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Pontiac Grand Am Security Passlock Problems



  • Debragee said.......
    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...................

    We have laws in many states that would subject the dealers to a suit if they even suggested to you that you bypass the security system on your automobile. The information you need to reset the security system is included in each and every GM owner's manual. The "FIX" described by me on my website bypasses the security system on the car, (makes it inoperable). By the time you need this fix, the security system is more of a bother than a benefit, so there is no reason not to bypass it. Please re-read the information on my website at
    You will note that my article describes rather precicely what the owner's manual tells you to do, and when it happened to me, the first thing I did was read the owner's manual
  • crimsonglory,

    Once you have the panels off from the underside of your dash on the passenger side. you will be able to squeeze the little levers on the bottom side of each of the connectors and pull them off of the Body Control Module. They fit quite tightly, so a bit of effort is required.
    To remove the Body Control Module from it's mount, you must push it toward the right side of the car. It is held into it's mount by friction, and you will probably have to push quite hard to get it loose. The mount is a V shape, so once you get the BCM to move a little, it will become easier to slide it out.
    When you re-install it, just push it up into the v-shaped mount, and slide it toward the left until it is securely in place.

    If you have a spare ignition switch module, and you know it works, you could try swapping that out, but it's much less of a hassle to just do the modification, because you will still have only one key necessary for both ignition and doors.
  • Thank you so much for the info. I will check the BCM and maybe swap the ignition, not sure about that yet. I might just get a new ignition keyed to my key. I will let hubby decide if he wants to modify & bypass.
    I plan on driving my Grand Am until it falls apart :P
    I'm off to a good start eh?
    I think education and forums like these are the best defense we have against dealerships and mechanics who think they can pull stuff over on people just because of lack of information.
    There are some good shops, and some very very bad ones...
  • I'm so glad I stumbled onto this forum, and this thread. I also belong to the now infamous "Passlock Pandemonium" club. I am going to try your method, lovemygrandam. Thanks so much for taking the time to make that helpful site! And to all here that replied with all the helpful info.

    I think I located the proper resistors on the Radio shack website; item number is 271-1325; and it is a 5-pack of 2.2k one-quarter watt resistors. The cost is 99 cents for the package. I am pretty sure that is the kind needed; mabey somebody with more experience than I can confirm that please?

    My Pontiac dealer installed a new lock cylinder for me 9 months ago, and cut me a new key too. (luckily extended warranty coverage.. now expired though) all was fine til about a month ago when it is starting to act up again. Engine will crank fine, but wont start.... and the security light flashes. the usual 10 minute wait enables a normal start after the wait period.

    Now I have something new too ... The security light will periodically illuminate while driving the car. Nothing abnormal with the driving; but the light will illuminate steady.
    I get to my destination fine... shut off the car... and it will restart fine (most of the times) but sometimes will force me to do the 10 wait.

    I'm getting tired of this baloney so I'm ready to tackle your tutorial, lovemygrandam.
    Can you please confirm for me, after the modification, the security light will NOT illuminate after the mod? And is it safe to say that no trouble codes will show up and be a problem in future yearly state car inspections? I don't know too much about those svs or ses codes; hoping that your mod will not throw any codes.

    Again, thanks so much for taking your time for that tutorial; I hope to attempt this soon before it gets cold here in New England; nothing worse than doing fine solder work outside in 10 degree temperatures!

    I hope to to do the mod soon, I just hope those are the correct resistors that I found at Radio Shack. If those are the correct resistors, I hope to return here and give my results. Thanks everyone... Tommy

    EDIT >> I forgot.. My car is a 2000 Grand Am GT1.
  • It's been a year and no more passlock problems. Thanks every one for all your input, My daughters Olds alero has been running problem free.

    Terry :) :)
  • Tommy01,
    The resistors you ordered from Radio Shack are the correct ones.
    I can't say for certain, but I think that any time that that you are driving your car, and something abnormal is detected in your Passlock(tm) security system, the Security light will come on solid. When that happens, you will be able to continue to drive your car until you turn off the ignition. Then, when you try to restart the car, you may have to do the 10 minute learning routine, or.... the Security light may be on solid and remain on when you turn the ignition to on, and you will be able to start the car and drive with the Security light on, or..... everything will be ok, and you can drive normally.
    Having read through all the 400+ posts in this thread, my advice to anyone who begins to have Security Light Problems is this.
    1. Check to make sure all the connectors on the BCM are good, not corroded.
    2. Make sure the BCM does not have water in it. (possibly from heater hose leakage?)
    3. If the above two things check out OK, DO THE MOD!

    After the mod, you will probably have to do the 10 minute (12 minutes on mine) reset. Once that is done. the security light will be off and remain off (forever). You will NEVER get a security light unless something goes wrong with your BCM.

    I'm not sure whether any diagnostic codes are set when the 10 minute reset is performed.

    A quick note. When you do this modification, you are replacing an electronic circuit, with a passive component (a resistor) which is considerably more stable. The security circuitry in the Body Control Module reads this circuitry and determines if it is the same as it was when it was last calibrated. If its not, it assumes that someone has messed with the ignition switch (the favorite way for car-thieves to steal cars), and shuts down the car.
    Now, when your ignition lock module begins to fail, if you replace it, (for a fee of ~$400), you solve the problem until the lock module fails again, and it seems the replacements don't last as long as the originals. If you replace the lock module circuitry with a simple 2.2k resistor, you solve that problem FOREVER. The only downside is that ONE of the many ways of stealing your car will be easier for the thief.
  • I can't thank you enough for all your time and your indepth explanations to everyone here with "Passlock Pandemonium" problems. I've learned so much; thank you!
    Lately that's exactly what my car is doing... It will now start fine, but the security light stays on illuminated while I'm driving. After I am at my destination and shut off the car, the next start is fine too, and the security light continues to stay on solid.
    It's funny now, because the last two weeks I had to do the 10 minute wait period... But now the light just continues to stay illuminated...

    I think I'm going to take out my glovebox and have a good look at that bcm and look for signs of corroded contacts or possibly moisture. I've never had any water leakage issues at all; but I seem to recall some people having water get into the passenger area via a "cowl". I'm not sure where that cowl is... outside by the windshield wiper area, maybe? That black plastic panel under the wipers? When you say check the bcm for water, do mean to actually take it down and shake it; or just look at the contacts for possible corrosion?

    I wish I knew what the dealer installed for me 9 months ago when he installed the new cylinder and cut me a new key. I wonder if he also installed that new part for the (hall effect) too. Not sure, but I think it's a seperate part from the cylinder... The whole cost was over $400.00 so I assume it was the whole darn thing. luckily my extended warranty covered it; but of course now the warranty is expired.

    So... I guess my first step is to thoroughly check out that bcm, then contimue the troubleshooting from there. I'll check those contacts too and make sure they are clean and allow good clean contact. If the cleaning doesn't resolve anything, it will be time for me to get those resistors from Radio Shack.

    Thanks again so much lovemygrandam.. I hope to post my result here as soon as I do the troubleshooting. Your knowledge and explanations are so easy to understand and I'm sure we are all learning this Passlock easier because of that.. Thanks!
  • Hello, I just fixed my passlock problem forever with the resistor method as mentioned here and on . Thank you to whoever wrote up that how to. I was very simple and only took me about 10 minutes to get at the wires and solder in a 2.2k 1/4 watt resistor.
    Waited 10 minutes with key on and then she stared up no problem!!
    Thanks again
  • Smaidens,
    I wrote up the procedure and posted it on my website because I wanted to condense all the information I have gleaned from this blog into a more concice place, and make it less of a mystery how the Passlock system works, and how to fix it. I'm very pleased that several people have been able to do this modification successfully, and have their cars back in service. I only wish that the information was easier to find, without resorting to back-door looks at technical manuals. Even the GM Shop manual is vague on this subject, and since most auto mechanics are not whizzes at electronics, it is easy to be displeased with the service at the dealership. Most of the mechanics are doing the best they can with the information they have available, and believe me, the mechanic only gets a tiny cut of that $75.00 per hour that you pay to the dealer for car repairs.
    Sharing the technical workings of your GM automobile would go a long way toward customer satisfaction. Most owners are very satisfied with their GM cars, but get disgusted when something goes wrong with a feature that they don't really need, and they can't bypass it to keep on using their car. When this happens, we have to depend on great forums like this one to get the help we need to keep motoring without mortgaging our house.
    Anyway, smaidens, thanks for the compliment.
  • After months of inability to start, followed by the ten minute procedure, the car has evolved to where it starts and runs all the time, but the security light stays on all the time too. Apparently I am in "fail-enable" mode. Does anyone know if I install the resistor that is often talked about, after being in the "fail-enable" mode, will the security light go out ad stay out?
  • Calderone,
    If the cause of the failure is the ignition module, then doing the resistor mod AND doing a 10 minute reset will cause the Security light to go out and stay out. If the failure is in the Body Control Module, or a break in the serial data bus between the BCM and PCM, then the resistor mod will not help. So far, I don't think anyone who has had this problem has found it to be caused by the BCM, at least not anyone who has responded to this blog.
  • I just got back from Radio Shack; I picked up a package of those resistors. I hope to do the mod tomorrow if it's not raining... no garage port to park in and I don't want to leave my door open in the rain while I'm laying down on the car passenger side floor with my legs hanging outside, lol..
    I'll post here as soon as I tackle it... hopefully tomorrow or the next day.....
  • I knew I forgot to ask something earlier.... When you pull off the three connectors off the bcm, would it be adviseable to give the pins a brief shot of WD-40 to ensure a good electrical contact for when the connectors are reinstalled? Or is better off to not spray them ??
  • I have an 2002 pontiac grand am i bought it two years ago. One day i went to go start it and it wouldn't START! I was at work the time this happened and my boss told me to leave the key all the way to the right on the on position for a while and i did and it started.If you leave the key on the on position for ten mins it will rest your car. Also if you have an grand prix you can disconnect the battery for ten mins and it will also reset your car. I have met ALOT of people who have said that they have spent thousands of dollars trying to get this fixed and no one can figure out why pontiac's do this. I love my pontiac but things go wrong with it and its always the same problems as everyone else.So i figured i would try to spread the word on how to get your car to start with out having to pay thousands for it. Oh and also on the grand am while your waiting for the car to reset you can tell when it has reset wa :) tch for your sercurity light to stop flashing. I hope this will help some of you>
  • Tommy,
    I don't know if spraying the connectors with WD40 is a good idea, because I don't know if it is an insulator or a conductor. If it's an insulator, then it would not be advisable to spray the connectors with it, since it may cause intermittent connection. If it's a conductor, you would have to be careful to just get the spray on the contacts, and not on the connector body, because doing that would cause shorting between pins.

    I do know that WD40 is a good solvent for other types of grease, so you may want to spray the connectors a bit to make them clean, and then spray them again with alcohol to remove any residue from the wd40. I personally would just use alcohol to clean the connectors, making sure they dry before re-installing them.

    Also.... to kelvey08. The information you gave is useful, but it has been stated in this thread many times before, along with lengthly explanations of why it happens, and how to fix it. Please re-read the entire thread, and also check the how-to at
  • There is a special electrical cleaner. There is also a product called dielectrical grease that you can put in/on the connectors.
  • OK, let's not get confused here. If you have connectors which have rubber or neopreme boots... the kind of connector normally exposed to the weather, then it's a good idea to coat the boot with dielectric grease. Understand that a dielectric is something that DOES NOT conduct electricity, and so, should not be applied to the contacts.
    The most common use of dielectric grease is to conduct heat from power electronic components to a heat sink. Here is a quote from the manufacturer of a dielectric grease.

    "Dielectric grease is a non-conductive grease. Because it is non-conductive it does not enhance the flow electrical current. Electrical conductors should not be coated with dielectric grease prior to being mated. However, dielectric grease is often applied to electrical connectors, particularly ones which contain rubber gaskets, as a way to provide a non-conductive lubricant and sealer for the rubber portions of the connector.

    The widest use of dielectric grease is in high-voltage connections associated with spark plugs. The grease is applied to the rubber boot of the plug wire. This helps the rubber boot slide onto the ceramic insulator of the plug. The grease also acts to seal the rubber boot, while at the same time preventing the rubber from becoming stuck to the ceramic. Generally spark plugs are in located in areas of high temperature, and the grease is formulated to withstand the temperature range expected.

    Another common use of dielectric grease is on the rubber mating surfaces or gaskets of multi-pin electrical connectors used in automotive and marine engines. The grease again acts as a lubricant and a sealant on the non-conductive mating surfaces of the connector. It is not recommended to be applied to the actual electrical conductive contacts of the connector."
  • Well, an update here... Unfortunately I didn't have too much luck, dammit... All went fine with the project, I double & triple checked all my work; took my time and did it right. Even measured the resistor to be certain it was precisely the correct ohm reading.

    Not sure what the problem is but with the mod done, the "security" light still stayed illuminted, and... the "service engine soon" and "service vehicle soon" lights were illuminated too. Not knowing what to do at that point, I "de-modded" the project and returned to the way it was. By doing that, the svs and ses lights were not illuminated anymore, but the "security" light was illuminated.

    I sat there thinking about it, and the only thing I can think of is that I did a mod two years ago to disable my daytime running lamps. That project entailed "dropping a ground", if I recall correctly... And I'd venture a guess that it's that ground that botched up today's project. That drl mod has been flawless; not a single issue at all for over two years.

    I'm not exactly sure but I'll bet that the drl mod that I did two years ago came into play here in some way; probably that ground wire... Off the top of my head right now I can't recall exactly what two wires were used in that mod. It was an easy mod that many Grand Am owners have done without fail, and mine always was and still is fine today. Never a ses light... never a svs light... nothing. Even the "security" light did not come on with that drl mod neither; that "security" light has come around five weeks ago.

    Today when I did the mod, my car started fine on the first try, and run fine too. But with the addition of those two trouble lights I chose to revert back to what I had.
    I didn't have to spray the connectors because all three were shiny clean, as well as all the pins on the bcm module too. A visual inspection of the inside of the bcm was spotless clean too; not even any dust.

    So that's the way I left it for today.... It starts fine; runs fine... just that dreadded "security" light illuminated. So.... must be some other problem somewhere. The dealership replaced the cylinder for a before and also cut me a new key too, and that did get rid of the light until the last five weeks. I wish I knew if the dealer installed a new "hall sensor" thing; (i think that's what it's called) but I don't know whether just the cylinder was replaced or what.....

    So I guess I'll just have to either get used to the security light, or troubleshoot some more. Why, oh why does Pontiac sometimes make things difficult for us, lol????? I think I sprouted a few more gray hairs today, lol..
  • no drl
    at the BCM, locate Connector C2 (center)

    On the "B" side row of pins, locate the dark blue wire (b4)

    Cut this wire, leaving as much as possible still attached to the BCM.

    Now simply add on a piece of wire to the side that is still connected to the body control module. attach this wire to a good ground, like a screw in the metal part of the dashbehind the glove box or I used the interior light mounting bracket screw right there next to the BCM.

    The BCM now see's this to mean that the regular headlights are on, and so it energizes the relay that turns off the DRL's

    Update >>> Took me some time, but I located the tutorial that describes the drl mod. This was specific for year 2000 and 2001, as I believe I remember that the wiring was changed after 2001. But anyways, this is the one I followed two years ago to disable the drl's. When I study it, I actually can't see where this mod would alter or prohibit today's passlock mod that I tried. But.... that drl mod did entail working on the MIDDLE connector of the bcm; that is maybe a clue to why today's didn't work for me... I'm not quite experienced enough to trace or plot why it might impede the passlock mod...
  • tommy,
    I remember reading about that DRL Mod. That's how I originally found out where to find the BCM, and I studied the service manual to see what it entailed. That circuitry has nothing to do with the Passlock(tm) system. Here's a hint though... Remove the center connector from the BCM, and then using an ohmmeter, measure the resistance between the two pins of the connector that correspond to the black and yellow wires. The resistance should be the same as the resistor you soldered into the circuit. If not, you may have an open black or yellow wire. Also, there are more than one black wires on that connector. Make sure you use the one that goes to the pin that is adjacent to the yellow wire, but on the other row. It may be impossible to read the pin numbers on the connector, but the yellow wire will be 6 pins over from one end of the connector, and the black wire will be 6 pins over from the same end, but on the opposite row.

    When the 10 minute reset does not work, the usual problem is that the circuit is open. My first thing to do would be to try the 10 minute reset thing several times, exactly as described in the service manual.
    1 Turn the key off.
    2 Turn the key to run position and wait 10 or more minutes until Security light turns off.
    3. turn ignition off.
    4 Turn ignition on and start engine. security light should remain off.
    If that doesn't work, it may be time to find another BCM at a salvage yard, but rest assured that you have now eliminated the ignition cylinder from the possible causes, because it is no longer in the circuit. That black wire, and that yellow wire do not go to anything else on the car.

    PS, I tired this mod on an Olds Alero, and instead of stripping some of the black wire off, I just cut the black wire and the yellow wire, and soldered a 2.2k resistor between the two ends that came from the BCM. The mod worked fine. I just left the other two ends of the wires unconnected to anything.
  • I'm positive that I used the correct black & yellow wires. When I had my BCM out, I verified the exact pin numbers that are stamped on it. I made doubly sure before cutting ? soldering anything that I had the exact pins.... one wire on row A and the other on row b adjacent to it.

    Hmmm.. has me stumped now...... After the mod, it started fine.... no 10 reset needed; it started right up and ran good for about two minutes and then I turned off the car because of those two service lights illuminating. So at that point, I de-modded and took out the resistor and put the wires the way they were. I maybe should have did more troubleshooting but darkness was coming and I needed to have the car available first thing this morning.

    It's pouring rain here today, but I might give it another shot. When you said to measure the resistance, did you mean to take the measurement at the actual connector, or the pins on the BCM ? I do have a darn good digital ohm meter too so maybe getting that measurement will help lead to the culprit.

    I sure wish GM left more slack wiring down there !!! Not a heck of a lot of it, lol...
  • Thanks for the information-I had my Grand Am's wire cut and the mechanic put in the passlock kit because the connector thing did not work. Driving today the Security Light came on-Do you know why? Thanks again
  • Djohn139,
    I'm not sure I understand what happened with your Grand Am. Are you saying you soldered a resistor into the circuit, and that modification did not work, and then your dealer changed the ignition switch, lock, cylinder and all, and it got rid of your problem? If so, that is very odd, because substituting the resistor into the circuit is exactly the same electrically as replacing the ignition module.

    The Service engine soon light has absolutely nothing to do with the Passlock system. It sounds like you did not complete the procecure on my website. To get the security light to go off, you MUST do the 10 minute reset procecure AFTER you modify the circuitry. In your post you said:
    After the mod, it started fine.... no 10 reset needed
    To get the Security light to go off, you have to do the reset procedure.
    The check engine light is another matter altogether, and is probably just a coincidence. Read out your trouble codes to see what is causing the check engine light to be lit. If you don't know how to read your trouble codes, a chevy dealer can do it for you. (chevy dealers around here charge $25.00 to connect and read the diagnostic codes, and pontiac dealers charge $45.00, so choose the one in your area that is the cheapest.)

    For anyone else who tries this, here are a few other items of information.
    1. The resistor mod, described on will solve the Security light problem ONLY if the defective part is the Ignition Switch.... ONLY if it is the ignition switch..... The ignition switch is to blame in the vast majority of cases, however, several other malfunctions are the possible cause in rare cases.
    1. bad connection on some of the pins that connect to the BCM
    2. a defect within the BCM (very rare)
    3. loss of serial data buss signal between the BCM (body control module) and the PCM (powertrain control module)

    Remember.... perform the modification and follow the procedure on the website TO THE LETTER. Make sure you DISCONNECT THE BATTERY while doing the wiring changes, and re-connect it AFTER you have plugged the connectors back into the BCM. If you are unsuccessful, you must look for a malfunction in something other than the ignition switch.

    Hope this explanation helps to avoid any further confusion.
    Dick B.

    PS. If I tell you much more, I'm afraid GM will have to hunt me down and shoot me.
  • Sorry I was in a hurry yesterday when I wrote so I did not explain myself. A year ago I had the Security Light Issue on my 99 Grand Am-Went to dealership and spent $600. to get it fixed. Then this summer it started up again and went to the dealership since it was only a month and a year after being fixed and not even 7000 miles-Well they would not cover it, they wanted another $600.-Called Pontiac-GMC that was a joke. So after reading your post I went to a local mechanic that has done the cutting of the yellow wire, ect before.
    He had to buy a passlock kit thing (not sure what it is called-but he said it was the same thing to buy to start your car automatically) because the car would not start with just the little connector you buy from Radio Shack. Everything was good-Didn't have to look at the stupid secuirty light or wait 10-15 minutes until yesterday while driving the red security light came on while driving-Nothing else-No other lights-Just security. Do you know if that is a problem or will the light come on occasionally? Hope this makes more sense then yesterday. Thanks again- my husband will no longer help me with my Grand Am because of all the problems I have had with it but I can not afford a car payment. (My Grand Am only has 86,000 miles)
  • O.K.... might give it another shot today... Just curious.... that yellow wire that is not needed (the one that gets taped up and tucked away)... that wire is not needed for anything ? Where does that unused yellow wire go .. to the ignition ?

    I hope to give this another try later on today; I've got to see how my back feels because I'm no spring chicken (pre-senior citizen, lol) and have back troubles... But I want to get this done soon because it's only getting colder here in New England....

    Also.. just making triple-sure here... The yellow wire and the black wire are on opposite rows, but adjacent to each other...correct ? I'm certain that's the way I had it but I'll make triple sure if I can try the mod again today...
  • Tommyo1
    I just updated my website with some additional information regarding the Passlock Security system on the Grand Am. It's at:

    Perhaps the added information will explain what is done when doing the mod.

    The Passlock Module inside the ignition switch is connected to the Body Control Module by three wires... White, Yellow, and Black. The white wire furnishes power, the black wire is ground, and the yellow wire is the signal. Inside the BCM is another resistor which goes to +5 volts. When the ignition switch is turned on, the hall effect switch inside the ignition module turns on the circuit, connecting one end of the resistors to the ground wire (black). This causes a voltage somewhere between 1 volt and 4 volts to be present on the yellow wire. It doesn't matter what the voltage is, as long as it is the same voltage every time the ignition is turned on, and that voltage is what the BCM has memorized.
    Now you can see how simply removing the Passlock Module from the circuit, and replacing it with a fixed resistor will fix the Passlock problem, but ONLY if the problem is caused by the Passlock Module.
    I certainly hope this helps everyone. Now that I have posted this update on my website, I'm sure they will hunt me down.
  • Hi Again, I read your new update.
    Would there be any other reason the Security Light would come on while driving? I sure hope I am not one of the 3%-If I am, do I just have to have the ignition thing replace every year for $600.00?
  • Hi Dick... Thanks for this added info; it explains it very good. I just got back from a doctor appt now and only have about two useable hours of daylight left here, but I will tackle it again tomorrow.
    Gonna be COLD tomorrow too... lovely. Oh well, if I can fix this Passlock Purgatory thing it will be worth it, even I got frostbite, lol.
    Will give update hopefully tomorrow..... Thank you for this added info Dick. Nice to have the pins numbered there....
  • If the mod didn't do the trick, you should look elsewhere for your proablem. As I said on the website, you have already eliminated the ignition thing, so don't have that replaced. Your problem is somewhere else... probably the BCM.
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