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Chevrolet Malibu Steering/Suspension

maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
edited October 2018 in Chevrolet
kurt,et al: I guess if there is no replacement parts coming for the front end, then there is no point in me bringing in the car, eh? I can get the front end to rattle by running over manhole covers, one side at a time, or by turning into a driveway and hitting the concrete apron one tire at a time. Should I even bother having the service person test drive it at all, given the fact that no new designed parts are coming any time soon?
Also, I have only had my driver's side strut replaced for this condition. Obviously it did nothing. What other parts have people had replace which did nothing? I don't want to waste my time having my car rebuilt with parts that won't solve the problem. Thanks in advance.


  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    supposedly in second quarter there is to be a new rack to fix the problems the current racks are having.

    Elsewhere in this thread, or the Maxx thread, there was a referral to a service bulletin describing the problem.

    If it is any consolation, wrt Consumers U, 2004 Maxxes did __much__worse than average in suspension components problems. Brakes, body integrity, and Electrical were all worse than average. Right in line with what I have gone through with my Maxx. The '05 version, so far (which I do not own), is doing better.

    Todays thought: never, never, NEVER buy a first year car,
    Unless you enjoy pain. :sick:
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Todays thought: never, never, NEVER buy a first year car,
    Unless you enjoy pain

    I bought a 04 Malibu, 17K right now, no real problems since the first bugs, transmission chain, all rotors warped.
    Left front corner light, 1 software update and now waiting for front sway bar bushings, noisy when turning corners. We like the car, just rotated the tires and brakes still look new.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    sounds like the first year car spirit has blessed your ride.
    I wasn't so lucky - the spirit probably doesn't like our smog :cry: .
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    mine must have been build mid week no problems abeit a burnt out CHMSL (aprox 63K)..which I replaced..and one left turn signal socket replaced under warranty...other than that......67K good miles...just replaced the brakes and had the rotors turned at 65K and they were the OEM pads and rotors....

    I too have the front suspension noises...but with it being a design or re-engineering effort..not much that can be done about it you live with the noise...and I honestly dont pay attention to it any more....

    still getting about 27-28 MPG city and highway combined....running mobil 1 sythn oil and changing about every 6500 miles or so...... still very happy with the Maxx......but again probably the silent majority here...
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    "still very happy with the Maxx......but again probably the silent majority here..."

    I'm sure this forum represents a tiny percentage of Malibu owners and I've found any type of online forum to attract the most dissatisfied people on whatever issue the forum is dealing with. Usually if people are happy, you dont hear from them.

    There seems to be very few issues with the new Malibu as compared to the previous version. If one is to browse the Honda, Toyota, Nissan, etc. forums, you will see alot of problems as well. Such as the Nissan engine problem where some intake bolts loosen are are sucked into the engine, destroying it completely!

    I think the Malibu is a great car with a great mix of good old proven technology combined with some fantastic new technology hopefully representing an upswing in quality which is long overdue. It's really hard to believe that North American cars have taken so long to face the challenge of the competition.
  • 01taurussel01taurussel Posts: 43
    Hi guys, new to the board. I have interest in the new Malibus (2005 probably). However, after reading about them, I have some concerns:
    1.) The steering. I have read that the steering can give out and total loss of steering (and loss of control) happens. Is it similar to a car w/ normal power steering that fails, or is it more serious?
    I know the 2004 were recalled until a certain build date, but I have read about 05's on NHSTA's webpage, and failure. Educate me please on this one!
    2.) Engine on V6. I had a 97 Lumina w/ a leaky intake manifold gasket at 58k. It was replaced and pinged just terribly. I know they are very similar and GM had some problems with those gaskets leaking. Are they completely fixed?
    3.) Transmissions- How are they ? are they fairly trustworthy??
    4.) Any thing else - good and bad.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    According to CU the '05 is a lot more reliable than the '04, latter of which had fair number of first year build issues.

    However, the steering rack remains a weak spot in most new malibus, with a fix supposedly coming in second quarter of '06.

    My '04 transmission was built just before the time a whole bunch of "howling trannys" wer ebuilt, but so far mine has been ok. '05's have a revision to that trans.

    No problems with the '04 V6 so far.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    1.) The power steering, mainly affected the 04s, but a couple with 05s are still having trouble with them. If the system goes out you just lose power steering, but can still steer the car, with much more effort, it is not steer-by-wire, but just uses an electric motor to "assist" the driver when turning.
    2.) While the 3.5L V6 is closely related to the 3.1/3.4 that had lots of intake manifold gasket problems, they are using a new gasket now that is supposed to fix the problem.
    3.) I wouldn't worry about the transmission, it's been around for since the early to mid 90s and should prove dependable.
  • 01taurussel01taurussel Posts: 43
    Just to clarify the answer - a "fix" is coming for all malibus in 2006 or new ones being built? What kind of fix are they supposed to be doing.

    I read on some webpage a women had her steering fail, and she couldn't control the car - something like it locked up or something?? heard anything about that?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    The fix for malibus with noisy or binding steering racks is supposed to be a redesigned steering rack. It has taken Chevy and/or supplier quite a while to get that done.

    The failing steering is probably due to the defective steering columm a number of '04 and '05 models got built with. There have been a few reported cases of the car steering itself, but usually it just dies and the driver has to rely on manual steering until the columm/steering system is repaired.

    In 2007, electric steering is going bye-bye on the Malibu Maxx and most of the Malibus, as they go to the hydraulic system used on the SS.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    In 2007, electric steering is going bye-bye on the Malibu Maxx and most of the Malibus, as they go to the hydraulic system used on the SS.

    Does that mean the rest of us with EPS get a life time warranty?
  • mfh1mfh1 Posts: 15
    i have a 2004 Maxx with a noisy front end since day one. Man hole covers, pavement creases, curb cuts, etc. Three steering colums and one strut later, no improvement. Two dealers know nothing about a fix (rack replacement) planned by GM. There is no such TSB. Where does this information come from?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Info has been posted on this through this forum and the problems and solutions forums, including my issues and experiences (everything but tie rods replaced so far - only marginal improvement).

    The suspension on the Malibu is weak, unfortunately, as is the one on its Saab/Opel cousin.
  • mfh1mfh1 Posts: 15
    Kurtamaxxguy: I've seen the posts, but are you aware of any document from GM/Chevrolet, with a reference number, that states they know of the problem and are working on a fix? I've told my dealer about these posts but he claims to have no information from the manufacturer (as if I'm making it up). Chevy customer service knows nothing about it either. All they have access to are TSB's on the steering column defect.
  • concertkeyconcertkey Posts: 59
    Our 2004 Malibu has recently started "creaking" when the steering wheel is turned or the car starts to move with the steering wheel turned. It is intermittent, however. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    One person reported a hard to find broken spot weld under/inside the fender that caused a similar creak. It was either reported in this thread or the main Maxx thread.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    I had creaky steering, was worse when hot, outside air temp high. Dealer replaced sway bar bushings and lubed the new ones before installation. 18K miles.
  • mfh1mfh1 Posts: 15
    Concertkey: Was this broken weld on a structural, weight-bearing component that would give the feeling of something loose in suspension?
  • concertkeyconcertkey Posts: 59
    Interesting. I suspected bushings because my '92 Camry used to creak in the winter and the only fix was to replace the bushings. We'll find out in a couple of weeks.
  • I had front upper strut bushings replaced on my '04 Maxx under warrenty...creaking sensation/sound is now gone.
  • mhelselmhelsel Posts: 11
    I own a 2004 Malibu and this is what I have found out. Malibu, malibu Maxx, and Pont/ G6 all have the same steering system. I have had the column replaced and this did not solve the problems with the electric steering.
    GM replaced the rack & pinion (P/N 15858368 gear 6.508)
    this is a engineering defect in design, and can be repaired under warranty.You should hear a noise when turning left at low speed, like going around a corner.
    GM Doc. # 1819760 states that the problem will return after 3000 to 5000 miles.
    GM has had many many complaints on the steering problems, so ask about the part number that I have given you.

    mhelsel ;)
  • mhelselmhelsel Posts: 11
    GM Document ID# 1819760 is all about this problem, and I have just had my rack replaced with PN# 15858368. Well we have driven my malibu 218 miles and it drives all over the road. Some time it goes to the left or the right when you let go the steering wheel, and when you go around a turn the rear acts like it's going to pass the front of the car. WE are told that this is the new version of rack?
    returned rack has the same part number? STRANGE? Dealer told me today that EDMUND's problems & solutions is all grabage and not believe it because it's not GM.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Dealer told me today that EDMUND's problems & solutions is all grabage and not believe it because it's not GM.

    he, he, he...I'm sure the dozen or so GM employees who monitor this board each day will get a kick out of that!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,379
    You might post your dealer's name here so others won't be so unlucky as to stumble into their sales lot or repair area.

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

  • Sounds like your dealer service department doesn't know what it is doing. If you can try another dealer.

    As for solutions being "garbage", the ones I have gotten from here have been helpful, and in a few cases helped identify problems for my servicing dealer (both of which have a revolving door wrt personnel and are highly variable).
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    My 04 Maxx is doing OK, knock on wood. I've had no problems with the steering...yet, although I have noticed a faint creaking noise when turning the wheel to maneuver into a parking space.

    With 31K on this car, this has me thinking: What do repairs to this electric steering system cost when out of warranty? I presume that most of the people posting here have had their problems taken care of under warranty.

    Maybe I should pay more attention to those scary things I get in the mail from the people trying to sell me a GM extended warranty ? ;)
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    If you buy the extended warranty, your problems will start when it expires.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I know each and every car has its own characteristics..but I too own an 04 Maxx LT.....built Feb 04....and have had no problems with the column at all.....84K on my Maxx and still strong.....about to do a tune up and plug wire replacment on it..nothing but tires, oil, and wipers so far....a bulb or two as well......

    GMPP is going to be expensive now that you have over 24K on the car.....but a personal choice to buy an extended warranty....good luck
  • After having the steering gear replaced on my 05 Malibu about 3800 miles ago, it's back and seems worse than before. The car is still under factory warranty for another 13,000 miles. My question is how many times will Chevy be willing to keep replacing it? And since we all know it will return, even Chevy admits it, are they going to be willing to do anything about this defect or will I just have to live with it as long as I keep the car? Can any real damage be done if you don't have it replaced? Thanks for any help and advise.
    the deckdog
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I dont beleive there has been any documentation of long term damage as a result of the suspension clunk.....its just an engineering design they will have to fix eventually....but I dont think it will ever be retrofitted for a fix.......IMHO
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