Question about 1997 Chevrolet Malibu

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Fuel Gauge And Temp Gauges Not Working on 1997 Chevy Malibu LS

Okay, well I bought a used 1997 Chevrolet Malibu from a dealer.

Like an idiot, on the test drive, I didn't notice that the fuel gauge wasn't registering... anything. It sat on the peg as if it was empty, so I drove just down the block from the dealer, expecting to put a full tanks worth of fuel in. I clipped in the nozzle trigger, expecting it to jump up to 20 dollars or so... and it only took 6 dollars in fuel. I know that there was more than 6 dollars in fuel in the tank, because I drove it home, which would easily have burned the 6 dollars.

I've read all over about the problem with the fuel gauge needle getting stuck behind (on the underside) of the inactive pin in the gauge cluster after having electrical work done. No joy here, as it is resting on the proper side of the peg, it just doesn't do anything afterward.

I also checked the fuses, but not the fuses under the hood, as I didn't have a way to test them... although as far as the owners' manual said, only the normal type fuse was related to the gauge cluster.

The temperature gauge is also not working, which I find odd, considering that the Tach, Speedometer and everything else is working just splendidly.

The car takes a moment to start when turning over, but not long like a dead battery. I read somewhere about possibly the fuel pump causing the problem with the fuel gauge, which I think would make sense with the momentary lag in starting the car from off.

Anyway, that's as much information as I can give. If anyone needs anymore information to draw a more definitive assumption, please feel free to let me know, and I will do my best to oblige.

Thanks to all in advance.

-Cass

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  • mmatters73 May 11, 2010

    if you very recently purchased this vehicle from a dealer, 30-90 days i would say, you can definately go back to the dealer. if this problem wasnt brought to your attention in the beginning then you have a ligitimate complaint. my ex worked at a chevy dealership for years and so did my father. i know how they work. dont let them intimidate you. call, nag, visit and complain, often. they will get annoyed enough to the point that they will fix it or offer your money back. you can probably even get away with longer than the 90 days so long as it hasnt been like 4-6 months. find out who your salesman was and explain that he didnt point out the problems. I bet you didnt know that dealerships make MORE money off of trade-ins (used vehicles) than they do new ones! oh, wait, excuse me, SALESMEN make, as do dealers, more money off used vehiles. DONT BE SOLD AND SETTLE FOR!!! trust me, they dont want to have to take your car back, THEN fix what was wrong with it. they'll make more off it if they just fix the problem. it is tax deducatable for them.

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If you can, take the car to a shop and have them connect a scanner to it. With the scanner they can do a gauge sweep of all components in the instrument cluster. Using the scanner you choose what gauge you want to sweep then command that gauge to sweep from "low to high", "empty to full", "hot to cold" etc. If any gauge in the cluster fails the test you will have to buy an instrument cluster. You cannot buy individual gauges. The cluster is serviced as a unit. Remanufactered units are available ranging from $ 275.00 to $ 500.00. GM had alot of problems with their instrument clusters. You send your cluster in to be rebuilt and they send it back. If you just go buy one and give your old one as a core and the one you buy is not the right one you are stuck with it . You cannot return it. So it is best to send your old one in. Most likely when more than one gauge is affected it is the cluster that is bad. Hope this is helpful.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009

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If the only symptom is inoperative guages, the problem is not likely a fuse.

One likely possibility is that the instrument voltage regulator is bad or has loose/damaged connections. It's on the back of the instrument panel.

I don't think the slow start is related to the instrument problem.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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