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Pontiac Grand Am Security Passlock Problems



  • I just bought a 2002 GT and have been browsing the forums to see what I have to look forward to. I was able to spot the "textbook" Grand Am problems when shopping for the car thanks to all the contributors i.e. intake manifold gasket leak, fan speed inoperable, power window issuess. The price was adjusted according to the work needed and we reached an agreement. Concerning the passlock issues. Is there anything I should check out now or just wait and see? I have not noticed the security light on when driving or blinking. Also, very impressive procedure on doing the fix. Dick has done a great job documenting the repair. Thanks!
  • Well, I spoke to soon. I checked my records and I had the security light come on solid while driving on August 31st. On December 8th, the dreaded no start and blinking security light occurred. This is on my 2002 Impala. I know I'll either be having the yellow wire snipped or get someone to do Dick's procedure. The Impala's owner's manual is very vague about only says you can attempt it after the security light stops blinking and stays on solid. To the best of my recollection, here is the sequence of events, and how I got the car restarted eventually. If someone can help me streamline my routine...I'd appreciate it.

    Car had started fine in front of the house. Restarted fine in front of grocery store A. Would not start at all in front of grocery store B. Even though all the dash lights came on and the blower for the fan started running, nothing else would happen when the car was in the start or on position. I removed and reinserted the key attempting to start several more times. I even removed the key and inserted it upside down and tried starting. No love. Okay, I know I can skip all those steps...I was in denial at the time.

    I turned the key to the accessory position. I don't think this was the right position to leave it in. I know the PRNDL3L2L1 gear shift indicator came on but not the trip odometer. I think the fan may have started. After a few moments in this position, I decided to advance the key to the on position. Now the security light started blinking in my message center display. There would be two-three blinks in orange of security followed by a red a battery light. On another part of the dash, the check engine display was illuminated. After 9-10 minutes, the security light stopped flashing and stayed solid orange. This once again alternated with the red battery symbol.(The battery is very new and has not given me hint of trouble). I tried turning the key from the on position to the start position. Nothing. I turned the key to the off and then back to the start position. Nothing. I may have done this again. I then may have pulled the key out of the ignition, reinserted and it and attempted to start. took 3-4 tries before the car would start. All lights cleared on the dash. I took the car to my Mom's house and borrowed her old one. I'm now trying to get in touch with a mechanic to get a repair made before I drive it again. In the meantime, if anyone here as an Impala and has gone through this procedure multiple times, I would appreciate it if you could help me streamline my steps.

    Does anyone know if I can walk away from the car and come back and attempt a restart in 15-20 minutes as opposed to sitting in a freezing car for 10 minutes with the key in the ignition? In other words...once the blinking starts...does it time itself out whether you leave the key in the on position for all that time or do you just have to wait 10 plus minutes before you attempt a restart?

    One last sympathies to anyone who has this problem. I never knew ten minutes sitting in a parking lot could be such a long time.
  • According to the Grand Am manual you have to Turn the key to the OFF position after waiting the 10 minutes for the light to go out before you attemp to start the car.
  • Just an info update... My car continues to have the steady illumination of the "security" light, and continues to start & run fine. So I am just monitoring the situation for time being and will most likely put black electrical tape over it to mask it. That light gets bright and distracting during nighttime driving.

    I haven't attempted any additional troubleshooting yet as winter weather is getting nasty here in New England. In fact, lots of lovely snow coming on Friday.. oh joy...
    So I'll make some updates when necessary...

    Happy holidays Dick, and everyone here in the forum. Maybe some day we'll win a lottery and get new cars !!! (maybe I should hint to Santa ??? )
  • I'm not familiar enough with the 2002 Impala to know which security system it has, or the procedure to reset the light. The procedures are similar, but probably not exactly the same.
    My advise to anyone who is having this problem is to first, get hold of a GM Shop Manual for your car, and read the troubleshooting procedure for this problem. The shop manuals are very thorough, and will give you enough information to find out what should be replaced (or modified). I know.... the manuals cost a lot (Around $135 for the Grand Am), but they will save you that much if you keep your vehicle until it has 100000 miles on it.
    They also have the complete wiring diagram on them, so you can trace wiring problems. Don't buy any of the aftermarket manuals... they don't have any information on the security systems.
    Good luck.
  • I've talked to my mechanic and showed him Dick's website but he is still reluctant to perform the procedure. He is trying to find someone with a shop manual who can verify wire/pin locations. I seem to recall reading in this thread that there is some manual that is not useful. I can't remember if it was Chilton's or some other publisher. I have found a listing for 2002 Impala shop manual from a company called Helm Inc. I don't know if this is the official GM shop manual or a knock-off that might not have the info I need. I learned of Helm Inc from investigating the books at

    Does anyone with an official shop manual recall the publisher and/or ISBN number?
  • For anyone who wants a genuine GM service manual for their GM car, here is the website where you can order one:

    For the 2002 Chevrolet Impala, go here: 002&md=Impala&dt=&module=&from=result&Style=W49ZX0CHESLB971&Sku=GMP02WCI&itemtyp- e=N&mscsid=DXMEAJ7VB31C8GALK1VU5RUSA1452RJD

    Personally, I would call the 800 number on the web page and ask to make sure that the Security system wiring diagram is included in the schematics. I know that there is a difference between the preliminary shop manuals that I have seen from the Proving Grounds and the published manuals, but I would hope that none of the information is left out of the final versions.

    Let's hope GM doesn't go bankrupt before we get our cars fixed!
  • At the end of this message I have included a technical service bulletin about the Security/No Start problem on 2000-2005 Chevrolet Impalas and Malibus. At the end of the bulletin excerpt I have included there is a reference to a black wire and a yellow wire that I think are probably the ones that Dick attaches his resistor to. My one concern is that in his BCM the wires are on the same connector(C2) and not on two different ones(C1 and C2)like it is for the Impala. Even though they are on different connectors in this bulletin, I think they are related because of the relative closeness to each other's circuit location...circuit 1835 and 1836. I'm not sure how automobile wiring diagrams are labeled, but I'm thinking maybe they are wires that are separated by a device.(possibly the hall effect sensor in the ignition cylinder that calculates the resistance/voltage of the ignition key)

    I think I have convinced my mechanic to just cut my yellow wire for the time being.(after getting the car started...I'll live with the constant security light) He is still reluctant to add a resistor and in his words, potentially fry my BCM. He had referred me to an ex-GM mechanic but that fell through, and it's probably for the best as that mechanic didn't seem to think the resistor method would work and wanted to change my ignition cylinder immediately. He told Toby(my mechanic), that there are two small white wires that go to components in the ignition cylinder and they are constantly being twisted whenever the key is turned in the ignition. Is anybody familiar with what white wires he could be referring to?

    In my mind, Dick's resistor solution is the most elegant and simplistic followed by another poster's mention of cleaning six small metal contacts in the ignition cylinder or possibly ignition switch. I wish this guy had included photos as I don't have any idea where these "fingerlike"(I think that's the term he uses) contacts are located or how difficult they are to access. I can believe that contacts would go bad more rapidly/often than a solid-state hall effect sensor.

    Bulletin No.: 04-08-47-003

    Date: August 31, 2004

    Security Light On, Engine Will Not Crank, Diagnostic Trouble Codes B2958 and/or B2960 (Repair Poor Terminal Connections at Body Control Module)

    2000-2005 Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo


    Some customers may comment on an engine that will not crank. Others may comment on the security light being on.

    Technicians may find DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes) B2958 and/or B2960.


    These conditions may have several different causes. In each case, however, testing of the BCMs (Body Control Modules) replaced for these conditions are frequently found to be operating to specifications and are believed to have been replaced needlessly. A change was made to the BCM hardware in February of 2003. An updated BCM can be identified by a GMAN169 or higher number found on the BCM part label. This hardware change was made to prevent the remote possibility that a BCM, built after the GMAN169 number, could be the cause of these conditions.


    The following are the likely causes of these conditions:
    1. Damaged or loose/unseated terminals in these BCM connectors may cause a security light or no start condition:

    ^ BCM connector C1 (24-way, pink in color), terminal B9 (white wire, circuit 1459)

    ^ BCM connector C1 (24-way, pink in color), terminal B12 (black wire, circuit 1835)

    ^ BCM connector C2 (24-way, grey in color), terminal A3 (yellow wire, circuit 1836)
  • Interesting info.... thanks for adding it. My terminals at the BCM are all clean and securely connected. When I took out my BCM for inspection, I looked it over very thoroughly and there was no corrosion on the terminals, not even any dust inside the BCM. And when I reinstalled the BCM I made sure I put those three harness connectors on firmly for good electrical contact.

    My darn security light is still on today, but my car starts & runs fine. I was thinking that when I get a fairly warmer day, I might take my radio out and do a visual inspection of the wires around the ignition; assuming I can see the wires via that route. I did have my radio out before because my Pontiac dealer oredered me a brand new one (warranty covered it, whew!) and I chose to install it myself as I wanted it done right away. They were going to schedual it 7 days later.......

    Anyways, if I can see the wires there with the radio removed, hopefully I'll be able to at least make sure there are no loose connectors there. The Pontiac dealer did install a new cylinder and cut me a new key too so perhaps I should make sure all is firmly connected and intact there... Probably a longshot, but at this point I'm out of ideas...

    Happy Holidays everyone !
  • I have a 2003 Alero that I inherited. Same problem. What I've discovered is that when it doesn't start the 12V is missing from the IGN Mod fuse (#41) and the PCM/IGN fuse (#39) I believe the solution is to supply voltage to this bus via a toggle switch, bypassing the whole POS security system. Thoughts?
  • I do remember reading a similar thing on another forum, where people have added a toggle. But I'm not sure as to its purpose... Probably to supply that 12v.
    A question comes to mind... How did the necessary voltage get cut off in the first place? I can't visualize where exactly it got shut off.. in the ignition area? Or the BCM area?
  • The answer to your question lies in previous posts, but so you don't have to read through all of them, here is the answer.
    The 12 V you are missing is controlled by the BCM. If the BCM detects a fault in the Passlock system, it transmits a fault signal to the PCM through the serial buss, and the PCM shuts down the ignition and injectors. The BCM also controls the illumination of the SECURITY lamp in the dash.
    The installation of a switch is covered very early in this thread, and it involves cutting a single wire and putting a switch between the two ends of the wire.

    On another topic, there are many posts in this thread that refer to things such as:
    Car won't start... have to wait a while, then it starts.
    Car cuts out after hitting a bump

    These are not necessarily problems related to the Passlock(tm) system. They are typical problems associated with either bad ignition, or bad fuel delivery. Any good mechanic will be able to cure these problems. He will first check for spark, and next, he will probably check the fuel filter, then the fuel pump.

    If your security light does not come on, you should try another forum.
  • Dick, I have read most of the messages in this thread and many others online, but I only seem to recall one wire that is cut and a switch inserted and that is the yellow data wire, which I'm sure doesn't carry 12V. Is there some message or 20 that I've missed that discusses another wire that can be cut?
  • You are right, hokiemo. That is the post I was thinking of.
    Post #21, Disable your Passlock! by raycorri
    It is probably the one that is being referred to in Message 501 by Tommy01. There may be other posts about supplying power to the two circuits mentioned, but not within this thread, and if there is one, I don't think it's a good idea to implement it. Doing so would be bypassing both the Body Control Module AND the Powertrain Control Module.

    For anyone who has Passlock problems on any vehicle OTHER THAN A 2002 Pontiac Grand Am, I would suggest going back and reading Post #21, #22, #23, and #50. Read them over very carefully. Post #50 has links to several pictures which show how to get to the three wires that go to the ignition switch. These are very helpful. You can actually do the modification that I suggest on my website (Post #394) by cutting the black and yellow wires shown in the fourth photo linked to in post #50, and then soldering a 2.7K resistor between the black and yellow wire ends that do not go to the ignition switch (leave the ends going to the ignition switch dangling.) In this manner, you know that you connected the resistor to the right place. Hokiemo, this applies especially to you, since we are not sure on which BCM connectors your wires go to on an Impala. Having read the last 109 posts, I'm not even sure that my little tutorial on my website even applies to ANY Grand Am other than the 2002 model. I used the shop manual to find out where those three wires from the ignition switch went, and as we have seen in recent posts, those three wires go to different pins and connectors on an Impala.

    Again, please, if you are CERTAIN that your problem is caused by the passlock system, then your answer may lie in the posts I have mentioned above, but if your "SECURITY" light is not on or flashing, this is not the thread for you, and if you are a do-it-yourself-er, you should get the service manual for your vehicle and use it to diagnose your problem.

    By the way, for anyone interested in a cheap way to access data on your particular vehicle, I contacted a company called "ALLDATAdiy", who have online manuals for just about every automobile. I asked them specifically if their online databank contains information about the wiring of security systems. Here is their reply:

    Thank you for your interest in ALLDATA. To answer your question, does supply factory wiring diagrams and connector views for GM vehicles. All diagrams are complete and include the passlock system. With your subscription, you will have online access to all the diagrams, repair information, and detailed Factory Technical Service Bulletins/Recalls for your vehicles. Also, all the information comes from the manufacturer, and is a single vehicle slice from our Professional Product utilized by more than 70,000 shops."

    Their 1 year service is quite cheap ($27.00). contact them at:
  • The local Pontiac Dealer doesn't know what's wrong with the car unless the security light is on while they are working on it.
    It went off before I arrived at the dealership. How stupid are they? A real mechanic needs an eye and a brain, not a computer to tell them what's wrong with a car.

    My 2004 Grand am has 115,000 miles.
    Every now and then the security light would come on over the past year.
    Twice the car wouldn't start. The first time I waited 10 minutes and it started again.
    The 2nd time (last week) i had it towed to the dealer.
    I was nervous thinking the repair would cost over $400. I waited 3 days for an answer. (my car was an emergency but not a priority over customers with appointments) Turns out they just charged me $105 for a diag fee and all they did was perform theft relearn and cleared the code
    for code B2960.
    I was assured i woudln't have a problem with the light anymore. I was relieved.
    A week later, the light came on for 2 hours then shut off. I was now pissed.
    I brought it back to the dealer and they can't pin point the problem unless the light is on. But how do I guarantee the light will be on when they get the car from the lot and drive it into the garage? This is going to be a waste of my time. But I don't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere and can't start my car. What should I do?
  • hokiemohokiemo Posts: 13
    Honestly, I'd recommend you sell the car as soon as possible. You might want to clear the code from the BCM first so that if any prospective sucker(I mean buyer) takes it to their mechanic they will be none the wiser....until it happens to them.

    I have just gotten my 2002 Impala back from an ex-GM mechanic this week. He came recommended by my mechanic who doesn't have the GM computers needed to work on the systems "correctly." Turns out the ex-GM mechanic didn't either and he wound up buying a BCM for twice the Internet price from a local parts dealer and then took the car by a GM dealership where he used to work and had them reprogram the BCM. The reprogramming cost $95 which was half the going shop rate. I wound up spending $600 and don't know if the problem will recur or not. At least now I know I have a current BCM so that rules it out in the future. My next security light will have me finding someone...anyone...who will install the resistor as mentioned previously in this thread...or at the very least cut the yellow wire coming from the ignition switch.(after first getting the car started.)

    Poorer in VA...but wiser. Just bought a 2005 Lincoln Town Car as a back-up.
  • When installing a remote starter on GM vehicles with Passlock a bypass module must be installed. The bypass module bypasses the passlock feature only when the remote starting feature is used. Some people have installed the bypass module in such a way that it defeats the passlock theft protection at all times. This sounds like an alternative to the resistor fix method described. My 2002 Grand Am has an autostart installed. Since the autostart feature along with the passlock bypass module is installed, if I were to develop the passlock problem very common with this car would I be able to use the autostart to start the car every time? I think it would work and buy me some time to fix the passlock issue. Any thoughts on this scenerio?
  • hokiemohokiemo Posts: 13
    Nick, I have studied the Passlock problem intently since I had my first security light pop up unexpectedly in late August. I believe the autostart bypass you have will most likely prevent any Passlock problems occurring for you unless they are related to the BCM(body control module). According to a TSB I read for my 2002 Impala, which said that BCMs manufactured before a certain date(which escapes me at the moment...I think it was early 2003) could generate a Passlock error internally, it seems that most Passlock errors are related to the wiring connections, ignition cylinder, and the ignition switch, and worse, any combination of the above.

    I know now that I have a current and uncorroded BCM, so my next step(if/when the security problem recurs) may be to contact someone who installs remote starters and have them cut the yellow wire, install the resistor, or install a bypass module for me. I think DEI(not related to Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, I believe) is a popular brand name that is commonly available on Ebay.

    Oh, and to answer your question, as long as the problem is not BCM-related, you should continue to be able to remotely start your car or use your key, or heck, even a screwdriver, to start your car.
  • HOkiemo, I have the DEI remote starter in my Grand Am. The bypass module is sold separately since only certain applications require them. They are intended to be used to bypass the passlock only when remote start is activated but can be configured to bypass the passlock all the time. It is good to know that I can use the remote start if I have a problem, provided it is not BCM related.
  • which remote start do you have? i would like to get one that I know works in the car
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