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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • sschribersschriber Posts: 89
    That fluctuating pressure wave is not unique to the Malibu. All of my cars since I remember have done this. Just ask my kids how fast they get a reaction from the front seat passengers when they drop their windows. Thank god for the rear lockout on electric windows...
  • ashkenashken Posts: 2
    I do have this very same problem...almost everyday...but how can it be resolved? That's what I want to know....
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Actually if you have a 1997-2003 Malibu you do have a "security system". It is a vehicle anti-theft system called PASSLock II. When this system detects an invalid start attempt it goes into a 10 minute lockout time which is likely what you are experiencing.

    Unfortunately I don't know enough about the system to give you any suggestions on what type of issue you may be having though. :(
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Posts: 677
    e2, I am curious if you can shed light on what kind of electrical connectors the Malibu uses.
    I.e., what kind of metal (tin, phosphor bronze, etc) ? also, are the exterior molex connectors sealed?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I believe you have mentioned this subject before, Kurt ;)

    Connector terminal plating varies. There are a lot of connectors in the vehicle, as you know.. Standard fare is for terminals to be tin-plated but quite a few connectors have gold-plated terminals. I am not familiar with anything that has phosphor bronze and probably my description of stuff as simply "tin" or "gold" is really not technicially correct.

    Almost all of the connections you find underhood, inside door or on front/rear lighting are sealed.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Posts: 677
    thanks e2. I may have mentioned topic once but not sure I ever got a response. will do best to remember the info this time. ;)

    when I worked at GM, we once had an area for the smokers who used computers, the latter of which used tin plated connectors for memory and other innards. All the computers failed within a year, due to terminal corrosion due to the garbage from the cigs. The smoking policy was changed (outside only) and we no longer had computer corrision problems.
  • davismaxxdavismaxx Posts: 33
    Hi there. I'm taking our Maxx in tomorrow to have the steering checked. There is a loose, clunky feel to it when going over bumps. I have a TSB # 04072004 for this. Is that a valid number? Do you know what it says?

    Other than that, the car is doing great. We keep discovering neat features. Did you know that the wipers revert to intermittent when stopped, then return to the set speed when you get going?

  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I don't recognize that number as a valid TSB# but guess I could be wrong. Typically the format of a number would be xx-xx-xx-xxx (9 digits). I think the first 2 digits are for year. I am not sure about the rest. Closest I could come to your complaint would be TSB#04-02-35-009 but I don't know if it really applies but a better number than the one you have

    The windshield wipers do have a feature where the intermittent delay varies by vehicle speed (increasing speed reduces time between wipe cycles).
  • davismaxxdavismaxx Posts: 33
    I got that number off the NHTSA/DOT website--you can look at all the TSBs for any car there. But I'll give the dealer both that number and yours and we'll see what we get.


  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Oh yeah, I forgot about that site. Anyways I looked on NHTSA site and it has the same title as one I gave you. The NHTSA/DOT site is using the wrong number. Looks like they have a made up number based on "their" date of bulletin (April 07, 2004 = 04072004) ;)

    Not sure why they would do that but the number I gave you would be more recognizable by a dealer. The date on that bulletin is May 24, 2004.

    good luck :shades:
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    Took my wife's car to the dealership last Friday to let them see the spot on the HVAC control head and they ordered up a new part with no hassles at all (starting to really love this dealership). While it was there I mentioned the hard start issues we had a month or two ago (no recent experience), 3-4 shift issue, and rough idle when the car is warm. They finally reprogrammed with the latest update (tried to tell them to do this when we had it in for the hard start thing before, but the last service tech claimed they couldn't find a problem and that there wasn't any update). Anyway, car runs smooth again, and idle seems better.

    Did I mention I'm really happy with this dealership? :)
  • paopao Posts: 1,867

    think you are one of the lucky ones that has found a competent service department...I honestly beleive this is 99% of GMs problem....the poor service after the sale....and the seemingly incompetent service techs.....LISTEN and READ GM.....get your field reps out there.....educate the service departments!!!!
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Posts: 677
    you can visit the Bob Lutz blog on the web and tell the honchos the same thing, but they don't seem to listen. GM just keeps falling back on the tired old "independent businessman" model for dealers - and for me it is really killing any future interest in their products..
  • rwmorganrwmorgan Posts: 1
    Any fix on keeping the sunroof shades from flapping open when you open the windows?
  • silver03silver03 Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Malibu that makes the exact noise when turning left or right. I have had it to the dealership numerous times with no solution found. All GM can say is it is a noise and basically live with it. My Malibu has 36000 miles and started popping at about 30000 miles. I have had the bushings replaced and looked at over and over. I am beginning to think this is a noise I will have to learn to live with, because GM is not coming up with any answers. I have always been a GM customer, and I can tell you I will not buy another GM product. My last vehicle was a Sunfire GT, the one before a Monte Carlo, and so on. NO MORE GM!!!!!!!!!
  • gmaxxgmaxx Posts: 10
    The black is coming off my 2004 Maxx's radio volume knob and has been since around 19,000 miles. The black has also come off on part of the black rear window pillars. My service tech looked at the window pillars and sent me to their body shop. We both thought the paint shop would repaint them if anything. Surprise! They are facade panels and are easily replaced, which the dealer did under warranty. I think that most any car washes with firm cloth or chamois-like brushes would have taken off the finish of the originals, and I am not going to use a mechanical car-wash again.
  • gmaxxgmaxx Posts: 10
    I have had multiple small problems with my 2004 Maxx LT. The first was with the rear sun-screen curtains, which popped open in hot weather. Then the transaxle made an annoying irregular whining noise when under a slight pull at around 23 mph. The brakes made a noise when applied moderately at speeds over 50 mph (They sounded like suddenly running over rough pavement, and had a tactile sensation similar to driving on such pavement being transmitted through the brake pedal). There was intermittently a slight clunking noise when turning and going over the slight bump of a "driveway" entrance. The right rear seat reclining lever also broke.

    They solved my brake and transaxle noises during a second attempt at repairing the problem (They had first replaced a rotor, after turning the original, and also replaced some transaxle parts). The second time they replaced brake and more transaxle parts. After the dealer's extensive searching for a TSB , I returned several weeks later when a fix for the rear sun screens was found and the required "stiffeners" came. These were replaced without removing the headliner (as GM had recommended). This seems to have fixed it the problem. When the rear seat lever broke they managed to get the seat back in the upright position and I returned later for installation when the repair part came in. The clunking noise revealed some loose struts, which were tightened.

    For the most part, since all this, my Maxx has been running and handling well.

    My dealer, Edwards Chevrolet in Birmingham, has always been courteous, listened patiently to me about my problems, and made me feel that whatever my problem, it was theirs too, until solved. I live 50 miles from my dealer, and the travel has been very inconvenient, but My dealer's service department has been my advocate, and worked with me and helped with transportation when I had to leave the car for several days. Since the car's newness did not provide a long history of problems and solutions, I think they really researched my problems and did their best. It was raining when I took the car for the last repair. When I went to pick it up there was a 20 minute delay. When I went to get in the car, I noticed that it had been washed. I asked the Asst. Service manager about it. He said, When I went to get it for you, It was dirtier than I wanted to return it to you." A good dealer is sometimes hard to come by, but I am happy with mine, and the drive has been worth it.

    I do not feel that GM did sufficiently testing for potential problems before releasing the first edition of the Maxx. However, If my problems are basically solved, then the car now seems to be what I hoped for when I bought it. (Good ride, excellent handling, comfortable, quiet, good leg room, well-equipped, versatile, and great gas mileage...33 - 35 mpg on any sustained trip.)

    I have noticed recently, after rotating the tires, some torque-steer to the left under strong acceleration, but I think it it may be a characteristic which I have experienced before on another vehicle shortly after tire rotation. I am going to go to my local tire dealer, in whom I have confidence, and have them check this out, as I think it is tire-related. I have not determined uneven wear, but having come from a tire-business family background, I am aware that the rotation, and my noticing of torque-steer beginning in such close time-proximity is probably more than coincidence.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Posts: 677
    Very similar to my experiences, save my dealers can't find a TSB to save their lives. My brakes have also developed the problem you mention and will be going to the dealer for fixing in a week or so.

    GM has a sad history of rushing cars to market without completing them. The Maxx is no exception.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    anybody had a front end alignment done on the Maxx yet..with the electronic steering.....not sure I have confidence in just anyone to do this....hit a pretty good size in NOVA....thankyou 495 construction!!!....hard enough to bend the custom that will need to be replaced..on visible tire damage..but will have it inspected on Mon when I order a new doesnt pull..left or right...or under acceleration..but would still like to have the alignment checked..since the rims have new tires as well......any suggestions!!!
  • dixon2dixon2 Posts: 1
    I own a 1999 LS, and of late i've noticed my fuel gauge works from the full tank mark to 1/4 tank mark. When fuel level get to around the 1/4 mark it to almost full tank mark. I ran out of gas recently to my surprise the gauge was showing full, am now relying on the trip meter to guess how much i have left. Anything I can do-myself; with the fuel sending unit as ii suspect this is the issue?
  • Any one know the fuel pressure is on 2002 malibu during idle and what it should be at higher rpm?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    pao: I just got back from the dealer. I'll have to report back tomorrow on whether the new strut silenced the squeeking. It is soooo bloody hot here today that I had the AC blasting real loud.
    As for the alignment, they had to do one for me after replacing the strut. I asked the service manager about your question and he said that the alignment (even with the electric steering) is no big deal, and that any place can do it. He did recommend however, that the shop have a modern machine. He says the new machines actually tell the mechanic what to do (toe, camber, etc) and how more guessing.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    hey appreciate it..I have a favorite that honestly does a good job..and I have one mechanic that knows me that usually gets my I trust his work....will have them check it..when they install the new rim..ordered it today.....damn potholes!!
  • josephusjosephus Posts: 32
    Wow....I thought it was just my ears.

    I noticed that with my 05 LS. I can't drive with the rear windows down--it is literally deafening.

    Where is this noise coming from? Not sure what the rear seat panel is exactly.

  • rummy1439rummy1439 Posts: 1
    I've got a 97 Malibu 4 cyl, and recently I've noticed that it vibrates very roughly when I am in any forward moving gear at a stop (Drive, 3rd, etc.) This does not happen when I am in reverse or neutral, but occasionally occurs when it is in park. The vibration doesn't occur while I'm driving only when I'm at a stoplight or something. It is obviously coming from the engine and rattles through the entire car, very annoying!! Not sure what the problem is, any ideas? Also, when I turn on the A/C and stop, the car vibrates even more. Any help would be appreciated! :cry:
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Check the motor mounts, you most likely have a worn one or two. :)
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Posts: 677
    I have had same problem if both rear windows are opened exactly the same amount. Sets up some kind of air resonance/buffeting - very hard to take for long..

    general ventilation workaround is to open one front, and one opposite side window on rear.

    If you want real air torrent, open windows on just one side of the car.
  • ctlmbctlmb Posts: 4
    A few years ago, I helped my in-laws purchase a new 1999 Chevy Malibu. Five weeks ago, my father-in-law went to drive the car, and he noticed the front passenger side of the Malibu was lying on the ground. After having the car towed to the dealership, they said the passenger side front suspension spring was broken, but since the car was out of warranty (it has 109,600 miles), my in-laws would have to pay for the fix. My in-laws take the Malibu into the dealership for regular maintenance, and they never noted any problem with the suspension. They said the car must have hit a rock or something, although everyone we've talked to said it would take more than a rock to break a front suspension spring, and if it did, why didn't it break the spring at the moment of impact?

    My father-in-law then asked the service department to take a look at the other spring, and they said it was fine. Earlier this week, my mother-in-law went to get into the car, and the car was lying on the ground again, but this time, it was the driver's side suspension spring that was broken! My in-laws live in Georgetown, Massachusetts, and my mother-in-law had driven out to Shrewsbury (a little over an hour drive) with my wife and kids. My mother-in-law had planned to drive back home that morning when she noticed the front of the car on the ground. I keep thinking of what would have happened to the passengers of the car if the either spring had failed while it was moving on the highway. My father-in-law called the dealership in anger and demanded them to tow the car back to the dealership in order to fix the spring that they said was fine. But they said no, so since my in-laws need their car, they had it towed to a local dealership in Shrewsbury to have it fixed.

    My concern at this moment is that GM received a set of defective springs, and that they're on the verge of failure with 99 Malibus hitting the 100,000 mile mark. Both of the broken suspension springs have been saved so that someone could make an analysis of why they broke. My in-laws have also saved the bills from both repairs. At this point, what is their best course of action in order to receive compensation from GM and/or the dealership since I believe a catastrophic failure of such an essential component to a car, with only a little over 100,000 miles on it (mostly highway), is simply unacceptable and dangerous.

    It's sad since my in-laws loved their Malibu when they first purchased it (my father-in-law has been a Chevy man his whole life), but between the brake problems with the car, other repair issues, and now the double suspension spring failure, they're ready to make their next car a Toyota.
  • e2helper,

    There is a sharp left turn I make on my way to work everyday. Before making the turn, I slow down my 2004 Maxx LT to about 10MPH and begin to accelerate as I come out of the turn to get up a slight hill. This always causes my car to hesitate for a moment. Would a PCM upgrade correct this problem or do I need to take this turn a bit differently? I do not go around this turn fast, which wouldn't be possible even if I wanted to. I never had this issue with my two previous cars, so I don't think I am taking the turn improperly. The car's mileage is 12,700 and has never had a PCM upgrade since I purchased it a year ago.

    Although I have given you my VIN and build date before, here they are again:

    1G1ZU64814F224114 - May 4, 2004

  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    pourlemerite: I'm betting it is the tranny. That is my build date too. I'm assuming you have not had the new tranny parts put in to silence the howling noise? I also wonder if your mph is really around 20 and not 10; here's why. I first took my car in for the same problem. I was astonished that this transmission does not automatically downshift when the speed gets so low. My Service Manager stated that since the car does not know if you are coming to a stop, or will want to accelerate after slowing down, the tranny does not try to find a lower gear to accomodate the pending acceleration. You are then left with a tranny which is in too high a gear (4th let's say) to handle the speed range you are in (2nd). Although my Service Manager stated that the new tranny parts would only silence the howl, and would have no effect on performance, I believe it did help the performance slightly; not fixed, but helped. I do not notice the transmission "grumbling" at low speeds as much, as I try to accelerate after a decrease in speed for traffic or a turn. As many of us have stated here before, it makes us wish there was an overdrive off button on the side of the stick (common in many cars these days) to help the car up hills or when driving in slow speed conditions.
    Secondly, I also get a hesitation when I stomp on my gas pedal to get the tranny to downshift. It is not the most seamless tranny, although a pretty darn good one nonetheless.
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