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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • I have to agree with Jim in Ohio about the steering wheel switches - I can't understand why they mix the radio controls and the cruise controls on both sides? Why not put all the radio on one side and all the cruise controls on the other - seems to me that this would help to eliminate any accidents like the circumstances Jim described! Personally, I use primarily my left hand to hold the steering wheel when I drive, and find it very inconvenient to search for the volume control on the right side of the wheel, but that's my own personal madness.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    The Malibu Cruise On/Off is a latching switch. Although it won't help you with your current vehicle I don't think it will hurt to mention that when the Malibu gets a refreshed steering wheel in a future model year you will think that GM was reading these posts or something.

    In regards to problems with the existing switch, this is the first time I have heard of any problems with it.
  • hitskyfamhitskyfam Posts: 5
    Has anyone experienced a problem like ours? We've had a Malibu Maxx LT since March. On six or so occasions, as we drove it, suddenly we'd hear the gongs and these lights went on: traction control, ABS, brake, and the little wrench icon. If we turn the ignition off, the lights naturally go off. It happens infrequently, but it's a worry. We've already had the recall work done. Service doesn't get a "code" from the computer, neither can they make the problem happen.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    If you can, next time it happens drive it to the dealership first thing so that the can see what it is doing and maybe they can pull some codes then.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    There is a service bulletin for symptoms that you describe which applies to the Century and the Regal. It might apply to the Malibu as well. Tell the dealer to check the UBES harness connectors for damaged terminals.

    Also, to check the 20way connector on the transmission. Disconnect and reconnect it and make sure it is seating well. A loose connector here can also give random warning lights. This is the most likely cause of your problem.
  • hitskyfamhitskyfam Posts: 5
    Thank you! Yes, service suggested bringing it by next time we have the problem. We'll tell the dealer to try the other two suggestions.
  • mfletouvamfletouva Posts: 166
    I just picked up my Maxx last you think that the recall problems were fixed prior to delivery, or never existed? It was built in April...
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Next time this problem occurs codes will set and so dealer should take another look. Having this type of problem after the recall was done indicates that there might need to be a component replaced. I believe the recall only had dealer reprogram the ABS module.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    hitskyfam said that no codes were set and the dealer could not find the problem. The 20way connector has been causing problems with a series of transmissions including the Malibu. GM TechLink has reported this to dealers. The fix is to unplug it and plug it in again.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Likely the problem hasn't occcurred since dealer last cleared codes. As soon as these telltales come on again the code will be set again.

    Transmission connector problems will result in codes that turn on a Service Engine Soon telltale which is a different type of issue than the one that would cause ABS/Traction Off and Service Vehicle Soon Telltales.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Service doesn't get a "code" from the computer, neither can they make the problem happen.

    I quote from hitskyfam's post. The dealer did not clear any codes because there WERE NO codes stored. I'm getting weary now.
  • jmax4jmax4 Posts: 22
    Rear shades.
    I got good news! I just received a reply from GM. These are their exact words: “There will be a service fix available in the near future for the rear sunshades (...) as we are currently designing a permanent repair for this concern."

    There is a hope that it will come soon and there will be no longer startling from the shades.
  • hitskyfamhitskyfam Posts: 5
    I copied your suggestions and returned to service with them in hand. No luck. They checked everything you said to do, drove it to see if they could make it happen but they couldn't. I guess we're stuck with waiting for the next time it happens and bringing it back, assuming it happens when and where that's possible. How aggravating!
  • kaylinkaylin Posts: 1
    I purchased the 1997 malibu new. Every year since I've had it, when temperatures rise is spring/summer, the AC blows warm air. A couple of times the dealer replaced a part and recharged AC. After dealerr warranty expired, & extended warranty kicked in, the problem continued. The dealer put dye in to find the leak, but could never identify a part that needed replacing. So the extended warranty insurance company would not pay for the re-charge; I had to pay for it. About 2 months after my 4 yr extended warranty expired - the leak was found!

    I was searching the internet to build a case that this is a common defect in the 1997 malibu, does anyone know of documented history of this problem that I could use when I try to get GM to pay for the $680 cost to replace the compressor?

    It wouldn't be so bad to just pay to have it recharged each year, but now that the hole allowing the leak is larger, I don't know if the recharge will continue to last all summer.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    There is something wonky with one of my keyfobs. I've tried that procedure. The fob gives very inconsistent results. I've checked the battery and it's good. The other fob works right everytime.
  • My wife has the Maxx this weekend and is visiting her daughter in South Carolina. She called today to let me know one of the rear window shades popped out of the frame. Has anyone else had this problem? Is it easy to get back in place, or do we need to take it in for service?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Maybe the complaint is similar to one of these with the window shade?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    ugh: only two weeks and my first problem. My temp guage is no longer functioning. I'm guessing either the guage itself is bad, or there is a bad fuse, or the thermostat is stuck in the open position. I am concerned about driving the car, and perhaps the radiator fan not coming on as a result. Anybody have a guess?, and will a dealer get me in right away with a problem like this?
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    If there is no CEL on I'd imagine it's just the guage itself. The temperature sensor is pretty important in the scheme of things and would surely give you a driveability problem if it was bad. I would also check under the hood to see if any wires or plugs were off. You might just get lucky. I don't know of a fuse that only supplies power to the temperature guage.
  • From my wife's description this is more than just the shade refusing to stay closed. That may be how it started, but evidently it snapped back so hard that the whole shade fell out of the skylight window frame. The car is 600 miles away so I haven't actually seen it. I'll let the group know more when she gets home next week.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    thanks. no check engine light, and no message on the driver's information center. Still, is there any chance of overheating as a result of fans not being turn on??
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    If the fans don't turn on at all you engine would likely overheat, also air conditioning probably wouldn't work very well either. However because you don't have a Check Engine Light I would agree with 7937 that probably an instrument cluster problem.

    There is no special fuse for just that gauge. If any connector was off underhood I would expect that the Check Engine Light would come on as well.

    Is the temperature gauge always displaying cold??

    It would be very easy for dealer to read data from engine controller and see what temperature is being read by the engine coolant temperature sensor. If the gauge isn't following this temperature then instrument cluster would need to be replaced.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    thanks e2helper. Wouldn't you know it; the guage worked fine when I started it up to go to the dealer this morning. It didn't work at all yesterday, even after several turns of the key. The service manager said there was nothing he could do under the circumstances.
    Yes, the guage was at the very bottom when not working.

    One other question for everyone (BuMaxx owners): My temp guage (when working) sits just above the middle line. Is this where everyone else's sits when fully warmed up? I think it is kind of high, and I have never owned a car which operated at this level. I know this is still within operating parameters, but I still want to see where everyone else's guage reads as normal.
  • glennbglennb Posts: 34
    I have a recently purchased Maxx (just over 400 mi.) that has been plagued by a burning rubber smell from under the hood since I bought it.(didn't notice on the test drive tho') Just came back from the dealer, where the service guy pronounced it cured after cleaning some body sealant off the manifold. I returned home and still can smell that acrid burnt rubber smell. Has anyone had a similar experience? Any info greatly appreciated. TIA

    Glenn Butzlaff
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    The horn no longer works when pressing the right side. Works fine by pressing the left side of the steering wheel.

    When It goes in for the recall, I'll have the dealer look at it.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry to hear about this trouble maxx4me. I would not be too worried about the temp gage being a little above middle line but keep an eye on your first complaint to see if it comes back.

    I believe that a problem with the coolant sensor or its wiring has to be seen on 2 ignition cycles for the Check Engine light to turn on. However, even on the first occurence a fault code would set (if this was the problem). Do you actually take vehicle to dealer or just talk to him on the phone?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I drove over this morning, even though the problem was not occuring. My reason was three fold: (1) to see what type of service atmosphere existed there; (2) to ask the service manager if I should be driving the car under this condition; (3) to get the name of the finance manager for pao and myself should we decide to do business on an extended warranty there.
    The service manager said that it should be OK to drive it since the guage was not connected to the sensor which ultimately decides when my fan should come on/off. He also said there was not much he could do with it working since neither the DIC nor CEL indicated a problem.
  • laura1laura1 Posts: 1
  • I recently installed an aftermarket, in-dash CD player into my girlfriend's '98 Chevy Malibu. Everything works on the radio, but now the speedometer is outta wack and the RPM gage is way off! I checked the fuses inside the vehicle but haven't made it to the ones under the hood. Can someone please steer me in the right direction before i get my ear chewed off??
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    You likely got carried away reusing all the wires going to the factory radio. Included in them was a Dark Green with White Stripe wire that contains the vehicle speed signal. It is used by the radio for the speed compensated volume function.

    Your new radio is likely messing up the signal which is causing the speedo problem and may somehow also be goofing up the Tachometer. So please re-check your wiring. You will find that this DK-GN/WH wire is smaller size than the speaker wires (it was originally in cavity 16 of original radio connector).

    There is a Dark Green wire (without a white stripe) for the Right Front Speaker return.

    If you find the wire with white stripe just tape it back unused.

    Good Luck!!
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