I'm was reading this site because my 2000 Malibu, with 114K miles is surging, shifting in and out of overdrive (I think), while under any kind of load, and I was looking for a fix. Here is my "fix" list:
The air conditioning quit, but my mechanic put a sealer in with more coolant and I was back in business.
I have the intake leak, but was lucky to slow it down enough with some Barsleak; it's the same leak I had in my 1994 3.1 Beretta V-6, which needed new gaskets.
I dropped the pan on my trans once, and flushed it twice; I don't know if it's helped or hurt, but I'm going to drive it till it quits.
I've replaced the calipers once, pads and rotors every 20K. Water pump and belt. Plugs are tight, but do-able on your own.
Muffler twice. Resistor for blower once. Fuel filter once, everything else like usual. Battery once, lots of bulbs and when my key wouldn't work in the ignition, I tossed it and used a backup I had cut, and it's still working.
I hear if I clean my mass slow thing, my surge will clear up. I'll let you know.
I have had a few of these problems:
Turn signal needed to be replaced.
Ignition needed to be replaced.
Now I am having the anti-theft problem. I just wait 10 minutes and reset it.
The AC does like to switch itself off. I just persistently turn it back on.
If you don't have the fan on 3, you don't get enough heat/air.
I have over 200,000 miles on the car.
I have driven it hard, in a cold climate. It is still running, but getting pretty rusty.
I think I got my money's worth.
I too have a 1999 Chev Malibu with the 3.1 in it. All the problems related to the engine gasket problems I have experienced, don't get me started on brakes. Sensors are another joke. This thing is a complete piece of North American crap. I gave the thing to my son, he is very very careful with the thing and I am still repairing it. I now own a Toyota truck and my wife has a Toyota car - never again will a Chevy piece of junk darken my door. The government should have let them fail - good riddance to a conglomerate joke.
I have a 2000 Malibu that has 180,000 miles on it, bought it new and have not experienced the problems that everyone in the forum has. In fact if I had the chance, I would buy another new one, same year!
Here's a fix for everyone with brake problems. Change to aftermarket (performance) cross drilled rotors and compatible pads and your problems should go away.
I would like to buy another new Chevy, but my wife loves the car and won’t trade it in.
That surging that I had in my 2000 Malibu 3.1, I fixed it last summer, but now it is surging again. What I did is buy a can of MAF sensor spray from any auto parts store. Took the MAF sensor off the car and sprayed it, but be very careful with it, it has fine wires that cannot be touched with your hand or the straw on the spray can. Just remove it, and put it on a rag on a flat surface. Just spray clean it, let dry, then put back on the car. It helped mine. Also make sure there is no dirt in air hose to the throttle body.
Follow up to my original post:
Piston slap has worn the cylinders enough that the motor burns a quart of oil every 1700 miles.
Surging has been isolated to the transmission. It occurs most often when the computer/transmission oscillate between 3rd gear and overdrive. I can reduce the problem by locking out overdrive by putting the car in 3rd gear for driving.
While driving, the RPMs will increase to 3500-4000 and the forward speed drops, and then the car will surge ahead, sort of like something is passing through the valve body in the transmission. Afterward, the transmission bangs when shifting between gears 1-3/OD. Shutting down the car for 30-60 seconds usually resolves the problem for a while.
Changed the spark plugs myself for $40. It was a major pain in the rear and took over three hours. If you take on the project, make sure you have an assortment of socket extenders and flex adapters. And have your plug wires beforehand - a plug connector separated from the wire when I removed the boot (I had planned on reusing the wires; foolish me).
The mirror day/night toggle lever broke off when I changed over to night mode a year ago.
The exhaust pipe bolts rusted through and the muffler separated from the exhaust two weeks ago. Had a local garage remove the rusted bolts from the flange and replaced with new ones for $32.00.
It's a test of wills to see who quits first, me or the car.
I have a 2000 Chevy Malibu LS.
At about 50,000 miles, the engine felt like it "had no guts" when I started out from a red light. It got worse and worse. After several mechanics replaced various things on it, someone figured out it was the knock sensor. I had always been told the engine was typically noisy upon start up, and that was normal. The mechanic relocated the knock sensor to another place, but stated the check engine light would now come on and off. There was no other way around it. It was either that, or replace the engine. While they wouldn't guarantee that the knock sensor wasn't really sensing something bad within the engine, it solved my problem. It has run fine since. I just have to live with the check engine light coming on and off. I've got about 66,000 miles on it currently.
Hmm funny, all I have owned is German cars... Spent more on my girlfriend's Malibu than my Audi and my VW combined... American cars are trash. My uncle is in Kazakhstan building new plants, while VW is in Georgia with the Passat. If you want a good car, buy German.. Or you'll be on forums reading about PCM failure.