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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    I just picked up my Malibu from the dealer, they performed the ABS reprogram, and the new airbag stickers for the sun visors, but they had to order the clips for the seat belt recall. Also the rattling passenger seat wasn't solved, they said they couldn't hear it (only happens going down my drive-way when its cold outside) But they claimed to have found the rattling that sounded like a strut was loose, which was the steering assembly, so maybe I'll get two birds with one stone here and not have to worry about it going out soon if they're replacing it now.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    e2helper, I just spent about 30 min. looking for a post I think I read yesterday. You had gathered together a list of all the TSB's for the 'Bu and put them in one post, didn't you? I was going to print it out but now I can't find it. Your help is appreciated!
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    thanks mr_bots. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to post back. Please let me know if the front "strut" rattle disappears as you drive it over the next few weeks. Have a great weekend!!
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry for the hidden info (LOL).

    It took me a while to find as well

    Post #4331 (last one) in Chevrolet Malibu forum is where you will find it.

    I was a little leery of putting out that amount of information but hope it helps you.
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    From the end user consumer point of view please don't ever hesitate to put out any information that contributes to a better understanding of these vehicles. If it's an internal corporate issue I, for one, promise not to tell!
    Thank you for your input.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Well I guess TSBs (at least the number and title) are pretty much in the public domain since (Autozone) and NHTSA site post them - although quite a time lag on when posted. Alldata currently only shows a very short list of TSBs thru April 2004 (7-8 months ago) while NHTSA shows a more complete list of them up to beginning of June 2004 (5-6 months ago) but its site a pain to navigate. There are a couple other places that I see TSBs available at but I am sure others might have their favorites?
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    I'm getting in the habit of thanking you e2helper! That list is very helpful since I am actually going to have time to get my 1st service soon. I'm sorry to make you search for it since it was right in front of my face the whole time! Doh!
  • avantiavanti Posts: 27
    I'm planning on ordering a Maxx in spring, after a quick trip to Chicago Auto Show to make sure I've looked at every car available!
      The LS is mostly fine for my family but I would like to add two LT features: Homelink and the passenger-side visor with the illuminated vanity mirror. Assuming buying these from GM is not price- prohibative, are they likely to be plug-and-play (or close to)? If wiring for the Homelink panel (the same part has the moonroof switch too, I believe) is already there, for example, that one may be really easy. Any chance there is unused wiring buried in the headliner for the passenger visor? Or buried wires for the LT's autodimming mirror so I could just plug-in an aftermarket autodimmer/compass? For some reason the dealerships are not good at answering questions like these...
  • here the latest on the steering problems on my 2004 maxx lt which is fully loaded:

    1st visit to service:
    yellow wrench light on and steering locked up.

    2nd visit to service:
    dealer replaced steering column, gave me the car back. problem now was that i couldnt even turn the steering wheel left only right.

    3rd visit to service:
    when i accelerate the steering wheel turns left as far as about 10 o'clock on clock for example. i test it out without holding the wheel just to see what happens and i tested it out on 10 different streets where all of them are flat.

    what would you in my case? would you ask for an exchange or would you allow them to fix it for a 3rd time and risk possible more problems?

    as they say once a problem always a problem. it has 6,900 miles on it and in perfect shape. do you think the dealer would allow an exchange for the same or entirely different auto. i was also consdering the Equinox.

    let me know.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I can answer the question, avanti. But the news is not good :(

    Wiring for the headliner on this vehicle is incredibly proliferated by all of the optional stuff you are asking about - no wiring is given away for Homelink, passenger visor mirror or autodimming rear view mirror, so if you got an LS you wouldn't find these wires available for you to add the content. Each of these features only add a few wires (passenger illuminated mirror=2 wires, Homelink = 3 wires, autodimming mirror = 3 wires). Each also requires a "wiring connector" to plug into the components.

    The only slight good news I can give you is the the wiring required for those functions is ONLY lacking from the headliner "harness" which plugs into the rear fuse center in left rear corner of vehicle.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    take heart Maxxlt. If my experience with my Vibe is any indication, GM will not leave you high and dry. I had to take my Vibe in 4 times for a check engine light. "Turn the gas cap tighter", the dealer would keep saying to me, as I clenched my fists tighter and tighter. When I worked with the GM customer service people, and followed the directions in the back of my owner's manual, they seemed more than willing to resolve my problem TO MY SATISFACTION. In the end, Toyota engineers figured out that many of their Corollas had vapor recovery lines improperly connected to the gas tanks, and might be the case with my Vibe; it was. I have not checked out the back of my Maxx's owner's manual, but I'm sure the procedures are there to get your situation resolved TO YOUR SATISFACTION. I feel confident in that. Good luck.
  • thanks. i am taking the 1st step in working with my dealership mainly because I know them very we bought 5 cars from them in the past so i'm hoping they will help me to the fullest satisfaction. if not i'll have to proceed.

    do you think in my case an exchange for a similar or different model chevy is fair or should i just keep letting them try and fix the problem?

    i'm also waiting on e2helper's response. i hope he can help me in this case.
  • "I was a little concerned about commenting on this particular case due to how far things looked to have progressed with dealer."

    What do you mean by this? I wasn't sure...

    I still think that since I drive a 2 year old every day in this car my dealer should look at an exchange for the same or differnt car within the same price range since I've had alot of steering problems as you can see I now feel unsafe with this car. I was also looking at the Equinox. Have they been pretty reliable?

    Thanks, let me know.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Since you specific asked me for any suggestions here are my thoughts:

    I know this was likely done after the column replacement with the follow-up visit but there are a couple "learning" procedures that need to be done after a column replacement so that the electronic power steering module is "zeroed" in regards to the handwheel position and torque sensors in column in order to get correct "on-center" feel and "steering returnability". These 2 procedures only take a minute and the dealer should probably try them again if it was only done once. You have to make sure the front wheels and steering wheel are all straight and no load being applied to steering wheel (don't touch it!) when these procedures are done.

    These procedures also are recommended to be done after a suspension alignment procedure.

    Only additional thought I can provide is this:

    There is also an informational TSB #04-03-06-001 called "Vehicle Leads/Pulls Characteristics and Diagnosis" for this vehicle that the dealer could take a look at. It talks about those suspension terms like front cross-caster and front cross-camber which is outside me area of expertise but probably will mean something to them.

    Good luck, and sorry about your experience so far with the vehicle.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I don't have any experience with the Equinox but I am sure there is another forum on Edmunds with owners of that vehicle posting you could look up their experiences.
  • duffdduffd Posts: 9
    Has anyone found the cord for the engine coolant heater (block heater). The owners manual says it is near the engine air filter/cleaner, but I can't see to find it. Thanks
  • "I was a little concerned about commenting on this particular case due to how far things looked to have progressed with dealer."

    What do you mean by this? I wasn't sure...

    I still think that since I drive a 2 year old every day in this car my dealer should look at an exchange for the same or differnt car within the same price range since I've had alot of steering problems as you can see I now feel unsafe with this car. I was also looking at the Equinox. Have they been pretty reliable?

    Thanks, let me know.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Engine block heater (option K05) is supposed to be standard equipment on Canadian optioned vehicles (as you likely know). Your vehicle had this option called out - so everything OK there.

    The owner manual is not correct for both engine types, duffd. The cord is stowed on different sides of the engine compartment depending on if you had 4 or 6 cylinder engine. For the 6 cylinder the cord should be found stuffed outboard of the driver side "shock tower" which is located rearward of the "battery box" Thank you for pointing out this item I will pass it along.

    Let us know if you find the cord on the driver side of vehicle, if it is not there then I am concerned that the cord may be missing from your vehicle and you would need dealer's help in getting a replacement so that your engine coolant can stay warm with the cold winter approaching.
  • avantiavanti Posts: 27
    Wow, everything I've read about you is true, you are really quick with an answer and very helpful!
      I figured the wiring harnesses would be specific to the equipment on the car and not one size fits all with lots of unused wiring and plugs.
      Maybe I'll get an LT after all...
  • sorry for the double post...
  • duffdduffd Posts: 9
    Yes e2helper it was stuffed outboard of the driver side shock tower. Thanks for the help. It is great to have someone with the "know" who can answer questions.
  • Can anyone tell me if it is possible to retro fit LT fog lights to the LS model (sedan). The dealer is not sure? If so, would it be a dealer job, or something I could do in my garage some afternoon. Also, I appreciate e2helper and all of his knowledge, I have learned more from him then the dealer. Hope you hang around e2helper. Oh yea, my last vin #210119, sometime in 04/04? Thanks.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Specific build date is 4/15/04 (Hmm, that date seems strangely easy to remember LOL)

    Adding fog lamps? it is possible, but not something dealer probably would want to try. Actually - adding remote start would be easier - but you already have that option ;)

    I will cover it strictly from content that is currently in your vehicle and what is missing from your vehicle (assuming an implementation that is like production design)

    I don't have any knowledge about how easy it would be to physically add the fog lamps themselves to the vehicle (does the front "fascia" have provisions for the lamp assmebly already?) - Dealer probably in a better position to understand that.

    However the "behind the scenes" stuff is what you want to know about. The answer is unfortunately wiring is "given away" in the vehicle, making the job pretty difficult.

    However to "show off" I will give you all the gory details :)

    1 - Fog Lamp switch is instrument panel would be easy to install, just replace the insert plug in trim panel with an actual switch.

    2 - The wiring for this fog lamp switch is NOT in the instrument panel wiring harness and would have to be added (4 wires - 1 connector).

    3 - One wire is missing in body harness from body computer to the underhood electrical center to drive fog lamp relay

    4 - The whole underhood electrical center would have to be replaced with a part containing fog lamp relay and fuse. You cannot just add external parts to the existing part, it has to be replaced with the LT part.

    5 - The forward lamp harness would have to have wiring for fog lamps added (4 wires - 2 connectors).

    6 - The body computer does not have to be replaced but it would have to be "reconfigured" to enable the fog lamp option.
  • anyone know why when I post a reply there are double and triple posts sometimes?

    what am i doing wrong?
  • Find a wrecked Maxx LT in a junk yard and get what you need - including wire harness.

    I've done it in the past with other cars.

    Two wires - 12 volts and ground will power whatever is needed/wanted.
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    <anyone know why when I post a reply there are double and triple posts sometimes?>

    Other people, including the Host, have requested that you don't hit the refresh button on the browser. Apparently that duplicates your post. I don't think I can confirm that since I'm on a Mac.
  • To avoid seeing multiple copies of your last posting, the thing for all of us to remember is that if you recently posted to a forum, hitting the refresh button resends or "reposts" the posting. You instead should click on "Recent Messages" or one of the blue highligted pages at the top or bottom of the page you are on instead. Prdm, you may be right in that it doesn't work the same way if you are using a mac.
  • e2helper,

     I Don't Know if I Have mentioned this before, My malibu has been in the shop twice for my theft system. The dealership said it locked up. Could this contribute to the horn honking?
  • I had my dealer check out the howl coming from my transmission the week before Thanksgiving. I had to go for a ride with the tech because they couldn't hear anything. I let the car warm up, and then took it up some hills, and then they heard it loud and clear. They weren't able to do anything immediately, but now I have an appointment for this Wednesday. I guess one of their tranny guys is going to check it out, and talk to a gm tech-line (or something, don't remember exactly what it was called) and see what's happening. It sounds like this isn't something that they've seen before on the Malibu. I did give them the TSB number that I got from this forum. We'll see how it goes!
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    Hitting refresh/reload after posting will duplicate your message no matter what system you're using. It's the nature of the discussion software. As suggested, clicking on "recent messages" is preferred. Also, if you have subscribed to the topic, all you need to do is click on "read subscriptions".

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