2003 Chevy Malibu 2003 Chevy Malibu - Loud Engine Noise in

Tiny
MILBFAN
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 86,000 MILES
I have this problem where the engine gets much louder, yet at a lower pitch whenever I come into a heavy/hard rain while driving. This is the only time this occurs, and after I get out of that area of heavy rain, it stops. There is no difference in the RPM reading, nothing visibly occurring with the electrical system, and the "Check Engine" light does not pop on.

This has been a regular occurrence over the course of the last year. I have taken it to the mechanics at different dealerships who have either thrown their hands up, or want to see the car in the exact conditions. I do regular maintenance, I have had the serpentine belt replaced, and the pulleys inspected (due to my complaint on this problem) during the course of this continuing problem.
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Sunday, April 19th, 2009 AT 11:20 PM

11 Replies

Tiny
DOCFIXIT
  • EXPERT
Did noise start after new tires?
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Monday, April 20th, 2009 AT 11:37 AM
Tiny
MILBFAN
  • MEMBER
Nope; the tires were installed more than 2 years beforehand.
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Monday, April 20th, 2009 AT 1:30 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
  • EXPERT
All roads make noise in rain? Is any of the air dams under car missing?
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Monday, April 20th, 2009 AT 2:28 PM
Tiny
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Yes, this noise occurs on any road - surface street, interstates, highways, etc.

How would I know about the air dams that you are speaking of?

Thanks for taking the time to help.
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Monday, April 20th, 2009 AT 2:36 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
  • EXPERT
All the plastic pieces around wheel well, between radiator and engine and and behind radiator support. I'm thinking the water is into engine compartment and hitting bulk head. Making noise
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Monday, April 20th, 2009 AT 2:46 PM
Tiny
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  • MEMBER
I'll look into it and let you know asap.
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Monday, April 20th, 2009 AT 2:50 PM
Tiny
MILBFAN
  • MEMBER
Sorry it took so long; I decided to try and take pictures to give you an idea of what I saw that might be the culprit.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/346277_IM000154_1.jpg



Here is one thing I found interesting. This is actually behind the air dam, on the right front side of the car. There is a hairline crack there, and the piece feels loose towards the bottom.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/346277_IM000148_1.jpg



(just me pushing on that area where I saw the crack)


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/346277_IM000138_1.jpg



This is in front of the air dam, on the right side. I noticed the material didn't seem to be as secure as on the left side.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/346277_IM000128_1.jpg



This is the only other weird thing I came across; this is on the driver side front wheel well. The material comes up and is just cut off to make room for the nut and screw.

Thanks.
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Monday, April 20th, 2009 AT 5:15 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
  • EXPERT
In the wheel well There should be a black plastic molded piece that goes from front fender across top of tie and down to bottom of well. I did not see that in your photo the last one. You should not be seeing the painted inside of fender. Water comming off tire and hitting metal would make big noise ie. Metal roof
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Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 AT 8:36 AM
Tiny
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  • MEMBER
So to make sure we're on the same page, your concern is with the driver side wheel well, where that screw and nut are, and the black part is cut off/looking weird? That's the only place where the two wheel wells aren't identical (both sides have the black plastic arching around the well, but the passenger side piece is whole, and not awkward-looking like this one in that spot). I can try and take more pictures sans a flash if that is needed (or if there's something else you need to see).

The noise, though, sounds like the low growl of a cat when you hack it off (or throw it in water), just much louder.

My apologies if I sound dense; I do appreciate you working with me.
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Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 AT 7:16 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
  • EXPERT
Does noise go away when you slow down? Or more at high speeds? Does cat have the shield around it?
Wheel wells seem O.K.
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Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 AT 3:54 PM
Tiny
MILBFAN
  • MEMBER
It's a problem with acceleration and staying at a speed. When I break, I don't hear it; but I do when I start to accelerate again. It's variable on the speed - I've heard it going 25-35 mph (the first time I heard it was in a 35 mph zone), in a 45 mph zone (thinking back to a couple of weeks ago), and higher (most frequently, mainly because the roads I travel are 55+, though).

What are you referring to when you're talking about the cat having the shield around it?

Thanks.
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Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 AT 4:04 PM

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