I was quite excited to come across this great post a few weeks back. While I don't have the Malibu, I do have a Buick LaCrosse, that is built like all the other GM vehicles of this era and use the standard mechanism for the lock actuator. I was frustrated at hearing the parts prices $129 and $119, as I needed both rear door actuators to get fixed. Both kicked out on me within two weeks of each other.
I was able to document my process with a few pictures that I can share with the forum here and regardless of the GM vehicle, it can usually be repaired in a similar manner with the great after-market actuators. I actually splurged and purchased a 4-pack for under $18.00, including shipping from that big auction site.
The process for removing the door panel is similar, but should be reviewed first and I found some tips on the Web, as well as videos in my search, too.
With the inside door trim removed, I located the tan and grey wires. I then cut the wires and installed the actuator. Mine had to be oriented a bit different than the one on the Malibu as my door lock button is towards the front of the door on the LaCrosse.
In this image, I've labeled the arrows #1, #2, and #3.
The door insulation had to be trimmed (arrow #1) a bit in my case to allow for the mount of the actuator. Arrow #2 indicates how I positioned the actuator on the inside door of my car. Arrow #3 shows how I used the clamp provided with the actuator to connect the arm from the new actuator to my existing rod for the door lock mechanism. In my case, the actuator "pulls" the rod when engaged.
If the image doesn't appear, here is the link to the image in my gallery:
Here is a picture of the inside of my door trim. I had to remove a bit of the styrofoam foam block in order to allow for room to mount the actuator. Also, I had to snip one of the plastic tabs off so it didn't protrude into the area where the actuator was to be placed.
If the image doesn't appear, here is the link to the picture in my gallery:
I can't thank those who have contributed towards the effort - especially the original poster. I'm thankful that we don't have to open our wallets to replace parts that could very well only last us one year.