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List of Common Problems and How to Fix Them
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IffyG
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2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue
2009 Chevrolet Malibu


PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:12 pm    Post subject:  List of Common Problems and How to Fix Them Reply with quote

What are common problems to check for before buying an Impala? How about things to keep an eye on after you have already bought one? Here is a handy list of problems, how to fix them and photos of what to look for if applicable. This list was generated from problems I have experienced over 8 years with my 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that have also been experienced by more than a handful of other members over the years. If you feel I have missed something please let me know and I can update this post.

This list isnít designed to scare people off, rather it is to make you aware of the common issues found in these vehicles. As said by another member of the forum when I went off on one of these lists before ďnot all car will see every issue on the list, but Ö everybody will probably have one or two. Unlucky people might rack them all up.Ē

Problem: My climate control only works on settings some settings.
Likely cause: Bad blower motor resistor (2000-2003 Impala and Monte Carlo)
Solution: Replace the blower motor resistor. http://www.naioa.com/v2/module.....mp;t=40232
Prevention: nothing

Problem: I have coolant running down the passenger side of my engine (L36)
Likely cause: Broken coolant elbows
Solution: http://www.naioa.com/v2/module.....mp;t=17376
Prevention: replace the elbows anytime you take them off, as they frequently break

Problem: My headlights donít work or my high beams wonít stay on
Like cause: Bad multifunction switch (MFS)
Temporary solution: Jiggle the MFS and you should be able to get the lights to work again. I stress that this is a temporary solution and should only be used to get the lights back on to drive somewhere to get it fixed.
Permanent solution: Replace the MFS (I advise against junkyard replacements for this repair).
Prevention: nothing

Problem: Oil looks like a milkshake or mysterious oil or coolant loss

Likely problem: Lower intake manifold gaskets (LIM) leaking allowing oil and coolant to mix in the engine
Solution: Replace the LIM gaskets.
http://www.naioa.com/v2/module.....amp;pid=16
Prevention: Change the cheap Nylon gasket to the new revised GM aluminum gasket before you experience any problems. This will allow you to avoid scooping coolant/oil mess from the engine.

Problem: Oil is leaking from under the valve covers
Cause: Bad valve cover gaskets
Solution: Replace valve cover gaskets

Prevention: Change the gaskets before they fail

Problem: Iím experiencing seemingly unrelated electrical problems in the vehicle. This can manifest and power locks that donít work, parasitic draws that kill your battery while you are away from the car, a radio and instrument cluster that wonít turn off. Problem may be exacerbated by high temperatures
Cause: Bad BCM
Solution: Replace BCM (need to find a shop that has a Tech 2 to program the new BCM to match the vehicle). Do not purchase a used BCM, these are programmable once and cannot be used in another vehicle easily.
Prevention: Avoid jump starting the vehicle as this might kill the BCM

Problem: My transmission is acting strangely
Cause: Could be any of the intrinsic flaws with the 4T65e transmission. Read more here: http://www.tripleedgeperforman.....blems.html Select items in the drop down menu of 4T65E problems to learn more about components with high failure rates
Solution: Replace affected components and have the builder install a Sonnax Sure Cure kit.
Prevention: Change transmission fluid more frequently than the recommended interval. I go no more than 30k on the fluid. If the fluid has been neglected, you might be better off leaving it as changing it could result in the transmission failing in short order

Problem: Transmission fluid seeping out of ends of cooler lines
Cause: Poorly designed transmission cooler lines
Solution: Replace transmission cooler lines as soon as you notice the seepage. I noticed mine and didn't get them replaced quickly enough and they starting shooting trans fluid up towards the hoodliner.

Prevention: nothing

Problem: my turn signals donít work
Cause: Bad hazard switch
Temporary Solution: bang on the dashboard near the hazard switch to see if the turn signals work again.
Permanent Solution: Replace the hazard switch
Prevention: nothing

Problem: Grinding noises while turning, random activation of traction control, service traction system light on etc
Cause: Bad wheel hub
Solution: If the problem is grinding, the wheel bearing is shot and the entire unit must be replaced. For the other issues, visit a shop that can read ABS codes to determine which hub needs to be replaced. Timken hubs are pretty much the only cost effective option. Also check the wiring harnesses running to the hub as they can break/wear away to the point that they can cause this problem. In addition, it could also just be a disconnected / dirty connector. Clean the connector and plug it back together can fix it. There is also a ground near the airbox that gets dirty and can screw up the ABS computer.
http://www.naioa.com/v2/module.....mp;t=26477
Prevention: nothing

Problem: My gauges arenít operating properly (inoperative, max out, stay at zero, bounce around)
Cause: Bad stepper motor
Solution: If you are handy with soldering you can buy the stepper motors cheaply on eBay. If not http://www.bbengineer.com/cars/impala/store.htm for cluster repair services.
Prevention: nothing

Problem: My fuel level doesnít read accurately (often either full or empty)
Cause: Bad fuel level sender
Solution: Replace fuel level sender. If you have an fuel tank access door in the trunk the job isnít too bad. If you donít, you have to drop the tank. http://impalahq.naioa.com/HowTo/GasTankSender.html
Prevention: nothing

Problem: Grinding noises while turning coming from the steering column. Possibly feeling vibrations in the
Cause: poorly designed intermediate steering shaft installed from the factory
Solution: lube the intermediate steering shaft. http://www.naioa.com/v2/module.....mp;p=41936
Prevention: frequently lube the ISS. I usually do mine at each oil change.

Problem: Lack of power, MIL light on, might feel like the transmission won't shift out of first
Cause: Plugged catalytic convertor (2001 and 2002 models are especially prone to this problem)
Solution: Replace the catalytic converter. OEM units are pricey, so aftermarket is the way to go, but you will need to find a solution to the P0420 code that most aftermarket cats will throw. One possible solution is a tuned PCM that deletes the codes related to the post cat oxygen sensor.
http://www.naioa.com/v2/module.....mp;t=21966
Prevention: nothing

Problem: Pulsing/shaking under braking
Cause: Warped rotors.
Solution: Replace with a quality aftermarket rotor and this problem should go away. After going through several sets of OEM rotors, I switched to Centric and haven't warped a set since.
Prevention: avoid getting rotors wet while hot, avoid hard braking and then holding the pads on the rotors

Problem: Security light is on while driving or the car will not start
Likely cause: Something in the passlock system isnít functioning properly
Solution: Replace the ignition cylinder.
Prevention: nothing

Problem: Water in passenger cabin under the blower motor
Cause: The cheap weather stripping under the cowl has slipped off.
Solution: http://www.naioa.com/v2/module.....mp;t=31094

Problem: My windows donít always work when I press the switch
Cause: Dirty contacts in the switch.
Solution: Take apart the switch and clean the contacts. http://www.naioa.com/v2/module.....mp;t=14592 Keep in mind this may not work and you might have to buy a new switch to resolve the issue.
Prevention: nothing

Problem: my low coolant light is on even through there is no air in the system and there is plenty of coolant in the reserve bottle
Cause: Coolant level sensor is shot
Solution: Replace coolant level sensor. http://impalahq.naioa.com/HowT.....iator.html
Prevention: nothing

Problem: Oil leaking under the engine, dripping off oil pan
Cause: Leaking oil pan gasket.
Solution: Unless the oil pan is leaking profusely, you can get away with not replacing it. It is not a cheap fix to do on its own (500+ dollars) as the engine cradle needs to be removed to replace the gasket. If you are getting your transmission rebuilt, ask the shop to replace this gasket while they are in there.
Prevention: nothing

Problem: Iím getting some popping noises under braking or acceleration
Cause: If your struts mounts are old, this could be the problem. If not, check for loose cradle bolts as if these arenít torqued to spec, the cradle moves around and makes a lot of noises that Iíd rather not hear.
Solution: Torque the cradle bolts to spec. http://www.naioa.com/v2/module.....mp;start=0
Prevention: be sure cradle bolts are properly torqued any time the cradle is dropped

Problem: Exhaust randomly got louder
Cause: Rusted out Resonator
Solution: Replace Resonator
Prevention: Remove heat shield from resonator, they trap and hold water causing a premature rust on the top.[/quote]

Problem: air conditioning blow cold on one side and hot on the the other (only cars with dual zone climate control)
Cause - blend door actuator motor is burned out
Solution: replace the blend door actuator
Prevention: none

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GLWTGFY. Big Thumbs Up

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Last edited by IffyG on Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:51 pm; edited 11 times in total
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gdoggy
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:51 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Nice writeup, and very complete list.
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Albert2kls
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:49 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Very well done Iffy, this should be a sticky and mabe in the FAQ section..

Cool Cool Cool Cool

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2001Ls
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:32 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

That's my pic on the leaky valve cover gasket title! I feel very special you used my pic. I've had pretty much every one of these problems (and only fixed some) very detailed and handy thread.

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chibiblacksheep
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:12 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

-Removed since you put it in the first post-

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Last edited by chibiblacksheep on Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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blacknome
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:45 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

nice writeup !!

I would like to add

Problem - dual zone climate control ( one side warm the other cold )
Cause - blend door actuator motor is burned out
Solution: replace the blend door actuator
Prevention: none
( I now have 3 of these in my toolbox from junkyard crawls )
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IffyG
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:57 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks for the input. I made a first pass just covering problems I've had. I'm sure there are a handful more that I'm either not forgetting or are unique for the Impala, but let me know and I'll add them. Also, if anyone knows of good write ups present on this site or elsewhere, please let me know and I'll add them to the original post.

Hopefully this thread will get sticked somewhere with high visibility, might prevent the generation of a lot of redundant questions.

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GLWTGFY. Big Thumbs Up

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BlackVenom
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:20 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Very nice list! Now I've gotta look into a few. Very Happy

IffyG wrote:
Hopefully this thread will get sticked somewhere with high visibility, might prevent the generation of a lot of redundant questions.


Or more "READ THE ________ STICKY!" or "USE SEARCH!!" Laughing

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IffyG
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:17 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

In that case, it provides a fancy link to provide someone that asks a question about a common problem so you don't have to direct them to the search to find a thread buried months back in the forum. I couldn't tell you how many times I've searched to find these threads (or similar one) when a new members asks a question.

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helldorado wrote:
GLWTGFY. Big Thumbs Up

Dan wrote:
Protip: If you don't know what you're doing, don't do it.


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Albert2kls
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:26 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

IffyG wrote:
In that case, it provides a fancy link to provide someone that asks a question about a common problem so you don't have to direct them to the search to find a thread buried months back in the forum. I couldn't tell you how many times I've searched to find these threads (or similar one) when a new members asks a question.



Now your talking Iffy..... In the welcom to new members section!! Very Happy Very Happy Cool

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helldorado
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:30 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

IffyG wrote:
In that case, it provides a fancy link to provide someone that asks a question about a common problem so you don't have to direct them to the search to find a thread buried months back in the forum. I couldn't tell you how many times I've searched to find these threads (or similar one) when a new members asks a question.


You're the moderator now, sticky it.

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maybe we should chug on over to mamby pamby land
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:48 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

helldorado wrote:
IffyG wrote:
In that case, it provides a fancy link to provide someone that asks a question about a common problem so you don't have to direct them to the search to find a thread buried months back in the forum. I couldn't tell you how many times I've searched to find these threads (or similar one) when a new members asks a question.


You're the moderator now, sticky it.



oh s**t you are a mod now congrats buddy!

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billy101 wrote:
Conner wrote:
how do the dealer's expect us to get the cars there if they don 't run at all?


Tow Truck?
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:15 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

habermehl wrote:
helldorado wrote:
IffyG wrote:
In that case, it provides a fancy link to provide someone that asks a question about a common problem so you don't have to direct them to the search to find a thread buried months back in the forum. I couldn't tell you how many times I've searched to find these threads (or similar one) when a new members asks a question.


You're the moderator now, sticky it.



oh s**t you are a mod now congrats buddy!

ya congrats bud!!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Congrats Clap
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:21 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Congrats
Banana Dance Clap Dance

I guess you just got the ? promotion ?

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