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Old 12-03-2009, 12:33 PM   #1
vlicona
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Default F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

Hello all:

I'm new to this board and I hope that we can all contribute to share more information about our 'Bu's.

I got married and decided to get some reliable and *cheap* to maintain - having previously owned four German luxo sedans - wheels for myself and the wife (babies soon to come) and decided to get a 2009 brand new Chevy Malibu LTZ. Keep in mind I live in Mexico and have noticed a couple of differences with the U.S. versions I have read about and seen in your country:

My car's speed limiter has been raised (I believe) to 205 indicated km/h or 127mph. Are yours the same?

Because of that, it wears Y-rated Bridgestone Potenzas summer tires that give excellent grip. We have no snow in Mexico City to worry about hehehe. I have yet to see this option on U.S. models, perhaps I have overlooked this.

I like the Malibu and for the price I believe it poses a serious bang for the buck factor and this is why I got it after analyzing the Accord (too big and expensive), the Mazda 6 (which I didn't get because of door creaks during the test drive), Altima 3.5 (too expensive here) and Camry (too bland, but the V6 is FAST).

The real only issue that I have with the car - and it's so serious I'm seriously considering getting rid of it - is the noise the suspension makes when I go over bumps, especially at low speeds.

Here's the story, in the hopes that Chevy gearheads like yourselves can provide me with meaningful advice or tips:

Currently with 9,700kms or 6,000 miles.

PROBLEM:

Especially at low speeds, in city driving, on our sh!!!y roads in Mexico City, the front and rear suspensions make all kinds of noises. I'm a car noise and rattle freak and these noises make me really NOT enjoy my new car at all.

The front suspension makes clunking noises when going over small but sharp bumps and the rear suspension makes a *resonating* BOOM over those same noises.

The suspension noises make it feel like it is literally falling apart. On my past older (1998 to 2003) BMW's, noises like the ones the Malibu makes when new usually meant something was really wrong with their suspension and the usual culprites were strut mounts, shocks or bushings.

The noises in both the front and the rear are most prevalent and easily reproduced on washboard-type pavement and are noticeably worse under braking situations on that type of pavement. May God forbid that you break on bad pavement of my car sounds like it is falling apart!

Also, I have noticed that the noise is louder and more prevalent in the rear if I hit a bump or a pothole while making a turn. It makes no difference if I turn left or right.

ATTEMPTED SOLUTIONS:

The dealer owner is actually a friend of my family, so I took it back to them at about 3,000 miles complaining that something was probably loose or defective.

DIAGNOSIS:

1st time - Lubrication of the rear sway bar and "re-tightening" of the front suspension. I think this worked for about a day...

They said nothing was defective, broken or loose and that they could not find anything else wrong.

2nd time - Intermediate steering shaft replacement for the front noises (I never had the steering clunk that many owners feel) but I figured what the hell, so they changed it and NOTHING changed. I did not feel even the slightest change in any noises, steering feel or steering clunks (which I did not have to begin with) In fact, after this, the steering wheel makes a hissing noise when making parking maneuvers, I know it's not related but definitely coincidental.

My main complaint is from the rear of the car and I repeated this to them and they said that it was probably something loose in the trunk. So they claimed to have taken the interior trim off to check if anything was loose. They say nothing is broken, misplaced, loose or defective in the trunk or suspension.

The head of the service department and the head of customer service rode with me in the car and I demonstrated to them the noises that the car makes under the circumstances that I have described.

Their answer, and believe me, they said this:

"They're all like this and don't worry, it won't worsen over time, there is nothing wrong with your car."

(I'm becoming very angry, again, as I type this).

So, I went and test drove a 2010 Malibu LTZ. It's still noisy, but nowhere near as bad in the rear as mine.

Not content with myself, last night I ripped off all of the interior trim inside the trunk to see if the speakers were loose, if the rear folding seats were loose, if the GM worker who had built the car had left a metal tube in the back and the answer is NO, nothing is loose in the rear so the noise MUST be coming from the suspension.

QUESTIONS:

1. Do you experience similar BOOM (resonating) sounds when hitting sharp bumps in the rear?

2. Could this be the upper mounts for front struts and/or rear shocks?

3. Strut / shock problem?

4. Sway bar mounts (because the noise is more noticeable when making turns)

One of the main reasons I bought this car is because my dad owns a 2004 Tahoe and it is completely rattle and suspension-noise free!!!

Not so with my car, it really detracts fromt the beautiful design, elegant (for the price) interior and driving experience!!!

I have not sold it yet because of financial considerations, but if there is no solution, I will sell it and definitely NOT get a GM car.

We have had many Chevy's, currently family has 1998 Corvette with 16,000 miles on it, 2004 Tahoe with 80,000 miles and neither of these, or ANY CAR FOR THAT MATTER, feels like it's falling apart from the suspension like my BRAND NEW Malibu.

Any advice? Besides go to a different dealer, which I will AFTER I arm myself with more info from this board...

Wanting to get rid of the 'Bu....

Vicente in Mexico City.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:56 AM   #2
jmchristian
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Default Re: F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

Hi, It's the TIRES. Low profile high performance tires make the noise your hearing. I went from a 2008 Colorado to a 2010 Malibu 2LT and though I had the same problem.
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:59 PM   #3
Starship
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Default Re: F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

Aside from the "BOOM (resonating) sounds" anomaly, the ride quality on the Malibu is what it is, and should've been apparent during the initial test drive. I think, coming from German luxury sedans, you'd been happier with the Buick LaCrosse (quieter, cushier Epsilon II platform, not to be confused with Malibu's Epsilon).

It sounds like you're disappointed as much with the dealership (friend of the family?) as the car itself. Since the stabilizer bars are not absolutely necessary, I don't understand why they don't temporarily take off the rear stabilizer bar and see if the "BOOM" noise goes away. Also, don't they have something like this Wireless Chassis Ear (http://www.tooldiscounter.com/ItemDi...ookup=STE97202)? I actually have access to a wired version that I use occasionally to track down difficult suspension noises.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:47 PM   #4
Red Ryder
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Default Re: F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

Vlicona, up until just recently, I had been through hell and back with these every same issues, with multiple dealers visits and several GM reps. To make a long story short, I no longer have my 2008 malibu. But i can list for you some areas that you "could" look for when trying to pin point the source of your noises. Lets count them down together, shall we.....

1.) THE FRONT AND REAR SWAY BAR BUSHINGS. A little known problem for most owners, but can be difficult to detect with the car on the ground. When these where cast, the OEM used a very soft natural rubber compound that would contract or shrink in cold temps. (40 degrees and below) thus causing a gap between the sway bar and the inside of the bushing. Sometimes a visual inspection reveals a large gap between the bar and bushing. Gap = "thud" or "clunk" (Many owners have complained about this one.)

2.) THE FRONT SWAY BAR END LINKS. (connecting the sway bar to the strut.) Aside from the loose nuts, these sometimes these have premature wear in their joints. (lack of grease during manufacture from OEM) OEM ones cannot be greased. no zerk fittings.

3.) THE FRONT STRUT MOUNT AND/OR THE STRUT BEARINGS. This one can be very difficult to detect with the strut assembly still in the car. Most of the time if these are defective or worn there will be a "thud, thud" or "POP" sound coming form the upper front fender area while driving over washboard type roads or turning. Once again, the OEM used very soft rubber compound in the mount. cold temps = "thud". The bearings and races, on the other hand would have to be inspected out of the strut assembly. These ball bearings are encased in ( Why anyone would do this, is beyond me) a plastic race, (yes, I said "plastic") and in some inspections, have every little to no grease. When these Plastic races stretch and fail, they throw out wheel alignments, bind the steering and cause noise. (Some have reported that some after market replacements are the SAME WAY!)

4.) THE REAR CONTROL ARMS-UPPER AND LOWER. These have rubber bushings, like the other rubber bushings on the car, these were cast in that same very soft rubber compound from the OEM. These have a harder time making noise than the front bushings because they have metal sleeves between them and the control arms. (under 40 degrees = "pop" "thud" noises)

and last but not least....

5.) THE INTERMEDIATE STEERING SHAFT. (Better known as the "ISS") If there could be a novel written on a recurring automotive problem plaguing a automobile manufacturer for decades, Gm would own the rights on this one. "Greasing the ISS" is legendary to say the least! Funny thing though, it never stops the "clunks" from coming back. So why...... anyway, where the steering shaft meets the slip joint is where this noise comes from.

Ok, that should be enough to wet your whistle on some of the problem spots on this car, the Pontiac G6 and as well as the Saturn Arua. (And the front half of the saab 9 series) There's more, but i'm writing a novel with this.

I have to say that not all of these cars have every problem listed above and that any car, by any manufacturer is not without "Problems". Just some have more and some have less.

If you have issues with your car, don't take that " It's safe to drive" or "they all do it, so it ok" bull. Fight for whats right! Keep taking it back until they fix it right. (or in my case..... throw in the towel and call it a day.) Good Luck to all that are having problems.
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Last edited by Red Ryder; 06-09-2010 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:44 PM   #5
dick diggins
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Default Re: F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

I have had my 2011 2LT Malibu for two months today.It's into the third week being in the garage for a rear end rattle.It just sounds like a tail pipe rattling,nothing more but thats not the problem.I go in to check on the car and parts are laying everywhere.
Here is my rub.I didn't buy the car to be in the garage.Yes I have a loaner but I wan't MY car that I'm paying for.Not the little Cruise.
If it is ever fixed I will pass alonng any info.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

Kind of a squeaky type noise over a bump, like in or out of a garage? Check the rear parking brake cable clamp on the trailing arm, they make noise. I use 3M squeak reduction tape on the cable where it sits in the clamp and then crimp the clamp real snug, noise gone.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

I found a fix for my suspension noise. I got rid of the car. Been buying GM products since 1974 and this is my last one. Nobody at dealership really cared if it got fixed or not. They realized it made a noise, but everything was ok with the suspension. So I fixed it myself. Good luck to the rest of you, I just couldn't handle the noise anymore.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

hi, i have a 2009 malibu lt, bought it with 30300 miles on it and have had it for about 16months and now has 43456 miles on it and i have had absolutely no issues with any kind of suspension noises etc. i have my malibu pimped out and i love it....sorry to hear all you all are having such problems with the malibu cause its really a great and nice car. if your looking to sell or possibly trade it in i would definately look at the 2014 impala ss cause they are a very very sweet ride......
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

Get your hearing checked.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:36 AM   #10
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Default Re: F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)

... old thread, guys! ...
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