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Pontiac Grand Prix Key cannot be removed from ignition



  • gearkatgearkat Posts: 13
    edited August 2011
    A business isn't supposed to make money? That is a new one on me. He said his problem was a 'fix', it isn't. It is a work-around. I have a video on YouTube where I do a permanent fix for under $40 which address a specific problem pointed out by another user (thank you for that information). My fix only addresses this very local specific problem. I also use my real name in that video and provide my location. So if I am a fraud, I suck at it.

    The mechanic said it was going to be ~$800 because they don't want to take the time for a $40 dollar repair. They'd rather replace your ignition coil, wire harness, and whatever else they can think of to justify whatever price they quote.

    By the way, my research on the web shows that the $800 repair you mention often doesn't work, leaving you $800 out and still dependent on a work around. My fix was done 4 or 5 weeks ago now, and my car is working just fine. I have sold some of the L-shaped terminals on my ebay store to other do-it-yourself types and I have not had any negative feedback, or request for further information about how I did the repair. Nor has anyone tried to return the part I supplied. I can only conclude silence is golden. Here again is my YouTube video with a summary of how I did the repair.
  • I have a 2001 GrandPrix GTP. I found your video very informative. For me I have already been through this last august. I brought into the dealer and they said the shifter needed to be replaced. So $1800.00 (can) later it worked but not even a year later it started to do it again. So for the last few months I have been doing the ignition switch thing with the screw driver and have been locking my car my remote starter lock so it won't kill my battery if needed. This solution was very helpful but now it more of a money thing I don't want to spend that much again and it not be fixed. Can any mechanic do this or should i bring into the dealer and tell them what I think it can be.
    I have been talking to alot of mechanics that seem to not listen to me as I am a women and I guess most women probably know nothing about cars but I have a family full of uncles and none of them are around me right now or else they would be fixing it for me. I probably would be able to do it I am pretty handy but I would need step by step visuals to see what I am supposed to be doing. But now if I drop my car off for an oil change or whatever I sound crazy explaining to them how to take my key out of the ignition and I'm afraid they won't be able to take the key out and leave the doors unlocked.

    Do you know what I can do for dirty gas? I'm 100% sure I received bad gas from the station, my car is not 100% and I sometimes have problems with it starting but it will but not the first few times like it's not getting gas, changed fuel filter put a high octane in and a gasoline antifreeze/water remover but it still doesn't sound 100% have any ideas what i should do.
  • Does anybody know why this is an intermittent problem (at least it is for me)? it will be fine for a while, maybe a month or 2, then start sticking again.

    I finally followed somebody else's advice and stuffed a straw into the hole. I lost the cover that I had to pop off, so I used a piece of duct tape to hold it in place. No problems so far!

    Good luck to everyone!
  • gearkatgearkat Posts: 13
    I can give you a step by step instruction for the first part to check if it is the green and purple wire which has come loose. all you will need is a flat head screwdriver and the car on a level surface, or blocks behind the back wheels so the car can't roll.

    1. Open your central console and remove the insert where you keep your stuff (for me its change and gas receipts)

    2. Locate a small rectangular hole on the front of the console just above the cup holder

    3. Insert screwdriver into this opening

    4. Gently but forcefully pry up on the plastic cover, it should 'pop' off

    5. on a flat surface, with the car off, move the shifter to the neutral position

    6. slide/pull the console cover up, gently pushing up on the seat heater insert from underneath

    7. look under the shifter to where the now revealed wire harness is running from the area under the radio to the area under the shifter

    8. you should see 6 or 7 wires, the wires you are interested in are green and purple. if they have come loose they will be apart from the white terminal to where the rest of the wires are attached.

    I have a unedited version of my repair where all of this is shown, but most of the video is me cursing, walking back and forth, or just being silent as I work. Also I was just recovering from laryngitis when I made the video so I sound rather disgusting. If you need more of a visual for these steps I can make another video showing how I get the console cover off. It should run all of 45 seconds.
  • msktleemsktlee Posts: 1
    edited August 2011
    This u tube video shows you how how to remove the key manually

    There are other videos on how fix the problem permently. You really see the work being done. What a stress reliever.
  • gearkatgearkat Posts: 13
    Yes it does, and once you do that for over a year you just might get sick of the extra step. My video shows a simple repair to solve what may be the problem. A detached green and purple wire running out from the wire harness to the solenoid under the shifter.

    To check if it is the green and purple wire all you need is 1 screw driver and a few minutes.

    1. Remove the insert in the center console
    2. Find the rectangular hole in the front of the center console just above the cup holder
    3. Insert screw driver and leverage upward gently but forcefully to pop off the console cover
    4. Shift the front end of the console in front of the shifter and look for a bunch of wires taped together running out from under the radio area to the shifter.
    5. Follow the green and purple wire, pull on them gently, pulling away from the shifter.
    6. If you feel no resistance and see the end of the cables, therein is your problem, if you feel resistance, quit pulling and look into getting your ignition switch replaced.
  • Greetings My immediate question is to Gearcat:
    Would you explain in detail how this problem is caused by the ignition switch and whether this is the only item needing replacement?

    I have this problem on my 97 GTP and have checked the harness (it's tight) but have read of an actuator switch, possible gear shift solenoid etc.... so would like to read your take on the ig switch.

    I look forward to your reply.
  • Well, the ignition switch solenoid needs 'to talk' to the gear shift solenoid in order to know when the car is in park. From what I've read it is the ignition switch that goes bad more often than the solenoid in the gear switch. I don't know of an actuator switch being involved in this process. But once again, I am not a trained mechanic, I can only relay my non-professional opinion.
  • Having that problem now and to add to it, the shifter will not move half the time. I think I have traced it down to the brake transaxle lockout solonoid. Is that strictly a dealer item?
  • I have had this same problem with my 2000 Grand Prix. An even cheaper fix is using a straw from a restaurant. You have to cut it down but most will fit on the back side of the little cover that is under the steering column. This has fixed my car for at least 3 years now. I had actually forgotten about it until I came across this post.
  • So i wanted to thank all on the site who have contributed to ideas/workarounds for what seems a very common problem. I was also having the same ignition not returning to lock and after reading through the responses to OP, I decided to dig into my 2000 GP. I will say that while i have no formal auto mechanic training, I have made a lot of repairs varying from wiper blade change to engine rebuilds. I would like to share what I found in my diagnostic and repair. My particular solenoid release issue was directly related to a coffe spill on the way to work about 2 months ago. The gear shift release mechanism was gummed up and not allowing the switch in the console/gear selector to fully disengage. A thorough cleaning of this with alchohol and lubrication with dielectric grease has fully solved my issue. I will say to anyone that is not looking to pay a dealership for repair, that any knowledgeable shade tree mechanic could correct this issue for you relatively inexpensively. I am in no way offering to do a repair for anyone but if I were to charge for this work, I would say less than 75 would be fair. In regards to those who have issues with being able to remove the key after the ignition is out of lock, the 2 issues that I have seen that create these problems in the past are improperly cut key or ignition lock assemblies wearing out due to excessive weight from many keys on your keyring after time... it can cause the tumblers to fail. Again, thank you to all who have contributed to solutions, and I hope that others may find help from my resolution.
  • Thanks gearkat great instructions. I just bought a 2001 Grand Prix SE and it had the same problem until this evening :)!!!!!!!!
  • Where can a person purchase the wire fittings shown in the video by gearkat?
  • That works and it only takes about 5 min.
  • netural safety swich is messed up, but key will come out when put in neutral
  • Hey everybody,

    I posted to this thread earlier with a link to a YouTube video showing a good workaround.

    I've think I've now found a "permament" solution (knock on wood). Here's what I did:

    I removed the cover the bottom cover behind the steering wheel (the cover that houses the igntion system). I noticed that the wiring that hooks up to the cylinder behind the ignition was a little loose. I simply hooked the wires up more tightly and (voila!) I haven't had any stuck key issues since.

    I realize that this fixed my problem, but may not help everyone elses, but I hope this helps at least one person out there!
  • kb1950kb1950 Posts: 1
    make sure there is 12 v. to switch & that the ground wire has connection to - and make sure switch is working correctly.
  • I have to "pile on". Pontiac Grand Prix 2001 GT, sometimes the key comes out sometimes it doesn't, tried all the tricks listed and finally found the one that works.

    So everyone keeps talking about this little hole on the bottom the steering column almost directly under where the key goes in. Mine is plugged with something, maybe I can pry it open with screw driver, however, I discovered an easier trick FOR MY MODEL/YEAR.

    1. Locate that little "hole" or "hole with a plug in it" on the steering column right under where the key goes in.
    2. Tilt the wheel so it's up as far as it will go.
    3. At the spot where it hinges stick your finger up into the elbow or the hinge and feel for that little plastic hole/plug. As soon as you touch the plug it will pop right out and drop to the floor HOWEVER directly above this plug is the release button so once you feel the plug simply lift your finger up lightly push on the button.
    4. You should hear the ignition click/release, key will come right out. No more aggravation!! No need to stick a small straw or toothpick up the hole, finger works great and only takes 2 seconds.

    Maybe someday I'll pull the shifter column/console apart and look for that loose wire as I sort of fear it could lead to something worse but for now this works great, been doing it for 2 months.
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