Somebeach (Forum Supporter)
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) Reader
10/18/20 1:00 p.m.

I am fond of odd cars. Hence my interest in the is it a hatch back? Is it a wagon ? Oddity that is the Malibu Maxx. 
 

The SS seems even more interesting a 3.9 V6.  240hp 240ft lbs.  large rear seat legroom to haul kids  

So any performance options for these? 
 

Junk yard turbo or supercharger options?
 

Can you swap in a 6 speed manual from a G6? 
 

Any known upgrades for the 3.9? 


Any engine swaps that should be easy button swaps? 
 

Any cool pics of these things?

 

 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
10/18/20 1:07 p.m.

I too have a weird thing for these. They are pretty rare it seems.

I know nothing about them though.

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/18/20 4:10 p.m.

I owned, for a very short time, the regular malibu of that vintage.  Awful car.   Good for anybody who just wants an appliance to get from point a to point b, but that is all it is good for.  The Maxx just allows you to take more stuff with you.

Will
Will UltraDork
10/18/20 4:46 p.m.

Isn't the Maxx the car that GM was so afraid of labeling a wagon that they called it a "5-door extended sedan"?

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
10/18/20 4:53 p.m.

arnt those transmissions garbage and fragile at stock power levels

 

drock25too
drock25too Reader
10/18/20 8:02 p.m.
Will said:

Isn't the Maxx the car that GM was so afraid of labeling a wagon that they called it a "5-door extended sedan"?

Yes the Extended Sedan, sounds so much better than station wagon. A guy I race with had one for a very short time when they came out. 

STM317
STM317 UberDork
10/19/20 5:23 a.m.
MrChaos said:

arnt those transmissions garbage and fragile at stock power levels

 

My SIL had a Malibu Maxx SS given to her last year. I don't know anything about that car's service/maintenance history, and never even touched it, but it looked clean and had something like 60k miles on it (previously owned by an older family member that rarely drove it). The trans started slipping shortly after that and eventually wouldn't shift into any forward gear at all. New trans time with like 75k miles on a bone stock car. I was seeing some pretty common trans failures in some quick research at the time. Some were resolved pretty easily for a few hundred bucks and others needed full replacement. I think there was a tube in the transmission that would crack and reduce line pressure?

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
10/19/20 5:26 a.m.

best I can provide, and it's not an SS... is Fr3AkAzOid's v6 sedan thread:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/2005-chevrolet-malibu-v6/60988/page1/

I had the pleasure of watching that car make a bunch of Mustang uncomfortable in our Intermediate HPDE run group a few year back.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/19/20 6:01 a.m.

There's really no engine upgrade, the 3.9 is the pinnacle of 60 degree Chevy engines and you're not going to fit anything better in the engine bay.

 

Same for the brakes and everything else... there aren't really any junkyard upgrades when you have the model with the best the factory put on the chassis.

 

I haven't seen any failures in the 4T40 that weren't preceded by lack of fluid changes, or running low on fluid.  The cooler lines start to leak, and there is no dipstick, checking fluid level is kind of a pain if you don't have a lift, so it gets ignored.  That said it's the lowest duty transmission and I think GM only used it because a 4T60 might not fit easily in the chassis.

 

G6 had a manual trans available?  It'd only work if it was available behind a V6.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
10/19/20 6:52 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

G6 had a manual trans available?  It'd only work if it was available behind a V6.

The G6 GTP had a 6-speed manual that was an available option behind the 3.9L V6 in 2006 only. The 6-speed manual was also offered as an option on 3.9L-equipped G6 GT's for only the first half of '07. I just knew such a beastie exists because apparently Fiero guys covet that transmission.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
10/19/20 6:56 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

You could get the 3.9 with a 6-speed manual (F40) in the G6 GTP. They're pretty rare but it OP can find one it should swap in.

gearheadmb
gearheadmb SuperDork
10/19/20 7:07 a.m.

I know nothing about the ss package, but having worked on a few regular Malibu maxxes they seemed to pinnacle gm crappy interiors. I'm not picky and I hated it. It's one of those cars that sit down in it and think, "Wow, this thing is really a piece of E36 M3."

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
10/19/20 7:09 a.m.
... I just new such a beastie exists because apparently Fiero guys covet that transmission.

Coveted by Lumina APV guys too! 

Peabody
Peabody UltimaDork
10/19/20 7:58 a.m.

The G6 with the manual trans is not particularly rare in Canada. I saw quite a few for sale when I was looking for something else. The idea intrigued me so I drove a really nice low mileage GTP.  With that kind of power and 6 spd manual I thought it could be something but it turned out to be far less than the sum of its parts. 

I have a good friend who drove a Maxx for probably 5 years.  It was reliable for him and he liked it, but I never drove it. 

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
10/19/20 12:14 p.m.
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) said:
... I just new such a beastie exists because apparently Fiero guys covet that transmission.

Coveted by Lumina APV guys too! 

And I happen to still have the F40 transmission, clutch, flywheel, halfshafts, intermediate shaft, shifter cables, and shifter from that van/G6, AND they are for sale, if the OP is so inclined. I've still got the 3.9 engine and the wheels and tires to sell too. I really ought to get those for sale ads up...

Anyways, I found the 6-speed fun to drive, and the 3.9 engine had plenty of torque. It's no sports car, but with some grippy summer tires I beat many actual sports cars with that drivetrain in the van at the GRM $2018 Challenge. (There is a 2006 G6 GTP under that van body). I'm sure a normal car with a lower roofline would do even better.

And the Malibu MAXX is the same platform as the Pontiac G6, the normal Malibu, Saab 9-3, and Saturn Aura. That helps make parts a little more available.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
10/19/20 1:20 p.m.

The main thing I remember about the Malibu Maxx is having some of the staff at the GM Auto Show in Motion yelling at me for trying to find its limits in the autocross course. It didn't feel like it was doing anything particularly scary from the inside, just a bit of body roll, But in hindsight, I'm not sure how many wheels were on the ground.

Somebeach (Forum Supporter)
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) Reader
10/19/20 7:45 p.m.

In reply to ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) :

Great stuff thanks for the info. I don't own one now but will be going on watch list. 

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
10/19/20 8:47 p.m.

One odd thing I remember about the Maxx, the rear seat is on a sliding track. The rear bench move fore and aft all as one piece. I'm not sure if this gives it greater rear legroom over the same sedan Malibu or if this is just a intended for better cargo hauling. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/19/20 8:56 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) :

The wheelbase is longer than a Malibu, by eyeball.

 

Guy I worked with bought one in 2013.  It was largely trouble free.  IIRC the only things he had to do were a rack and pinion when the passenger side rack bushing started knocking. a coil pack and wires, and rear sway bar bushings, which righteously sucked because you have to drop the subframe for access. 

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
10/20/20 6:57 a.m.
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) said:

One odd thing I remember about the Maxx, the rear seat is on a sliding track. The rear bench move fore and aft all as one piece. I'm not sure if this gives it greater rear legroom over the same sedan Malibu or if this is just a intended for better cargo hauling. 

It appears to be for legroom - the back seat can slide back pretty far.

fanfoy
fanfoy SuperDork
10/20/20 12:23 p.m.

I'm really curious about those Malibu's and I'm kind of surprised they don't get any respect.

They share a platform with the Saab 9-3 which is pretty well respected.

The engines suck performance-wise, but they are bullet-proof.

Does anyone know if there is a difference between the F40 transmission in the G6 (which is rare) vs the one in the Saab (which is a lot more common)?

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/20/20 1:10 p.m.

In reply to fanfoy :

Bellhousing would be the biggest one.

fanfoy
fanfoy SuperDork
10/20/20 1:15 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I was talking about the V6 Saab's. 

According to this place, a lot of GM v6's can fit

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/20/20 1:45 p.m.
fanfoy said:

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I was talking about the V6 Saab's. 

According to this place, a lot of GM v6's can fit

That is only two GM V6s, the 60 degree (2.8l up to the 3900) and the front drive block version of the Buick. 

Notice that the Quad 4, the Ecotec, and the High Feature are not on the list.  None of those had the "Metric" or "60 Degree" bellhousing pattern that the 3900 (and everything else on that list) had.

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/20/20 8:08 p.m.
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) said:
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) said:
... I just new such a beastie exists because apparently Fiero guys covet that transmission.

Coveted by Lumina APV guys too! 

And I happen to still have the F40 transmission, clutch, flywheel, halfshafts, intermediate shaft, shifter cables, and shifter from that van/G6, AND they are for sale, if the OP is so inclined. I've still got the 3.9 engine and the wheels and tires to sell too. I really ought to get those for sale ads up...

Anyways, I found the 6-speed fun to drive, and the 3.9 engine had plenty of torque. It's no sports car, but with some grippy summer tires I beat many actual sports cars with that drivetrain in the van at the GRM $2018 Challenge. (There is a 2006 G6 GTP under that van body). I'm sure a normal car with a lower roofline would do even better.

And the Malibu MAXX is the same platform as the Pontiac G6, the normal Malibu, Saab 9-3, and Saturn Aura. That helps make parts a little more available.

Still my favorite Challenge car ever !!

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