Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • usausa Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for the reply.

    I just got this car last Wed. evening, today it is back to the dealer with this problem. The service writer did not seem to take my description seriously.

    What is your experience with only one or both rear window(s) open (front and roof window closed)? As I described in my initial post, the vibration is so violent that the roof vibrates and the air pulses hurt my ears. My wife has the same complaint about her ears also, so I am certain that my ears are not overly sensitive.

    Hey other Maxx owners, please share your experience with this discussion too. Thanks in advance.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    was wondering if anyone as taken their Maxx in for this fix yet...and what it consists of???
  • spartonsparton Member Posts: 1
    I have an O4 sedan, 6 cyl. LS. No problem in the first 8000 miles. Really like the car. Two weeks ago the power stearing quit when I backed out of the driveway. Restarted the car and it was OK. Two days later it happened 3 times in about 6 miles. The garage has the car and are putting in a new stearing column today. I hope this corrects the problem.
  • kaskas Member Posts: 5
    I have a 2004 Maxx LT and it was in the shop 6 times trying to figure out what was wrong with the radio. 2 radio's and 2 body control modulator's later my dealer finally realized that the key fobs were affecting the memory of the radio and cd player. I was told that that feature was going to be changed in the '05 model and would be contacted if I could get an update in hardware and software if the '05 and '04 models were compatable. Anyone else deal with this issue also? I was floored to find out that it was actually a "feature" that took 6 times in the shop to figure out!
  • bonnie0372bonnie0372 Member Posts: 26
    Hi e2helper-

    The last six digits of my Vin are 183919. I went to the website that you suggested and I have no idea how to tell if my car has the latest calibrations or not. My husband called our dealer and the guy that answered the phone had no idea what he was talking about!! GO FIGURE!!! Appreciate any help you can give me and what I should tell the dealer to look for..LOL!!! Thanks again!
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    what was the problem with the radio? could the fobs effect the radio memory...was it clearing the memory when you used the fobs to unlock or lock the car???..and the 05 models are already at the dealers...
  • kaskas Member Posts: 5
    The first problem was that it wouldn't remember that I was listening to a CD, so the next time my husband and I got in the car the radio would be on. Then when we pushed "source" it would alway start the CD back at track 1.

    After bringing it in a couple of times and replacing the radio they apparently messed something else up because then the radio started powering all the way down and wouldn't come on when I would start the car. I would have to manually push the power button to get the radio or CD player to work.

    So we brought it in again and they fixed the powering down problem by reprogramming the body control module (after replacing it another time). But we were still having problems with the CD player not coming back on when that was the last thing used.

    So after 6 times in the shop (calling GM techs and Malibu liasons), they finally figured out that the key fobs were keeping a memory(apparently a feature that not many techs were aware of). So if I was listening to the CD player and locked the car, then my husband came out with his key fob and unlocked the car the car wouldn't remember what he was last listening to and just started with the radio playing.

    BUT, then the car was also switching randomly when I was the one to lock it with the CD last playing. When I would come out the next time and unlock it with my fob the radio would sometimes be playing. The dealership answered that question by saying that the body control module goes into sleep mode sometimes and then forgets what I had last playing and defaults to the radio anyway! ugh!! Very frustrating!

    I don't really understand why you would build a car with that "feature" of having the body control module fall asleep and not be able to keep it's memory of what it was playing (it remembers the stations programmed just not the source of teh music). Does that make any sense?!?!? HAve you experienced this at all? Please tell me I'm not the only one. :) It has been a frustrating experience to say the least.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    The body control module remembers the radio settings that were last used by an operator using a certain keyfob. When another keyfob is used the body control module will switch the radio presets to those preferred settings. The body control module can be programmed to accept up to 10 different keyfobs. It's all in the user manual.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Member Posts: 677
    Hi. Wrt wind buffeting, yes, My maxx will generate a loud buffeting noise from the rear windows if both are open the same amount. I suspect it might be turbulence picked up from airflow turbulence at the rear of the car (there is no long trunk to help smooth airflow back there). FYI my Saturn ION had a bit of the same problem, but it was a sedan, not a hatchback.

    Wrt power steering, I have noted some jitter when making right hand turns (this is a new problem - was smooth earlier). Also the steering sometimes pulses when the car is at dead stop and the wheel is slightly turned to the right.
  • kaskas Member Posts: 5
    But why does it not work all the time? I understand that it is suppose to remember what you last listened to (makes sense to accomodate 2 drivers) But I don't understand why it doens't ALWAYS have to remember what I listened to when I was the last to lock it and the next one to unlock it. Why is it allowed to fall asleep and not have to remember anything when it wakes back up?

    Gees, I need to find myself a job like that! Fall asleep when I want and remember what I want when I wake back up :)

    It just seems like a weird thing to put in a car.

    My service man said they may be able to re-program it when the '05 come out because that feature was changed in the 'o5 models. Have you heard anything about that?
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    I've never heard about it falling asleep yet. That's a new one to me so I can't comment on that. Are you sure you are getting the right information about the body control module falling asleep?
  • kaskas Member Posts: 5
    Gosh, I don't know!
    How do I find out if the service manager was feeding be line of crap or not?
    It has been just a mess trying to get this figured out. I got the run around so many times and ended up calling the general manager personally regarding all my problems and he finally put me in touch with the head honcho service guy who told me about the "falling asleep" business.
    Any suggestions?!?! I thought it sounded like a fishy answer too!
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    I tried to keep up with this message thread so if I don't cover everything let me know

    The 2004 Malibu has a personalization feature associated with which key fob is used. This feature works based on which key fob last UNLOCKED the vehicle - it is only based on UNLOCK. The remote keyless receiver "tells" the body computer which key fob was used and the body computer broadcasts this information to the vehicle saying "DRIVER 1" or "DRIVER 2", etc. The radio and XM module use that information to decide which stored presets they will use, what audio source was last used, radio volume, radio On/Off etc. etc.

    The feature was briefly mentioned in 2nd printing of the owner manual and is covered several ways for dealer technicians in their online information on the vehicle.

    For the 2005 Malibu, this feature was disabled due to the number of customers and service technicians that were confused by it. It is not something a dealer can reenable.

    The keyless entry receiver is capable of being programed for up to 4 different key fobs (only 2 ship with vehicle).

    The vehicle antitheft system is capable of begin programmed for up to 10 ignition keys (which has nothing to do with this subject - just thought I would let you know).
    If one of those posts indicated a condition where the radio turned on by itself after operating the remote keyless system to unlock vehicle (with ignition OFF) then that is a different situation.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002

    I see you have a Malibu Sedan model which has a build date in early March 2004.

    Powertrain calibration was 12589175. From web site you can see that is has been updated twice since then.

    I am unsure from your earlier posts if you know if the dealer had ever updated the calibration in your vehicle. There is no way you can tell what calibration is in vehicle, only the dealer can tell you. They can easily read what is in it with their service tool. However I don't want to send you back to dealer for just that :)

    Anyways I feel very bad about your experience so far. There so many nice features about your vehicle, I hope overall you like the vehicle.

    Please keep us informed with how things are going when you have an update.

  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    I am not an Maxx owner but I have seen the bulletin. It adds a reinforcement to trim panel to give attachment a little more beef.
  • gla4601gla4601 Member Posts: 40
    Malibu will soon be the 2004 car with the most consumer complaints. At the Malibu now has 80 complaints led only by the Toyota Sienna (106)and and Nissan Quest (89). These are mostly safety related complaints filed with the NHTSA. I guess the good news is the Toyota Camry is lagging by only one complaint (79) and 75% of the Malibu complaints are Electric Steering failure related. The bad news is that the site is updated every week or so and each time the Malibu is higher on the list of the top 5 and gaining quickly on the leader (Sienna). Not good news for future Malibu sales and resale value of our current Malibus. When it gets to the top spot it will certainly be known as the lemon of the year. To the Malibus credit, it should be expected that a new system like the EPS steering would have some bugs in it and if you took away the steering related complaints the Malibu would be quite low on the list. Unfortunately most people researching for a vehicle purchase would not see it that way.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    I look at this as simply another data point..the Ford F150....the Motor Trend Truck of the Year, has as many complaints as the Malibu as well...most for the suspension which was a major redesign feature on the new F150. The F150 sales dont seem to be adversely effected...would agree if you take away the steering issue..complaints against the Malibu would be significantly lower...guess that is the rationale why some wait for the "bugs" to be worked out of any new redesigned car or truck for the first model year. I dont see any long term impact of resale value, I usually drive a car 6-7 years for 100-150K on resale for me is getting someone to take it off my hands...reviewing the camry/accord vs malibu complaints on this site for the last 3 model years, the camry/honda far exceeded the malibu by greater than two to one or more. The last model year showing for accord was 02. All these models have decent resale value.

    I still am impressed with my Maxx LT, 9500 miles on it, 8 months old and a 02/04 build and going strong....except for those durn rear window shades.....cheers all
  • bonnie0372bonnie0372 Member Posts: 26
    No I dont think it is a good idea to go back to the dealer just for that!! LOL...but most definately if it has to go back for something in the near future...I will definately mention the calibration. I could probably just print out the page that came up with my vin # right? That would help.
    I am happy with my Malibu. (ALL EXCEPT THE ROUGH IDLE). I have heard alot of good things about the Malibus...and reading these posts alot of negative things!! But everyone is entitled to thie opinions right. I will definately keep you posted on any updates with my vehicle.
    Also, has anyone had any problems with WHEEL VIBRATIONS at HIGHWAY SPEEDS....I read something about that on another website...but I cant find it again. I was just curious. Thanks. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK WITH THIS FORUM. I LOVE IT.
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  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Member Posts: 588
    I dropped the car off at the local Chevrolet dealership's service department Monday evening. After waiting for about an hour for them to diagnose the car, I was told that the car had the exact problem I had printed from here (involving a specific error code being stored, vibration in steering assembly, loss of power assist), and they've ordered a new steering column for the car. The only problem is that the new part was estimated to be 4 days away. At first, because Chevrolet's bulletin on this issue said the car was still operable, and because evidently Chevy mechanics / service techs are trained to read that as "not a safety issue", they were going to refuse a rental car, and instead planned to tell me to go drive the car and return after they call to let me know the part was in..

    I mentioned that my wife is the primary driver of this vehicle and is refusing to drive it in this state. I also pointed out that low speed maneuvers without the power assist take an extreme amount of effort. While this doesn't sound so bad, since you can just turn the car off and back on to "reset" the problem (for how long?), the real safety issue is that if the assist fails during a low speed (30 mph or less) turn, either just before needing to turn, or while making the turn, there is a much higher chance of having an accident. If you weren't able to crank the wheel quickly enough in the first situation, you might find yourself in oncoming traffic or off the other side of the road, and if you weren't able to straighten the wheel quickly enough in the latter, you might still find yourself in a similar situation. And believe me, these cars don't steer easily at low speeds with no assist. (They're much like the previous Malibus in that regard, from personal experience. :P ).

    Needless to say, the service manager took it upon himself to cover the rental. I'm hoping to have my car back by Friday evening or early Saturday at the latest (I'm living in western NC right now, and Ivan is predicted to be bringing us a strong possibility of more flooding rains, and I'd really like to have the car in the garage before he comes a'knockin).
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Member Posts: 588
    I wanted to make it clear that I really love this car. My reasons for recommending that people experiencing issues such as the power steering failures to NHTSA is only for our own protection. No matter how good the products, it's still all about the bottom line for car manufacturers. So in some cases, such as the power steering issues, they haven't stepped up and issued a recall, leaving customers to risk finding out the hard way that there is an issue with their vehicles.

    And I do agree 100% that the EPS systems on these cars is one of the only real complaint items, and that some bugs should be expected with it. My only issue is with the handling of the situation by Chevrolet / GM. And even that isn't as bad as it could be. (Imagine complete denial of the issue once reported, unless it's actually demonstrated to the mechanics while the car is at the shop..)
  • islandpeteislandpete Member Posts: 94
    Taking my Maxx in tomorrow to have the Air Bag system checked out. Hopped in the car the car to go to the Post Office and saw this red light staying on looked it up in the owners manual and sure enough it was the air bag indicator light. According to the manual the light should flash when starting the car but go out. Mine stayed on which is an indication of a problem in the system that could cause the bags not to deploy if needed or , here's the part that scared me, the bags could go off without a reason. Spoke to service and they said to bring it in tomorrow morning. As to premature deployment, the service manager has never seen this happen. Hope so. Anyone else have a similar problem?
  • usausa Member Posts: 8
    I drove another Maxx with the service manager yesterday. It has the same symptoms and intensity as my Maxx. The vibrations can be dampened by opening other windows to balance the air pressure differences. So I would classify this is an annoyance rather than a problem.

    Thanks to all Town Hall member replies.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Member Posts: 159
    I drove my Maxx with rear windows down and front windows and sunroof closed. I have the same violent vibration in the entire roof and the strong air pulses that hurt my ears. It sounds like a chopper attack.

    I too consider this an annoyance caused most likely by the shape of the car. Nothing Chevy would or can do anything about now.

    When I drive with windows open, I usually open all side windows an equal amount. So this is not an issue for me.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Member Posts: 159
    Just wanted to let everyone know, I "bedded" the brakes as suggested in post #222 and my rumbling noise is now gone. I just found an out of the way area with no other cars around and did several hard stops from 50-60 mph. I applied enough pressure to stop the car as quickly as possible without activating the ABS.

    A few days later I did several ABS stops, as someone suggested, just to experience the ABS system.
  • andrewdandrewd Member Posts: 4
    This is a problem that goes beyond the Maxx. I have a 1999 Intrepid and the same sort of "Chopper" sound occurs if you open only the rear windows. Opening the front windows helps as does adjusting the amount the rear windows are open. If you crack them just a bit, there is no problem. Of course this is just my experience with the Intrepid, don't know if it holds true with the Maxx.
  • ngiovasngiovas Member Posts: 5
    Has anyone found a fix for the "check gas cap" issue yet? I just bought an 04 Malibu sedan on Monday and started getting the message on every start up starting today (Thursday). Taking the car into the dealer in the morning and hoping someone can make a suggestions.

    Also having brake noise issue. Hopefully they will be able to solve both of these problems. Other than these two issues, I love this car.
  • beedublubeedublu Member Posts: 236
    Three weeks with the Silver Maxx, including a 1000 mile trip...which is what prompts this question:

    Does anyone else's car require you to stomp on the brake pedal in order to get the cruise control to disengage? I'm amazed at how much force and pedal travel is required to get the cruise to quit! Other cars I've driven (Fords, Oldsmobiles, Hondas) needed only a gentle tap on the pedal. In my Thunderbirds in particular, just brushing against the brake pedal would do it.

    I'm wondering if this is something that can be adjusted easily or if it will require major diagnosis. I can't believe the car is designed this way and it's very disconcerting to push the brake pedal a couple of inches before it starts to slow down. Maybe I'll report it to NHTSA if the dealer can't do anything to correct it...
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    The Brake Pedal uses a position sensor (BPP) which is zeroed automatically at assembly plant. Dealers do have the ability to easily "rezero" this sensor just using their scan tool. They should check the value of the sensor reading at rest in your vehicle before rezeroing to see if anything changes

    Forgive me for saying this, but it looks like this is a vehicle characteristic that you are senstive to and the calibration chosen for this vehicle might require a little more aggressive activation than you like. I just say this because I haven't driven your vehicle and in case the dealer performs the procedure I mention and you perceive no difference.

    Please post back on what happens. Thank you for the informative post. If you are willing to post last 6 digits of your VIN I would appreciate the information (an unoffical request, of course)
  • jackd928jackd928 Member Posts: 3
    Our 2004 Malibu LS Sedan was perfect for the first 9000 miles. Then we experienced vibration in the power steering. About 100 miles later, all power assist completely failed. Steering took great strength, more than when failure happens to conventional hydraulic systems. Restarting did restore the system, but a serious accident could have easily happened in certain turning situations. Our large urban dealership has never yet had to work on electric power steering problems. My concern is that Delphi did not fully test this system before production. It spoils an otherwise great car.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    I have had mine 8 months now..and the gentle brush on the brakes..what I was use to in my ford doesnt work is a mental adjustment for me....mine is more of a firm tap of the breaks....not a stomp for sure..I certainly dont go a couple of inches....for the vehicle to disengage from the cruise function.....

    thanks E2 for the always good info!!
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867

    agree the steering system seems to be the truely sticking point for this car...will be interesting to follow the NHTSA engineering analysis investigation on this one complaint..and what the outcome is.....anyone betting on a recall yet?
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Had another strange event on my 04 Malibu yesterday. This and intermittent no start. When I started my car the Content Theft-Deterrent icon never went out. When I stopped at the end of my journey, locked the car using the key fob and then unlocked it again, re-started it, the icon went out. It's been working fine since then.

    So now I'm looking for answers and have come up with a theory. So those who know more than me please tell me what you think?

    On page 2-22 of my user manual the PASS-Key® 111+ system is described. It is a wireless link between the keyfob and vehicle and complies with Part15 of the FCC rules.

    However, something very interesting is mentioned and the manual goes on to say that 1, this device may not cause harmful interference, and 2, this device must accept any interference received, INCLUDING interference that may cause undesired operation of the device.

    So.... it is just possible that radio interference as from 2way radios, cops etc. is the source of these random events. I also happen to live near a fire station. Seeing as the keyfob can only be transmitting a signal of a few microwatts in strength, the receiver in the car must be very sensitive in order the receive this signal. So, a strong radio signal near the vehicle could easily swamp the receiver and cause a malfunction.
  • islandpeteislandpete Member Posts: 94
    Just a follow-up on my post #333. Chevy dealer had my Maxx for two days. Seems they diagnosed the problem after doing a scan as a defective BCM. Had to order one so they had to keep my car overnite:-(Just came back and also when I was taking the car in the "Check Gas Cap" alarm and message went off. This was the third time this has happened. I would deactivate it(press Info button) ,check the gas cap which was always OK and wait a couple of trips and it would reset itself. Let's see what happens now that I have a new BCM. Car is working normal now. Anyone know of a service bulletin for the parking brake cable binding. They took care of it and a sticky ignition switch. They had trouble taking the key out. I never had this problem. Getting back to the BCM (body control module). GM better solve this problem. My wife's Buick Rendezvous has had two replaced in 15000 Mi. One time the AC went out and another time it was "Service Engine Soon Light" all supposedly controlled by this part. Any one relate to these . My Maxx has only 1600 Mi. I remember buying new cars years ago and never taking them back to the dealer because there was no reason to. Changed the oil at decent intervals and put gas in it. I know we have all these government emmision and safety standards that have to be monitored by a computer and that's where the problem lies. Too much information and just a slight deviation triggers a warning or a shutdown. Seems to me all the improvements made to autos over the years and there have been many are torpedoed by the Governments standards. Makes you ask a question. How many of us can really trust driving a car on a long trip, many miles from home? Scary,especially if you have a family with young ones. Just speaking my mind. Comments welcome :-)
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    I don't think a BCM replace (it was BCM and not SDM, right?) would correct intermittent Airbag light but you will certainly find out.

    The Check Gas cap message doesn't really have much to do with BCM either. I took a quick look back thru the discussion thread and forgot if you had noticed if your fuel gage didn't go to "F" when you fill the tank with fuel. This CAN be related to Check Gas cap message.
  • islandpeteislandpete Member Posts: 94
    Yes e2helper it definitely was a BCM and I have to agree with you. From past experience with my wife's Buick , I think a lot of times they just change the BCM needlessly. As to my problem (Air Bag Light)it came on when my wife readjusted the passenger seat from a full back position previously set by a tall friend:-). I made mention of this to the service writer because as I understand it there are harness cables and plugs under the passenger seat that hook into the air bag circuits and possibly one of the plugs was pulled loose or became intermittent. Wonder if they checked this out. I think a lot of times especially warrantee work they will drive the price up by doing unnecessary repairs . GM just pays them period. It is their bottom line that they are interested in. Question of the Gas Cap Message. Yes the gauge never reads full on a fillup.Just below it. I remember you saying a fix may entail dropping the tank. I would rather put up with an occasional triggering of the warning. I can manually shut it off knowing it is not serious. To give you an small example why I do not like to bring my cars in for service unless necessary. I guess replacing the BCM requires the removal of the cover on the end of the dashboard on the drivers side. Don't know e2helper any idea? Anyway in removing it they cracked it and have one on order and will drop me a card when it comes in. No big deal(to them), but this is a new car with 1600 mi . I know my problems are small compared to some of the posts I have been reading. Let's keep your concerns coming guys, and hope GM reads some of these posts. Right KarenS (host) :-)
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    You are correct about harness and if you noticed this happened same time as a seat adjustment that is very interesting in case comes problem comes back.

    Yes the Check Gas Cap definitely caused by same issue as your fuel gage. I might have explained reason why that happens somewhere else do don't want to repeat myself.

    The endcap on each side of the dashboard is the location of a "safing" connection for frontal airbag system. Service procedures often instruct technician to disconnect these when doing troubleshooting on airbag system for their protection. I know that these end panels have a very aggressive spring clip attachment.

    It is not necessary to remove it if you were going to access the BCM. The BCM is actually located on the front of center console on passenger side. There is a panel that is more easily removed there with a fuse symbol on it (because in this vehicle the BCM is also a fuse/relay center).
  • islandpeteislandpete Member Posts: 94
    e2helper, if you can run the explanation by me again,I would appreciate it. I tryed to find it but to no avail:-) Thanks. You have been a big help giving us all the benefit of your knowledge.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Sorry it was in a PM to someone now that I think of it :) . It sounds like you are experiencing something which has affected a few other Maxx owners. It is not applicable to sedan model (which has a different fuel tank).

    You have a situation where when you fill the tank the gage doesn't go to FULL. It reads a little below full even though you know the tank is actually full.

    Fuel system diagnostics are designed to run only when fuel tank level is between a certain percentage range (let's say 15%-85%). It doesn't run when tank is almost empty or when it is full. There are reasons they don't try to run these tests when tank is empty or full (the test likely won't pass).

    For a short amount of time your vehicle will be in a situation where the fuel in your your tank actually exceeds 85% but the fuel level (because it is reading lower than actual) will indicate less than 85%

    One of the tests that runs can result in Check Gas Cap Message if it doesn't pass.

    These tests have other criteria before they will run. Many require the vehicle to have been sitting for several hours first. Because of this you might not see this situation on every tankful of gas.

    You will always see the fuel gage not going to full but only occassionally getting the Check Gas Cap message. The frequency of this depends on your driving patterns.

    Once you get a Check Gas Cap message it might continue to be displayed on each subsequent ignition cycle until next time the test is run and passes (you might have noticed something like that occuring).
  • islandpeteislandpete Member Posts: 94
    e2helper ,Yep, Have noticed this on three different times. Each time it took a few trips and the message stopped by itself. So long as I know this may happen from time to time I will deal with it(pressing the enter button shuts off the chiming). Question,will this lead to a problem down the road if it continues. That would of course make me want to have it corrected. Thanks again for your trouble e2helper :-)
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    I am not an expert in this area disclaimer (LOL)

    But I am not aware this would cause any long term problem. However under CERTAIN circumstances (depending on driving patterns) this might also result in an intermittent Service Engine Soon telltale.

    So, if it was my vehicle, I would want to get it fixed at some point.

    You are on early edge of dealership familiarity with this vehicle, in general (example your dashboard "endcap"). On this particular complaint you now actually know more about what is causing it that the dealership because they haven't been given enough info to connect these two items yet. That information will likely get to them in a week or so.
  • islandpeteislandpete Member Posts: 94
    e2helper, Just came in from moving my Maxx out of the driveway and guess what. The @#$%& Air Bag Light came back on. I shut it off and restarted it 2 times and the same thing. Waited awhile and restarted it and it went into it's normal flash sequence then went off. Not too confident at this point. See this vehicle spending some time back at the dealership :-( Will this be an intermitant problem. Makes you wonder why they changed the BCM if it does not control this function???
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    What do you make of my post 344? As I said, I've had a lot of random events and am trying to find the cause of it. I feel that taking it to the dealer will be a waste of time because I know the problem will not show itself when I get there.

    Also, the no-start situation which I've had on several occasions and which I've cleared by locking and unlocking the car with the keyfob, is still ongoing but no hassle at this time because I know what to do.

    Now a thought comes to mind. Seeing as the remote start which I do not have, is controlled from the keyfob, it would appear as if the remote receiver and body control module play a part in the starting circuit. I think somewhere, somehow, there is a software glitch. Although I do not have remote start, manufacturers tend to use the same chipsets in all of their lines and switch features on and off with software.

    I would like your opinion about this.
  • staxstax Member Posts: 3
    I was experiencing the transmission howl exactly as described in the TSB. Took my dealership's service manager for a ride in the car and he heard it loud and clear. They kept the car for a day to test it out and confirmed it matched the TSB. Even though it was classified as only a noise nuisance, not a safety issue, they did the fix for me. Just got the car back a few days ago after they did the "repair" and, knock on wood, it is perfectly quite now, even quieter than it was before.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Umm, :(

    Sorry to hear this. The BCM could cause an airbag telltale under some circumstances but it is not the typical culprit.

    Please keep us informed on what happens. Dealer technicians has a Technical Assistance Center available (a type of call-in help center) if they are having difficulty troubleshooting a vehicle. I can see they haven't used that resource yet in regards to your vehicle ;)
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    I remember working on a post for this topic (for quite a while) but guess I didn't post it for some reason.

    Page 2-22 or page 2-20? I see the text you are talking about on 2-20 in the manuals I have. I can't make sense of the FCC stuff - it is in legalese (LOL)

    I can clarify a few things.

    Your vehicle likely has 2 types of Theft-Deterrent Systems as noted in Owner's manual. Content Theft-Deterrent and Vehicle Theft Deterrent (aka PASS-Key® III+).

    Both of these systems make use of the theft-deterrent alarm telltale in your instrument cluster and so you have to know a little about its operation to understand which function might be controlling it. The owner manual does a pretty good job at explaining it (especially 2nd printing of the manual - see page ii in front to figure out what version you have is there an "A" or "B" after the part number). Both say first edition.


    Key fob is used for remote keyless and it does arm and disarm the Content Theft System but doesn't have anything to do with PASS-Key® III+.

    The PASS-Key® III+ system uses a special "transponder" chip embedded in the ignition key itself (reason for the "+" symbol on key) which communicates with a module in the vehicle when the key is inserted in the ignition switch and ignition is turned on. It is wireless communication and very short range.

    If you ever note this problem again with this theft deterrent telltale staying on when you are driving check and see if anything else unusual is happening with any functions in the instrument cluster (like the odometer, tachometer, speedometer).
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    With the theft deterrent telltale on while driving nothing else seems amiss and all other telltales are off. What gets me is that symptoms are so random. I've tried to set the Auto Unlock to unlock all doors when using the keyfob with no luck. Only the driver's door unlocks. Today for no rhyme or reason all locks unlocked when I used the keyfob. Then that stopped working after several times and once again only the driver's door unlocks.

    In the no-start condition only locking the doors with the keyfob and then unlocking them again allows me to start the engine. So there must be some connection between whatever and the starting system. I've used both keyfobs and keys with the same results.

    The trouble is that the dealer is quite a distance from me and I don't want to take the car in and just have them poke around without GM coming up with a positive fix for the problem. For now the car works and I know what to do in the event of a no-start condition.

    It's like the bugs in my video editing program. I know what to do when the computer freezes. Seems like wretched autos are becoming more and more like computers by the day. But, despite everything, I love my Malibu warts and all.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Another thought. You say the key has a transponder embedded in it which allows the system to recognize the key and allows the engine to start. But if a person who has the remote start feature starts his car from a distance using the fob, surely then, there must be two paths for the start command to follow? That is, one path via the key inserted into the ignition lock and, the other via the remote start button on the fob.

    Sorry about this line of questioning but I'm trying to get a handle on this problem. You see, we are not dealing with a simple starter circuit here. Somewhere there is a processor that's not doing its job every time.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002

    7937 this post described more items than your last one. It is going to take a few iterations for me to understand your issue but I check forum often:

    I would like to first focus on the door lock stuff.

    The Driver Info Center Auto Unlock selection doesn't have anything to do with key fob operation. It allows you to select WHAT and HOW you want doors to Unlock as part of the customization of the Auto Door Lock function.

    HOW choices are: Shift to Park or Turn Ignition OFF

    When you operate the Key Fob UNLOCK button it is designed so that on the first press of the button you UNLOCK only the driver door. If you press the button again within 5 seconds then ALL doors unlock. You cannot modify the ways this operates (your dealer can but I don't know why anyone would want to change the way that it works).

    You mentioned a NO START condition. Can you describe a little more about when that is occuring?
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    You certainly have your thinking cap on 7937!!

    You are correct. When the vehicle allows a remote start to occur the PASS-Key III+ system has not yet verified a valid key. Remote Start is a very specific operation mode which has limited vehicle functionality. It will shut off under a variety of conditions. Transitioning the vehicle from a remote start mode into a normal engine running state requires the PASS-Key III+ system to verify a validated ignition key. This is one of the benefits of this OEM Remote Start System. It works seemlessly with the vehicle's Theft Deterrent Systems.

    However it sounds like you are experiencing a problem so please post back with details when you get a chance.
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