Last post on Feb 09, 2013 at 9:37 AM
You are in the Chevrolet Malibu
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet Malibu, Sedan
#239 of 4972 Ever try to Change the Oil...?
Dec 24, 2000 (3:12 pm)
I have read several of the posts on the Malibu and find them interesting. I am strictly a foreign car guy, I am a mechanical engineer, and I turn wrenches in my spare time. I have driven some of the highest quality cars on the planet, as well as some of the worst.
My father-in-law loaned us his 1998 Malibu LS (3.1 V6), and as a favor I thought I would change the oil for him. Big mistake...you CANNOT get the oil filter out of the engine bay area without spilling all the oil out of it all over the place...it doesn't come out cleanly either from the top or the bottom. To get the new filter in, I ended up bending the AC hose out of the way, then dropping the filter down into the front of the engine compartment from the top, and then going underneath to thread the filter on and tighten it. This is absolutely ridiculous. I'd really like to meet the so-called engineer who designed this crap. I really can't believe it.
Then, I notice that one of his brake lights is out, so I go to trak auto to get a new one...well, they don't carry a replacement bulb...for a 1998 car, they DON'T CARRY IT. I have gotten replacement bulbs for everything from Peugeots to Hondas, and they didn't have one for this Chevy...that is more crap. Just for kicks I decided I'd take the rear brake light cover off. 5 screws and some trim pieces and 10 later, I finally had it off, and had to snap off the back cover of the unit to get to the light bulbs. Unbelievable...some "qualified" engineer designed this ???? No wonder GM is going down the tubes. I suppose none of you all have to deal with these idiotic design goofs, because you probably don't change your own oil or replace light bulbs.
To contrast, I can change brake lights on my 1989 Honda in about 5 minutes (both sides) and the oil filter comes right out, no spills. Why can't GM do the same...it is a mystery to me...care to help me with an answer ???
Dec 24, 2000 (11:04 pm)
Hmmm interesting how this individual critisized the design of the rear lights and complains that it took him sooo long to change the bulbs. A few months back I had the rear tail light assembly destroyed by an SUV. It took me 5 ( countem 1...2..3..4..5) minutes to unfasten 4 wingnuts, pop out the old tail light and put a new one in. Why isn't GM like Honda..well perhaps because not everyone in this God forsaken planet wants to drive a foreign car clone. Also if you would have looked carefully you would have noticed that in the front end you can remove a panel at the bottom of the engine by unfastening a few wing nuts and voila the oil filter come out mess free. Perhaps next time look at things with a more positive attitude and things will make more sense. Good Luck!
#241 of 4972 How much should I pay to get the rotors machined?
Dec 25, 2000 (12:47 pm)
I'm pretty sure the rotors on my '99 Malibu are warped- whenever I step on the brake pedal, it starts vibrating, along with the steering wheel. I plan on taking it to the shop to get the rotors machined and some new pads put on. How much should I pay? Would it be better just to get new rotors? BTW, the car has 20,000 miles on it. I had the rotors resurfaced and new pads when the car had 12,000 miles, but the problem has come again. Everything else about this car is fine though.
#242 of 4972 KISS...
Dec 25, 2000 (8:30 pm)
It's obvious that "malibu99" has a very objective outlook on things. I would counter that he has been brainwashed by the GM school of bad design.
As an engineer I live by a simple motto...KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Obviously, changing out a whole tailight assembly is not going be as time consuming as taking a taillight unit out and then taking it apart to replace a bulb. You forgot that there are two wing nuts that must be removed to remove the carpet lining of the trunk and then there is a piece of trim that has to be removed in addition. (this may be different on your 99) KISS...it is alot simpler on other well designed cars. Care to explain to me why I can't get a brake light bulb at a local auto parts store ?? (Could it be because GM wants to charge me 5 dollars for a 50 cent part ??)
Also, thanks for the tip on removing some wing nuts and taking a plastic panel off the bottom of the car so I can cleanly remove the filter. What planet are you from ???? This is normal ?? I have never, ever, had to remove anything like that from any other car to get at the oil filter (I've done hundreds of oil changes). Again...KISS. It would seem to me that GM engineers could benefit from this lesson.
And as for your slam about "foreign car clones..." I don't quite understand it. The GM Malibu IS a foreign car clone. The design of the malibu is years behind the Honda Accord (Toyota Camry, Mazda 626, etc.) Drive one of those other cars, and you'll understand. The malibu was made to compete with Honda et. al. because GM was getting (and is still getting) hammered in the mid-size sedan segment.
Thanks for your comments, but I think we see this from different points of view. Oh, and I don't believe in luck.
Dec 25, 2000 (10:53 pm)
I have a 98 Malibu. Recently changed the brake bulbs. Did it the first time in my life, with any car.
Replacing the first pair of bulbs took less than 10 minutes, including cleaning carbon from contacts (but excluding buying the bulbs and sand-paper). Did it a parking lot of local Pep Boys. Next day replaced the bulbs on the other side; it took less than 5 minutes.
Yes, there are three nuts holding the rear lights assembly, and it is more convenient to move aside the felt carpet, after removing another two nuts. But the plastic nuts are big and it is very easy to remove them without any tool. 20 seconds for nut or so.
Do not remember any trim to remove. Probably, this is specific to the LS. My Malibu is a base model.
Likely, it was easy for me because I am not a mechanical engineer.
As to the bulb availability, I found them in the very first auto part store I visited. The Pep Boys even carries not one, but two sorts of bulbs: standard and long-life. Both are made by Sylvania. The standard ones are made in Slovakia.
I believe, the same bulbs are used in most of modern GM cars.
#244 of 4972 yurakm
Dec 26, 2000 (7:42 am)
Thanks for the info on the bulbs...
Trak Auto, our friendly neighborhood auto store is probably one of the worst auto parts stores around. Of course, that is a discussion for another time. I'll have to check out Pep Boys. Glad that it didn't take you that long to change out the bulbs. Sure, 10 mins. is not alot of time...I guess in my experience, it is just easier on other cars. Simple designs are better designs, the more you have to take off, (in my opinion) the worse the design. Maybe being an engineer doesn't help in these situations.
#246 of 4972 Tsk tsk Malibu99...
Dec 26, 2000 (2:18 pm)
Well, it appears as though we have touched a nerve here...
I really don't have much to say to you in reply Mr. Malibu, as it is obvious that this discussion is quickly degrading to the level of obscenities and personal attacks, which you must use to make your rather vacuous points about your beloved Malibu.
My main point was that the car is poorly designed, nothing more. I could find many automotive/mechanical engineers that would agree with me. I'm glad that it works for you and hope that you enjoy it in the future. I'd be interested to hear how you like your car after 100,000 miles. As far as it being a GREAT car... well, that is your opinion, and it is obvious that for you, ignorance is bliss.
I will now leave you to your blissful state.
Fare thee well... and once again, I do not believe in luck.
P.S. - Considering the fact that you have no idea who I am or how much I make, your statements are puzzling. For all you know, I could be a design engineer for Honda.
#247 of 4972 Brakes and Rotors
Dec 26, 2000 (2:55 pm)
It amazes me that you would have to replace brake pads after 12,000 miles. Unless you drive like a race car driver, that is highly unusual. I would spring to have the rotors replaced at this point. Rotors should not warp at 12,000 miles or 20,000 miles through normal use. Sometimes the service people can warp the rotors on your car by overtorquing the lug nuts.
Also, cars can sometimes come right off the factory floor with warped rotors...the reason is "Bubba." Bubba is the fella at the end of the assembly line who gets paid 40,000 dollars a year to use a pneumatic gun to torque the lug nuts on your unsuspecting malibu. And while the torque spec is probably around 60 ft-pounds, Bubba makes sure that they are torqued to 100 ft-pounds or more...just so the wheels don't fall off. What Bubba doesn't realize is that overtorquing can instantly warp the rotors (you see, ignorance is bliss).
I have taken cars into the shop for brake pad replacement, or inspections, and after they did the work, the rotors were warped...even if they didn't touch them...basically they simply over-torqued the lugnuts, and warped the rotors. Always ask for lug nuts to be hand-torqued.
As far as turning rotors (rotors are NEVER resurfaced...they are simply ground down or "turned"), I wouldn't do it, for two reasons. One, the less rotor material there is, the less heat dissipation you get and that means you are going to cook your brakes if you use them much. The thinner a rotor gets, the easier they warp. Also, if rotors are surface hardened, the hardening will only penetrate the surface so deep, once you machine off this hardened layer, your rotors are basically going to turn to mush. I would bet that your rotors are below spec. since they turned them once already at 12,000 miles, and that may well have caused them to warp now, at 20,000 miles, due to poor heat disspiation. So, since it should still be within warranty, I'd have them slap on a new pair of rotors, AND hand tighten the lug nuts to the specified torque.
Hope this helps.
Dec 26, 2000 (3:21 pm)
Hey csb1, thanks for the info. I do drive a little more agressively than others, but definitely not so much so that the brakes would warp/wear so quickly. I rotated the wheels myself (at 18k miles) and used a torque wrench set to 100 ft-lb (as specified in the manual). The vibration coming from the brakes started before I rotated the wheels, though. I will make sure I watch the service guy this time through so that they don't do something overly stupid.