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Pontiac Grand Am Security Passlock Problems

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  • Sorry. I did not mean to offend. Most of us here on this forum are in the same boat as you. We have Grand Am's and Alero's which we love, but cannot get service for since they are no longer supported by GM. Sad to say, the only way we can keep them going is by finding mechanics who are willing to work on them, or by making modifications to bypass some of the systems which are failing with age, and are not necessary for proper operation of the vehicle. The modification I recommend on my website is a proven solution to the Passlock problem, researched by several GM engineers. It is only a suggestion to avoid paying $400+ to have the ignition lock replaced, and then have the same problem re-occur within a year.

    I did fail in my previous post to explain that it would not have helped to have the diagnostic unit attached to your vehicle to read out the trouble codes. The Passlock system does not store any trouble codes that can be read out at the diagnostic connector. The standard price for a diagnostic readout is $40.00, according to the Pontiac Manual. Most Chevrolet dealers will do it for $25.oo. If you want a trouble code readout, you should be able to get the best deal from a Chevrolet dealer, but there are probably other mechanics around who will charge less. If you bring your car to my garage, i'll read out the codes for free, (Ok, I know that's not practical, since I live in Michigan, and who would want to drive up here in the cold.)
    Anyway, good luck, and I hope you find a good mechanic to keep your Grand Am running.
    Dick B.
  • canihuhcanihuh Posts: 10
    Grand Am problems found online, please feel free to take a look at these complaints. When will we get some results, Class Action Lawsuit maybe?

    Sent To CAC@PONTIAC.COM

    http://www.allworldauto.com/comments/viewthread.php?cid=636615 http://www.allworldauto.com/comments/viewthread.php?cid=631466 http://www.allworldauto.com/comments/viewthread.php?cid=626559 http://www.allworldauto.com/comments/viewthread.php?cid=625845 http://www.allworldauto.com/comments/viewthread.php?cid=621816 http://www.allworldauto.com/comments/viewthread.php?cid=619915

    http://www.allworldauto.com/comments/viewthread.php?cid=626770 http://www.allworldauto.com/comments/viewthread.php?cid=625514 http://www.allworldauto.com/comments/viewthread.php?cid=619290

    All these are different posts from Grand Am owners.

    www.allworldauto.com/comments/2001_PONTIAC_GRAND_AM_comments_and_complaints_104-- 1473-2001-1.html

    Please take some time to read some of these, visit the above website also. PLEASE.

    Thank You,
    Terry McCullough

    Clarksville, TN. 37042

    owner of a Pontiac Grand Am GT (2001) having same problems and more!!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,890
    Not sure if a class action lawsuit would benefit anyone. Keep on complaining, hire a personal lawyer if you need to, and get others to file complaints with NHTSA.

    A class action lawsuit generally takes several years, by which time many will be rid of their vehicles. And, the resolutions are rarely of much benefit to the consumer and often benefit the company you're suing - example: if successful, each owner will get a few coupons for oil changes, or, say, a $500 off certificate for the purchase of a new GM vehicle. The latter is a likely outcome. I was recently in a "class" that sued Bank of America over unjustified fees and bill pay delays. I haven't had a BOA account for at least 5 years. So I get a letter regarding the resolution - if I sign the form, send it to my ex-spouse to sign, and send it in, I'll get a check for $5 (to split, of course). The lawyers undoubtedly got millions.

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  • Well, I have this problem with my 01 grandam... :( It seems to always break on me, but anywho. I recently put a new radio and sound system in my car from a present from my fiancee... Maybe a month later the Security Red light came on... So we took it out and put in my factory brand radio... Now today I was searching through your forums, and I was curious if putting the new radio in my car could cause such a problem.. And if so will it happen when i put my new radio in again?? And is there anyway I can have my new radio in my car?? ( We are also trying the whole deal of cutting wires and saudering them) I just wanted to know if the radio i put in would cause the same problem. Your help would be MUCHHHHHHH appreciated!!! :sick:
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    The radio is NOT Part of the passlock system. The problem is two fold.
    1. The passlock module fails slowly, and causes intermittent "passlock" lockouts.
    2. The connector at the ignition switch that handles the passlock signals becomes intermittent, causing the same type of lockouts.
    The dealer fix is to replace the module. Trouble is, they don't replace the connector, so their fix isn't permanent.
    Solution can be found here:Bergerweb.net

    If you have already paid to have the ignition switch replaced. Print out the instructions, take them to the dealer, and say you want your f--- money back.

    Unfortunately, there aren't any Pontiac dealers any more. Remember.... the company went bankrupt?????? So for those who think they are going to get a class action suit going...... FAT CHANCE
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    Yes, there are lots of complaints. Unfortunately, there is nobody to complain to. The old GM, having declared bankruptcy, cannot be named in a class action suit, because.... well, they don't exist anymore. The new GM can't be named in a Pontiac or Oldsmobile class action suit, because the new GM doesn't produce Oldsmobiles or Pontiacs. I pity the poor folks who own newer GM cars who think they still have a factory warranty.

    Anyway, Edmunds is a great place to find solutions. I'm glad we still have them!

    Dick Berger
    Bergerweb.net
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Factor in that getting a group of people (the "class action" group) to agree on anything is nearly a lost cause (the larger the group, the worse it gets) and you see why most class action suits go nowhere or only produce results for the law firm that brings them on. The actual people in the "class" usually get very little, if anything.
  • Thank you! You have no idea how long I was arguing with my father about this, and then my fiancee began on me and I really started to think that I couldnt have my awesome radio in my car.. You are such a life saver!!! Im totally coming to you for all my grandams problems, your awesome!!!!Thank you thank you thank you :shades:
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,890
    If any of you with expertise want to jump over to this discussion on the Cavalier:
    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX/.f11dbe0/35
    and see if the symptoms sound familiar, that'd be great. I don't have enough mechanical expertise to know if the problem is similar or not!

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  • I have a 2001 Grand Am that for the most part has been a great car. It does have weird electrical issues but the biggest one (and the one currently rendering the car inoperable) is the Passlock problem. The car started having this problem in January and once we figured out the fix, it was working well enough. I've had to do the override prob 3 time since. The latest time was yesterday but the override doesn't seem to be working. The battery somehow got completely worn down (I had just bought it in Jan when this issue first reared it's ugly head, originally thinking that was the problem) so I got a new battery yesterday and the car still won't start. So here are my main questions:

    Is there a limit to how many times you can do the override before it stops working?

    What's the likelihood that the alternator or starter instead of a problem with the Passlock system?

    If I do the re-wiring that is linked to at the top of this forum, is that a permanent fix to the Passlock problem or just the light on the dash?

    Thanks for any help I can get!! I'm not quite ready to give up on this car completely and I don't want to spend a ton of money at a mechanic that might not give me a true fix.
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    There is no limit to the number of times you can do the 10 minute relearn process for the Passlock system, however, if you have had to do it several times, that's a good indication that a complete failure of the security sensor in the ignition lock mechanism is eminent. Doing the 10 minute reset can also have a detrimental effect on your battery if it isn't fairly new, since the headlights are always on while you have the ignition in the ON position.

    The re-wiring that is linked to at the top of this forum bypasses the passlock module in the ignition lock cylinder, and therefore is a proven cure for the problem. You may also want to look at the same fix, performed by removing the radio. described on my website at:
    Bergerweb.net/AleroSecurity. The instructions are written for an Alero, but the procedure is the same on a Grand Am.

    If the "security" light is on or flashing, then the problem is with the Passlock system, not the alternator or starter.
  • lchensleylchensley Posts: 1
    With the Check Engine Light i had the same problem for a year, i finally figured out that it was the air filter! Replaced it and reset it and it works fine..Now my car just won't start however i dont believe its for the same reason it just dont seem to be getting any gas, i considered all of these stories but my Security Light doesn't flash? sooooo yea im thinking fuel pump? it'll crank but just won't start
  • Ok, so we tried to do the rewiring fix that you previously posted about but we did the one that you had posted elsewhere about doing it to the wires that connect with the BCM, not the wires behind the radio. We followed all the steps but it does not seem to have worked. After re-wiring the system, we did the relearn technique and gave it a full 15 min but the Security light never turned off. Also, when I try to restart the car, it sounds like it's trying to turn over but just never catches. The only light illuminated while I'm trying to start the car is the check engine light. However, the security light is on at all other times. I checked the BCM itself, and it doesn't seem to have any waterlogging issues, and I checked the connectors and they don't appear to be corroded. Not sure what to do next. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,100
    aviellesmom,
    I apologize for your frustration. I would recommend taking the vehicle into the dealer to have it at least diagnoised. Please keep me updated on your situation.
    Christina
    GM Customer Service
  • malbolsmalbols Posts: 19
    aviellesmom , under no circumstances would i be taking this vehicle to the dealer . If you have read the many pages and hundreds of comments here you'd know that the dealer simply does not know how to fix this problem . Of course they will throw every part at it imaginable but usually to no avail . Unless you're filthy rich don't do it .
    Wait for lovemygrandam to chime back in , he will not steer you wrong .
    It just so happens that the resistor fix did not work for my 2002 Grand Am either . I put everything back where it should be and did the yellow wire cut and toggle fix. I had no problems after that . Anyway , hopefully you can wait a little longer to see if lovemygrandam has any other options for you . Good Luck
  • yeah, i'm not too keen on the idea of taking the car to a dealer. don't really have the money for an expensive fix that probably won't work or last. i'd like to do the fix where i can just cut the wire and install the switch but i can't even get the car to start, so i think i'm kind of out of luck there. thanks for the support, though! this forum has at least given me hope.
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    The only thing I can add at this time is to advise to re-check your wiring very carefully. If your security light is still flashing, the relearn process may need to be done several times. If it is on solid, there is probably a short or an open in your circuit.
    Check the value of your resistor. I recommend a 2200 ohm or 2700 ohm resistor. the color code for a 2200 ohm resistor is Red, Red, Red. For a 2700 ohm, it's Red, Violet, Red.
    Make certain, using an ohmmeter, that your work is connected to pins A6 and B6 of the center connector of the BCM. Also, I found out some months ago that the black wire can also be cut, rather than spliced into. If you cut it, leave the end that goes to the ignition switch disconnected, and connect your resistor between pins A6 and B6 of the BCM connector.
    Several people who have read my instructions have mistakenly used a 2.2 ohm resistor, rather than a 2.2Kohm. (2200 ohms). They have suffered the same symptoms as you describe.
    If all the above fails, and reading over the instructions does not reveal some mistake, I would suspect that you may need to replace the BCM on your vehicle. Try to get a used one from a salvage yard... they seldom go bad.
    Good luck.

    Dick Berger
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    Christina,
    Thank you for joining this discussion. We're wondering if there are any service bulletins that can help the mechanic diagnose Passlock issues. We know that the weak links are the passlock module in the ignition switch, and the connector that handles the three wires to the passlock module. Are there any diagnostic tests that can be run through the ALDL to determine if there is a fault in the BCM? If so, It would greatly help if the GM dealers were aware of those tests.
    Thanks again,
    Dick Berger
  • tv2tv2 Posts: 3
    2004 Grand Am was having what I thought was a passlock security issue - went through the yellow wire cutting procedure but the issue continues. Security light is on all the time (since wire cut, as expected). The car will start after 5-10 trys, and then will usually restart shortly after that, but once it has been off for an hour or longer, requires the 5-10 trys again. Any thoughts?
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    The troubleshooting procedure in the Factory Service Manual points to a fuel leak, faulty injector, or fuel pump. The symptoms seem to indicate that you are not getting enough fuel pressure until the fuel pump has been running for some time. Try turning the key to on and leaving it there for a minute or two, then see if it will start on the first or second try.
    If you have many miles on the engine, you may have low compression, which can also cause hard starting. The symptoms you have do not indicate a Passlock problem any more.
    How many miles, and what size engine? Standard transmission?
    Dick Berger
    http://www.bergerweb.net
  • tv2tv2 Posts: 3
    Dick,
    Thanks for the advice. The engine says 3400 SFI on top, and has 68,000 miles. I just attempted the on position for a minute or to as you suggested, but nothing!!
    Tony
  • tv2tv2 Posts: 3
    It's an automatic transmission.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,100
    lovemygrandam,
    If there are any service bullitens on this your dealer will have that information. I am unsure what they do as far as testing for the BCM. That questions is best asked to your dealer. They can provide more informaiton about diagnostic information.
    Christina
    GM Customer Service
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    edited June 2011
    OK, I just got finished reading the service manual, concerning the Passlock Problem.
    If you have performed the resistor fix as described on my website, and you are sure the resistor is connected between pins A6 and B6 of the center connector of the BCM, and that the resistor that you are using is around 2200 ohms, then you have eliminated the possibility that the ignition switch is causing your Passlock malfunction. There are only two things left on your car that can cause the SECURITY light to remain on, or blink.
    1. The Body Control Module
    2. The Powertrain Control Module
    The most likely suspect is the BCM. If you were unable to get the SECURITY light to go off and stay off after the 10 minute relearn procedure, the next thing to try is what GM calls "30 minute Learn Procedure"

    Here is the complete text from the GM service manual. If you don't have a Tech 2 tool, and a Techline terminal, try following this procedure, starting at step 8.
    ________________________________________________

    Theft Deterrent - Programming Components - U.S. Vehicles


    PROGRAMMING THEFT DETERRENT SYSTEM COMPONENTS

    IMPORTANT:

    * The Body Control Module (BCM) must be programmed with the proper RPO configurations before performing learn procedures. Refer to Body Control Module (BCM) Programming/RPO Configuration in Body Control System.
    * If replacing the BCM with a GM Service Parts Operations (SPO) replacement part, the module will learn Passlock sensor data code immediately. The existing PCM however, must learn the new fuel continue password when the BCM is replaced.
    * If replacing a PCM with a GM Service Parts Operations (SPO) replacement part, after programming, these modules will learn the incoming fuel continue password immediately upon receipt of a password message. Once a password message is received, and a password is learned, a learn procedure must be performed to change this password again. A PCM which has been previously installed in another vehicle will have learned the other vehicle's fuel continue password and will require a learn procedure after programming to learn the current vehicle's password.

    Conditions
    Use these procedures after replacing:

    * Passlock Sensor
    * BCM
    * PCM

    10 Minute Learn Procedure

    Tools Required:

    * Tech 2
    * Techline terminal with current SPS (Service Programming System) software

    1. Connect the Tech 2 to the vehicle.
    2. Select "Request Information" under "Service Programming".
    3. Disconnect the Tech 2 from the vehicle and connect it to a Techline terminal.
    4. On the Techline terminal, select "Theft Module Re-Learn" under "Service Programming".
    5. Disconnect the Tech 2 from the Techline terminal and connect it to the vehicle.
    6. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF.
    7. Select "VTD Re-Learn" under "Service Programming".
    8. Attempt to start the engine, then release the key to ON (vehicle will not start).
    9. Observe the SECURITY telltale, after approximately 10 minutes the telltale will turn OFF. The vehicle is now ready to relearn the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or password on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK.
    10. Turn OFF the ignition, and wait 5 seconds .
    11. Start the engine. The vehicle has now learned the password.
    12. With the Tech 2, scan tool, clear any DTCs.

    30 Minute Learn Procedure

    Tools Required: None

    1. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF.
    2. Attempt to start the engine, then release the key to ON (vehicle will not start).
    3. Observe the SECURITY telltale, after approximately 10 minutes the telltale will turn OFF.
    4. Turn OFF the ignition, and wait 5 seconds .
    5. Repeat steps 1 through 4, 2 more times for a total of 3 cycles/30 minutes . The vehicle is now ready to relearn the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or passwords on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK. IMPORTANT: The vehicle learns the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or password on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK. You must turn the ignition OFF before attempting to start the vehicle.
    6. Start the engine. The vehicle has now learned the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or password.
    7. With a scan tool, clear any DTCs if needed. History DTCs will self clear after 100 ignition cycles.

    ____________________________________________

    If you were unable to get the SECURITY light to go off by yourself, with this information, I'm afraid you MUST take your car to a Chevy dealer, and try to convince them to do the full re-learn procedure for you. Be convincing. I have a very co-operative Chevrolet dealer who has helped me several times with my Pontiac. Print out the procedure on my website that you followed, and also print out this message. Bring it with you to the dealer. Some of them are understanding. Ask if you can talk with the "service technician" (they don't call them mechanics any more) that will be working on your car, and explain to him that you got this information from a retired GM engineer. If he refuses to try the re-learn procedure on your car without replacing the ignition module, go to a different dealer.
    Sorry I couldn't help any more than this. By the way, the standard cost of hooking up and using the Tech 2 tool is $25.00 at Chevy Dealers, and $40.00 at Buick/Cadillac Dealers.

    Dick Berger
  • I have 2003 Grand Am and my security light is on, I haven't tried none of the methods mentioned on here but I will as soon as I get off.
  • leehenderson,
    If you follow the steps described on http://www.bergerweb.net , please post back and let us know the results. Use the procedure for the Olds Alero. It's better, and the cars are virtually the same, except it's easier to remove the radio bezel on the Pontiac. Also, don't worry about unplugging the radio to get it out of the way. I have done it many times with no ill effects.
  • Follow my tutorial at http://www.bergerweb.net/PasslockFix to fix the Passlock Problem without doing any soldering.

    Dick Berger
  • jkometsjkomets Posts: 4
    I'm sorry if this was covered in the previous 99 pages, but I did my best to search and came up with nothing. I have a 2004 Grand Am and the security problems were indicative of Passlock issues. Sometimes it wouldn't turn over but the rest of the electrics would work, shorting the starter terminals would cause it to crank but it wouldn't start, and doing the 10-minute security reset would make it start again. For a while now the security light has been on solid, and it hasn't had much trouble starting.

    I did the resistor fix carefully. I consider myself to have decent soldering experience, as I have worked in garages where I did most of their wiring work, and I also dabble in computers. In any case, the connectors were fine and the BCM showed no signs of being wet, but there was some black tape around the edge making me think someone was inside it previously. After the fix, it still starts like it used to and the security light is still solid. I opened up the BCM to test at the board if the resistance was correct, and indeed it was (there is some internal resistance across those pins so some simple math told me what value I should be looking for). This tells me that the BCM is seeing exactly what it's supposed to. I disconnected the battery and did the 30-minute security fix as best I could (meaning I didn't try to start it as it would have started). Is there any hope of making the security light go away without replacing the BCM? Thank you kindly for all your help!
  • If you could not reset the security light using the 30 minute procedure, you may have to take your car to a repair facility that has a Tech 2 tool, and a Techline Terminal. Then you can do the full relearn procedure as described in the service manual. Here is what the service manual says:

    Tools Required:

    * Tech 2
    * Techline terminal with current SPS (Service Programming System) software

    1. Connect the Tech 2 to the vehicle.
    2. Select "Request Information" under "Service Programming".
    3. Disconnect the Tech 2 from the vehicle and connect it to a Techline terminal.
    4. On the Techline terminal, select "Theft Module Re-Learn" under "Service Programming".
    5. Disconnect the Tech 2 from the Techline terminal and connect it to the vehicle.
    6. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF.
    7. Select "VTD Re-Learn" under "Service Programming".
    8. Attempt to start the engine, then release the key to ON (vehicle will not start).
    9. Observe the SECURITY telltale, after approximately 10 minutes the telltale will turn OFF. The vehicle is now ready to relearn the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or password on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK.
    10. Turn OFF the ignition, and wait 5 seconds .
    11. Start the engine. The vehicle has now learned the password.
    12. With the Tech 2, scan tool, clear any DTCs.

    30 Minute Learn Procedure
    Tools Required: None

    1. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF.
    2. Attempt to start the engine, then release the key to ON (vehicle will not start).
    3. Observe the SECURITY telltale, after approximately 10 minutes the telltale will turn OFF.
    4. Turn OFF the ignition, and wait 5 seconds .
    5. Repeat steps 1 through 4, 2 more times for a total of 3 cycles/30 minutes . The vehicle is now ready to relearn the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or passwords on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK. IMPORTANT: The vehicle learns the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or password on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK. You must turn the ignition OFF before attempting to start the vehicle.
    6. Start the engine. The vehicle has now learned the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or password.
    7. With a scan tool, clear any DTCs if needed. History DTCs will self clear after 100 ignition cycles.
  • jkometsjkomets Posts: 4
    Not a bad idea. I have a local salvage yard which is extremely cheap. They charge $17 for a BCM and they have about 10 Grand Ams alone in my generation. If I'm going to spend the money anyway I'd rather not spend it at a shop to have them tell me to replace my BCM anyway, when I can just replace it for less. So here are my two questions:

    1. Would replacing the BCM solve the security-not-found solid light issue regardless of if programming with the Tech2 would help?
    2. Would it be plug-and-play save for a 10-minute learn procedure?

    Thanks again for the great resource.
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