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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had this car since it had 39k. Never done anything major to it. Runs fine. My question is what can I do to keep it running good for the years to come. It does have an exhaust leak that I'm tring to figure out. I already replaced the exhaust manifold. (Warranty). My plan is plugs wires and shocks all around and new tires. What else can I do ? This is my commuter car. Radiator flush? New hoses? The trans hasn't ever been serviced. Should I or just let it ride? Thanks!!!!
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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My experience in the past with Ford and Chevy V8 engines is that once I replace the coolant or do a chemical flush, it wasn't much longer and the water pump failed. My standard practice now is to replace the t-stat and water pump whenever I do a flush. I also replace all of the hoses. That helps prevent losing coolant when the next part fails since all of the parts should now be new.

What engine do you have?

If you're not already, use full synthetic motor oil and trans fluid.

Have you done a drain-and-fill on the trans yet?

How many miles are on this bad boy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
2.4
I use synthetic oil. What ever is on sale.
I have not drained and filled the transmission. I've heard horror stories about flushes. So I'm apprehensive about doing so.
Current miles are 122k.
I do like the idea of all new hoses and coolant. Never really thought about the water pump tho.
Appreciate your input
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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GM strongly discourages any kind of "flush" for the transmission. Just drain, fill, check the level after fully warmed up. Drive until the next interval.

I have 154,ooo miles on my 2011 with V6, which means a few extra clutch packs. I guess that means a little more material in the bottom of the case, too.

I did its first D&F at 104,ooo, then 127,ooo, and last one at 132,ooo. That should put it at about 88% new fluid if you are able to drain an average of 50% each time. That's close enough for me.

I plan to do it again around 175,ooo-ish, kinda sorta.
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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Any issues with it shifting after a drain and fill? What juice would you recommend?
Funny you should ask. The answer is Yes and No. Let me explain.

At 94,ooo the engine grenaded and was replaced. At 104,ooo I did a D&F, measuring how much came out and replacing the exact same amount. Under brisk acceleration, the 1-2 shift was slipping, but all the other gears were good. Under light acceleration, the 1-2 was fine. I added a little over another quart of fluid and the 1-2 went back to normal. I figured that the dealer tech must have gotten the fluid fill a little lower than ideal but good enough that it never had an issue for 10,ooo miles. I'm sure I measured correctly, since I poured the fluid into a measured container and replaced the same amount. Adding a little more cured it, and my 2 D&F changes since then have been without a hitch.

I use full synthetic AmsOil, but that's because I have a friend as a dealer who helps me with a bit of a discount. It's still spendy, but I feel like I'm using the best I can afford as good insurance. I also push it a bit now and then, such as when I blast off a stop sign or green light at half-throttle and the 1-2 shift chirps the tires at 42 mph. I don't do that a lot, but when I do, it's nice to know that the fluid is top grade.

There are other members who can steer you with less bias than my experience, and I value their input as well. If I needed fluid for a D&F but couldn't wait for (or afford) an AmsOil order, I'd be perfectly fine with a few other brands of full synthetic. The overall theme, if you haven't noticed yet, is to use full synthetic.
 

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My '09 2.4 went 200k miles and sold it running fine. Full synth. oils/fluids in engine and trans. only and DexCool got changed at 100k miles. Just a drain and refill.
Zero issues, still had original hoses on it also.
 

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2009 2.4 4 spd 257K+
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Hello I'm new to this forum. I just joined to see what people had for high mileage on there 08-12 Malibu's. My 2009 2.4 4spd has over 257,XXX miles. I bought this car in December of 2013 with 90,XXX miles. I didn't do a drain and fill on the trans until around 120,XXX. I replaced the trans filter, pan gasket and cooler lines. I used valvoline maxlife atf 4qt. jugs for about $18 at wally world. Usually takes about 5 qts. I started drain and fills every 30K after that never have had any major engine or trans work done. I I change the engine oil every 5K with supertech 5w30 high mileage full syn. I drain and fill the coolant and trans every 30K. Only things replaced on engine and trans have been the alternator, cam actuator sensor, and of course spark plugs every 100K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hello I'm new to this forum. I just joined to see what people had for high mileage on there 08-12 Malibu's. My 2009 2.4 4spd has over 257,XXX miles. I bought this car in December of 2013 with 90,XXX miles. I didn't do a drain and fill on the trans until around 120,XXX. I replaced the trans filter, pan gasket and cooler lines. I used valvoline maxlife atf 4qt. jugs for about $18 at wally world. Usually takes about 5 qts. I started drain and fills every 30K after that never have had any major engine or trans work done. I I change the engine oil every 5K with supertech 5w30 high mileage full syn. I drain and fill the coolant and trans every 30K. Only things replaced on engine and trans have been the alternator, cam actuator sensor, and of course spark plugs every 100K.
Nice!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've had this car since it had 39k. Never done anything major to it. Runs fine. My question is what can I do to keep it running good for the years to come. It does have an exhaust leak that I'm tring to figure out. I already replaced the exhaust manifold. (Warranty). My plan is plugs wires and shocks all around and new tires. What else can I do ? This is my commuter car. Radiator flush? New hoses? The trans hasn't ever been serviced. Should I or just let it ride? Thanks!!!!
Update...... I hope the holidays were good to yall!!!
My ride still have a leaking exhaust manifold. Parts are in my garage. Not sure if I want to try and tackle this project or pay some one to handle it.
My car was running ruff. Cel came on and found out it was a bad coil pack. Hit up ye old car parts r us. And 200 bux and a about a half hour later I was on my way home. Next on the list is a trans drain and fill. Till next update. Be safe
 

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2009 2.4 4 spd 257K+
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In summer of 2014 when ours had a little over 100k on it I started noticing an exhaust leak. It never ran rough or set an engine code. Turned out that the exhaust manifold cracked. I know my 09 2.4 4 speed, the exhaust manifold / catalytic converter was attached together. But it looks like the newer malibu's the manIfold is separate. I found this video that might help you:


Now for the transmission I don't know if you have a 4 speed or the 6 speed. If you have the 4 speed it has a drain pan with no drain plug and the 6 speeds have no pan but have an 11mm drain plug you can unscrew and drain. I ordered a pan with a plug to make less of a mess it was a (Dorman 265-809) O"Reillys wants $63 but I'm sure you can find one cheaper. You can also add a drain plug to yours most parts stores sell them but with how shallow the pan is, you will have to put it to where it will not interfere with the filter but it would be worth it for the next time. I usually drain it into a container so I can measure it and just add that much back into it, since they don't have a dipstick and you have to have the vehicle on a lift or have it level on jack stands to correctly check the level. It usually takes about 5-6 quarts. I like the Valvoline Maxlife ATF at Wal-Mart usually $20 for a gallon. I used it for the last 140K on this car with no problems I usually do a drain and fill every 30K or so and replaced the filter every 100K. I know that you're only getting less that have the fluid drained every time but I figure it better than nothing. I did find a video a guy did on a cobalt which has the 2.4 4 speed trans also:


I know you were also asking about coolant. For the coolant, there is a little drain plug on the bottom passenger side of the radiator. I do know that it will thread all the way out. I had to replace the plug because the o-ring leaked. The drain plug is a (Dorman 61136) they are like $4 so i just replace it every time plus my Silverado takes the same plug so I just keep a couple on hand. I know a couple of the black plastic lower valance panels underneath have to be removed as the drain is part of the radiator mount so it will drain directly underneath. I ended up cutting a piece out so I didn't have to remove then every time. If it wasn't 8 degrees outside here I would take a couple pictures. If it has never been changed I would drain it, then refill it and drive it a day or two or even a week. Then drain it again and repeat that 2 or 3 time. Most coolant systems hold around 12-16 quarts and one drain and fill will probably be around 5-6 quarts. I usually buy concentrate Dex cool and mix it 50/50 with distilled water or you can buy 50/50 mixed. The concentrate is usually cheaper and distilled water in like a dollar a gallon. I know dex cool is supposedly a 5 year / 150K but if you drive 10-15K a year or so I would drain and fill every 3 years or so.

As for the hoses, I haven't replaced any hoses yet I figure if they don't leak, look or feel too bad I would just leave them be. I know when I replaced the alternator 2 years ago I had to remove the lower radiator hose but I didn't replace it, it had 240,xxx miles then and the hose was still soft and pliable so I didn't worry about it.

Now the water pump on the 2.4 is driven by the timing chains so if the seal leaks or pump goes out the timing chains had to be taken off. I've watch a couple videos looks like a bit of the job. Kinda of one of these items if it's not broke don't fix it kind of things. I do believe that regular coolant changes will help prevent any problems.

I hope this helps I wish I had some pictures to add but maybe in the spring I will add some.
 
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