Question about 1996 Pontiac Grand Am

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Ignition key switch

I replaced the key assembly on my 96 with one from a 95. The 96 had a wire plug on it and the 95 didn't, so we took the tumbler assembly out and traded the housing. Now the car will only run for 2 second and it dies. Is it because the plug on the housing?

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  • brewer_842 Aug 11, 2008

    i have done the same thing. to bypass the anti theft there is a yellow wire to cut then the car will run fine anyone know excatly where that yellow wire is please email me at if you can help ty



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The plug is for the passlock sensor. It senses the key and sends a signal to the cluster which interprets that signal and sends a password to the PCM telling it to let the engine run.

If that siganl gets interupted or not sent at all the engine will only run for 2 seconds and then shut down. You will have to replace the ignition cylinder and the sleeve around it which contains the passlock sensor. If you order a passlock sensor it will come with both but you may have to get the cylinder coded to your old key.
Once installed you will have to perform a 10 minute re-learn to allow the engine to run. To perform the re-learn put the key in the ignition and try to start it, once it stalls don't take the key out, leave it in for 10 minutes or until the theft light stops flashing. Then turn the key off for no less than 30 seconds then try and start the vehicle.

Good Luck

Posted on Aug 25, 2008


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How to remove ignition cylinder

I have done lots of these because the key is hard to turn and you must "WIGGLE AND SHAKE" to get your car started. If this is the problem you are experiencing, then:

Yes, you can replace just the ignition lock cylinder. I recommend using the AC Delco lock cylinder kits. (AC Delco Part Number D1493F) They come with packages of numbered tumblers (which must be assembled) so the new cylinder can be configured to accept your existing Ignition key.

If you replace the entire ignition switch/lock cylinder assembly, your computer will have to be reprogrammed so your engine will start and run. (Not to mention, this is the expensive way to do it.)

You must remove both your instrument cluster and your radio to access the mounting screws and elecrical connectors for the switch/tumbler assembly. It is not real hard to do, but assembling the new tumblers into the new cylinder can be kind of tedious. (As well as extremely frustrating if you do not do it correctly.)

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Took my ford focus to a dealer because key would not turn either way. They said it was the tumbler and would have to be replaced. They jusy called and said they installed new tumbler and reprogramed the...

The reason that the key wouldn't turn must have come from a malfunction of the ignition switch or the connecting rod, rather than the just the tumbler. Since the dash lights & gauges work now, at least part of the ignition switch is working, but apparently not the part that's engaged when the switch is turned to the "start" position.
By replacing just the tumbler, the dealership tech would have jiggled the connecting rod just enough to reseat it (and fix the jam that was causing the key to fail to turn in the tumbler), but didn't fix the real problem, which seems to be a worn out ignition switch or worn connecting/actuating rod.

Here's your steering column anatomy - illustration courtesy Ford Motor Company.


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1997 cavalier ignition switch--the key enters the switch and is easily removed. but the key when entered in the ignition will not turn to start the car. The whole ignition switch turns slightly when you...

look at your key if its worn down try another key if both keys are same way than u will need to replace the ignition cylinder not the switch these are 2 units which are attached, the tumblers are in the cylinder--- u can have the cylinder re done[new tumbler ] diy u can take out housing and bring to dealer saves on labor or if have local bone yard buy housing [ignition ] with key take out cylinder and replace with new junk yard part about 15-75 bucks a lot of the u-pull-it are the cheapest 15 for whole system---dealer to redo cylinder[tumbler replacement] with u bringing in housing 100-200---if cylinder also damaged add additional 100-- call up parts person and get prices tumblers/cylinder/whole unit good luck

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was the ignition switch getting hard to turn with the key for a while or did this just all of a sudden happen usually the problem has been going of for a while but people just ignore it until it gets to this point,it sounds like the tumblers in the ignition key switch have gone bad and the tumbler assembly needs to be replaced,the new tumbler assembly can keyed to the original key if the key is not worn out.this should be replaced with a new key if it is.

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Was replacing the ignition switch and accidently broke off a silver piece off of where the switch goes connected. Can you some one tell me if this can be replaced and if I have to replace the entire key...

Replacing An Ignition Switch..

If The Ignition Switch Is Defective, It Must Be Replaced Regardless. Before Removing A Dashboard-mounted Switch, The Tumbler (Lock Mechanism) Must Be Removed From The Switch.Normally A Small Piece Of Wire Is Inserted Into A Hole IN The Front Of The Switch And The Key Is Turned.This Will Release The Tumbler From The Switch So The Tumbler Can Be Pulled Free. Then Unplug The Wires And Remove The Old Switch.

A Steering Column-mounted Ignition Switch Is Separated From The Tumbler. It Is Normally About Halfway Down And On Top Of The Steering Column. To Remove This Type Of Switch, Remove The Fasteners Holding The Steering Column To The Dash. This Will Let The Column Drop Down So You Can Replace The Ignition Switch.

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I have a 2005 Kia Optima with the ignition on the dash. It is zero degrees here and my ignition will not turn, key was hard to get in. Can I use the stuff used to unlock car doors in the ignition?

the only way your key wouldn't work is if the tumbler is damaged. The de-icer you are speaking of is for ICED UP tumblers. Since your ignition is not open to the elements, it is not frozen. The grease inside may be thick, but would not prevent your key from entering.
Do not put any type of liquid in the ignition because it is an electrical switch. You can try a dry liquid graphite, however it is my opinion that the tumbler is broken/worn and needs to be replaced (this is usually from an overloaded keychain - causing the tumblers to wear and break)

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