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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    I just want to be clear, nothing has been done to my BCM. My problems were caused by a PCM update. I was simply suggesting that since the issue doesn't impair functionality, you don't want to chance that GM screwed something else up in the BCM's code.
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    At long last, after 11 days in the shop, my car is back; but not quite fixed. There are a few trim parts on order. They fixed my seat by ordering a new frame and lift mechanism, and sending the seat out for more cushioning (part of it was useless). Apparently there is nothing wrong with my brakes, it isn't time to replace the pads and they have no way to fix the screeching.

    Also, I've got what looks like oil leaking onto some parts of the engine and transmission. My dealer says there is nothing wrong, but I'm not sure I agree. I'll post pictures later if anyone can look. I plan to take the pictures, clean the engine bay and see how it does over the next several weeks, taking pictures along the way.
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627

    Oh yeah, forgot this one. I had a remote start failure right before taking it into the dealer so I mentioned it to them and how they can scan for codes indicating the failure. It came back no codes found. Why would this be?

    e2, thanks for all your help!
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I don't know your build date but a few general comments on remote start:

    There are several conditions that intentionally will prevent remote start from working. Many of them don't set a fault code - because they aren't really faults. The BCM contains a "remote start disable history" which helps somewhat when diagnosing because it records the reason the BCM last didn't allow or disabled a remote start. I still don't think many technicians use this information. I might send a query out on another site with that question ;)

    I still see many cases with customers and technicians who just don't understand how remote start works - I know this isn't your situation but I am still surprised after system in the field over 2 years. Main thing is not realizing that you can ONLY do 2 remote starts before having to cycle key in ignition and not doing the button press sequence correctly (press and release LOCK and then immediately press and hold REMOTE START).

    Please report back a little more detail on your experience with the remote start failure.
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    In this instance I shut the car off, locked the doors, went into the gocery store for 5 minutes, came out and tried to remote start. Pressed lock, heard the horn beep, pressed and held the remote start buttona and it only flashed the headlamps instead of remote starting. I had forgotten about that table and thought that any failure set a code. Doh! How long does the table keep its contents? If I bring it back again when the parts come in will they be able to look at that table?

    I can't seem to upload the pictures right now of the oil, but if you can imagine the PCV valve line that goes back to the air intake, the point where it meets the air intake is (was, until I cleaned it) oily. Does this mean my PCV valve needs replacing?
  • deesmaxxdeesmaxx Posts: 5
    For the last two weeks my '04 Maxx is driving me crazy. When I press on the gas it sounds like an airplance. It feels like it's on the wrong gear. I don;t know much about cars, but this one has been a nightmare. I've had the streering column replaced 4 times. It keeps burning the rear signal lights, the windows stick and the breaks squeal like a public bus. Now this sound, it's like if I was on ice and I'm pressing on the gas, but yet the car is moving. Argh, any advice?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    The noise with acceleration sounds like the howling transmission problem, which has been posted here and affects some '04 maxxes built after the 18th of Jan '04 (If I remember correctly).

    why is the columm being replaced so often? There are issues with proper setup (the service shop has to know what it's doing as there are various calibration procedures required).

    Sticking windows (if it's just when the windows open from being totally closed) should be minimized by cleaning the upper seals and lightly coating them with a dry film lubricant.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I don't know about PCV valve.

    I believe the remote start disable history "flag" in BCM lasts for only about 50 ignition key cycles before being cleared (however that is only from MY memory ;) - I didn't look it up). If I get a chance tomorrow I will and post back if anything significantly different.

    I think there are 11 or 12 different reasons several are pretty obvious things (like leaving key in ignition)
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    OK - I checked and it is 255 ignition cycles (not 50) without same condition for the disable history to be cleared.
  • sciguy85sciguy85 Posts: 45
    I've been off for a while but just brought my 04 Maxx in for some repairs. I've had ALL the issues, tranny problems, off center steering, WRONG gas tank etc. Most have been addressed but some others related or not related came up. 1. Driving lights indicator light went out (replaced) 2. exhaust noise (replaced whole exhaust from cat back, cracked welds)3. bouncing drivers head light (No problem, no fix said normal even though I walked through the lot and no others did it) 4. clunking in front passenger side reversing and left turns (tighten and lubed everything replaced some shaft, seems better but not gone) 5. since day one the gas gauge never reads full unless I have gas spilling out (and then it only stays about a mile and goes down) Said it would be better with a new tank(no!) Code said bad sender, replaced (no!) Lived with it until now and code said bad sender, replaced (no!) Note: they never filled my tank to check even though twice I went in with a full tank to show them. 6.Never hit any pot holes, curbs etc and my alignment was way out on three of 4 tires. I haven't been on for awhile so if any of these things are addressed could you direct me to possible solutions thanks.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I don't know if you previously posted a build date - that would be helpful.

    The only items of the ones you mention I have suggestion on is #1 driving lights and #5 fuel tank.

    For #1 I just have a question - what is it that you are calling the driving lights indicator? Just reference something in the owner manual by page number and I will look it up.

    For #5 most often the issue WAS with fuel tank itself. I know you indicate it was replaced but it is still possible the new tank had same condition. I believe there is a new PCM calibration which made gauge less sensitive to tank issues but I don't know if that was introduced as a way to not have to change tank or an additional improvement.

    If you get a chance post back build date or, if you are willing, the last 6 of your VIN
  • pwd666pwd666 Posts: 5
    Today I got around to fixing 1 of 2 problems. To fix the problem with the E-brake I had to take out the Computer of the Malibu. I also had to take out the plastic mount for the computer. For anyone's information there are three screws holding the braket in place one closest to the steering wheel and the other two at the back. The e-brake sensor was loose in the back and it seems as if a plastic guide was broken off. Anyway I torqued the switch down and it all works fine.

    I'm stilling trying to figure out about the turn signal clicking noise. I replaced the hazard/turn signal flasher but it still clicks every so often. Anyone have any ideas?

    Also does anyone know where to get the plastic PVC 90 degree angle? Mine is cracking and I don't want to pay $34 CAD for one.

  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    3. bouncing drivers head light (No problem, no fix said normal even though I walked through the lot and no others did it)

    This is NOT normal. Mine is doing it but my dealer forgot about it last time it went in. I can actually wiggle the drivers headlamp around quite a bit. It looks like one of the bolts holding it on is coming loose.
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    OK - I checked and it is 255 ignition cycles (not 50) without same condition for the disable history to be cleared.

    Thanks I'll ask them about it when it goes in.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    I'm finally going to try and get my rattly, clunky steering column and my squeaky belt and hopefully they'll update my PCM to fix my hard starts and cruise control sticking in 3rd. The catch is I'm taking it to a dealership about 3 hours away as the one here can't be trusted and a relative ruined my chances with a good service department only an hour away. Gonna take it over on Saturday, leave it for the week and pick it up the next Saturday. Kinda bad, but the service department here doesn't seem to know their a**hole from a hole in the ground.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    please post the details of your steering column "fix". Mine is still squeeking when warmed up. Are they replacing the rack and pinion as well as the steering column?
  • deesmaxxdeesmaxx Posts: 5
    I don't know why they've had to replace the steering column so many times. The problem is that the steering wheel locks up while driving and I'm not able to turn it left or right. I was told that it's a defect and they will change it however many times is needed.

    As for the windows, they stick overnight and it only happens on the passenger side.

    Now, about this howling transmission, does it have to be changed?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Here is what I got from this forum some time ago:


    Re the noise you mention, this TSB from GM might cover it:

    ASI Resolution - Growl or Howl Type Noise From Transmission/Engine Compartment During Light to Moderate Acceleration from a Stop (Replace Drive Link, Drive Sprocket and Driven Sprocket) #04-07-30-021A - (Jul 2, 2004)

    2004 Chevrolet Malibu, Malibu Maxx
    2004 Oldsmobile Alero
    2004 Pontiac Grand Am

    Built After January 16, 2004
    with 4T45E Automatic Transaxles (RPO MN5) Built Between Julian Date 4016 and 4126 and

    3.4L or 3.5L V6 Engine (VINs E, 8 - RPOs LA1, LX9)

    This bulletin is being revised to include a repair procedure and parts availability information.

    Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 04-07-30-021 (Section 07-Transmission/Transaxle).

    Some customers may comment on a growl or howl type noise during light to moderate acceleration from a stop. This noise is load and engine RPM sensitive and will occur between 1500 RPM to approximately 2300 RPM. The noise is most noticeable in first and second gear. The noise may dissipate prior to the 1-2 shift, but will be noticed again in second gear depending on the load and engine RPM. The pitch of the noise will change during the 1-2 shift.

    The noise is due to the new 5/8 inch drive link assembly being at a resonant frequency during certain driving conditions.


    Only RPO MN5 transaxles built between Julian date 4016 and 4126 have 5/8 inch drive link assemblies. Refer to Transmission ID and VIN Derivative Location, SI Document ID #760312 for Julian date location information.

    Follow the service procedure below to replace the 5/8 inch drive link and sprockets with a 7/8 inch drive link and sprockets
  • sciguy85sciguy85 Posts: 45
    Thanks for the quick input. My last 6 didits are 225741.
    The indicator is the on button for the driving lights (the red light indicating it was on went out but the lights worked.

    Because the fuel was still off they wanted me to (get this) run the tank as close to empty and fill it again to get a more "accurate" reading and then bring it in. (Maybe I should just run it to empty and let them come and get it and fill it themselves, they do own me at some gas from taking the tank out 3 times.

    Redmaxx, thank you, I thought I was the only one out there with the bouncing headlight. Trouble is they have told me twice that everything is tight and it's normal (even though 6+ cars in their own lot do not do it).
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    You might notice that when you pull up behind other cars that the reflection of your headlight that is loose is shaking. You might mention this to them and tell them that if its normal then all of them would do this. Other than that I can't think of what else to tell you. I've been in that position before; with a dealership that insists something is normal when it isn't and its a frustrating one.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    The dealer I'd purchased my Maxx from had service so inept they couldn't even realign loose trim, and kept mis-torquing my wheels to point where rotors warped.

    After avoiding them for 2 years, 3 months ago I discovered dealers' management had fired their entire service department. The new crew actually seems to know what they are doing, and have done a decent job the three times I have been in for various warranty work.

    Point? Chevy Dealer service is extremely variable, and if you have a bad one, it makes sense to try elsewhere.

    (FYI, the dealer management also fired most of their sales people. But their sale side of things remains a persian bazaar).
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    he, least you'll be able to find some outstanding replacement floor mats once you've worn out the OEMs!! I held my first soccer practice today. My Maxx is now an official Soccer Dad car.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    changing the column as many times as needed doesnt seem to be the was mentioned there are specific replacement and calibration instructions out there....I thinking the service department is following the recommended how to in the TSB...the howling transmission is remedied with a replacement of one sprocket....not the entire transmission...again a detailed TSB out on this as well....I would work very closely with the service manager..and insure he is looking at the right TSBs....and that they are performing the work correctly....62K on my 04 LT...built Feb 04....and none of these problems with mine....just a burnt out CHMSL.......
  • The ambient temperature display has lately been erratic on my 04 Maxx. The following happened a couple of times: When it was very cold here (teens or single digits), I would drive to work. Car would sit all day. Then during the day, the temperature would rise considerably... into the 40's or 50's. The actual outside temp was, say 50 when I was driving home, but the display was still at 17. It took a number of miles for the display to read correctly, then it would shoot up very quickly--- like it was "unthawing" --- then read correctly. Dealer said this is normal. BUT I've had the car for 2 over years and it NEVER did this before (although there were many similar opportunities with our crazy weather swings). It's ALWAYS accurate in the summer, and never had this lag time before. Any thoughts? thanks
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    I actually like the OEM floor mats. They seem very durable (I'm pretty hard on floor mats) and I really like the hook on my driver's side mat. It has never come loose and slid under the pedals.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    My guess is that you are using remote starter when you go out to your vehicle after work, correct?

    I can explain more if you confirm that.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Ok - you have a fairly late build 2004. Built sometime in first part of May 2004. That would make it possible you had issue with fuel tank and might need to get it replaced again.

    I believe the test they do with fuel tank doesn't involve filling it up with fuel so it works better for them to be as low as reasonable.
  • I can't confirm that I used it on those days, I may have... explain why that would make a difference? It was well after driving for 5-7 miles, through city traffic before the temperature would read accurately. What is the connection with remotely starting the car?
  • sciguy85sciguy85 Posts: 45
    Thanks e2, I'm going to mention it. May be they will consider the possilbility of putting the wrong one in (again) as it took them 3 weeks to figure it out the last time.
  • We have an '01 Malibu that insists upon activating the passive theft deterrent system at the most inopportune times, resulting in a 10 minute wait every time this happens. Why is this happening and what can we do to fix it?
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