Fan Problem on Malibu

malibu
engines
chevrolet
blower-motors
fans

#1

Greetings. I have a 2003 Chevy Malibu LS. The fan used to adjust the interior air flow is not behaving well. It started to not work in the 1-4 position, only the OFF and 5 positions worked. Essentially, positions 1-4 did nothing and position 5 acted as position 5 should; really high fan speeds. It did not matter if it was on the heat or A/C, and selecting different vents made no difference either. After a few minutes of being either OFF or on 5, I can use any of the 1-4 positions as usual. I saw something similar to this on a Grand Prix I owned, and the remedy for that was to replace the blower motor resistor. I did that, and not only did the resistor not look damaged, the problem still persisted. I checked the fuses, not knowing which one exactly was controlling this function, but they all looked fine. I am thinking about replacing the blower motor, but before I do that I want to see what you or anyone else thinks is a good plan of action, or if replacing the blower motor is a good next step. Thank you, in advance, for your help.


#2

blower motor is not your problem otherwise it wouldnt work on high. It sounds like you have a bad control head. It needs to be tested. Use a test light at the resistor connector. With switch in number 1 position yellow wire should light, next is tan wire, next is light blue, next is purple. If light does not light in any of these positions you could check IPC/HVAC fuse in left IP fuse panel, but I doubt that will be your problem. If light doesnt light in these positions and fuse good, replace control head.


#3

Thank you very much for your response. I apologize, but your response has reminded me of something I left out. I did replace the control head. I read on an online post that the connectors tend to collect dust and scum on them, so I cleaned the connectors on both my old and new head units. Doing that did not seem to help any. Again, I apologize for leaving this out, and I believe I have included all things I have done now. Thank you again, and I hope this helps.


#4

Forgot there is blower fuse in right I/P fuse panel. Also you can test integrity of wiring by disconnecting blower switch and use a jumper wire. The brown wire on that connector is power from fuse to switch. Also one other thing these cars are notorious for is bad ignition switches. Use a voltmeter and turn ign switch on and check voltage at blower fuse in right fuse panel. you should have same voltage on that fuse as the rest of them. If not replace ign switch. I would test that first.


#5

That is an interesting take on this. I am experiencing some odd ignition switch-related “quirks”. First, on some rare (but lately a bit more frequent) occasions the car is slow to turnover. Second, when parking and ready to get out of the car, I place it into PARK, turn the key off, and the key comes out but the key alignment is just a hair off, thus causing the engine to turn off but all other electronics to stay on, even after opening all doors and exiting with the key in hand. I have recently learned that unless the shifter makes a distinct click sound upon putting it into PARK, this misalignment will happen. Do you think this little sideshow is related to my fan problem, and therefore looking at the ignition switch is the next step? Thank you again for your suggestion on this.


#6

Thats gonna be a different issue I believe. I’m sending you down this road with the possibility of switch not providing enough power for blower. The problem you’re talking about has to do with lock cylinder/shift interlock. However thats not to say you cant get lucky and fix both problems with just one part. Dont forget to test voltage at blower fuse.


#7

Thank you for your posts and the advice. This is something I’m planning to do soon, but not immediately; I wasn’t expecting such a quick turnaround on this forum, nor the ignition possibly being related (although it now seems like something I should address sooner than later). This is awesome! I’ll repost with how it goes, and if anyone else chimes in to agree with your suggestion or offer something different between now and then I will take that into consider as well. Thank you again.


#8

Nearly all cars use resistors to slow down that fan. They tend to burn out one at a time until you only have high speed left. Some cars have systems that you can just replace the cheap resistors, others require the replacement of a unit. I would replace the unit or all the resistors, as with my luck as soon as I got it back into the car, the next resistor would go.


#9

Greetings. I appreciate the advice/suggestions on my post. I have not been able to get to it yet (time, money, weather, etc.) but something new happened last night that was interesting. With it being so cold out here (below 0) I cranked it all the way up to Speed 5. Prior to this I simply operated the fan between speeds 1 and 4, and up until now it was working fine that way. Once I turned it to 5 I have been unable to get the fan speed to work between speeds 1 and 4. However, at night, with the dashboard lit, having it on Speed 4 nothing happens, but when I move the switch to Speed 5 the lights dim as I increase the speed. Again, going back down to Speed 4 or lower nothing happens, but when I move up to Speed 5 the dashboard lights, and I think even the headlights, all dimmed for a moment. Does this support the suggestion of the low power problem I might have? Does this mean something different or worse? The blower motor does make a lot of noise in this colder weather, almost to the point sound like it’s clunking so I may still replace the blower motor itself, but with the lights dimming as they do I’m thinking of checking into the lack of power to the blower. Any and all thoughts are appreciated, and thank you in advance.


#10

Greetings. I finally got around to fixing this up. I ended up replacing the fuse under the hood, and I replaced the blower motor, too. The fan is working like a champ now. I think the motor was dying as this new one (new, matches the OEM one) is much quieter and more responsive. The new fuse was cheap and I feel I covered my bases. If anything new pops up here soon I will likely look at the wiring layout and figure out where the short is, again, if there is one. Thank you again for the comments and posts.