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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • crosby1crosby1 Posts: 23
    I have done a lot of research in neodymium magnets and their role in pulling metal particles out of motor oil and trany oil.
    I have a couple questions: does the trany on an 04 Maxx LS have a magnet in the transmission filter pan?
    If not, could a person place one in the bottom of the filter without adhering it with a strap or glue?
    Far less important is do you know if the oil drain plug is magnetized and would there be another good place to stick magnets on this car to aid in getting ferrous particles out of lubricating fluid?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry I don't think I can help out on that one.
  • I've had my 2005 Maxx for 6 months and I've noticed from day one that CDs pulled out of the player are warm/hot to the touch. Also, some of my CDs, both OEM and burned make a dull ticking noise that sounds like it corresponds to the spinning of the disc. Any resolutions? Anyone have luck with warranty replacement?
  • I had numerous problems with my 04 Maxx stereo and it was replaced 3 times and the receiver once. Then in April the dealer replaced it again with an 05 stereo from the factory and finally eliminated the problems. It was apparently a software problem in the 04. I have an 05 Maxx now and so far no trouble. I have six disc player so I don't take out the disc's very often but I have had the CD's come out hot in almost every car I own.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    All GM transmissions have a magnet, have never found any without one. My 04 3.5 oil plug is not magnet, must be something new, any other GM engine had one. :)
  • alrstlalrstl Posts: 1
    I am having trouble with my 04 Malibu. The car starts and runs for a few seconds, but then dies off. Thought it might be the fuel filter or something related to the fuel distribution. Any thoughts?
  • I have a 99 Malibu, 4 cyl (w/ twin cam, if that makes a difference), 108,000 miles. I have always turned the ac/heat off before turning the car off. My husband recently told me that it was okay to leave the ac on all of the time. Unfortunately, after a couple of days of doing this, I was greeted by this unholy sound of high pitched whining when I started the car. It almost sounds like stereo interference. Anyway, when I give it gas, it gets louder, & when I let off of the gas, it gets a little quieter. It doesn't do it all of the time, either.
    My husband took it to the local auto parts store & had them check the computer codes. Turns out that I had a spark plug misfiring, but that was all. He also had them check the alternator, but it's running fine. I am at my wits end. I would love any suggestions that anyone may have! Thanks!
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    No Security Telltale (vehicle with lock symbol) is staying on in instrument cluster is it? V6 or 4 cylinder?
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    It's possible that by leaving the AC on during start up you are putting just enough additional load on the serpentine belt to cause it to slip. Try starting without the AC and if no noise then maybe you can get away with just tightening the belt though if it's original it's way past time to swap it out.
  • drejdrej Posts: 119
    FYI After somehow allowing my gas cap to become loose (I wonder how) I got this warning on the dash radio about it. It did'nt go out right away~ and then the engine light went on?. (didn't blink though,,, I called the dealer and they said not to worry until this light blinks continuously) I retightened it and now after a week it went away. Must be tied to start stop iterations. very annoying though! D~
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    yep, the computer controls the light and code, and will extinguish the CEL once you have started-stoped the car around 7 times (cycles) with the gas cap properly fitted.
  • Well, after it started the whining noise, I started turning the ac off before I turned the car off. Unfortunately, it still whines on start up. Turning the ac on actually makes the noise quiet down a little. Although, I'm not sure if it's just drowning the sound out or if it's preventing a little of the whine.
  • I have a 2001 Malibu LS. I went to start it and all it does is grind. The battery is fine and gasoline pressure is adequate. The local garage towed it in and they inadvertantly let the battery run down. They charged it and now the car starts. What needs to be replaced?
  • jdnabrujdnabru Posts: 4
    I have a 2004 Malibu LT and am having trouble with the XM radio. Usually, when I first start the car, the XM is working fine. Then all of a sudden, the radio shifts from XM to FM1 band and the Check DAB message appears briefly. At the same time, the Air Bag warning lite comes on. At this point the only bands available are FM1, FM2, and AM. No XM available. Then after awhile, the Check DAB reappears, XM becomes available again and the Air Bag warning lite either stays on on sometimes goes out. This whole process repeats itself periodically, every 5 minutes or sometimes longer. Have had it in the shop several times for this problem. They think they have it fixed but it the problem always reappears.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. This has been going on for months nowl
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I know that you say the Air Bag Warning Light comes on at same time but most likely these are unrelated.

    Are you sure the radio changes to FM1 or does it change to AM? My experience has been that the radio will switch to AM you listen to XM1 or XM2 usually? If this transition occurs pretty much within a few seconds after starting vehicle I would suggest your dealer look at this document: #PIC3193D - don't tell them who told you ;). If it happens sometime after just when driving then this is probably not applicable.

    As far as airbag warning light, has any of your repair orders ever mentioned what fault code they have read from vehicle?
  • jdnabrujdnabru Posts: 4
    It definitely switches to FM1 and it usually takes a minimum of 5 minutes driving before it happens. It seems to switch from XM1 and XM2 equally frequently. I listen to both.

    Here's a thought. The dealer has experienced the air bag light coming on but never the radio switching bands. They've kept it for 2 and 3 days already testing and driving the car. They change some things and truly believe it's fixed. And I believe them. But as soon as I pick up the car, the problem occurs within a mile from the dealer. Now, I only leave the key with them, not the key fob. I always use the fob to unlock the car when I pick it up. Could the key fob be sending some "glitchy signal" to the radio that causes the problem?
  • We had the fuel tank replaced because it was warped, and to fix the gas gauge issue. Actually, the gas gauge was still inaccurate until it was reprogrammed. Since then it's been great.

    A couple of days after the new tank was installed a fuel line came off and fuel gushed out under the car. The tow truck driver would not take the car until the fire department came and OKd the car to be moved. Towed in to dealer, line re-attached.

    Now, a few months later, car stalled on freeway and there was fuel leaking out underneath. Towed in again. Now they say it's a problem with the fuel pump. Tomorrow will be the third day it's been in the shop since it stalled.

    I don't know. It's a nice car when it's running, but it's by far the most unreliable car I've ever owned. Never been stranded before by a new car even once, let alone twice, during the first year. It's also been in the shop for steering clunking, radio replacement, window shade replacement, pulling to the left, tailgate rattle, misaimed headlights, etc. This is the car that carries my wife and daughters. I don't want them running around in something that might not get them home, or strand them in an unsafe place.

    This car is a lemon under the legal definition in California. Don't know if I'll press it, but I could. I'd be a fool to buy an American car again.

    2004 Maxx LS
    VIN 237245
    built May '04
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    OK, so your experience with losing XM is a bit different that what I have experienced so the thing I mentioned probably not applicable.

    I will have to think a little more about it.

    If you wouldn't mind if you would reply back with last 6 digits of your VIN (not the whole thing!) I might be able to help a little more.

    The key fob signal (specifically UNLOCK) IS used to personalize radio settings to which key fob (fob #1 or fob #2) was last used but that would be evident immediately when the radio first turns on.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    sorry to hear about the problems...I would follow the lemon replace the vehicle if you are that uncomfortable with it.....but dont worry about buying american....I have had a lemon law return on an 03 KIA Sorento....and major issues with a 00 Honda problems are just with american manufacturers...In fact....I honestly beleive..for the most part....most of the car manufactures are on par with one another....there are some exceptions...some of the Japanese lines are still good but have slipped in the past...and the German autos have really lost ground in the last few years......hang in there....sounds like for the most part...the first time was poor repair....a gas line shouldnt just slip off.....and a fuel pump going within a year...that certainly sounds odd as well.....good luck
  • jdnabrujdnabru Posts: 4
    the last 6 digits of the VIN are 172310

    The dealer still has the car. they say they are trying to get an engineer on site to help out. The dealer even mentioned (before I brought it up) about "buying back the car". don't know if it will come to that or not
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    Sorry to hear of your problems. It seems as if the fuel line wasn't tightened enough, and I know I had a fuel pump go out because it was run dry, which seems as if it could have happened to you too. The same thing happened to my friends Subaru Outback when it was about a year old. She had just gotten work done (from the dealer) and was wondering why her gas gauge was dropping so quickly on the drive back home. She pulled in to the gas station and started filling up her car. Well, the gas was coming out underneath as fast as she was putting it in. The people at the gas station freaked out, the fire department had to come -- it was a mess. So, at least you know it doesn't just happen to American cars.

    And, like Pao said, don't discount American cars completely. My Maxx has been really good, and my friends 03 Accord has had quite a few problems, not the least of which is it needing new engine mounts and radiator mounts at 20,000 miles. Also, the Malibu has beat the Accord, Camry, and Altima in the JD Power Initial Quality Survey. But, I do understand why you would be very unhappy to be stranded. Both my Toyota Truck and my old Altima left me stranded (the Toyota multiple times) and now I really don't ever feel the need to buy either of those again.
  • Here's a quick fix:
    Turn your ignition "on" and wait exactly 10 minutes until the "theft system" light stops blinking. It will stop on it's own after 10 minutes.

    You will be able to drive off after that. Okay so I dealt with that like twice a month for about 14 months until recently when I had to have the entire ignition casing replaced. VERY expensive. Apparently, the wires weren't touching and had burned their own "pathway" to start my car. Crazy! And silly. No one could figure it out (even at the dealership) until I'd read my manual. My quick fix also ran my battery dry so if you're strapped for cash, be prepared to replace that sometime in the future as well.

    BTW, my steering wheel NEVER locks. It's not even in the manual. The Malibu is not fit for driving on the road. :mad:

    (it's been a year since you posted this so you may have fixed the prob by now)
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Thanks for info. Curious when this happens does anything else occur? Problems with speedo or tachometer gauges and odometer? The "PRNDL" gear shift position indication?

    Does it pretty much repeat every time you drive it? If so I have a suggestion for you to try and see if it changes anything
  • jdnabrujdnabru Posts: 4
    Nothing else really happens when the XM radio goes other than the air bag warning lite coming on. They always happen simultaneouslly. It does repeat for me every time I drive. Sometimes it happens several times within just a few minutes and other times it may last for a while in either condion. Either working properly or w.o. being abel to acces XM.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Ok, that limits potential on what it is. I will have to experiment a little on my wife's car to try to duplicate - hope she doesn't mind ;)

    I will be back in touch with results.
  • Thanks for the encouragement. The problem has been diagnosed as the fuel pump module, and the part is on order. I researched this and found an article about it. Apparently the Maxx and the G6 are using a new fuel pump module that is permanently attached to a specially designed ring that twists into the fuel tank opening. They designed a special tool for removal and replacement, but those who don't have the tool are just banging these things out and in with screwdrivers, etc, ruining both the module and the fuel tank.

    Since we had our tank replaced, I'll bet that's what happened. The dealer replaced the module without using the special tool and damaged the module. They tell me they now have the special tool, and also that the tank itself is still OK.

    I think I want to take a look at that tank opening myself. If it's damaged I think they owe me another (third) tank.

    One thing I can't complain about: every time this car has been in the shop overnight, we have gotten a free loaner. I've never had that convenience before with any car, no matter how expensive.

    Here is the web address of the gm tech link article on this. Just cut and paste it into your browser.

    2004 Maxx LS
    built 5/04
    vin 237245
  • bljeauxbljeaux Posts: 1
    Tell me about how you corrected the noise in the steering column. I have a 2005 Malibu Maxx and the dealer will not do any corrective work for the noise in the steering column in that he states it is a common problem with Malibu Maxx cars and GM will not approve the warranty work.

    No more GM products for me.

  • jinemjinem Posts: 1
  • So having followed the many comments on 2004 Maxx brakes and being unhappy with the results of my first round with rotors being turned, I wonder:

    Has anyone had success with the GM recommended technique of torqueing the wheels manually? Does this avoid the quick return of pulsing many have described?

    Has anyone run across replacement rotors that are more stable than the original equipment?

    If someone has actually confronted the pulsing problem and corrected it (ie. no problem for over 20K), it would be helpful for some to hear about it.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002

    I tried duplicating your complaint and came pretty close. XM would be working fine and then radio shift to FM1 band. At the same time the Airbag warning light comes on. If I remove the fault then the airbag light typically goes off and you can select XM band again.

    I didn't see the Check DAB message but I only played with it for a little while. Also I think the software in my radio is different and so might not act the same way.. I was able to create this problem by creating a dual fault in vehicle wiring. Since this sounds pretty close to what you are experiencing, I would suggest (if they will take any recommendations from you) that next time vehicle is at dealer that they look at what is called the BCM C1 connector for any signs that it isn't locked in place properly (esp a component called a TPA which is green in color). I would also suggest they double check that the wiring terminals (there are 2) for data communication in SAME connector have adequate "drag". Just in case probing of that connection damaged the terminal.

    When I did induce this problem I set fault codes in many different electronic module. That would typically be a tip off to check those types of things.

    Don't ask me how I know this stuff ;)

    Good luck,
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