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Pontiac Grand Am Security Passlock Problems



  • Bypassed passlock an 03 grand am. Worked fine for a couple days no it won't stay started. The car starts and tries to stay started but something is shutting it off. Can anyone advise?? I've been through the ACC method for months and finally decided to use a resistor.. I don't understand why it is no longer staying started. Is this related to the ohm resistor?
    Am so lost...
  • I am in the same position ALL of you are in. I can't believe that this is a known issue and there has been no reccall to fix it. I am about to dump this car and get another make. Pontiac can suck [non-permissible content removed] because no one in my family will ever own one now!
  • jonilbjonilb Posts: 4
    I have read about the "passlock fix" in many other articles and I have also read many stories of cases where it did not work. I actually did call a few garages to see if they would do that procedure and got no takers. I am not a fan of having the "neighborhood mechanic" as it were, work on my car as you get no warranty on their work and have no recourse if something goes wrong. That 425.00 not only has fixed my problem but it bought me piece of mind knowing that if anything went awry with the repair I at least had someone to go to about it. If someone is mechanically inclined and able to do the "fix" themselves or you have someone you know and trust with your car, fine. But that was not my case.
  • Found the resolution to all my issues....Turns out I had a bad tumbler....I wiggled the F*$K out of the key and used liquid graphite and BOOM...som [non-permissible content removed] cranked and turned over....looks like Imma have to put a new ignition switch in it...Till then...its started ha
  • brohdawbrohdaw Posts: 1
    I have already followed the instructions on Berger website and so many other things and nothing is working...this is like the 5th website I have posted to, that's how bad it is; I can not figure it out!!! (Bare with the text below, i was rather angry when I typed it up)
    Okay, unlike most people, I think we’re the only ones on Earth that had a problem with the security light being solid as opposed to flashing. I was debating on the toggle but ended up doing the bypass using a resistor. Well one store, I won’t mention which one, gave me the wrong resistor twice (first a 220 ohms, then a 22000 ohms) so it wasn’t working, although I didn’t know they made a mistake twice until reading the receipt (the package said 22K ohms and I was thinking 22 kohms, not 22 (thousand), wasn’t thinking about the decimal [2.2]) – don’t know if it will even work now that we tried it without realizing the 22000 ohm; we had it hooked up and everything and I’m not sure what it would or has done to it. Could I really be part of the small percentage again that this wouldn’t work for??? I am at my wits end because I went back and decided to measure for the ohms and it seems like the yellow wire is getting nothing unless I’m doing something wrong! Then I learned about doing it with a terminal switch a little too late. At one point I almost had it without knowing by turning the key to “on” and barely pushing it to “start” – this would turn the security light off but I didn’t read much on it because that didn’t come up much so I figured it wasn’t a fix. I was excited at first but doing it wrong, it never started my car and I didn’t find another resource of doing it that way until *after* cutting the wires! This has been nothing but a major headache for us and we can’t afford a shop!! We are doing all this by the kick panel on the passenger’s side of the car but we looked under the stereo too out of curiosity and nothing moves under there, it’s too tight; the wires are snug in their place!!
    When I test the black wire and the yellow wire (coming from the ignition) there is NO ohm reading, doesn’t change the meter at all! I cannot get to the wiring behind the stereo, literally seems like you have to remove the dashboard – not happening on this end until I get absolute no other answers. Did GM really make it this impossible for the OWNER to use his/her own car!!! How dumb can they be????
  • jonilbjonilb Posts: 4
    well even though lovemygrandam scoffed at me spending the money to have my ignition switch replaced rather than trying the bypass process, i can tell passlock problem has stopped since i replaced the ignition switch. yes it was relatively expensive but judging from what you have gone through i feel it was a good decision.
  • jlsummejlsumme Posts: 9
    lovemygrandam also got on me but he's the best at letting us know what to do. The new ignition switch has worked great until recently. Half of the time it will start right up but if it doesn't you have to turn the key all the way to start then VERY VERY SLOWLY turn it back until it activates the starter. Hope this helps guys.
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    edited August 2013
    Your rant is useless. Pontiac cars are no longer produced, so it's going to be hard to boycott them. By the way, we may be able to help if you let us know which year, make and model Pontiac, and which engine you have.
  • Sounds like you no longer have a Passlock problem. Your symptoms indicate one of three problems:
    * Incorrect spark or valve timing
    * Weak spark, or no spark on half the cylinders
    * Insufficient fuel flow to maintain engine rpm.

    Any one of these three can cause the symptoms you are having. If your "Security" lite is not lit, you have solved your Passlock issue, and need to try other solutions. I would start with a new fuel filter. Then check for good fuel pressure, then for proper ignition. and timing. A bad crankshaft position sensor can also cause the problems you are having. Please post back with the engine you have in your vehicle.
    R. Berger
  • jonilb,
    Sorry for having sounded harsh about your passlock problem and the solution you chose. I completely understand your apprehension about using what most would call a "Shadetree mechanic" approach to solving your problem. My main reason for staying in touch with this forum is to help those who are not willing to invest $450 to repair a car whose value is less than $2000, and are looking for an alternative.
    I would advise you to keep your receipts. Many people who have posted here, and on other forums have had the dealer fix their problem, only to have it re-occur within 6-10 months. Also, most dealers, when encountering this problem, will replace the ignition switch first, and not bother to check for broken or intermittent wiring in the dashboard area. At any rate, please accept my apology for my harsh wording, and good luck.
  • Please post back with the Year, Make, and Model of your vehicle, and the engine size. Also, please let us know which of the three bypass procedures you used. There are three of them on my website:

    Please note: I have done these modifications on...
    8 2002 Pontiac Grand Am's
    3 Olds Alero's 2001, 2003
    1 2000 Chevy Malibu

    Alll of them have worked, but each mod was performed on cars that had been having the passlock problem, but the 10 minute relearn procedure would work.
    When the Security lamp is on solid, it means that the Body Control Module has gone into the "Fail Enable" mode, meaning that there is "something" wrong with the Passlock system.

    A quick note:
    When you turn the ignition to ON, the BCM performs a Lamp Check, during which time ALL of the warning lights on the dash should be on. After the initial 3-5 seconds, all the lights should extinguish except the Oil, Battery, Service Engine Soon, and Seatbelt lamps
  • Hi,
    I have a 1998 Grand AM SE 2.4 cylinder vehicle. Will any of these tutorials work? They all look like they are for 1999 and later vehicles?

    If they won't work do you know where I can find one that will?
  • I do not know if the tutorials on my website will work on a 1998 Grand Am. If you have a service manual for your vehicle you could look at the Theft deterrent circuit in your manual and see if it is similar to the one that I have posted at the bottom of:
    You can subscribe to online shop manuals for around $27.00 at
  • I have an 01 grand am se with 4 cylinder twin cam. Lately been having problems with the security light and the car not wanting to start. Now it's been a couple weeks later and when I start the car it idles really bad jumping rpms, sputtering barely wanting to stay running, car stalls out sometimes when I stop at an intersection and go to take off it just shuts off also been noticing it's been terrible on gas like went 50 miles and went through half a tank. No clue what's going on, anybody got a solution or at least tell me what's going on?
  • ellis18,
    Your problem seems to have more to do with ignition, rather than a Passlock problem. My first instinct would be to have a mechanic check your ignition modules. (you have two of them, each serving two cylinders.) If one ignition module or coil is defective or intermittent, it will cause the symptoms you are experiencing.
    You may also have a defective, or intermittent crankshaft position sensor.
    Normally, I would also suspect a clogged fuel filter, or a defective fuel pump, but it's doubtful that either of these would cause your fuel consumption to jump so high.
    Have your mechanic also check to make sure your valve timing is correct.

    The passlock system, when activated, will keep your engine from running at all. Sincy your car runs, there must be some other problem causing your poor performance. Hope this helps.
  • Greetings,

    I posted this in another section but this seems to be more on topic.

    Got in my 2002 Grand AM that had been running. Acts like the known security problem where it will starts for a couple seconds and quits. At same time the dome light, radio, and door locks stopped working. Battery has juice and I did the waiting 10 minutes security fix so well documented on the internet but didn't fix the problem. Took a while but the battery finally died but I jumped it and again tries to start but dies right away. Still no dome light, radio, and door locks. Didn't change anything.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • You didn't say whether your "Security" light is flashing when this happens. If it is not, then the problem is not the Passlock problem. The symptoms seem to indicate something wrong with your Body Control Module, or the wiring associated with it. The Body Control Module controls all three of the items you are having problems with.
    Your engine symptoms indicate a lack of sufficient fuel delivery. Either a clogged fuel filter, or weak fuel pump will cause that. When the passlock system activates, you only get a momentary start the first time it happens. From then on, it will not fire up at all.... not even momentarily, until you perform the 10 minute reset, and your "Security" Light is extinguished.
  • Thanks for the reply. I did leave off that the security light has been on for about two years but hasn't been a problem other than for diagnotics as you suggest.

    The car does start for a few seconds more than once. Starts for a few seconds then doesn't the next maybe two times then it starts for a few seconds and the same patern continues on staring for a few seconds once in a while. Based on what you said about not starting for a few seconds more than once would rule out the security problem.

    I can hear the fuel pump start. So it is something that impacts getting enough gas while also effecting the dome light, radio, and door locks. So you suggested the BCM. Do you think it could possibly be the ignition switch?

    Thanks for your help.
  • Do you think it could possibly be the ignition switch?

    Yes, a faulty ignition switch could be the problem, though it's likely that if it were the ignition switch, there would be other problems as well.
    The Ignition switch furnishes voltage to parts of the Body Control Module. Power for the Body Control Module is also supplied directly from the battery. There are also several fuses that furnish power to various relay circuits within the Body Control Module. I would advise you to check all your fuses to make sure they are good before replacing anything else.
    Here are links to four diagrams that may help you to trace your problems and find the fuses that could be causing your problems.

    I hope this helps. If you find out what your problem is, please post back.

    Dick B.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Thought you find this of interest. I just turned 142K on my 04Grand Am GT. It's never been in the shop for anything. Besides regular maintenance, I've changed the multifunction switch (myself) the water pump (myself, easy job on the V6). The water pump wasn't leaking that you could notice, but during the last oil change I looked up while changing the filter and noticed the tell tale signs of orange dexcool being slung around off the water pump pulley onto things close by, so I went ahead and changed the pump since it could be starting to dribble a little. The old pump did have a good amount of play in the shaft.
    I relined the brakes recently also, and this time I went ahead and changed the rear pads also (original pads) thinking that with those miles they must be low. After getting the calipers off though they could have easily gone another 20K or so. Since I had it apart I went ahead and put the new pads on.
    I can't complain, it's been one of the most reliable cars I've ever owned.
  • Hi, i have the same issue with security light, can u please mention the electrical spray name in the walmart? because i would like to give a try on this. Thanks in advance.
  • burdawg,
    Good to hear there are others who are having good luck with their Grand Am's. I just traded mine in on a new Chevy Spark. It had 121000 miles on the Odo. I wasn't quite as lucky as you with maintenance, but I don't think I had enough problems to call mine a lemon, as many others seem to have been inclined.
    My major items were:
    Front Brake pads twice,
    Front Rotors once.
    Ignition Module - twice, but the second was covered under the warranty of the first one.
    Tune-up/replace plugs once.
    At 108000, replaced clutch
    At 110000, replace catalytic converter.
    At 118000, replace battery

    I successfully performed the passlock bypass at 79598 miles. At the same time, I tried to replace one of the display bulbs in the radio, which was a mistake. When I reassembled the display, none of the buttons would work, so I then installed a Panasonic Radio with more features for $200.

    Mine was a stick shift, and my fuel average over the lifetime of the car was 33.1 MPG, mostly rural and city driving. My trade-in allowance was $2000, and shortly afterward, I found out that the new owner replaced the motor mounts... not a big deal...
    Dick Berger
  • I just performed the Passlock bypass using a 2.2k ohm resistor going in next to the radio. The car starts fine, but the security light stays on despite attempts to go through the relearn process (I've left the key in the on position for as long as 30 minutes and the light will not go off).

    I have had issues in the past year with the car not starting because of this security system, and each time the 10 minute reset solved my problem (albeit temporarily). For the past 2-3 months I haven't had the starting issues, but the light has been on constantly. I was hoping this bypass would shut off the light and prevent any future issues starting. Does anyone have any ideas?
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    edited October 2013
    Yes, I have some ideas.
    Go to this web address:
    Near the end of the article, You will find a list of six troubleshooting tips. The first one is:
    "1. Disconnect all three connectors from the Body Control Module."

    Go through those steps. They are easy enough to do. Pay particular attention to step 6. This will probably reveal that you have an open circuit between the Body Control Module, and the resistor that you soldered into the circuit in the radio cavity. If that is the case, you may want to re-do your bypass, using the procedure at:
    In this procedure, the resistor is placed in the circuit directly at the Body Control Moudle, so if there is problems in the wiring, they are also eliminated. There is no need to "undo" your previous work in the radio cavity.
    Good Luck.
  • burton87burton87 Posts: 2
    edited October 2013
    Thanks for the tips. I pulled the BCM and examined all the connectors. I did not notice any corrosion but gave them a good cleaning with a wire brush to be safe. I do not have a multimeter to check the resistance, but I went ahead and cut the A6 and B6 wires on the middle connector and put another 2.2k ohm resistor in. This doesn't seem to have helped as I'm still getting the always on security light (no blinking) which does not respond to the re-learning process.

    At this point I'm thinking the BCM is "happy" with the current passcode it has learned and is not attempting to learn the new signal (though I wonder why the light is on if this is the case). Both times after putting in the resistor the car has started up on the first try. Do you know of any way to force the BCM into re-learn mode?

    Edit: The car actually starts without the center connector plugged in to the BCM, so it's obviously completely ignoring the Passlock signal. I guess it's behaving like it would when the yellow wire is cut with the car running, but I've read that should reset when the battery is disconnected, and I've been disconnecting the battery every time I work with any of the wires.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I think the front pads I just put on are the 5th set. I replaced the front rotors with a high quality cross drilled set at the third pad replacement and they are still good. I do mostly light suburban driving and get what I call "average" brake life.
    I'm going to retire next August and plan on keeping the Pontiac at least until then. I'm thinking about buying one of the new GM mid size trucks when they come out next fall (probably the GMC Canyon) but will make that decision when they are actually out.
    I think the biggest problem that people had with Grand Ams and Aleros was lack of maintenance. They were relatively low priced to get into, which sometimes leads to that in my opinion.
  • Do you know of any way to force the BCM into re-learn mode?

    A dealer who has a Tech II Scan Tool and a Techline Terminal can force the BCM to re-learn the code. A copy of the procedure (right out of the Grand Am Service Manual) can be found at:
  • laurelslaurels Posts: 2
    edited October 2013
    I just had two mechanics diagnose in their opinion that it was the ignition causing my security starting issues. Despite the whole tumbler being replaced its still doing it every once in a while.

    I noticed something interesting. I'm sure that part of the security system is on the same circuit as the ABS light. Lately the ABS light is no longer just on or off, its flickering. The guy just replaced my rotor, and I haven't picked it up, but he claims the light is now off for the abs. Still could this indicate an issue with a fuse instead of the security system?

    I did replace the battery. The guy at Advanced Auto said the battery was bad, but also said he thought the power drain when the vehicle off was too high, after asking if I had a dome light which I do. I showed the paper to someone else with the number, a mechanic, he said the number was fine. I've lost the paper or I'd post the number.

    I have a passlock bypass device I'm thinking of installing. It was expensive. I'm worried that putting it in will just cover up an issue of a computer going bad that controls something else, or some other problem.

    Any advice?

    I really appreciate any recommendations.

    Maybe its just one giant piece of metal garbage at 178,000 miles :( I hope not
  • jc1973jc1973 Posts: 63
    HEY EVERYONE well after buying this worthless pos for 3000 car overheated had to replace headgaskets intake gaskets bunch of stuff putting close to 2500 into it now its got a new weird prob car starts fine when cold after slightly warmed up hard to start been this way for 3 weeks weird thing is when i turn key to on position the power locks start to cycle when this stops car starts tonight just driving cars just dies locks start to cycle car will not start keep cycling key on 4 or 5 times each time the locks try to cycle 5 th try key on for 2 minutes locks stop car starts up service vehicle soon and trac off lights stay on car runs fine again no blinking security lights what gives
  • My daughter has a 2005 Pontiac Grand AM SE. Twice in the last ten months she has let the battery run down, once she had left the lights on and the other time she played the radio while waiting to get a tow out from the ditch in a snow storm. Both times when she tried to start the engine when the battery was low and there must have been just enough power to tell the security system to initiate. A jump start did not help either time and after fully charging the battery the engine still would not start. The most recent time just yesterday, I searched the issue on the web and thankfully the issue with the Pontiacs from around 1999 to 2005 is well known on the web and sadly I must say also by GM and service shops around the world. Yes it is as simple as turning the key to the on position and waiting for the security light to no longer illuminate, which my daughter said was less than ten minutes (but remember she was in the ditch and let her battery run down twice in the last ten months) so take that for what it is worth. On the web it says that it is exactly 10 minutes or exactly 15 minutes. Simply put, just wait for the security light to go out then turn the key off then back on to start the engine. What really bothers me about this is that GM knowingly put this in the computer programming for these cars and has been profiting from this for years from all the service calls for this issue. Hopefully they did not take advantage of their customers and change out parts and charge for that unnecessarily. Unfortunately though there are far more less reputable shops that have really been profiting from this as was the case with my daughter 10 months ago when they said they needed to change the starter motor and charged hundreds for it when they likely just followed this wonderfully simple procedure that was their little secret for all these years. Shame on GM for not identifying this in the owner’s manual especially in the later models such as my daughters 2005. Ford at least identifies in their owner’s manuals that their products have a fuel shut off switch that activates when in an accident or when simply bumping into a curb or something like that. I had already been pissed at GM for years and personally haven’t bought one of their products since my 1993 Astro van needed $2,500 worth of fuel injectors every 58,000 miles and they wouldn’t recognize they had a bad design and help out their consumers in some way. I am sure that the outrageously compensated Delco unionized workforce played heavily into designing a bad product and making it so expensive for a part and repairs. Please don’t think I am anti-union because I am not I have been a shop steward for years and even I can recognize abuse when I see or hear about it.
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