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Inherited Impala

Discussion in 'Non-Mopar Tech Support' started by Scrounge, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    My sister recently died from endometrial (ovarian) cancer. I'd rather she were still alive; I'll miss her for the rest of my life. If any woman reading this is diagnosed with this form of cancer, have it treated immediately. Radiation is probably the best; chemotherapy too often doesn't work against it. But I hope you never get it. While it's not the most common form of cancer, it's among the deadliest. Once it reaches your lymph nodes, it's just a matter of time.

    But this forum is about cars, and the one I inherited from her is a 2008 Chevy Impala LT with a 3.5 V6 and about 51K miles. The car is in very good condition, and so many of them were made that, when repairs are needed, parts should be easy to find. I've yet to see shop manuals (it's a 3-volume set) for it in used bookstores. The cheapest ones I've found online are $225. If anyone can link me to a digital version, I'd appreciate it.

    It has some drawbacks: it's not a Mopar, it's my first vehicle with a sideways engine, and it takes the dreaded Deathcool. Some of the electronic gadgetry is annoying; when the ignition is turned on, the headlights automatically come on, and will stay on until I turn them off. The left rear power window motor doesn't work. I've replaced this part on a '69 Imperial and a '73 Lincoln, but never on a Bowtie. I'll try to find one in a junkyard to see what complications it entails. It recently had the gaskets for some coolant crossover pipe replaced – there's a TSB on that, so that may need addressing again in the future. Design flaw, or done on purpose? And the Delco battery is about 6 years old. According to a July dealer inspection report (my sister always had the local dealer perform maintenance and repairs), it's losing CCAs. It still starts, but might not in freezing weather. This replacement looks interesting, but I can't find any reviews on it:

    https://www.meijer.com/product/home-improvement-auto/automotive/powercell-3478s-12-volt-platinum-automotive-battery/t1/t1-873/t2/t2-10052/71373347250.uts

    There are no Meijer stores near where I live; in fact, I don't think there are any south of the Ohio River. So, if it dies before the warranty period is up, I'm stuck. My brother has a Costco card, and we saw today that they have Group 34 Interstate batteries with 800 CCAs for $83 plus tax and exchange. I'm leaning toward purchasing one of them. Reviews are encouraged.

    My sister had OnStar, AAA, and towing insurance, which seems like overkill, especially if she didn't use any of them. OnStar is too much like Big Brother, plus it's over $300 per year. Her AAA membership is good for 3 more years; if they'll transfer it to me, I'll use them and drop OnStar when it expires next month.

    Can an OBDII scanner be used on this car, or will I need something newer?
     
  2. NYBo

    Level III Supporter

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    Sorry for the loss of your sister.

    An OBD II scanner will give you all the basic codes, just like all '96 and up vehicles. No ABS or advanced transaxle codes, of course.
     
  3. Stratuscaster

    Stratuscaster Vaguely badass...
    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    My condolences on your loss. My mother passed from ovarian cancer - doctors gave her a year at first, after treatment it was gone and she lived 3 more years, then it came back with a vengeance. :(

    In regards to batteries, I've had the best experience with the Duralast Gold series from AutoZone and the Everstart Maxx series from Wal-Mart. A co-worker swears by Interstate batteries.

    At 6 years old, I'd budget to just replace the battery before winter hits. No longer a matter of "if" but "when" it fails. Control your destiny. ;)

    Despite not being a Mopar, it's not a bad car.
     
  4. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    She had to put off the hysterectomy until she got insurance for it last year. Afterwards, they found that the cancer had spread, and she had a bad reaction to chemotherapy. She didn't share much information with us; I didn't head up here until she was hospitalized with brain tumors in April. Her doctor then said that he gave her maybe 6 months, but she only lasted a bit more than half that long. The radiation eliminated two tumors, but too many more of them developed. It's a helpless feeling watching her get worse, and not being able to do anything about it.

    Thanks for the info. The OBDII scanner is in Texas. I'll plug it in when I drive the car there next week.

    I've had mixed results with AutoZone batteries. One, with a 5-year warranty, lasted more than 6 years in a Chevy truck, but another on a Dodge truck only lasted 4 years (they did knock some $ off a new one, but prices had almost doubled in the interim). A Group 34 Duralast Gold with a 5-year warranty and 800 CCAs is $126.99 here. My Dakota has an EverStart that was new less than a year before I bought it (it's now more than 3 years old). While the truck has had some electrical problems, the battery isn't one of them. WalMart here wants $104.97 for a Group 34 EverStart Maxx with 800 CCAs and a 5-year warranty (3-year free replacement). However, it's received some poor reviews on their web site. I've only had one Interstate in the past, and that was on the vehicle when I bought it, but it outlasted its warranty. The Interstate at Costco looks like the best buy.

    I see a lot of Impalas in this body style on the roads. I hope that's a good indication of its reliability.
     
  5. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest you look at Advance Auto parts as those stores are numerous within the USA. Advance has a group type 34 battery (exactly what Chrysler used for many years) priced at $122.99 for silver or $131.99 for gold. You can search for an online discount code currently in effect at Advance Auto and get a $40.00 discount on your purchase. So that would make the purchase cost $82.99 - $91.99 plus sales tax. You order online but take delivery at a retail store close to your location. There is no shipping charge for the battery.

    Johnson Controls Inc makes automobile batteries for Advance, AutoZone, Wally World and other retailers. Over the years I typically have purchased batteries from a retailer that has Johnson Controls as the manufacturer. In all cases the battery lasted through the warranty period and typically 1 year beyond warranty expiration.
     
    Doug D likes this.
  6. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    Bought the Interstate battery at Costco earlier this afternoon, installed it, and returned the Delco for the exchange. Total with tax was $87.97. Replacing it was more complicated than necessary: a metal brace connected to the fender and the front had to be removed first, then I had to disconnect the top hose from the radiator to make enough wiggle room so that the old battery would come out and the new one would go in. The terminals are different, but both of them were clean. The old battery didn't look bad, but we couldn't find a date on it. Replacing the battery on her previous '94 Lumina was even worse; in addition to the brace, the windshield washer fluid reservoir sat atop the battery. What idiot designed that? I'm guessing neither Harley Earl nor Bill Mitchell.

    A helpful tip on Johnson Controls; perhaps other readers can take advantage. The closest parts stores to the Michigan house are AutoZone, O'Reilly, and Napa; a locally owned parts store is 1/2 mile beyond the Napa. In Texas, the ones in my town are O'Reilly, Napa and CARQUEST (which this software automatically capitalizes, never mind how I type it). The closest Advance is about 3 miles away here, but more than 25 miles from my house in Texas. WalMarts are within 2 miles in both towns, and here, a KMart is a mile away. KMart hasn't been a price leader for decades, though.

    While my sister was still alive, I replaced the engine and cabin air filters, so they should last a while. Of the two, the cabin air filter was the dirtiest.
     
  7. 1999 White C5 Coupe

    1999 White C5 Coupe Well-Known Member

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    I previously owned 2008, 2011, and 2012 Impala LTZ models - all purchased new. I now own a 2014 Impala 2LTZ.

    Why do you refer to the engine coolant as "dreaded Deathcool"? If you mean Dexcool, it is a proven coolant for GM vehicles if you maintain the cooling system properly. That means no leaks so air gets into the system and changing it according to GM's recommendations (similar to Chrysler products).

    I recently replaced the batteries in family member's 2008 and 2012 Impalas. You DO NOT have to remove the uppper radiator hose. Remove the two 10mm speed nuts holding the black plastic power center, then move it aside or have a helper hold it out of the way. Remove the brace you spoke of (very easy...), disonnect the battery cables - then tilt the battery and remove it. Installation is the reverse. It takes about 5-10 minutes MAX.

    At one time, I owned a 1998 Dodge Intrepid ES 4-door. When replacing the battery, the vehicle's right front had to be lifted, then the RF wheel and tire removed, then a plastic fender liner removed - then you could access the battery. Not fun.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    "Deathcool" was applied to Dexcool elsewhere in these forums. Apparently, it's NOT recommended for Mopars. Perhaps the coolant experts might direct us to the threads. The car might have another coolant leak -- I had to add distilled water to the reservoir last week, and smelled coolant when I opened the hood earlier today. Can't see where it's leaking, but I'll keep checking it.

    "Black plastic power center" -- could you tell me what this is? Mine has a black overhang partially above the battery that runs across the front, above the radiator; perhaps I could have removed it, but it looked like I'd have had to remove the entire unit. After disconnecting the hose from the radiator, I was able to pull the battery out from the tray, away from the overhang, then straight up without tilting. Agreed, the brace was easy enough to remove, but it's an added task that I've not had to perform in any of my prior vehicles. And yes, I understand that Mopar has put the battery in places where they're harder to reach in some of their newer cars; I'd rather they wouldn't, and I doubt that they were the first to do so. It adds time to the job, and raises costs for those who take it to a garage.

    One other frustration was dropping a socket, then a small flashlight, in places that were inaccessible until I removed the battery. If I drop a tool while working on my '92 Dakota, it usually falls to the garage floor. This is probably a problem with front-wheel drive vehicles in general, not just Bowties.
     
  9. 1999 White C5 Coupe

    1999 White C5 Coupe Well-Known Member

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    The 2008 & 2011 Impala I had were equipped with the 3.9 V-6. The 2012 had the 3.6 V-6. All had a black plastic power center / fuse box on the passenger strut tower, next to the battery and the rear portion of the fender brace. It was easy to remove two speed nuts and move it out of the way for more working room.
     
  10. Locodave

    Locodave Member

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    Sorry for you loss.

    The cross-over pipe looks like this where the gaskets were changed. -> http://www.g6ownersclub.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3473&stc=1&d=1347838360

    On the window regulator. I bought some for my lesabre and other cars when they went out thru the years. I would always buy the whole unit or a pair instead of just a motor.

    -> http://www.am-autoparts.com/2008/Chevy/Impala/window-regulator.html

    On the coolant. I've replaced intake manifold gaskets on two 4.3 engines and one 3.8. And getting ready to do the same on my supercharged 3.8 . Why the failed gaskets? Original were made of thin rubber and plastic and the up-dated ones have thicker rubber and aluminum. Did the coolant take them out or just a bad designed gasket in the 1st place. I always bought the Fel-pro up-dated gaskets.

    Your engine ( LZ4 ) is based on the 3.9 and I think they all had aluminum intake gaskets. They don't have the issue like the 3.1, 3.4, 4.3 or the 3.8. Better. Parts place by you have a free tool rental? Get a radiator pressure tester. When using it, don't pump it up over the caps listed pressure. Follow the steps. They have a book inside to follow. You will find the leak.
     
  11. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I see the power center. Yes, the battery could have been removed in that direction.

    My understanding is that the left rear power window never worked since my sister bought the car (used, maybe 2 years old at the time). There's no noise (other than a click) when I hit the switch on the driver's door or the left rear door. I wonder if this indicates an electrical problem somewhere between the motor and the switches. Maybe it wasn't properly connected at the factory? While I'll admit to the possibility, the power window motor shouldn't go bad at less than 20K miles. I talked with a friend of my brother today. He said that some parts stores stock gear kits for GM power window motors. But if only the gears are bad, the motor should still make noise.

    Thanks for the pressure tester tip. O'Reilly provides loaners, though they usually demand a deposit (fully refundable upon return of the tool). Looks like the cap is on the engine rather than the radiator, perhaps on that crossover pipe. The coolant level is exactly on the line in the overflow reservoir, though I'll admit to not driving it much since adding distilled water. I don't think I lost more than 2 ounces of coolant when I took off the upper hose to remove the battery.
     
  12. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    I highly doubt that the first owner would tolerate a new vehicle with a power window that would not operate properly. So it probably worked when new but developed a problem sometime when the first owner parted with the vehicle.

    You can go to Autozone and setup an account and look at wiring diagrams for your vehicle. Look at
    vehicle repair guides --> wiring diagrams --> fixed and movable windows 2008 --> movable window schematics.

    The wiring diagram shows that the power window lift motor reverses polarity so as to raise and lower the window. At rest or neutral with no window switch engaged, both sides of the window motor armature are grounded. Then when the window switch is moved to the UP or DOWN position one side or the other is powered while the alternate side remains grounded and the motor operates. This is the same logic wiring that Chrysler uses on its power window assembly. So I suspect there is a broken wire in the driver door hinge area wiring boot or a poor connection at the master power window switch on the driver door or armrest. You will need a wiring diagram to trace and debug the wiring between the master power window switch and the power window motor.
     
  13. floridaman2013

    floridaman2013 Active Member

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    As a retired tech, during my time working the floor and after, I have found numerous wiper motors, horns, and window motors freeze, new and old. Access to them, tap a few times with a phenolic hammer or brass hammer while someone holds down the swicth to activate (for the stubborn ones). This will usually free up the drive motor if it is still good. Heck, Even had a few starters did that when new.
     
  14. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    Maybe the first owner was a rental company. Regardless, good information from both. This is something I'll wait until returning to Texas to attempt to diagnose and repair, as that's where my better tools are. Last night, I noticed that, with the key on but the engine off, the other 3 windows worked fine when controlled from the driver's door, but the right rear window wouldn't activate from its door switch. I'll try both rear windows today with the engine running.
     
  15. pt006

    pt006 Active Member

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    Scrounge; sorry for your loss.
     
  16. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    I still feel like the car, along with the house & garage and everything in them, is hers. I did bring it to Texas. It's a pretty good road car, and gets great gas mileage; the only reading I calculated is 33.3 mpg, but the other readings should be similar. I drove it through about 300 miles of rain, and it handled the road without incident.

    It's yet to lose any more coolant. Maybe the smell is residual from before the repair was made, and I had to add distilled water because what the dealer added had yet to settle in the system?

    One glitch developed on the way out of Michigan: a tire warning light came on. The message was Service Tire Monitor System. The pressures were all ok. According to the owner's manual, it could be a few different problems; when I hit the button for the tire pressure monitor, it showed pressures for 3 tires, but none for the left rear. Apparently, that sensor needs replacing. The manual says take it to the dealer, but is that necessary? Could a garage or a tire store replace it for cheaper?
     
  17. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    My son-in-law had a 2007 Chevy Impala with the 3.5 liter V6 engine. He commented that it had 30+ mpg fuel economy and was a smooth, quiet car. His engine leaked coolant at the cross over pipe between the engine heads on the passenger side of the engine compartment. His was out of warranty due to odometer miles so I replaced the gaskets for him on this engine.

    When I compared the old to the new gasket, there was a design problem so the sealing lip on the replacement gasket was different. So the leakage problem was due to gasket design. One would think that after all these years GM could get a gasket design that works and use it over and over and over again. So if an updated gasket was installed you probably will not have a leak in that cross over pipe again.

    Another source of a nuisance problem is an oil leak from the oil level sensor. This engine has an oil level sensor that is mounted vertically through the bottom of the engine oil pan. It is recessed so it is partially protected from obstacles on the road. It is fastened with a bolt and clip.

    It has a tapered oil seal such that when it is pressed into its recessed mounting it wedges and forms an oil tight seal. At least that is the theory. On this 2007 Impala it started to leak, caused nuisance oil drops on the garage floor and can drop oil level precipitously if you are not in the habit of checking oil level frequently.

    The fix I used was at engine oil change time and with the oil pan drained, I removed the sensor, cleaned all sealing surfaces, applied a light coating of RTV sealant and reinstalled. It was a poor mans fix but it worked. Otherwise one would have had to replace the seal (if available separately) or the entire sensor.

    A tire retailer that provides tire sales and service should have a hand held scanner that is placed next to the wheel, interrogates the tire pressure sensor within the tire and checks battery life and its ability to communicate. Best bet here is to call and check and ask but considering the popularity of Chevy vehicles, such service should be available. Fees may or may not be less than a GM dealer.

    I would deflate the left rear tire to about 24 psi and then drive a short distance of 1 mile at slow speed. Stop and reinflate the tire to proper pressure and then drive again. If the battery in the tire pressure sensor is still good, this may "wake up" the sensor and cause it to start transmitting and communicating with the tire pressure monitoring system. If it communicates then the instrument panel display should show a valid tire pressure for the left rear position.

    If that does not work try this. Review this video on how to relearn the tire positions in the tire monitoring system for a 2008 Chevy van. I would think that all GM vehicles in the same model year should use the same logic in the tire monitoring system. A relearn may be all that you have to do.

     
    #17 AllanC, Oct 31, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  18. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    Good information, thanks Allan. Agreed, it's a much smoother, quieter ride than my Dakota. It was Chevy's largest car at the time, though it feels somewhere between a 1960's mid-size and compact car (a Chevelle, say). The other mileage calculation was 33.8 mpg, so that's consistent. At 70 mph, and even a bit higher, it stays just under 2000 RPM.

    When the oil was last changed over the summer, the level was low; my brother saw it, since my sister wasn't in the habit of checking fluid levels. It's not lost any since then, but I'll keep an eye on it, and clean that sensor when I change it (though that might be a while, since I probably won't drive it much until the Michigan house is emptied, cleaned and sold). I'm away from the house, and am not sure which RTV I currently have, but I think it's clear. If I specifically need black, or another high-temperature color, please advise.

    Concerning the tire sensor, I found these:

    http://www.thetpmsforum.com/showthread.php?1701-Chevrolet-Impala-(2006-2012)-TPMS-Reset-Procedure

    http://www.impalaforums.com/chevy-impala-8th-gen-discussion/254832-service-tire-monitor-system.html

    Don't remember where I read it, but another bit of advice was to just disconnect and reconnect the battery. I replaced the battery less than a week before driving down here, so I question whether that will help, but it's a quick enough experiment to try.
     
  19. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    Disconnecting the battery actually worked, at least for now. The tire message is gone.

    Drove into Austin yesterday, and among other places, I stopped at 4 Half Price Books locations. The closest shop manual I found was for 2001 Impala/Monte Carlo models, and they only had Volumes 1 and 3. One of them was $4.99, the other was $9.99. Far more reasonable than the 3 figures I'm seeing online. I don't know how much different that year is from mine, but the V6 engines then were 3.4 and 3.8, and mine is a 3.5 (3.9 was optional), so I didn't buy them. The Lamar/Koenig location also had a 1995 Ram van/wagon compressed natural gas supplement for $3.99.

    Somewhere, I heard or read that the crossover pipe gaskets had 3 different designs during this Impala's model run (I think 2006 to 2013), and 2008 was one of the years it changed. Maybe the dealer put the wrong ones into mine. I'll have to investigate this further, when I get the chance.
     
  20. Rick Anderson

    Rick Anderson Well-Known Member

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    DexCool is GM's version of OAT type anti-freeze, it uses a particular chemical (2EHA) in the anti-corrosion package that has proven to be troublesome. It has been reformulated over the years and is less troublesome today than the horror stories in the past.

    3 major types of anti-freeze IAT, OAT, HOAT. And there are different varieties within those. All have advantages and disadvantages, and your vehicles cooling system was designed to account for those properties, so unless you totally understand what you're doing its best to just stick to what your owner's manual states for anti-freeze.

    Despite what some of the Jugs say on Aftermarket Anti-Freeze, do NOT mix different types, they only get away with this because anti-freeze has been improved that it doesn't congeal like it used when mixed with the wrong anti-freeze.

    The Aftermarket doesn't make it easy for owner's either, by NOT listing what type of anti-freeze they put in the jug and using deceptive advertising on the jug that would lead unsuspecting buyers to believe it is an universal Anti-Freeze, its NOT and often it is GM Dexcool they are selling. Prestone has lost lawsuites, and their advertising declared "deceptive" but they still do it. Hold up a Jug of Prestone GM Dexcool next to Prestone "All Make, All Models, Mixes with any color Anti-Freeze" and you see the ingredient lists is identical. You'll also see both include 2EHA, which is only used in GM Dexcool. Prestone, realizing consumers were getting wise to this has changed the ingredient list to refer to spec instead of actual ingredients.

    Mopar's use HOAT anti-freeze from about 2000-2013 (depending on models some earlier or later, someone correct me if I'm wrong I believe I'm close on the years) same as Ford and Mercedes of that era. Zerex G-05 is the aftermarket equivalent.

    Newer Mopar's use an OAT anti-freeze but like all the other manufacturer's that use OAT, it does NOT contain 2EHA like GM Dexcool.

    Earlier Mopar's, you can't find the original Green (IAT) formula Anti-Freeze OR you just want to switch to a long life anti-freeze, Chrysler HOAT should work just fine.

    OAT uses chemicals that form an oxide over the metal to prevent corrosion, it takes months and at least 5k miles for that oxide to fully form and protect. The anti-freeze has to stay in contact with the metal to keep that oxide intact and prevent corrosion, so if you have leaks or air bubbles in the cooling system, section of the cooling system are NOT protected from corrosion and corrodes, you get rust in the cooling system.
     
    Scrounge likes this.

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