12th Jun 2007, 07:58

Hi guys, OK

I have some solutions and need some more.

I have a Malibu 98, 143 miles (yes! bought it at 138 miles).

1- AC motor won't run at speeds below 3? Solution a 30+ dollars resistor (bought mine at Carquest)

2- Window won't open? Usually driver side window control panel receives rain when the window is open (so either drive with closed window or suffer the consequences). The problem is that water gets into the panel and damages it, causing the switches to fail. For my case, I used switch of rear window to replace one in front panel since I don't have kids yet.

3- Overheating, fans won't run except when AC is on. Tried to switch and replace relays and temp sensor, but still having the problem. Coolant is full, but fans won't start without AC on, even if temp reaches 75%!

4- Bulbs and brake lights... you know you can find those cheap, but yes, they do run out quickly

5- Shift interlock solenoid something... you cannot find this part easily, dealer will suggest replacing the whole thing at 250+tax or even more... (symptoms: on cool mornings, the car won't shift out of park position)

6- Checked the engine at a mechanic. At that mileage, I had a clogged tube (the one of the catalyst) and the engine light (of pollution) was on and off so it wouldn't pass inspection... poor dealer changed a 250 dollar valve (at sale time) and after a month of purchase my light came back on... one trip to a friend of mine and he found the carbon clogged tube (it's about an inch inside the engine, near the butterfly valve). So my friend (mechanic) cleaned it and the light went off permanently (for now).

7- When you add coolant (after losing some), the low coolant light comes on even if tank is full. For me, this went away when the car overheated (must have pushed the air gap off the radiator tubes and re-initiated circulation).

8- Theft system? It's not your key's issue, it's a mechanical failure inside the "key-house" or some grease gone dry and preventing the theft needles from detecting your key. One time I cleaned it with a metallic wire surrounded by plastic and it went OK for about 6 month. Now it is coming on again and car makes you wait 10 minutes before turning on (if you're lucky enough to have it work again)... this causes my wife to arrive late for work, so now she is leaving 30 minutes extra before and is the first to arrive to work... so there might be a "good lesson of morale" here.

9- Have a dried leather dashboard? I used a mop that comes at 1$ or so and it really wetted and waxed the dashboard.

10- Radio!!! When you take off the battery, the radio asks you for codes. If you don't have them, don't try random... it will lock more. Advice? PURCHASE those codes once and for all at your dealer (about 50$)

11- Squealing belt (because of oil coming off the engine)... no comments, very expensive to fix.

Now my priority is the overheating and fans that won't turn on automatically... any tested ideas?

29th Dec 2007, 08:41

We own a 97 Malibu it has approx 270,000 miles we have had hardly any problems other than brakes. We do oil changes every spring and fall. Living in Michigan there is some rust on the front hood, but other than that, it waxes up great.

We are considering purchasing a new car this year and the new Malibu is in the running.

9th Jun 2008, 17:28

I have a 1998 Chevy Malibu. It seems I am having the same problems and many others. About 2 days after purchase (used) I had to replace the alternator and the battery. Then 5 months later for a regular tuneup it cost $500. Turns out this car has boots and coils, the coils had overheated and fused to the boots somehow. 6 months later it is currently sitting in my driveway not running. Same problem with the coils. I was also told the the coolant leak may be due to a cracked manifold. This repair was estimated at the same $500 plus dollars as 6 months ago. I am just over 100,000 miles. I miss my prism. Are boots and coils just inferior to regular plugs and wires? Does anybody have any suggestions?

14th Oct 2009, 11:29

I purchased a 1998 Malibu LS with the 3.1 motor in April 2004 for my daughter to take to college. The vehicle had 47K miles on it. The car now has 114K miles on it, she's still driving it in the midwest, it's a California car originally. Overall, it's been a decent car for the price. This model has all the options, leather etc and all the "extra" stuff still works. It's a smooth running car and gets decent gas mileage.

Just for reference, here's what we have had fixed. I've excluded normal maintenance like oil changes etc.

1. ABS light came on almost immediately after we bought the car. The California mechanics we took it to couldn't figure out the problem. Both guys said the diagnostic tool gave them thousands of dollars of suggested repairs which they knew wasn't right. We had it fixed in Michigan. Turns out there was some kind of rotor problem. That repair with new brakes was $900.

2. Blower resistors on fan blew out. Simple repair $35.

3. Intake manifold leak. $700, but we had the water pump replaced too. Do the water pump even if there isn't a problem! You won't regret it!

Considering I paid $6000 for the car in 2004 with 47K miles on it and other than the above, paid for normal maintenance, I think we came out OK.

20th Jan 2010, 01:39

I bought my 1998 Malibu new with the 3.1. Today it has 370,000 miles on it. Yes I've had some of the issues discussed, I replace the upper intake manifold gasket yearly, I've replaced the engine (which was my fault) and the transmission just recently. The CV shaft because the person putting in the transmission cut the boot.

I do most of my own work on the car, and only in the last year has it started losing paint, and having the material on the ceiling droop a bit, though Chevy had a nice idea with pins holding the cloth up. Seems to be greying on the top like myself.

I do regret not getting the alloy wheels since I purchased a base model car. 2009's repairs were a bit excessive for me since it included a transmission, driver's door window switch, fuel pump which seems to be connection issues at the body panel.

I haven't seen short life in lights, nothing more than any of the other cars I own or friends/family.

I only had to replace the AC relay once, the compressor twice, the alternator every couple years, which seems to work out about the same time as the battery.

I do take care to replace the serpentine belt every 50k and oil 3-5k.

What wasn't mentioned was the lower control arms, which seem to need replacement regular, and the fact that you have to get a specific model, which the bushing can actually be replaced out of. Yes the hub has to be replaced to to fix the ABS sensor.

There is also a very interesting issue that will arise when oil (front seal) leaks onto the engine speed sensor.

Note for people losing coolant, check your oil levels, normally it will leak down the back of the motor onto the transmission and just give you that sweet smell, but in some instances, it leaks into the crankcase. My oil didn't discolor like other anti-freezes have done, but I did end up with three 93) gallons on oil being drained out of the crank-case on one occasion. I find that most intake manifold leaks are mis-diagnosed as head gasket failure. Much easier to fix.

I get the theft system light, which would be cool if I had a theft system. I understand I can have that repaired, but it seems to be a summer thing when the car is run for a prolonged period.