To Peter and others' attention: problem with Malibu's blower

I read in this forum the blower problem with Malibu. I have a similar problem (Malibu, 1999): sometimes (not always)the blower does not work until after 10-20 minutes drive. Peter Peters says the ignition switch may be bad as it is a common problem with Malibu, and he suggests checking the HVAC Blower Fuse. I have a few questions:

1. The related fuse is in the box of the passenger’side, not driver’s side, right?

2. The volt should read 12-14, am I right? otherwise, we can presume the ignition switch is bad as it can’t power up all the currents? (my brake warning light will also be on when the blower does not work).

3. Do you think the problem may be related to the relay that controls the blower? The relay may be too loose or too old? Is there any relay between the blower fuse and the blower any way? if there is no relay between the two, we just need to check the fuse, right? Look forward to replies. Thanks!!

My experience with the Malibu, and unfurtunately it is great in this area, is that while there is a major amount of trouble with the ignition switch there is also a great deal of trouble (the type that prevents blower operation) with the HVAC control head.

This is a perfect example of the type of repair that I kept a good head around to “stub in” and verify my diagnosis.

I’m not sure of the fuse panel location but it shouldn’t be hard to locate. As with most all electrical accessories in any car you should have 12 volt power at the fuse and at the lead to the device. The fact that the brake warning light turns on when the blower doesn’t work may be a good sign that the trouble is due to a lack of power to more than just the blower. So the trouble most likely is in the power distribution to those areas effected. It could be one of the ignition switch connections or a connection after the switch. There is a blower relay in the circuit after the fuse most likely but I doubt that is the trouble as it appears the trouble is before the relay. Look for signs of a burned wire connection since the trouble may be due to a loose connection. If the switch is the trouble then you may not see signs of burning. You would be wise in getting a wiring diagram to help you with this trouble along with a test light probe or meter to check for power.

If you dont have proper voltage at blower fuse in right I/P fuse panel with key on then the problem is ignition switch. The relay is for high blower only and it’s in the resistor. There is no other relay involved.

Thanks for the response. Could I presume that when the ignition switch has problem, it can’t power up all the circuits including the one for the brake, and that’s why the brake warning light is on at the same time when the blower does not work ? I just want to make sure as the garage will charge me $200 for replacing the switch (part+labor). Any information is appreciated. Lee

Sounds like a good possibility. However on the weekends I’m at home instead of work so I don’t know if they are powered on the same circuit as I don’t have access to diagrams. Before just telling someone to replace a part though, it does need properly diagnosed.

The issues I replace Malibu ignition switches (really the “bad” part was the lock cylinder) over were mechanical in nature (not being able to turn the key or a transmission interlock cable issue) never was the issue I replaced ignition switches one of an incorrect output (when input is correct).

Some electrical sections of the switched were replaced over Passlock II issues.

In this last week I have replaced the ignition switch in an '03 Malibu and an '04 Impala over the same problem, only high blower. I don’t throw parts at cars. Here at my place of employment doing that will have you looking for another job. These ignition switches are notorious for failing electrically, but I guess if you haven’t done it, well it must not need done. Both of these cars had 8-9 volts at blower fuse when engine was running, which indicated a faulty ign switch. The next step in this process is confirming low voltage on orange wire at ignition switch which is the wire that provides power for blower fuse. voltage low, replace switch. Nope never seen a bad ignition switch.

It would seem that there should be many more circuits in the car affected by an ignition switch that drops 3 too 4 volts than just the one feeding blower circuit, like the ones making it so the car runs.

I did leave the Dealership in 2003 and it was just not me not seeing these failures in the ignition swith, but the guy on my left and right. I will take a look for a TSB, this has to be there.

No TSB about low voltage output from the ignition switch. There is a TSB about failure with the mechanical part of the lock cylinder, keeping the “key in” chime sounding,I do remember that one. One thing that did come to mind and I am certain that it has been checked, many people had trouble setting fan speed simply because the knob was broken (the part that grabbed the shaft on the switch in the control head. GM wants you to check if you can get the knob only before replacing the entire control head. I remember getting a document that could be considered a FSM supplement that details how to replace the lock cylinder when it will not turn. Not all failures make it too TSB status but I did actually see cars with the “key in chime” defect.

I’m sure other circuits are affected but the customer usually doesn’t say anything until their comfort’s affected. Most could care less about a warning light. Don’t know if there’s a TSB for this or not. I initially learned about this through pay to play tech help website.

Peter: I am very interested reading your note about repairing the Malibu and Impara last week as they both had problems with the ignition switches. If I understand you correctly, the voltage of both the fuse and the orange wire need to be checked for the diagnosis. I am wondering if it is sufficient just check the fuse for diagnosis rather than both as it may be too hard for me, a layman, to locate and check the orange wire. Can I presume the low voltage at the fuse is most likely resulted from the orange wire’s failure to provide enough power? Thanks.

The orange wire is what feeds power from ignition switch to blower fuse and I would have to assume the orange wire feeds more than just the blower due to the fact of the blower circuit being 20 amps and the orange wire is 10 gauge, which would feed more than 20 amps. I check both just to make absolutely sure, however I have never found the orange wire to have full voltage and the blower fuse to be low. If that makes any sense. I suppose what I’m saying is that would be a fairly safe bet of the switch being bad if voltage is low at fuse.