1997 Pontiac Grand Am, Key Will Not Turn Off, Replacing a Faulty Shifter

This 1997 Pontiac Grand Am came in with the complaint that the ignition key will not turn all of the way off. As a result the battery would  go dead. I showed how to temporarily overcome this problem in a previous post. Please click here to see that post.

Testing begins by checking the PRNDL fuse, 10 amp  in the left dash fuse box. It should have power on it in all key positions except for Lock and Accessory.  Next check the ERLS fuse, 20 amp in the underhood fuse box. It should have power on it in the Run and Crank positions.  Assuming that both fuses were okay, the covers on the steering column now need to be removed.

The top half unsnaps and lifts off.

The lower half has a few screws that need to be removed.

I used a screwdriver to remove the tilt lever handle.

With the covers removed I located the two wire connector for the ignition lock solenoid. I used an angled pick to back probe the connector on the White wire.

I then touched my grounded test light to the pick. No power.

Time to access the shifter wiring. I did not get a picture of removing the shifter handle but it is very easy. On the front edge of the shifter handle you should be able to feel a slot in the material. Using the same pick I used to back probe, I slid the point of the pick into the slot and found the edge of the metal retaining clip. The clip is a piece of flat metal about an 1/8″  wide. It is bent into the shape of a “U”. For those of you with a rural background it looks like a fence staple.

Next, remove the liner from the cup holder and then remove the screw.

The same thing at the rear cup holder.

Open the storage compartment and there will be two more screws to remove.

Now, remove the center console assembly. This usually requires dropping the shifter into the lowest gear and lifting the parking brake handle. Once the console is part way up, you may have to reposition the shifter and park brake handles. You can now see the disconnected harness plug between the shifter and the park brake handle.

A closer view of the harness connector end.

The back view of the same connector. I located the Pink wire at terminal “F” of the connector and checked for power in all key positions except Lock and Accessory. Power was present. Next I jumped the Pink, terminal “F” wire, to the White, terminal”C” wire.

I reconnected my test light setup and power was now present on the White wire. The key will now turn off as designed.

To change the shifter out from this point you have to remove the mounting nuts/bolts.

Use a screwdriver to remove the shifter cable end.

Use a screwdriver to remove the locking clip from the cable mount. Looks like a staple made from flat stock.

Push in the locking tabs on the plastic cable mount to release the cable from the bracket.

Pull the cable assembly from the bracket and remove the shifter assembly from the car.

Reverse the procedure to install

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