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2012 Malibu 2LT Switchblade Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #1
I've wanted to do something like this for a while, and the 'Bu is finally at a spot where I'm comfortable sharing the progress it's made, as it nears the completion of the project.
I bought her in April of 2019. At the time, she wasn't in the best mechanical shape, however the frame and body were in great shape, which is huge when you live near the Great Lakes, and vehicles tend to rot due to the salt.
It's here we begin our journey through the ages, with these pictures taken day 1 to document the purchase of the car. Nothing fancy, again, just to document the initial condition of the car.
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Before I even bought the car, I had already known the first mod I wanted to equip the vehicle with. I wanted to install an Apple CarPlay capable radio.
And so we're off to the races with the first mod on the vehicle, where I selected the Sony XAV-AX5000, as I felt it best kept the stock aesthetic to the vehicle.
However, little did I know that this would only be the beginning of my time modding this car. Inspired by @!Tommy 's conversation from the 1LT to the LTZ, I reached out to him and he broke down the basics of what I need to change to match the LTZ. I began with the interior and found the Khoki dark wood grain trim for the dash and doors.
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2012 Malibu 2LT Switchblade Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
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Within a week of changing the wood grain, I set my sights on the black and silver trim pieces, and bought the paint to change them to Graphite Silver Metallic.
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It was around this time that I also upgraded my speakers in the front, as I was pulling off the panels anyways to paint the trim. Naturally this lead to the rear deck speakers also being replaced to match the front.

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It was around this time that I started to slow down with the modding, as winter was coming, and the weather was getting colder, making it harder to get outside to get things done. I did however get the rear tail lamps and harness switched over to the LTZ style before winter came.
That being said, the mechanical maintenance continued. Somewhat concerning though, we did find some peanuts likely left by a squirrel when doing some maintenance early in the fall.
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Eventually though, I became tired of the suede seats that came with the vehicle, as I found that they were a pain to clean any stains from them (in this case, the stains that came with the car). On top of that, I knew this project wasn't going to be complete without leather seats. And so the search began for good condition leather seats. And I found them!
...about 150mi away.

So on a day I had a half day of work, I made the trek out and got the seats, hauling the whole set in the Malibu. Looking back, it probably wasn't the best idea, however I made it work!
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Wasn't pretty, but they made it the whole 150 miles back safely!
Initially, the passenger side motors weren't powered, but I eventually got power to those as well to make both the passenger and drivers seats fully functional!

In the meantime, there were other miscellaneous mods installed, including a JL Audio subwoofer.

It was around this time that we discovered a surprise under the hood.
That surprise came in the form of a squirrel who used the hood as a stash for the winter!
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2012 Malibu 2LT Switchblade Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #3
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Luckily, no electronics were harmed during the making of this post.

Fast forward to spring, and we continue the progress on the project. Specifically, the LTZ grille was finally installed.
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And shortly after that, the fog light trims and lenses, however no power to the fogs just yet...
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It was around this time though that I felt confident enough with the build to finally call it what I've been trying to make it for months.
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It finally got the LTZ badging.
Soon after that, I was able to get the fog lights powered using the markers directly, so they only came on at night.
However, I did eventually switch it over to a relay circuit as I noticed that my markers were notably dimmer with the increased load on the circuit.
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As far as mods go after that, things have been relatively quiet. I did sound dampen the door panels and the rear deck with dynamat, and more recently I finally completed my interior trim of the vehicle. The last holdout of the original silver was the steering wheel, as I was not exactly eager to mess with the airbag...
However, I got my excuse when my steering wheel controls started to intermittently not respond. So while I had the dealership remove the airbag, I gave them the graphite silver metallic trims I got off a true LTZ, and now it matches the interior perfectly!
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And that's essentially where the Malibu stands now! Of course, there will always be more to do, however I am really happy with where she sits right now!
 

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2012 Malibu 2LT Switchblade Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #4
A few bonus images I have that aren't quite mods, but still work done visually to the car...
During the summer, I deep cleaned the entire engine bay, and made it shine like new!
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And I also rediscovered the chrome exhaust installed on the vehicle stock, however was caked in dirt and soot from the exhaust.
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2012 Malibu 2LT Switchblade Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Other mods not mentioned through pictures:

LTZ door panels w/ Bose sound tags
6000k interior LED map lights
Cabin Airfilter
HID and LED headlights [REMOVED in favor of OEM style halogen bulbs]



Notable Maintenance Performed:

New tires
Coolant flush
Brakes and Rotors
Serpentine Belt and Tensioner
Both front wheel bearings
Both front struts and control arms
Windshield Wiper Motor
Exhaust Solenoid
Catalytic Converter [Warranty]
Steering Column
Turn signal switch
Motor Mounts
Spark Plugs
Fuel Injection Flush
Transmission Flush
Rear Springs
Steering Wheel Media Controls



Mods left to perform:

Interior Fog Light Switch (Purely Cosmetic)
Heated Side Mirrors


I feel like I likely forgot a few things for the maintenance and mods lists, however it's like a completely different car than the one I bought. She drives like a brand new car, even though she's got over 100,000! (I mean, I would hope she would drive like new, almost the entire front end has been replaced at this point...)
But yeah, for the price I got her at, I completely expected that. She drives like a dream, and I couldn't ask for anything more out of her!
I want to thank all of you here for your support in the project, and the guidance you've given, both directly to me, and to others here! And now, it's my turn to try and pass on what I've learned to others!
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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Wow, that has been a really cool journey! Thanks for sharing.

What I'd like to know is what you did to make that engine bay look so good. It isn't shiny like so many people do to it, and it looks so good and healthy.
 

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2012 Malibu 2LT Switchblade Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all for the support!
Wow, that has been a really cool journey! Thanks for sharing.

What I'd like to know is what you did to make that engine bay look so good. It isn't shiny like so many people do to it, and it looks so good and healthy.
Yeah, for the engine bay, I didn't want to just hose it down and risk damaging the electronics, so I had to take it nice and slow the good ol' fashion way. A bunch of damp microfiber towels.
I went over everything a few times with the damp towels, and used a shop vac to get any of the loosened dirt out. I went over it again with a damp towel, and then once again with a dry towel. I then finished it with Meguiar's Black Trim Restorer. You apply a little bit using a dry towel, and then buff it off with a clean, dry towel. Frankly, I couldn't ask for a better result!
 

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nice...I really like how the double din stereo looks in there, that will probably be the next thing I do to mine
 

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2012 Malibu 2LT Switchblade Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #11
nice...I really like how the double din stereo looks in there, that will probably be the next thing I do to mine
As a heads up, they don’t sell the LTZ silver trim for the radio, only the LS/LT silver or black. If you want to match your existing console, you’re gonna want to paint the trim. This matched the true LTZ color perfectly for me:


Malibu 2011 - Graphite Silver Metallic (WA558Q)
 

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As a heads up, they don’t sell the LTZ silver trim for the radio, only the LS/LT silver or black. If you want to match your existing console, you’re gonna want to paint the trim. This matched the true LTZ color perfectly for me:


Malibu 2011 - Graphite Silver Metallic (WA558Q)
yes I am aware they only sell the silver or black, thanks for the paint code but I think mine is actually darker then yours is but I will have to look into it to see if that is indeed a match.

Edit: found a pic of mine and it's definitely a darker color. I remember seeing a thread on here where someone was trying to find this color but couldn't
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2012 Malibu 2LT Switchblade Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #13
yes I am aware they only sell the silver or black, thanks for the paint code but I think mine is actually darker then yours is but I will have to look into it to see if that is indeed a match.

Edit: found a pic of mine and it's definitely a darker color. I remember seeing a thread on here where someone was trying to find this color but couldn't
My pictures are a bit deceiving when it comes to the interior colors. Definitely need to get some better pictures there. But interestingly enough, I actually pulled the dark grey steering wheel trims right off an LTZ wheel from your interior color. When I put the trims up against the painted pieces, they were almost identical. I'm almost 100% confident in saying that's the correct paint code for matching that trim.
 

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My pictures are a bit deceiving when it comes to the interior colors. Definitely need to get some better pictures there. But interestingly enough, I actually pulled the dark grey steering wheel trims right off an LTZ wheel from your interior color. When I put the trims up against the painted pieces, they were almost identical. I'm almost 100% confident in saying that's the correct paint code for matching that trim.
yeah you are probably right, I think the trim just looks darker in certain lighting but if it matches the steering wheel then it should match the radio trim. Thanks again for the info if I do eventually throw a radio in my car I will definitely paint the trim piece to match.
 
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