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Pontiac Grand Am Security Passlock Problems



  • kelbb2kelbb2 Posts: 4
    Thanks for the quick response, much appreciated.
    You are correct, it is the resistor that I installed. I was reading many posts and there seemed to be two methods, one using the resistor to bypass the passlock system, or to install the toggle switch, and I chose the resistor since it seemed to be the most non-visable method to fix this problem.
    I did this about a year ago, and could have messed it up, but I did follow your instructions step by step, which are excellent by the way, and I have been problem free till about a month ago. I did have the one symptom of the security light on solid, and ran through your suggestions if that occurs, but couldn't get it to go away. I guess with that light staying, there must be something incorrect. Your pictures and my car's BCM wiring were identical by looking at them, no extra wires or differing colors.
    To give a little more background, when this first occurred, I was driving down the highway and the car just died, sort of like running out of gas, but I had a full tank. I was not aware of any security issues at the time, had the car towed to a mechanic, and they replaced the fuel pump. Almost $600 later, the car was running and I thought all was well. Then about two weeks later the car wouldn't start, no turning over at all. I thought the battery was dead, tried jumping it and nothing, so purchased a new battery and must have accidentially left the car on for 10 minutes, resetting the security and didn't know it. Then this happened again a week or so later, so I called the dealership and read in the book, learning about the security issue. Then just got used to resetting it all the time, till I read the fixes and tried yours. I really don't know if I needed to change the fuel pump or not now after learning about these passlock issues. What is interesting is that my issues have always been the same, where I have full power (gages, windows, fan, lights, etc) and nothing happens when you turn the key to start position. I read many others where the engine will turn over but will not start since the passlock system doesn't let fuel to the injectors.
    Sorry for the book :)
    I think I'm going to re-run your proceedure with a new resistor, along with checking the service manual. Also going to try the 2nd key, sometimes one key would not have as many problems as the other. I will also check fuses, I was rushed this morning.
    I saw another post after yours, but I really don't think it is a battery or starter issue, not 100% sure, but I have been dealing with this problem for two years, and it seems to be the same thing, especially since this occurred a month ago and sitting for 10 minutes fixed it then. Do you think an unexpected electrical signal could fry the resistor?
    Please let me know if you have any other suggestions.
    Thanks again. Eric
  • I'm beginning to suspect that you have a problem in your ignition switch, or in your wiring. If you can turn the ignition switch to the run position and your radio and dash lights work fine, but you don't even get a click when turning the key to the "start" position, I would think that either the ignition switch is not passing voltage to the starter circuit, or the wiring between the ignition switch and the starter solenoid has become compromised.

    If you do happen to check for wiring differences using a manual, I hope you will copy the page in the manual with the wiring diagram and post it here to help those who have your model vehicle.
  • monet1monet1 Posts: 1
    After reading all the other postings, i am having similar problems I purchased a used 2003 pontiac grand am which up until 3 months ago have not given me any problems. One day it didn't start until after 2 to 3 tries, when that started I took it back to precision tune for coil change and make sure it wasn't time for a tune up. At that time I got a Diagnostic completed and no codes showed up. Once I was trying to leave it wouldnt crank. so they ran another test nd then codes showed up. which were park lamp control circuit malfunction, horn relay coil circuit low, security system sensor data circuit high, loss of serial comm for class 2 and loss comm/w restraints control and they suspected Ignition switch. and also showed evidence of needing a fuel filter. and they recommended a dealer to complete everything. Well took it to the dealer and once again completed another diagnostic and they found completely different codes. It states that BCM has theft codes stored,needs pass lock sensor. there price was to high and they recommended local auto electrician. and I must say he is unbelievable with his work but after trying to fix everything including crank shaft was replace, wouldnt start after 2 days. ignition switch replace still would start, come kind of coil replace still wouldnt start now he has given up and still having the same problems what can I do. I also replace fuel filter, coil on boot autlt
  • dedlinededline Posts: 3
    here's my latest. the problem is the car is stalling out while running. the last time the car stalled i knew about the passlock feature from here and i checked some things. first, car would crank but not start. when the car wouldnt start, the oil light, security light and battery light stayed on. tried waiting the 10 minutes to rest the passlock, but no difference. 4 hours later went back to the car and it started and we dropped it at the mechanic. second, dealership confirmed passlock will never cut the power if it fails during running because it's too dangerous to lose power steering and power brakes, etc if the engine were to shut off while driving
    So, after it sat thru the weekend, mechanic couldn't get the car to fail to start for couple of days. finally one day it wouldn't start and he found there was no spark. he found out the ignition fuse under the hood was good but it wasn't getting any juice at the time, when before it had juice when the car started no problem. he thinks there must be a problem somewhere along the path so he jumped it with a temporary wire. he's got a wire going from the blower fuse to the ignition pack somewhere. he picked the blower since it's only got juice when the key is in the on position. he did that last thursday and since then the car has started on the 1st time everytime. ill start taking it on longer and longer trips until we're confident that solved the problem, then he'll make a nicer wire job and we'll just keep it that way. we're going to trade the car in towards something better in the next few months and the dealer can clean it up.
    My mechanic also found some highlighted lines in the fuse panel map under the hood so looks like the car has had electrical work in the past. He has a theory that perhaps somewhere in the wiring or harness the ignition line is frayed or corroded and perhaps when the wire heats up it can't carry the juice necessary to keep ignition going. then the car stops, won't restart, until the wire cools down and can carry current again. just a theory.
    if you like i can post a pic of the temporary wire he's got, not sure where he spliced into the ignition by the coilpacks. but ask your mechanic to check the ignition fuse juice both when the car starts and not.
    hope this helps, much luck with your problem, hopefully this holds on our car.
  • passlock problems go to start the car and it wont start the have to turn to on and wait 10-15mins or more till security light goes out to start the car. I have already had to tow it once because of this problem and now its back in the shop again for the same problem it is a 2001 grand am. Research this online and find that there are alot of others out there with the same problem. We should get together and file a lawsuit. since GM/Pontiac is aware of this and has not taken the steps to correct the problem is definitely not a maintenance issues it clear that this is a manufacturing issue.
  • stngrndstngrnd Posts: 2
    Post #21 in this forum has the solution to the passlock system. I installed the toggle switch and have not had a problem since.
  • ja33ja33 Posts: 23
    I guess it is time to repeat my simple solution to the Alero or Grand Am owners' passlok problem as described in my post # 695 dated Oct 13, 2009. And now after 16 months I have not had a single starting problem. Those owners, who admitted having tried it, were successful. Other experienced Grand AM owners tried to explain it. Believe me, this solution is not rocket science, OR maybe I'm just lucky. And I QUOTE .............
    At 36,000 miles my 2001 Olds Alero started having passlock starting problems. At first it was every other month and then after 2 years it happened with every other turn of the key. Since I am not the least bit mechanically inclined, I tried any and all procedures suggested on the internet except cutting wires, or installing a new switch. Eight months ago I decided to clean the grooves on my ignition key with a squirt of 3 in 1 oil. THE CAR STARTED RIGHT UP. I did it again for the next 3 days to gain little confidence in the procedure. THE ALERO CONTINUES TO START EVERY TIME
    Now once a month I oil the key, push it in and out of the switch slowly a couple times. When starting the car, do not jam the key in quickly and turn. Take your time. It seems to be a very sensitive switch, and needs a little TLC to prevent dirt build up. Try it. A little 3 in 1 oil squirt might save you a $500 repair bill. I told my GM dealer mechanic about this solution. He said "Yeah, it might work"

    If this procedure works for you, or any other Grand Am owner I would appreciate hearing your results-good or bad. Don't use any fancy ignition key lubrication from an auto parts store. Just a little dab of plain, old 3 in 1 oil ...........Ja
  • hi everyone i have a 99 grandam my car wont stay running it starts up with your foot held on the gas peddle to the floor but immediately stalls we have changed the coil packs, put a new fuel filter in because that was totally plugged and put a new crank shaft sensor in and the catallic convertor was plugged and the fuel injector weren't firing and still aren't there is fuel going to the injector but there not spraying can anyone please help me i'm in need of getting my car running please
  • where is this yellow wire located at ?
  • malbolsmalbols Posts: 19
    The yellow wire has nothing to do with stalling .
    This doesn't sound like a passlock issue at all .
  • the car wont start up only with ur foot on the gas and then when it does it immedietly quits and my fuel injectors dont have a pulse any suggestions
  • malbolsmalbols Posts: 19
    Sorry Spoiled , this is a Passlock forum . You might have better look searching some of the other Grand Am Forums . good Luck
  • We can't decipher what is wrong with your car unless you punctuate your message, thus dividing it into logical sentences. Please use periods, and capital letters to designate the ending and beginning of each sentence. Your message, as written, makes absolutely no sense.
  • ryan1887ryan1887 Posts: 3
    My girlfriend has a 97 grand am, n-body cause apparently that makes a difference in the procedure. I bought a new ignition cause the key kept getting stuck in it. I got an A tech from the ford dealership where I work and he installed it within 5-10 minutes. The directions said to put key in and turn on for 10 minutes... then put the second key in and do the same then start it after the 10 minutes for the second key. This worked great... then the tech unplugged the wire thinking it would be easier to put the covers to the steering column back in, but that reset the key or something I guess. So no big deal right just "learn" it again. Nope same exact procedure did not work again. I have tried half a dozen "learn" procedures and to no avail. Even tried leaving the battery unhooked over night in hopes to reset it. Then tried the original procedure. What should I try now and why would it work fine the first time and not the second time?
  • tshawntshawn Posts: 3
    That wire cannot be unplugged/cut while the car is not running. You'll have to reconnect it, relearn, crank the car and then cut/disconnect the yellow wire. I haven't had a problem since.
  • The most common cause of power loss while driving is a clogged fuel filter. This doesn't happen as often in the states as in other countries, where there is less control of contaminants in the fuel, but it does happen to just about every type of car. If you are experiencing shutdowns while driving, look for something other than Passlock. Search the forums for your specific problem.
    By the way, the dealer is not responsible for keeping your engine in top running shape, nor is the car company. You must maintain your own vehicle. If you don't (among other things) change the oil, keep coolant in the system, clean and replace air and fuel filters, maintain the electrical system, ....... your engine will quit running, and there is no way to predict when it will happen.
  • The correct procedure for replacing an ignition switch in your vehicle is described in detail in the service manual. I have said this many times in this forum, but it's worth repeating here. If you do your own repairs, you must have a service manual for your vehicle.
  • ryan1887ryan1887 Posts: 3
    Well I figured this out thanks to some friends of friends at a pontiac dealer. As I stated I tried the same procedure over and it did not work, the reason being unhooking the battery does not reset anything it only makes it go into "sleep" mode. To reset the security system you must unhook both the negative and posative battery terminals and touch them together for a few seconds. Did that and put the first key in for 10 minutes and then the second key for 10 also and immediatlly start when the second key is done. Started up and worked great... for a bit. Now I have a new problem.
  • ryan1887ryan1887 Posts: 3
    edited April 2010
    Now that the keys are "learned" for 2 days it worked great. No more stuck key in the ignition and no more trying to learn the key. Now with a new interrupter it decides to sometimes not reconize the keys. As many said earlier in this forum it sometimes takes 15 minutes of sitting there and then it will suddenly work, but sometimes it takes hours. My girlfriend was late to work this morning as I had to drive her cause grand ams are crap. This is a stupid problem and I am curious has anyone found a way to just deactivate the theft system all together that WILL NOT cause problems later from cut wires and such, I heard cutting a yellow wire to the cpu could cause problems later. If I find an answer from the people I know at the lindsey pontiac dealership I will post it in here to hopefully help anyone.
  • Hi,

    First of all I'd like to thank you for putting up such an informative website,

    About a week or so ago I noticed the security light come on the dashboard and stay on. I kept on driving the car as usual thinking nothing of it because it always started and would run fine.

    Then a couple days ago I went out to start it and it died after a few seconds. I tried to start it again but it would just continually turn over and not fire.

    I then realized that the security light was flashing instead of remaining in a solid on state.

    This is when I found your posts, through google, and realized that I was having a passlock security issue.

    I went back to my 2003 Grand Am and turned the key to the on position and then got out of the car and went inside. After about 15 to 20 minutes I went back outside and noticed the security light had gone off.

    I then turned the key back to the off position then proceeded to turn the car to the crank position, it immediately started up fine and remained running correctly.

    However, the security light was now on and would not go out.

    I then drove the car to the electronics store to pickup a 2.2K Ohm resistor and some shrink tube.

    I then followed the directions on: exactly as described.

    I disconnected the negative terminal from the battery.

    I cut the yellow wire A6 and soldered one end of the 2.2K ohm resistor to the end of the yellow wire that was coming from plastic connector piece. I then took the other end of yellow A6, was going back into the glove box somewhere, and taped it to itself with some black electrical tape.

    I then removed a piece of insulation from the black wire B6, without cutting the copperwire, and soldered on the other end of the 2.2K Ohm resistor.

    I then taped up the 2 connections and plugged it back into the middle slot on the BCM.

    I reconnected the negative terminal to the battery.

    I then put the key into the ignition and turned it to the on position, the security light was still solidly on. I then left the vehicle and came back after about 20 minutes and found that the security light was still on.

    I decided to attempt to start the vehicle, it turned over and fired up very easily.

    However, ever since then and even today the security light is still in a solid on state.

    I tried disconnecting both leads and holding the positive lead to the negative lead for over a minute, to see if it would reset the BCM but it did not.

    I am still driving around with the security light in a solid on state.

    The car is working perfectly alright at the moment except the fact that the security light is still on even after the resistor bridge. I thought that after bypassing the passlock system the security light would turn off?

    Like I mentioned above it is a 2003 grand am and not a 2002.

    Your solution makes sense by installing a resistor after the hall effect switch but before the BCM it's just that I am unable to determine why the light is still on. I would like to have as problem free driving as possible and I'm not sure if I actually accomplished anything because the light is still on and the car works fine.

    Any light you can shed on this subject would be greatly appreciated, in fact I would be willing to go out and purchase the service manual for my car from, as suggested in your article if you think it might help out.

    Thank you thus far for the information you have provided on this often costly and bothersome issue that Grand Ams possess, that have nothing to do with the cars core function.
  • ja33ja33 Posts: 23
    Ryan 1887......see my post #804. It is not very scientific, does not require cutting wires or anything but a little 3 in one oil on the ignition key. The bottom line is it worked on my Alero passlok problem and still does after 18 plus months.........Ja
  • idriveagrandam,
    One of two things has happened.
    1. There is something wrong with your BCM, in which case, the mod will not work, because the BCM is not re-calibrating itself to the new resistance.
    2. Your resistor is not properly connected between pin A6 and B6 of the center connector of the BCM. Remove the connector from the BCM, and measure between pin A6 and B6 of the connector with an Ohmmeter. It should read approximately 2.2K. If not, check to see if your resistor is broken, or has a bad connection on one end.
    The key element here is this. If the BCM cannot read the 2.2k resistor, then either the resistor isn't connected to the correct two wires, or the BCM is defective. But when the "Security" light is on solid, that is an indication that something is wrong with the ignition switch security system.

    There is a third possibility. The circuitry of the 2003 may not be exactly the same as my 2002. The only way to know this is to Get a service manual for your vehicle.. The price for a one year subscription through Alldatadiy is less than $30.00, which is a bargain, compared to the GM service manual, which is around $140.00.

    I learned about AlldataDIY from my local mechanic, who uses them exclusively for every vehicle. Of course, his subscription covers all vehicles, and costs a mint, but still far less than buying paper manuals from the dealers.
  • thank you i will check the resistance on the weekend and post a response then
  • I have been reading for the past two days on this and have learned a lot but need some direct advice. The key in my 2001 Pontiac Grand Am won't turn from the off position. The lead up to this is as follows. I started the car and began to back up and the car moved about 2 feet tops and just died on me. Not thinking I tried to start the car while it was still in reverse to no prevail obviously. I go to put it in park and the shifter won't budge and my key won't come out either but I can turn the key back and forth. Being frustrated I begin to jiggle the key and trying to yank it out profusely and even got a blister on my finger once I pulled it out forcefully. Unfortunately when I got it out it wasn't completely in the off position so the lights were still on. I got the key back in and got it to the off postiont but now the ignition is completely locked. After I got the key out, I was able to put the car in park. The other thing to note is that the steering column will not lock.

    Three options I have read. Cylinder Lock replacement that has the PassLock portion on it, Ignition Switch, and/or the solenoid in the shifter (make note, when I press in the automatic shifter button I can feel and hear it clicking in the ignition switch).

    So quick notes:

    1) Key won't turn from Off position.
    2) Steering Column won't lock
    3) Can feel a click in the ignition switch when pressing the shifter button.

    Attempted things:

    This car has the ignition switch on the dash and not the steering so I have not been able to locate any sort of unlocking button as mentioned on other cars. I took out the radio and the harness looks good (no loose wires). I have read about hitting the key with a hammer which I haven't tried, I also haven't tried looking for the fuse in the engine compartment, or unplugging the battery. Before I go an buy any items I wanted to see what you all suggest since I can't return them.
  • I would say that something mechanical has broken or frozen up in your locking mechanism. Here are a few notes I found about my own 2002 Grand AM SE 5 speed Manual Transmission.
    1. The key cannot be turned to the off position and removed unless the shift lever is in REVERSE. Sometimes I have to push the shift lever very firmly into reverse before I can turn the key far enough to get it out of the ignition switch. Your PARK position is obviously linked into your ignition switch the same as my REVERSE position.
    2. I don't think the steering column is supposed to lock on a Grand Am. I have never had one that did, but of course, I only buy simple stick-shift vehicles, since I don't know how to repair Automatics, and they get horrible mileage.

    If I were you, I would check in the service manual to see what kind of mechanical linkage there is between the shift lever and the ignition switch, and also see if there is some kind of linkage between the steering column and the ignition switch. That is probably where your problem lies.
  • grandamwoesgrandamwoes Posts: 2
    edited April 2010
    This has been the largest learning experiene for me and honestly I loved it. There were some very large obsticles to get over and my situation wasn't discussed on a any forum so I would like to share my quest to success.

    The biggest hurdle was that a tumbler broke in the cylinder lock so turning the key too the ON position to accomplish all the tasks in troubleshooting and removing didn't exist. The key was forced out and in turn broke a tumbler, so all that could be done is a key inserted but not turned. So getting the lock cylinder, the Passcode three wire switch out (Can only come out by removing the lock cylinder from the ignition switch for anti-theft reasons), and the biggest problem encountered was learning/figuring out how to get the park/lock cable (sometimes known as the shift interlocking cable) out of the ignition switch if you want to replace the switch.

    So let me explain the park/lock cable because this was the largest learning curve. Now make note, there was nothing wrong with the switch and decided to still use it anyways but more on that later. Since you can't turn the key to the on position, you can't move the shift lever (auto) out of park. I pulled and pulled on that cable that goes into the back of switch till I was black and blue while it was in park. To figure out why I couldn't do it I ended up popping all the clips up and over the barbs that lock in the white and black sections together. Turns out that with the key only able to stay in the off position the ignition switch has an arm that is holding down the park/lock cable. Once I took the two halves apart I could easily get the cable out. Make note, if you do plan to reuse your switch and for some reason you need to do this, in hindsight you don't need to but does make working on it easier, be careful with the white portion of the switch, the arm inside has spring loaded sensors under it that can be exposed and they fall out easy (they won't shoot out though).

    Now to get the lock cylinder out. This is explained all over the web by drilling the switch but it was confusing as to what they meant and why. It took me holding a new cylinder to figure it out. To make my extraction of the thick metal pin from the lock, I got a dremel wheel and shaved away the portion of the sides (look at photo below) so I could grab the pin with needle nose to yank out once I drilled the switch to break/bend the spring (This is what is confusing, the spring is really a flat wide piece of metal that acts as a spring and by bending it you can forcefully pull out the pin).

    The rest was cake, put in the new cylinder, and run through the passcode relearn process. I even put the switch back together and reused it. Cost $159 for the lock cylinder with the new passcode sensor, door lock sensor, and keys. All from Autozone, yes you can find cheaper but was in a jam and cheaper then $650 from the stealership.

  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    edited April 2010
    Thanks for posting back and describing your solution. By the way, did you find that your Auto Transmission Grand Am has steering wheel lock, or is it just the gearshift that locks. (or maybe the gearshift locks the steering wheel mechanically, and being in the park position allows the key to be turned to OFF)

    On another note, Did you buy a shop manual for your vehicle? If so, would you mind sharing with us all, the pages that show the wiring for the PASSLOCK circuits?
  • miatiimiatii Posts: 2
    My daughter is hardly mechanically inclined. More like all out panic, freak out inclined. So we are going to have her ignition fixed and hopefully save everyone a lot of stress. My mechanic is at this moment replacing the ignition switch. He talked to GM and apparently there has been an update bulletin with regards to the problems surrounding the ignition/Passlock system and an updated ignition switch available . We are assuming that this means a re-design since my mechanic says he has to buy the whole ignition unit and can no longer purchase certain parts to repair it. My mechanic is very trustworthy (So far. My father was a mechanic so I can usually tell when they are BS'ing me, but there is always a first time). But is GM trustworthy or is this just more crap from them? If this doesn't work, it's out to the pasture for this car, lick my financial wounds and go back to buying Japanese no matter how much they cost.
  • gmsucks2gmsucks2 Posts: 1
    My wife has a 2002 grand am. All winter long it would start no matter how cold, with the auto start, but would only start by the key after a while. Now that it is warmer the car has gotten worse. It will now only start with the remote start and thats the only way to move it. Start in neutral, slip it in gear, etc.
    When i try to start with the key alone, it starts for 1 second then sputters and stalls. But it will start and stay going for the two minute warm up by the remote start. I dont know if the security light was on in the past, but now it doesn't appear to stay on.
    I am willing to cut the yellow wire if this will fix the problem. My wife tried leaving the key on and it did start, one time . The next time it did not work
    Any suggestions or help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    If you have an aftermarket remote start installed, you only have a 50/50 chance of the "Cut the Yellow Wire" mod working. I would suggest, since your vehicle is a 2002, you do the resistor mod as described at This will bypass the security system altogether, and allow you to be Passlock Problem Free when starting by either the key, or the remote.
    Good luck.
    To everyone else..... I can't believe that out of over 800 posters, nobody has offered to share the Passlock Wiring from their manual with us all. What's up? Are you all too cheap to buy a $27.00 Manual?
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