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Chevrolet Malibu Steering/Suspension



  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    No, poor design. They made changes when they kept coming back, they remanufacture the racks for service.
    I looked at mine with the passenger side boot off, no lube whatsoever where the shaft went through the bushing. The shaft would rock side to side.
    The rack is mechanical, only lube is at manufacture.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    It seems I may have misunderstood the problem. Some vehicles have the rack mounted in hard rubber bushings that are clamped to frame or firewall. After reviewing, it seems you are referring to bushings that are located at the output shafts.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    It seems that some of my trouble is related to EPS and dealer tells me that the play is normal. If so, then they should not be putting it in vehicles because I feel the drift is dangerous. Having to put a death grip on the wheel and constantly adjusting to keep the vehicle between the lines is a horrifying experience. If I stay in this vehicle much longer I probably will be pulled over and checked for DUI/DWI.
    I've complained of this issue at service three times so far.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    if Im not mistaken the EPS can be calibrated and in fact must be every time the column is replaced or work is done to it....I'll have to do the search for it to make sure......dont have any play in mine at all....but I seem to be one of the lucky ones that has never had a steering column problem....158K on my 04 Maxx LT
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Absolutely correct. After an alignment, it must be zero'ed and recalibrated according to another forum.
    Selling dealer aligned. Still had issue with it. I took to second dealer and they told me the first forgot to zero. Then I learned about the recalibration. Parts had come in at first dealer and I asked about the zeroing and recalibration. They assured me that had been done at the time of the alignment.
    So, did the selling dealer have it wrong, they did not do the electrical part?
    Or is it getting out of calibration for some reason. The second shop rechecked alignment at my request and it was OK.

    But I have concerns over the specs they used because they were for older models. Supposedly, starting with 08 there was supposed to be a major redesign.
    I would at least expect different springs with possibly different spring rates for the weight differences of the available engine and transmission combinations. And likely different alignment specs.
    Also the range of wheels and tires available would suggest that the contact patch could vary changing rolling resistance. And some tires are supposed to have decreased resistance resulting in better MPG. I would think that the wheels would all have the same off-set, but won't bet on that.
    But I certainly question why they have a different camber setting on the front, L/S to R/S. Normally that would be done if you plan to drive in circles such as on the track. I questioned the alignment man and his answer was that it was to improve handling on crowned roads, sloping down to the right. I think that you'd see that presents a problem when driving on flat or roads sloping to the left.
    Possibly this results in actions that are counter intuitive making handling feel poor. I have detected on several occasions when the front gets a jounce because of an equal bump across road or such as when applying brake firmly and quickly releasing, as the springs return to height it is like the front wants to hop to the left.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Replaced steering column out of warranty about two years ago. GM reimbursed my $700 bill after the fact. Now, in single digit temperatures, the power steering failed, but came back after I restarted the engine. If it's like last time, I'll get total failure in a matter of days.

    Other than that (and it's a big that), I have no real complaints with the Maxx after 75K. The reimbursed column and a blend door fixed under warranty are about it.

    Wife's car is an 08 Kia Optima which has been completely trouble free for 3+ years, although with a lot less mileage.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    So more evidence that the steering is an issue.
    Did you have the feeling of play around straight ahead? That is turn the wheel a few degrees each direction without the vehicle responding?
    Wife's KIA Rhondo has been much the same, except one major complaint. It handles like in a wreck. And terrible torque steer. Turns out there are no camber or caster adjustments and vehicle is definitely out of alignment. I need to help her pursue getting it taken care of. I want a company engineer to authorize the fix for safety reasons and that they can't claim I had the vehicle chopped.
  • I'm curious to hear more info about the reimbursement of the $700 out of warranty. Chevy refused to reimburse me for my $700 expense to replace the sterring column. How far out of warranty was your work done? What was your mileage please? What was your history with the dealer/service before this? Any other data that would be helpful to me in asking Chevy to reopen my case? Thanks much! I feel taken advantage of by Chevy -- "power steering light came on at about 45,000 miles, but steering still worked fine. At 56,000 miles, steering stopped working and I had to replace the steering column.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    the steering column has been a problematic issue with the 04-07 MY cars......beleive you see most of the issues in the 04-5 MYs....there was a highway safety administration engineering study done on the issue back in late 05 I beleive, however the overall % of the occurance was apparently within acceptable standards per the numbers produced and at the time, GM was handling the issues under warranty with replacement.

    Believe you will find that most who had the problem, had it documented throughout service history of the car....and not necessarily a one time event....some even had the column replaced multiple times....

    again, not sure what makes them go bad....some had stated the contacts in the column get dirty and grease gets on them, others are simply not calibrated (zero'd correctly).....dont know the total numbers....of how many since you only see the problems surface on here......and no idea how big the overall population of the problem really is......mine is an 04 LT...will be 6 years old next month...have 158K on it.....and never have had a problem with the column....only replaced tires (3 sets) battery (1), brakes (2 sets), wipers, oil changes (synthetic every 6K miles), a right front tire rod and right rear caliper.....still going strong and hope it will see 200K
  • thanks much, pao, for the info/background. I am going to write to the CEO of Chevy and inform him of this problem and the non-resolution that I had. He can call in someone and get a list of all that has happened to the steering on this model, and I can't. If he looks at that list and reviews my case, and he feels that I am being treated fairly, I would like to buy another Malibu, as I love the car, except for the steering issue. I'll let you all know the outcome. I know, you're saying, "Good luck, Sweetie." Ah, it's worth a try.
  • gindelm7gindelm7 Posts: 5
    Today, March 2, 2010, I see GM recalling 1.3 million compact cars for steering problems. As described in the recall, the steering locks up, the car "chims", then "power steering" flashes on the radio. More than a dozen accidents are attributed to this recall. When this happens it is almost impossible to turn the wheel. This is exactly the same problem I experienced on the Malibu. Will GM recall the Malibu too? :mad:
  • I certainly hope that they include the Malibu in the recall - there is definitely a problem! I just had my steering column replaced a month ago for the exact problem. I'm not at all convinced that a new steering column will prevent it from happening again. Who can we contact about this??
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Did you mean "shimmy" instead of "chims"?
    I had it shimmy about a month ago, but did not notice message in daylight.

    Or did you mean "chime"?
  • anywho71anywho71 Posts: 2
    In light of the recall, I sent letters to my federal government representatives. Hopefully in light of recent pressures and the governments stake in GM, the malibu can be added to the list. NHTSA closed the complaint on this one, but it was closed before the units in the field had a chance to get enough time to experience it. I would think writing to representatives might be able to get the NHTSA to reconsider that action.
  • eileen7eileen7 Posts: 7
    Sharon, would you mind sharing a copy of your letter that you sent to your representatives in Washington, so that I (we) can duplicate it and not "reinvent the wheel" (pun intended!). Thanks much!
  • anywho71anywho71 Posts: 2
    Senator Schumer,
    Recently it was announced that GM was recalling 1.3 million cars that have a potentially dangerous steering defect where the power steering will without warning quit functioning. I am writing to inform you that the recall is in no way complete. The first vehicle to experience this problem to a large extent was the 2004 Chevy Malibu. This is a known problem with this car and needs to be fixed. The NHTSA opened and subsequently closed the investigation on this issue before many of the cars that were to experience this reached the necessary life. Since the repair for this is around $1000 dollars and it is clearly a design flaw, I would kindly urge you to look into the matter and see if GM can be persuaded to assist the many customers who have had to pay for their error. If you web search 2004 chevy malibu steering, you will find an unending supply of testimonials to support my claims. I will include one as reference
    Thank you for your assistance.

  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    The power steering in the Malibu is more an electronic assist vice the old power steering we were accustomed too.

    from what I can find....the voluntary recall is for the replacement of a motor in the power steering system....and the issue occurs in older vehicles generally pass warranty

    on the Malibu the NHTSA did open an investigation in the power steering failures in May 2004,transitioning it to an engineering analysis on July 04 and closing the investigation in May 05 based on GM ISSUED CUSTOMER SATISFACTION CAMPAIGN (CSC) 04050A IN DECEMBER 2004 TO ADDRESS THE ALLEGED DEFECT IN APPROXIMATELY 58,700 SUBJECT VEHICLES, ENCOMPASSING AT LEAST 97 PERCENT OF THE COMPLAINT AND WARRANTY CLAIMS POPULATION. VEHICLES OUTSIDE THE CSC 04050A POPULATION CONTAIN A NEWLY DESIGNED TORQUE AND POSITION SENSOR AND HAVE EXPERIENCED A RELATIVELY LOW COMPLAINT RATE. (this was cut and pasted from the NHTSA website).

    there were no further investigations for other MY mailbus other than the 04.....with that said....make your own conclusions.....Im not sure the malibus have the same power steering systems as the Cobalts being recalled....most repairs for the malibu are for steering column replacement due to these sensor failures, vice an actual motor my understanding.....once replaced they have to be calibrated as well.....just want to make sure we are comparing the same cause and effect....

    04 Malibu Maxx LT with 160K on it...and never a steering issue...... :)
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Lucky you.
    With old style power steering, hydraulic, you had few parts. You had a pump, a couple of hoses, and a hydraulicly assisted gear box or rack and pinion. And in all cases I'm aware of there was an isolator, often corded rubber, between the steering wheel and the gearbox to isolate vibration, noise, etc. from the cabin. It was fairly reliable. You did not have to do special adjustments or fine tuning if anything in the system was touched or an alignment was done.
    Compare that to this EPS system and don't forget the intermediate shaft is part of this steering system.
    The number of issues I've seen on my own vehicle, many of them stupid design mistakes, I'd say this is Chevy's Edsel.
  • peachy84peachy84 Posts: 2
    i have an 06 malibu ss... i havent noticed a prob with rattling in the steering colomn but i have noticed a squeeking from time to time while im driving. i honestly hate my car... i think its evil... i bought it brand new and ive had a lot of things go wrong with it... my driverside handle on the outside of my door broke off, the steering squeeks, i think i have an exhaust leak thats been there since i bought the car, and now my stereo is eating my cds lol... im told the band or something went bad so it wont push the cd out. fun fun...
  • Just found out that I have to have the assist motor replaced on my 2005 Malibu at the cost of $760! The power steering comes and goes. When it first went out, I was in the middle of a turn onto a busy highway and barely avoided hitting someone head-on. Wasn't sure what was happening and THEN the chime went off & the alert showed up on the screen.(wished it had been BEFORE that happened!) When I notified GM last week, they told me I HAD to take it to a GM dealer to be diagnosed in order for them to consider any assistance on the bill. I did (@ the tune of $80) and now they tell me they will not offer ANY assistance at all! I called the NHTSA and filed a complaint. They said if enough people file complaints with them that GM will be forced to make a recall. So if you (or anyone you know of) have a Malibu with steering issues in the past that have already been paid for or are currently dealing with this situation, please file a complaint with NHTSA.
  • chevsharonchevsharon Posts: 8
    Thanks for the infoon the 2005 Chev. Malibu steering power steering problem. I also experienced the same thing and it cost a LOT of money to repair. I will definitely notify the NHTSA right away. They definitely need a recall here!
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I would keep after GM...did you work just with the dealer..or with GM customer service....this is a know problem with the 04-05 MY Malibus....many failed during the warranty period....if you do a search at the NHTSA website you will see they issue an engineering study directive on the issue, however there was no recall issue due to GM handling most if not all the cases under warranty...

    steering column replacements were running 700-900 for replacement and a few on the board had mulitiple columns replaced.....Ive been fortunate...(knock on wood) not to have had the problem in my 04 Maxx with 165K on it....

    make sure when they replace the column that it is calibrated correctly as well....there was a customer service rep monitoring edmunds threads for a while....dont know is she still is or a search for Maria at GM...and see if something comes up...I would try contacting her through this steering column issue is a documented problem
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hello Pao,
    Thank you for bring this to my attention. To "Chevsharon", please email me more information about your situation so I can look into this further. You can get my email by clicking on my name. Thank you,
    Mariah GM Customer Service
  • I have a 2007 Malibu with the electric assist steering. I keep getting a message on the radio display saying "Power Steering". Looking to find out if anyone else has seen this message and if there is a solution.
  • I have a 2005 Chev Malibu and the power steering failed while going down the highway. The message also appeared on my radio screen at the same time as the power steering failed. I had to replace the entire steering column. However, I have since found out that others have had this same problem and even after replacing the steering column it happens again - only to have to replace the column again. This is a major defect and I feel that GM needs to do a recall and correct the problem. At the advice of another owner with the same problem, I notified the NSTSA - you can email them - and if they get enough complaints they can force a recall. I highly recommend you do this.
  • Thanks for the info. I will do that.
  • eileen7eileen7 Posts: 7
    Same thing happened with my 2004 malibu. Better start saving up your $700 for the dealer to replace your steering column, as I and others on this list have had to. GM refused to reimburse me, and they intimated that if I had a better relationship with the dealer, they might have reimbursed me. Since I refuse to pay dealer service rates when I can get the same or better service elsewhere MUCH more cheaply, I lose. (My husband has paid the same dealer (Medved in Castle Rock, CO) the high service charges for his truck's maintenance -- not a Chevy, but a Dodge -- but they have done a no better job on his car than the local service people (not the dealer) have done on mine. More than once, they did not put enough oil in his car and he had to return.) I love my car, but I feel I can no longer support GM for my next purchase.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    I have learned from experience to have warranty on a GM for as long as you plan to own it, sad but true.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I guess Im the exception here...with 3 GM cars....and no major problems on any of them...04 Maxx LT with 165K on it now....06 Pontiac Solstice with 40K on it...and 09 Cadillac CTS with 25K on it.....

    minor issues on all...all handled very nicely by three dealers....most done on the Solstice....with a differential replacement....but it was a known weak point in the early MY Sols.....just as the steering column seems to be with the Malibus.....

    All other brands also have their it isnt specific to GM IMO....just pick a brand and go look at that thread on this will always find issues regardless of make, model, or price......

    I also am very good with routine maintenance and scheduled maintenance on all the vehicles....regular oil and other fluid changes, belts, plugs and filters per OEM recommendations....alignments annually or as well as wash/wax regularly too..........this too reduces mechanical issues
  • You are very fortunate to not have had any problems. I must say though that I am VERY good about routine maintenance as well, including maintenance in all areas so that has not caused the problem.
    The problem is with the steering and GM needs to step up to the plate and recall and correct the problem.
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