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Gotta love used cars...

9608 Views 24 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Beatdown Z
Well since I'm the "mechanic" in my family, that means I get to wrench on the Malibu my parents just bought my 17 year old sister. It's her first car and even though it may have came a year late, it was for good reason. My parents are very protective and my sister isn't the greatest driver. Anyway, it's a 2001 with 145,000 miles and a little rough around the edges, but overall a nice, good running car.

First order of business was the temperature/thermostat situation. The temperature needle was pegged at 100*, the heater never warmed up, the idle was at 1500rpm, a fan was always on, and it was throwing a code for low temp. So I check out what's going on under the hood and see a big glob of silicone on the lower intake manifold where the thermostat housing bolts up. Great!

Pull the glob off and it's missing a big chunk of aluminum.

Guess this explains the low temperature. :eek:

The top bolt actually grabbed enough for me to tighten the housing down. I still used a little RTV just to cautious. I then globbed some JB Weld over top the exposed bolt threads. I figure it will hold for a while or until it comes time for a LIM gasket job.
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Here's a pic of the nasty throttle body. I'm thinking the EGR and it's port location is to blame for this gunk.

And here's probably what had me more worried than anything else. The Mass Airflow sensor had a good coating of dirt/dust on it. I don't know how that crap got on there. I'm thinking it either drank some nasty water or was ran with no filter for a while???

Has anyone else seen BLACK fuel come out of a fuel filter. From my experience when I empty out filters, the gas is usually brown/gray. This one was bad!

Oh yea, I also replaced the tie rod ends and ball joints. I love Used Cars! :D
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Sorry about that. Thanks for moving it.
Got everything done and it does run a lot better and the heater blows nice and hot. The engine is a 3.1L. I was able to snug the bolt up and JB Weld it, so it should hold pretty good.
Man - that was spooky!

It's amazing what some jerks will do to a car, and the thing just keeps on running.

You may want to change the oil in the car now - can't help but think that because there was no thermostat in it, it was running rich as hell, and you have fuel in the oil.
Right! Some people just don't care!

Good idea. "Change the oil" added to the ever-growing list of things to do to this car, lol.
Looking in the valve cover, the engine looks decently clean with little to no sludge. I've never been a fan of pouring seafoam in the oil. Just something about it that doesn't seem right to me. For now I'll just keep clean oil in it.

Same with the transmission. I'll probably do a fluid and filter change for now, then maybe a flush sometime in the future. My sister isn't going to drive the car much, and the plans are to sell it and get her into something a little nicer. Because of that, I don't want to go to overboard on maintenance and stuff.

But at the same time, I do want the car be safe and reliable, as well as providing the future owner a car with minimal issues...

Edit: Just saw your sig, RalphP. 290k on original drivetrain! Perhaps I should consider your suggestions, lol.
Well I was having major overheating issues with the car due to the fans never coming on. I think it may have blew a head gasket, but the good news is I think I solved the fan problem.

I just recently invested in HP Tuners Software to tune a few of my vehicles. I went under the Fans tab and set the temps at 32* to test the fans. They didn't come on. So then I disabled something called Climate Control Override. What it does is it allows the HVAC system to override the PCM and take over control of the fans when you turn the A/C on. Disabled that and the fans came right on.

So now I'm thinking the reason the fans weren't coming on must be HVAC related. How to diagnose that, I have no idea, lol.

Just thought I'd fill you guys in on what's been going on...
Blew the two left rear cylinders and one of the front ones. Yay!!!

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I live in northern Delaware and the car was bought in PA. Don't know where it was before that, but it clearly didn't have the best previous owners, lol. No need to sugarcoat it, the engine bay is a mess!!! Once I get everything straightened out, i'll try and get it cleaned up.
Car is back up and running! The temp gauge now just hovers around the center mark and the engine runs around 185-200 with the way I have the fans set.

The car was stalling when I put it into park and let it sit for over a minute. I reset the fuel trims and that seemed to help. Could have been something else though...

Since everyone likes pics, here's one of the heads after being resurfaced.

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Changed the brakes on the Malibu this past week and like everything else I've done to the car, it turned out to be tons of fun.

I started on the driver's side where I already knew there was a stripped out caliper mounting bracket bolt. Now I wouldn't of had to mess with that bolt if the caliper wasn't leaking. But, of course when I go to push the piston in, it starts seeping fluid around the dust boot. So that meant I had to get that bolt out so I could swap on the new caliper assembly. First I tried drilling it and using an easy-out. Broke that. Then I came up with the idea to beat a 1/2" socket on what was previously a 13mm bolt. Then I held the bolt steady while beating the caliper bracket to the left. Worked like a charm! ;)

I still had to reuse the caliper because I started late at night and all the parts stores were closed. So I ordered the caliper from Advance and picked it up the next day. Slapped that on and it's good to go...

I probably should have replaced the rotors because of the way the pads were worn. The outer sides of the pads were wearing much more then the inner sides. Anyone have this problem with their Malibu?

The old bolts, one having the broken easy out in it lol, and the new ones I got. 16mm heads will be a lot harder for someone to strip out.

A shot of the pads and the weird wear pattern. :confused:

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Are you keeping tabs on how much you're putting into the car cost-wise?
Nah, I never really bother with any car I work on. I'd rather not no how much money I sink into some of my vehicles, if you know what I mean...

On the pads - when you removed/reinstalled the calipers, you DID lubricate the slide pins, right?
Sure did, and I used the proper disc brake lube too. This I one thing I spend a lot of time on making sure is up to my standards. I've done many brake jobs in the past where I ignored the slide pins, and wound up with the caliper side pad being worn to nothing while the outboard pad looked new.
Hopefully nothing big for a while. There's just some minor odds and ends I want to take care of. I still have to put on the driver's rear strut mount, maybe fix the driver's speaker, and possibly some paint-work once I get my booth built.

I was contemplating servicing the transmission, but I'll probably just leave it alone. The driver's side CV boot is leaking a little, so I'm going to keep an eye on that, make sure it doesn't get REAL bad.

Another thing I want to do is coat/paint the brake/fuel lines to slow down the rust.

That's about it for now though...
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