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Glenn, Technician/Trainer
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 606
Experience:  28 years experience, Interprovincially Licenced MVMechanic (Canada) , Technical Trainer
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How to bypass passlock II system on a 1997 Pontiac Grand Am

Customer Question

How to bypass passlock II system on a 1997 Pontiac Grand Am SE
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  ase_master327 replied 8 years ago.
Hello, and thank you for choosing Just Answer!

To bypass this system, is not really that bad. The key has a resistor in it.. you want to get another one that matches the resistance of that key. Just go to radio shack and have them put the ohmmeter on both sides of that 'chip' nin the key.. and get a resistor that matches it. There are quite a few different resistances, too... so you can't just 'guess' at it.

Now, where to put it.. again, not that bad.. there are 2 thin white wires that run up the steering column.. you want to put that resistor, where it jummps those 2 wires together.. thatway, the module will always think the right key is in the ignition, and as long as it will tun the lock... the system will let it start.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

No resistor in the key


1997 Pontiac Grand AM se 4 cylinder

Expert:  ase_master327 replied 8 years ago.
That certainly changes things, then...

Sorry, but I'm not aware of a way to get around this system, then.. .BUT.. if there is a way.. I know who would know it.. Laughing

I will send you to them, and they will come help as soon as they see it.

Hang in there.
Expert:  Wrenchtech replied 8 years ago.
This is a different expert.

The only thing that can be bypassed here is the sensor in the ignition lock which is the source or most of the problems. The rest of the system will be operational and subject to failure.

Here is how you do it.

Here’s how you can bypass the sensor.

Go buy a 2.2k (2200 ohm) ohm resistor at an electronics store. Go to radio shack and just get one as close to that as you can. Remove the covers on the steering column and locate three small wires at the lock cylinder. Cut the yellow wire and the orange/black wire or on some vehicles, it’s the yellow and black wires. Solder the resistor between those wires. Tape it up and put the covers back on and follow this relearn procedure. If this doesn't work you have a wiring problem in the steering column.

30 Minute Re-Learn Procedure
  1. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF.
  2. Attempt to start the engine, then release the key to ON (vehicle will not start).
  3. Observe the SECURITY telltale, after approximately 10 minutes the telltale will turn OFF.
  4. Turn OFF the ignition, and wait 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 two more times for a total of 3 cycles/30 minutes ( the vehicle is now ready to relearn the Passlock™ Sensor Data Code and/or passwords on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK).


The vehicle learns the Passlock™ Sensor Data Code and/or password XXXXX the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK. You must turn the ignition OFF before attempting to start the vehicle.

  1. Start the engine (the vehicle has now learned the Passlock™ Sensor Data Code and/or password).
  2. With a scan tool, clear any DTCs if desired (history DTCs will self clear after 100 ignition cycles).

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
tried that - light would not go off
Expert:  Wrenchtech replied 8 years ago.
What did you try?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Tried the relearn system


1997 Pontiac Grand Am Se 4 cylinder - Car starts shuts off -battery good, fuel pump working, starts when gas is poured into the air intake. then shuts off all relays seem to be working -tested with a test light HELP


Help accepted yesterday

The security indicator being on is showing that there is a theft deterrent issue causing this car to shut off. This type of problem really requires a special type of scan tool that can read body failure codes such as the theft system. This type of tool can actually go into the theft system and remove a trouble code regarding this problem. This is the starting point for diagnosing a problem like this. The real problem is that a tool like this is $3000.00+ and most people just do not have access to this type of equipment. There is a simple relearn procedure that sometimes fixes this problem. Here is how that is done.

Time required, approximately 10 minutes.

  1. Insure that the battery is fully charged.
  2. Turn the ignition switch from the OFF position to the CRANK position attempting to start the vehicle. The vehicle will start and then stall.
  3. Leave the ignition switch in the ON position while observing the security indicator.
  4. When the security indicator turns off, which can take up to 10 minutes, turn the ignition switch off. Wait 10 seconds.
  5. The car should be operable at this point.

If this procedure does not work you are going to need to gain access to one of the tools I mentioned or have someone with one of these tools properly diagnose this problem. Feel free to contact me with any problems or questions! Good luck!


Also tried...

For those of you who have not done it yet: Mine is a 1997 GrandAm. I warrant what follows for 1997s only, but perhaps yours is the same.
1. The manual says to isolate the yellow data wire through the radio compartment, but I did not have to do that. Pop the top off the steering-wheel housing (it snaps on) and remove the tilt-steering lever (unscrews -- mine had some locktite on it, so be careful).
2. Now remove the bottom portion of the housing (three screws underneath).
3. BE CAREFUL! There are two yellow wires underneath -- one to the air bag, one to the ignition. Obviously, you want the one to the ignition. It is the wire "most" underneath (obvious what that means when you see it) and closest to the driver when he or she is behind the wheel.
4. START THE CAR! START THE CAR! START THE CAR! This is an essential step! If the car won't start (like mine), jiggle the wire as you turn the ignition (many of these PassLock problems are old, corroded wire connections, not the Hall sensor).
5. Clip the yellow data wire, leaving at least some wire to work with on both sections. Once the wire is cut, you may (but don't have to) turn off the car.
6. From Radio Shack, obtain SPST mini-toggle switch # XXXXX (total cost including tax: $3.17).

7. Remove switch from packaging; make sure it is in the "off" (contacts open) position (check it with a meter).
8. Strip a short section of insulation from each end of the cut data wire, slip some shrink wrap over the wires, and splice in the switch.
9. Maneuver the shrink wrap over the soldered terminals and heat to form a completely insulated splice.
10. The toggle can be left inside the housing or mounted on the underside of the lower housing section (drill a 1/4-inch hole carefully so the plastic does not melt around the drill bit).
11. Reinstall lower housing (three screws) and tilt lever (you may want to use some locktite, but I didn't). If you opted for outside mounting, screw on the locknut for the switch.
12. Snap top half of housing in place.
13. If you turned the car off, turn it on to test. It should start right up.

Expert:  Wrenchtech replied 8 years ago.
Your question was how to bypass the security system and that's what I respoonded to however I don't believe that is even the issue here.
If it will run when you pour gas in the intake, then you simply have a fuel problem and you need to test the fuel pressure as you likley have a fuel pump problem.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
fuel pump is operational
Expert:  Glenn replied 8 years ago.

The previous expert gave you some good advice on how to bypass a PASSLOCK system that was INTERMITTENTLY acting up.


I'm not sure that you read that the PASSLOCK had to be operational for the bypass to work. What he was suggesting was that you create a fault in the signal after the engine started. This sets a code that bypasses the passlock signal requirement.




Do you have access to to DVOM? I can probably help you diagnose the current problem in the passlock system. UNLIKE PASSKEY (the system with the key mounted resistive pellet) PASSLOCK cannot easily be bypassed.


There are 3 wires on the PASSLOCK sensor on the steering column. FEED (BATTERY), GROUND, AND PASSLOCK SIGNAL. These wires are come from the instrument panel cluster and run to the passlock sensor in the lock cylinder housing. With the key removed, the passlock signal on the yellow wire should be 5v. When you turn the key, the voltage should drop to the "LEARNED VALUE" as soon as the ignition turns on. If the ignition switch "turn on" does not synchronize exactly with the drop in voltage on the PASSLOCK SIGNAL (or vice versa) the PASSLOCK system will register a "tamper" and not allow the engine to run.


I've uploaded a schematic diagram and you can download it by clicking HERE. Let me know if you have further questions.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I do not have access to DVOM


I read about a locksmith that may be able to make a new key. I only have one, just bought the car for $350.00


It was noted that there are no chips in the key, and that there were magnets in the ignition cylinder, that we could get a key cut by code. I am going to try this tomorrow.


Mr. Christie is the mechanic...I am his friend who owns the car and computer we are communicating on...I will let you know

Expert:  Glenn replied 8 years ago.

Hello again.


If you do not have access to a DVOM then you need to take this vehicle to a technician that has access to one to test as I have described in my last post.



MAKING A NEW KEY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CORRECTING YOUR PROBLEM unless you are having a problem turning the lock cylinder. The key has nothing to do with the passlock signal generated in this system.



You are WASTING your time and money going down that path.



Why ask for help if you are not going to follow my advice?


Yes, the lock cylinder incorporates a magnet that triggers the housing mounted sensor. That is why I have asked you to check the signal from that sensor. If the magnet is weak, the signal will not function as intended and the VOLTMETER READING will indicate that to us.


PASSLOCK DOENS'T LOOK AT THE KEY, It looks at the lock cylinder housing mounted PASSLOCK Sensor signal and the ignition switch voltage.


Please see that 2 other experts agree with my last post.



Expert:  Glenn replied 8 years ago.
I am wondering how Mr Christie has made out with his passlock issue.