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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All

When I open my front doors I hear a distinct clunk that happens an instant after I pull the handle (when the door actually starts opening). It started sometime last fall and both front doors do that, although for a while the driver's side door was quiet, but it seems to be coming back. The passenger door was doing steadily since last fall.

I tried lubing the latches several times but it doesn't help at all.
It sounds like something is catching a little in the latch. If I pull the handle without opening the door there's no sound. It only happens when I actually pull the door.

The locks work fine, it's just a little annoying.
Anyone has that?

It seems to me that there's a magic spot somewhere that needs to be lubed but I just can't figure out where it is.
 

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Hi All

When I open my front doors I hear a distinct clunk that happens an instant after I pull the handle (when the door actually starts opening).
Sounds like the door latch is not clearing the strike post when you open the door. This is usually a simple adjustment in the latch mechanism. Maybe the doors have sagged a tiny little bit since new causing the interference. I'd have your dealer adjust the latches since it's under warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
BLUE-BU, you're right, there is a little sag in the front doors. Alldata has a page about door striker adjustment where you would check if the striker moves the door vertically or there's any rubbing or increased effort to close the doors. It suggests adjusting the striker plate.

I see that the driver's door sits a little lower than the rear door when closed. That's the door that does not clunk at the moment....The passenger door is level with the rear door and it clunks, so it looks like the striker needs to be lowered a little.

I do not understand why my left door fixed itself...My only theory that during the recent oil change the tech noticed the clunk, grabbed the screwdriver and adjusted the driver side...It's a nice thing to do, however it does make for an interesting investigative process :) :)

Is it normal for doors to sag? I never seen in on my other cars. At any rate something is not quite right. Either the doors sagged too much or the striker plates were set with not enough allowance for the sag...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My dealer installed a spacer plate yesterday on one of the locks (they only had one spacer, the second one gets done today). It's a thin metal plate that goes between the striker plate and the body. Seems to have fixed the problem. Looks like it may be the end of this whole story :)

So. If anyone is missing the spacer plates on front doors you might want to have them installed because it will eventually cause rough operation of the lock.
 

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This is probably one of those adjust to fit things due to tolerances. Some cars might need spacers and others not.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
This is probably one of those adjust to fit things due to tolerances. Some cars might need spacers and others not.
I actually doubt that. It would only be the case if my doors were shorter than normal. But everything else fits just fine, all the gaps are correct, etc...We're really talking about basics of the body geometry here.
More likely is that this defect takes longer to manifest itself in other cars. Or the front strikers are really a differently part (which I kinda doubt too) and mine got the rear ones on the front by mistake.

Note that this spacer is a part that fits perfectly. Exact same shape and exact thickness needed. Looks very deliberate.

My theory at this point is that the spacers get installed on the factory but some cars may not have them...I wouldn't be surprised if that clunk started appearing in other cars after some time too. It's fairly easy to test this theory by looking at other Malibus...If I happen to be near a Chevy dealer (mine's a Pontiac/Buick/GMC) I might take a look.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There's a Malibu in our parking lot that some company owns, most likely 08. Yesterday I noticed that it has a bit of door misalignment, the silver trim on the front doors is noticeably higher than on the rear (which is a direct opposite to what mine ended up being after all the adjustments). So, I suppose there is something not quite right in the door departments with Malibus...possibly 08s.
 
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