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Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
2/26/15 9:10 p.m.
Knurled wrote: If the coolant is cool, the trans is cool.

Under normal (commuting) operating conditions, yes. I doubt the in tank cooler is designed to transfer enough heat to keep up with running the thing on a track.

In any event it's due for a pan drop, it's not really a sealed trans as much as one without a dipstick down the fill tube.

Good idea on a PS cooler too.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
2/27/15 7:31 a.m.

Electric power steering. Think I agree on a pan drop with fresh fluid and a cooler for the trans.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
4/19/15 5:44 p.m.

March VIR went well, tires wore evenly and only chunked the tiniest amount. Very little roll onto tires shoulder. Tires I have are a good 3 seconds slower then the Continentals (225w&320tw vs 205w&280tw), but at least they didn't self destruct.

Car at Mayhem to have trans fluid changed and trans cooler added, also adding oil cooler as well as baffling of the oil pan, and possibly a few other things depending on what they find/my budget.

Getting a dyno for kicks and hoping they can remove speed governor. As is car stops accelerating before I am even up the incline on the back strait at VIR.

Knurled UltimaDork
4/19/15 5:56 p.m.

HPTuners doesn't have support for the '05 Malibu. We looked into it since we have one and one of my co-workers has a 3.5l Maxx.

No, I have no idea why. They support everything BUT the pre-'07 3.5l Malibu.

Dunno about EFILive.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
2/26/17 9:45 p.m.

Back from the dead...

Went to replace a worn out exhaust gasket that was leaking and the bolt breaks (was rusted down to 2/3 size already). Bolt is welded onto the piece of exhaust that the cat is on and GMs answer is to buy a new one at like $800 (HAA!!!).

Pulled the pipe but the cat couldn't make it past my after market oil cooler so I ended up with an unexpected oil change and taking the oil cooler hoses off which gifted me with a Valdez level oil spill due to the pan not being able to get under the hoses as the jacks were in the way.

I triumphantly defeated a stuck O2 sensor and have removed the exhaust piece with the broken bolt.

Will be taking it to an old school auto parts store/machine shop and am hoping that they can drill the old bolts out and set me up with new hardware that goes strait through.

Ordered new gaskets from GM partsdirect and hoping their shipping is fast as VIR charity laps is this Friday and I have signed up for Trackdaze at VIR on 3/20.

Since image shack went pay for use and ate my pics I have been putting off re-hosting my pics but I hope to fix that and have updates for the thread a bit more.

Other updates....

Early 2016 put in a Malibu SS front sway bar (22mm 7.2 lbs vs stock 19mm 5.0 lbs) with poly bushings, also upgraded front end links (Moog 13mm 2.8 lbs pair vs stock 8mm 1.6 lbs pair) which has stopped the rolling onto the tire sidewall and I went to Potenza Re-71R tires (still 205 width) and got my first sub 2 min 30 sec time at VIR full course spring 2016, then hurt my knee at work and knee surgery and recovery has taken forever.

I am finally back to where I don't need a cane and can get to the track and more importantly work on the cars, though driving a manual at the track would probably be a bit too much.

Got a new to me Gtech Pro data acquisition tool and can't wait to see what more info will do to help my track times improve. Hope I can set up an overlay with future GoPro videos.

Got ripped off to the tune of more then I would admit to my wife by a mail order PCM tuner saying he could remove the speed limiter on the Malibu and do a mild engine and transmission tune.

Had a baseline dyno, then when I got the second pcm (kept stock one) had a before and after dyno and..... the "tuned" pcm made 5 hp less the whole rpm range. Also the gas gauge didn't register and the low gear tap to shift didn't work. Tried a bunch to get a partial refund or have him fix the tune but was just ignored. Went back to my stock pcm.

Future plans...

Get speed limiter removed....somehow. It's been limiting my top speed with current size tires to about 107 mph.

If I can get that done, then....

I plan to put the car on a diet. Hoping to be able to remove about 100 lbs between my tow bar (known 40 lbs), removing sound deadening( 20-30 lbs?), lighter battery (save 10 lbs?), removing rear speakers (10 lbs?)and dropping 10 lbs myself as I have put on a few between the pneumonia and knee surgery killing my activity level over the past 18 months.

Getting another set of wheels. The 16" ones I have are decent but I want to bump up to 225 width tires and feel 8 inch width would be better then the 7.5 inch I have now. Also the wheels I have are super generic, were on Tire Rack for like 6 months before the whole line on Tire Rack went poof. Looking to go with these O.Z.

17" , 1/2" wider, and about a pound lighter each.

I will feel better about them holding up against the abuse I put them through at the track.

Since I would then have dedicated track wheels I figure I would get new rubber with a set of Proxy R888.

At that point I would be looking for a shop that can do a full custom suspension for the Malibu.

Front change to coilovers and rear would get uprated spring and dampers as the rear wouldn't work with coilovers. Not sure the rates I would want but would like to keep it soft enough to still pound the gators at most tracks without upsetting the car but stiff enough to run 100 treadwear tires on the track an back off camber from 3 degrees to 2.5 in the front so I don't chew up street tires quite as much. Also figure 18mm - 22mm (0.7-0.9in) drop.

So long as life doesn't start throwing lemons at me I could have this all done by spring 2019.

Could have it sooner but the Miata needs work as well.

Wish me luck.

TED_fiestaHP Reader
2/27/17 6:00 a.m.

Rather than add wheel spacers, I would have ground back that strut bracket, removing the corner of that bracket would not have harmed or changed anything. Upper camber plates might help to provide more adjustment, if needed. Lighter is always better. For the battery, the lightest / cheapest option, look at lawn tractor batteries. They come in 3 different amp ratings, the one with the largest rating should work fine to start the car in warm weather. The exhaust could be lighter, could make up a simpler and lighter system, have it exit the side just in front of the rear wheel.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
3/21/17 9:34 p.m.

GMpartsdirect.com sent me the wrong gasket so I got one from a local place but car wasn't ready for VIR charity laps.

Took wife's Nissan Rogue instead. LoL

Even Pace lap speeds felt fast in that thing. Got the supper hard no season tires squeeling a couple times though.

Wife asked if she could ride along with me when I go to a track day and she is off. :)

The Gtech Pro kept blowing fuses, think it's the vehicle power supply. I don't have a track day for a while so I will have a friend solder it between now and then and see if it's fixable. Contacted the company that made it and they were decent enough to offer me $100 off a new unit.

Yesterday went to VIR with Trackdaze, 28F degrees when I got there but warmed up to mid 60's.

The personal best I had from last spring got shattered and I haven't done any changes to the car except play with tire pressures.

Dropped from 2:29:51 to 2:26.74, now that is a huge driver improvement.

Turn 10 at the top of the climbing Esses doing 90+ mph with my street tires screaming the whole way through was a bit of a pucker moment the first time. Then I learned the car can handle it and it was fun catching up to Z06 with big aero in that corner.

Left an hour early as the universe kept giving me hints to go home.

I had three 30 min sessions then a 30 min session, 10 minute break then open track for two hours.

After doing my 30 min session, taking a 10 min break to double check tire pressures, clean the windshield and gas up I went back out on track for 50 minutes. At that point my neck started to hurt a little going through the long turn 1 and I made two small goofs on corners I usually nailed every time.

Figured I would come in and take 10 or 15 min to get a drink and more gas and go back out.

My car had a different idea. Gas cap couldn't click on, it would turn but not get really tight, then pop off. I could get it to stay on but it wasn't as tight as the cap should have been. What I get for buying a cheap one when the seal on my factory one died.

Was foolishly considering doing a couple laps anyways, then when cleaning my windshield noticed a headlight that worked perfectly fine that morning had gone out.

Finally taking the hint and not wanting to drive 2 hours in the dark with one headlight, or 20 min in the wrong direction to the nearest auto parts store I packed up and headed home.

All in all, a great time was had and many a person with an expensive toy was left baffled by the Malibu.

May try to edit a video and post it if I get any interest.

Esoteric Nixon
Esoteric Nixon UltraDork
3/22/17 2:17 a.m.

I for one would love to see a video. It's awesome that you've stuck with this car and have really turned it into something amazing. Here's hoping that folks take a break from a certain destruction-inducing unicorn to check out your thread.

4cylndrfury MegaDork
3/22/17 12:46 p.m.


2 things:

  • glad to see this is still taking part in you r"shock and awe" campaign! (shocked to see a grocery getter laying it down, and in awe that it actually does so well!)
  • what has happened to image shack? I cant see any of the old images . When I try to ninja the links out (click quote, and copy the image link into another window), all I get is a login page for imageshack (boo)

Seriously though, Im really impressed that youre able to continue to have a ton of fun in this thing!

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
3/22/17 2:02 p.m.

Image shack went pay to use a while back and i haven't gotten around to re-hosting the pics yet.

4cylndrfury MegaDork
3/22/17 2:58 p.m.

oh, ok. No sweat. I wasnt aware of the changes at imageshack. I just wanted to make sure that there wasnt an issue on my end. No need to fool around with re-hosting...

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
3/23/17 9:55 p.m.

Fastest lap 2:26:747 even with the BMW holding me up a little.


Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
3/25/17 5:04 p.m.

Put together a compilation video of the day. The first 2/3 is me kicking butt in Intermediate group. At 25:30 when it's open track the Advanced and Instructors leave me in their dust.
The first bit of the video was when temps were in the 30's, pace picks up throughout the video.


Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
3/26/17 12:20 a.m.

OK, finally got around to re-hosting images so pics should now be showing up in my posts on the first 2 pages.

Went looking through my pictures to find ones I may have meant to post but never did so this post will be a bit picture heavy.

Here is my dyno from May 2015.

Swapping out my front sway bar was a mini adventure. First, to get the sway bar out I had to drop the back of the subframe 2 inches.

Here the old and new are side by side.

LS sway is 19mm and 5.0 lbs

SS sway is 22mm and 7.2 lbs

That is a 16% larger diameter and 44% more weight. Internet says stock bar (LS) is hollow, I'm betting the SS bar is solid or at least less hollow considering weight didn't increase proportionately to the diameter increase.

Switched from rubber to Urethane bushings, however the bushing I got was a bit too wide to fit between the two retaining collars on the one side of the sway bar.

Looked around the garage (and yard) and this is the solution I came up with.

I would like to thank GRM Magazine for this article as I came across this problem and their solution of a couple washers worked perfectly to eliminate the gap seen in the second picture.

Here are the different endlinks, LS, SS, Moog.

LS 8 mm, 1.6 lbs pair

SS 10 mm, 2.2 lbs pair

Moog 13 mm, 2.8 lbs pair

The stock endlinks were weak end would bow once past their designed range of motion, the SS would have been a bit better but the Moog ones I found are nice and beefy and should put up with the abuse I throw at this car for quite a while.

Finished product.

OK, so I can't get a grease gun to fit into the zerk without doping the subframe a couple inches, hopefully I won't need to do that too often. This upgrade has really helped with camber deformation and reducing tire roll onto their sidewall.

Photo Dump...

Calm before the storm 2012 and 2017.

Oak Tree from when I walked the track.

Cool new toy I saw at VIR Monday.

What 8 seconds looks like at VIR. A comparison between my best lap from fall 2013 and this past Monday. https://www.youtube.com/embed/u9u5Ka4-iB4

All the abuse I heap on my poor Malibu and it doesn't even get a spot in the garage.

Also for some reason it is wearing rolled up carpet as a hat.

/photo dump

Hopefully I didn't break the internet.

sleepyhead Reader
4/19/17 1:19 p.m.

I'm glad I opened up this a while ago, and am getting around to reading it now.

It's awesome seeing this in-person and mix it up on-track. And it was a pleasure to meet you too, bummer that I didn't figure out that you were on GRM. Although, the teething issues with my car have kept me preoccupied of late... and definitely hindered me that day. In a lot of ways, my current track car is where this car was 4 years ago.

One suggestion, if I might, is that you look into 949's 5-lug 6UL, instead of the OZ's. It might be a tad lighter, and a little bit cheaper.

I'll have to keep a closer eye on this thread, and hope to see you out at the track again.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
4/19/17 2:05 p.m.

In reply to sleepyhead:

Thanks for the wheel info but the Malibu is 5x110 so selection is limited. Will do some more poking around though.

Just got layed off 10 days ago and my wife's SUV got hit by someone not paying attention so unless I get lucky my spending this racing season is on hold.

May make a thread for the pitfalls of my first attempt at collision repair though.

I spoke with so many people at VIR last month, which car was yours Sleepyhead?

Nessumsar New Reader
4/19/17 2:42 p.m.

In reply to Fr3AkAzOiD:

Freak, there are 90° zerk fittings available that would allow you to grease the bushings without dropping the subframe. You probably need these 1/4-28 90° SAE Zerks.

wvumtnbkr UltraDork
4/19/17 3:03 p.m.

I have mucho experience with this tire chunking issue. It is usually from not getting a heat cycle on the tires before REALLY beating the crap out of them.

Camber and tire pressures have had little to do with it.

It is the tire breaking its molecular bonds post being formed. If you give it a full 24 hours after getting them up to a decent temp before beating on them, this problem should resolve itself.

The other issue is tread block size. The all seasons and other tires have small treadblocks that squirm. That is creating more localized heating.

I bet with nothing more than a tire pyrometer and tire pressure gauge (plus changing the alignment with the new info) you could drop 4 to 5 seconds off your fast lap in 1 day.

I love that you are doing this! Keep it up!

sleepyhead Reader
4/20/17 10:17 a.m.

sorry to hear about your misfortunes, hopefully things start turning around soon.

i had the black Acura at VIR. We had a nice discussion about tires.

I'm pretty sure the 949's will work... ish. You linked to OZ's on tirerack that showed 17x8 et 40mm offset in a 5x110... unknown hub-center bore. the 949's are available in the same 5x110 et40mm... although i'm not sure about the back spacing... and have a 73.1mm hub-bore, which might mean you'll need different spacers (assuming you'll still need to run those thanks to the camber).

949's site indicate these were developed for the fr-s... so there might be more options out there if you hunt around... and are open to cutting the fenders and mounting flares, since a lower offset wheel will help with clearance on your strut.

see, a silver lining to trying out body-repair?

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
4/20/17 2:50 p.m.

In reply to sleepyhead:

Oh cool, hope the shakedown run in the TL went well. Forgot, do you live in the Raleigh area?

Plan to keep the Malibu as stock looking as possible, I know box flares rule all things but keeping the Malibooo as sleeper as possible.

sleepyhead Reader
4/21/17 11:53 a.m.

I boiled the brake fluid in the second session (hence the hazards) at the end of the back straight, trying to get around that Focus RS. But that was my fault for not going with hi-temp fluid from the off. Then again, I knew I was going to be putting in new lines and pads right after that track-day... so I thought I'd see if I could get through it on OEM.

Issue has since been corrected.

Nope, not in Raleigh. Up in NoVA, but the in-laws live out west of Martinsville... so VIR is a "two-birds with one stone" venue for me.

dean1484 MegaDork
5/23/17 10:19 p.m.
Fr3AkAzOiD wrote: . All in all, a great time was had and many a person with an expensive toy was left baffled by the Malibu.

Best line of the whole thread. Made me smile!!!!!

BrokenYugo MegaDork
5/23/17 11:35 p.m.
Nessumsar wrote: In reply to Fr3AkAzOiD: Freak, there are 90° zerk fittings available that would allow you to grease the bushings without dropping the subframe. You probably need these 1/4-28 90° SAE Zerks.

Or maybe a slide on coupler, hard to tell if there is enough room.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
11/30/19 8:35 p.m.

I'm not dead and neither is the Malibu!


Ok, updates....


Spring 2018 off track excursion at VIR going backwards down rollercoaster at 50+ mph.

Had finished my 30 min session and track was going all open for 2 hours.

Dummy me took 10 min to get a drink of water, hit the bathroom, gas up and went right back out.

About an hour later after not catching little warning signs I dropped a wheel on rollercoaster and tried to save it when I probably shouldn't have.

I couldn't stop the spin but was able to get it into neutral to not kill the trans and went onto the grass backwards at 30-40mph. 

Was able to keep from hitting anything, checked the car out in the lot and drove it home.


Made some rules to help prevent it from happening again.

No more then 40 min on the track at a time, minimum 20 minute break out of the car between sessions.


No more track days till November 2019 (about 18-20 months).

Built a pair of gaming PCs for me and my daughter, got my wife a new suv, picked up a '98 Celica GT convertible to mess around with, knew the Malibu needed tires, brake pads, and an alignment before going back out at minimum.


The track days went great, Thursday for Grand West, last session was in the rain but good weather the rest of the day.

Friday full course, mid 40's and sunny. Broke my previous lap record by a over half a second even with it being cold (2:26:09).

And most importantly I stayed on the track and didn't break anything.

Got my GPS data thingy working, messed with Dashware but couldn't get it to work with my unit.

Just put together something on the demo of RaceRender.

Let me know what you think.


FYI, the Miata in front of me is a K24 swap. Miata get interesting at 220+ whp.


90BuickCentury New Reader
12/1/19 10:04 p.m.

Cool video. I like that it's such a basic car that you've done a few things to and just run it. 

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