be worried about a new car starting!

    We are happy with the car overall. This is the first new car that we have bought in 10 years. It really scoots along and even my elderly mom liked riding in the back seat.
  • bunnymasseusebunnymasseuse Member Posts: 9
    Yeah I have an 06 Maxx SS (owned for 3 months now) and my issues w/ starting are UNBELIEVABLE (only because the dealership has only been able to reproduce it once in the shop out of the 4 times it's been there).

    So far...

    "The car has been to the dealership 7 times, 4 just for the issues with intermittent starting issues (not associated w/ remote start even tho it does happen with that AND manual starting) that are not related to a bad starter, it's somewhere between the starter, the computer and the cyl or plug that should be identified by the computer to fire/start. The dealership I've been taking it to has no clue. So far they have replaced hood release, block assembly wiring harness, coil for air bags, roof molding, and control switch on steering wheel. Not all associated w/ my starting issue, but other things they have found. This car is just over 3 months old, and about 4000 miles. I'm livid with all these issues. Under VA law I'll be able to file for lemon law issues if they don't resolve it while it's in the shop right now for it's 4th visit."

    4th visit ended, and it still persists. I'm SOOO aggrivated.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    There is a TSB for starting issues on SS for a reprogramming of ECM (as I think someone mentioned earlier). You didn't mention this - did they already do that?
  • bunnymasseusebunnymasseuse Member Posts: 9
    Well, considering I just found this forum recently and printed out all the TSB's for my car/the car in general, no :(

    AFAIK based on my talks with the shop foreman, the service manager and the customer relations manager ... they are getting the run around from GM (my impressions of our discussions) on exactly what TSB's should be or should not be applied to my car.

    Do you have the exact TSB #of the one you state that probably is close to this issue? Perhaps if I went in there armed & dangerous with an appliable TSB they might actually realize that i'm not blowing smoke (not that i am, after all, they were able to reproduce the issue themselves at some point). I know that the wiring harness that was replaced WAS part of a TSB, I'm just not sure which one as they didn't enlighten me on that information. After all, I'm just some girl, what could I possibly know about cars? :)
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Sorry I might have been mistaken. The TSB is #05-06-04-076B however it didn't mention Malibu SS and so this is why dealer wouldn't have found it. It does mention other vehicles with same engine though. The Malibu SS came out later in model year so maybe it started off with the newer calibration - this doesn't help you, I know. I will post back again if I come up with anything else.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    It is as I thought. I would need to know when your vehicle was built -- any idea? (I think there is a sticker someone on door inner panel). I think there is a potential that TSB maybe should have applied and there really is a calibration update available for your vehicle. Dealer probably has other ways to look that up than having to rely on a TSB though.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Sorry about double-post. Definitely build date is important. If you wouldn't mind sharing last 6 of VIN (not whole thing) it would be helpful
  • bunnymasseusebunnymasseuse Member Posts: 9
    Last 6 are...


    Let me know what you find.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Thanks. Your date is 8/26/2005 BTW. If I learn anything I will post back
  • bunnymasseusebunnymasseuse Member Posts: 9
    Thanks, I'll be awaiting any information you provide. Your assistance has been much appreciated.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    While we are waiting I would appreciate a short description of the type of starting problem being experienced. If you think you covered it yourself in a previous message just point me to which one. I kind of remembered that you might have included it briefly in a whole list of things or identified someone elses description as similar to what you had. I would prefer something just specific on that condition.

    I am also kind of interested in why they changed the steering wheel switches on your vehicle :)
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Ok - I have confirmation back that since you have a Maxx SS of an early build that your ECM likely needs to be reflashed per description of TSB #05-06-04-076B. This TSB doesn't specifically mention Malibu Maxx SS but it does apply.

    It shouldn't take dealer very long to confirm that a newer calibration is available for your vehicle than what is in it with respect to an Extended Crank complaint.

    If dealer still needs guidance they have available the Technical Assistance Center to call for assistance which they have not made use of yet regarding your vehicle ;)

    Keep us posted :)
  • bunnymasseusebunnymasseuse Member Posts: 9
    This post I found on one of the other boards in our same main area, might have been in the regular Malibu section....

    "#3574 of 3610 PHANTOM STARTING PROBLEMS by panthersfan95 Aug 04, 2006 (12:29 pm)
    Bookmark | Reply | E-mail Msg
    We all know how frustrating intermitant problems can be. I have an '05 Malibu LS V6 that just had it's third visit to the dealer in 18 months, for the same problem. Every 10 or so starts, the engine turns over for an unusually long amount of time (about 5-10 sec.), before finally starting up. Sometimes it turns over and stops without ever starting. Of course, every time I take it in to the dealer it acts fine. I don't hear any grinding or metal to metal that would indicate a mechanical problem, but the fact that it shouldn't be doing this has me worried. Any thoughts?
    Replies to this message:
    • rvoth (Aug 04, 2006 7:38 pm)
    • rvoth (Aug 04, 2006 7:52 pm)
    • e2helper (Aug 04, 2006 8:05 pm)
    • gonogo (Aug 05, 2006 9:26 am)
    • rvoth (Aug 05, 2006 9:58 pm) and 1 more...
    • bunnymasseuse (Aug 07, 2006 11:58 am)
    • dtownfb (Aug 10, 2006 7:21 am)
    • bunnymasseuse (Aug 10, 2006 8:16 am)"

    The bolded section above is almost EXACTLY what I experience. It's funny it started slowly too...
    Meaning around 1500 it would have that happen maybe once a week, then 2-3 times a week, then 5-6 times a week, then it literally was 1 time every day out of 4 starts (once to work, to lunch, back from lunch, back to home). Take it to the dealership, they 'fool around in there' again, and then watch the earlier pattern unfold again, just quicker (not so long now for it to get to the 1 time a day senario). It can be putting the key in the ignition or using the remote start. It's never just ONE or the other. It can happen with either.

    They replaced the switches on the steering wheel because they stopped working completely.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    OK - thanks.

    I didn't see any history on reprogramming of ECM in your vehicle so that would definitely be suggestion.

    In regards to others with 3.5L but similar concern the TSB doesn't cover them. That is a different engine/controller than what you have on your SS.
  • tothemaxx2tothemaxx2 Member Posts: 22
    We bought our Maxx about a month ago. It is a 2006 that we bought new (last one in the Denver area - got a fantastic deal). I had rented several in the last two years, so driving one was not new to me. I have had read the posts for several months before buying. I must say that compared to other cars I have owned, the problems discussed on bulletin boards are generally pretty minor. I am also a Volvo nut, but I want to tell you that many people on this board would run away screaming after reading about Volvo problems on the "Brickboard." The Maxx is truly an exceptional car for the money. We love ours. The fit and finish is very good. Power is great, as is the fuel economy (other 6's I have owned get at least 3 or 4 mpg less). And it is rated as one of the cleanest engines by the U.S. EPA (see their site). Keep the info on problems coming, it really helps knowing what to look for and helps us do-it-yourself'ers. But realize that anything better in any other make would easily cost 5 to 10 grand more. One very satisfied customer with this truly excellent overall car (and I don't work for GM). Light years above the previous Malibu.
  • rferd43rferd43 Member Posts: 20
    My 04 Max has 56,000 already and except for a couple of problems that were covered under warranty, I have not had even minor problems. I have used it often to travel to TN and SC and my highway mileage has been great - 34-35 mpg at a steady 65 mph.

    Have been looking for a replacement but have not found a car yet that gives so much value for the money. To get all the features that I have on my LT, I would have to pay close to $28,000 and will will not get the mileage I get on my MAX. :)

    Good luck on yours.
  • blumaxxblumaxx Member Posts: 20
    awesome. that's great news about the epa. I have a question. Do you usually stick with premium or regular for the car? And also, we have the LTZ, has all the extras so is it "normal" that we paid about 24,000 before adding the extended warranty and tax and registration? All together it comes to 29,000. Robin :)
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    04 Maxx LT here and it just rolled over 80K this week and same experience as you..some minor problems...all under warranty....and still going strong......my gas mileage averages about 30-32...at 75 MPG throught rolling terrain on the interstate.....many trips VA-SC and back...
  • tothemaxx2tothemaxx2 Member Posts: 22
    On the Malibu rentals I've had I always have used just regular, and never heard any knocking (which is the functional test). I use Premium in my Volvo, but it is a turbo (low pressure). I have noticed a performance difference in the Volvo the few times I have tried regular in it. So far we have been sticking to mid-grade in the Maxx. Has plenty of power with it.
  • rferd43rferd43 Member Posts: 20
    My high mileage is on flat terrain and going no faster than 70 mpg. I like the challenge of trying to get the most out of a tank of gas. Maybe I am cheap? :D
  • mr_botsmr_bots Member Posts: 236
    Little off-topic, but thought I'd post. The difference between octanes is how much it can be compressed before igniting. In the past the higher octanes had better detergents but that is no longer the case as the detergents in today's 91 isn't any better than the detergent in 87. So putting premium or mid-grade in an engine designed for 87 does not improve performance or reliability, such as most non-performance engines. However, running regular in a car that "recommends" premium fuel will decrease performance. If premium fuel is "required" putting a lower grade fuel in it could damage the engine. So, putting 89 or 91 octane in a Malibu is doing nothing but costing more money.
  • csandstecsandste Member Posts: 1,866
    There is no advantage in premium as long as you use a top tier gas. In St. Louis where I live that means QuikTrip, Conoco/Phillips or Shell. Don't think Mobil or BP makes the cut, primarily because they've (because of marketing decisions) have tied high detergency to premium fuels.


    TOP TIER Gasoline Retailers:

    Entec Stations
    MFA Oil Company
    Kwik Trip/Kwik Star
    The Somerset Refinery, Inc.
    Aloha Petroleum
    Tri-Par Oil Company
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    I've never encountered knocking or pinging in my Maxx, using 87 octane fuel, throughout my long trips including up and down mountains.

    If I have a __lot__ of mountain climbing on a trip, I might mix in some 89 with the 87 just to be safe.

    My Prism and Camry (toyotas) did occasionally have problems with 87, though. they were "designed" for 87.
  • csandstecsandste Member Posts: 1,866
    I think need for octane goes down as altitude goes up. It's been a while since I've been in the Rockies or Black Hills but if memory serves me right, I thought the octane rating for regular was somewhere around 84. I didn't think you could get 89 or if you could it would be super premium. Of course that was ten years ago and maybe things have changed.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    not sure. 87 is lowest octane I have seen in Calif. and Oregon. 91 is usually premium.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Member Posts: 236
    Elevation is related to octane rating. Lower the elevation, lower the octane. The octane ratings here are 86/88/90.
  • tothemaxx2tothemaxx2 Member Posts: 22
    I guess I started a good thread with my initial reply on octane. I agree pretty much with all the threads, and will probably go to regular instead of mid-grade on our Malibu. However, there is still a detergent difference between grades on at least SOME gasoline. I do not know for sure on Top Tier, and the earlier post may be correct that all Top Tier has the same. I will investigate further with those I know in the oil industry. I do know something from my own experience. With my Volvo turbo, if I do not use premium, I get carbon deposits on the valves which cause a problem. And the car does lose power. Engineers I knew at Shell years ago had told me to watch for excess carbon build-up with lower grades on some engines. With that in mind I used nothing but premium on my 1971 Pinto (yes the exploding car) for over twenty years. Got 325,000 miles on it and only did one valve job, at 190,000 miles. So there is evidence that still leads me to higher grade gas. Also, it has been shown in many tests that you do get better gas mileage with higher grades.
  • csandstecsandste Member Posts: 1,866
    "For each 1000 feet of altitude the atmospheric pressure will drop by a little less than 1 inHg (11 kPa/km). An engine that might require 93 octane at sea level may perform at maximum on a fuel rated at 91 octane if the elevation is over, say, 1000 feet. See also the APC article."

  • prdmprdm Member Posts: 145
    Also, it has been shown in many tests that you do get better gas mileage with higher grades.

    Absolutely false!
  • tothemaxx2tothemaxx2 Member Posts: 22
    While it is not much better mpg (a few percent)it is actually true. Higher octane does give better mpg. I have seen the test results in the past when my job was in transportation. It is not enough to make up for the higher cost though.
  • tothemaxx2tothemaxx2 Member Posts: 22
    All right, I was told to leave the Malibu Maxx discussion with this side-bar on fuel octane. Here was my last post:

    "I guess I started a good thread with my initial reply on octane. I agree pretty much with all the threads, and will probably go to regular instead of mid-grade on our Malibu. However, there is still a detergent difference between grades on at least SOME gasoline. I do not know for sure on Top Tier, and the earlier post may be correct that all Top Tier has the same. I will investigate further with those I know in the oil industry. I do know something from my own experience. With my Volvo turbo, if I do not use premium, I get carbon deposits on the valves which cause a problem. And the car does lose power. Engineers I knew at Shell years ago had told me to watch for excess carbon build-up with lower grades on some engines. With that in mind I used nothing but premium on my 1971 Pinto (yes the exploding car) for over twenty years. Got 325,000 miles on it and only did one valve job, at 190,000 miles. So there is evidence that still leads me to higher grade gas. Also, it has been shown in many tests that you do get better gas mileage with higher grades."

    What do others have to say about fuel octane. As discussed above, I really do believe octane makes a performance difference. I have primarily used premium in all my cars, and have obtianed better life that "normal" life on cars for more than 30 years. What do others say?
  • csandstecsandste Member Posts: 1,866
    As I said before we were all so rudely interrupted by closing down the general Maxx board. No real advantage, especially if you use a top tier fuel. I find BP to be especially egregious in trying to pimp high octane fuels by cutting detergency on regular.

    Now for the real reason I responded again. I don't know about the rest of you but splintering all of these forums is a big mistake IMHO. What kind of legs will this board have? Ten posts and it'll drop off the page in no time.

    The big mistake is when the new 'Bu and the old Classic model were mixed on the board. That plugged up all of the non-Maxx boards with comments about 02 classic bu's. At least the Maxx board stayed pure.

    By mixing the Maxx and the sedan 'Bu you no longer have access to the Maxx through hatchback or wagon boards. I've fought over Edmunds decision to make the Maxx a wagon instead of a hatch. Whatever it is, the mixing of the Maxx and the failure to recognize it as a hatch was bad marketing on the part of GM and (now) Edmunds. I want my Maxx board back!
  • marlapmarlap Member Posts: 18
    going to pick up my 05 maxx for the third time at the dealership tomorrow for the same problem with the starter hanging up. on the 2nd visit they ran the new program to correct the problem with the computer. it was okay for awhile then slowly but surely it has started again. Not as often as before but still doing it. does anyone know it this will tear something else up on the car if it continues. of course it would not do it for them as it never does. as least my husband had heard it so i am not some crazy lady!!!
  • maxxhawkeyemaxxhawkeye Member Posts: 2
    Can someone please clear something up for me and settle a bet. My father-in-law says that because the manual for my Maxx says not to use methanol for fuel, I should also not be using ethanol. I claimed to him that the two are different but he says that the ethanol blend fuel here in Iowa has the same negative effects on my engine and fuel systems. Can someone please clear this up for me?
  • mybooomybooo Member Posts: 92
    Hello fellow Iowan! I am in Waterloo. But, I haad used ethanol (10%) in our Maxx, and I got about 3 or 4 mpg LESS than the regular 87 gas. Even with 87 being a few cents more, it is still cheaper for me to use the 87 NON ethanol. I tried the same test on my previous car, and had the same results. So I don't use ethanol. Where ya from?
  • maxxhawkeyemaxxhawkeye Member Posts: 2
    I live in Ankeny. Actually my wife and I just traded our two vehicles for two new used ones last Thursday night. She used to drive a '00 Ford Windstar SEL w/ 118,000 miles, loaded w/ leather interior. I was, and always have for as long as I have known my wife, driven the "beater" car. I have driven many different ones, but this one was a '95 Ford Contour w/ 90,000 miles. I got the Maxx, which I LOVE!! '05, dark metallic blue and loaded. The only option I don't think it has is the 6 disc changer. It only has one disc capability. She got a 2003 Toyota Prius, loaded. Toyota of Des Moines made us a pretty sweet deal on a two car trade, especially since one was a domestic and they don't have much market for them since most people who go there are looking for a Toyota.

    So the 10% ethanol isn't "bad" for my engine, but it doesn't have the performance of a non-ethanol gas?

    Talk again later!! Go Hawks!
  • mybooomybooo Member Posts: 92
    You got it! There are some benifits to ethanol in the winter I guess, but I have had better luck with the 87 non ethanol. Nice cars ya got! Congrats!
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    with the recent lukewarm-start programming fix.
    Engine seems to start more reliabily, but it's still early into the repair.
  • jmax4jmax4 Member Posts: 22
    I have 01/2004 Maxx and today I tried to start the car for about 10 minutes. I have tried to start, but the result was just the silence. Then I was waiting and trying again and again. Usually, in the cases like this, the car started on the second time, but not today. Finally, I added some gas after 10 minutes and it started.
    Does anyone have a solution to this what is wrong with the car? I had the car at the dealership a few times before, and they did not find anything. :sick: Should I say goodbye to my 2004 Maxx? :cry:
  • maxxfanmaxxfan Member Posts: 4
    My 2004 Maxx LS has been pretty great for me. Its build date is January 2004 at the Kansas City, KS facility.

    I bought it new in '04, and the only troubles have been a need to replace the steering and an intermittent starting problem (which began in 04 about three months into ownership). I've taken it to the dealer for everything, even oil changes, and I took it to the dealer for this about a year ago when I got stranded for 20 minutes. The car refused to start. They couldn't find any problem.

    Lately, the intermittent starting problem has gotten a lot more frequent. Starts usually take two tries. Also, the past couple months an odor of gasoline inside and outside the car has gotten stronger. If the car sits for a day, the odor is mostly gone, but once it's started and runs again, it's back. It got so strong that a week ago I took it to the dealer. They said the ECM needed to be reprogrammed with some update for the crank sensor. I got in the car and it still smelled a little like gasoline. I figured it might take time for this to go away.Two days later, the gasoline smell was still there -- and the car still takes two attempts to get started usually. I've got an appointment at the dealer for tomorrow. Does anyone have any suggestions that I might be able to pass along to them?
  • maxxfanmaxxfan Member Posts: 4
    Just as an update. This time around the dealership found a leak and ended up replacing the fuel pump.
  • lne216lne216 Member Posts: 13
    I hate this car!!!!!! Seriously! I just went outside to start my car and it won't. It was driven all day mind you. The key is not turning well in the ignition and when it does the lights go on and the doors lock and it does not turn over. I can't start it with the car starter either. I only have 39000 on a 2005 bought in 2004. This car is a lemon but GM won't do anything about it. One dealer told me to buy the extended warranty which we already had, but still. Makes me mad as I need my car tonight!
  • txcwootentxcwooten Member Posts: 2
    I have a 04 MAXX it's always giving me starting problems.It finally died on me.NEED HELP
  • txcwootentxcwooten Member Posts: 2
    This car really is a lemon.I have a 04 malibu maxx that always giving me problems starting.now it died on me in traffic.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    while I had occasional starting problems...I found that when I finally replaced the battery in my 04 Maxx LT...they seemed to go away......I also have a habit of resetting the ECM or BCM by simply disconnecting the battery cable about twice a year......121K on my Maxx.....and no mechanical problems at all.....other than wear and tear items....
  • comem47comem47 Member Posts: 399
    I know what you mean about the battery being a possible source. I had a Dodge Dakota that would crank over fine, but still have problems starting. I read on a newsgroup that that's a sign the battery is on the way out (I tried just resetting things
    by disconnecting the battery, but it was only a temp cure, forcing the vehicle into a learn mode), New battery fixed it in my case. (evidently the ECM was real picky on
    the minimum voltage, more so than the starter).
  • drejdrej Member Posts: 119
    No one should have to be worried about a new car starting! someone said,
    Well I have them now on my 05 w/ 48K miles and "of couse out of warranty!"
    Has anyone found a fix.
    My column wheel control buttons are going bad too! lost my cruise and radio chanel select.
  • drejdrej Member Posts: 119
    I have some of the same exact problems as

    Steering wheel buttons going bad too. I have no cruise.
    Will call the dealer today. I see a mention of

    TSB #05-06-04-076B did this help anyone? With Vacation season I can't believe I lost my cruise!
This discussion has been closed.