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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    that could cause turn signals or other indicator lights to stop working while the user is driving the vehicle?
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    Consider this - your key fob is a radio link to your BCM. You can open doors and trunk and also remote start. What happens if a stray radio signal gets into the system? A strong radio signal in the proximity of the car will overload and swamp the receiver. I remember working on a high power antenna system some years back. A few of us had parked our cars nearby. When the time came to leave 2 cars would not start until we had pushed them some distance away from the antenna. I'm not saying this IS the problem with the new Malibu but it is worth investigating.

    Do you know what frequency the key fob operates on e2?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    The turn signal lamps themselves are 4 separate output drivers from the BCM to each turn signal lamp directly. The status of indicators in the instrument cluster are, with a few exceptions, under control of serial data communication and so an interruption in that communication would likely also affect other functions that are updated pretty often (like what gear you are in). I remember the other poster's complaint from several months ago and that one is certain a very strange occurrence which I don't believe I recall ever hearing before.
  • Just when I thought my dealer had exorcised the cruise control demon, I find that when I attempt to accelerate with the "+" button, the cruise control system shuts down. I've noticed that this usually happens the first time I attempt to accelerate after starting the ignition; after that, it appears to work normally. EVerything else works OK. It engages and disengages normally when I want it to (although disengaging with the brake pedal still requires more of a stomp than I'd like).

    What to do: Live with it...or keep bugging them? I have 9000 miles and 11 months left under warranty.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Well if repeatible I would hope they can find it

    I know you have posted on this before and my memory isn't that good to remember all the things I already suggested be looked at.

    I would love to troubleshoot it myself :)
  • I have a '98 Malibu LS with just over 64K miles. It was a lease vehicle prior to my purchasing it in March '01. It's in great shape except for the growing rust problem around where I put gas in (I'm sure there's a technical term for that but I don't know what it is). It seems to be just that panel that is affected. I took it to a trusted body shop and they are relucatant to fix because they are afraid it will happen again. I've seen other Malibus in the area with rust occuring there, too. Any ideas on what could be causing it? Thanks.
  • Actually the Maxx uses (at least in '04) a whip antenna on the right rear quarter panel to receive radio signals. If it has Onstar, there's another antenna on the roof.

    But yes, computer systems, if not properly shielded, can be vunerable to RF noise or strong radio signals.

    What's worrysome is how long the systems can remain disabled and that currently there is no way for the user to know what has happened (there was no DIC warning or anything for the light failute).
  • Impressions from owners on 99 Chevy Malibu. I have had to put money into this car and each year it is something else. Now my car jerks when I accelerate until later when it is warmed up. Just had my O2 sensor replaced last year.
    Any suggestions?
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    Seems as if some computer functions can be disabled until the next start cycle is initiated. Looks like the BCM needs a reboot to get the missing items working again. That's how it seems in my case. I've learnt to live with it because so far the car has never left me stranded. On my 04 Malibu the antenna is in the rear window. Never mind where the antenna is mounted I still believe rf interference MIGHT be the culprit here.

    It would be interesting to disable the remote receiver for the key fob to see what the effect would be. Problem is a person would have to wait a long time to come to a conclusion due to the randomness of the problem.

    The antenna provides a direct path into the heart of the computer system for radio frequencies. I don't know how selective the receiver is. But strong rf signals of any frequency nearby will surely swamp the receiver anyway. So shielding might not work here. A better link from keyfob to receiver would have been an infrared link. But that defeats the purpose of remote start where a line of sight would be needed for starting. In the winter you would want to start your car from indoors.
  • I had my steering gear replaced with the new part per the bulletin and it really made a big improvement. I drove it over a washboard gravel road, the type that used to make my front end rattle and clunk, and it was much quieter. I just hope it stays tight over the miles & years to come. Anyone who is thinking about having it done should probably do it, esp. if under warranty. My dealer didn't make me go through all sorts of crazy stuff to prove it needed it, no "unable to duplicate" response, just prompt and effective service to fix the problem. Not sure if they adjusted just the toe or did a full alignment or what, but it drives perfectly straight and the steering wheel is straight as well.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    You said that it was much you mean that you could still here some minor rattle on the gravel road, or is it totally silent? I heard the noise on my gravel "test road" only once since the part was installed. I agree that the noise is much better, but not totally gone. Can you confirm?
  • I heard a little something, but it was different, so I think I was probably hearing some strut noise that is probably "normal" for this car. I definitely didn't hear/feel the clunking I felt before the fix, so I can happily live with it now.
  • I had the steering gear replaced on my 04 Malibu LT about two weeks ago. The clunking sound is gone for the most part. However, I can still hear the clunking sound if the gas pedal is pushed hard.

    I feel two things have gone worse with the new steering gear:
    1. There is virtually no feedback from the steering wheel if I hold the car at an angle steadily.
    2. The OEM tires appear to make much more squeezing noise now.

    Also, with the old steering gear, the ABS activates prematurely if I hit the brake pedal while the car is going over a bump. This problem has been alleviated with the new gear.

    Any comments?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    interesting; I can't wait to try the ABS thing now that you mentioned it. Did they get your steering wheel perfectly aligned? Mine is just slightly off center.
  • 04 Very noisy the faster I go :confuse: :confuse: I have an 04 Malibu and it seems to get louder in the front the faster I go. Almost sounds like a jet engine and it does not make the sound if I am not moving or parked and rev the engine. If it helps it has republic tires on it which are in good shape and almost new I am sure. It is loud as heck compared to my 03 impala. Thanks for any help
  • I would love to troubleshoot it myself

    I wish you would, too! ;)

    Just to review...after a number of attempts with "unable to duplicate problem -- performs as designed", they finally replaced the BCM. The cruise now engages reliably and, for the most part, will disengage with the brake pedal without too much drama. Every now and then it will still resist the brake, and I'll feel this surge of power before the disengage occurs.

    The tap-declerate function works reliably but it's the resume and tap-accelerate part that is unpredictable. I'm wondering if there is something intermittent in the upper half of the "+/-" switch. If the problem isn't in the BCM, what else could it be?
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    sounds like road noise from the tires....never heard of republic brand tires....might try rotating tires see if that helps....then you may have to simply replace them if the noise doesnt decrease
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    come on pao, they have them at your local Just Tires :shades:
  • I am having somewhat of the same trouble with my 2001 Malibu. All of a sudden one day my car would not start through my ignition. I have a remote start and that would work fine. So of course I took it to my mechanic and he figures it's the ignition switch. I have to play with key over and over again before I can get it started. I did notice that when all my dash lights come on when my key is in the "on" position the car will start only if my dash lights stay on. If they don't stay on once I go to turn the key over it won't start.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I am probably repeating myself (and you can't check this yourself) but on the complaint of having to push on brake too hard to disengage cruise I would check the value of the calculated brake pedal position at rest as reported by the BCM. On this vehicle there is an analog sensor which is monitored by the BCM. If the BCM isn't zeroed at pedal rest position then you could have condition where brake has to be pushed slightly to get to zero (so a deadband) or it is already reporting partially pushed so that the cruise disengages to quick and you might get a drop-out from a severe bump in road. This all has no effect on brakes themselves just on cruise control and brake lamps.

    The other complaint I would first suspect the switch although I have never heard of this complaint. The cruise switches form a "resistive ladder" with the BCM so there is only a single wire going to BCM from the switch. Depending on which cruise switch is pushed the switch presents a different total resistance to the BCM. This varies the voltage read by BCM. The dealer tech also has capability of reading this voltage with service tool as well as the BCM's interpretation of voltage.

    Not much help I know but somewhat of an explanation of those 2 sensor inputs to BCM.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    perhaps....but Ive got a set of michelins on mine now.....sooooooo..just about ready to roll 76K.....GRIN ;)
  • I have a 2000 Malibu LS. It is also rusting just below the gas cap. My mechanic said it wasn't worth fixing--cost too much. I have seen a number of Malibus with the same problem. Is it a design flaw?
  • I have the same problem with my 2005 Malibu LS and just as your dealership said, they couldn't duplicate the problem. It has done it since the day it was brand spankin' new, but not with the frequency that it has in the past couple of months. After it's third trip to the dealer in three months for this problem without them duplicating it, I started recording every single start with the voice recorder on my cell phone. I finally got some proof!! I will be taking it back to the dealership with the recording on 9/12. Every tech who has looked at it says it sounds like a fuel problem. I dunno :-( Best of luck to the both of us.
  • All of a sudden my radio shut off. Now, it is not the fuse because the radio will switch stations and the clock works but no sound comes out. I know if you blow your speakers some sound should still come out right? Please help.
  • Has anyone removed a front interior door panel on a Maxx? How is it done? Older GM interior panels were held on by friction - plastic "push-ins".

    I've noticed a small access panel by the door-pull and was wondering if that has anything to do with panel removal.

    A window regulator's bolts came loose and I had it repaired under warranty, but the next time I may have to attempt a fix myself.
  • A friend is having a problem in his 2005 Malibu MAXX. I was in his car installing a Motorola IHF1000 Bluetooth handsfree system yesterday. Wrapped it all up and it seemed to work well (radio mutes and the handsfree audio coming through the car's front speakers).

    However, my friend noticed on his drive home last night that the needles on the gauges in the instrument cluster were not lit up. I didn't remove the cluster or mess with any of that wiring. I did vary the dimming levels and likely changed the position of the headlight switch while I was searching for some sort of switched Ignition signal line to use for the carkit (I would up tapping a brown wire off of the HVAC control panel that responded as an ignition line source). All the other wiring work was done with a Y-cable plug-n-play harness and relay at the back of the radio. None of those wires were spliced, etc.

    Anyone seen this behavior before? Is this user error (i.e. headlight switch or something else in the wrong position) or is it a sign of some other trouble? Thanks.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    You might have blown a fuse or have an open on a power feed to cluster. Although you provided a bit of detail there are some things you didn't cover which would help with troubleshooting....

    If this is only a concern with cluster needles lighting up (and other stuff backlit in vehicle still work) then I would focus more on the power feeds to cluster. I forget if it was the battery feed or ignition feed to cluster that can cause this condition though :(

    If you just turn on the ignition without starting the vehicle does the Check Engine Light illuminate? That I think relies on the ignition feed to cluster being present. That feed comes directly off ignition switch and fuse for ignition switch is in a fuse panel at front passenger floor and fuse called IGN SENSOR

    The battery feed to cluster is done with by the CLUSTER/THEFT fuse in same fuse panel.

    In both cases I would expect if these fuses were blow he would see other problems but maybe they just haven't showed up yet

    You can get all kinds of weird problems if the device you added is trying to communicate on vehicle's serial data but that is likely not case with what you are describing.
  • Thanks for the response! I'll check those fuses and the associated clustter behaviors when I get a chance to get into the car next. He seemed to think the rest of the Cluster backlighting was working.

    Correct, this handsfree system does not mess with the vehicle bus at all. Would you have access to what signals are on the HVAC connector? I would like to know what the actual signal name is for the brown wire that I tapped as Ignition. Thanks, again.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Ok - I have heard about a few other cases with just cluster needles not lighting up and it usually was a power feed problem to cluster.

    I certainly do know about wires to HVAC ;) - It does vary a little depending on what HVAC system is in vehicle (base or Auto) but if you found a switched 12 volts on a brown wire you likely found an ignition RUN feed fed off a relay in the same fuse center (which is also the BCM). It would only have power when ignition in RUN (and not ACCY).
  • I just got an 05 maxx a few months ago and had the same exact vibrating.shaking problem you have mentioned.. I brought my car back tot he dealers and they reballanced the weights on the tires and that worked... I also had my roters replaced because it vibrated so badly when braking, and they replaced my stereo because it died and ate a CD, then they replaced my egnigtion switch because my key always got jammed.. still gets stuck every now and then... Oh and I brought it in for a problem witht he power steering.. showed a warning on my radio and the wheel locked up but they could not find any errors or problems when they hooked it up to the computer... having the same problem againw it the PS have to bring it in yet again!
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