Author Topic: What do I do with this Malibu?  (Read 1839 times)
xelareverse
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What do I do with this Malibu? « on: April 02, 2018, 01:06:27 AM » Author: xelareverse
I got this car from Aaron (Alights1) for basically free. This is because rust, knocking engine, and slow shifting transmission. The  transmission is auto, but you can select gears manually (clutchless). So my dad figured out it was a bad oil lifter, and I'll replace that with my friend. I'm going to add Lucas Stop slip to the tranny, but if that doesn't help, do I just drive it manually? It's not hard at all, I can shift gears with a clutch, so this should be easy.

Engine wise, I'm taking that 3100 out one day and replacing it with a 10 inch DC electric motor and a 4 cylinder diesel from a semi truck (APU) to make it a hybrid. It will be able to burn rubber, make the ricers mad at the Dragstrip, and get better mileage at the Dragstrip.

Body wise, I'm fixing the rust that there is. Then I'm gonna coat about a foot up along all the sides with bedliner to stop rust. The carpet and seats will be taken out and the floor will be coated with bedliner to stop the rust because floorboard rust actually starts from the inside because of puddles. The carpet and seats will be put back of course. The bottom will also be coated with bedliner to stop rust from even trying to form.

I wanna make this the most preserved peice of early-mid 2k car culture left out there, because in 10 years, these won't be left. What other stuff should I do to it? I wanna go around through downtown Detroit blasting black eyed peas and all kinds of music from then and feel free like I used to so despite this being the second best worst car GM made according to Jalaponik, it really means alot to me.

Here's a pic of it:
www.lighting-gallery.net/gallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=12141&pos=0&pid=144864
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 01:10:16 AM by xelareverse » Logged

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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #1 on: April 02, 2018, 04:32:28 PM » Author: Medved
If the transmission refuses to shift properly, attempting to shift in the manual mode wont help at all. The thing is, unlike the real manual transmission, where all shifting work comes from the drivers hand (via connecting splines), in an automatic all goes via the hydraulic via a set of friction clutches and brakes (the auto functionality needs a HW that is able to shift under load, what mandates thefriction based connection and excludes the splines; and the friction elements need a constant force,hence the hydraulics). And what breaks down in an auto is not the "brain" (what makes the decision when to shift and to which gear configuration), but it is either the hydraulic (neglected maintenance - filter and oil changes) or the shifting clutches get worn out (either from really high mileage, but more often due to faulty hydraulics like weakened spring in a pressure relieve valve or generally neglected maintenance). The manual mode does nothing elsethan replaces the shifting commands from the "brain" by those from the shifter lever position sensor. Then it gets processed by thesame electrohydraulic hardware as in auto mode, so you are still without power transfer.

So if you are lucky, it will be just a clogged filter problem (so replacing it is enough), otherwise you are heading a transmission overhaul (replacing allthe friction element discs - so basically a transmission overhaul), quitea lot of work even when you know what to do and/or expensive when done by someone for you...
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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #2 on: April 02, 2018, 07:29:21 PM » Author: xelareverse
I'm going to drop the transmission pan, replace the filter, and replace the fluid and add some Lucas stop slip which should fix it because it's a minor issue. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #3 on: April 03, 2018, 01:41:38 PM » Author: Medved
I would be very pessimistic about the "Stop Slip" or any other similar products, it really sounds to me like quackery.
If there is wear on the friction plates and so they are getting too thin, I do not see, how any fluid additive may fix that without actually replacing the rings.
The only way it may appear to "improve" the shifting is to depositing some material onto the surfaces. It may add some last missing micrometers of the friction ring thickness, but at the same time such deposited material may block the tiny passages in the hydraulic system (they are made intentionally thin to control the "grabbing" speed of the clutches during shifting, so to prevent shifting jerks). These are usually carefully tuned (along with the ATF viscosity specs) by the transmission development engineers and usually any alteration will just spoil the timing {I remember a case, when the public transport operator ordered a bit cheaper clone of the ATF for busses, then ignored the complaints from drivers about the transmissions becoming jerky, the result was warped clutch plates and a few differential cracks in about 100 busses, all just because the alternative fluid was flowing faster, so caused more abrupt shifting, causing the jerking and so dynamic overloading of the power train}.
So it may help for some time (just good enough for making the car to appear perfect in front of a new buyer, but not much longer), but then the hydraulics will become really ruined (maybe curable by some cleaning fluid, but not unlikely completely dead).

Really, never put there anything else than what is specified by the maker, in the long run you will make the situation only worse.


Something else is internal cleaning: By flushing the system with a (dedicated for this task) cleaning fluid, you may flush out of the system the sediments of the friction materials and remains of the old degraded ATF, but after such procedure you always need to flush out all residues of the cleaner and refill the system with the specified ATF. Then you very likely end up with clean system, with all choking crevices of the sizes the engineers intended.


Do you know the service history of the car? I.e. has the ATF and filter been replaced periodically? Or the service just followed the typical manufacturers claims of "lifetime fill, no need to replace" (that would mean the lifetime of the car just has ended)?
If the second is the case and the car was not tortured that much with slipping gears, then (my guess) the filter replacement will be all the transmission really need to work reasonably well again.
The thing is, unlike the engine lubrication, in the transmission is no bypass valve allowing the fluid passage around the clogged filter, so there will be just insufficient pressure in the system. And many new designs feature speed sensors that detect unintended slippage and reduce the engine power to prevent the consequent damage. So (when the situation really becomes very bad) as a driver you notice it only as reduced acceleration (and probably a "Go to service" light turns ON).
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 02:12:15 PM by Medved » Logged

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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 01:00:03 PM » Author: xelareverse
I'm going to swap out the fluid first, and if it's still shift slow then I'll add the stop slip, but Lucas products are pretty good and I've had good experiences with them. I don't know much about the service history, but while Aaron had it he never changed the transmission fluid. Also, I know it's a bad idea on a transmission that's already this bad to try to do a burnout, but it just doesn't work. Maybe it's because the clutch plates are slipping inside.
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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 04:27:31 PM » Author: Medved
If they are slipping, it would mean their death, so hope not. You will see after the fluid and filter change. If it helps, dothe next one after some short time, e.g. with the next engine oil change. The reason is, there is always about a liter of the old dirty ATF mainly in the converter bulb, which you practically can not pump out. The dirt from it will then be captured by the new filter, but that will eat up from its capacity, therefore the shortened following fluid and filter interval. Then you may go back to the regular 40k (or something around that, what somehow fits with the engine oil change, so you do not have to mess with it separately) miles transmission service interval.

Burnout is never a good idea at all, it is just damaging all components of the power train, brakes and tires just for a stupid smoke. There were many burned clutches (with manuals and will be with the DCTs and the robotized mechanical trans, as all these use friction clutches and not fluid converter for launching) when some idiots attemped that...

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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 02:13:51 AM » Author: xelareverse
I did it with the E-brake since it's a FWD car.
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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #7 on: April 14, 2018, 01:43:49 AM » Author: icefoglights
If the transmission is not shifting automatically, but also not slipping, the clutch packs are probably fine.  It's most likely an electronics problem.  When shifting manually with the shift lever, you are manually routing fluid to the actuators to select the gears.  When running automatically, the computer is taking inputs from various sensors, than using solenoid valves to route the fluid to select the gears.  If this system isn't working, it won't shift on it's own.

It would be worth researching this model transmission and see what you can figure out as far as common failures.  Do you have any warning lights?  Faulty sensors will often trigger warning lights, but burned out solenoids probably won't.
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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #8 on: April 14, 2018, 01:00:52 PM » Author: Medved
If the transmission is not shifting automatically, but also not slipping, the clutch packs are probably fine.  It's most likely an electronics problem.  When shifting manually with the shift lever, you are manually routing fluid to the actuators to select the gears.  When running automatically, the computer is taking inputs from various sensors, than using solenoid valves to route the fluid to select the gears.  If this system isn't working, it won't shift on it's own.

It would be worth researching this model transmission and see what you can figure out as far as common failures.  Do you have any warning lights?  Faulty sensors will often trigger warning lights, but burned out solenoids probably won't.

The complaint was it is shifting slow. So the controller would be fine (otherwise it wont shift at all), the slow shifting then matches with insufficient hydraulic pump output flow (it takes long time to fill in the actuators, but it is still capable to building up the required pressure, so the clutches likely do not slip). And the prominent cause for this is the clogged filter (because not replaced for way too long).
The thing is, the filter is on the suction side of the pump, so there is just the atmospheric pressure to force the oil through. So small volume passes, the high pressure could be reached when there is very limited flow demand, so even when moving slowly, the clutches are able to attain full grip.

If the cause would be some leak from the high pressure part to the transmission case (so still no missing fluid; loose pressure regulator or limiter, but even worn out pump), the shifting would go fast, but then the clutchest will be slipping (the leaked flow dramatically rise with pressure increase, so at low pressure the actuator fill up is fast, but the the the grip is lacking required force)

And with most mainly newer electrically shifted transmissions the mechanical linkage controls just N-P-R-forward, but the if the forward means D or some selected gear goes then via the electronic (with one of the gears, usually 3 in a 3 or 4-speeder, being automatically selected when there is no power to the ECU or the ECU is defective, to allow at least some emergency drivability). So with ECU defective, with any forward selection the transmission would just stay in direct drive with converter, regardles what you select.
The really most modern ones have just the P via themechanical linkage and all the rest is electronic, so it stays in N when there isany defect the ECU can not overcome.
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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #9 on: April 17, 2018, 01:17:10 AM » Author: xelareverse
Yeah, I forgot to mention it has a hundred and forty thousand miles on it and hasn't had any work done on the transmission since it was new.
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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #10 on: April 17, 2018, 04:49:24 PM » Author: CEB1993
If you know the year and trim line of your Malibu, you can look up what kind of headlight bulbs it takes.  I would highly recommend Philips Xtremevisions.  They are much brighter, and longer lasting than the Sylvania Silverstar Ultras often seen in local autoparts stores.  The Philips brand headlight bulbs can be found on either eBay or Amazon.  I would also consider replacing the entire headlight fittings if yours have oxidized (become cloudy and yellow).  For an older model Malibu, I'm sure you could find a new aftermarket pair of headlights on eBay for under $100.  They will make the whole car look newer and allow your headlight bulbs to shine their brightest  8)
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Re: What do I do with this Malibu? « Reply #11 on: April 28, 2018, 07:58:58 AM » Author: Mercurylamps
If you know the year and trim line of your Malibu, you can look up what kind of headlight bulbs it takes.  I would highly recommend Philips Xtremevisions.  They are much brighter, and longer lasting than the Sylvania Silverstar Ultras often seen in local autoparts stores.  The Philips brand headlight bulbs can be found on either eBay or Amazon.  I would also consider replacing the entire headlight fittings if yours have oxidized (become cloudy and yellow).  For an older model Malibu, I'm sure you could find a new aftermarket pair of headlights on eBay for under $100.  They will make the whole car look newer and allow your headlight bulbs to shine their brightest  8)

Also adding to this if your headlights are hazy or yellowed I recommend the Rain-X headlight restoration kit. I've used it on a few cars in the past and the results work up a treat. I did this to my car and upgraded the bulbs to Philips X-Tremevision +100 at the same time and it has made a huge improvement to night time driving.

As for the transmissions a fluid flush and change as well as replacing the filter should be right. I've had a 1989 Toyota Corolla with an automatic transmission that was still running fine on it's original transmission although the engine itself had been rebuilt by the previous owner. For a car that was older than me it was still great to drive and fairly tight mechanically.
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