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Elite Moderator
2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T
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My CHMSL was never loose at all. When reports started popping up by the dozen I watched mine closely. It was solid and seemed fine yet one day on a routine check there was a little water in the trunk - few tablespoons maybe. Of the Malibu owners I know locally, all of them have had the lamp leak - one is even an 18 that is supposed to be fixed. Afraid GM stood a little too close to the ball on that one... Weight on the toes with a little hesitation on the snap. Ball hit hozzle and a painful shank is seen by all.
 

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My CHMSL was never loose at all. When reports started popping up by the dozen I watched mine closely. It was solid and seemed fine yet one day on a routine check there was a little water in the trunk - few tablespoons maybe. Of the Malibu owners I know locally, all of them have had the lamp leak - one is even an 18 that is supposed to be fixed. Afraid GM stood a little too close to the ball on that one... Weight on the toes with a little hesitation on the snap. Ball hit hozzle and a painful shank is seen by all.
Thanks for the info. I'm going to check my 18 tomorrow. I've removed the battery cover before to look around in there. I wasn't really looking for water back then. Was your leak visible without removing any felt covers?
 

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Elite Moderator
2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T
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No trim panel removal necessary on mine. It ran under the trim pieces and into the spare tire area. Just lifting the bottom liner and feeling around returned wet fingers. I also noticed rear and passenger rear window fogging when I waited two days for the appointment. No fogging before the leak or after the repair. Also worth noting, my service record noted use of loctite on the new nuts/fasteners so that speaks to my dealer's confidence.
 

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My CHMSL was never loose at all.
Either the design wasn't a good fit or they cut too much cost out of the gasket. Every penny saved counts until it costs you dollars to fix. Checked mine today. All dry, but I'll be watching it. I find it hard to believe water could get on top of the battery assembly. Plus it's elevated from the base of the ledge it's mounted on. But it's hard to predict the flow of water. And sometimes electronic components fail even when dry.
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
As I said earlier, it just keeps getting better and better. The dealer in Georgia just called back and said GM doesn't want to cover any of the repair under my power train warranty, so the dealer contacted my extended warranty people and...they're not covering it either due to an undisclosed, super secret one-month/one-thousand-mile waiting period!!

Funny, the guy writing up over $4k in extended warranties (one for the Volt, one for the MH) neglected to mention anything about a waiting period. And, what the h#^* is with GM not covering the repair? The Georgia dealer was under the impression that I wasn't the original owner, so I straightened him out on that point...and he said he was going to try again. WTH?!?!
 

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Discussion Starter #26
...I find it hard to believe water could get on top of the battery assembly. Plus it's elevated from the base of the ledge it's mounted on. But it's hard to predict the flow of water...
I thought the same thing. Maybe the the cover somehow wicks the water over to where it needs to be in order to do the maximum amount of damage?
 

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Elite Moderator
2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T
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I am having a bad day as nothing I do is going right. So.... If this is badly worded apologies in advance. I am 100% on your side and believe it should be covered. In a world that could do what is right, this is a prime case.

Now, the technicalities and concerns. I had been concerned about a denial on this one because this GM is not the GM I used to know. Technically, they have diagnosed failure of a circuit board or control module or something like that. They claim in their diagnosis that this failure occurred as result of a leaking center high mount stop lamp. But technically this is damage to the board as a result of water not it's failure or a defect. Again I'm totally on your side; it's their defect in the center high mount stop lamp fastener that caused the supposed water damage. But the warranty isn't really written that way they cover themselves from water damage. And that is all setting aside whether water was even in the car.

I need to read... I want to help and maybe I can but I need to read.

EDIT - I read. Unfortunately I don't have the 2017 Limited Warranty booklet as the online link is broken. I assume the 2016 is similar and the water stuff is on page 10-11. Big jumble of water exclusion this, water intrusion that, flood this, exclusion from environment damage etc. The big hangup and reasonable point on your side is the water only intruded because of their bulletin documented defect.
 

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I thought the same thing. Maybe the the cover somehow wicks the water over to where it needs to be in order to do the maximum amount of damage?
I also wondered if the cooling fan could pull water into the battery assembly. I'm not sure where the air intake or outlet is for this air cooled system. But it would probably need pretty high suction to bring water into it unless water is already trickling into the ductwork.

Sorry to hear about the lack of warranty coverage. Did they give you a $ total for the repair if you don't mind my asking?
 

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Air intake for the battery blower is under the front seats.
The whole floor area of the car would have to be flooded for that to be an issue.
I'm skeptical of water from the center stop light causing the problem. Water would literally have to be pouring in to amount to enough to penetrate the very dense felt battery cover, and the insulation would absorb a lot of moisture before becoming saturated enough to leak through.

Chevrolet seems to have dealer problems.
 

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If water leaked in there demand to see where the water damage is. They're has to be backed by some evidence. If no evidence, they're lying, plain and simple. Not the first time GM or a dealership lies, I can believe they're trying to stiff you. IT was their defective high mounted stop lamp that caused it if they're correct, again, not your issue, it's a defective design.

I'm going through a spat with GM right now. I've had problems with the HVAC controls since year 1, complained to GM directly (diplomatically) but the, well I'll be kind, staff they have has been impossible to deal with. No returned calls even though I was calling and leaving messages ever 2 days for 10 days, I get emails that supposedly they can't get in touch with me (a complete lie), nothing but ignoring me from the dealership and GM.

Campb you may have had good experiences with them but in general I have not, not this time, not 18 years ago when I had my lemon Olds. When I have to deal with GM directly it's something that gives me nothing but dread. This time it's the worst, no denials involved, just zero returned phone calls when I leave messages with my 'senior advisor. I even called and deliberately didn't use the extension to her I was given, griped to the woman that took my call, said the advisor's super would call me. That was Wednesday morning, still no call. This is how you handle a customer's problem?

I think next time I'm looking to buy a new car it'll be any brand but from General Motors. Anyone can make a defective product but the mark of a decent company is how they treat a customer with that defective product.
 

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I looked at mine a little more closely, and don't doubt a lot of the CHMSL with that design leak eventually, probably due due the gasket shrinking as it ages.

That said, if water is leaking into trim pieces without any sign of it inside the car, and not running down the inside of the rear window center area, then it's going down the sides and should just end up in the bottom of the trunk. I don't see a path for it getting into battery electronics.

Water could get into the battery area if it poured down onto the little cover for the disconnect, but the disconnect also has a large shield around it to protect whoever may eventually have to pull that thing. There's a lot of protection around everything related to the battery pack.
Now, say the car is parked in a torrential downpour with the rear window broken out....there could be a problem.
 

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Air intake for the battery blower is under the front seats.
The whole floor area of the car would have to be flooded for that to be an issue.
I'm skeptical of water from the center stop light causing the problem. Water would literally have to be pouring in to amount to enough to penetrate the very dense felt battery cover, and the insulation would absorb a lot of moisture before becoming saturated enough to leak through.

Chevrolet seems to have dealer problems.
The battery cooling air inlets are under the rear seat cushion, well above the floor.

I would think the high voltage wiring and related circuitry would be covered by the 8 year Hybrid warranty. Why would they consider a Powertrain warranty claim?
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
GM refused coverage under the Hybrid warranty, and I'm not privy to their reasoning. They also refused to extend a grace period on my original warranty, which was lapsed by whopping 650 miles (all of which, plus another 150 or so, were accrued in one day of clear weather) when the car puked (even though the water leak/damage had obviously occurred during the original warranty period). Finally, AMT (GM's extended warranty carrier) refused coverage of the CHMSL, because they don't warranty bulbs/lights, and then refused to cover the rest of the damage, ostensibly because the car had not yet cleared the 1-month/1k mile "grace" period (it was 14 miles short of doing so!). The warranty rep at my home dealer and one of the higher-ups at AMT both agreed that that "grace period" was designed to prevent someone from letting their warranty run out and later, having a problem, buying an extended warranty to take care of their out-of-warranty problem. My rep said he and the AMT fella both felt that I should not be subject to the "grace period" because I had extended my warranty about 350 miles before the end of my original warranty. Yet, I had to pay just under $370 for the CHMSL when we picked up the car. The good news, so far, is that my home dealership (Holz Chevrolet in Hales Corners, Wisconsin) picked up the rest of the bill (nearly $900 in parts and labor) at the last minute as a "good will" gesture!! That was completely unexpected, and they'll be getting a few kringles when we get back.

The home dealer rep also said that they (the dealership) would be going after GM to recoup their expense, and I said that we would also be going after GM to recoup our out-of-pocket expenses, including 2 car rentals (~$460), plus gas (haven't added that up yet but FYI, a Ford Flex uses almost exactly twice as much fuel on the highway as a MH) for the somewhere around 2000 of additional miles we were forced to drive by our car failure. We had no hotel expenses due to our beloved Atlanta-area relatives putting us up for the duration. We're going to let the inconvenience and aggrevation slide.

When we picked up the car, I spoke with the service writer at Day's Chevrolet in Acworth, Georgia (i.e.: the Georgia dealership) about what they had replaced. He opened the hood and pointed to the black metal cover on top of the transaxle that has 2 fat orange cables coming out from under the passenger side of the cover and running down under the car. He said there's a relay under that cover that shorted and fried those fat cables, so they replaced the relay and the cables, which run all the way back to the HV battery. I was left to assume that this under-the-hood relay was made to short by the previously-mentioned "bad circuit board" that "got water damaged" on top of the HV battery in the trunk. When I told him that I was aware of the rash of leaking Malibu CHMSLs and that everyone who had had the problem on the forum said they found water in their spare tire wells, and that I had never found any water there, he said they had cleaned a lot of water out of there.

Today, the day after getting the car back, we had a monsoon-level extended (a couple of hours worth) downpour in Atlanta. We took the MH out in it and drove around grocery shopping for about an hour. It was roaring down when we came out of the store with all our stuff, which had to go into the trunk. I have a Weather Tech liner in there, so when I opened the trunk, by the time everything was in, the liner was covered in standing water. When we got back to our lodgings, it had finally stopped raining. I took everything out of the trunk and used an old beach towel to dry off the liner. Then I lifted the trunk floor, ready for the worst. There were only a couple of drops working their way down the left side of the tire well, while the whole rest of the well was completely dry...which I found out by lifting the doughnut-shaped, jute-backed liner in the bottom of the well. Then I realized...if they had found "a lot of water down in there", why wasn't the jute on the back of the bottom liner at least moist, if not wet? Why does it still look like the unmolested, dry liner that it still is? I mean, if my CHMSL was leaking long enough to wipe out the car's drive electronics, why is there no evidence of water in the most likely place for it to collect? I mean, there's still dust accumulated from use over time down there. Hmmm...

I haven't worked my way fully through the parts list in the paperwork that we were given yet, but I didn't see a replacement spare tire well liner on it, and their attitude being what it obviously is, I can't see them throwing one in, gratis. In fact, all of the trunk liners, including the battery cover, appear as unmolested and perfect as if they'd never left the showroom. If that parts list doesn't make at least some sense, I'm going to be adding to the long list of questions that I'm composing for GM...
 

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Glad you got your car back. I hope it is repaired properly, and just like it never happened.
I'm even more skeptical of water causing the failure after reading about your trunk dust :)

A very possible chain of failure from an electrical perspective on the parts you described isn't hard for me to imagine. My guess would be that the low voltage coil on the high voltage relay shorted and took out the board in a rather spectacular fashion. The dealer thought that the board would only fry like that due to water, but I doubt that scenario would in turn take out the relay, however in reverse the relay shorting is certainly able to take out the board. I take it that it was a controller board that was replaced.

We'll probably never know what really happened unless you managed to get the old parts back.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
...the dealer said that the starter battery was "loose", which they "fixed"...
BTW, the "starter" battery in the Malibu Hybrid is the HV battery, not the 12V battery. The Hybrid doesn't have a 12V starter. It uses the HV battery and one of the drive motors to start the ICE.
 

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2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T
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Debateable, need both to start. The Hybrid can't start without the 12V battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
The drive home from Georgia was uneventful, with one exception. As I related earlier, I've been monitoring the 12V system voltage on-and-off since I got the car. For the first year or so, it used to float between about 12.8-13.8V, which seemed more or less normal to me. Over a span of a few months after that, that float "window" (12.8-13.8) slowly began to drift upward...until, maybe a few weeks before the "death event", when the voltage had gone to 15.5v full time. Naturally, I watched the voltage on the 12+ hour drive home from Georgia, and it spent almost the entire journey at a steady 12.5V. Every few hours it would, over the span of 10 or 15 seconds, rise up to 14.3V, remain there for about 5 minutes and then, over another 10 or 15 seconds, drop right back to 12.5V. This is just weird, and the whole time I was just waiting for the car to die all over again.

They did not change out the 12V battery during the repair. I'm wondering if there is a loose connection at the 12V battery or maybe a loose ground connection somewhere that's causing the battery's charge controller to flake out. I'm going to take it to my local dealer and have them look at it again, but I already did that once, before the recent debacle, and they said everything had tested OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Debateable, need both to start. The Hybrid can't start without the 12V battery.
What's not debatable is that the car has no 12V starter motor, so the 12V battery is not a "starter battery", which is what I was attempting to convey. I can understand why someone might refer to the 12V battery in this car as "the starter battery" though, as that's how we're all used to thinking about a 12V battery in any conventional car. I may have been splitting hairs, but I just wanted to correct a possible misconception. I certainly meant no disrespect for swimmingly...
 

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Elite Moderator
2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T
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All good, I was just justifying why the tech would call either a starter battery because you need both to start the hybrid. I find after reading most of the service manual multiple times (usually on the toilet!) the techs are dealing in a different world. Things aren't divided up and isolated the way frequent misinformation sites like greencarreports might simplify. A tech might see both batteries under starting and charging since they both start and charge just have different but essential jobs in that process.

As for your car, it never hurts to ask the dealer if you notice something different especially after a significant repair. The problem is what you were seeing before might have been wrong since your car totally failed. Now perhaps it's working right. Yikes as the title of thread says!
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
Glad you got your car back. I hope it is repaired properly, and just like it never happened.
I'm even more skeptical of water causing the failure after reading about your trunk dust :)

A very possible chain of failure from an electrical perspective on the parts you described isn't hard for me to imagine. My guess would be that the low voltage coil on the high voltage relay shorted and took out the board in a rather spectacular fashion. The dealer thought that the board would only fry like that due to water, but I doubt that scenario would in turn take out the relay, however in reverse the relay shorting is certainly able to take out the board. I take it that it was a controller board that was replaced.

We'll probably never know what really happened unless you managed to get the old parts back.
There were only two parts listed in the repair parts list (excluding the CHMSL). 1) HV relay, and 2) HV cable assembly. Nothing about any circuit boards, tire well liners, etc. Wouldn't you think they would've changed out "a blown circuit board"? Still wondering about that. Today I had the car on my friend's lift while doing an oil change. We looked over the claimed parts quite carefully, and it was very difficult to tell that either the HV cables or the cover over the HV relay had even been disturbed. There are multiple studs/nuts retaining the clamps that hold up the cables on their way back to the battery. Those clamp studs have a light coating of rust at this point, and that rust is undisturbed. Also, it's impossible to tell whether the CHMSL was actually changed or not. It certainly still looks exactly the same. Just an observation...
 
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