Quick Reference Guide: Pontiac Grand Prix

The transponder programming for the Grand Prix is a little odd, so you need to pay particular attention to the section in this article on programming.

The latest version of the Pontiac Grand Prix (Photo 1) was introduced in 2004, as one of the early GM vehicles equipped with the Z-Keyway. From 2004 until 2007, all of these vehicles were equipped with Ortech locks using the Z-Keyway and the PK3 transponder system. In the 2008 model year the...

To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Locksmith Ledger. Already have an account? Login

Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.


Complete the registration form.


The in-dash ignition lock is difficult to remove unless you have a key, or you can pick the lock. If your goal is to generate a key for the vehicle, you would be better off to obtain cuts 3 - 10 from the door or trunk lock and then progression the remaining two cuts that are found only in the ignition. However, if you need to service the ignition lock and can turn the lock, it is easy to remove. First, carefully pry the trim ring free of the lock. It is held in place by four sets of plastic clips that snap over the four posts on the front of the lock.

Directly below the ignition lock is a rubber pad that protects the trim from hanging keys. Carefully pry this pad free of the trim and you will find one screw that secures the center stack trim to the dash. Removing the screw will allow you to release the trim.

After the screw has been removed, the only thing holding the trim in place is a series of upholstery clips around the edge of the trim. Carefully pry the trim free of the dash, making sure not to scratch the trim or the dash.
The trim does not have to be completely removed in order to remove the lock. Rotate the trim just far enough to expose the lock. At the 5 o’clock position, you will find an opening into the dash. Look inside with a flashlight to see the lock retainer. To remove the lock, turn it to the “ON” position and depress the retainer with an offset scribe or similar tool. The “ON” position is the second click – the first click is the accessory position and the retainer cannot be depressed in that position.

Once the retainer has been depressed, the lock and the attached transceiver ring will slide out of the housing. The transceiver ring is the heart of the transponder system and is relatively fragile. Avoid prying or twisting the ring –a coil of very fine wire inside the ring acts as an antenna for the transponder system. The ring is intentionally fragile, so that it will be easily damaged in a theft attempt in order to make the vehicle inoperable. The code number will also be stamped on the side of the lock.

The transceiver ring is held in place by a single snap-clip at the top of the lock. To remove the transceiver ring, gently lift the snap-clip and slide the transceiver ring off of the lock.

Looking at the rear of the lock, you will see the three-pin socket on the back of the transceiver ring that plugs into a matching plug in the ignition housing. You can also see the retainer pin that holds the lock plug in place. To remove the lock plug, depress the retainer pin with a pick or other small tool and then rotate the lock until plug slides out of the housing. The lock has to be rotated until the timing lug aligns with the sidebar slot in the lock housing.

he lock plug has been removed and you can see the retainer pin and the spring that is normally located below the pin. As you remove the lock plug, make sure that you do not lose the pin or the spring. As you remove the plug from the housing, the spring will attempt to shoot the retainer pin across the room. I usually wrap a rag around the entire lock as I disassemble it to trap any flying parts. I have also removed the grease from the lock so that you could see the details better.

The timing lug must be aligned with the sidebar slot in the lock housing in order for the plug to come out of the housing.

Distinctive Ortech tumblers can be used in both the sidebar ignition and the non-sidebar door and trunk locks. Once again, each tumbler is stamped with the depth. The Grand Prix uses the O5000 – O6999 code series. Even though there are five depths listed, the number five depth is not used in any code in the system.

Programming replacement keys for a Grand Prix made between 2004 and 2007 can be tricky. Some Grand Prixs simply cannot be programmed with on-board methods. The only way those vehicles can be programmed is with a GM TECH-II device that is loaded with the TIS-2000 software. Fortunately, those vehicles are few and far between in the U.S. Unfortunately, the only way to identify them is to try and fail to program a key into it.

The vast majority of U.S. Grand Prixs can be programmed with the standard PK3 on-board programming procedure, but with one catch. DO NOT insert a key into the ignition that does not have a transponder, unless the battery is disconnected! Any time a key is inserted into the ignition far enough to activate the key buzzer, the transceiver ring will be activated. If the transceiver ring does not detect a transponder, it will assume that there is a theft attempt in progress and initiate a trouble code in the computer. Without the proper equipment, this trouble code may be impossible to clear.

There are two solutions to this problem if you are generating a key for the vehicle. The easiest is to simply disconnect the battery until you have made a mechanical key that will turn the ignition, and then reconnect the battery when you are ready to program the key. The other option is to hold a blank transponder key next to the ignition lock while you perform the progression for the two cuts that are found only in the ignition. This way the computer will detect a transponder and it should not trigger a theft code.

If you encounter a vehicle that has been locked down due to someone inserting a non-transponder key into the ignition, you may be able to clear the problem with the following procedure:

Disconnect the battery for a minimum of ten minutes

Insert your transponder key with the correct cuts into the ignition, but do not turn the ignition on

Reconnect the battery with the key in the ignition

Turn the ignition key on for three cycles of ten minutes and forty-five seconds each.

If this does not solve the problem, you will probably have to refer the vehicle to the dealer.

Under normal circumstances, you can program a replacement key with three ten-minute cycles, the same as any other PK3 vehicle. While programming the vehicle, you will have to watch the “Driver Information Display” since the Grand Prix does not have a stand-alone security light.

While programming the vehicle, you will see the message “Starting Disabled Due To Theft System” on the Driver Information Display. When the programming is successful, a message similar to Photo 21 will appear.

Programming a duplicate key into the Grand Prix is easy as long as you have at least one working key. Simply start the car with the working key and then turn it off. Within ten seconds of removing the working key, insert the new key and start the car. The Grand Prix can be programmed for a maximum of ten keys, but since the PK3 blanks can be cloned, it is possible to have an unlimited number of keys.

In the 2008 model year, the Grand Prix went to the “Circle Plus” system. This makes it very important for you to check the tenth digit of the VIN for the model year, so that you can be sure what year vehicle you are working on.           

We Recommend