By on June 5, 2013

Oliver writes:


In December of 2011, through an unfortunate chain of events, I became the not-so-proud owner of a 2007 Malibu. True to its origin as an ex-fleet car, it is saddled with the miserly 4-banger engine rather than the still-slow-but-adequate V6. The only positive attributes of this car are its cheap cost to own and excellent fuel economy for its size. It presently has about 80,000 miles on it – I expect to get another 40K out of it before the transmission implodes (domestic automatic – you get what you pay for).

Currently, my wife is driving it (poor woman deserves a medal) – despite the obvious untenability of this situation; her only complaint is that the steering feels “loose.” We recently took a trip on a highway and I verified that the steering wheel feels like a cheap arcade wheel from the ‘90’s, to the point where it almost seems to turn itself (much like the platter on an Ouija board).

Our mechanic took a look at the steering system and found nothing amiss. Since I don’t believe a car this boring could possibly be home to a poltergeist, and since the system is “functioning as designed” (that’s corporate-speak for “stinks like crap because it IS crap”), I am at a loss for what to do.

I don’t want to invest a lot in this car – it’s an appliance – however, we live in NJ (land of a thousand potholes) and I am worried that the loosey-goosey steering combined with the abysmal condition of the roads here represents a safety concern. My wife has to maintain an iron grip on the wheel to keep from swerving into the other lane on her back-road-heavy commute.

It is worth noting that I have replaced all four struts, brake pads (incl. grinding the rotors), and tires on the car in the time I’ve owned it, and the mechanic found nothing amiss with suspension when he was looking at the steering. The thing drives pin straight until a mosquito farts near the steering wheel.

Is there a reasonably inexpensive (say, sub-$500) way to tighten up the steering? We’re not looking for euro-spec here; just a little more feedback.

Selling the car is not an option – we are not in a position to pay the transaction cost (and there’s ALWAYS a transaction cost to buying a new car), and it fits our needs nicely except for this one issue.

Sajeev answers:

Awesome letter: very TTAC-snarky, to the point that Farago would be proud. Now is tighter steering possible to an extent that people–those who can’t measure mosquito farts–would actually notice?

Subjective matters are just that, but KUDOS to you for already replacing the shocks: an often ignored element in old car ownership. Yet there are a handful of steering parameters you can check/adjust to improve steering response on any vehicle, especially used ones.  In no particular order, and for ANY vehicle:

1. Replace used steering box/rack and pinion assembly.  Why? Because these are wear items, even if they don’t show an external leak or excessive play measured by your trusty mechanic.  And they wear out so slowly that you will never know until its reached this point. We are literally splitting hairs when we discuss tighter steering, so 80,000 miles of wear easily fits into that gray area you must consider.

2. Do a performance wheel alignment, tweaking the factory specs. Read this and discuss with an alignment tech that tunes race cars. If needed and if available, get a set of aftermarket caster-camber plates.

3. Get higher quality tires, use summer tires when possible and play with tire pressures in +1 PSI intervals, front to back.  (Don’t go crazy here, more than 5-10PSI increases probably isn’t a bright idea.) You already have new tires, but remember, you sometimes get what you pay for.

4. For older vehicles with conventional power steering pumps attached to the front of the motor, check out that pulley at the end of the pump.  Underdrive dat pump!  With a fair bit of analysis of other GM products, I suspect you can find a “better” power steering pulley to firm up the steering a bit FOR CHEAP…but perhaps a slower spinning pump won’t change your particular problem. I’d bet on this being the best bang for the buck, however.

5. Get wider wheels/tires!  Not cheap, but these can be sold separately from the car when the time is right.  And if you can find a wider OEM wheel that interchanges, that just makes the conversion cheaper and a touch more stealthy.

Good luck, whatever you may do.

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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65 Comments on “Piston Slap: Better Steering without the Better Car?...”

  • avatar

    Many of the thing Sajeev suggest would only bring the car to a factory new steering feel. What if the car’s already came with lousy steering from new? Can’t get tight steering if the steering’s lousy right from the factory, which many GM products (and others) do. Bigger, more performance-oriented tires do help, though.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    If your car has the GM 2.4L engine, then it has electric boosted power steering. Some people stuck in the past hate electric power steering, but it is the future so deal with it.
    THe good thing about electric power steering is that the controller can be reflashed to change the feel. Before getting too wrapped up with mechanical issues, I recommend getting in touch with an honest and competent (may be hard to find) Chevy dealer with a good service facility and talk with them about any recalls/ upgrades to the power steering system controller.

  • avatar

    Only in New Jersey would someone complain about getting a car for what appears to be nothing and then complain about the cost of getting rid of it

  • avatar

    I would be quite surprised if the transmission grenaded at 120k. This is after all, not a CVT or Honda minivan here.

    • 0 avatar

      This. OP obviously hasn’t owned a Honda automtic from the same era.

    • 0 avatar

      Sometimes I wonder how much of a transmission dying early is related to the owner. You guys probably already know my stance on people being lazy with maintenance.

      I drove at least two cars where people still complain about the transmissions, even though it’s been many years — AXOD and AOD — and one went 180K, and the other went over 215K (not sure, got rid of the car).

      Similarly, a family member used to drive company cars in the 80s, and certain co-workers would complain about a car because it blew an engine within 60K or so, even though other people’s cars were just fine. If this happens more than once, even in the 80s, it’s probably the driver, not the car.

      • 0 avatar

        Very good point. Transmission service usually doesn’t happen until something goes wrong. The service interval is in the manual but we all know who reads manuals. Some premature transmission damage, I’m convinced, is due to the ECU telling the transmission to shift before it’s ready, but people may have been spoiled by old heavy duty GM and Chrysler transmissions that could take abuse.

    • 0 avatar

      If it’s an Aisin Warner, like most of them are, it’s Toyota part owned, gernade?

      Like Corntrollio mentions maintenance is the worst enemy.

  • avatar

    Wow, can’t read into your hate for American cars on this one can we?

    For one, GM builds world class transmissions that Rolls Royce, BMW and other snooty brand companys purchase. Change the fluid and filter and the transmission should last as long as the rest of the car…just like on any other car made except for those with known problems (Honda I’m looking at you).

    The Malibu is an appliance like a Camry or Accord…but you know this.

    So what is it you want? Higher steering effort with less road feedback/feel, or higher steering effort with similar road feel?

    My suggestion is to put a set of high quality name brand higher performance tires on it. Something at least listed as Touring, and maybe even jump up to Grand Touring and the Performance catagory. You would be amazed at how much good tire can change the personality of a car vs. a bargain basement no-name donut.

    Start with just two for the front first…see if you can find some place that will let you test drive for 30 days and swap if you aren’t satisfied…then purchase all four once you find the ones you like.
    The description of your complaint is all over the place…you want more “feel” but there is obviously feel if you are hitting bumps and pot holes and getting feedback through the steering. You want it tighter?

    • 0 avatar


      Obviously never heard of a TH-400. Or for that matter two different Chrysler transmissions that I have, one with 295,000 miles and the other with 166,000. All you have to do is maintain them and not stupidly abuse them.

    • 0 avatar

      Steering weight and steering feel are absolutely not mutually exclusive.

    • 0 avatar

      This is correct although at this point I think GM’s transmission dominance has waned in the Euro luxury segment, but there certainly was a time when the THMs propelled Jags, Rolls, Bentleys, and BMWs.

      • 0 avatar

        Sure, but a THM bears little resemblance to slushbox mated to a four banger. I’d recommend changing the tranny fluid regularly. Dexron is expensive but much cheaper than a new tranny.

    • 0 avatar

      GM’s 4L60e’s were certainly not world class. :) I’m on my third one in 14 years of ownership.

  • avatar

    The advice on the rack is timely, and they aren’t that much money for the increased safety. Plus, I found that urethane bushing replacement while everything is already in pieces to be a cheap upgrade. Aren’t tie rod ends notoriously weak on these cars? An easy thing to miss by a narrowly focused mechanic.Wheel bearings, too, but we’re already way past the $500 price point. This woman deserves his applause, as at my house I am the driver of any substandard car in our “fleet”. It’s cheap insurance against any disputes concerning whatever ‘project” that is clogging the garage, and carport and patio, etc. We work it so she gets whatever I have finally gotten perfect after many U-Pull trips and late night wrenching marathons. No company cars in retirement, and no intention to pay depreciation and interest for transportation, especially with my absurd taste for the unusual.

    • 0 avatar

      I find it preplexing odd that everyone says to work on the front end when if you’ve autocrossed you know how important a rear sway and tire pressure are to a front wheel drive. Sure it’s got to be solid up front the back cannot be neglected either.

  • avatar

    In general, I agree with Sajeev, with a couple comments:

    Definitely bump up the front tire pressure a bit. I wouldn’t go above 35-38 psi (keep an eye on tire tread wear to fine-tune this too), but another 2 or 3 psi over stock will help steering feel and perceived feedback.

    If you go for wider wheels, do not go more than .5 to 1″ wider – not only do you run into generally higher costs for tires & usually the wheels themselves, but generally wider tires & the change in offset (and sometimes camber) that is necessary to make them fit & not rub will make the car tram-line & steer itself when the road surface is rutted, uneven etc (like plenty of NJ roads are).

    Not knowing the type of tires you have, but knowing the focus on budget, I’d recommend better tires. Get all 4 at once & sell the old ones on craigslist or something once you’re satisfied with the new ones. My fiance’s ’91 Toyota Celica had two brands of no-name Sam’s Club tires on it, split front & rear, and the fronts were definitely a bit better than the rears (even tho they had equal tread depth), and it caused all sorts of handling oddities, including locking up the rear wheels when braking, snap oversteer in the wet & dry etc.

    On the same car, at around 110k we had to replace the steering shaft, U-joint, & rack because it stopped returning to center. These are wear items, but on a 2007 model year car, I wouldn’t expect them to be on their way out yet. This is also more expensive than playing with tire pressures, so try that first

  • avatar

    I’ll bet the mechanic did the basic “not going to kill the drive” test on the steering….a basic check for looseness in the rack or tie rod ends.

    Looking on RockAuto, these do come with electronic steering. And there is a part called a “Steering Wheel Position Sensor” I’m wondering if that would cause symptoms like the OP is talking about, e.g. the powersteering/computer is fighting the driver based on the incorrect signals from that sensor. But, as they say, further diagnosis is required.

  • avatar

    …”however, we live in NJ (land of a thousand potholes)”…

    Please, would you like some cheese with your whine there. Having lived in the Great Garden State for 32 years, and driving for 15 of them, you must not realize how good the roads are relative to the rest of the Northeast. Living in Northern Virginia now (you know, the non-retarded part of the state), I pine daily for roads like the Parkway, Turnpike or AC Expressway. In 18 months, I’ve ONLY had 2 tires eaten here (one by pothole, one by a friggin 6-inch piece of metal that escaped from one of the perma-construction sites on a state highway. They use 4-inch thick metal plates to cover potholes, with no gradient between plate and road.

    And don’t get me started on Philly, New Yawk, or Boston roads.

    • 0 avatar

      I live a bit farther south in the state of VA, and I really wish we could take NOVA and just give it to DC; and sink Hampton Roads.

      Sorry, there are a lot of great things about VA, and suburban sprawl filled with pretentious yuppies like yourself isn’t one of them.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t worry, we hate you mouth breathers south of Woodbridge too. But if you enjoy communing with folks whom’s IQ equals room temperature and think NASCAR is a sport, enjoy.

        Just please stop sending us governer’s that introduce terms like ‘trans-vaginal ultrasound’ to the national lexicon.

        • 0 avatar

          Wow, get out of your bubble much. Think everybody else is just a dumb redneck?

          There is far more culture within two blocks of Richmond then there is in all of NOVA. Good bar scene, some really good local music. Not to mention just the sheer history down here. Then there are the wonderful parks he have here on the river, and plenty of nice state parks, rail trails, and other things to do West from here.

          Plenty of good things could also be said of Charlottesville and it’s small university city charm, or even little old Floyd.

          But wait! these places aren’t full of the redneck bigots you’d expect… for that you probably just need to look in the mirror.

          Personally, I live in Hanover. Safe, quite, spacious, and Ashland is around the corner, and everything the city has to offer is only a short drive away. I’ve been around NOVA plenty, and the rest of the state at that. Even spent some time staying in Georgetown. I have a feeling you can’t say the same.

          • 0 avatar

            I own 10 acres in Louisa (remnants of family farm), family in Mineral (Lake Anna for the non-locals), Charles City, Hampton Roads, and Goochland. Spent an entire summer working in Richmond 8 years ago. Spent almost every summer visiting family in Louisa/Charles City/Hampton)

            I don’t hate on Virginia outside the beltway without cause. I’ve been tailed by local hillbilly PD for miles while DWB (driving while brown) too many times to count. The icy cold stares of the white folk in Louisa and the ‘good’ parts of Richmond remind me I’m not wanted there. I’ve had confederate flag waving nutjobs grief me while gassing up my car along 522.

            meanwhile in Arlington, there is virtually no crime, I can walk to work, walk to shopping. Have excellent parks and trails. Museums, theatres, shopping all within walking/metro access. And more importantly, no blatant racists ruining my day.

            You know Virginia outside the beltway from your limited perspective. Walk in my shoes a couple years dealing with all the hootenanny before criticizing me.

    • 0 avatar

      Or south eastern Va in the Va Beach/Norfolk area. There is but one word to describe the shameful state of condition those roads are in and that’s ”shitastic”. Absolutely some of the worst roads I’ve ever driven on. Chicago and Milwaukee had roads in a better state of repair.

      • 0 avatar

        Are you sure about Milwaukee roads being better than the Hampton Roads? Ive never lived somewhere that “my suspension is broken because of the roads” is a common thing to say until I moved to Wisconsin; I moved here from Philly and even I notice how much worse the roads are here. My friend’s Ford Ranger, of all vehicles, is now unusable due to the latest spring thaw, and I didn’t even know you could do that sort of damage to the suspension of a Ranger.

        • 0 avatar

          Two times I visited Va Beach resulted in a toe issue severe enough that it required the steering wheel to be cocked at about the 1 o’clock position to go straight the first time and the 11 o’clock position the second time and you regularly have to dodge craters in the highway that are capable of destroying a tire.

          anyways, perhaps its gotten worse in Milwaukee since my last visit was some years ago, in any event, Va Beach and Norfolk have terrible roads.

          Part and parcel I guess with being the most populous region on Virginia.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Just getting my mosey on down in C’ville as you two exchange not so witty retorts.

    • 0 avatar

      4 Words….

      STATEN MO#@$! F$(@$& ISLAND!!!!!

      ROADS SUCK……..

      Sorry, But the roads Royally Suck.

  • avatar

    Okay – you are the rather non-proud owner of a 2007 Malibu. I feel for you, ’cause these, while entirely serviceable, are not really attractive cars.

    What do you do? You’re stuck with the steering limitations – to your expectations, anyway.

    Want to feel better about the car? Wheels and tires are a good start.

    Here are a couple more:

    1. Add a pinstripe – that gives the car a different profile.
    2. Buy two sets of “Malibu” script from Chevy and affix them to the front doors, either an inch or so above or below the side rub strip. Those will show to the world that you, no matter what others think, are at least PROUD to be seen in it!

    My last Impala including my 2012, I did just that. My 2012 I bought Impala emblems and I-M-P-A-L-A letters and affixed them PLUS the pinstripe and those minor mods set my ride apart from all others.

    In any case, it works for me…

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think that’s going to work for him. He sounds like the old TTAC troll Jimmny, the Toyonda worshipper.

      The only upgrade he’ll appreciate is swapping a Toyota logo for the bowtie or maybe adding some VTEC insignia to quarter panels

    • 0 avatar

      Zman – we’re going to need pictures!

      Morbo – lol! Truth hurts. :^)

  • avatar

    I wonder if the OP means “over boosted” in stead of “loose”. If the steering is actually “loose” as in it has a lot of play, then it’s probably a mechanical problem. On the other hand, if it’s the typical over boosted steering that is common on GM products intended for grandma and grandpa, there is not a lot you can do about it.

  • avatar

    +1 for the alignment. A lot of times a slight alteration in toe or castor can really transform the on-center feel, bump-steer and tramlining behavior of a car.

  • avatar

    Was the car free? Kind of reads that way. Just be happy to have (free) transportation until you’re in a position to replace it. I know you don’t like the car, but try to take care of it while you have it, if for nothing else to keep from breaking down in BFE in the middle of the night.

  • avatar

    My god, this has to be one of the worst Piston slap turn ins in a while (with no part of that landing on Sajeev).

    Domestic transmission are crap? Everything else is just so terrible about the car. If you hate it so much, why in the hell do you still have it, or even bought it in the first place? I rely on the 1978 Malibu to bum around in everyday, and first, with 130k (and 35 years) on the odometer the transmission shifts and works flawlessly as ever. I’m sure the steering wouldn’t be up the snuff for the author though. Heaven forbid he actually drove anything like my antique Jeep; probably would kill himself in the first mile.

  • avatar

    Get your wife to drive a 26 foot box truck for a day or two, when she returns to the Bu she will have the skills of foresight, anticipation and steering with gentle inputs that she is lacking now. Problem solved for under $200.

    • 0 avatar

      Dear God, I drove one of those 26 ft box trucks from Atlanta to DC. The steering wheel had so much play, I looked like a nervous schizophrenic on coke with all the correcting I had to do. It might as well have been a fake driver’s wheel found in modern playground equipment.

    • 0 avatar

      You don’t steer those things you guide them.

  • avatar

    These were very reliable cars, however it is never going to have BMW handling. But vast improvements can be had.

    Here is what I would do.
    * Plus-size the rims 1 inch. The Tire Rack website is a good resource.
    * Install Michelin Pilot Sport A/S tires to equal the diameter of the old tires on the new +1 rims. Set tire pressure to 34 psi.
    * Install heavy duty front shocks. Loose the stock shocks even if new.
    * Take the car to a place that does nothing but front ends. Have them check for wear and get a factory alignment.

    Change the transmission filter and fluid (just a pan drop, no flush) every 30,000 miles. The trans will out live it’s foreign counterparts if the fluid and filter are changed.

    Spend the cash now, drive, and smile.
    You can smile not because of sports car handling, but because of all the coin you can save over the next 5 years.

  • avatar

    I drove a 2000 Malibu for 12 years that I hated more than the hate shown for this 2007 version. I vowed (in 2006) to drive it until it died because it was paid for, and it wasn’t worth much due to some body damage. Well, I finally got rid of it last year when the brake lines rusted out and some electrical gremlins became irritating enough. Not good reasons, I know, but the point is, the transmission and engine were still going strong. In my experience, GM knows how to make transmissions. Yes the car is probably an awful penalty box, but the mechanical’s will outlast your ability to put up with the rest of the car.

    • 0 avatar

      Unfortuantely agreed. I loathe GM for a variety of valid reasons. But I can’t deny the 225,000 miles I got out of an ’88 Sierra. Discounting the broken dash, Crooked S-belt pulley that ate belts like candy, leaky roof, radiator running hot, and myriad electrical gremlins.

      But the drive train was unkillable.

    • 0 avatar

      We got 253,xxx out of a ’01 when we scrapped it in early 2011.. needed tires, brakes/rotors, A/C leaked, and the head gasket was going for the third time. Got $1000 for it from Ford, and that went towards a ’11 Focus SE. Much happier with it, and 32 mpg overall vs the 21 mpg of the Malibu keeps my wife happy.

      How many headgaskets/LIM’s did you have to put on yours?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    There’s enough hyperbole in Oliver’s letter that I am not sure whether to believe his claim that his wife has to fight to keep the car in the lane. I’ve driven a number of numb & feather-light steering vehicles from a 1990s Oldsmobile to a 96 Camry to sloppy slow ratio pickups and can’t say I’ve had a hard time keeping the nose pointed where I wanted it to go.

    I suspect there is a learning curve here that isn’t being adjusted to.

  • avatar

    Moar flush moar poke

  • avatar

    You could get one of those suicide knobs for the steering wheel, embrace the whole loose thing.

  • avatar

    Oliver, check out some Malibu forums. Despite what your mechanic told you, I can’t imagine any semi-modern car should have loosey-goosey steering. Chances are other owners have run into, and solved, the same problem. New wheels and tires strike me as spending a chunk of coin that really doesn’t address the issue, although they might mask it for a while.

  • avatar

    I need to add a first hand example of what OP is saying.

    My Wife’s 08 Grand Prix needed new tires at 50K miles. Instead of the OE Eagle LS’s I went with General Altimax HP’s because they got pretty good ratings and were cheaper than getting raped on buying new Goodyears for it.

    Big big mistake.

    About 2 weeks after we got them I drove it and I couldn’t believe how it was steering. There was probably 3 inches of “play” or mush in the steering, the most vague steering I’ve felt in anything I’ve ever driven. The car would tram-line on the highway, wander and generally drove like a clapped out beater.

    Fast forward 8K miles, I rotated the tires on schedule. The car drove fine, for about a week and then it started it all over again. Needless to say I couldn’t wait for the tires to wear out.

    I’ve sinced replaced them with Goodyear Integrity Fuel Max tires and they have about 10K miles on them now. It is like driving a completely different car. The steering is smooth and sharp, the car drives straight as an arrow on any road and doesn’t follow truck or rain grooves.

    Moral of the story, I would put a months pay on the whole issue being the tires on the car. Any half assed mechanic would be able to find a front-end/steering issue that would actually cause the problems (real or precieved) on a car. Tires….not so easy to figure out unless you change them as part of the diagnosis/solution.

  • avatar

    I agree with the others that bargain tires are a likely culprit. I disagree about upsizing them to wider tires as that also induces similar problems going to a performance or high performance tire is recommended though. You should get an alignment but definitely not a “performance” alignment as that too will make things worse rather than better. Have the toe in increased a 1/16″ or so for better straight line stability. A performance alignment typically goes for a little toe out to improve turn in and sacrifices straight line stability.

  • avatar

    Is that a Corvette emblem on the steering wheel?

  • avatar

    How about replacing the outter tie rods for a start, and getting a good alignment done? 80k, the tie rods might not be “broken” but i’m guessing they’re pretty damn loose. If you wanna go hog wild, do the whole assembly inner and outter to eliminate slop in steering. That’s your most direct link to play in steering, since tie rods do all the steering!

  • avatar

    Several good mentions in here, but one issue I wonder about. Does the car emit a “clunk” when you turn the steering wheel? If so, the intermediate steering shaft may be toast. If so, make sure it’s replaced with the painted gray shaft, that one will last.

    But, it sounds like if this car ran perfectly well for 15 years and 350K miles and never cost him a dime it would still suck.

    No pleasing some people. I’d be happy with an 4-banger Uglibu, as gasoline just went up another 26 cents per gallon this morning and my V6 Aztek is bit thirstier than an Ecotec…

  • avatar

    I am with the alignment crowd here but… Check if the car has been in a severe front or rear end collision. If it has get rid of it immediately. Your wife’s life is worth it because there is too much wrong with that car to be remotely safe anymore.

  • avatar

    I have no love for the 2007 Malibu or that platform offering. It was a God awful car, but, I can’t resist when I see this…

    …it is saddled with the miserly 4-banger engine…presently has about 80,000 miles on it – I expect to get another 40K out of it before the transmission implodes (domestic automatic – you get what you pay for)…

    Tell you what, I will GLADLY trade you for your 2007 Malibu and in exchange I’ll give you a powerful, and *snicker* reliable V6 2005 Honda Accord, complete with 5 speed automatic with 80K miles on the odometer. Oh, one condition, the transmission on the Accord is still the original one from the factory. Oh it still works as part of the deal…for now.

    I find the last bit of your first paragraph even more entertaining when you write:

    …only positive attributes of this car are its cheap cost to own and excellent fuel economy for its size…

    So it’s a serviceable, reliable, cheap to operate, appliance. Yup, sounds horrible.*

    * that was more of a backhanded complement, for me driving an appliance vehicle (e.g. Prius, Corolla, Cruze, Focus) would be a horrible experience

  • avatar

    Some have assumed the 2007 is the same as the P-Body 1997-2005 version.* But this is the ‘Vectra-bu’ aka Epsilon platform. It also has Ecotec 4 cylinder, not the ancient Cavalier motor.

    Go to Euro site for the Opel Vectra and see if there are parts from Opel fans.

    * The 2004-05 Classic was old ‘bu for fleets, again nothing to do with Epsilons.

    • 0 avatar

      IDK, I personally like the 2.4L Twin Cam more than the early Ecotecs.

      Plus, I think the 2.4L was technically the last engine designed by the Oldsmobile division.

    • 0 avatar

      @chicagoland: The 97-05 Malibu is actually an extended N body. The P body was most famously the Fiero, although the Isuzu based cars from the mid 80’s to early 90’s and the EV-1 were P bodies also.

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