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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    "New calibration with diagnostic enhancements for DTC P0340. Also improvements for starting, idle quality, and shift stabilization affecting 3-4 upshift."

    Thanks e2helper, but the site did not work for me. I guess I'll just have to see my dealer. So: is the P0340 a computer code for the rough idle that this calibration is supposed to fix? The reason I'm asking is that won't my service manager simply say that since there is no code (CEL) that there is nothing they can do for me?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    That code would set a CEL. No need to update calibration unless you are experiencing a problem that it looks like the update would address.

    You are occassionally seeing a Check Gas Cap Message, right? This should occassionally be causing the CEL to turn on as well (due to P0455). However in that case I already gave suggestion on what probably should be checked by dealer on your Maxx in the other forum.

    Probably the web site doesn't work for you because of the settings set up for your web browser. Are you using Internet Explorer? Did you update your Win XP to SP2? If so this site is getting treated with Pop Up control and so the window you want to see is being suppressed. I had the same problem until I allowed pop-ups at that site.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    thanks, no, I turned off all my pop up blockers and firewalls. I don't know what is stopping the site from working.
    and no, I'm not having any problems other than a few rough shifts here and there, and the rough idle at a stopped position. So I guess you are saying, there is no need to take my car in unless the check engine light goes on?
  • e2helper:

    >You are occassionally seeing a Check Gas Cap Message, right? This should occassionally be causing the CEL to turn on as well (due to P0455).<

    >However in that case I already gave suggestion on what probably should be checked by dealer on your Maxx in the other forum.<

    I'm not getting CEL when Check Gas Cap message displays.

    Checked other forum (Chevy Malibu Maxx) and couldn't find your suggestion on this issue.

    Would you give previous message number or repeat suggestion?... thanks.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    e2helper: just spent an hour with my Chevy service manager and got some interesting tidbits:
    1. he had trouble getting the website to work too. At least when he did it, it took my VIN, but would not return any info. I can't even get it to work to that point
    2. he is willing to read all the programs which reside in my computer to see if that calibration was done. But, he cautioned that in rare cases, if he flashed my PCM, another problem could be caused by him doing so. At this point, I'd rather put up with a little shake until more is known.
    3. (off topic) he said that one can now mix regular oil and synthetic. I was shocked by this, but he claims that Mobil 1 is reporting it as true.
  • Okay I got to the what do I do?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I might have opened Pandora's box with that site - sorry.... (LOL). I don't feel very HELPful with recent posts and might need to stick with my "knitting" (talking about feature/functions on vehicle and stay away from engine stuff) :(

    Otherwise I am going to get myself in trouble with your dealers. I hope that hasn't happened already ;)

    But one last try:
    maxxliberty: I believe what might be happening with your vehicle is that the Check Gas Cap message come on the first time a diagnostic runs and fails but if test doesn't fail on a second ignition cycle then the CEL doesn't turn on (sorry, my bad). What I had referred to in another post is only applicable if you are also having a problem with your fuel gage not reading "F" when you fill your tank. Does that happen on your vehicle? If so ask your dealer to look up that complaint in his system (PIC3088) - I can't give you any more details than that.

    maxx4me: I sometimes have problems with that site as well - it IS flakey. I think you have the right idea about reprogramming/reflashing. If you aren't being told it needs to be done and you aren't experiencing any problems that cause you to want to change something then leave it alone for now. You now have a tool to find out if new calibrations exist (if you can figure out why is isn't working on your computer).

    bonnie: In your case I already know that your vehicle has previous calibration and your original posts mentioned concerns with the idle quality of your vehicle. Read maxx4me's previous post (#265) and consider talking to your service manager about potentially reflashing PCM to see if it improves situation with your vehicle.
  • e2helper:

    >...and might need to stick with my "knitting" (talking about feature/functions on vehicle and stay away from engine stuff) :(<

    Many heads are better than one! Hope you hang in there on engine stuff also. A dealer should appreciate help in diagnosing glitches!

    GM calibration site has not been functioning - it will probably come back eventually.
  • E2helper-

    No you have been QUITE please keep up the good work....!!! My husband is calling our dealer today and mentioning that we came upon that website and we will take it from there. I will let you know what happens!! Thanks again for all your input.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    e2helper: I already know TONS more about my Maxx than any dealer I have seen. Your advice is priceless. My Chevy dealer has been very receptive to the anonymous information I have provided him. Granted he does work for Chevy; if I showed up at Mazda dealership they'd rip my head off. Keep up the good work.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Thx for encouragement you all :)

    I do know a lot about this vehicle - I should, since I have been involved with it since the inception of program several years ago!!

    This is a super site (probably my favorite of this type) and I have recommended it to many of my co-workers as another way to get input from our customers.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    the site is up and running now e2helper; I'm simply clueless on what it is telling me. There are at least 5 calibrations to chose from. When I pick the one for rough idle/starting, it continues to require input from me. I was expecting a list once my VIN was entered, but no such luck. Today, I had my first hard starts. Twice it behaved as though the car wouldn't turn over; almost like it was flooded.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    maxx4me Glad to hear you were able to look at site. Now the bad news. It isn't as fancy as you would like. When you type in your VIN it is just filtering calibration files for your vehicle type. It is not smart enough to only provide you with calibrations later than what was on your vehicle originally.

    So you might sometime have to take your dealer up on figuring out what PCM calibration was originally in your vehicle. However in your case I can probably give you same info with knowledge I already have on your vehicle (I will PM you this weekend)

    Keep us posted on any futher hard starts and descriptions and I can check if this might be an indication that the updated cal might help.
  • usausa Posts: 8
    Has anyone tried driving about 50MPH with a rear window down in the Malibu Maxx (and leave the front windows closed)? I have. The air rushing in sets up a violent roof vibration. Also the vibration creates air pressure pulses that hurt my ears. I reported this to my salesman and he tested another 2004 Maxx and a 2005 Maxx. They both had the same roof vibration.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 130
    When I had windows down in back I noticed the same loud "rumbling" noise. I did not know what to make of it. I think it has something to do with the raised area by the sky light. I tend to leave the roll cover open on the sky light. I thought it was vibrating when closed with rear windows open. Although I never tested the theory.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    standing by e2helper. I can provide whatever data you need. Thanks as always.
  • I will be taking my 2004 MALIBU to the dealer for the second time tomorrow for the ROUGH IDLE problem. The first time in August they checked PCM for updates and reprogramed. This helped the idle slightly if I have the A/C on. Idle is still very rough with A/C off. I wish I had never bought this car!!
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    OK maxx4me

    Good news

    Your starting PCM calibration is 12592927. This means you already have the latest available. Looks like your vehicle was one of the first to get this update.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    thanks much. I guess I'll have to wait for the improved version of the PCM programming for people like Bonnie, gracelyn, and all the others to follow
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    At least you have a baseline on where you are starting from.

    I will assume you haven't gotten your oil change yet (when you were going to have dealer take another look at fuel gage/Check Gas Cap complaint)? Keep us post on this.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I change my oil myself, and have already done so. I plan on switching to Mobil 1 at 5k. Also, I have not had a fuel guage problem nor a CEL for the gas cap; that must have been one of our other Edmunds colleagues. I guess time will tell if my car's personality stays the same, or will require attention.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002

    Maybe I am confused who is who. Better ignore my PCM calibration info which was for someone elses vehicle (laugh). If you don't mind providing the last 4 digits of your VIN I will give you correct information
  • e2helper, you have my attention :-)Have 1600 mi on my LT Maxx and there is a not too noticeable wobble at Idle.Very small if at all. Checked the site you gave and plunked in the Vin #. It kept you waiting forever and I hit the refresh button and up popped the info, 12592927. The last 4 digits of my Vin are 4238. The info chart that came up showed a Part No 12592927 and a Cal ID# 12592928. In your opinion is my Vehicle up to date? It states " New Calibration with diagnostic enhancements for DTC P0340. Also improvments for starting,idle quality, and shift stabilization affecting 3-4 upshift. OK what does it all mean :-)LOL
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Whoops, guess I can't "Name that VIN in 4 digits".

    I think I can probably figure it out with last 5, definitely last 6 so you will have to post back again with at least 1 more digit islandpete
  • Sorry e2helper thought I read just the 4 digits. Geez, it's not my SS # LOL . Here you go last 7 Nos. F244238. Starts with a 1G1Z. Thanks :-)
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    OK, no big surprise. Your have lastest calibration 12592927.

    Your vehicle was a pretty late 2004 model year build because they started building 2005 model just a couple weeks later.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    e2helper: I'm 222094
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Since your vehicle was an early May 2004 build you have the previous PCM calibration 12589770.

    Sorry again for originally confusing you with another Maxx owner
  • Same here, bad wind buffeting inside car, but this is not just the Maxx. i had the same problem with my Dodge Stratus (1998) when only the back windows were open. I just avoid that situation and make sure a front window is open simultaneously.

    Glenn B.
    Cudahy, WI
  • Just noticed today that my temp gauge is not working. I don't know how many times I looked at it till after a long ride today I noticed the fan noise at a stop when we turned the air off and opened the windows. It seems that the fan won't shut off even after the engine has cooled, which is a good thing I guess. Unlike a past post where the fan wasn't working at all with the non-working gauge. We have a full plate of driving tomorrow, and I am leery of using the Maxx for fear the fan will burn out from running constantly. I have also seen the idle vibration threads and never really noticed anything but the slightest shake in my Maxx, but I suppose I should be a little more critical of that as well. This is getting to be a less than positive new car ownership experience, and my wife is hating me for trading *her* Venture in for this more fuel effecient vehicle (so I said!)

    Glenn B.
    Cudahy, WI
  • Thanks e2helper . It's comforting to know I have a later produced vehicle. So far I am extremely pleased with the Maxx and hope there are no surprises "Down the Road" :-) Warrantees are like having health insurance today. Can't be without them.
  • Doh! Just looked at my temp gauge post and realized there is a lack of info. '04 Maxx LS, 6500 miles. I also want to comment on the hard starts by maxx4me. I also have this a few times a week. The part I find odd is that when it doesn't immediately turn over and I let off the key, it continues to crank on it's own. Gee, my list grows...

    Glenn B.
    Cudahy, WI
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Thanks e2helper. yep, it was a May build for the May birthday boy.

    Yeah Glenn, since day one my starter has acted that way (as has my Maxx owning friend's car), continuing to crank even with my hand off of the key. I have only had 2 hard starts; but those two issues, combined with the idle issue must all be related. Hopefully the engineers will discover the cause.
    My temp guage stopped working once for one day. I have not had a repeat problem. At least we're in this together. Those who have not noticed these problems, will eventually; I'm sure of it.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I don't have a suggestion on the temp gauge but a few comments on other things you mentioned.

    Cooling Fans: If you are sitting with engine idling and the cooling fans are, or go into, high speed they will not go back to low speed or off as long as you are idling. This was done so as not to make the switching of the fans speed so obvious. So if that is what you noticed, it is by design.

    Engine Cranking: I can't explain why vehicle didn't start as quickly for you but the vehicle is designed to continue cranking the engine after you release the key from CRANK position if the engine did not start. I am not sure of the exact time it will do this for and it might vary between 4 cyl and 6 cyl but it might be up to 1.5 seconds.

    Actually when I start newer vehicles like, it is my habit to just momentarily turn the key to CRANK and release it WAY before the vehicle even starts. I let the powertrain controller decide how long to crank the starter (since it does this anyways). This is called a "bump start".
  • Thanks for the reply e2helper. I assumed the fan issue was related to the non-funtioning temp gauge because even late last night when I went to put the car away after sitting for four hours the fan came on at startup and the car was cold. I was wondering if this a failsafe issue due to the gauge not working. As far as the rough start and extended cranking, I also just give the key a quick turn to start, but this cranking extends beyond 1.5 seconds, and seems to cause an engine shake that normal cranking doesn't display. But the situation has changed this morning as I popped open the hood before starting the car, and pulled and reseated the 3 fan relays, plus disconnected the + battery terminal. Voila, temp gauge is working again. Did my pre-start hijinks help? Probably not. I was just happy not to have to change plans for the day

    Glenn Butzlaff
    Cudahy, WI
  • The starter is electronically controlled. You simply turn the key to the start position, and then Let Go--Do Not hold the key in the start position. The computer chip will crank the engine until it starts. Your dealer should have informed you of this feature. Try it.

    I believe that the electronic control of the starter has to do with the remote start capability, and therefore electronic control of the starting system makes sense.
  • Add me to the list of those who have experienced an inoperative temp gauge.

    It was inoperative when I took delivery of the vehicle but after a couple of days resumed functioning. Happened only once.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    I believe the starters in most of GM's cars for the past few years have been electronically controlled. This was done to prevent "grinding" the starter (turning the key to start after the engine is already running). I'm not sure what year they went to these, but I do know that they were there in 02. Try to turn the key in your Malibu to start with the engine running, nothing will happen. Also, I have gotten used to the starter cranking on its own, at first you find it a little strange, but you get used to it and realize its just the computer doing its job.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002

    Because a couple of you mentioned Temp gauge I will do some more research (will take a while).

    I will assume that you didn't ever see a Check Engine Light associated with this but there might still be a history code in the powertrain controller that set when the gauge was inop. Often the check engine light doesn't turn on until something like this has occurred a few times in a row.

    By the way as an FYI - when service technicians disconnect battery in a vehicle they always do the "-" terminal first. This way the tool that you are using doesn't have 12 volts on it with the potential to short to some ground point in the vehicle - just a helpful hint ;)
  • While where on the "Gauge" subject, just out of curiosity when I took delivery on my Maxx in June and was driving home, I noticed the fuel gauge was slightly below the full mark. I figured the dealership just shortchanged me by a couple of gals :-)Traditionally, I have always gotten a full tank on purchase of a new vehicle. I think this is standard, correct me if I'm wrong. Turns out every time I fill the tank it never goes to the full line -just below. Anyone else have this. Not a big problem but all my cars always went well above the "F"mark on fill up. My wife's present 2002 Buick Rendezvous for example goes way above the "F" mark. If this is a simple fix OK. If not I certainly will live with this "Non Problem" :-)
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    sorry islandpete: my guage when full goes over the F line. Thanks for looking into the temp guage e2helper.
    madmaxx: I thought it was more humorous than anything that the starter took over for me; what's next?....a sausage biscuit with egg coming out of the glove box?? mmmmm.....sausage
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    This is an issue that I HAVE heard of. Dealer has a procedure that they can do to confirm root cause but it does require "dropping" the gas tank.
  • (islandpete)Re: Gas Gauge - see message #267.
  • Thanks maxxliberty Checked out #267 and thanks e2helper. I had posted previously of the chime warning prompting me to "Check the Gas Cap". It has happened two times in 1600 mi. Has not happened in over a month. Very interesting e2helper your answer below, but don't think I would let them mess with my gas tank as you mentioned in message #302 If they can fix it in a less invasive way "Maybe" :-)

    "What I had referred to in another post is only applicable if you are also having a problem with your fuel gage not reading "F" when you fill your tank. Does that happen on your vehicle? If so ask your dealer to look up that complaint in his system (PIC3088) - I can't give you any more details than that". e2helper
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Just a note about side mount terminals on batteries as used on the Malibu. Do NOT over tighten them! Use the smallest wrench you can on the nuts and tighten VERY carefully. If you over tighten the nuts you stand to break the plated steel threaded insert loose from the lead and you'll have battery acid running out. The acid level is above the terminal. This happened on my Cavalier. I do see though that the 04 Malibu has more protection for such an event because the battery seems to be mounted in a plastic tray.
  • We've owned our 2004 Malibu LT (everything but OnStar) since the beginning of June, and so far have loved it. The only real issues we had experienced prior to last week were most likely caused by the car being a "showroom" model, with loads of people poking, prodding, punching buttons, slamming doors, etc. This resulted in a power mirror adjustment switch that needed replacing.

    Anyway, so my wife drove the car to drop my daughter off at school last Thursday morning. While sitting in the line waiting to drop her off at the door, the steering wheel began to shimmy back and forth on its own. She made it home fine, but it freaked her out. At that point I just added it to my mental list of things to have checked out when I take the car in for its first oil change.

    So.. along comes Saturday, and my wife has to run to the store to pick up a few things. She and my daughter hop in the car and pull out of the garage. No more than two minutes later my daughter comes knocking on the door. When I open it, she tells me that the power steering stopped working, and points out to the corner of our street, where my wife is working hard to maneuver the car around the corner to get it back into our driveway. I took over from her, turning off the ignition, then re-started the car (which re-started the power steering).

    As a result of this, my wife is refusing to drive the car, and is holding my Trailblazer hostage until I get the car fixed. I'm able to get the car into the shop this evening, but I expect to be driving a rental for at least a few days, until they replace the steering column (or whatever they actually replace to fix this issue).

    I read an earlier post where someone speculated that the power steering issue probably only affected a "handful" of 2004 Malibus. That may be true, as my car is an early '04 build, but the issues seem to be popping up an awful lot here for just a handful of vehicles..

    (BTW, I do LOVE this car, but I am also very happy that I bought the extended GM warranty for it now, lol.)
  • I've just filed a complaint with NHTSA concerning this issue (to add my experience to those already listed in the current investigation under way concerning the power steering assist failures on the new Malibu). I feel this is a very responsible thing that anyone experiencing these issues should also undertake, especially since GM / Chevrolet have yet to perform any sort of recall, and since this issue seems to be affecting more and more of the early build cars. (No idea if later build cars have / will experience similar problems).

    This is a safety issue, and I do know that we as owners shouldn't have to experience the problem before GM / Chevy will address it (ie.- have power steering failure while operating the car, possibly leading to an accident, or worse). The current service bulletin acknowledges that GM / Chevy know of the issue, but only addresses it in the cases where a customer reports having experienced the problem, AFTER the problem has occurred.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867

    I had the same problem till I added a wind deflector to the sun you can cruise with the sunroof open and the rear windows down while carrying on a normal conversation.

    here is the one I added to my Maxx. 4_05
  • usausa Posts: 8

    Thanks for the wind deflector link.

    I consider the symptoms I am experiencing serious. I drove a Malibu sedan and it only has a fraction of the vibration on my Maxx. The roof in the Maxx actually vibrates violently, primarily in the rear part where that fixed roof glass is located. Also the vibration is transferred forward in the roof all the way into the front roof pillars of the windshield.

    Does this description compare with your experience?
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    mine wasnt near as violent as you caused the rear wind shades to retract..but certainly no vibration and transference as you describe...mine was more a noise issue at best..Im driving..with the roof open and 70-75 on the interstate and the rear windows down..fronts up with not problem at all with the deflector installed....didnt notice the serious problem you reference
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