Chevrolet Malibu Steering/Suspension

maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
edited October 2018 in Chevrolet
kurt,et al: I guess if there is no replacement parts coming for the front end, then there is no point in me bringing in the car, eh? I can get the front end to rattle by running over manhole covers, one side at a time, or by turning into a driveway and hitting the concrete apron one tire at a time. Should I even bother having the service person test drive it at all, given the fact that no new designed parts are coming any time soon?
Also, I have only had my driver's side strut replaced for this condition. Obviously it did nothing. What other parts have people had replace which did nothing? I don't want to waste my time having my car rebuilt with parts that won't solve the problem. Thanks in advance.


  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    supposedly in second quarter there is to be a new rack to fix the problems the current racks are having.

    Elsewhere in this thread, or the Maxx thread, there was a referral to a service bulletin describing the problem.

    If it is any consolation, wrt Consumers U, 2004 Maxxes did __much__worse than average in suspension components problems. Brakes, body integrity, and Electrical were all worse than average. Right in line with what I have gone through with my Maxx. The '05 version, so far (which I do not own), is doing better.

    Todays thought: never, never, NEVER buy a first year car,
    Unless you enjoy pain. :sick:
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Todays thought: never, never, NEVER buy a first year car,
    Unless you enjoy pain

    I bought a 04 Malibu, 17K right now, no real problems since the first bugs, transmission chain, all rotors warped.
    Left front corner light, 1 software update and now waiting for front sway bar bushings, noisy when turning corners. We like the car, just rotated the tires and brakes still look new.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    sounds like the first year car spirit has blessed your ride.
    I wasn't so lucky - the spirit probably doesn't like our smog :cry: .
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    mine must have been build mid week no problems abeit a burnt out CHMSL (aprox 63K)..which I replaced..and one left turn signal socket replaced under warranty...other than that......67K good miles...just replaced the brakes and had the rotors turned at 65K and they were the OEM pads and rotors....

    I too have the front suspension noises...but with it being a design or re-engineering effort..not much that can be done about it you live with the noise...and I honestly dont pay attention to it any more....

    still getting about 27-28 MPG city and highway combined....running mobil 1 sythn oil and changing about every 6500 miles or so...... still very happy with the Maxx......but again probably the silent majority here...
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Member Posts: 101
    "still very happy with the Maxx......but again probably the silent majority here..."

    I'm sure this forum represents a tiny percentage of Malibu owners and I've found any type of online forum to attract the most dissatisfied people on whatever issue the forum is dealing with. Usually if people are happy, you dont hear from them.

    There seems to be very few issues with the new Malibu as compared to the previous version. If one is to browse the Honda, Toyota, Nissan, etc. forums, you will see alot of problems as well. Such as the Nissan engine problem where some intake bolts loosen are are sucked into the engine, destroying it completely!

    I think the Malibu is a great car with a great mix of good old proven technology combined with some fantastic new technology hopefully representing an upswing in quality which is long overdue. It's really hard to believe that North American cars have taken so long to face the challenge of the competition.
  • 01taurussel01taurussel Member Posts: 43
    Hi guys, new to the board. I have interest in the new Malibus (2005 probably). However, after reading about them, I have some concerns:
    1.) The steering. I have read that the steering can give out and total loss of steering (and loss of control) happens. Is it similar to a car w/ normal power steering that fails, or is it more serious?
    I know the 2004 were recalled until a certain build date, but I have read about 05's on NHSTA's webpage, and failure. Educate me please on this one!
    2.) Engine on V6. I had a 97 Lumina w/ a leaky intake manifold gasket at 58k. It was replaced and pinged just terribly. I know they are very similar and GM had some problems with those gaskets leaking. Are they completely fixed?
    3.) Transmissions- How are they ? are they fairly trustworthy??
    4.) Any thing else - good and bad.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    According to CU the '05 is a lot more reliable than the '04, latter of which had fair number of first year build issues.

    However, the steering rack remains a weak spot in most new malibus, with a fix supposedly coming in second quarter of '06.

    My '04 transmission was built just before the time a whole bunch of "howling trannys" wer ebuilt, but so far mine has been ok. '05's have a revision to that trans.

    No problems with the '04 V6 so far.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Member Posts: 236
    1.) The power steering, mainly affected the 04s, but a couple with 05s are still having trouble with them. If the system goes out you just lose power steering, but can still steer the car, with much more effort, it is not steer-by-wire, but just uses an electric motor to "assist" the driver when turning.
    2.) While the 3.5L V6 is closely related to the 3.1/3.4 that had lots of intake manifold gasket problems, they are using a new gasket now that is supposed to fix the problem.
    3.) I wouldn't worry about the transmission, it's been around for since the early to mid 90s and should prove dependable.
  • 01taurussel01taurussel Member Posts: 43
    Just to clarify the answer - a "fix" is coming for all malibus in 2006 or new ones being built? What kind of fix are they supposed to be doing.

    I read on some webpage a women had her steering fail, and she couldn't control the car - something like it locked up or something?? heard anything about that?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    The fix for malibus with noisy or binding steering racks is supposed to be a redesigned steering rack. It has taken Chevy and/or supplier quite a while to get that done.

    The failing steering is probably due to the defective steering columm a number of '04 and '05 models got built with. There have been a few reported cases of the car steering itself, but usually it just dies and the driver has to rely on manual steering until the columm/steering system is repaired.

    In 2007, electric steering is going bye-bye on the Malibu Maxx and most of the Malibus, as they go to the hydraulic system used on the SS.
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    In 2007, electric steering is going bye-bye on the Malibu Maxx and most of the Malibus, as they go to the hydraulic system used on the SS.

    Does that mean the rest of us with EPS get a life time warranty?
  • mfh1mfh1 Member Posts: 15
    i have a 2004 Maxx with a noisy front end since day one. Man hole covers, pavement creases, curb cuts, etc. Three steering colums and one strut later, no improvement. Two dealers know nothing about a fix (rack replacement) planned by GM. There is no such TSB. Where does this information come from?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Info has been posted on this through this forum and the problems and solutions forums, including my issues and experiences (everything but tie rods replaced so far - only marginal improvement).

    The suspension on the Malibu is weak, unfortunately, as is the one on its Saab/Opel cousin.
  • mfh1mfh1 Member Posts: 15
    Kurtamaxxguy: I've seen the posts, but are you aware of any document from GM/Chevrolet, with a reference number, that states they know of the problem and are working on a fix? I've told my dealer about these posts but he claims to have no information from the manufacturer (as if I'm making it up). Chevy customer service knows nothing about it either. All they have access to are TSB's on the steering column defect.
  • concertkeyconcertkey Member Posts: 59
    Our 2004 Malibu has recently started "creaking" when the steering wheel is turned or the car starts to move with the steering wheel turned. It is intermittent, however. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    One person reported a hard to find broken spot weld under/inside the fender that caused a similar creak. It was either reported in this thread or the main Maxx thread.
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    I had creaky steering, was worse when hot, outside air temp high. Dealer replaced sway bar bushings and lubed the new ones before installation. 18K miles.
  • mfh1mfh1 Member Posts: 15
    Concertkey: Was this broken weld on a structural, weight-bearing component that would give the feeling of something loose in suspension?
  • concertkeyconcertkey Member Posts: 59
    Interesting. I suspected bushings because my '92 Camry used to creak in the winter and the only fix was to replace the bushings. We'll find out in a couple of weeks.
  • michiganmaxxmichiganmaxx Member Posts: 72
    I had front upper strut bushings replaced on my '04 Maxx under warrenty...creaking sensation/sound is now gone.
  • mhelselmhelsel Member Posts: 11
    I own a 2004 Malibu and this is what I have found out. Malibu, malibu Maxx, and Pont/ G6 all have the same steering system. I have had the column replaced and this did not solve the problems with the electric steering.
    GM replaced the rack & pinion (P/N 15858368 gear 6.508)
    this is a engineering defect in design, and can be repaired under warranty.You should hear a noise when turning left at low speed, like going around a corner.
    GM Doc. # 1819760 states that the problem will return after 3000 to 5000 miles.
    GM has had many many complaints on the steering problems, so ask about the part number that I have given you.

    mhelsel ;)
  • mhelselmhelsel Member Posts: 11
    GM Document ID# 1819760 is all about this problem, and I have just had my rack replaced with PN# 15858368. Well we have driven my malibu 218 miles and it drives all over the road. Some time it goes to the left or the right when you let go the steering wheel, and when you go around a turn the rear acts like it's going to pass the front of the car. WE are told that this is the new version of rack?
    returned rack has the same part number? STRANGE? Dealer told me today that EDMUND's problems & solutions is all grabage and not believe it because it's not GM.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    Dealer told me today that EDMUND's problems & solutions is all grabage and not believe it because it's not GM.

    he, he, he...I'm sure the dozen or so GM employees who monitor this board each day will get a kick out of that!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,687
    You might post your dealer's name here so others won't be so unlucky as to stumble into their sales lot or repair area.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Sounds like your dealer service department doesn't know what it is doing. If you can try another dealer.

    As for solutions being "garbage", the ones I have gotten from here have been helpful, and in a few cases helped identify problems for my servicing dealer (both of which have a revolving door wrt personnel and are highly variable).
  • beedublubeedublu Member Posts: 236
    My 04 Maxx is doing OK, knock on wood. I've had no problems with the steering...yet, although I have noticed a faint creaking noise when turning the wheel to maneuver into a parking space.

    With 31K on this car, this has me thinking: What do repairs to this electric steering system cost when out of warranty? I presume that most of the people posting here have had their problems taken care of under warranty.

    Maybe I should pay more attention to those scary things I get in the mail from the people trying to sell me a GM extended warranty ? ;)
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    If you buy the extended warranty, your problems will start when it expires.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    I know each and every car has its own characteristics..but I too own an 04 Maxx LT.....built Feb 04....and have had no problems with the column at all.....84K on my Maxx and still strong.....about to do a tune up and plug wire replacment on it..nothing but tires, oil, and wipers so far....a bulb or two as well......

    GMPP is going to be expensive now that you have over 24K on the car.....but a personal choice to buy an extended warranty....good luck
  • deckdogdeckdog Member Posts: 10
    After having the steering gear replaced on my 05 Malibu about 3800 miles ago, it's back and seems worse than before. The car is still under factory warranty for another 13,000 miles. My question is how many times will Chevy be willing to keep replacing it? And since we all know it will return, even Chevy admits it, are they going to be willing to do anything about this defect or will I just have to live with it as long as I keep the car? Can any real damage be done if you don't have it replaced? Thanks for any help and advise.
    the deckdog
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    I dont beleive there has been any documentation of long term damage as a result of the suspension clunk.....its just an engineering design they will have to fix eventually....but I dont think it will ever be retrofitted for a fix.......IMHO
  • txmalibutxmalibu Member Posts: 1
    I have an '04 Malibu Maxx LT w/ 23K mi. that just had it's steering rack replaced under warranty (part #15858368 as mentioned by previous writers) which cured my problem - you could hear and feel a clunk at low speed turning or sitting still turning the wheel back and forth. An article suggests that this is a new type part to fix this
    Other than that I really like the car - versatile, comfortable and I avg 27mpg in rush hour driving and 32mpg on highway.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Yes, that was the part that was replaced on my '04 Maxx. It has helped reduce the turning "clunk", though the front end still rattles over some kinds of bumps.

    Interesting that 17" wheels (on many of the '07 Malibus) require a restricted turning radius gear. Given that the Maxx already has a big turning circle with 16" wheels, the fact a 17" wheeled Maxx or Malibu is worse is a big disincentive to update to newer maxx.
  • mcleandmcleand Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2006 Malibu LS with 45000 KM on it . I was wary of purchasing a GM product after a 3 year battle with a nightmare GM truck.
    My Malibu seems to be a fantastic vehicle without serious defects . Gas mileage is amazing ,steering is fine and no rattles as others have reported in earlier models.
    Cruise creeps going downhill , but this is an awareness issue that I can live with. Hope everyone works out there issues , I know GM can be horrible to deal with if you are having problems with one of their products.
  • dtimmonsdtimmons Member Posts: 2
    I have had my 2005 Malibu in 3 separate times, and they can't resolve my problem. I have intermitent problems when accelerating (like to pass someone) and the steering wheel will actually feel like it is locking up on me (like power steering is going out). It is scary, and you have to take your foot off the accelerator to get the steering back. It doesn't do it all the time, so it will surprise you, and when steering is critical, that is a major safety concern. Anyone know anything about this type of problem?
  • mufasamufasa Member Posts: 1

    Bought my 2006 Malibu LT on 11/13/06, then on 11/26/06, while making a r/t and accelerating to get into the furthest left lane, boom the steering wheel locked, only for 2-3 seconds., long enough to make my heart stop. I went right back to the dealer (closed) hence, called the next day and against the head service depts advice, I made an appt for the following Monday, 12/4/06, but only to have it happen again 5 days later and hit 2 parked me $7,000.00 worth of damage ( PT Cruiser has a smashed tail light-$35.00 and the Toyota Camary-no damage). I am working w/my insurance co and the dealer couldn't find anything wrong...surprise surprise. If anyone can share a story, I could use the help. I don't know if I should keep the car????
  • deckdogdeckdog Member Posts: 10
    Hi All,
    I took my son's blazer to the dealer today for some work and talked to the service writer about the returning steering clunk in my 05 Malibu. I told her that I already have had the gear changed out a few months ago and she told me that GM has now switched manufacturers for the steering gear within the past month or so and that the new replacement part that was being put in would correct the problem once and for all. She says at this point in time they are not plentiful but could have one for me within a week. Has anybody else heard about this? Thanks.
  • markthebowlrmarkthebowlr Member Posts: 1
    I have had my 04 Malibu's power steering motor/column replaced in 2005. I have now had the dealer try to resolve the clunking noise by replacing the steering gears three times. The last time (within the last 1.5 months) my wife picked up the car and stated it felt like no power steering during one of the turns. I did not experience the same until the other day. I was making a right hand turn at about 15 mph when the power steering went out for a couple of seconds. No warning messages were displayed. I have seen them before. Multiple times before the "Power Steering" warning message has come on the Radio display during my problems with the clunking
  • szerfasszerfas Member Posts: 53
    Hi All,
    We are yet another Malibu (Maxx) owner with the steering clunk problem. Our has been serviced 3 times now, twice with replacing the steering gear. We have been told we have had th new design for the last 2 replacements. I would definitely suggest calling the Chevy 800 number and tell them about the problem. The more they hear I think the better. We already have a case going with them. With the last "newly" designed gear failing in 6 months I told them I have no question that the one they just installed this month will fail in another 6 months or less. Unfortunately we will be out of warranty in about 5 months. My concern is there does not seem like a real fix to this problem. I am not having a lifetime of replacing a steering gear with every oil change. :( Hopefully others have more luck then us. If they do not warranty this car for longer after the regular warranty finishes we will dump it.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    beleive the clunk is a bad engineering design and you will probably never completely get rid of it.....92K on my 04 Maxx....slight clunk..but not worried about it to be steering gear replacement at electronic problems....just keep driving it...

    sorry for your issues......
  • rvothrvoth Member Posts: 147
    Ya, have to agree it's a badly designed electric steering system... it's just annoying that near the end of my warranty it starts to cluck....if continues to get worse then it will get the new updated column
  • szerfasszerfas Member Posts: 53
    rvoth, you might only need the steering gear replaced. That is what ours was the last time. The first time was the whole assembly, that was after the steering went out on us while driving. I have never let the steering gear go too long after the first time I had the steering go completely out, I am guessing with the gear it will just clunk worse and worse and at some point become hard to turn past a point. If you are like us and have had the steering system serviced several times under warranty you might want to call Chevy and see if they will cover it. Good luck.

    On to the next problem for us. Discovered a crack between muffler and exhast pipe where it looks like they corroded and cracked.
  • szerfasszerfas Member Posts: 53
    I called and asked you exact question to the 800 number and there answer to me was since it has been serviced 3x times under warranty if it happens again close to when the warranty goes out they will take care of it. We are trying to use this car more then our other because I have on fear it will return in the next 5 to 6K miles. They said at the point we can discuss how long Chevy will cover it for. If thy do not come up with a good solution we will dump the car and GM will lose another long time customer. (I don't think they have many left at this point, and they don't really care either.) I would get yours fixed right away if for no better reason then to keep the paperwork and documentation of it getting serviced yet again. They seem to only pay attention after several time fixing it. Do call and log the issue with the 800 number also.
  • deckdogdeckdog Member Posts: 10
    Hi All,
    I've got about 6K left on my warranty so I took my Malibu back in to have the clunk fixed again. This time they replaced the intermediate shaft and the noise is gone. According to the service dept. since I had the steering gear replaced a few months ago I had gotten the most up to date part so they replaced the shaft. Hopefully now with both items replaced it will cure the clunking problem. If it returns I hope it happens within the next 6000 miles, then I'll have it done for the third time. Has anyone else had both parts replaced and has it returned? Thanks.
  • iantmiantm Member Posts: 1
    My wife and I have an 04 Malibu with the 4 cylinder engine. Has a stalling/surging issue that still hasn't been remedied after five repair attempts, and has had the steering gear and column replaced about 3 times so far for clunking, locking, and the occasional force feedback steering wheel - it fights you when trying to turn the wheel.

    Car has been nothing short of an insane nuisance. A firm call to GM netted us an extended warranty for free.
  • chevyronchevyron Member Posts: 2
    Take it to the dealer and have them check the Alternator. I had this same problem and it was found to be the alternator pushing out something like 16.2 amps and it should only put out 14 amps at high RPM's
  • chevyronchevyron Member Posts: 2
    I just had the shaft replaced as well. The dealer said this is a redesigned part that Chevy said will correct the clunking problem when turning or moving the steering wheel.

    This is an awesome car!!! You would have to pay $7,000 to $10,000 more on a Camry or Accord to get everything you get with the Malibu.

    Get with the GM or Chevy 800 number to get them to extend the warranty due to issues. I am.

    Oh yeah, and Chevy gives a free loaner if kept overnight for service, not Honda or Toyota.
  • csandstecsandste Member Posts: 1,866
    How many parts are there?

    I replaced the steering column a few months ago-- power steering intermittently then permanently failed =$800. I know there's a rack that fails-- the Maxx board stated $600.

    What's the intermediate shaft?

    Is there a separate pinion below the steering column?

    Are there 2,3 or 4 parts including the rack and steering column? How much do these other parts cost to replace?

    I still like my Maxx better than any car I've had but throw in several more $600-$800 steering parts and I'll be a bit turned off.
  • slkeepslkeep Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Malibu. I purchased the vehicle about a year ago and it had 29,000 miles on it. About a month after I bought it I had to have the power steering gear replaced due to the clunking noise. 13,000 miles later (about 2 months ago) the noise was back and they once again replaced the power steering gear. 5,000 miles after the second replacement the noise was back, I took it in and they said they performed some bulletin on it (placed some foam around the radiator and greased some other things) and the noise is gone now; however, I am sure it will come back. I no longer have man. warranty but I did take out extended warranty, any suggestions for what this might be or what to do next?
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    the design of the front suspension of the Malibu 04 and up is flawed....I have an 04 Maxx LT and have had the clunk almost since day one....just noticeable on mine..but not enough to be a pain.....there have been a few TSBs out dealing with the issue...however in most cases it simply lessen the problem or it came back over a matter of time....

    I havent done anything to mine...and have over 101K on the car now..without any problems with the suspension or steering....depending on the severity of your "Clunk" it simply may be something you have to live with in all honesty....again..doesnt seem to effect anything long least not on mine....
  • emmagataemmagata Member Posts: 8
    I have a 2005 Malibu with 77,000 miles on it. It's had the thud/clunk/pop for a very long time. It started out just making slow left turns. Now it does it alot more and in both directions and going over bumps. It's annoying but the steering doesn't seem loose. I never had GM look at because my warranty ran out long before it became worse.

    My biggest complaint with the car is rattles. There's a lot of them. The sunroof, the headliner, the dashboard, etc etc etc...

    One thing I did find out is (one of the many) noises I thought was coming from the front suspension was in fact the coolant reservoir bottle banging against the firewall.

    Another annoying thing is wrong parts listed at the parts store. I bought new front rotors from AutoZone and they were the wrong ones. I need the other part they had listed for the model without rear discs (mine has 4 wheel disc brakes). Now I want to replace the shocks. AutoZone has a strut listed for the rear. PepBoys has both a strut and shock. It's a shock under there!!
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