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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,659
    The leak is the intake manifold if it is the 3.1 L engine. It is common and there is a service bulletin out for an updated intake gasket.
    These will NOT be covered under warranty, unless you have an extended warranty and only if you are within the warranty period.
    You can have these done at an independant shop and if they need the full text of the TSBs, let me know and I may be able to provide them for you.

    #03-06-01-010B Engine Oil or Coolant Leak (Install New Intake Manifold Gasket) - (Oct 24, 2003)

    #03-06-01-016 Loss of Coolant, Milky Colored Oil (Replace Intermediate Intake Gasket) - (May 21, 2003)

    The steering clunk is also covered under a TSB.

    #01-02-32-001C Clunk Noise from Front of Vehicle During Turning Maneuver/Steering Wheel Rotation (Lubricate Intermediate Shaft) - (Sep 12, 2003)

    #00-08-61-003 Clunk/Pop Noise From Front of Vehicle (Shim Rear Frame/Cradle Mounts) - (Oct 17, 2000)
  • I have a 2001 LS with heated leather seats. Has anyone had problems with the driver side heated seat (i.e., the heat). Mine was working fine until a month ago. Is there a TSB on this? Am I looking for major repair? Can the heater be replaced by a DIY mechanic? Thanks in advance for any input to my problem.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,659
    No, there is now TSB.
    Yes, it is something a DIYer can do, PROVIDED that you do not have side impact air bags, which your vehicle shouldn't have them.

    Everything is under the seat. There is a heater control module, a relay and the switch. Any one of those could be the problem.
    Unfortunately, you need to have access to the trouble shooting info for it and it covers about 20 pages.
  • Yesterday I drove the car around town and it started just fine. Then at the end of the day I went to put the key in the Ignition and the key would not turn. I turned the key around and even tied the spare key and it did not work. I turned the steering wheel back and forth and the key still would not turn.

    Anyone else heard of this problem? I notified the NHTSA of this problem.
  • 2000 Base Impala with approx 84k miles. Transmission started having late shifts and i hear something that sounds like the belt squeaking. Not sure if i need a new belt, pulley tensioner and tranny or if there is another reason or fix.
  • I had water coming in on my passenger side foot well also. Taking it to dealer next week looks like windshield leak. I did dry my carpet and foam by using a blow dryer. I pulled up the carpeting as far as it would go and very patiently worked the entire area. I t did take some time but it worked. Need to give the blow dryer adequate ventillation...dont bury it in a nook or cranny. Keep it back some so it doesnt overheat. Good Luck.
  • My wife cannot see when backing her LS with rear deck spoiler, tried to remove it but it seems to be glued on? Any suggestions on how to get that thing off?

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Document ID# 487734
    2002 Chevrolet Impala

    Spoiler Replacement - Rear Impala
    Tools Required
    J 25070 Heat Gun

    Removal Procedure

    Use of harsh chemicals when cleaning can damage exterior lamps. Suggested cleaners are a mild soap and water, or Varnish Makers and Painters (VM&P) Naptha. VM&P Naptha is a specific type of naptha and should not be substituted by any other naptha.

    Open the rear compartment.
    Remove the nuts from the rear end spoiler studs.
    Heat the rear end spoiler mounting points from the inside, using J 25070 152 mm (6 in) from surface. Apply heat using a circular motion for about 30 seconds.
    Remove the rear end spoiler from the rear compartment lid surface using a small wood or plastic flat-bladed tool. Do NOT damage the paint.
    Remove the rear end spoiler from the rear compartment lid.
    Clean the rear end spoiler adhesive from the rear compartment lid and/or the rear end spoiler using 3M™ Scotch Brite molding adhesive remover disk, 3M™ P/N 07501, or equivalent.
    Clean the body panel using VM&P Naphtha in order to remove any adhesive. Wipe the surface dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.

    Installation Procedure

    Warm the rear compartment lid with J 25070 from the outside, to a minimum of 21°C (70°F).

    Do not touch the adhesive backing.

    Peel the backing from the mounting surfaces of the rear end spoiler.
    Align the rear end spoiler studs to the holes in the rear compartment lid.
    Install the rear end spoiler to the rear compartment lid, pressing into place until the adhesive is fully seated.
    Open the rear compartment.

    Use the correct fastener in the correct location. Replacement fasteners must be the correct part number for that application. Fasteners requiring replacement or fasteners requiring the use of thread locking compound or sealant are identified in the service procedure. Do not use paints, lubricants, or corrosion inhibitors on fasteners or fastener joint surfaces unless specified. These coatings affect fastener torque and joint clamping force and may damage the fastener. Use the correct tightening sequence and specifications when installing fasteners in order to avoid damage to parts and systems.

    Use new nuts/mastic washers in order to avoid a possible water leak.

    Install the nuts to the rear end spoiler. Tighten
    Tighten the rear end spoiler nuts to 6 N·m (53 lb in).
    Close the rear compartment.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,659
    You do understand that there will screw holes in the trunk when you remove the spoiler?
    Should you decide to remove the spoiler and wish to sell it, I would be interested in it, if it is a 2001 or 2002.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Well I spent $550 in September for a wheel bearing on my '01 Impala.

    Today while driving to work i felt a slight surging in 3rd and 4th gear.
    Checked the trans fluid and it was brown.
    (isn't there a TSB for this?)

    Anyway took it to the dealer and the solenoid was sticking. Needs to be replaced $1170!!!

    This is a 29 month old car with 52K miles.
  • I was going to pay off my Impala as we needed to replace our '93 Subaru Impreza and bought a new Toyota. But with the coolant leak problem evident in our 2000 base Impala, plus a couple visits to fix some clunking...I decided to visit this site and see what was up. What an education. Read all 40 pages and appreciate the insight (and exasperation) and now have concerns whether my "prudent" financial plan to pay off one car and have only one car payment is a good one. Especially considering that I'm probably looking at a possible repair bill with combined problems of about $1500-$2000. And with little confidence that will solve the problems for good.

    My plan is to approach the dealer where I bought the car and try to remediate the repair costs on the warped manifold. Anyone ever tried that? The Intermediate Steering Shaft needs to be replaced as well, I'm pretty sure. Wondering if anyone's ever tried to meet the dealer in the middle on any of these chronic problems.

    On top of the reply posting, I would appreciate direct email replies from anyone willing to give some perspective.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    GM will pay for the warped manifold.
    It is a recall.
  • The dealer service rep said there was no recall on my particular "VIN" #. Is he giving me a line?

    I asked why there would be a recall on later models than 2000 when the problem was the same in earlier models that 2001-2003, and he shrugged it off.

    I'm going to press the issue, for sure.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,659
    A recall that may or may not apply to you.

    Customer Satisfaction Program -- Engine Coolant Leak #03034 - (07/07/2003)
    03034 - Engine Coolant Leak
    All 2000-2002 and Certain 2003 Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo; Pontiac Grand Prix, Bonneville; and Buick Regal, LeSabre, Park Avenue

    Equipped with 3.8L V6 Engine (RPO L36 - VIN Code K)

    General Motors has decided that all 2000-2002 and certain 2003 Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo; Pontiac Grand Prix, Bonneville; and Buick Regal, LeSabre, Park Avenue model vehicles equipped with 3.8L (RPO L36 - VIN Code K) engines, may have a condition in which engine coolant may leak at the upper intake manifold throttle body gasket, or at the upper intake manifold to lower intake manifold gasket. This condition may result in a low engine coolant level and higher engine operating temperatures.

    Dealers are to replace the three throttle body fastener nuts and add cooling system sealant to the radiator tank.

    Vehicles Involved
    Involved are all 2000-2002 Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo; Pontiac Grand Prix, Bonneville; and Buick Regal, LeSabre, Park Avenue model vehicles equipped with 3.8L (RPO L36 - VIN Code K) engines and built within these VIN breakpoints:

    Year Division Model From Through
    2000 Chevrolet Impala Y9100001 - Y9385472
    2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Y9100297 - Y9385464
    2000 Pontiac Grand Prix YF100033 - YF353313
    2000 Pontiac Bonneville Y4101040 - Y4297271
    2000 Buick Regal Y1100004 - Y1304443
    2000 Buick LeSabre Y4100001 - Y4297273
    YU100001 - YU357893
    2000 Buick Park Avenue Y4100095 - Y4297269
    2001 Chevrolet Impala 19100001 - 19378249
    2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 19100004 - 19378234
    2001 Pontiac Grand Prix 1F100004 - 1F275188
    2001 Pontiac Bonneville 14100001 - 14298963
    2001 Buick Regal 11100001 - 11338085
    2001 Buick LeSabre 14108500 - 14298966
    1U100003 - 1U302094
    2001 Buick Park Avenue 14108918 - 14298968
    2002 Chevrolet Impala 29100002 - 29391929
    2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 29100018 - 29391931
    2002 Pontiac Grand Prix 2F100016 - 2F293267
    2002 Pontiac Bonneville 24100001 - 24245293
    2002 Buick Regal 21100001 - 21301745
    2002 Buick LeSabre 24100011 - 24245292
    2U100001 - 2U306396
    2002 Buick Park Avenue 24100009 - 24245294
    2003 Chevrolet Impala 39100002 - 39360495
    2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 39100018 - 39360489
    2003 Pontiac Grand Prix 3F100002 - 3F181300
    2003 Pontiac Bonneville 34100002 - 34180189
    2003 Buick Regal 31100001 - 31275410
    2003 Buick LeSabre 34100001 - 34180190
    3U100002 - 3U251518
    2003 Buick Park Avenue 34100004 - 34180177

    Dealers should confirm vehicle eligibility through GMVIS (GM Vehicle Inquiry System) or GM Access Screen (Canada only) or DCS Screen 445 (IPC only) prior to beginning program repairs. [Not all vehicles within the above breakpoints may be involved.]

    Computer listings containing the complete Vehicle Identification Number, customer name and address data have been prepared, and are being furnished to involved dealers with the program bulletin. The customer name and address data furnished will enable dealers to follow up with customers involved in this program. Any dealer not receiving a computer listing with the program bulletin has no involved vehicles currently assigned.

    These dealer listings may contain customer names and addresses obtained from Motor Vehicle Registration Records. The use of such motor vehicle registration data for any other purpose is a violation of law in several states/provinces/countries. Accordingly, you are urged to limit the use of this listing to the follow-up necessary to complete this program.

    Parts Information
    Parts required to complete this program are to be obtained from General Motors Service Parts Operations (GMSPO). Please refer to your "involved vehicles listing" before ordering requirements. Normal orders should be placed on a DRO = Daily Replenishment Order. In an emergency situation, parts should be ordered on a CSO = Customer Special Order.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,659
    This is not a recall, but a TSB and unless under warranty, your cost, but far cheaper than a manifold and more often the problem.

    Engine Oil or Coolant Leak (Install New Intake Manifold Gasket) #03-06-01-010B - (10/24/2003)
    Engine Oil or Coolant Leak (Install New Intake Manifold Gasket)
    2000-2003 Buick Century
    2002-2003 Buick Rendezvous
    1996 Chevrolet Lumina APV
    1997-2003 Chevrolet Venture
    1999-2001 Chevrolet Lumina
    1999-2003 Chevrolet Malibu, Monte Carlo
    2000-2003 Chevrolet Impala
    1996-2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
    1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass
    1999-2003 Oldsmobile Alero
    1996-1999 Pontiac Trans Sport
    1999-2003 Pontiac Grand Am, Montana
    2000-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix
    2001-2003 Pontiac Aztek
    with 3.1L or 3.4L V-6 Engine (VINs J, E - RPOs LG8, LA1)

    This bulletin is being revised to change the model Information. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 03-06-01-010A (Section 06 - Engine).

    Some owners may comment on an apparent oil or coolant leak. Additionally, the comments may range from spots on the driveway to having to add fluids.

    Intake manifold may be leaking allowing coolant, oil or both to leak from the engine.

    Install a new design intake manifold gasket. The material used in the gasket has been changed in order to improve the sealing qualities of the gasket. When replacing the gasket, the intake manifold bolts must also be replaced and torqued to a revised specification. The new bolts will come with a pre-applied threadlocker on them.
  • ksc18ksc18 Posts: 1
    I'm doing some research for my husband's niece who bought my 2001 Impala Sedan (with optional 3.8L engine)a few months ago. The car currently has 40,000+ miles. She has had problems with the power steering fluid leaking and needing refilled frequently. Also, just recently when she was checking the oil a fire occurred in the engine. She was told the spark plugs caught on fire. The car had been shut off for several minutes. Apparently, she is getting confusing opinions about all of this. I'm hoping someone may be able to help her and me both out. Thanks in advance.
  • My Impala is a 2001, bought new in Oct 2000. About 2 weeks ago I started having problems with the radio. Sometimes,when I first turn on the radio, no sound comes out for up to 2-3 minutes. Then the sound may cut out and come back. Other times,the radio comes right on and then cuts out and comes back. Usually after about 15 minutes, it doesn't do this. Other times when I turn the radio on its fine.

    This abnormal behaviour isn't confined to the radio, as I have tested the tape and CD player, when the sound is dead to see if its just the radio. The same abnormality affects those as well, until the sound comes on. I haven't called the dealer, due to just being busy.

    Any suggestions, comments appreciated.
  • I had a similar problem 2 years ago on my base Impala. It turned out to be a Short circuit behind the radio in the dash. The wiring harness can be caught on something and perforated with the exposed wires causing the radio to intermittantly heat up.

    Open the Dash trim plate (instructions on
    Remove the radio (dont worry, it wont lock itself)
    Inspect the wiring harness and look for a bent section, or broken section. Cover the exposed wires with electrical tape. You can then also use 99cent wiring loom to cover it better.
    Reinstall radio, and dash trim. It should work fine after you find the short in the wiring harness.
  • On advice both from this forum and the dealer service representative, I did call Chevy's customer service line and reached a helpful but somewhat helpless representative who called the dealer.

    The confusing thing here is the difference in recalls between 3.4 and 3.8 model engines. Apparently from what I can ascertain GM has issued recall notices for the 3.8 but nothing for the 3.4 before 2001. But that makes no sense to me.

    At this juncture I will be paying $800 today for the replacement of lower manifold intake gasket and (thanks to advice of this forum) the Intermediate Steering problem so often referenced.

    I appreciate everyone's perspective here, and advice, which have enabled me to pursue an informed (if still naive on my part) resolution to this problem of leaking engine coolant.

    I pitched the dealer service guy on splitting the cost of labor on the job. Hmmmm. Chevy USA guy seems to affirm there is no recall covering the 2000 model year 3.4 engine.

  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    It sounds like you have a leak on the high pressure side of your power steering pump. When the wheels are straight it won't leak, but turn the wheels and a highly volatile stream of power steering fluid will shoot around a hot engine compartment. Not a good situation! This is not a problem with Impalas as far as I know, but I have had this problem on Fords and Chryslers. For some reason they can't make high pressure lines that can take a bazillion degrees of heat without breaking down ;-)

    Get it checked right away, and not at whereever they told her the spark plugs were on fire! Good grief!
  • dgonzalez 13:

    Thank You for the suggestion. I will check it out. Yesterday, the radio when turned on wouldn't play at all for up to 15-20 minutes when I turned it on. Then all of a sudden, it would come to life and play ok before cutting out and coming back in a minute or so.
  • emtbemtb Posts: 42
    Ok, I'm trying to replace the big air filter on the right (facing the front) side of the car. I undo the clips on top of the box. What's next. How do I get that cover off? It seems attached by screws or bolts on the bottom. Thanks.

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Engine size would be helpful in future:

    With 3.4L engine:
    Air Cleaner Element Replacement
    Removal Procedure
    Turn OFF the ignition.
    Disconnect the intake air temperature (IAT) sensor.
    Disconnect the breather tube from the air intake duct.
    Disconnect the mass air flow (MAF) sensor.
    Loosen the air intake duct/MAF sensor hose clamps.
    Carefully remove the air inlet hose from the throttle body and air cleaner cover.
    Remove the 2 housing cover retaining clamps.
    Remove the air cleaner cover and carefully remove the air filter element.
    Inspect the housing cover, seal assembly, and air duct for damage.

    Installation Procedure

    Carefully install the air filter element into the air cleaner assembly.
    Install the housing cover and install the housing cover retaining screws.
    Carefully install the air inlet hose to the throttle body and air cleaner cover.
    Tighten the air inlet hose clamp.
    Install the air intake duct/MAF sensor assembly.
    Tighten the air intake duct/MAF sensor hose clamps.
    Connect the breather tube to the air intake duct.
    Connect the MAF sensor.
    Connect the IAT sensor .

    With 3.8L engine:
    Air Cleaner Element Replacement
    Removal Procedure
    Turn OFF the ignition.
    Disconnect the IAT sensor electrical connector.
    Loosen the air intake duct hose clamps.
    Remove the air intake duct.
    Unclip the two air cleaner cover retaining clamps.
    Remove the air cleaner cover and carefully remove the air filter element.
    Inspect the housing cover, seal assembly, and air ducting for damage. If a problem is found, replace as necessary.
    Installation Procedure

    Carefully install the air filter element into the air cleaner assembly.
    Install the air cleaner housing cover and reclip the housing cover retaining clamps.
    Carefully reinstall the air inlet hose to the throttle body and the air cleaner cover.
    Install the air inlet hose clamp.
    Connect the IAT sensor electrical connector.
  • Anyone else had the black facing come off the buttons on their factory-installed radio. Also, the AM/FM switch is bent and barely works. But the white plastic facing is showing through and it's pretty ugly.
  • The "Seek and Search" toggle on our 2003 Impala LS gets so hot, I can barely stand to touch it as does the indented area directly under the row of toggles that looks like it was intended for a tape player. Has anyone else had this problem? It doesn't seem to matter if the heat or A/C is on as it gets hot to the touch no matter what the conditions. Even the knobs get hot! Help! Too Hot To Handle!
  • Just found out today that my 2002 3.4 liter with 40,000 miles has the bad manifold gasket problem, ISS, and motor mount clunk. Apparently they didn't get their problems fixed after the 2001 model. Since they only acknowledge the coolant leak on the 3.8 I will be responsible for this. The clunking started at 36,200 miles and isn't covered under the useless extended warranty either. I hate my car today. :(
  • Purchased a brand new 2001 LS full load with sunroof in July 2001. Since then have had the following problems;
    1)Antifreeze leak repaired at 27,000,30,000 & 35,000 miles. still continues to slowly go down. dealer says "Normal evaporation"
    2)entire steering gear replaced at 27,000,34,000 & 35,000 miles. Dealer says just bad luck with the remanufactured warranty parts that they use. Agreed to extend the warranty on the steering gear only to 48,000 miles.

    3) vehicle currently has 37,380 miles & i just got it back from the dealer where,under warranty,they replaced the catalytic convertor. It was plugged & the car would not go more than 30 MPH.Catalytics should last at least 150,000 miles. if i would have had to pay for all the repairs done on my new car the past 2 1/2 years it would have cost me over $5,000.
    Nice looking car,love the heated leather seats but I now accept that they are complete pieces of junk & I have it listed and priced to sellASAP.
    Caveat Emptor.
  • I have an '00 Malibu LS with the 3.1L V-6, which also had the intake manifold gasket problem last summer (GM is WELL AWARE of the problem with 3.1s and 3.4s). I have the GMPP ext. warranty as well and it covered the entire cost, plus car rental. Tab would have been over $1200.

    You need to call GMPP directly. I've done that lately, and you get much farther than letting the dealer call it in (some also claim to but don't even bother to call to get more from you).

    Good luck.
  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    Ariella may not have GMPP. Major guard should cover her problem. If she bought another company's contract, she may indeed be shucks out of luck. You can read my (and other's) rants about service contracts in the warranty section.

    Ariella: you may try going to your selling dealer and ask for goodwill assistance for this repair. They are not required to help you, but if you've had service work done there, they may be willing to pay for the repair, or go 50/50 on it with you.
  • bh0001bh0001 Posts: 340
    Took my '01 LS in for its 100,000km service yesterday. Two of my "complaints" were clunking steering and coolant smell. I now have a new upper intake manifold and I'll have a new ISS as soon as they get the parts. Both are covered under my extended warranty.

    I guess the interim "fix" for the manifold doesn't always work (had it done several months ago), and the ISS lube isn't a permanent fix (they said the knuckle was worn??).

    It will be interesting to see if GM has managed to permanently fix these issues on the newer Impalas. I hope so, because I really do love this car, and I want to buy another one in a couple of years.

This discussion has been closed.