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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • maxxolivermaxxoliver Posts: 78
    I did buy a Lemon :lemon: and GM bought it back just recently. I had the same problems with the stereo, they replaced it 4 times then in April they put an 05 stereo in it and that fixed that finally, there is a software problem apparently in the 04.
    I had an intake manifold oil leak, trouble with the sunshades, the DVD player failed, a headlight assembly filled full of water and had to be replaced, the AC fan had to be replaced with only 845 miles on the car, window trim was replaced, and several other things all within 6 months. This car had about every problem conceiveable. I love the car and wanted a new one without all these problems.
    I contacted New Motor Vehicle Board in Sacramento Ca and they helped me obtain a repurchase of that car. It took 8 months to complete. We have since purchased another Galaxy Silver MAXX LT fully loaded and so far so good. But it has only been a month.
    We bought the first one off the local chevy dealers lot. It was our very first ever brand new car. What an experience.
    See if you can get the dealer to order an 05 stereo not just a replacement and see if that works as well for you.
  • I don't understand. So many people experience the problem with the intake manifold and the ignition module yet GM doesn't issue a recall? Why is that...i have heard SOOO many people talk about how these things ALMOST ALWAYS go wrong on these cars...what is up with that?

    I have a 2001 malibu and am going through both of these things at the SAME TIME...only finding out that it's probably the ignition module and not the fuel pump a little too late --- having already bought the new replacement fuel pump...and chances are it's not even that problem. Oh well -- I guess we'll see tonight.... :sick:
  • I am hearing the same sounds with my car. Did you have it taken care of?
  • I bought my Malibu, used, a few months ago. Everything has been great so far, but I would really like to customize the stereo. I already a subwoofer and an amp, and an Alpine cda-9815 deck, all of which were in my last car. I've looked into it a bit and it looks like it would be a big hassle to remove the stock head unit, involving either mounting it in the back, or buying an expensive, $300 harness that could display the driver information centre info. I've decided to live with it, even though it means buying a $200 wire that will run from the cd changer input on the back of the stock stereo, creating a line-in that i could plug an ipod or md player or whatever into. Basically want to be able to play mp3's in my car.

    My question is, do you think it would be worth getting the subwoofer installed, and possibly upgrading the speakers, if I'm going to leave the stock head unit in? Would the sound quality be improved significantly? Also, I've read that some of the newer stock head units GM is producing come with an 1/8 inch line-in jack. I was wondering if the 2005 or the soon to be released 2006 malibu comes with this feature on the stereo, or if there is some other GM vehicle that has this feature, so i could possibly install a stereo made for that vehicle in my car. Any information anyone can give me regarding modifying the stereo in a 2004 Malibu would be much appreciated. If anyone has any experience with this, or if you have any suggestions/ideas i haven't considered, please give me a shout. Thanks!
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    You might consider calling Crutchfield to find out how much they know about the sound system in the '04 Malibu. Sorry I don't have more helpful info, but it's an idea.
  • fabiophxfabiophx Posts: 2
    Thanks for the help, but you are talking about the ignition switch and not ignition module right?
    The ignition module , that one situade under the hod I've replaced already.
    So should I replace the ignition switch, only the middle where I put the key or should I replaced the hole thing, that plastic cover that is around the cilinder?
    Thanks for the help!!!!
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    Thanks for the tip. I always read the manual when I buy a new vehicle, but I must've just missed that feature. I hear ya about annoying your wife. I'll test it out on our car when I get home from work tonight (might annoy the neighbors, but not the wife- our garage is well insulated from the rest of the house :P ).
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I am not sure how well that operation was described in owner manual - especially first printing of the 2004 manual which you might have.

    There were quite a few nuances in operation of keyless entry and content theft that weren't really covered.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    A recall of the intake maifold gasket would effect too many cars. You are talking jsut about all pushrod V6 over the past decade (take a look at the old forum archive here in Edmunds). It would probably be the biggest recall in history. And at about $400-$700 per repair......GM is banking that the gasket does not fail before the warranty ends.
  • I'ved looked into it and have decided it wouldn't be worth it to install the sub. Maybe a few months down the line I'll throw an amp in there and some new speakers, but thats about it. Right now I'm only worried about getting an auxillary input in there. So far I've found an adapter that plugs into the CD changer input on the back of the stereo, which goes for ~$175 CDN (thats around $145 US.) That's a little bit more than I'd like to pay. I haven't been able to find anything at all online that will work with the new style Malibu. If anyone has had any luck finding anything cheaper, please let me know. Also If anybody knows if the factory deck from one of the 2006 GM's with a built in 1/8th inch input might fit in my car that would be helpfull too. Sorry some of this information is repeated from my last post, I just wanted to be as clear as possible.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    Had my 04 Maxx (Feb 04 build, w/18K miles) into dealer for service this week. I gave them copies of four TSB's, they had car 3 days and took care of all my problems, even paid for rental for 2nd/3rd day. No questions asked. They drove car a total of 30 mi to verify everything OK. All I paid for was Schedule 2 Maintenance (6K since last Maint, oil life was down to 15%). Everything else was covered under warranty.
    1) Have always had lead/left pull. They realigned at 9K (I paid), then again at 10K when drive link was replaced in trans to correct howling. Still had left pull. This time they realigned again and recalibrated the electric steering sensors. Car now drives straight for the first time.
    2) Warped Rotors - They machined front rotors for 2nd time and back rotors for first time. Problem gone for now. If they warp again (and they probably will), I hope it happened before 36K warranty is up as they will probably have to replace the front rotors. All rotor problems are covered under new car warranty. They said they correctly torque the lug nuts, but who knows.
    3) Checked A/C performance - on ride home from work in 90 degree weather, it takes a long time for outlet temp to get cold. They say it is fully charged, no codes set, outlet temp OK. I have to make sure I remember to set recirculate mode every time I use car and make sure compressor light is on.
    4) Headrests and Sunroof wind deflector - they ordered the parts.

    After 14 mo, I am still quite pleased with this car, and the service dept at my dealership.
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    A question about a minor problem with my 04 Maxx...

    My right front turn signal is interittent. Usually, the first few miles it will give the rapid clicking indicating that there's a burnt-out bulb on that side. Then, all will be normal.

    I'm wondering if a bulb can be intermittent, or is this a problem somewhere else? If it's the bulb, I can handle that repair myself. OTOH, if this might be an electrical glitch elsewhere I might as well just take it into the dealer.

    It seems weird that a bulb would burn out on a car that's only 10 months/10k miles old.
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    I am on my 3rd bulb on the left front and 2nd on the right after 16 months. The reason that it is intermittent is the filament is going and the movement over the road causes it to re-make contact. It will soon quit altogether. It is an easy fix. Just be careful of the outer shield when you flip it over as you would not want to scratch it. If you have moisture inside than it is a dealer fix.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I had the same problem..went through 3 bulbs in 12 months..the dealer replaced the entire socket under warranty....and I havent a problem since..going on 4 months now and havent had it happen again...mine was the drivers side turn signal
  • christinadchristinad Posts: 34
    I've noticed something strange happening when I start my 05 Maxx. Sometimes it seems like the starter keeps turning (is that the right word?) even after I release the key, just for a split second. It's hard to replicate. Any ideas?
  • tonyp14tonyp14 Posts: 1
    I took my car into the dealer for the recall notice (accelerator) and the annual (PA.)inspection was due also. The car has 14754 miles (in 2 years) The serv dept. informs me that the rotors and pads have to be replaced...when I questioned the relatively low mileage-I was told "the rotors are made lighter to reduce the vehice weight". I called GM and the cust serv girl (Kellie) suggested maybe it was my lack of driving that wore the rotors...not a wise thing to suggest! I answered the dealers service survey (today) we will see if they respond!
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    This is by design on the 04/05 Malibu. The start sequence is electronically controlled. You just have to turn key to start momentarily and release the key. The (PCM) computer takes over. The starter will keep cranking until the engine starts. If engine does not start right away, the starter will stop cranking after a few seconds so it does not overheat.
  • christinadchristinad Posts: 34
    Hmmm..I could buy that answer, but it still seems like it's continuing even after it's cranked. Just for a quick second, but it's noticeable to everyone in the car.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    Regardless of what your dealer or GM told you, rotors are covered under the 3/36 bumper to bumper warranty. Rotors are not listed under the "not covered" maintenance section of the warranty. If rotors thickness varies due to lateral run out (LRO) the pads will wear out much faster. During warranty period, if you experience pulsing or vibration when stopping, the dealer should machine the rotors to eliminate the LRO. If rotor goes below minimum thickness or they are otherwise defective, the dealer should replace them. Once 3/36 warranty is up, you are on your own. There have been many posts on these forums concerning the cheap rotors that GM has been using. You can enter brake or rotor in the search field to get list of all the posts on brakes.

    I have 04 Maxx 14mo/18Kmi & rotors have been turned twice already.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    So you are saying the starting stays engaged and keeps cranking the engine for a quick second after the engine has started? I seem to recall some earlier posts on this issue for the 04 model. Not sure if that person had problem resolved. Since you have 05 model, your computer should have latest calibrations. I'd say have dealer check it out, but in my experience, if they can't duplicate the problem, they won't investigate further. Good Luck.
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    Thanks for the advice, but this is an "easy fix"?

    I went out and tried it: First, I had to empty my tool bench in order to find a socket wrench that would fit the (apparently) metric fasteners that hold the headlamp assembly in place. Then, I had to balance the thing so that it wouldn't "scratch the vehicle with the lamp or the lamp with the fender", as the manual says...while also trying not to drop the whole assembly (which would probably rip the wiring harness out).

    And how, pray tell do you remove the covers that let you access the bulbs? The manual makes it sound so simple: "Remove the rubber covers from the individual sockets", they say. How? There's no diagram. (And I notice that the instructions for taillight replacement are only for the sedan...I presume the Maxx requires dealer service).

    This headlight design has to be the dumbest thing about this car (with the exception of those rear sunshades).

    Anyway, I have an appointment with the dealer for Friday...arghhh. I knew this car was too good to be true; I hope I don't have to go through this over a simple bulb replacement every 10 months. :mad:
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    The wiring harness has a disconnect. It took a little fiddling to get it apart. I then took the assembly and laid it on a towel on a bench. I pressed down on the cover and turned it and it opened. I have spare bulbs in the console as I will leave on an extended trip in September. I have a small adjustable wrench that I use to remove the antenna before I go thru a car wash when I travel. It worked fine in removing the two bolts for the light.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    I was one of the posters on this topic w/ my 04 Maxx. The problem went away about 6 months ago, whether on it's own or because of a TSB I had the dealer do, I can't say. Except, a few weeks ago, it happened once again. I don't have any proof, but I think it's related to the intermittent hard starting problem. I know the PCM update was supposed to correct that (and the occassional rough idle) but it doesn't seem to be any different. I haven't bothered to take it back to the dealer because it doesn't interfere with the daily driving of my Maxx, which I still love after almost one year of ownership!
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Rotors are a normal wear after 12-12, it is there factory,they make the rules. :)
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    I was only restating what I read in the 12+ page TSB GM has issued for Brake Warranty Service and Procedures. It covers all GM passenger cars and light duty trucks 1999-2005. The number is 00-05-22-002E last revised 3/10/05 to add 2005 model year. It states brake rotors warranty is covered for 3 years / 36K miles. My dealer resurfaced the rotors at 14 - 18 on my 04 Maxx and it was covered under the warranty. Perhaps some some dealers have their own policies.
  • mondo1mondo1 Posts: 2
    I have had a popping and clicking noises from my brakes when I press on the brake pedal. Today I took my caliper and brake pad holder off on the right side. I cleaned and inspected the caliper and pad holder with no problems. However when I inspected the rotor I noticed what looks like hard spots. The hard spots look like slightly raised areas on the rotor surface extending in a radial fashion. The raised spots look brighter that the rest of the rotor. I also have uneven worn pads from rust on the outer edge of the rotor. It looks like they put junk rotors on so there is no sense in turning them because the rotor will end up the same way. This looks like the cause of many peoples unending cycle of bad brake problems. Has GM thrown in some cheapo rotors? Does this seem like the problem many others are having here as well?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Thanks for the infor on 00-05-22-002E I am going to look into that. More than one dealer has stated 12-12 on brakes, this will be interesting. :)
  • globe199globe199 Posts: 6
    I have a 99 Cutlass with the infamous A/C controller problem. Mine may be a bit different, however. I've never noticed the recirculate light blink -- only the A/C light. It will work for a few minutes, and then cut off and on until I kill it myself.

    Three years ago, I had the controller replaced, so this one has lasted that long. I remember using it this past May and it worked fine. Seems like the problem only crops up during warmer weather (it's 90 right now).

    Also, I noticed (the first time I had the problem), that turning the defrost on would NOT fix the problem. I was thinking the A/C button itself was faulty, but that wasn't the case. I could still hear the compressor clicking on and off with defrost selected (and A/C not turned on). To me, that points to a more electronic problem, not a "dirty button" or "contact" problem.

    Is this typical? Has anyone actually done the cleaning technique described in that PDF? Any help is appreciated! Thanks.

  • jmax4jmax4 Posts: 22
    My Maxx has started to experience the same steering wheel pulsing while slightly turned right and/or stopped a few weeks ago.
    What does it indicate? Is there a fix for it?
    The car has 10,160 miles and was built in Jan.2004.

    Other than that I have noticed a very light clunking noise while driving on uneven surface and break squeal at low speeds (15-30 mph.)

    The sunshades don't give me any more problems and stay in place all the time.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    dont know if that is any indication of the steering column issue associated with the early 04 build Maxx's or not...there is a TSB on the steering column..which is a replacement..believe it requires a wheel alignment again as well as a sensor calibration issue on the column...all under can probably do a search in the forum for steering column replacement for the details...there are also several PCM updates available....

    My Maxx still running well....Feb 04 build....purchased in Mar 04...and about to roll over 31K ......still loving the car!
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