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Pontiac Grand Am Security Passlock Problems



  • i've been up for the last 12 hours looking through this and other websites trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with my 97 2.4l auto.

    i have tried both the reset and relearn procedures.

    my problem isn't a blinking light. i've had a solid security light the entire time. it does not turn off. it never blinks, it never has. and the car won't start. it has thrown a code, but i haven't had a chance to pick up a scanner yet. but does that sound like a passlock problem or would the cell be the reason the car doesn't start?

    i have replaced starter, battery, checked and cleaned the prongs for all fuses, looked throughout the car for any signs of damaged or corroded wires but no luck. the fuel pump turns on while the car is in the run position. i get fire when i use starting fluid, but it seems like the injectors are disabled. everything else in the car works (all electrical) it just refuses to start.

    i was given the car in this condition and the only history i know is that it was running fine and then someone wanted to buy it and took it for a drive during a heavy downpour, and after they shut it down it hasn't started since.

  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    There's no difference I'm aware of.
  • towguy609,
    You need a service manual in order to figure out whether the resistor fix will work on your vehicle. But here is one thing you can check. Look at the side of your key. Is there a little "+" sign on the side of it, stamped in the metal just below the black handle? There probably is, since GM switched over to these security keys on most vehicles in 2004. If so, you cannot use the resistor mod.
    If your key does have the "+" stamped on it, please post back here, with your year, make, model, auto/man trans, and engine size so that the rest of us will know.

    One more thing. If you have an aftermarket remote start system installed, chances are you will not be able follow the directions on the website you mentioned. You will also need a shop manual to find out which pins of the BCM to use to bypass the security system. I know that they are not the same as the 2002 manual trans Grand Am SE, which was the vehicle I modded when I wrote up those instructions.

    Good luck, and hope to hear back about your key.

  • tshawntshawn Posts: 3
    This is great...! Can't wait to get home (on the bus) and try some 3 in 1 oil on the key first!!! Wouldn't that be a hoot?!!! Next will be the cutting of the "yellow data wire", who cares about a red light if the thing cranks all the time...Have already sunk almost as much into the car as I paid for it last year...any more on the class action suit? Recalls? Thank you all so much for the relevant information! BTW, no "+" on key.
  • bull99bull99 Posts: 1
    If you get an answer please let me know, I have the exact same problem after changing a bad starter on my sons 98 2.4L I have a steady security light never blinks and never goes off!! I have sprayed some starter fluid in the throttle body and it fired so I know that the injectors are shut down, I have tried to several times to run through the entire relearn sequence with no seccess....please help,

    Car ran great until I changed the starter with a new one,,,
  • Sorry for the delay in response, our factory key does NOT have a + on it, just a small circle stamped into the metal.It is an after market remote start system which was my primary concern for the problems we are experiencing, Though, the problems are an exact match to problems related with the security system, security light sometimes stays on while driving, at times car does not start, run the 10 min key on process all is well, ect. Any help would be appreciated as this problem is rather annoying.
  • towguy809,
    I'm going to speculate on what your problem is. Your symptoms seem to indicate that there is a mismatch between the resistance in your remote start bypass, and the resistance in the original ignition switch passlock system. This may be caused by either the installers of the remote starter choosing the wrong resistance value for the bypass, or after they installed it, the resistance of the original passlock system changed, or it could be constantly changing, which would be what causes your system to intermittently malfunction.
    If I were in your shoes, I would do the resistor mod on your vehicle, which would, in effect take care of both your problems, but... I would definitely install the resistor on the wires near the Body Control Module, as was described on my website. Even so, you will have to get a service manual so that you can find out which two wires to use to solder in the resistor, as they may be on different pins on different model cars. The cheapest service manual is the online subscription service called
    where you can subscribe to online service manuals for each of your cars at only $27.00 per year. They give an example of what kind of information is available, and one of their examples is a Chevy Tahoe 1998 truck. Here is the schematic of the security system portion of that vehicle, and as you can see, everything about the passlock module of that vehicle is shown on one wiring diagram...
    1998 Chevy Truck C Tahoe 2WD
    Looking closely at the above diagram, you can see that on that vehicle, to do the resistor bypass, you would have to find the EVO/Passlock module, cut the yellow wire going into it, and solder a resistor between pin b5 and b7 of that module. Doing this would render the Security system inoperative, thereby getting rid of the no-start problem, which is in your case a good thing, since your security system is more of a problem than a desirable feature.
    Good luck, and I hope you find the service manual to your liking. I subscribed to it for one year when I first had my Passlock Problem, and was very satisfied. While I had the subscription, I made paper copies of pages that I thought would be useful in the future.
    Dick B
  • My 2004 Grand Am was :sick: . I was :confuse: . Then I was :mad: . I installed the toggle switch on the yellow wire ;) and, it works like a charm. The security light turns on and off with the flip of the switch. I can't thank you enough for letting us know about this solution. Anyone who has contacted GM knows that they are utterly and completely useless. I can't believe I almost paid that piece of crap company more money. Oh, by the way I'm in for the class action if anyone gets one going, for this problem or the amazing shrinking dash. Thanks again.
  • It's gonna be pretty hard to collect any lawsuit judgement from a company that don't exist anymore.
  • brob01brob01 Posts: 1
    I just changed my heater blower, and also replaced the EGR valve on my 2001 Grand Am GT. When I tried to start my car it started, then shut off right away, and repeated and it won't stay on. I also noticed my radio, dome lights, and locks where all not working, but my headlights, windows are. Any idea what could have caused this? I tried doing the pass lock trick but still nothing!
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    If there's no security light flashing then it's probably not passlock. Some of your symptoms sound like ignition switch, some sound like fuel delivery.
  • My BABY my 2003 PONTIAC GRAND AM which I am absolutely in love with and have had since the day it came off the line has had passlock problems for 4 years now. It is the ONLY problem I have had with it since it's 'birth'. The first time it happened I thought it was a battery problem so I changed the battery...nope didnt work. Then while sitting in her I started reading the book and found the passlock and tried it. Worked like a charm of course. Well didn't have any more problems til last fall. Did the same thing. I knew how to deal with it that time. Lately the security light has been coming on and staying on while driving. If i would stop and turn the car off the light would go off. Then last week the light came on and didnt go off no matter what i did. Well today it locked up on me twice. Then after coming home after the second lock up I turned the car off, started it up turned it off and it started right up...did this four times with no trouble and the light is not on at all. HELP ME SOMEONE!!!! I AM IRRITATED!!!! MY BABY NEEDS MINOR SURGERY. I have had the key changed. My dealer wants major bucks for an ignition switch I know she doesnt need. I may be female but I am not stupid!!!! The car does not have a keyless remote. So will the PLJX bypass kit work or should I....cut the yellow wire? I would appreciate some help. :cry:
  • It was very simple to do and solved my problem immediately. I don't mind driving with the red "theft sys" light staying wearing out starters and batteries and spending any more money...follow the directions carefully and you'll be fine! :shades: ">
  • Of course he wants major bucks for the operation (he'd never show you the $10 fix). Ask yourself this: What are the chances (given what else is available to thieves) of anyone stealing a 2003 Grand Am in your area? Mine is a '97, and I live in a town full of millionaires driving Caddies and Mercedes Benzes (answer: 0). Since this is the one junk system in the entire car, I resolved a long time ago to scrap the damn thing. Find my previous posts re cutting the wire and installing the switch. It costs you $3 and half an hour of your time, and since I did it, I've never had a starting problem. Yes, I have to drive around with the red light on -- BIG DEAL! The car still gets 35 mpg, better than most new ones.
  • I cut my wire and installed the toggle a year ago . Not one problem since .
    (2002 Grand Am) My light stays on too but not visible when covered with a piece of black electrical tape .: )
  • I had the identical problem with my 01 grand am. The security-no start problem was occurring more and more often. I never knew when my car would not start.
    I had to put the key in and wait for 10 minutes before car would start. I tried using a new key that I had made several years ago. It solved the problem. I am so happy now. Four months and no problem. Cheap way to fix. Get a key cut to code or try spare key that has not been used alot.
  • Ha ha ha ha!!!! I did that!!!! I am using an old spare key...the spare one that came with her and has been used very few times. Right now no trouble. I don't have the remote keyless entry. I have the old fashioned use a key to open the door and start the ignition kinda car...LOVE IT!!! (that wasn't sarcasam) But I am completely convinced that isn't the problem since getting home the other day after 2 lock ups and starting the car four times in a row in my drive way with the old key worked. ITS THE DAMN PASSLOCK AND IT NEEDS DESTROYED!!!!! So, after talking to and reading ALLLLLL these posts I do believe I am going to KILL MY PASSLOCK! :P Besides, people in this town know better than to mess with this car. ;) I live in a very small town and they know me and know the car and wouldn't DARE GO THERE!!!!! I am gonna keep checking in here...anyone with anymore ideas...FEEL FREE TO LET ME KNOW!!!!! THANKS GUYS! ;)
  • tteattea Posts: 1
    the car wont start did the 10min thing it started did have any trouble with for awhile till last week it didn't start had no dash lights try the 10min thing didn't work i check the ignition fuses under the hood all was OK try to start car it started till that night was driving home the car just quite running did every thing from above again and got nothing what do you think it could be please help thank you somebody said it was the ignition switch could it be
  • and the winner for the longest sentence is !!!!!!!!!!!!???????????????
  • And the prize for that is a trip to my website where you will find instructions on how to fix your problem once and for all if you read the entire article that I put together just for people who need a little help with their Grand Am Security System on vehicles produced in 2002 and a few others produced in other years and also some oldsmobile aleros and chevrolet models which also use the passlock system but not all grand ams and non of the gm cars produced before 1985.
  • This is a response to an old post.

    I have a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am V6 4 door.

    Over a year ago I was having passlock issues where I couldn't start the car at all.
    I even installed the bypass switch for the passlock and that solved my passlock issue.

    But this year I started having other issues, they were,
    The gauges (cluster) wasn't turning on until a long time into starting the car.
    windows wouldn't roll down
    air wouldn't turn on.

    I used just and asked a technition questions and he said try to replace the "Ignition Switch"

    I bought an ignition switch from a local store for $99.00 and if that didn't work I was going to return it.

    Once I replaced the ignition switch, I had to deactivate the bypass switch I put in a year ago. ( If you don't have a bypass switch, then your ok)

    Next I had to reprogram the key by turning it to the on position (not starting the car) for 10 minutes

    After 10 minutes I turned the car off for 5 seconds and repeated the step 2 more times. (On 10 Min off 5 sec, On 10 Min off 5sec)

    Then I started the car still with the bypass switch disengaged.

    And the car started great with no issues. The passlock security light went off and everything worked well and still does.

    I hope this helps for everyone.

    If you really have a passlock issue then this wont help, but I would give this a try first if you are handy with installing things.
  • My daughters Grandam, at 115,000 Kilometers has started to show signs of this issue. She hasn't had to go through the 10 minute procedure...yet. Our mechanic is certified GM with 25 years experience. He now has his own shop and drives the Alero version of this car so he seems to know the issues and the ways to get around them quite well. Rather than replace the ignition cylinder, which according to him became a habit by dealers for cars under warranty because it was relatively easy and quick for the shop to do (but not necessarily the solution) his suggestion is to purchase the bypass module commonly used by vendors that sell and install remote starters. According to him this is a simple and very reliable method to bypass the Passlock System. Up to this point he has been a very knowledgeable and reliable mechanic so I'll take his word for it. He explained how the Passlock works in great and painful detail, so I think he knows what he's talking about. If my daughter begins to experience issues I'll definitely let him bypass the Passlock.
  • My wife and I just purchased a 2003 Chevy Tahoe. It is very nice with on 60K miles. Yesterday (the day after I purchased it from a private seller) I went to start it using the remote start (Valet, I believe) it attempted to start then shut off, the remote start attempted several times. I then got in a tried the key and the same thing. I noticed the security light blinking. I went in the house and looked online and found this site. I went back out, did the 10 min. trick and it worked. Now I am worried this is going to happen more often. Do to the fact I have a remote starter doesn't that mean the Passlock is already bypassed? Does this mean I have a bad ignition key lock? How does the BCM affect all of this? What is my next move. This car is for my wife and we have a 17mo. old little girl, we are in MI and I do not want them stranded.
    Please can anyone give me some insight on what I need to do to fix this. She is not crazy about the fix with the light being on (but like I said isn't that already bypassed for the remote start?). Also my keys do not have a + symbol on them, does that mean I have Passlock 1 or 2.
  • To successfully bypass the security system on your particular vehicle, you will need a wiring diagram of your truck, including the circuitry of the passlock system. You will also need all the wiring information regarding the remote start system, which was installed by an aftermarket dealer. I have a tendency to suspect that the remote start system is the culprit in your case. If you look through all the forums, you will not find many instances of Chevy Tahoe trucks which experience the passlock problem, and since yours is such a low mileage truck, I would expect that it is still under warranty.

    If, after removing the remote starter and putting the system back to the original wiring, you still have the passlock problem, I would suggest you do the resistor mod described on my website. For your truck, you will definitely need a shop manual, since my website does not describe where to place the resistor for your vehicle.

    If you want to save money on repairs, you will need the shop manual anyway, and $27.00 is not that much to spend for a year's subscription to the online version of the manual.
  • dedlinededline Posts: 3
    hello all, i do believe we have a passlock problem since our car when it doesn't start has the security light on, so I'm going to try the 10 min reset when it happens again... but my question....

    twice in the past month, the car has died while on the highway. needless to say this has been extremely dangerous, losing power steering and all, two tows later, the car restarted hours later. i read in one of the many posts the security light should stay on if passlock fails while the car is running, but the car should not shut off.
    is this a problem that could be caused by passlock? if not what?
  • You are correct: Passlock is not supposed to fail while the car is running. That is the secret behind bridging the system -- with the car running, one cuts the wire and installs the toggle.

    You probably need to report this problem to a dealership and, if there is no satisfaction there for a reasonable price or for free as a recall, contact the NTSB. Losing all power while you're on an interstate definitely is a safety problem.
  • kelbb2kelbb2 Posts: 4
    Hi, I have been reading many posts about bypassing the passlock system on my 2003 grandam. About 2 years ago it started not wanting to start, where it made no attempt to start, no starter turning over or clicks, just nothing when you turn the key. I figured out it was the security and could leave the key on for 10 minutes and it would start up fine. This would work for a while then do it again. I finally got tired of it and read a post on bypassing (, so I did that with the transistor, following it step by step. It seemed all fixed up, the only issue I have had is that the security light stays on constantly now, but I have just been dealing with it. Well all has been great for about a year now, but all of a sudden it is doing it again. I'm a little confused on how it can do this with the system being bypassed.

    It happened about a month ago, I let it sit for 10 minutes with the key on and it started. I assume the BCM and transistor somehow got out of sync on the electrical pulse??? But since it started up after waiting, I didn't think too much into it, hoped it was just a fluke. Well it happened again today and now it will not reset. I left it for 10 minutes twice and the third time I let it sit for 15 minutes, and nothing. Do you think the transistor could have gone bad? I am thinking about changing it, but the car is in a hotel parking lot 40 miles from my house, so trying to figure out what to do. I would really like to bypass that passlock system altogether if possible but don't know how or if that is even an option with all the electronics. I appreciate any help you can provide.

    One other slight detail is that there has always been some electrical 'gremlin' in my car (I bought it new in 03) and something I have been able to recreate is after I shut the car off and the fan speed is on high, I turn down the speed to 1 or off and all the dash lights will blink. I try to not touch the fan speed after shutting the car off, but both of these occurrences have been around a time where I accidentally changes the fan speed.
  • There is no transistor in the bypass circuitry on my website at
    I assume you are referring to the RESISTOR mentioned there, rather than a transistor.
    If you did the modification correctly, you would have bypassed the security system. If your Security light is on solid, then something is wrong with your modification... probably the resistor is not connected to one of the two wires, or to the wrong wire. It is also possible that your wiring is not exactly the same as that shown on the website. The only way to know for sure is to get a service manual and check to make sure you are connected to the correct wires. You can subscribe to an online service manual at:
    If you have trouble identifying the correct wires after you have your manual, post back again, or send me an E-mail at:
  • In addition to what Richard pointed out, it does not sound like your problem initially was PassLock. The PassLock system never stopped my car from turning over; it simply cut the fuel at the injector as soon as the engine rolled. If you are not getting even a starter click, my guess is there is at least one additional issue.

    It also sounds like "piling on." Richard's resistor bridge makes the light go out; cutting the wire and installing the toggle makes the light stay on solid. It sounds like you tried to install the wrong component and, in effect, cut the wire (no toggle). This is adding an issue.

    If the starter does not even click, that sounds like perhaps a bad battery or corrosion at one of the battery posts, cutting off the juice. In this case, recall there is a reason for the toggle: When the battery goes bad or electricity is cut off, PassLock can rearm, which means you have to get the car started again before "recutting" the wire by turning off the toggle. Since you have to turn something on again before you can turn it off, that's why it's there! Otherwise, the wire would be cut with the car off and PassLock engaged, which prevents you from starting it at all.

    Try this first: Take some steel wool plus pliers, screwdriver, wrench, whatever you need to pop the battery post, polish everything good and clean, and reassemble. If you still get no click from the starter, your battery (or the starter) may be dead. So, don't forget the jumper cables, and see if someone else can jump you. If PassLock has re-engaged, this won't work, but at least the engine should turn over. That tells you the problem is the battery, not the starter. Assuming that's true, get a good battery from Sears and install. Try the 10-minute fix to see if you can get the car to start. If it starts, drive it home and don't drive it again until you get the problem fixed, either with the cut-and-toggle or resistor bridge. :shades:

    If it doesn't start, you may have to have the vehicle towed to a place which can fix it, and that will cost. But, before you put a lot of cash on the table, first make sure you did the ten-minute reset with the PassLock data wire connected. Because, like I said, if PassLock has rearmed and the wire is cut, there is no way to bypass it until the data wire is whole again. :lemon:
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