High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved! - Chevy Malibu Forum: Chevrolet Malibu Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-29-2016, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved!

I had intermittent issue with my HMSL for 2-3 years. It worked on and off. I was trying to remove it one time but it came back to work when I was in the middle of the process. So I knew that something was loose. This time the problem persistent so I decided to remove and troubleshoot the issue. I was able to light up the lamp with a 9v battery and simulated the issue.
What I found was the 2-prong male connector at the stop lamp was loose. Apparently when the female wiring connector move, it triggered the issue. So my solution is to wedge the female connector to the housing with toothpick. This seems to work as the lamp no long went on and off when I moved it.
Please see the picture for the solution and the video below for the test
https://goo.gl/photos/cByMWjVgwWhTJUjM9
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08 2LT White/Titanium, 4cyl/4spd
Born 04/08 Lake Orion

Last edited by hoahai; 07-30-2016 at 10:06 AM.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-29-2016, 08:38 PM
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Re: High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved!

electrical tape or heat shrink would of worked as well. Anyways, good job finding the source of the issue.

Paul - 2010 Malibu

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-30-2016, 05:13 AM
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Re: High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved!

I notice in the second image that the retainer on the CHMSL is missing, presumably the result of your hands, but that is probably not part of the original cause, right?

Interesting that you found it buried at the light itself after so many years and miles of aggravation! Thanks for sharing. If this ever happens to another owner, whether Gen7 or other generation, this could be very helpful.


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-30-2016, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Re: High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSilverOne View Post
electrical tape or heat shrink would of worked as well. Anyways, good job finding the source of the issue.
Electrical tape did not work in my test. Tried that and it failed the test. The source of the issue is the loosing male connector of the lamp. The small gap between the wiring connector and the lamp connector housing allows the movement to the loosing lamp male connector. That gap is where I put the tooth pick, to prevent that movement.
Here is the video on the test
https://goo.gl/photos/cByMWjVgwWhTJUjM9

08 2LT White/Titanium, 4cyl/4spd
Born 04/08 Lake Orion

Last edited by hoahai; 07-30-2016 at 06:35 AM.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-30-2016, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivenDaily View Post
I notice in the second image that the retainer on the CHMSL is missing, ....
I removed that retainer to check if the hot and cold female had anything wrong. Also attempted to remove the wiring from the housing but did not have the tool. I put the retainer back later.

08 2LT White/Titanium, 4cyl/4spd
Born 04/08 Lake Orion
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 06:53 AM
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Great post! My 08 has an intermittent as well. I have seen that it's a pain to get to the lamp. Although I don't know the exact procedure to get access, I will attempt this soon. I saw another Malibu on the road with no light as well (coincidence? Not!). Anyhow, thanks for the post.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved!

yes I believe this is a common issue, not unique to my case.
It is not hard. But it needs some patience and care. After took it out three times, I become familiar with the procedure and did it in a matter of 10 minutes or less to get the lamp out. But the first time, it took me more than 2 hours.
The PITA for me was disconnecting the wiring connector to take out the whole Rear Trim Panel. That took me more than 30 minutes because the connector was stuck very badly. I have a weak hand, and had to operate in a small space.

Here is the link to the procedure

NOTE: To avoid draining down the battery (as i did), turn off the Dom light or disconnect the battery.
Here is the high level of the steps
1. Remove the Rear Seat Cushion: just grasp the bottom and pull it up. Take it out of the car. (Page 4 of the PDF)
2. Fold the Rear Back Seat Cushion down. You might want to put some clothes between the cushion and the Seat frame, to avoid getting the seat back cushion dirty when it was folded down. It bears your weight because you have to seat on it to work.
NOTE: there is no need to take out the Back Seat Cushion. Just fold them down.
3. Remove the Left and Right Rear Corner upper Garnish Molding: Pull outward from the top, then pull its front side upward, and slide it forward to get it out. There is a rubber to hold it, called “tether”. Just unlock that “tether” to take it out. (Page 1 of PDF)
5. Unscrew the Rear Seat Back bolt: 4 of them. (Page 2 of PDF)
6. Pull out the metal bar the above 4 screws hold, to access the two plastic retainer that that hold the Rear Windows Shelf Trim Panel. These retainer are at the lower left and right corner. (Page 5 of the PDF). Just use a Flat head screw driver to pry them out.
7. The Lower left and Lower right corner of the Trim panel are locked by a plastic molding tab. Pull that Tab out, then lift up the corner of Rear trim panel to unlock it. This is the tricky step.
8. Disconnecting the wiring connector to the lamp. The connector is located driver side. Lift up the Trim panel driver side, you will see it. You need to pry up the lock tab with a small screw driver when pulling out the connector. This is a step took me 30 minutes because the connector was stuck very hard.
9. Slide the Seat Belt thru the gap of the trim panel, to unattach it from the panel (Page 5 of PDF)
10. After that, you will be able to take the Rear Trim Panel out. Just lift it up and move it forward. (Page 6 of the PDF)
11. There are three screw to hold the lamp to the Trim Panel. Remove these 3 screws the lamp will come out. (Page 6 of the PDF)
When I have a chance I will post some pictures that I took.Good luck
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08 2LT White/Titanium, 4cyl/4spd
Born 04/08 Lake Orion

Last edited by hoahai; 08-24-2016 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Added pictures
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2016, 09:23 AM
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Re: High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved!

sticky worthy!
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Paul - 2010 Malibu

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 06:33 PM
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Re: High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved!

Hi hoahai,

What an awesome post!

You saved my day. I followed your instructions and everything went OK.

Goods explanations of the steps with pdf sheets.

I did what you did to repair the trouble, a little piece of wood in the connector secure with electric tape and the trick is done.

Thank's a lot. Several dollars saved by this post.
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Last edited by Lessy2009; 08-23-2016 at 07:27 PM.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 04:39 AM
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Re: High Mounted Stop Lamp Intermittent issue Solved!

I have an intermittently functioning center high mount brake light too... works whenever it wants. Dealer said to replaced the wirings and the entire lamp. I read somewhere, that there is a recall for this. But, they said my VIN is not included. I wish they'd be more specific in isolating the issue.

Anyway, I'll have to do it myself... though, this thread seems helpful. Update you soon. Thanks
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