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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I also had the famous rotten egg smell in the begining. But the dealer had filled up the tank with some unknown brand of gas. The gas station was across the road from the dealership.

    After running the tank nearly empty and refilling with a known brand of gas the smell went away. GM also says that the cat converter might smell when new. How many miles have you done so far?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    raybee, I have the same problems. My egg smell certainly is not as bad as with my Vibe's Corolla engine. I also have the rough idle, which is most noticable when the AC is OFF. I also believe this idle issue is causing my shifts to be rougher and rougher. I used the downshift button quite a bit while driving around Shenandoah Natl Park today, and the shifts were all rough.
  • max4me, I haven't had any of the odor problems but I have noticed the rough idle with the AC off. That seems strange, since you would expect the opposite. I love my Maxx, having put 1600 miles on it in four weeks (a couple of medium trips to show off the car to relatives).
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    today, I used the manual shift mode in city traffic. When starting from a still position, and the car is in 2nd gear, there is a bit of a clunk to the transmission. Anyone else played with the manual shifter and noticed clunkiness?
  • pmcgpmcg Posts: 5
    As you thought, my steering column was replaced, no questions asked. The service advisor tells me that GM is planning to use the electric power steering system on all of its vehicles. Sure hope they get the bugs out first.

    Will now wait and see if the fix holds.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Glad to hear you got it fixed and that dealer went right to replacing the column. Likely your problem was a small sensor in the column was not working correct - but it requires replacing whole column to repair vehicle

    It is doubtful that electric power steering would be used on any vehicles larger than Malibu until 42 volt electrical systems in use. Although electric assist power steering does gives you great fuel economy savings because no energy wasted running a power steering pump when you don't need it, the system still does require a lot of power when making quick turns and the huge SUV/Trucks that so many people drive now just plain weigh too much to do an electrical assist power steering on the column like Malibu and some other smaller vehicles have.

    Nice also not to have power steering fluid/lines to deal with.
  • I have a 2000 malibu and it is running hot. I have replaced the motor, radiator, water pump,thermostat

    There is no leak it just runs hot and over heats. The water is not flowing through, you can hear the water boiling in the pipes.

    Have anyone else encounter this problem...

    Please Help
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    "I have a 2000 malibu and it is running hot. I have replaced the motor, radiator, water pump,thermostat".

    Well, that doesn't leave much more to change except the hoses. It's just possible that a rubber hose has got a blockage in it.
  • Thanks,I'll have the hoses replaced again.. Hopefully this will solve the problem.
  • I have a 04 Maxx LT I bought in July and just started getting the "Check Gas Cap" message yesterday. I have the new locking gas cap accessory I bought from the dealer, but I have had this cap for over a month now without a problem. So this message is puzzling. I re-seated the cap several times and am still getting the message. I checked the owner's manual and it said the message should go away after several engine starts. I also talked to the dealer--they had no idea and said I would have to bring it in for them to see it. If I still get it over the next day or so I am going to go back to the stock gas cap and see if the problem goes away. If not, then to the dealer.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Are you having any problems with fuel gage not going to full when fill up?

    Once the message shows up it will not go away until the test runs again and passes successfully. It might be related to new gas cap.

    If you bought the locking cap from dealer then repost with its part number and I will do a little research for you. I think GM P/N 22729974 or 10331673 are OK but not sure about others.
  • Hi I have the same model as you..and I have had the rough idle from the first week I purchased the vehicle. The dealer seems to think there is NOTHING wrong..and that is the way it is. I think I will contact Chevy and see what they say about this. I am not happy with the "nothing wrong" diagnosis...and in regard to the exhaust smell I encountered that maybe once since I purchased the car.
  • pmcgpmcg Posts: 5
    Point well taken. When working well the EPS is great, especially useful in parking lots. Hope this fix holds. Nice talking with you.
  • I just joined the discussion forum today and was reading the posts regarding fuel pumps and filters and fuel pressure and hesitations with much interest. I've have had my 00' Malibu (112,000 m.) in the shop 3 times in 2 months. My Malibu was 'shutting down' at 65+ on the highway. It would start to hesitate and then completely shut down. The garage replaced the crank sensor, the ignition system, and finally the fuel pump. After replacing the fuel pump the car no longer shuts down, but still hesitates at 65+ speeds and when accelerating (2000rpm+). I don't believe the garage replaced the fuel filter. I'll check that out. BTW, the service manager and machanics at the Chevy garage all say, "we can't duplicate your problem".
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    OK, since I'm having lunch with pao on Tues, I figured I'd put down my list of quirks I'll be looking for to compare to my car:

    1. engine idle vibration when stopped (a/c off)
    2. why does the a/c (and light) stay on when you have the defroster temp turned all the way to warmest setting? I didn't think having the a/c on when the heat was on was a good thing
    3. position of temp guage when fully warmed up
    4. rotor vibration when braking lightly
    5. tranny harmonics between 15-35 mph on steady acceleration
    6. clunkiness of manual shifting between 1st and 3rd, and if you can feel the tranny downshift (lurch) to 1st gear when coming to a stop when the car is in 2nd gear

    geez, will there be time for lunch? if anyone cares to chime in on any of these topics, feel free. I know many of you have engine idle issues.
  • glennbglennb Posts: 34
    Ditto on the clunking in the manual shift mode maxx4me. I tried manually shifting, but it seems to clunk when it still automatically downshifts even in manual mode.

    Glenn Butzlaff
  • glennbglennb Posts: 34
    I have held off on taking the Maxx in for warranty work because we are too busy racking up miles on the car. Right now my list of problems or curiosities is:
    -Warped rotor sound on braking (getting worse).
    -Right side mirror/switch flakey.
    -High pitch whine or whistle (vacuum leak) when car is accelerating.
    -Wheel vibration at certain freeway speeds (maybe rotor related)
    I have low expectations from the dealer tho, based on experience with my power sliding door on my Venture. It did not get fixed till the warranty ran out and I paid for the repair; voila! Never broke again. I may have experienced a brief rough idle yesterday when I started the car, but it was just a momentary thing. I have 4300 miles on in just under 2 months. My wife is hating the car, but the gas mileage is a whole lot better on our weekend excursions. I noticed the gas tank is pretty inaccurate, especially in the full or 1/4 tank range. I have put in 10 gals of gas on an empty tank and had it gauge out to just under full. I am just glad we have this support gro... I mean forum, to compare notes.

    Glenn Butzlaff
    Cudahy, WI
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I would like to give you low down on this feature.

    I am sorry to say that this is not designed to be a manual transmission shift mode like the Tap Up/Down shifters you might see on other vehicles.

    For the Malibu this "+/-" button is simply a method to allow you to downshift to low gears like you would have typically done with the shift lever. On the Malibu this feature is called Electronic Range Select. In order to maximize space in the console area for cupholder and other storage the shifter travel was reduced to have only the PRNDL (5 positions) instead of 6 or 7 positions.

    You should consider that this feature is not different then when you shift into lower gears on a vehicle with a shifter that has positions like PRND321. What you see displayed is just the maximum gear that is possible not the gear that you are actually in.

    Now the Pontiac G6 GT model DOES have a mode called Driver Shift Control which is more of a manual shift mode. The shifter actually has a special gate you use to upshift or downshift.

    I asked someone who knows about this a lot and he says that driving in the L1, L2, L3 range on a Malibu will result in more "feel" (what your are calling clunking) during torque reversals and shift events. You do not feel this when in Drive because of all the stuff in the transmissions that is there to try to give you smooth shifts. Running in the L1, L2, L3 is defeating the transmissions abilty to give smooth shifts. He says there is no advantage to bein in this mode during city driving.

    Refer to owner's manaul on page 2-29 (or around there).

    Hope that helped.
  • glennbglennb Posts: 34
    Thanks for the tip e2helper. I remember the sales guy telling me this was a feature designed for use as a shifter like I tried using it. Oh well. He doesn't work there anymore...

    Glenn B.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Next model year I think there will be another model that might use the shifter the way you were trying.

    I can't say any more at this time ;)
  • Regarding "+/-" button shift mode: It would be much more convenient if it were possible to shift from 4th gear to 3rd, also with the side button, rather than having to move the console shifter.
    Since all shifts are apparently done electrically, it should be possible to shift from 4th to 3rd with the button or a switch.

    I'll be looking into installing a switch to do this when I get a service manual with the wiring diagram.

    Any downside to this idea "e2helper"?
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    On number 2, the A/C is designed to run when the blower is set on the defrost only mode. Most cars since the early 90s have done this and is helpful in defrosting the windshield because the A/C removes moisture from the air. While this limits the air from getting as warm as it could, its much more effective in defrosting the windows.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Matt, Glen, e2helper: great posts; thanks for the info. I'm happy to know the +/- and a/c defrost on heat is normal. I had little doubt about the latter issue, and agree that a/c is MUCH more efficient at removing moisture. I just wasn't sure how it would affect removing snow and ice in the winter.
    While I have no great need to use the +/- button and was simply testing the performance, I do find shifting down to 3rd handy on some of my hills, and do miss my overdrive off button rather than the Malibu's inline shift to 3rd on the column.
  • I've been test driving the Malibu Maxx to see because I am considering purchasing the car. I have test driven 4 different cars from different dealers. Reasons for this was rumble when the brakes are applied. Right out of the lot going 40 MPH and stepping on the brakes at medium pressure the pedal and the car rumbled considerably. I had the sales person sitting next to me they noticed it as well. It seemed to get better as I drove but never went away. We then went on the freeway going 65 MPH and hit the brakes again. ONce again pronounced rumble. This is almost like the rotors were warped or all the load went to the front brakes. Anyone have similar experiences? Any current owners having symptoms like this? I drove Impalas, Camerys, Accords and Town and Country Mini vans and the brakes were smooth as silk when applied. I can't believe others aren't seeing this problem...

    Please respond.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    you haven't been reading our posts......many of us have commented on the pulsating noise coming from the brakes. I have only 2k miles on mine. The noise was there from the beginning with just a light brake applied. While is sounds like rotors, no one has commented on any pedal feel or vibration; simply the noise. I will bring it in only if it gets worse. For now, I don't see any performance problem as a result of this minor noise.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I've only noticed a slight rumble that goes away when I start driving on a foggy day. I think the brake shoes are hygroscopic. Or it could be a thin layer of rust on the rotors. Other than that my brakes are silky smooth at all speeds.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    not sure I want my car jinxed as I dont suffer any of these problems, or at least that I have noticed!!!...and mine was built in Feb! are you doing a manual shift from 1-3rd? are you referring to the L1-3 +\- feature? will be interested in the comparison to your vehicle....see ya Tues!
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Actually shifts are not completely done electrically. There is still is shifter cable running to the transmission from your shifter. In order for the "+/-" switch to work the transmission requires the shifter to be mechanically in the "L" position. As I mentioned in earlier post you do lose some perceived shift quality when you operate vehicle out of the "D" shifter position (although I can't provide the technical reasons behind that).
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    that's OK e2helper. In this case, it is enough for me to know that it is normal to have the clunkiness when using the manual shift mode. While the expaination would be interesting, I just wanted to be reassured that everyone experienced it, and that there was nothing wrong with my car. Thanks again.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    I bought my Maxx LS in May and did not notice this brake problem initially. I was away for a week and left the car home. When I returned, the brakes were very grabby and noisy for several days, I think because of the rust that built up on the rotors when the car was not used.

    Around the same time I started to notice the rumbling sound when stopping to pay toll from 65mph. There was no shaking, vibrating, pedal pulsing or pulling, just the noise. My car was built in Feb 04 and now has 4K miles. This is the only real problem I have noticed with the car (other than the rear shades). I have not experienced any of the other problems people have been talking about on this forum.

    There was a recall for unwanted ABS activation due to an erratic wheel speed sensor and the dealer re-programmed the brake module. After that the rumbling is less noticeable, but it is still there. I still think there is something wrong and will have dealer check it out when I have my next service.
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