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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    My 2004 Malibu with the 4cyl. Ecotec engine gets 37mpg on the highway. The exhaust tip has not got a trace of carbon. It's as clean as the day I got my car. There is adequate power with the 4cyl. engine and the car is not underpowered. It might change down sooner than the 6cyl. while climbing hills but the mpg is still pretty good. Remember too that the all aluminum Ecotec engine is much lighter than the 6cyl. so the power to weight ratio is better.

    I think you might have a problem with yours.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Then vehicle definitely had older calibration originally in it (changed in May 2004 for production). Do you know if your dealer ever "reflashed" the PCM with latest calibration?

    Here is what GM Calibration Website says about latest version: "New calibration with diagnostic enhancements for DTC P0340. Also improvements for starting, idle quality, and shift stabilization affecting 3-4 upshift."
  • My '04 Maxx (built during 01/04) will be difficult to start if I start it up when cold, drive it a short distance (1-3 miles), park/turn engine off, leave car for 15-20 minutes, and then try to restart. The vehicle starting then takes at least two tries and then runs very roughly for a short time.
    It supposedly is up to date wrt PCM cals, etc.

    Also, for first time, just after starting and when the auto headlights came on while car was parked, all the gauges went to the minumum values (fuel, temp, etc) for about 2 seconds and then came alive again.
    Is there a fuse or connection I can check for possible corrosion or looseness?
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Another thought comes to mind. Is your overdrive and lockup kicking in? Check the tachometer and see if the rpm's are exactly 2000 at 60mph. That would confirm that the transmission is in overdrive.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I had the same problem on my 04 Maxx LT...had it replaced 6 months ago and seems to be fine now....49 K on mine and going strong
  • My '05 Maxx makes a lot of popping and crinkling noise from the manifold thru the converter and tailpipe assembly when it is shut off and cooling down. This I can understand and accept. However mine makes the same noises when there is any change in sheet metal temp due to different operating conditions; such as when idling at a light, pulling a hill, coasting down a hill etc. Needless to say it is extremely annoying. Has anyone else had the problem and what was the fix?
    Dealer ofcourse says this is normal---BS.
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    tcb70 - How are you calculating your milage? Try this: run the car to "empty" and fill up. If there is a problem with the fuel sending unit, it may be going to empty sooner than you are actually out of gas. Now, with the full tank, drive until it is "empty" and fill up again. Then use that number of litres to calculate your economy, not the gas tank capacity. You should never use the capacity of the tank, since the car will still have about 1-2 gallons of gas when you hit empty. By always filling the tank to full, you can use the number of litres on the pump as an indication of how many litres you used.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    when you say sheet metal ..what exactly are you referring too or are you still referring to the exhaust system...honestly never heard of this issue before...
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    tcb70 - Some other things to consider: How quickly do you take off from lights? Do you do much stop and go driving? If you do, you definitely won't get nearly the EPA estimated economy.
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    I recommend that you check the coolant level. Park the car on a level surface and let the engine cool down. Check the level and if it is at or below full, add a 50/50 mixture of DexCool and water to bring it about 2 inches above full. My car is a little over a year old with 16.3K miles on it and it was slightly below full. Bringing the level to what I said (and where it was from the factory) has been keeping it cooler and idle better.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Called my dealer, no reflashes done. He set up an appointment to look into it.
    Thanks e2helper, I mentioned a factory guy for more leverage, hope you don't mind. :)
  • Yes, I am referring to the exhaust system---pipes, converter, muffler etc
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    NP but based on kurt's comments above although this calibration has solved some complaints (rough idle and transmission shifting) it looks like there might still be some hard starting under certain conditions :(
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I agree that you likely have the latest calibration - actually you are probably one of the first to receive it - from the customer clinic you attended in April 2004.

    Regading the comment on gauges if it only happened one time I don't think have any suggestion on what to check. If it happens again also keep an eye on your "PRNDL" which shows gear you are in and odometer to see if they are affected. The first would likely not indicate a gear and the second would show "ERROR" if the condition lasted long enough (a few seconds). A lot of information to the instrument cluster comes over a serial data link and so if it is something external to the instrument cluster those functions also would be affected.
  • thanks, e2, for things to look for. I hope the connections for that serial interface are well sealed!

    The maxx is not the first car I've had with the lukewarm restart problem.
    My '83 toyota camry had the same problem (had fuel injection), and my '82 Honda Accord would boil its miserable 3 barrel carb dry when parked while hot (Honda refused to do anything about it).
    On other hand, my '96 Geo Prism rarely had this problem.

    And the calibration did help the idle, BTW. Now if I can only get the dealer to figure out how to properly set the steering gear preload....
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    I too have hard start problems, but mine are different. There is no rhyme or reason, it just has a hard time sometimes. Since the calibration, it has never failed to start, but when it has trouble it takes about 2-3x as long cranking and when it finally starts it sputters to life.
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    I too have hard start problems, but mine are different. There is no rhyme or reason, it just has a hard time sometimes. Since the calibration, it has never failed to start, but when it has trouble it takes about 2-3x as long cranking and when it finally starts it sputters to life
  • 04bu04bu Posts: 16
    Two days ago I was merging onto the freeway and once again had no directional. Left, right or hazard lights which I quickly checked. By the time I got fully into traffic they were back.

    I'm getting tired of Chevrolet sending me dealership performance questionaires asking me what I think of the dealership performance and not what I think of their car.
  • just to let u know that the part finally came in..from a supplier in took 8 weeks but hey its a big relief - Chevrolet is compensating by covering by future oil changes/maintenance for 25,000 miles.
  • Are those cars the bomb or what. Has anybody had any problems with this car and how does it ride?
  • My daughter bought one and loves it. She says it is the best car (next to mine of course.) She got a granite blue one with the chrome sport package. It rides really nice is comfortable and the mileage is great. She drives a 70 mile round trip 3 days and 40 mile round trip 2 days plus and gets 27 to 30 mpg. I have driven it and it is a nice ride. The price is good too.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I have also had the same problem and regard it as a safety hazard with potentially serious consequences. I still insist that these random problems have all got a common cause and should be investigated by GM.
  • i have also recieved 3 surveys from gm re: my purchasing experiences from the dealership and not one concerning the actual car! i want gm to ask me what they could do to make this a better car or how to keep me interested in buying another maxx,
  • pretty much what the topic says. i have a 2000 malibu that i use as my beater car. but for the last couple of weeks the only way i can start the car is if i have my foot on the gas. ive checked fuel pressure and spark, and both are good. any ideas on what is going on?
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Check the fuel filter. Fuel pressure can still be good but volume of fuel delivery might be low.
  • ill give it a check
  • sean74sean74 Posts: 18
    The milage of my 2005 malibu LS is only ~1,500 miles.
    However I can hear scratching noise when I press brake.
    My old car had this problem. The mechanic said that was due to the dirty brake pad. I don't know what's wrong
    with my new malibu. I don't think I need have a new brake
    pad. But the noise is annoying. Thanks in advance for your advice.
  • I have an '05 Maxx with the 3.5 and it turns 2000 RPM at 70 overdrive(4th gear)..I know that's low...but that's what it has always been...A serene high speed vehicle, that gets exceptional highway mileage(32-34)...It must have a numerically high final axle ratio.. Am I alone in this? Jack
  • i checked the fuel filter and it wasnt plugged up. i threw a new one on just in case. but the car is still having the same problem. not to sure why i would have to have the gas pedal all the way down just to start the car.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I was referring to tcb70's comment about his terrible gas mileage. He has the 4cyl. Ecotec powered Malibu and so have I. If I remember correctly, at 70mph the rpm's on my car are about 2200 which is still pretty good for a 4cyl.
    I once took the car up to 90mph on a Nevada highway - 80mph speed limit - and it seemed as if it could have gone higher before I slacked off. I think the engine has enough power to satisfy most people.
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