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Ivan
Ivan, ASE Certified Master Technician
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 4870
Experience:  ASE Master Tech w/ 20+ years in the field. Self employed for 9 years. Member of AUTOLAB radio show.
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pontiac Grand Prix GT: i have a 2002 pontiac grand prix.at

Customer Question

i have a 2002 pontiac grand prix.at times it will not start unless i take the gear shifter n pull it out of park n ram it back into park.doesnt do it everytime.used to maybe 3 times a year n it only took messing with gear shifter 2/4 times now its more like 30.what is this annoying problem.today it is sitting in my drive way cause im tired of trying please help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pontiac
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'm Cam.

To start with, is the mode switch external on the top of the transmission visible when you open the hood and look down under the master cylinder to the rear of the hood where the shift cable attaches?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

sorry but im a woman n not knowledgable of what ur asking.can u instruct me in how to look for what ur asking

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
,

sorry but im a woman n not knowledgable of what ur asking.can u instruct me in how to look for what ur asking

Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.
No problem,
Can I ask if you are looking for a rough cost on repairs or are you hoping to fix this yourself?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

both really and just want to know what it is??aggravated


 

Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.
I can understand Robyn. I suspect one of two things.

First is something in the shifter assembly prevenging the shifter from seating in park properly, such as a shift assembly in the car or something as simple as the boot on the shifter that may have something caught in it.

The second is the range switch on the top of the transmission that senses park for the neutral safety switch.
Tell me Robyn, does it start in neutral with out trouble?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

my car has never started in neutral not that in aware of anyways .it doesnt now, i just checked

Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.
OK that does suggest the neutral safety switch. It should start in neutral.
THe switch is on the top of the transmission. Look under the brake master cylinder area, it is circled in yellow in the following diagram.
graphic
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok i see it...what am i looking for

Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.
THere may not be much to see. Chaffed or damaged wires are possible, but otherwise I suspect there is a problem internal to the switch. The lever above it can be removed and the switch changed with little trouble, just lining it up is a pain. Transmission must be in neutral and the metal tab left on the switch until it is seated. It should take under an hour and the part is about 100.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

very aggravated ,changed the shift neutral switch and it didnt help.....

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

changed the shift neutral switch n it didnt help..are they a shifter sensor that may cause this problem

Expert:  Walt-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I’m a moderator for this topic. It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you right away, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're OK with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes i will wait

Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.

Hello and good evening. My name isXXXXX just read through you entire question thread. Did you replace the sensor yourself?

Your JA Expert

Ivan

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes I did with the help of a friend that is a mechanic at honda
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Ok here is what we need to do, We have to test for power at the small terminal on the starter when you turn the key and the car does not start. See if you can have someone help you do that. If you find power there the starter is to blame. If you don't have power, we continue testing through that starter circuit and find out where power is disappearing.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So if it does have power then its the starter that's bad?
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Correct. The large terminal will have power all the time, that comes from the battery, but the small terminal gets power from the ignition switch. If there is power on that terminal when you turn the key to start, the starter has no choice but to activate, and if it doesn't then it is faulty. If you do not have power on that small wire when you turn the key to start, then we will do more testing to find out where that power stops. If you find power there, replace the starter, if you do not, then let me know and I'll guide you to the next testing points.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

took starter off n starter place said it was good..what concerns me is my tech scanner says transmission is in 3rd gear,also for about 8 yrs this car has done this at various times to get it to start ive always had to pull the shifter out of park into lo then back up to park,at first only 3 times n it started right up ,like i said for about 8 yrs and maybe 4/5 times yearly..then this past year it got to where i had to do that about 10 times:7times this year..last week i went to panama city beach and it acted up down there.a couple times upon going out it would take 2/3 times of messing with the shifter to make it relize it was in park so it would start.then as we were leaving for home we sat for an hour taking turns n praying it would start probly did the shifter back n forth a good 100 times then finally started right up.didnt shut it off all the way home,then last week it started right up at least 20 times.then came home went to go back out n it wouldnt start just like before i tried about 30 times with the gear shifter n it wouldnt do what it needed to do as before.had my friend from honda come by n help me change the neutral safety switch,didnt help..let me tell u this thou this car will not run on any part from anywhere other than the dealership,dnt know why but everything i have ever done to it took 2/3 trys of autostore part then ended up always having to go to gmc to get part..weird yes..made me wonder about the neutral safety switch being the same way because i got it from autozone not gmc..hmmm do u think that could really matter???anyways when he scanned my car for codes it is saying it is in third gear.something is preventing it from moving up into park..are they a shifter sensor or anything like that that would prevent the shifter from actually going from 3rd to park????really hating this car right now.lol.help if u can

Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
That 3rd gear signal is most likely a false reading. I have seen that on GM vehicles before. What I need to know is, is there power on that small terminal of the starter when you turn the key to start. That is the key. If we don't that is the problem and we will figure out why with a few more tests.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

get right back to u with that one he has gone somewhere n ill have to ask him if it did.i did tell him i needed to know that so ill get back to u.thanks very much

Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Sounds good and you are welcome
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok he put the starter back on n tested the small terminal n it is not getting power.......

Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.

Ok, now, go to that transmission range switch(neutral safety), that you replaced, and see if you have power on the Yellow wire when you turn the key to start. Power should come out of the purple wire, if you have power on the yellow wire. If you don't have power on the purple, but you do on the yellow, we are going to try adjusting the switch. If you do not have power on the Yellow, when you turn the key to start, let me know and we are going to go deeper.

Ivan

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

are you talking about the two different connectors that i plugged up into the neutral safety switch??do i just stick the tester in the open end of the connector? that will take a minute have to take the breather n stuff back off

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Have no voltage on the yellow.I tested wires with the connectors unconnected ..was that correct?
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Sorry I have been away from the computer. Yes you tested it correctly. As soon as I get back to my computer, I will send you the next step. I believe you will find that same yellow at the ignition switch. That is where I want to send you. I have to confirm to be sure. As long as you found no voltage on the yellow when turning the key to start. I will let you know as soon as I get back.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK THANKS

Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Ok, yes indeed, look for the yellow wire from the ignition switch, the same size as the one at the neutral safety switch. That wire should get power when you turn the key to start. That is the same wire at the neutral safety switch, so if you have it at the ignition switch and not at the neutral safety, we have a broken wire. If you do not have it at the ignition switch, you have a faulty ignition switch. Let me know what you find.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Could not find the same wire at the ignition switch.they r all little wires..smaller than the yellow wire????
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Go back to the neutral safety switch. The wires that you want are very heavy gauge wiring. There is a thick yellow that comes from the ignition switch into the neutral safety switch, and a thick purple that comes out of the neutral safety and goes to the starter solenoid. Locate those wires and test them. The light gauge wires are going to be for other functions. At the ignition switch, it will also be thick yellow wire.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will test them again,but I did test the heavy gauge at the safety nuetral switch n I can't find that same gauge at the ignition but I will go back n look more...thank you
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome. It will be a very heavy yellow wire. The same as the one on the neutral safety switch.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Found it and im not getting a light.wait I ambgetting a light when I turn the key like im trying to start it.is that correct because before I just turned the key on.n when I tested at neutral safety switch I tested with key on but not like I was trying to start the car.which way is right
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Yes, you should only get the light when you turn key to start it. Go back and test the neutral safety like that. It should be a full turn to try and start the car.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I will do that it will b a little while.I've got to take my daughter some books to school that she forgot.plus I need someone to actually turn the key while im testing it
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Sounds good. Let me know when you know.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok yellow wire at nuetral switch does have voltage..what now..purple wire doesn't have voltage...no voltage on purple wire at the safety neutral switch nor on purple wire on starter...???
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
That is good. Here is what you do. Loosen the bolts on that neutral safety switch. Leave the car in park. Have someone hold the key to start and slowly rotate the switch until you hear the starter engage. Tighten the bolts on the sensor and make sure the car starts in park and neutral and no where else. Let me know what happens.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do I take the two bolts out n the one that bolts down the lever???
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Just loosen the bolts that connect the switch to the transmission. The switch will rotate a little. The holes in the switch are slotted.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good God ole mighty I did it.it started..I can't believe it.I just cannot believe it.I was ready to burn the freaking thing..you are great!!!!I cannot express how much you have done for me n im sure what it would of cost me...thank you God..I am so happy right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Awesome!!! It was my pleasure to help you through this. If you ever need assistance again, request me and I will be here for you. That will be good forever now. Enjoy every time you start the car!
Ivan, ASE Certified Master Technician
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 4870
Experience: ASE Master Tech w/ 20+ years in the field. Self employed for 9 years. Member of AUTOLAB radio show.
Ivan and 8 other Pontiac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ivan my car quit starting again today...so freaking aggravated..I've moved theswitch alaround and nothing...help
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Ok, stay calm, there will be a logical explanation for it. Do that same test at the yellow and purple wires at the transmission switch. If you have power on the yellow wire, move the switch so it comes out on the purple. Remember that is with the key turned to start. If you do not have power on the yellow, let me know.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I took the switch off and called for an replacement part.I will get it in the morning n put it on n try that
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Ok, just set it up like we did before.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Got new switch n this one for some reason was very hard to put on it didn't want to line up but its running again
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Great! Usually those things are due to manufacturing tolerances. Let me know if you have any other issues. Don't worry, we will always get it going.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can't believe it my car wouldn't start again and I was out in town...my stomach just sank...I took the gear shutter pulled it down in 1st n pushed it back to park about 8times n it finally started..what is going on with this crazy undependable car??????geeze
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Do this, don't touch anything. Check for power at those 2 wires at the neutral safety switch. The yellow and the purple. When it won't start check those wires. It is possible the car had 2 problems. Let me know what you find.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Check them unplugged cause I can't get to them while they r plugged up cause they are on the bottomside..so r u meaning for me to unplugged it n check the two wires..???I pray it never does it again especially if im out somewhere....
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Ok the yellow can be checked unplugged, the purple has to be when it's plugged in. That is the same wire as the one at the small terminal on the starter. You can check it at either point. Those two tests will tell me what is going on. Remember, test them when turning the key to start.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ivan, ive got another problem with my grand prix acutaually its been going on for some time. it surges.just little surges constant especially bad going uphills.sometimes the surge can be big for a couple times then go back to little surges at times it will jerk hard a couple times then quit.what i have done..changed spark pluggs, wires, new air mass flow sensor,new temperture sensor.use alot of injection cleaner...i think its the injectors but im not the expert ,some have said the regulator.i am lost it guzzles gas 13 miles per gallon..what do u think i should do..i need to b able to drive this car n it b dependable n not cost an arm n leg in gas.....lost

Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.

Do a quick check in the vacuum line going to the fuel pressure regulator. Look to see if there is a fuel smell or any drips that come out of that vacuum line. Do this with the car running. That would account for all of you symptoms. Also Mass Air flow sensor get dirty. Cleaning that unit, can improve drivability. Let me know if you need guidance towards that procedure. Let me know what you find either way.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Already done both and no fuel coming out of line not even a tad.I've cleaned that mafs a zillion times
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.

Ok, well it was a nice thought. Do you have the ability to see the voltage on the sensor wire on the oxygen sensor?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No that takes jacking it up to even get to toe sensors n im in bed sick right now...about that vaccum line I want to make sure it was done right because I didn't do it personally.u say it is the vaccum line going to the fuel regulator correct n if there is any gas present that ...means the regulator is bad? Cause im going to check it myself tomorrow when im better...do u totally rule out the injectors and the fuel rod?
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Yes, sometimes it takes 7 or 10 times to shoe up. Have the car running and take the hose off fast. You want to catch it before the vacuum line sucks it in. Sometimes you can catch it directly after shutting the car off. And yes if there is any fuel at all in there, the regulator is bad.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks I will do that in the morning...oh yes wanted to ask if I get a regulator at the junkyard is that a bad idea
Expert:  Ivan replied 1 year ago.
Yes, buy a new one. They are not very expensive.

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