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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • jmax4jmax4 Posts: 22
    e2helper: Could you check the status of the latest calibration of my Maxx with a build date 01/04 and the last VIN digits: 162807?

  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    The web site I use is down right now so it was more difficult to look up but I see your vehicle was built right at the end of Jan 2004. Either 1/29 or 1/30 depending on where I look.

    In any case there is an updated PCM calibration for your vehicle.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    .....and my PCM reflash is working fantastically so far. Much reduced vibration, no hard starts, and no deer jumping into my great
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Great news

    There were a few more of you Malibu owners out there with similar complaint (not with the deer but the engine idle or transmission 3-4 shifting which this calibration was supposed to help on)

    Keep us posted maxx4me.
  • ssmaxxssmaxx Posts: 13
    im so glad i found this site just surfing ive had my max since may. i drove a 71 chevell SS 454 for 10 years and totaled it on a spin out it was sad. the maxx is agreat car and i drive alot of difrent vehicals i am cer master at. aqnd have pushed this little car and it has preformed well beyond what i and others thought trac is very quick and pep was snapper before up date flash but i would like to find out how to program the the doors to lock when the security arms pasivly i hope chevy pepole dont take offence of the SS but it in memory of the last of the muscle cars
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Hi there ssmaxx,

    Sorry to say that you cannot program the doors to lock automatically when the security system is set to arm passively.

    The vehicle comes from factory in the "RKE" mode which requires you to lock the doors in order to arm the content security system.

    You have the ability to change the setting to arm passively (via Driver Information Center) which only means you don't have to take any action for the system to arm itself. However some people might find that setting annoying which is why default is the other way.

    No problem with name ssmaxx. Next model year there will actually BE a Malibu Maxx SS (though nothing to compare with your previous ride in the HP area)
  • ssmaxxssmaxx Posts: 13
    hi e2helper thanks for the reply do you of any settings that would lock the doors automatically even if other feature would have to be disabled such as lock out prevention ,last door lock ,rke ive got a few things going on inside the car that need self locking i got cb, gps,tv tuner,all set up plug and play you'd be surprised where ive found space
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    would love to see pics on the inside showing the goodies!..why dont you post over in the mods section of the photo gallery
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    It looks like you probably figured them all out but here are the customization features you could do to make it more likely your doors are locked or security system armed.

    All but one of these settings is modified by owner using the Driver Information Center buttons on radio.

    1. If the vehicle is typically just driven by the driver (with no passenger) you might want to change to setting for Automatic Door Unlock from ALL to Driver Only. This would be a pain if you have passengers or want to get into the liftgate area much though since those "doors" wouldn't be unlocked to easily open them.

    2. You can turn off the last door lock feature so that the doors automatically lock as soon as you activate the lock button, even if you have a door open.

    3. From a content theft system standpoint you can change vehicle to Passive Mode instead of RKE. However this means every time you turn the car off the content theft system will arm itself, even if you didn't lock the doors.

    4. Dealer (but not customer) has the capability of turning off the the antilockout feature. This would allow you to more easily lock doors when the keys are left in the ignition.
    All of these things are basically disabling features that were added to the vehicle to make it more user-friendly but I understand you have a lot of added content in the vehicle you are trying to protect by keeping doors locked as much as possible.
  • ssmaxxssmaxx Posts: 13
    thank you e2helper for the pinpoint info on the dic program avalibilitys ill try that setup and see how it works .but just to stick my two sense in ,if the system contents theft needs to leave the doors open then we need to ad more black boxes seems redundant chevy dealer sent me to after market place to see if they could do it guy said only way if ads on aftermarket alarm .no way not for me . gm has to have a way to combine the timed arm security signal to the door lock command when theres no key in the ignition liability sign off if you lock key in car pay on star fee to open what do pepole do when they locked there keys in the car before maxx was born. ill be glad to pay for original setup like that but i wont pay for aftermarket alarm.creacure conferts on this car are great its unbelivable where chevy gone with this i recomend the car to every that asks me. 2 freinds bought maxxs one cavelir one venture and my brother just got a hd 2500 8+ liter engin no candy in that one.ikow its just a matter of time for the feature that im looking for to happen but in that time who knows what could happen
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I am not sure I am answering your question correctly ssmaxx so I will cover one additional area in regards to the content theft system.

    Content theft system is triggered when any door or Maxx liftgate is opened without first disarming and will cause vehicle horn to honk and exterior lights to flash for 30 seconds.

    You arm the content theft system in vehicle by either: pressing the remote keyless fob LOCK button, press the power door lock switch or turn the driver door key lock cylinder. The system doesn't arm immediately it typically waits 30 seconds unless you press the LOCK button a second time.

    You can tell the status of the content theft system by looking at the LOCK telltalte in cluster to see if it is on solid or flashing.

    If you don't lock your vehicle doors then the content theft system is not armed - unless you have DIC changed to Passive Arming

    Did that help (maybe you already knew all this)?
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    Excuse the interruption...

    e2helper, could you please drop me an email when you get the chance? My address is in my profile.

  • ssmaxxssmaxx Posts: 13
    i have to take some pictures and post for you pao i order the sunroof visor ill take pics when mounted
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    Is it possible to disable the DRLs in the US? I realize they are effective in Scandinavia where twilight can last 5 hours but here at latitude 43 they are just annoying. It's not a federal mandate is it?

  • 2damaxx2damaxx Posts: 12
    In my experience, the DRLs only activate the corner lamps during the day. I haven't taken time to thoroughly examine what happens during the day, but at least at night, the DRLs can be overridden by twisting the light stalk down (toward the driver). I REALLY like this feature. (Although you may be looking for a permanant fix, and this one requires you to override them every time you start the car.)

    If you drive interstates a lot, you know that turning your lights off and then on can signal to a truck that the lane is clear for a changeover. On earlier versions of DRLs the beams could not be turned off, which left only left you with the option to flash high beams - which is not as appreciated. Now, you can use the override feature - click down once to turn them off, and again to turn them back on.

    Altogether, the the auto lights feature has been a surprisingly pleasant convenience on the car, IMHO.
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    Thanks. I just picked up the car on Monday and haven't yet seen what is happening up front with the lights on. It's my wife's car. If DRLs are only similar to having the parking lamps on I could live with that.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    For the Malibu/Maxx the DRLs are the front turn signals. They are much brighter than parking lamps.

    You can turn DRL function off by a momentary rotation of the headlamp ON/OFF switch just like you can do with the automatic light control at night - just remember when you do this in case and it starts to get dark out the automatic light control will not turn on either. Just do another momentary turn to turn them back on. Watch the Driver Information Center which tells you what mode you just switched it to.

    This only works for U.S. spec vehicles. In Canada that Headlamp On/Off switch only works when vehicle is in Park - because DRLs ARE a requirement in Canada.

    For Mexican owners (don't know if any on this board) DRLs are shut off from the factory. This export mode is not something you can change your vehicle to. In fact I came across a Mexican owner of a Malibu in another forum that WANTED DRLs activated on his vehicle (LOL).
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    I drive a Ford Contour and I know I can bridge two pins in a relay socket to enable DLR. I was just wondering if the Maxx had something similar to disable them. I had assumed that DRLs were at 80% of high beam intensity but if the Maxxes are dimmer that would be fine.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    With automatic lights on, there are two modes, daytime mode and nighttime mode. In daytime mode the headlights are off and the yellow front parking lights (turn signal lights) are on, but they are a more intense/brighter yellow. In nighttime mode, the headlights and tail lights turn on and the front yellow parking lights get dimmer.

    The light sensor on top of instrument panel tells the body control module when to switch between

    From inside the car, the only way to tell which mode is activated is by observing the instrument panel. In nighttime mode, the instrument panel lights turn on, the pointers on the gages, speedometer and tachometer turn red and the DIC (driver information center or radio display) slightly dims. The brightness of IP lights and DIC can be changed by turning the knob to left of steering wheel. And you can switch between high and low beams using the left stalk. You will see the high beam light on the IP display.

    During day, if you want to quickly check mode, turn on the high beams by pushing left stalk away from you. If high beam indicator on IP does not go on, it is in daytime mode. If you want to flash your headlights in this mode, you first have to manually turn on the headlights by rotating the left stalk up 2 clicks.

    You will find that car goes into nighttime mode during dawn and twilight hours. The sun has to be pretty high up before daytime mode begins. The system also goes into nighttime mode 30 seconds after the wipers are started. It may also change to nighttime mode if you drive on streets that are completely shaded by trees.

    One thing that annoys some people is that the instrument panel lights do not go on when you manually turn on the parking lights or headlights.

    Best of luck with your car. You will find that most owners posting to this forum are extremely pleased with their Malibu.
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    Thanks. So far (all of two days) I'm very impressed.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    e2helper: is there a simple formula for determining the proper height of my headlights? Can I place a large box in front of the car, a certain distance from the bumper and measure the glow up from the ground (that sort of thing)?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I am not much of an expert in this area so can only provide you information you would see in the service manual. However maybe you can glean some information out if it which would be of use.

    No big heavy things in storage area of your Maxx are there?
  • bwolterbwolter Posts: 51
    I was removing a few specks of tar at the rear wheel well and noticed the flimsy bumper too. And the black well it is attached to. Is it supposed to be this way? Should one try to "tighten" it up?
  • bwolterbwolter Posts: 51
    I recently purchased a 04 Maxx LS. I was reading the manual and it talks about an "active alarm system" and "passive". I know the passive is referring to the ignition keys. But, do I actually have an active alarm system on the car? I went to the DIC and set the RKE to ON. I followed the procedure to arm the alarm (assuming I had one). I did get the sounds the manual claimed I would and a light on the instrument cluster started blinking. My question is: How does the alarm work? What sets off the alarm? I tried the door handles and rocking the car but nothing happened. Maybe I'm just stupid or misunderstood the manual (never said anything about it being an option). Although I do have a 1SB package plus a few options.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    Your car does have an alarm, the easiest way to test it is to sit in the car, arm it with the remote, then wait for the light to stop blinking, when it stops blinking, manually unlock the door by raising the little pull tab thing (do not use the button, this will disarm the system) and open your door.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    e2helper: I did put a hitch on the back, but I don't think that pulled down my back at all.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    bingo e2helper!! That sketch was exaclty what I was looking for. I'll go measure tomorrow after I have filled the gas tank.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Right, on what mr. bots said.

    To elaborate:

    Your vehicle has 2 different theft deterrent systems on it:

    1. A "vehicle" theft deterrent system called Pass-Key III Plus which has to do with your ignition key. It is latest version of GM's system which is supposed to prevent engine starting and fuel injectors from working unless correct ignition key is used. This is a passive system to prevent vehicle from being stolen.

    2. A "content" theft deterrent system which by factory settings only is armed when you lock doors of vehicle using your door lock switch on door, remote keyless fob or lock doors with the ignition key in your driver key cylinder. If any door or the trunk is opened without using the key fob or ignition key in the driver door or trunk lock cylinder then you will get the horn honking and turn signals flashing. This is to try to discourage someone from stealing something (content) from your vehicle.

    This second system can be set up in a passive arming mode via DIC but then any time you turn your vehicle off and leave it without locking the doors the system will still arm itself (passively) and then the horn honk/light flashing will occur if you simply go over to your vehicle and open a door (since it was never locked). This is why passive mode is NOT the default from factory.
  • ssmaxxssmaxx Posts: 13
    my venture armed and locked and also my astro arms and locks passively im not use to having to lock doors
  • ssmaxxssmaxx Posts: 13
    ikow iknow when changing the default to passive it should then also lock please.
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