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Chevrolet Malibu Engine Problems

I drive a malibu 2000 and when i start it up the engine taps for about five minutes or until it warms up... dont know what the problem is, could someone help me out :( is it bad or good or cant be good


  • Yes, there is bulletin on this malibu condition. Yrs 2000~2001.
    Bulletin # 01-06-01-005
    Actually it is a GM problem with Chev,Buick & Pontiac 3.1L engines.
    It is not serious, only a noise.It's called Piston Slap or Cold Engine Tick.
    GM calls it a "Customer annoyance issue" and will not affect the durability or life of the engine.
    You see the Einsteins at GM thought is would be realy funny to put a polymer coating on only 2 of the 6 pistons
    (cyliders 1~4 uncoated)on this motor, hence the racket it makes when you start it up cold.
    When I bought my new '01 malibu in 2001 I heard this noise after it had about 3,000 miles and was convinced it had a bad valve train. Fought tooth and nail with the dealership.
    Finaly the dealership admitted and showed me the official GM bulletin on the problem.
    The fix is to replace all of the pistons.
    But the choice was up to me as long as it was still within the 1st 36,000 miles or 3yrs.
    Guess what I chose. Yep! I chose to have it done.
    But the noise came back after it had about 70,000 on it.
    I must say it doesn't burn any oil even with 150,000 miles on it.
    It would be kinda nice if the engine ran better.
    It runs like garbage and is unreliable.
  • 04bu04bu Posts: 16
    Here's one I had for a period of less than twenty four hours. After a couple minutes of operation from a dead cold start after sitting at work, the temperature gauge does not indicate the engine is warming up. Then I hear the engine fan running non stop. WTF? I have heat (thank god). The next day I was out and the same thing is going on so I took it straight to the dealership. Amazingly the fan continues to run and the gauge is not responding. So they know I'm not nuts. Later they call back and say it's working. "What did you do?" "Well, we pulled the thermostat checked it and put it back and it worked." So you didn't really change anything?" "Nope. But it's working".

    And it has been working since. And again Chevy sends me a questionaire about the dealership but again fails to ask me what I think of their car. What I think is next time it will be Toyota.
  • 75897589 Posts: 1
    i have a 2000 malibue that had the same cold start noise 3 months later damn thing sounds like a diesl engine all the time so im just waiting for the shop to tell me that the bearrings or piston rings are shot car is a piece of [non-permissible content removed] it has 95000 miles on it :mad:
  • jonkholmjonkholm Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 malibu and am swaping out the bad engine with one I found from a 2000. The wiring connection for the injectors is different. Does anyone know if someone makes an adaptor for this? Mine has two plugs - one 8 prong plug and one 2 prong plug. The new engine has a single 12 prong plug. Please help!
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Can you just put the old injectors in, I doubt you will find an adaptor.
    You could try the dealer for a repair plug, but you would need to do a lot of splicing.
  • I have a 1972 Nova and a 1977 Malibu. I'm trying to still the engine and transmission from from the 1977 Malibu into the 1972 Nova. Does anyone know if the this swap will work? Also if it will work is there any modifications that must be done to the wiring, or anything? Or is it a plug and play swap?
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    You might get a quicker response posting your question in Crazy Engine Swap Questions.

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  • barkybarky Posts: 3
    My 2002 Malibu has 69k miles on it, and today I brought it into my dealer for an inspection prior to a 1500 mile road trip next month. Dealer calls me back and tells me there's oil in the coolant, and the culprit is the intake manifold gasket. WTF?? How does oil/coolant relate to the intake manifold? My son suspected this was BS, so we go down there to see for ourselves. The mechanic said it looked like someone recently poured oil into the coolant reservoir (hmmm, could it have been him looking for a fat commission?). So I raise a little stink, told the service manager this never happened to my Toyota or Honda, and would Chevy cover the cost, as it has only 69k miles? He goes off and thinks it over, punches some computer buttons, and says Chevy will cover it if I pay a $200 "deductible." Otherwise, with the 6.5 hours labor, parts, flushing, oil change, etc., it'd have been over $1100. What do you guys think of this problem? Ever even heard of it before?
  • I have a 2001 Malibu and at 50K miles I had to replace the intake manifold gasket. Now I have around 100K miles and guess what the same problem is happening again. I have spoken to GM and they have not offered any relief or taken responsibility even though I know GM issued an internal service bulletin about this very problem. So... I have joined a class action lawsuit against GM and perhaps something will be done.
  • lineuplineup Posts: 1
    Today I'm told that my 01 Malibu has the gasket problem and I have a big repair bill. Can you give my some info about the class action suit? (Canada) Thank you.
  • When I took my '97 Olds Cutlass GLS (same as later Malibu) 3.1 L some years ago to a local mechanic that was GM GoodWrench certified, he showed me a pile of gaskets that had been disolved by their long life orange coolant, and strongly advised changing to standard ethylene glycol green coolant. Heeded his advice, and the car has over 150k miles on it with no intake or head gasket problems. When both '05 and '06 Malibu's are out of warrantee, the same change over to "simple green" will happen to them also.
  • If you haven't finished by now and figured it out, I can say with experience that the swap will work. Depending on whether or not the '77 has the 5 wire distributor, you may want to use the one out of the '72 if it is electronic. Other than that, they are a simple swap out for the V-8 models. Be sure and swap the exhaust manifolds because the Nova pipe out pattern is typically different than the Malibu.
  • ladymyladyladymylady Posts: 21
    I just bought a car last week that apparently has been affected by this coolant problem...but they never mentioned a word of it - then again I should have read all of this before I bought, rather than after....meanwhile this is what I found on Consumer Affairs (google it)

    Just reading up on problems with all GM cars caused by radiator and Dex cool coolant (orange stuff) blowing gaskets...leaking etc..

    did you check to see what's in your radiator?

    google Consumer Affairs GM Dexcool

    hundreds of complaints..

    one guy says he solved the problem:

    M L of San Rafael CA (08/26/06) *WE'VE FIXED THE PROBLEM(S)!!
    And while it's irritating to look back and see how much $$ I've needlessly thrown at my '92 K1500 Chevy Blazer, several radiators, head gasket, heater core, trans cooler lines, uptake gaskets, pretty much everything that has come into contact with cooling fluids has either corroded or slowly disintigrated. All due to what turns out to be a basic electrical design flaw at GM.
    radiator guy hates Dexcool, suspects that perhaps it's the electrolisis that causes the Dexcool to turn to a jelly goop.
    Says the higher the amp reading in the radiator, the more goopy Dexcool seems to be.

    My story: The original radiator in my '92 Chevy lasted a good while (hint: older radiators had A LOT more copper in them). The trouble really all started and in a big way, after replacing the original radiator. I did pay the $500.00 for the new GM radiator. (hint: the newer made radiators have little to no copper in them. They are mostly aluminum and steel) Within a couple months, I started having to dump money into my K1500 Blazer, LOTS of it!
    When radiator #3 started leaking, I got fed up with my mechanic, who kept saying, it's a high milage vehicle. I should expect this. Not thinking it was even slightly odd that everything seemed to be connected to the cooling system or somehow come into contact with it, even though nearly every repair seemed to require draining the radiator?? So, I looked for the oldest, greasiest, busiest, radiator shop in my area. First thing the guy did, after hearing the list of repairs I'd made, was to drop a probe in the radiator to check for a charge, in other words, electrolysis. An acceptable reading is .03 amps. I was running at .38 amps!! Turning the engine off it would only drop it to .27 amps.
    So, he replaced leaking radiator #3, and rechecked it,.. .58 amps!! It went up! He shrugged and said, new one must have even less copper than the last one. I've seen a lot of these GM's with this crap going on. I've been doing this thing that seems to fix this problem. Then an off-duty local cop pulled in with his Blazer, newer than mine. We got to talking, he'd had most of the same problems and this radiator guy fixed it for him 3 years ago, and hadn't had a problem since.
    Here's what my guy did...
    #1 - Attached three, braided ground cables, randomly to the radiator and the block, and grounded them.
    #2 - Then took a piece of copper pipeing aprox 3 long, with the same hollow as the heater-core hose, soddered a copper ground wire to the side of it. Midpoint on the hose running from the radiator to the heatercore, he spliced this small copper pipe into the line using hose clamps. Then using the ground wire he had soddered to it, grounded it to the engine block.
    #3 - Drained and refilled the cooling system with DISTILLED water and GREEN coolant. Dexcool in his experance is CRAP, and I quote him. He did all this very quickly, then dropped the probe into the radiator and poof .02 amps! It cost me $100. He has me come in to recheck the amps once a month. And still 6 months later, .02 amps, and no new problems. I was averaging 1 problem per month, a leak here, a suspicious gasket there. Now nothing. So, it seems to me that there are really two problems. One affecting the other. A cooling system grounding problem, electrolysis resulting in corrosion and dissintigration of parts and gaskets. And then Dexcool which is unstable in an electrically charged enviroment and turns to goop. Maybe I'm wrong but my '92 K1500 Blazer now has 212K miles on the original engine
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    When you say "amps" I gather you mean volts. I suspect the probe was to measure voltage. Amps is a current rating which measures current flow whereas a voltage measurement is measuring the static voltage. I've never done it so I may be wrong but you may want to clarify that for others who read this.
  • ladymyladyladymylady Posts: 21
    Perhaps I was not clear in what I wrote. That is not my post about the amps - it is a post I found on consumer affairs purporting to have solved the problem in his car, and I repeated it here... I'm not mechanical, I mean I can use a screwdriver and hammer, but am looking for opinions and advice about what to do myself about this dexcool problem.

    It's in the used car (2002 cadillac) I just bought and I see that the fellow who owned it had a blown piston and gasket ast 17,000 miles when it was brand new...had that replaced under warranty and then the hoses I'm guessing he had the same problems.At 35,000 miles he had the car in 35 it sounds to me like this stuff went all through his engine system into other systems too.

    Just thought I'd be helpful and point people toward consumers affairs complaints which lists a litany of problems similar to that the other poster mentioned.
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    Oops...sorry for not paying attention. But yes, good information for people to know since the electrolysis problem is contributing to alot of leaking rads and heater cores. I first read about it on another forum, for another car of mine and I'm sure the measurement was in volts. One would need a fairly sensitive and accurate voltmeter to test such a thing.
  • carguy999carguy999 Posts: 9
    I drive a 2005 Malibu LT 6-cylinder with 33,000 miles that I've owned for a little over 2 years. It's been a great car -- up until now, the only problem I've had was a slight shudder in the brake pedal that was cured by resurfacing the rotors.

    Lately, I've noticed that when I start the engine in the morning, it first idles very rough at low rpm, then suddenly shoots to over 2000rpm, then drops back down to 950rpm, all in 2-3 sec. After that, the idle is fine, including after being parked at work all day. I suspect the idle air control valve, but I'm curious if anyone else has had this problem and found the cause.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    No IAC, it has electronic throttle. Take it in, still under warranty.
  • carguy999carguy999 Posts: 9
    Thanks for your reply. I'm planning to take it in, but I wanted to get some ideas first so my dealer can't try to sell me some useless remedy first (like cleaning the fuel injectors). I'll let you know what happens.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Thanks, would be interested in knowing.
  • carguy999carguy999 Posts: 9
    The idle problem with my Malibu appears to have been caused by the Shell regular gas I've been using. I switched to BP for my last fill-up and the problem immediately disappeared, but my fuel mileage also dropped 1 mpg. I plan to buy Shell again next time and see what happens.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    That's strange, Shell is a GM approved TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline.
  • I just had a new fuel pump and fuel filter replaced on my 2005 Chevy Malibu after the fuel pump went out coming home from vacation and 4 hours from my home. The gas tank had to be dropped and the tank was full of bad gas. They emptied and clean the tank, replaced the fuel pump and fuel filter and cleaned the injectors. On the way home from the repair shop the check engine light came on? What now? I check the gas cap lid and tightened it. BUT the light is still on! Help???
  • I let my sis drive my car and she didn't want to give it back. She didn't want to buy it either. so she says be careful what you back into as the cops and I get my car back. 5 months later I was bumper to bumper with my son's cadi and now I have no cruise control and the engine light is on and blinking. I took it to a shop and they said I should have no problems driving it this way for the next 1000 miles of my trip. Said I probably just bumped a sensor. My question is could my sister and her boyfriend have sabotaged my car and if so, how?? Please help - I'm on the road next Thursday.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    A blinking check engine means the catalytic converter may be damaged if the engine is not repaired ASAP.
    I could not understand a lot of what you wrote.
  • 5213252132 Posts: 62
    :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    ASAP " as soon as possible" The catalytic converter, which is in the exhaust system can be damaged by a faulty engine. Hence the blinking light and no cruise.
  • So, now that my 2005 Malibu reached 50,000 kms and 3 years (exactly); I'm having weekly issues, such that the dealership will soon know me by name.

    First, my remote start failed. Then I had a brake issue; and today I was driving home from work when I noticed my temperature gauge wasn't working at all. No big deal, I figured, I could get that looked at next time I pop in for service.

    When I dropped my carmate home, she noticed when she stepped outside that my car was unusually loud. Looked like the fan was going in overdrive. I drove home and when I shut the engine off I noticed the fan kept on going for about 20 seconds.

    I guess I'll take it in tomorrow....sound like a thermostat?
  • My 2003 malibu is currently sitting in my driveway like a piece of junk,
    the upper and lower intake manifold gaskets, and the exhaust manifold gasket, and the head cylinder gasket are shot, they all went in a short period of time. I have about 67000 miles on it. It is going to cost about 2grand to fix. It has something to do with dexcool eating the older gaskets. Many people are trying to get gm to acknowledge and fix or reimburse, but they are not budging.
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