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Pontiac Grand Am Security Passlock Problems



  • Thanks for the advice. I'll give it a shot. Get this - I took it to an independant mechanic. They replaced the lock cyclinder which got rid of the security light. It started up so I brought it home. The next day - it doesn't start. Acts just as it did when I took it in. GRRRRRR.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Changing the lock cylinder won't do anything to the typical Passlock problem - the Hall effect sensor is on the ignition switch, not part of the lock cylinder. Go back and read post 394 and look at the link supplied. Very good info and permanent repair without any major work. Passlock is a bit more complicated than presented, but the technical operation really isn't important for the bypass shown.
  • When you pull out the lock cylinder there is a Integrated Circuit chip connected to it with 3 wires including the infamous "yellow" wire. Isn't this the Hall effect sensor?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    You must be talking about the ignition switch then. The lock cylinder is the center part that the key goes into that simply turns inside the switch. It's not an IC by the way, it's a simple magnetic switch. If you haven't done so go look at post 394.
  • According to the shop manual, when your SECUTITY light is on solid (not blinking), it indicates that something has gone wrong with your security system WHILE YOUR CAR WAS RUNNING, and the Body Control Module has bypassed the security system. In this case, the security system is no longer working, and therefore, it is NOT the cause of your engine not running. I'm not a mechanic, I'm an Electronics Engineer, so I can't diagnose your problem, but the indication is that you have something other that the security system wrong with your car. If you look back to several previous posts, you will see that when you cut the yellow wire to solve the SECURITY problem, your car will run, but the SECURITY light will be on solid.
    Unfortunately for you, there is more wrong with your car than the security system, possibly bad ignition system, bad injectors, or a bad Body Control Module.
    You could try the modification suggested in Post #394, which would certainly eliminate the security system from your possible culprits, but that leaves several other possible causes for your problem, and tripower1 is likely right about it not getting fuel.
    Dick B.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    By the way, your link in post 394 is very good.
  • raycorriraycorri Posts: 13
    I thought you guys would find this interesting. Apparently, the makers of these bypass modules have finally started marketing these things as a means of bypassing the passlock without adding the remote starter. (And actually providing the instructions.) It's about time someone has broken the silence in some sort of industry.
  • I've read several hundred of these 400 plus replies in this thread along with a hundred or more in several other automotive forums. It's all a painful jumble in my head, but I think I want to go the route mentioned by Ray Corri in post #405....get some sort of learning module used by a remote starter company like Passlock2 or DEI Viper PLJX(I think that's the alphabet soup of a name) The Passlock2 website only mentions the 2000 Impala and not my 2002. I see that there is a Passlock, a Passlock I and a Passlock II and also something called Passkey. I went to the link in post #394 and compared its description of how the Passlock system can be bypassed with what my owner's manual says. His owner's manual gives a specific timeframe whereas my manual for the 2002 Impala says, "If the engine stalls and the SECURITY message flashes, wait until the light stops flashing before trying to restart the engine." No ten minute time frame is mentioned. Anyway, bottom line, I'm trying to determine what version of Passlock, Passkey, or whatever is used on my 2002 Impala(3400 V6 E Vin code) so that I can order the right type of bypass module. I hope people will start posting reviews of whatever remote starter or bypass module they use and how it worked for specific were the you need to know how to solder, read a VOM, etc etc.
  • Does anyone know of a reputable mechanic or auto place in the Hampton Roads(Newport News, Hampton, Yorktown, Norfolk, Va Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, etc) area who installs remote starter kits? If I buy a remoter starter kit(aka bypass module) I won't be physically able to install it myself. I don't have the directions included with the kits so I don't know if your average shadetree mechanic can handle this or if it is best left to someone who works with car/audio installation and the like. I have tried Googling Passlock along with my area and only get hits on car dealers selling used cars who are touting the Passlock as a if it were a good thing instead of a nightmare.

    Thanks for any and all advice and information in advance to this post and my previous one where I posted before signing my name.

    Danny Moses
    Yorktown, VA
    2002 Impala Security light came on while running for the first time today...and I know what is in my future and am trying to be proactive for once.
  • Also since then when the car stalls the Service Engine, Battery and Oil lights now come on.

    It is normal for the Service Engine, Battery, and Oil Lights to come on when the vehicle stalls. It happens every time I stall mine by letting the clutch out too fast.
  • The more electrical they put on a car the more problems you get.

    This is simply not true. In 1953, my Ford had no electronic stuff on it. I had to adjust the points every 3000 miles. (you don't even know what points are, do you?) Had to change oil every 1500 miles, adjust the brakes every 3000 miles, change spark plugs every 3000 miles, Reset the idle speed every 3000 miles, Adjust the valves every 5000 miles.
    I haven't done anything to my 2007 vehicle and I have over 44000 miles on it. All I've had to do is change oil every 6000 miles, and make sure there is enough air in the tires. Also, I get 36 mpg... my ford got less than 20 mpg.
  • ok, here's whats happening with my car now...after cutting the wire, and doing the toggle switch thing, messing with that switch like you said, still nothing. Some days it goes, somedays it doesn't. BUT, I did notice a slight humming sound when the car won't start, which has gotten louder now. It's like a humming clicking sorta sound, but we can't tell where it's coming from, any ideas? I had a tune up before I drove the car from Florida to Illinois, which was a month ago. The battery isn't even six months old either. I have the oil changed every 3000 miles as well. Would the fuel pump make that funny noise?
  • I thought my problem was the security system as I had problems with it in the past. I had it towed to the car repair place and then it started fine without any repair. I drove it home - next day it wouldn't start again. Turned out to be the fuel pump. Mine has 75,000 miles on it.
  • Well, after my car was finally hauled to GM this is the story. They checked my fuel pressure, very low especially when not starting. Changed fuel pump, didn't fix it. Then they replaced my PTM under their cost, after the PTM was replaced, the car wouldn't even start at all. Traced a signal being lost from the Engine Switch and replaced it at their cost, finally!!!!!!!!!!!! Found it and fixed. So, needless to say, over $3000 spent in the last 3 months to finally fix the ignition switch, a $300 job. With all these new parts the damned car better run for the next 10 years !!!! I just wish these cars came with better abilility to diagnos.
    Still love my car, just happy it is fixed. Would I buy another pontiac, NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!!!!!!!
  • I bought a 2001 Grand Am this summer. I've had trouble starting it within a few weeks of buying it. I wish I never bought it! Once it wouldn't start for 2 days! Good thing it was in my dooryard when this happened. I'm scared to drive it too far away from home. I would sell it but I couldn't be that dishonest to put that problem on someone else. "Way to go Pontiac!"
  • marley6 wrote...I've had trouble starting it within a few weeks of buying it. I wish I never bought it!
    Is your security light on, or flashing. If not, your problem is probably not related to this thread. The first thing I would do is have a dealer tune up the vehicle. The previous owner probably never changed the plugs, oil, and fluids. A tune-up can at least eliminate some of the obvious problems, like fouled plugs. While you have it at the dealer, have them check the compuression. Who knows how the previous owner treated the car.
  • What have I done to you. Yes I remember points and setting them with a book of matches and I remember valve adjustments and speedometer reset, all of these were normal maintenance required by the owner. Todays car's with all the electrical stuff gives us all new things to worry about and their things we have no control over. Your luck you have a good one and so do I, but other people didn't get so lucky. Things that affect a good car- time of the week it was made, union problems at that time, did the assemble line person get sex that night of not or did they have to many beers the night before. These little things can vary much cause a good car to be a problem car. It's not the design that's the problem it US the american worker who doesn't care any more.
  • We started having the problem with the security light back in 2004 on our 2001 Grand Am. Besides stalling if we hit a bump in the road it would just die. We took it to the GM dealer 3 or 4 times. We paid over $400 and they could not fix it. Finally the last time we took it in they claimed it was because the battery was low and charged us $75.00 to charge the battery. My husband went nuts. I thought he was going to shove the invoice down the head mechanics throat. I finally got him out of the garage, told the mechanic what he could do with the invoice and took it to the local mechanic. He was able to fix it in 2 days and we have put 100,000miles on the car since. Unfortunately it is starting to act up again and with almost 170,000 miles i think we may try the bypass explained in the earlier post rather than paying to have the ignition redone with parts that will probably go bad again.
  • My 2001 Pontiac Grand AM is missing the shroud that says "Pontiac Ram Air" just under the hood at the front. Anyone know the part number for this so I can get another one?
  • lee464lee464 Posts: 4
    Dick, I'm planning on performing your suggestion, under mesage 394 on my daughters 01 Grand Am. Sounds easy enough. Question: How much current will be relized through the 2.2K resistor and will the current be present while the car is turned off?
  • I believe that the voltage across the resistor will not exceed 5 volts, but even if it were 12 volts, the current would be 5.5 milliamps, so you can get by with a 1/8 watt resistor. There is no voltage present on the line when the ignition is off, so there is no current through the resistor.
  • lee464lee464 Posts: 4
    Thanks for the info Dick. I'll let you know the outcome when I'm finshed.
  • Dick,
    Thanks for the info. I also work for GM and think it's ridiculous that customers need to go through all this to "fix" the issue. I recently bought a used 2003 Alero and within two weeks the vehicle did not start for my daughter. Luckily it was in the garage. When I went throught the 10 minute reset procedure the car started right away, but the security light stayed on solid. I knew about this problem before I bought the car, so yesterday I performed your procedure (post # 394) using a 5K resistor between the black and yellow wires located near the BCM. Everything went OK and the car started right away, but the security light still stays on solid. I tried the 10 minute reset procedure to "learn" the new resistance value, but the light is still on solid. Any ideas on how to get the light to shut off?
  • Steve,
    My experience has been as follows:
    1. Before performing my modification, the car was running properly with the security light off..
    2. With battery disconnected, I cut the yellow wire, strip a section of the black wire, and solder a resistor between the black wire, and the section of yellow wire which goes into the BCM.
    3. Reconnect the battery
    4. Go through the 10 minute reset procedure to learn the new resistance.
    After step 4, the engine will start ok, and the security light doesn't light up or blink anymore.

    Normally, if you perform the procedure I described, you will have to go through the 10 minute learning procedure UNLESS you are lucky enough to have guessed the correct value for the resistor.

    According to the people I have asked, (I can't give you names or I'll have to come over and kill you..) the light being on continually indicates that the system has detected an open circuit, and that the security system is running in the "disabled" mode. This leads me to believe that now, one of several things have happened:
    1. There is a malfunction in your BCM, which could be something as simple as a corroded pin in the center connector.
    2. The black wire or the yellow wire is broken between the resistor and the BCM.
    3. One of your solder joints became loose, and the BCM detected this while the engine was running.

    I would try to eliminate 2 and 3 first, by pulling the connector off the BCM, and measuring the resistance between the connector pins that go to the black and yellow wires. There should be only one yellow wire going to the center connector, and the associated black wire should go to the pin directly opposite the yellow wire pin, on the other row. If you measure 5kohm between these two pins, the your solder work and the wires are OK. Check the pins for corrosion, and also check the connector on the BCM for corrosion.
    If this does not reveal the problem, You probably have something wrong with the BCM. I'm sorry to be the bearer of that kind of news. Before replacing the BCM, though, I would try a smaller resistor, something between 1.5kohm and 3kohm. These are around the middle of the range which The BCM will accept.

    The puzzling thing is that even before doing the mod, you did the reset procedure, and it worked, but the security light stayed on solid. That part is not covered in any of the tech writeups, and nobody that I have talked to can verify that that's something that normally happens. I have a feeling that doing the reset with an open circuit may cause this condition.

    Here's something you could try.
    Disconnect the battery, and leave it disconnected for at least 30 minutes.
    Re-connect the battery. Turn on the ignition switch. If the BCM is OK, the red light should no longer be on solid... it should be off or blinking.
    If it's still on, then the problem is probably inside the BCM. Blinking means you will have to do the 10 minute reset thing. Off, means it's ok, but as soon as you try to start the car, you may get the warning, and you will have to do the 10 minute reset.

    Hope this all helps. By the way, you won't get any of this information from your local mechanic. Good luck, and I hope you get it running with the security light off.
  • lee464lee464 Posts: 4
    I made the modification and all went well. Your instructions made it quite easy. As I installed the resistor I got to wondering what an acceptable tolerance should be. Would 10% be adequate or should it be held down to 5%?
  • I haven't been able to ascertain what the acceptable tolerance is for the resistor. Since the BCM learns the value, regardless of what it is, I assume that any resistor with a stable value would be adequate. A 2.2 kohm 10% carbon resistor may measure anywhere between 1.8k and 2.44k, but will be fairly stable in value unless operated over a very wide temperature range. (Temperature effects resistance). The obvious choice would be a metal film resistor (usually 1% tolerance), but if you use a carbon resistor, it won't make any difference whether it's 5 or 10%.
  • lee464lee464 Posts: 4
    Again, thanks for the response Dick. I installed the 10% carbon. My daughter has to go thru the 10 min. cycle as a result of temp swings I'll remodify to the metal film and be done with it. Take care. Lee...
  • I've just paid for a second trip to the dealer to "fix" this problem. Now I find out I could have possibly reset the system myself.

    Does anyone know why the dealer isn't willing to share this information? I feel that I've been ripped off twice. If all they did was turned the ignition key to on for 10 minutes, they sure get paid very well to do it ($170!). And then it sounds like there is another thing they could be trying (modification). But they haven't even suggested it.

    I'm more concerned than ever when I read that the car can stop running by just running over a bump.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    If you have an owners manual, the ten minute reset procedure is in it.
    The Passlock problems aren't typically triggered by "going over a bump", but by wear on the sensor mounted to the ignition switch.
    The modification procedure isn't a GM approved repair, so you probably won't get a dealer to do it, but maybe an independent shop would.
    If your dealer is really charging you $170 just to do the reset, it's time to go somewhere else.......
  • Hi all
    I have an '03 Grand Am...same story as I've read in alot of posts here!
    It started with security light coming on while driving an odd time or 2 a few months back. A little over a month ago I was next door at the neighbor's and the car wouldn't start, security light flashing. Read the owners manual and did 10 minute reset, and it started. I have had to do the 10 minutes reset a few times in the past couple weeks, and yesterday the security light has come on steady and stayed on, car starts fine so far. That means the Passlock is disabled, but I am kind of worried that it will just up and quit on me -- and I live almost an hour from anywhere LOL (safety issue ??) and usually have 2 children with me!
    I found the BCM and want to check the connections there, and I know how the dash all comes apart etc to get to ignition but can't quite figure out how to get it out as a whole unit...I have a parts car and want to try swapping ignitions, key and all. In theory I should be able to do that and do a reset?? if I understand correctly.
    I don't want to try permanent bypass and cutting wires husband would want to choke me !! He's a trucker and away on long haul right now.
    It has a new fuel pump only a few months old.
    I hate dealerships because they see a woman and think sucker.
    My GA has 209 000 KMs yes that's 209 thousand and it was purchased with just shy of 50000 on it. This is the first major issue with it, has had new wheel hubs in front (typical GM front wheel drive issue, had an 94 Olds Achieva and a 92 Sunbird , both had same prob, but I do like how easy it is to replace the whole hub, and not have to press in bearings and such) and a new turn signal switch because of the known issues there. Also one time I had my horn start blowing for no reason a couple years back, it burnt the horn out. All this was under warranty at the time.
    Which makes me suspect corrosion at the BCM.

    Sorry this is long ... :confuse:
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